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Here's to Better Choices!

provide better-for-you options

A few short decades ago, many Americans didn't consider how diet affected their health. The health trend has gone mainstream.

The impact of this trend can be seen on snack and dessert menus across the country. Many quick service restaurants now offer healthier alternatives, allowing you to order a side salad instead of fries, or a fruit and yogurt parfait instead of a sundae. Other QSRs post nutritional information online or in mobile apps.

What does this mean for foodservice operators like you? With so many consumers demanding wholesome choices, now is a great time to review your snack and dessert menu to make sure you include better-for-you alternatives.

How to Create Better-For-You Snacks and Desserts

Remember, even better-for-you snacks and desserts need to taste great! Here are some tips for creating tasty options:


Select fresh ingredients.

According to The NPD Group, the majority of Americans define healthy menu options by food quality. Fresh, natural, local ingredients will appeal to your customers' sense of health, even if they are not low in calories and/or fat.


Satisfy the needs of a niche.

Now more than ever, people want snacks and desserts that fit their particular health focus, whether it's a need for high fiber, protein, Omega-3s or gluten-free. There are simple ways to accomplish this. For example, offer BELVITA Breakfast Biscuits made with whole grains. Bake desserts with egg whites and whey protein. Or sprinkle ground flax seeds or walnuts on snacks for an Omega-3 boost.


Use better-for-you preparation methods.

Steam, bake or grill items to reduce calorie and cholesterol content. Baked apples with a touch of cinnamon and honey make a great dessert. Or choose ingredients that use these methods. WHEAT THINS are toasted, not fried, but still offer a satisfying crunch.


Avoid rich gravies and sauces.

Try using a simple fruit coulis for a dessert topping. It can be just as tasty and more refreshing than whipped cream. Often, quality ingredients will enhance flavor more than calorie-rich add-ons. For instance, toss pasta with a special truffle oil instead of a heavy cream sauce.


Consider calorie counts or smaller portions.

Bite-size desserts can be a treat without being a diet-buster. Get a professional nutritional analysis of your snack and dessert menu items to support any health claims you make. You can also offer 100-calorie snack packs of popular brands such as HONEY MAID, CHIPS AHOY and WHEAT THINS.

Marketing That Makes Sense

When you offer better-for-you options, the way you market them is as important as the food itself. Giving your customers timely access to health and nutritional information helps them make the best decisions possible, and promotes the fact that you are serious about meeting their needs.

Here are a few simple suggestions:

  • Make sure your better-for-you selections resonate with your customers. Don't alienate them by moving too far away from your core offerings.
  • Call out healthier options in a special section of your menu.
  • Provide calorie information or ingredient lists. You can use tent cards, menu boards or social media to get this information out.
  • Take advantage of available resources and government programs. Check with your local public health department, state government and health-focused organizations to see what they offer. For example, the Erie County Department of Health in New York offers free nutritional analysis of menu items through its Healthy Choices program. The American Heart Association will certify heart-healthy restaurant meals, allowing you to use their Heart-Check mark symbol on your menu.
More than 7 in 10 consumers say they are trying to eat healthier at restaurants than they did two years ago¹
49% of all diners will integrate a healthy element into their meal in an effort to eat healthfully at restaurants²
38% of consumers are more likely to visit a restaurant that offers healthy menu options²
39% of all foodservice visitors will have a salad as a meal when trying to make a healthy selection³
41% of consumers age 18-35 who have visited a restaurant that posts calorie counts say that information greatly impacts their order²
37% will drink water or skip the beverage altogether³

This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to offer nutritional advice, or to replace the legal and regulatory requirements that govern ingredients, health claims, nutritional information, and other mandates.


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