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Here is another great reason to get more plant-based ingredients into your menu

By Katya Baxter, Nutritionist,

Everybody is talking about fiber. It is a hot selling nutrient, and even the makers of Fruit Loops have recently decided to put some into their magic cereal recipe. But what if I told you that even though labels may point to the presence of fiber in a product, the actual fiber content is generally still far below what is being recommended by the FDA?

According to the 2010 Food and Health Survey, fifty percent of consumers look for fiber content when buying packaged food. Yet, it has been clearly missing on restaurant menus. (You can see this for yourself by simply checking out several nutritional information charts posted on restaurant websites).

Why fiber, you ask?

Fiber is the one nutrient that has been unanimously proven by the medical community to play an important role in preventing heart disease, diabetes and controlling appetite. As we all know, heart disease, diabetes and obesity are the top three health problems in the US.

Lack of fiber in our diets and on menus doesn’t come as a surprise. Fiber is found in plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and nuts and seeds. There is no fiber in animal protein, dairy, or refined (white flour) grains. Considering that for decades most menus have revolved around the latter three food groups, it is no wonder why fiber is missing from our diets.

If you are ready to re-evaluate fiber content of your menu, consider the following:

  1. Creating dishes that feature an ingredient other than animal protein as the center
  2. Introducing a ‘meatless Monday’ concept
  3. Expanding your vegetarian selection with balanced and creative vegetarian dishes
  4. Offering several plant-based side dishes, such as beans, whole grains, or cooked greens

With the FDA menu labeling regulations coming into play at some point later this year, this might be the perfect time to show your customers you care about their health. You can simply start by incorporating some fiber-rich ingredients to create great tasting, nutritionally balanced dishes

What other methods have you been able to use to improve the fiber content in your dishes?

1 comment to Here is another great reason to get more plant-based ingredients into your menu

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