Healthier eating and exercise may be the two most popular New Year’s resolutions in the U.S. You can’t throw on a pair of running shoes to get those steps in for your guests—but you can provide options to make healthy dining an easy choice. Here are simple and cost-effective ways to appeal to your health-conscious guests this year.

Upgrade Menu Substitutions

It’s all about choice, and when it’s a breeze to make healthier choices in your restaurant, it’s a win for families pondering where to eat that evening. Simple additions or substitutions to consider include:

  • Prix fixe menu options with heart-healthy red wines instead of beer or mixed cocktails
  • Substitute Greek yogurt for sour cream in many entrees
  • Add avocado for healthy fats to everything from toast to grilled salmon and crab
  • Create dishes with beans or lentils instead of meat
  • Opt for fluffy frittatas filled with veggies over heavy casserole dishes
  • Replace ground beef with ground chicken or ground turkey to skimp out on fat but not flavor
  • Offer a range of side items that include fruit and steamed vegetables in addition to fried side items, as well as brown rice and/or quinoa with white rice selections

Lean Cuts of Meat

Protein is a key factor for anyone trying to incorporate healthier eating habits. Grilled chicken and eggs come to mind for many, but there are other lean meat options to ramp up your menu. Baked turkey breast and other poultry such as duck are yummy alternatives to fried chicken dishes. Fish and seafood dishes are also high in protein and a great source of healthy fats. Even choosing leaner cuts of beef, such as sirloin and top round roast are a great way to help guests feel confident in making savory menu choices.

Vegetarian and Vegan Menu Items

Some guests not only want to eat healthier; they also want to feel good about making choices that are better for the planet. According to recent industry reports, the leading reasons vegans, vegetarians, and pescatarians adopted their diet in the U.S., included better health, animal welfare, and concerns about climate change. Incorporating healthier food items like hummus, avocados, and cauliflower are delicious additions to your menu.

Infuse hummus dishes with pesto, harissa, roasted red peppers, pumpkin, or squash for a culinary surprise. Avocados aren’t just for guacamole (though it’s so rich and flavorful!). Get creative with pasta sauces made with avocado and cheese, or enchilada sauces to jazz up Mexican night. Guests won’t feel they’re compromising with items such as cauliflower steak or buffalo cauliflower bites as they can enjoy their favorite flavors with decreased health concerns.

And don’t overlook plant-based options. Veggie burgers today differ from those in the 90s, even looking more like actual beef burgers. Grilled plant-based sausages that are filled with vegetables and wheat flour instantly upgrade pasta dishes to a healthy status.

Don’t Dismiss Dessert

Everyone loves dessert, but those seeking a healthy lifestyle may shy away. Guests deserve options to indulge in dessert without guilt, so implement dessert options that are a winner for all. Frozen desserts like sorbets, sherbets, and frozen yogurts provide rich alternatives to ice cream. Keep it simple with seasonal fresh fruit and whipped cream. Brew up a dessert coffee with sugar-free flavors, paired with angel food cake or another light dessert. Or simply give the people what they really want by dividing a decadent piece of cake, pie, or brownie into equal parts for the guests at the table.

Demonstrate how much you value your guests with healthy options that satisfy their goals and their tastebuds while boosting your restaurant sales. Winner, winner, (grilled) chicken dinner!

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