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Slim Down Your Menu After the Holidays

healthy menu options

The holidays are over.  Indulgence has been the theme for many of us. That extra serving of pie or stuffing that brought a smile to our face has now caused some of our pants to fit just a little tighter. 

For many of us, now is the time to look for lighter fare to satisfy our palate. Instead of excitement, most of us dread the thought. We relate eating healthy as a need or even a punishment, not a joy. 

There is no reason to feel this way!  With some creativity and understanding, healthy can be something to be very excited about—dare I say joyous. And, if you clean up your menu, customers will be excited to spend their dining dollars with you in January. This is the month to put the fried chicken inside and find some healthy inspiration.

Let’s think about methods of cooking. Methods that preserve nutrients in food and use little if no oil are: grilling, broiling, baking or roasting, smoking, steaming and poaching. Stay away from deep frying, pan frying, sautéing, braising, stewing and boiling. All of these either use fat that will be absorbed into the food, or the method causes most of the nutrients to be lost.

How can I eliminate salt and still have food taste great?  No biggie—instead of salt use mustards, wine, vinegar, citrus juice, herbs (dry and fresh) and spices. These flavor enhancers will please the palate and prevent water retention.

Lean meats like pork loin, a small filet, skinless poultry and any fish are proteins to consider for a great eating experience. 

When you need an oil, use one that is high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. These forms of fat are good for your body. Olive oil and canola oil are great options that are easy to find.

Now that I have given you some basic directions, how about some great and easy dishes so you can shine? Try Seared Salmon Salad with Mango Salsa for a light dish with a lot of flavor. Kale-Wrapped Sea Bass w/ Sundried Tomato Coulis combines a unique preparation and presentation with a health-centric dish. Jerk Chicken with Wild Mushroom Au Jus has all kinds of savory and spicy flavors going on. Pork Loin Stuffed with Spinach and Low Fat Yogurt with Blueberry Puree gives you creamy, rich flavors without the fat.

I hope these thoughts and ideas have put that smile back on your face. Just like the one that gleamed when you saw the turkey and fixings on the holiday table.

Contributed by:
Lonnie Varisco
Center of the Plate Specialist
Performance Foodservice – Caro