According to Datassential, 70% of consumers are trying to increase their intake of veggies and fruits. And 23% of consumers say they order healthier alternatives to their favorites at least some of the time.

Consumers want to incorporate healthy eating into their diets without having to sacrifice flavor, taste, quality, or convenience. They want to have their cake and eat it, too, so to speak. Boost revenue and appease guests with our guide to offering healthier alternatives that don’t sacrifice flavor.

Meat Methods

Preparing veggie-based dishes in the same way as their meat counterparts is a very effective way to punch up the flavor of a healthier alternative. Grilling, marinating, and roasting are all your best friends here. Consider marinating portobello mushroom caps in balsamic vinegar and grilling them for that extra umami flavor. Or roast sweet potatoes in chipotle and adobo spices and top with crunchy slaw for a taco that will keep customers coming back.

Plant-based center of the plate alternatives have also exploded in popularity, and the trend is not going away any time soon. A black bean or plant-based burger, soy hot dog, or jackfruit tacos can still be the star of the show with the right combo of flavors, spices, and prep methods.

Swap Sides

According to a 2021 Menu Trends Datassential report, entrées served with roasted vegetables vs. steamed vegetables command a 27% higher price point. Consider Simplot RoastWorks® Roasted Redskin Potatoes & Jalapeno Blend instead of mashed potatoes or scalloped potatoes to pair alongside any protein. If you’re looking to pair something light with a BBQ platter or just about any other center-of-the-plate menu option, simple grilled root veggies with a little olive oil and herbs can be just as big of a hit as pan fried or breaded.

Intriguing Ingredients

Diners are becoming more adventurous. Gone are the days of dry, crumbly veggie burgers or cardboard-like tofu. Experiment with different flavors, such as za’atar, berbere, or a curry mustard sauce to pair nicely with just about any protein. A creamy tahini sauce over tofu, or grilled veggie skewers with a Sriracha or ponzu sauce makes an ordinary healthy option seem more appealing. If you’re looking to infuse some Hispanic influences, consider Simplot Good Grains™ Cilantro Lime Rice & Fire-Roasted Corn Fiesta blend to spice up a burrito bowl or enchiladas.

Hungry Eyes

Menu descriptions and dish titles have a tremendous impact on what diners choose to eat. Beef up healthy alternative dishes with eye-catching descriptions and whimsical titles. Think teriyaki-glazed cauliflower steaks, charred kale salad, or wild mushroom risotto topped with caramelized shallots and homemade Parmesan croutons.

And let’s talk about presentation. Momma said not to play with your food but getting creative with plating can be a great way to incorporate healthy aspects and appeal to diners. Vibrant colors, tapas served with various dipping sauces, or utilizing different size bowls, plates, or other serving platters can show off your unique dishes in the best way.

Devil is in the Details

Guests will be more inclined to order healthier alternatives if the flavors are there. Making subtle changes to ingredients and bases can be all you need to entice them to opt for a new menu dish over their favorites. Use spiced Greek yogurt to top soups instead of sour cream or heavy cream, coconut milk to keep the creamy, indulgent factor in desserts, toppings, and sauces.

To add the “superfood” element for your health-conscious patrons, consider Simplot Harvest Fresh™ Hand-Scooped Avocado as a replacement for mayo in aiolis, sandwich spreads, or dressings. It also saves time and works great as a base for your own signature recipes.

Whether your customers are vegetarian, pescatarian, vegan, or only looking to add in a few healthier choices here or there, they still want food that tastes great. Serve up the best of both worlds with tasty vegetables and plant-based alternatives they can't turn down—and watch your numbers go up!

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