Nutrition Notes

Help Customers Eat #Seafood2xWk

In 2016, the government released its latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs). Updated every five years, the report reflects the latest in nutrition science and serves as a guide for educating consumers about what they should eat.DGAs1

The most recent DGAs have an encouraging narrative for Americans: small changes in diet and lifestyle can result in weight loss and a reduced risk of developing a chronic disease.

One of the key recommendations is to eat more seafood, which includes both fish and shellfish. The official guidance is to eat a variety of seafood at least 2 times per week. Though this doesn’t sound like a lot, the DGAs note that most Americans currently fall short of the recommended 8-12 ounces, meaning they’re missing out on important health benefits.

At a time when Americans are told to limit so many foods, seafood is among the handful of foods Americans are encouraged to eat more often.

Adjusting the diet to eat #Seafood2xWk is one small change food service professionals
can get behind. By offering more seafood selections, customers can feel confident about
choosing a nutritionally-packed option without having to sacrifice flavor or the fun of
indulging while dining out—all while meeting nutrition guidelines!

Make Seafood Your First Pick

Untitled design (69).jpgHelp customers punt off those tailgating pounds this season with healthier, tastier versions of standard football fare. Sub in heart-healthy seafood for poultry and red meat in traditional tailgating dishes. Consumers will love these new twists that “up” the flavor-  and nutrient – profile.

Play these items on your fall meu:

  • Salmon Sliders: Try salmon in place of red meat for a healthy twist on the tapas-style burger
  • Shrimp Pizza: A mix of caramelized onions and sautéed shrimp add oomph to pizza appetizers
  • Crab Avocado Nachos: Up the protein game by adding crab meat to cheesy nachos for a tasty shareable snack
  • Seafood Chowder: Lobster or clam chowder can give chili a run for its money – customers will love these “comfort soups
  • Fish Tacos: Blackened fish in warm tortillas is a winning combination for an appetizer or entrée
  • Tuna-veggie Kebabs: Up the sophistication and health benefits of this favorite dish-on-a-stick

 

 

Pasta

Way Beyond WHEAT

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Traditionally, pasta is made from an unleavened dough of durum wheat flour mixed with water (or eggs, for egg noodles) and formed into a shape. Today’s pasta, however, goes way beyond standard wheat noodles. For starters, there are non-wheat whole grain varieties, like corn, brown rice, quinoa or a blend of these grains, which appeal to those following a gluten- or wheat-free diet. There are also popular veggie-based pastas that tend to be as, or even more, nutritious than wheat-based varieties. Spiral veggie slicers quickly turn zucchini, squash, beets, jicama, cucumbers, carrots or sweet potatoes into a gourmet spaghetti or fettuccini, just begging to be topped with seafood and a flavorful sauce.

Try incorporating some of these comfort dish makeovers this fall:

  • Rice noodles with teriyaki salmon
  • Cucumber and carrot pad thai with lump crab meat
  • Quinoa elbow mac & cheese with smoked trout
  • Spaghetti squash with tuna, tomatoes and capers

Bulk Up Your Noodle

shutterstock_316258259Whether you fill your bowl with wheat penne, whole grain nonwheat fusilli or veggie-based spaghetti, add a variety of colorful vegetables and fruits to bulk up and enhance both the visual appeal and the taste of your pasta dishes.

The idea of “Volumetrics” was created by a nutrition professor at Penn State University as an approach to eating. Adding lowdensity foods high in water content—like colorful bell peppers and squashes, red onions, deep green collard greens or kale, bright green broccoli, orange carrots and red tomatoes—to your pasta dishes will help to reduce calories, increase fullness and “up” the amount of fiber, potassium, antioxidants and vitamins. “Volumizing” your menu offerings will appeal to customers trying to lose weight, manage blood sugar and cholesterol levels,increase vegetable intake and eat a more healthful diet.

 

Lighten Your Brunch Menu with Seafood!

More than 70 percent of Americans prefer healthier restaurant options than they did two years, according to a recent survey by the National Restaurant Association. And, brunch is no exception. In their 2013 Breakfast Report, Technomic says, “consumers link breakfast with health.”

shutterstock_664624699.jpg“We know our guests are eating lighter, and seafood is heavily reflected on the menu as part of that,” said Le Diplomate General Manager William Washington. Consumers who want to lose weight or eat healthfully are constantly bombarded with a list of foods to avoid. Seafood, on the other hand, is a “yes” food that Americans love.

There are many seafood varieties that work great at brunch, as seen on Le Diplomate’s menu. Try swapping in tuna, smoked salmon, crab, trout, mussels, shrimp or oysters as the protein in your existing weekend brunch dishes.

Popular seafood options that work well early in the day:

  • Tuna
    A lean protein with a healthy serving of omega-3s, tuna pairs well with vitamin and fiber-rich veggies like potatoes and green beans in a traditional or deconstructed salad Nicoise. For an unexpected brunch appetizer, try tuna carpaccio along with a light mayo and mustard garnish.
  • Smoked Salmon
    Infuse a frittata with smoked salmon and pair with whole grain mini toasts. Or add omega-3 rich smoked salmon to your egg white omelet and you’ve got a light, but satisfying dish.
  • Crab Cakes Benedict
    A healthful twist on the usual ham.
  • Grilled or Smoked Trout
    Scrambled eggs with trout and asparagus makes an elegant protein-rich breakfast.
  • Mussels
    Mussels pair well with another brunch favorite, bacon. A little bit of bacon goes a long way with steamed mussels and crusty whole grain bread.
  • Shrimp
    Mini grilled shrimp and hash brown casseroles are a comforting brunch dish. 

Nearly 80% of Americans who have lost weight and kept it off for more than a year eat breakfast, according to the National Weight Control Registry. Low in calories yet packed with protein and other nutrients, seafood appeals to consumers who strive to make nutritious choices while dining out.

 

Superfood Salads

Health continues to rank as a top motivator for consumer choices. In the world of increasingly health-conscious consumers, “superfood” lists have become extremely popular, and seafood tops nearly every one. Consider adding some of these other nutrient-dense “superfoods” to your salad to “up” the appeal and nutrition ante:

shutterstock_554839540.jpgKale: This vitamin-packed veggie was mentioned 380 times more often on menus in 2013 than four years prior, according to Technomic’s MenuMonitor. Consumers continue to epitomize kale as one of the healthiest options on a menu. Think: Kale and blue cheese salad with grilled salmon.

shutterstock_321102602Blueberries: Antioxidant-rich blueberries are a favorite among consumers and chefs. According to a survey by Hebert Research, 58% of consumers associate blueberries with healthier dishes on restaurant menus and, according to a Technomic survey, chefs like blueberries because they’re healthy, low-labor and easy to use. Think: Arugula and blueberry salad with seared red snapper.

shutterstock_349484078.jpgAvocados: Consumer demand for avocados has exploded. Executives from McDaniel Fruit Co. say weekly U.S. consumption of 30 million pounds is becoming the norm, up significantly from 15 million to 20 million pounds weekly just five years ago. Summer is the perfect time to promote salads featuring the “heart-healthy” food. Think: Mesclun salad with crab meat and avocado.

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Nuts: Nuts are no longer just a healthy snack food – small but mighty, they’ve found their way onto menus as the perfect crunch to add texture (and taste!) to salads. Cashews, peanuts, walnuts and almonds are some favorites. Think: Spinach salad with grilled tilapia and candied walnuts.

 

Beyond the Bowl of Lettuce

shutterstock_560193187.jpgThink beyond a bowl of lettuce with new presentation of salads that satisfy:

  • Power Bowls: These deconstructed salads not only look great, but make people feel great. Fill the plate with piles of food of different colors and textures like cubed gala apple, diced avocado, shredded red lettuce, diced celery, and tuna or salmon salad with a creamy, citrus dressing.
  • Grains Instead of Greens: Try mixing a tried-and-true combination of chopped vegetables, crumbly cheese, and protein with an unexpected grain like quinoa, wheat berry, or wild rice. Shrimp is a good choice to pair with quinoa, olives, feta, fresh dill, diced cucumber, diced tomato, and a tangy vinaigrette.
  • Fill Up on Fruit: Fruit salad isn’t just a side. Make this refreshing staple into a meal by incorporating seafood. Try scallops with tropical fruits including mangos or crab with citrus fruits like blood oranges.

Say Cheese!

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Gorgonzola, blue cheese, a sharp cheddar or other “strong cheeses” instantly up the flavor profile of a salad – what consumers want. The best news? A little goes a long way, which is a win-win for chefs.

 

 

Customers Eat With Their Eyes

shutterstock_538402897.jpgThe five senses play a significant role—either consciously or subconsciously—when it comes to food choice. While taste tends to rule as the king factor, the expression “eat with your eyes” still rings true, perhaps even more so with the growing trend of food blogs and mouthwatering food photography. A dish that looks more visually appealing tends to be more appetizing and satisfying. Studies have found that just the sight of food causes physiological responses, like salivation, a desire to eat in the absence of hunger and changes in heart rate and insulin levels.

More specifically, researchers have found that the way a food is plated impacts flavor perception, consumption behavior and even subsequent food choices. Fortunately, common rules for making food look appealing in person and on camera—plating a colorful foods on round white plates—can help promote healthful eating. A variety of colorful foods tend to be more appetizing than food of one color. Think mixed red and green lettuces instead of pale iceburg lettuce or colorful fruits and vegetables on top of or next to monotoned grains or proteins, such as grilled salmon topped with a colorful mango and bell pepper relish or scallop fettucine topped with bright red tomatoes and fresh basil.