Many customers are looking to reduce the amount of calories, sugar and fat in their daily diets. Here’s how to help them do just that—and how to talk about it. As our government continues to introduce bills requiring calorie posting, why not create and promote items that could be profitable now?
It’s not only possible to cut calories withouth sacrificing taste—it’s becoming expected.
The Canadian Nutrient File (CNF) is available online at the Health Canada website, hc-sc.gc.ca. It provides a rough guide for calories present in several commonly consumed foods. Note that value-added foods already list calories per serving. Calories, incidentally, are the amount of energy present that will be utilized by the human body. Children and very active people require more calories; older and sedentary folks require fewer. Generally, men need more than women. According to the Advisory Committee for Canada’s most recent Food Guide, calorie recommendations weren’t included because even people the same age and gender can differ in their needs by as much as 1,000 calories, depending on activity level and body type.
Allowing customers to pick and choose can be useful in giving a healthy glow to your operation. For example, present a range of portion sizes for appropriate items: petite, everyday, and extra hungry. Also, automatically serve sauces, dressings and dips in attractive little cups, pitchers or bowls. These have the added benefit of “filling the plate.” Offering at least one low-calorie, low-fat or low-sugar option in each menu category—from appetizers to desserts—brings credibility.
You rely on oils for sautéing, stir-frying and more—now consider using them sparingly. A side benefit is that you will buy and spend less. And check that deep fryers are at the proper temperature before dropping in food. Here’s a tip: use the lowest possible degree. That way, less oil is absorbed and inventory lasts longer (fried items will taste better, too). Remember to filter oil daily as well. For all kinds of cooking, use unsaturated oils when possible. In foodservice, this usually means canola, olive, corn and sunflower. Swapping oil for some of the butter is an easy switch. Finally, tout it on the menu: “We use quality Saporito oil—for better taste and 0g trans fat per serving.”