February 12, 2011

Health Takes Center Stage as Foodservice Professionals Increase 'Better-For-You' Options

Knouse Foods® Highlights Recipes & Products That Support Efforts to Provide Healthier Meals & Snacks

blue pomPeach Glen, PA— March marks National Nutrition Month and healthy menu items are beginning to take shape across all segments of the foodservice industry as chefs and operators balance meeting new dietary guidelines, menu disclosure, consumer preference and government health and wellness initiatives. Knouse Foods offers an assortment of fruit-related products and recipes to help foodservice professionals enhance existing dishes and develop new ideas that are nutritious and full of flavor.

Many consumers are beginning to embrace eating more healthfully and are looking for restaurants to take small steps to improve the “healthy halo” of their offerings, like cutting extra calories, fat and sodium, according to Mintel Menu Insights. This is essential, as restaurants with 20+ units will be required to list calorie counts on their menus in coming months. Offering better-for-you dishes doesn't have to involve a complete menu overhaul. Small changes or ingredient substitutions, like using fruit and fruit-products, are enough to reintroduce a menu favorite as new and improved. Mintel finds that operators often have success with repositioning and marketing existing menu items as more healthful choices.

In addition to enhancing menu favorites, find new flavorful recipe ideas that will inspire more nutritious choices:

  • Curried Apple & Coconut Vegetable Stew
    Flavor and texture are highlighted in this vegetarian dish that features red Thai curry paste combined with apple slices, onions, carrots, ginger, garlic and sweet potatoes. Coconut milk is added for a smooth finish.
  • Caraway Pork & Apples
    Lean pork shoulder is enhanced with apple juice, sliced apples, red onions, green peppers and sauerkraut and seasoned with caraway seeds, basil and garlic for a sweet and savory balance.
  • Apple, Chicken and Wild Rice Salad
    This hearty salad with wild rice is tossed with apple slices, chicken, celery and water chestnuts then blended with a spicy citrus dressing.

Menu enhancements are also occurring in the K-12 segment with school meals undergoing major nutritional improvements. President Obama's new child nutrition bill will extend heath guidelines to other foods sold in schools including "a la carte" items on the lunch line and snacks in vending machines. Ease the transition to healthier snacking with these all time favorites available in single-serve cups:

  • Lucky Leaf® Trans Fat Free Puddings
    Available in vanilla, tapioca, butterscotch, banana and chocolate flavors, Knouse's Lucky Leaf ready-made puddings are a healthier menu solution that will also appeal to kids' taste for a sweet treat.
  • Musselman's Healthy Picks™ Applesauce
    Inspire healthier choices with applesauce in exciting fruit flavors including blueberry pomegranate, granny smith apple and raspberry acai. Fortified with fiber, calcium, and vitamin C and naturally sweetened for enhanced nutritional value.
  • Musselman's Totally Fruit™ Applesauce
    Naturally sweetened with fruit juice concentrate, contains no high fructose corn syrup and counts as a daily fruit serving, this applesauce will create an endless variety of healthy menu offerings. Available in apple, peach, strawberry and mixed berry.

"As a foodservice partner, it's our goal to provide menu solutions, recipes and products that help chefs, operators and foodservice directors strike the right balance between 'good-for-you' and appetizing," said Todd Michael, Director of Food Service Sales for Knouse Foods. "We are committed to supporting efforts that encourage customers and children to make smarter food choices now and in the future."