All right, let’s get to the heart of the matter. We strut into the new year thinking all about lovey-dovey hearts and candy and cupid for Valentine’s Day. But you know what we should be strutting our stuff (and menus) for? American Heart Month.

Yes, American Heart Month is nearly here and what better way to celebrate than to promote heart-healthy helpings that not only keep consumers and restaurant goers’ hearts happy, but also stir taste buds.

A mix of product sourcing and innovation can lead the way for heart-healthy options as well — forging new ideas through plant-based items, sustainable sourcing, and an expanded use of superfoods. Don’t forget tried-and-true veggies and fruits, however. As the American Heart Association suggests when considering heart-healthy foods — follow the color wheel in any form it comes (fresh, frozen, canned, or dried works) to the recipe.

So, what to do: Before we dive into delicious and ticker-friendly fare, here are some quick tips for those looking to hearty-up their menus, which is always considered an upsell!

  • Run a “Heart-Healthy Menu” Promotion. Who wouldn’t get on board with menu specials you specifically crafted for heart-health awareness?
  • Apply color. Enliven your starter or entrée offerings by popping in carrot shavings, beets, avocados, spinach, microgreens, red/orange/yellow peppers, mangoes, and more.
  • Pack the proper protein. Nuts, eggs, or fatty fish adds the essential omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Substitute. Olive oil-based butter or a similar alternative spread in lieu of normal butter.

Ticker-Friendly Fare and Starters

For operations with taco offerings, lettuce-wrapped shrimp tacos add a perfect bite. Top them with shredded cabbage, lime aioli, sliced radishes, and Cotija cheese. If you’re feeling it, go for avocado as a topper, or use it as an upsell. When selecting shrimp, nothing is better than responsibly-sourced Bay Winds®.

If you have an Asian-focused concept, create an elevated value proposition to fried rice with lobster fried brown rice. Add a medley of carrots and peas with your brown rice and fire up the wok with olive oil and reduced sodium soy sauce. Bay Winds Lobster is excellent for reducing waste and labor costs — the meat is cooked and ready-to-eat. Bring the value of lobster without crippling food costs.

The perfect plant-based burger is a sure-fire winner now as well. Grill a Green Origin® Burger to perfection and top it with wilted roasted garlic spinach, balsamic vinegar-marinated tomatoes to fire up the acidity, and griddled onions for a cacophony of flavors. Serve with sweet potato fries and coleslaw or pickles.

Any Mediterranean concept or-focused menu should consider a traditional item with a twist — a breaded chick’n nugget pita. Nestle Green Origin Plant-Based Breaded Chick’n Nuggets in a freshly-baked pita with sliced red onion, shredded lettuce, sliced Roma® tomatoes, homemade tzatziki sauce, and fresh chives. The colors and tastes are abundant.

Or lighten the menu up with a “Is that Pepperoni?” Pasta Salad, featuring whole wheat pasta with diced Green Origin Plant-Based Pepperoni, feta cheese, diced grilled zucchini, fat-free Italian dressing, freshly torn basil, and julienned mozzarella cheese. This will be the most succulent, lean pasta salad your customers have tasted.

Finally, get creative with Green Origin’s grinds for a meatless meatloaf. Mix with sauteed diced portabella mushrooms and onion with red pepper ketchup glaze on top and serve over sauteed lemon kale. If you love serving meatloaf, but your customers are worried about meat consumption, this is a great option.

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