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What to do when your 1000-calorie burger meets the new menu labeling law

By Katya Baxter, Nutritionist,

Being held responsible for your customers’ diets is probably not something a chef or an operator is looking forward to. Understandable.

But since the menu labeling law is just around the corner, you are going to need an easy-to-implement, reliable solution. Let’s face it: some of your popular items may become not so popular once you start disclosing the calories. In fact, you may have to re-think some of those items. And this is where MenuMax becomes extremely handy.

I recently worked on a similar project with one of my clients: the objective was to come up with offerings that are lower in calories and higher in other healthful nutrients, yet don’t break the wallet.

When you face a project like this, the ‘user-friendliness’ of a nutritional analysis and menu costing application becomes essential, specifically:

1. How easy it is to download or enter recipes and ingredients
2. How easy it is to compare nutritional values of similar ingredients
3. How easy it is to compare nutritional values and costs of recipes and menus


Let’s look at a pizza recipe. It has about 800 calories per serving (too many), 2200 g of sodium, and 44 grams of fat (too many). Now your goal is to make it a little more healthful while keeping your cost the same. Here is what it may involve:

1. Substituting with low sodium or house-made pizza sauce
2. Substituting with leaner meat/sausage and cheese (to reduce calories from fat as well as total calories)
3. Reducing portion size  (to reduce total calories)
4. Adding a few veggies to increase volume and nutrients without increasing calories

While you are busy making your pizza more healthy, you might be wondering what all these substitutions are doing to your cost. Luckily, MenuMax calculates this for you as you go along!

Essentially, MenuMax allows you to ‘play’ with different ingredients to figure out which ones work best for your recipes and menus.  In other words, which mix of ingredients gives your customers good nutrition while keeping your costs down. Because there are 27,000 ingredients in the database, it is much like having 27,000 nutritional labels at the tip of your fingers!

Since no one understands the needs of your business better than you, check it out for yourself at . It might surprise you just like it surprised me.

How are you preparing for the upcoming menu labeling law?

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