Menu items to help your club bring the U.S. Dietary Guidelines to life
The icon for the 2010 United States Dietary Guidelines has morphed from a pyramid to a plate, but its goal remains the same: to reduce obesity and diet-related chronic illnesses. Key recommendations include watching sodium intake, replacing refined grains with whole grains, drinking water, and choosing low-fat dairy products. Here are some tips and ideas for bringing the guideline recommendations to life on your menu:
- Keep grains whole. Making at least half of your grains whole, as the guidelines recommend, doesn't have to be an onerous task. Modern milling techniques make today's whole grains light and palatable, not dense and chewy, says Judi Marlin, senior manager for culinary development for entegra. Since whole grains contain the entire kernel of the grain, including bran, germ and endosperm, their nutrient value is far higher than their refined cousins. When adding whole grains such as brown rice and whole-grain pasta, wraps and breads to menus, check the labels to make sure the first ingredient is whole grain, Marlin suggests. At breakfast, oatmeal and whole-grain breakfast bars help fill the guideline's recommendations.
Tip: Consider muffins and breakfast bars with whole grains plus berries and other tasty ingredients from entegra's Preferred Partner Otis Spunkmeyer.
- Scale down sodium. The guidelines recommend fewer than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day for most people, and only 1,500 milligrams per day for Americans age 51 and older, African-Americans and people with hypertension, diabetes and chronic disease. To help customers meet this goal, flavor food with onion, garlic, salt-free seasonings and fresh herbs, particularly cilantro, rosemary and oregano.
Tip: Offer alternatives, such as entegra Preferred Partner Jennie-O Turkey's lower-sodium 4-ounce turkey burger, which contains 330 milligrams of sodium.
- Hydrate healthfully. Display bottled water prominently to help remind customers to opt for water instead of soda and other sugary drinks, suggests Deb Cordell, regional accounts manager for entegra. A 2011 report from the National Center for Health Statistics estimates that 50 percent of Americans drink sugary drinks every day. These types of drinks account for 4.4 percent to 8.2 percent of daily calories of Americans, depending on lifestyle factors.
Tip: Promote water and recycling at the same time. The bottle for Nestlé Water's re-source natural spring water is made from 25 percent recycled plastic and carries a message about the importance of recycling.
- Opt for low-fat dairy. To help your customers switch to fat-free or low-fat dairy products, as recommended by the guidelines, capitalize on the popularity and versatility of Greek yogurt and no-fat yogurt. Both can play a prominent role on your menu. Consider offering individual, grab-and-go cups of no-fat and low-fat yogurt, and also make yogurt parfaits with low-fat vanilla yogurt, fruit and granola.
Tip: Keep fat in check with no-fat and low-fat Greek yogurt from entegra Preferred Partners Oikos (Dannon) and Yoplait.
This article was adapted from entegra's magazine, 360: Procurement insights from every perspective. For additional information on the entegra Program or have questions about becoming an entegra customer, please contact Jim Bailey at 813-558-9004, or firstname.lastname@example.org.