The definition of healthy is always evolving—and there’s often a difference between expert and popular opinions.
No matter what the experts say, consumers have long flocked to fad diets. That’s a challenge for healthcare providers who are working hard to increase healthy eating habits.
Fortunately, new attitudes on “mindful eating” make it easier for foodservice operators to provide nutritious, great-tasting food that fits customer definitions of “what’s good for me”—and to influence and educate consumers on evidence-based healthy eating habits.
Consumers are becoming more mindful of nutrition. They’re seeking food that makes them feel good, physically and mentally. They’re also adopting a “cause-oriented” mindset that is concerned with such traits as environmental friendliness, sustainability and local sourcing.
Strategies for Healthy Menus
Here are some tips for matching up your menu with today’s “good for me” trends.
1. Know your customer.
Healthy means different things to different people, so survey your customers and watch their purchasing behaviors to determine their preferences. Use this knowledge to create menus that highlight customer desires while also adhering to the latest scientific nutrition standards.
2. Make choices available on your menu.
We are all at a different stage of our health and wellness journey, so it makes sense to offer a variety of healthy choices and comfort foods to meet a range of customer preferences.
3. Be authentic and transparent.
Give customers the information they need to evaluate whether items meet their definition of health. Identify ingredients, nutrition, sourcing, nutrition, allergens, kosher, halal and a host of other traits you’ve determined are important to your customers.
4. Practice intentional marketing.
Educating people about health is part of the mission and vision of healthcare operators. Be sure to highlight healthy traits and attributes of the food you offer.