How to Make Your Restaurant Menu Healthy
Many people nowadays are interested in healthy eating, and they're looking for restaurants that offer healthy alternatives to traditional ingredients and recipes that match their new lifestyle. While this may pose a problem for some restaurants, it's also an excellent opportunity for your business to change and appeal to a very lucrative demographic. Additionally, you can accommodate customers with alternative diets very easily. In this blog we'll cover five easy changes you can make to your menu and food preparation to make your dishes healthier.
1. Use Symbols to Show Customers Healthy Menu Options
Many restaurants offer healthier alternatives all the time without making their menu any longer than it already is.
To create a healthy restaurant menu without making it lengthier, simply add a legend, and make sure it’s visible to your customers. Then, place symbols from the legend next to the appetizer, salad, entree, and side options that can be prepared in a healthier way if requested by the customer.
If you’re thinking about adding a legend to your menu, then check out our sample menu key below. Each numbered image corresponds with the number in the list below the key.
- Grill - A grill shows that chicken, sandwiches, patties, fish, and other foods can be grilled rather than sauteed, deep fried, or cooked in butter.
- Leaf - A leaf shows that pasta dishes, sandwiches, wraps, salads, and other foods can be made vegetarian.
- V - A “V” shows that vegetarian dishes can be made vegan.
- Grain - A grain shows that sandwiches, subs, and wraps can be made with whole grains instead of white flour.
- Zigzag - A zigzag symbol inside of an oven shows that crab cakes, seafood, meats, and poultry can be broiled rather than deep fried or sauteed in butter.
- Vegetable - A vegetable shows that certain meals can be made with organic ingredients.
- Sugar-Free - A sugar-free symbol shows that desserts or drinks can be made without real sugar.
2. Offer Lunch-Sized Portions for Dinner
Even if people are trying to eat healthier, they may still want to enjoy a night out with family and friends or take a cheat day. To help customers order their favorite foods without splurging on calories and cash, offer meals in smaller, lunch-size portions and at cheaper prices.
For example, you can turn a 700 calorie entree that consists of grilled salmon, a loaded baked potato, and steamed vegetables into a lower calorie, lunch-sized meal by simply cutting the serving sizes in half. Additionally, offering smaller portions not only benefits your customers, but it also helps your restaurant reduce its amount of food waste.
3. Show Calorie Counts on Your Menu and Website
A popular way that some people try to lose weight and eat healthier is to start counting calories. Since many diet applications require users to log their caloric intake, showing these numbers right on the menu will help customers record their data more quickly.
Plus, the FDA has required that most chain restaurants and similar retail food establishments make this nutritional information publicly available to their customers. As a result, many customers may expect you to have the calorie information available.
4. Make Healthy Ingredient Substitutions
We understand that using healthier ingredient substitutions can sometimes be expensive, and these ingredients may alter the way you want your fried appetizers, savory entrees, or sweet desserts to taste. Instead, only make basic changes that won't add too much to your spending costs or alter the look and flavor of your food. Implement some of the tips below, so you can create a healthy restaurant menu:
- Use higher-quality oils, like coconut oil, olive oil, and peanut oil, with your fryer when preparing french fries, tenders, onion rings, and mozzarella sticks. Try to stay away from oils with higher levels of polyunsaturated fats, like soybean oil, canola oil, and sunflower oil.
- Use natural juices when making cocktails.
- Use freshly-squeezed fruit juices and natural extracts in sauces, baked goods, and entrees.
- Drizzle olive oil over top of your vegetables rather than soaking them in butter.
- Season your woks and fry pans to form a natural non-stick cooking surface. This eliminates the need to add unnecessary fat to your meals.
- Offer brown rice instead of white rice.
- Use olive oil and vinegar instead of creamy, fatty dressings.
- Cook with low-sodium soy sauce and don’t add a lot of salt to your meals.
- Use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream in your baked goods, when possible.
One thing to note when looking for healthy substitutes is that foods that label themselves as fat-free or sugar-free are not always necessarily healthy. Many food manufacturers will simply replace the fat or sugar in their product with high fructose corn syrup or chemicals, which can end up making them less healthy than they were originally. So, be sure to read the ingredients on the back before you purchase anything or use it in your recipes.
5. Offer Leaner Cuts of Meat
Although it’s pretty much impossible to discourage carnivores from ordering a juicy cheeseburger, a savory rib-eye, or fried chicken legs, it is possible to offer guests a protein option that is less fattening.
By cooking with leaner cuts of meat, customers can cut out half the amount of fat and calories, allowing them to stick to their diets. When planning out your meat entrees and daily specials, be sure to consider some of the following tips:
- Offer steaks with sirloin or round in the title, since these tend to have lower fat contents than rib-eyes.
- Use ground beef that’s at least 83% lean.
- Take the skin off of chicken and fish.
- Serve light meat instead of dark meat whenever possible.
- Cook lean cuts of meat in a healthy way. For example, broil or grill your meat, fish, or poultry rather than sauteeing or deep frying it.
- Don’t add any unnecessary fats like butter and cream when preparing your lean cuts.
- Offer red meat burger alternatives, like turkey, chicken, bean, and vegetable burgers.
Offering your customers healthy options on your menu and advertising that you use healthy cooking methods can appeal to younger and health-conscious customers, helping to bring in new customers and boosting your profits. By implementing some of the ideas we’ve gone over above, you’ll be able to adapt your menu to keep the dieters and health food fanatics coming into your restaurant for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Different Types of Greens
It’s no surprise that leafy greens are an important part of a well-balanced diet. They are full of essential vitamins and minerals that offer a variety of health benefits. They can also be easily incorporated into a wide range of meals to add depth and balance to a dish. We made a list of some leafy greens you may want to try growing in your culinary garden this year to spruce up your menu. Shop All Vegetables Use the following links to navigate and learn more about each type of leafy green: Kale Arugula Bok Choy Spinach Collard Greens Cabbage Romaine Lettuce Watercress Sorrel Swiss Chard Endive Escarole Microgreens Mustard Greens Turnip Greens Beet Greens Radish Greens Broccoli Rabe Kohlrabi Greens Dandelion Greens Printable Infographic Types of Greens Some leafy greens are very similar to each other and can be used interchangeably, and others have distinctly different flavor profiles. Learn more about the most popular types of greens, what sets them apart, and when they are in season. 1. Kale There are several different types of kale that vary in shape and color. They are typically dark green and feature a strong stem in the middle with leaves that are curly at the ends. What Does Kale Taste Like? Slightly bitter when raw, mellow when cooked Origin of Kale: Mediterranean and Asia Minor Growing Season of Kale: Late summer through fall How to Use Kale Kale can be eaten raw in salads or cooked to serve alongside entrees. Unlike many leafy greens, it won’t shrink back too much when cooked. Kale is often sauteed, cooked in soup, and roasted to serve as kale chips. Benefits of Kale Kale is extremely high in nutrients, such as Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and antioxidants like Lutein and Beta-Carotene. You’ll want to consume kale raw to get the most nutrients out of the leaf, as it does lose some of its nutritional value when cooked. Back to Top 2. Arugula Often referred to as “rocket” or “rucola” in Britain and Australia, arugula is a leafy green originating from the Brassicaceae family which includes broccoli, cauliflower, and mustard greens. What Does Arugula Taste Like? Slight peppery flavor Origin of Arugula: Mediterranean; popular in Italian cuisine Growing Season of Arugula: Early spring into early summer How to Use Arugula Because of its peppery flavor, arugula is often used raw to to spice up salads or even added on top of pizza slices. It can also be sauteed to add a deep dimension of flavor to pasta dishes and soups. Benefits of Arugula Arugula is packed with dietary nitrates, pro-Vitamin A carotenoids, Vitamin K, and folate. It is thought to help reduce blood pressure as well. Back to Top 3. Bok Choy Bok choy has a bulbous white stem, similar to celery, that grows into a cluster of dark green leaves. It is often called Chinese cabbage, pak choi, or white mustard cabbage. What Does Bok Choy Taste Like? Mild and tender flavor, especially when young Origin of Bok Choy: China Growing Season of Bok Choy: Late summer into early winter How to Use Bok Choy Bok choy is often cooked for stir-fries and soups. Baby bok choy can be cooked whole, while larger bok choy heads should be broken apart for even cooking. The stems will require a longer cooking time. Benefits of Bok Choy The main health benefit of bok choy is that it contains selenium with is an important mineral that aids cognitive function, thyroid function and metabolism, immunity, and possible cancer prevention. Back to Top 4. Spinach Spinach has rounded dark-green leaves. It is one of the most versatile and used leafy greens available. What Does Spinach Taste Like? Delicate and subtle flavor Origin of Spinach: Mediterranean and China Growing Season of Spinach: Late winter into early spring; Late summer into early fall How to Use Spinach Because of its mild flavor, spinach complements a variety of dishes. It can be eaten raw as a salad or cooked for entrees. Add it to an omelet or phyllo pastry, in a creamy pasta dish, or even to a fruit smoothie. It is important to note that the volume will reduce drastically when cooked so be sure to use more than you think you need. Benefits of Spinach Spinach is packed with nutrients, such as Vitamin K, Vitamin A, iron, and magnesium. It is one of the most protein-rich vegetables of the greens. It also has folate, which is essential in red blood cell production and aids in fetus development during pregnancy. Back to Top 5. Collard Greens Whether you call them collards, collard greens, borekale, or tree cabbage, these plants feature thick, dark leafy greens that are loaded with nutrients. What Does Collard Greens Taste Like? Slightly bitter in flavor Origin of Collard Greens: Mediterranean; most common in American Southern cooking Growing Season of Collard Greens: Fall to early winter How to Use Collard Greens You’ll typically find collard greens braised or steamed next to a pork dish. It can also be used in stir-fries, slaws, and sandwiches. They can be eaten raw, however, the leaves are rather tough so most chefs prefer to cook them up before serving. Benefits of Collard Greens Collard greens are a great source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium, and folate. It is also rich in Vitamin K, packing the most per leaf out of the greens, which is known for aiding in blood clotting. Back to Top 6. Cabbage Part of the Brassicaceae family, cabbage is related to brussel sprouts, broccoli, and kale. The leaf clusters can grow green, white, or purple in color. What Does Cabbage Taste Like? Bitter when raw, more mild when cooked Origin of Cabbage: Europe and China; often cultivated across the United States Growing Season of Cabbage: Spring and fall How to Use Cabbage Cabbages are usually sauteed or boiled for soups and stir-fries. They can also be cooked to make stuffed cabbage or cabbage rolls for low-carb dinner options. It is often fermented to make sauerkraut for German and Pennsylvania Dutch dishes, and to make kimchi for Korean dishes. Benefits of Cabbage Cabbages offer the benefits of Vitamin K, Vitamin C, folate, magneses, and multiple antioxidants that help reduce inflammation. They are thought to contain properties that can help prevent lung and esophageal cancer. When fermented into sauerkraut, it can also improve digestion and immune health. Back to Top 7. Romaine Lettuce Romaine lettuce leaves are known for their dark green edges and the firm rib in the center of the leaf that provides a nice crunch. What Does Romaine Lettuce Taste Like? Crisp and mild in flavor Origin of Romaine Lettuce: Greek Islands and Turkey Growing Season of Romaine Lettuce: Spring and early summer How to Use Romaine Lettuce Romaine lettuce is usually the main ingredient of a salad, especially Caesar salads. They can also be used to top off sandwiches or for lettuce wraps to replace carb consumption. Benefits of Romaine Lettuce You’ll find the most nutrients in the darker and thicker leaves of a head of romaine lettuce. They feature a good helping of Vitamin A and K, and they are thought to help reduce the risk of heart disease. Back to Top 8. Watercress Watercress is an aquatic plant that produces little rounded leaves. Part of the Brassicaceae family, it is similar in flavor profile to arugula and mustard greens. What Does Watercress Taste Like? Slightly spicy and bitter Origin of Watercress: Europe and Western Asia, can also be found growing in the United States Growing Season of Watercress: Spring How to Use Watercress You can eat watercress raw or cook it up for your entree. When raw, this green adds a spicy kick to any salad. It is often sauteed or cooked as well as a side for entrees or an addition in soups. Benefits of Watercress Watercress contains calcium, magnesium, and potassium, along with a large amount of Vitamin K and antioxidants. It has been used for its medicinal value for centuries and is often used in herbal medical remedies across the globe. Back to Top 9. Sorrel Featuring a narrow and spade-like leaf, sorrel can be sometimes confused with mature spinach. Some of its alternative names include sour grass, spinach dock, and sour dock. What Does Sorrel Taste Like? Tart and acidic in flavor Origin of Sorrel: Europe and Central Asia; it can be hard to find in America Growing Season of Sorrel: Early summer How to Use Sorrel Sorrel can be eaten raw and will often be in mixed greens salad blends. When cooked, it often takes on a lemony flavor that complements the flavor of fish. It can be added to soups and stews as well. Benefits of Sorrel Sorrel is high in Vitamin C, Vitamin A, folate, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and iron. It is also a great source of fiber and proteins, making it a powerhouse in nutritional value. Back to Top 10. Swiss Chard There are many variations of chards available but all will feature a dark leaf and a hefty stalk in the center. The stalk can grow in a variety of colors so you’ll often find Swiss chard under the name rainbow chard, red chard, yellow chard, or white chard. It can also be called leaf beet, sea kale, or silverbeet. What Does Swiss Chard Taste Like? Mellow and earthy flavor, stalks are slightly sweet Origin of Swiss Chard: Native to Southern Europe; commonly used in Mediterranean cuisine Growing Season of Swiss Chard: Spring and fall How to Use Swiss Chard The stems of Swiss chard take longer to cook, so you will want to strip them from the leaves to prevent the leaves from overcooking. Once sauteed or steamed, Swiss chard makes a great addition to creamy soups, hearty casseroles, or zesty tacos. Although the leaves can be tough when consumed raw, the stems can provide a crunchy snack. Benefits of Swiss Chard Swiss chard is rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and Vitamin C, as well as potassium, manganese, and syringic acid, which may help lower blood sugar levels. Back to Top 11. Endive Endive, pronounced “N-dive”, is part of the Cichorium family that includes dandelions and sunflowers. It can be somewhat difficult to grow. You’ll either find it looking like a small head of lettuce known as witlof or Belgium endive, or with curly ends known as frisee. What Does Endive Taste Like? Crisp, nutty and mellow in flavor Origin of Endive: South Asia and Mediterranean; often associated with Belgium Growing Season of Endive: Fall How to Use Endive Curly endive is usually added to frisee salads to add texture alongside other leafy greens. Belgium endive will more often be roasted or grilled with balsamic and olive oil, bringing out its naturally nutty flavor. Benefits of Endive Endive is a good source of Vitamin A and Vitamin K, as well as folate and kaempferol, which is an antioxidant that is known for reducing inflammation. Back to Top 12. Escarole Escarole is known for its dark and thick leaves. The leaves are bunched up together, making it resemble a head of lettuce. What Does Escarole Taste Like? Light leaves offer sweet flavor while darker leaves are more bitter Origin of Escarole: East Indies; widely cultivated in England Growing Season of Escarole: Spring and late fall into early winter How to Use Escarole Because of its slight bitter flavor when raw, escarole adds a robust flavor to salads and sandwiches. That flavor mellows out when the leaves are cooked, so they are often sauteed and added to hearty soups. Benefits of Escarole Escarole is often desired because of its high fiber content which aids digestion. It features a high percentage of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium, and iron as well. Back to Top 13. Microgreens Microgreens are not a specific type of green, but actually the immature stage of a variety of greens and herbs. You’ll typically find the seedlings of watercress, radishes, arugula, lettuce, endives, and more in a microgreen mix. They are typically cut when they have reached 1-3 inches in height. What Does Microgreens Taste Like? Will vary depending on the seedlings used Origin of Microgreens: United States; started in Southern California in the 1990s Growing Season of Microgreens: Indoors year round How to Use Microgreens The primary purpose of using microgreens is to garnish plates for an upscale food presentation. They can be sprinkled on top of salads, soups, or steak dinners to add a finishing touch. Benefits of Microgreens Microgreens actually contain higher levels of nutrients than their mature versions, sometimes 40 times more. They are a great source of Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K. The list of nutrients will vary depending on the seedling used. Back to Top 14. Mustard Greens Mustard greens, also known as curled mustard or green-leafed mustard, can be easily identified by its frilled edges. A few different varieties of mustard greens do exist, including American and Asian varieties. What Does Mustard Greens Taste Like? Peppery and spicy Origin of Mustard Greens: North America, Europe, and Asia; highly used in Southern cuisine Growing Season of Mustard Greens: Fall How to Use Mustard Greens A staple in Southern cooking, mustard greens are often cooked down and served with ham dishes. They become less spicy the longer they are cooked but can still add a bit of heat to hearty dishes. Mustard greens also pair well with acids like lemon juice or vinegar, so you’ll find them with Asian-inspired fish dishes. The most popular use of mustard greens is to make zesty mustard sauces, while the seeds are used to make the mustard condiment we are familiar with. Benefits of Mustard Greens Mustard greens are sought after for the nutrients that come with their spicy flavor. They are a great source of calcium, folic acid, magnesium, and Vitamin K. They promote bone healthy and energy-boosting qualities. Back to Top 15. Turnip Greens Most people are familiar with turnips, but some don’t realize that the greens at the top are edible as well. These long-stemmed greens are not just useful for pulling turnips out of the ground, they are also good for you. What Does Turnip Greens Taste Like? Slightly peppery in flavor Origin of Turnip Greens: Middle and Eastern Asia Growing Season of Turnip Greens: Early summer and late fall How to Use Turnip Greens Cook up turnip greens in a similar way to collard greens. They can be braised or sauteed to serve with ham shanks and potato, or they can be placed in a slow cooker to make a rich and spicy soup. Turnip greens are not often enjoyed raw due to their prickly texture. Benefits of Turnip Greens Surprisingly enough, turnip greens have more nutrients than turnip bulbs. Because they are cruciferous, turnip greens have nutrients that may help reduce the risk of heart disease, inflammation, and cancer. They are also packed with antioxidants, calcium, manganese, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin K. Back to Top 16. Beet Greens Just like turnip greens, beet greens are often discarded. However, they are edible and can be used in the same way one would use spinach. They feature a vibrant red stalk and dark leaves with red veins at the end that offer a great pop of color to any dish. What Does Beet Greens Taste Like? Earthy flavor Origin of Beet Greens: Middle East Growing Season of Beet Greens: Spring and fall How to Use Beet Greens Beet greens are quite tender and can be eaten raw in salads with a hint of lemon or vinaigrette. When they are sauteed or steamed, they retain that dark red color in their stalks, making them great for soups and side dishes. Benefits of Beet Greens Beet greens are known for being rich in potassium and fiber, as well as Beta-Carotene and Lutein, which may reduce the risk of eye-disorders. They are also a great source of calcium, Vitamin A, and Vitamin K. Additionally, the beet root can be used to help flight the flu during colder seasons. Back to Top 17. Radish Greens Although the leaves can be rather prickly, radish greens can add a depth of flavor to your favorite meals and should not be discarded. Although similar to the flavor profile and texture of turnip greens, they feature a much shorter stalk and smaller leaf in comparison. What Does Radish Greens Taste Like? Peppery flavor Origin of Radish Greens: Mediterranean and Central Asia Growing Season of Radish Greens: Early spring into summer How to Use Radish Greens Radish greens are not usually consumed raw due to their texture, but they can be pureed to make a zesty pesto. Cooked radish greens can be extremely versatile. Roast them up to make a spicy side to your entree or sautee them in a bold stir-fry. They can be enjoyed in creamy soups and hearty quiches. Benefits of Radish Greens Radish greens are high in fiber, which aids with digestion, and iron, which help combat fatigue and anemia. You can also find Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and antioxidants in radish leaves as well. Back to Top 18. Broccoli Rabe Broccoli rabe, pronounced "rob", isn’t actually from the broccoli family even though it bears a resemblance. It has a long sturdy stalk with dark-green leaves and florets at the top. This green is actually part of the turnip family and is often called turnip broccoli, rapini, italian turnip, broccoli raab, and broccoletti di rapa. What Does Broccoli Rabe Taste Like? Bitter in flavor Origin of Broccoli Rabe: China; popular in Italian cuisine Growing Season of Broccoli Rabe: Early spring How to Use Broccoli Rabe You can make a delightful dish with broccoli rabe by sauteing, blanching, boiling, or steaming it. Use the same methods you would use with broccoli to cook broccoli rabe. You’ll often find broccoli rabe sauteed with garlic, onion, and parmesan. Benefits of Broccoli Rabe Broccoli rabe is packed with potassium and fiber to aid with digestion and help you feel fuller for longer. Its pantothenic acid can also help break down proteins and fats to rebuild muscle and tissue. Back to Top 19. Kohlrabi Greens Kohlrabi greens, pronounced "kowl-raa-bee", protrude in various directions off a large white or purple bulb. Often called a cabbage turnip, the stalk color will match the original bulb color and feature a large green leaf at the top. What Does Kohlrabi Greens Taste Like? Mild and sweet; Similar to broccoli Origin of Kohlrabi Greens: Germany and Northern Europe Growing Season of Kohlrabi Greens: Spring and fall How to Use Kohlrabi Greens Although the bulb of the kohlrabi plant can be eaten raw or cooked, the leaves should be cooked to be enjoyed. The leaves are often separated from the ribs and sauteed oil and garlic like collard greens would be prepared. Benefits of Kohlrabi Greens As a cruciferous plant, kohlrabi greens are packed with antioxidants that help prevent cancers and heart disease. They are a great source of fiber, potassium, Vitamin C, and Vitamin B6, which is known to improve immune health. Back to Top 20. Dandelion Greens Did you know that every part of a dandelion is edible, including the flower, roots, and stem? Although dandelions are considered a weed, their leaves are quite nutritious. It is advised to purchase dandelion greens from either a grocery store or farmers market to avoid accidentally consuming harmful pesticides. What Does Dandelion Greens Taste Like? Earthy and nutty in flavor Origin of Dandelion Greens: Europe Growing Season of Dandelion Greens: Early spring and fall How to Use Dandelion Greens You can eat dandelion greens raw in salads and sandwiches or sautee them in oil to make a casserole. Many chefs use dandelion greens in the place of spinach to add more color to pasta dishes and a unique touch. Benefits of Dandelion Greens Unlike kale, the nutritional value of dandelion greens does not diminish when it is cooked. Dandelion greens are full of Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and folate. They also have a substantial amount of calcium, iron, and magnesium in them. Back to Top So if you’re starting a farmers market stand, be sure to stock up on the greens that your customers will be looking for! Feel free to switch up the greens in your recipes to add a richer depth of flavor and add a boost of vitamins and minerals. Printable Version
Best Milk Alternatives for Coffee
If you own a coffee shop or cafe, you know there are many ways to make a good cup of coffee. Each customer has different preferences, which you can accommodate by offering a diverse menu. Dairy-free milk has become extremely popular with vegans and omnivores alike, thanks to a growing interest in plant-based foods and alternatives. If you want to offer options for vegan customers and lactose-intolerant patrons, it's important to know what kind of dairy-free milk is best in coffee. In this guide, we examine eight alternatives to dairy milk and the key factors that determine their compatibility with coffee. Shop All Non-Dairy and Dairy-Free Milk Dairy Free vs Non dairy The words dairy-free and non-dairy are often used interchangeably, but they mean different things. Dairy-free products are completely devoid of animal products such as milk and yogurt and are often made from alternatives such as nuts or seeds. On the other hand, non-dairy products can still contain trace amounts of dairy products such as whey or casein. When creating a menu consisting of milk alternatives, ensure that you’re accurately labeling your food items to eliminate confusion. What Makes a Dairy Free Milk Good in Coffee? For each option in this blog, we’ll tell you how the milk alternative affects the taste or texture of your coffee and whether it has a good "stretch". In coffee terms, stretch is the ability to produce foam for different types of steamed coffee drinks like lattes and cappuccinos. Protein molecules melt when they are heated, so incorporating air into heated milk or dairy-free milk causes these proteins to trap the air and stretch the milk into foam. With these factors in mind, you can decide which options are best for your establishment’s coffee service. 1. Oat Milk Oat milk has become one of the most popular dairy-free milks to use in coffee drinks. It's made from a combination of oats, water, and sometimes canola oil or rapeseed oil for emulsification. The result is surprisingly full-bodied dairy-free milk with a richness that rivals whole dairy milk. Oat milk is also prized for its fiber content. This dairy-free milk appeals to health-conscious customers because it contains relatively little fat without sacrificing the protein that you can get from dairy milk. The addition of fiber, however, sets this dairy-free milk apart and makes it the perfect choice for customers who are looking to boost their digestive health. How Oat Milk Tastes in Coffee Oat milk has a creamy taste that is similar to full-fat dairy milk in coffee. It has a smooth texture that blends easily, which explains why it is growing in popularity so rapidly. Can Oat Milk Make Foam for Coffee? Oat milk can be foamed, though it may produce larger bubbles than dairy milk due to its lower protein content. Oat milk may also take longer to foam and steam than cow’s milk. This being said, it can still produce a foam substantial enough to create latte art. 2. Coconut Milk Prized for its thick, creamy texture, coconut milk is quickly becoming a favorite dairy alternative for coffee drinkers. Coconut milk has a high fat content that plays well in coffee drinks, and many brands have a neutral taste with only a hint of coconut flavor. Just make sure to use the coconut milk packaged in cartons, not cans. Canned coconut milk is much thicker and has a stronger coconut taste. How Coconut Milk Tastes in Coffee Many assume that coconut milk has a strong, sweet flavor that only belongs in a tropical fruit drink. Coconut milk actually has a more subtle coconut flavor than other coconut products like shredded coconut. In coffee drinks that contain syrups or other flavorings, the light coconut taste is masked. In a latte or cappuccino, some sweetness will come through. Look for a coconut milk product that is neutral-flavored or try a barista blend created specifically for coffee. Can Coconut Milk Make Foam for Coffee? Coconut milk creates a less dense froth with larger bubbles than dairy milk. 3. Soy Milk Most coffeehouses are accustomed to using soy milk in coffee, as this type of dairy-free milk has been a popular option for many years. Soy milk is easily accessible in most areas, and its relatively affordable price makes it an attractive option for many businesses.Some soy milk curdles in coffee as a reaction to the acidity or hot temperature. Soy milks without preservatives may be more prone to separating in your customers’ coffee. If you think temperature is the problem, try pouring warm soy milk into your serving cup and slowly adding the coffee. How Soy Milk Tastes in Coffee Soy milk has a smooth, creamy texture with a relatively neutral taste. Many brands do not leave any noticeable aftertaste. Can Soy Milk Make Foam for Coffee? Soy milk’s good stretch is one reason it has been a popular alternative to dairy milk for so long. Knowledgeable baristas can produce a foam similar to that of dairy milk when using soy milk. 4. Rice Milk Because this dairy alternative is both nut- and soy-free, it is growing in popularity for coffee drinkers with allergies and lactose sensitivities. If you want a hypoallergenic option for your coffee shop, rice milk could be the dairy-free milk for you. How Rice Milk Tastes in Coffee Rice milk has a very neutral taste that allows the flavor of your coffee to come through. However, its thin and watery texture does not give coffee the creamy consistency that some customers want with their beverage.Can Rice Milk Make Foam for Coffee? Rice milk does not contain enough protein to create a satisfactory foam in steamed drinks. 5. Cashew Milk More and more people are reaching for cashew milk because of its creamy texture that mimics dairy milk in coffee. This being said, many baristas argue that house-made cashew milk is better for taste and steaming. If you want to incorporate cashew milk into your coffee offerings, weigh the costs and benefits of producing your own. How Cashew Milk Tastes in Coffee Cashew milk has a slightly sweet taste that is less nutty than other nut milk. Can Cashew Milk Make Foam for Coffee? Cashew milk has a decent stretch when it comes to steaming, but its bubbles tend to be larger, so its foam is less dense than dairy milk. If you aren’t careful, cashew milk may produce a soapy texture when steamed. 6. Pea Milk Because pea milk is made from the protein of yellow peas, it doesn’t have the green color you might expect it to have. Pea milk has a relatively high protein content compared to other dairy-free alternatives, and it also contains a healthy dose of potassium. How Pea Milk Tastes in Coffee Many people name pea milk the best substitute for dairy milk in terms of taste. This smooth and neutral dairy-free milk does not taste like peas and won’t leave a vegetal aftertaste in your lattes. Can Pea Milk Make Foam for Coffee? Like other high-protein milk alternatives, pea milk is good at making foam for coffee beverages. Its foam has a silky texture that allows experienced baristas to make latte art. 7. Almond Milk Almond milk is one of the most popular nut milks in the dairy-free market. It comes in several flavors, and many manufacturers produce both sweetened and unsweetened varieties. However, when it comes to coffee, almond milk doesn't perform as well as some other dairy-free milks.Unfortunately, almond milk can curdle in coffee for the same reasons as soy milk: temperature and acidity. To combat curdling, avoid pouring cold almond milk into very hot coffee. Its reaction to the acidity of your coffee may vary between types of coffee roasts and brands, so be sure to try several options if you want to make almond milk a mainstay on your beverage menu.How Almond Milk Tastes in CoffeeAlmond milk has a nutty flavor that can sometimes taste bitter. Your customers may prefer sweetened almond milk in coffee for a smoother taste. Can Almond Milk Make Foam for Coffee? You can create a silky foam with almond milk, but this dairy-free milk tends to separate when heated. Latte art made with almond milk may look nice on top of the beverage's foamy layer, but it could leave a watery drink underneath. If you want to accommodate lactose intolerant and vegan customers in your coffee shop, it is important to select a dairy-free milk option that can create delicious coffee drinks. You'll find that when you compare soy milk vs almond milk or oat milk vs coconut milk, some options dissolve better than others, and some milks are better suited for making foam in lattes and cappuccinos. Choose an alternative that does not take away from the taste of your house blends and remember to use this blog as a reference as you weigh your options.
Produce Storage Guide for Restaurants
Every chef or restaurateur has experienced the frustration of food spoilage. Knowing how to store produce will reduce food waste, maximize your restaurant's profits, and improve your menu’s flavor quality. We lay the foundational knowledge you need to organize your commercial refrigerator/storeroom, explain fruit and vegetable storage, and provide an itemized produce storage chart. Looking for a food storage temperature chart? Click the link below to jump ahead and view our item specific produce storage chart. How to Store Fruits and Vegetables Chart Best Way to Store Produce Saying there is one way to store fresh produce is a bit like saying there is one way to make a pizza. However, there are universal best practices for organizing your restaurant’s storeroom. Store produce at reduced temperatures to increase its shelf life. Don't stack produce. Pressure and lack of airflow shorten fresh produce’s lifespan. Keep produce unwashed in storage. When you’re ready to use your fresh items, make sure you wash your produce properly. Don't cut produce until you're ready to use it. Cut produce is vulnerable to microorganisms. Store your fresh produce where there is some airflow (not in airtight containers or bags). This prevents them from suffocating and spoiling faster. Don't buy fresh produce too far in advance. Produce loses its flavor and crispness when held at low temperatures for extended time periods. What Is Ethylene? Ethylene is a plant hormone that makes seeds/buds sprout, ripens fruit, and causes plant cells to break down. Plants release ethylene as a gas. Understanding ethylene helps you extend the shelf life of your fruits and vegetables. The first thing you need to know is plants’ ethylene productions and sensitivities are not universal. So, you should store ethylene producers separate from ethylene-sensitive items. Savvy commercial kitchen operators manipulate ethylene to accelerate ripening. All you need to do is place a high ethylene producing fruit inside a paper bag with the item you want to ripen. The paper bag traps the ethylene gas, yielding ready-to-eat fruit faster. Climacteric Fruit Definition The term 'climacteric' is used to describe fruits that continue to ripen after they're picked. Climacteric fruits create and release far more ethylene than non-climacteric fruits. As you may have guessed, the term 'non-climacteric' describes fruits that don't ripen once they're picked. Top Ethylene Producing Fruits These common climacteric fruits are some of the top ethylene producers. Their ethylene potency increases as they ripen. Apples Avocados Bananas Cantaloupe Peaches Pears As an easy-to-reference resource, we've created a downloadable produce storage chart you can keep in your commercial kitchen. Download our Ethylene Production and Sensitivity PDF Fruit and Vegetable Storage It’s best to store your fruits and vegetables separately. Most fruits release a lot of ethylene, and most vegetables are sensitive to it. Learn how to store vegetables and fruits to meet each category’s unique needs. How to Store Vegetables On average, vegetables contain nonexistent traces of ethylene compared to fruits. Learn how to maximize the freshness and quality of the most popular vegetables below. How to Store Tomatoes: Keep tomatoes in your storeroom away from sunlight. Tomatoes will not ripen correctly in the refrigerator. Arrange them stem side down until they're fully ripe. Tomatoes keep best when they aren’t touching, so store them in a single layer. Do not bunch them together. Once the tomatoes are soft and vibrant, prolong their shelf life by transferring them to the fridge. Best Way to Store Potatoes: Store potatoes outside the fridge in a cool, dark, dry spot. Refrigerated air is too cold for potatoes and causes their starch to turn to sugar. Store potatoes in a paper bag, basket, or large bowl. Don't store potatoes in plastic bags/sealed containers that trap moisture. Damp environments cause potatoes to spoil faster. How to Store Cucumbers: To keep cucumbers fresh, wrap clean and dry cucumbers in a paper towel and place them inside a plastic bag. The plastic bag helps protect the cucumbers from ethylene gas. Leave the top of the bag open to provide airflow and help prevent molding and sogginess. Use this same method to store celery and spinach. How to Store Carrots: The first step in carrot storage is trimming their leafy tops. Carrot tops extract moisture from their roots, causing them to wilt prematurely. Keep your carrots hydrated by storing them in an uncovered container of shallow water inside your fridge. If space doesn't accommodate this method, your next best option is to store carrots in an open plastic bag. How to Store Fruit Learn how to store fruit to achieve complete ripeness and long shelf lives. While most fruits are ethylene producers, not all fruits release the same amount of ethylene, nor are they equally sensitive to it. Below are our tips for turning the most popular fruits into ripe and unspoiled ingredients. How to Keep Bananas Fresh: Keep bananas fresh by buying slightly green bananas and storing them at room temperature until they’re ripe. You can keep fully ripe bananas in the fridge to prolong their shelf life. Bananas will overripen in the refrigerator, but they will remain perfectly edible despite their mushy textures and blackened peels. There are many ways to repurpose overripe produce. For example, super sweet, overripe bananas are ideal for baking. To quickly ripen bananas, store them in an enclosed space such as a sealed container or bag. Bananas are high ethylene producers, so enclosing them with their ethylene creates a ripening sauna. How to Store Grapes: Store grapes in the plastic container you purchased them in at cold temperatures. Grapes need ventilation, which is why their original grocery store plastic packaging has holes. However, ventilation and direct air are two different things. Keep grapes out of your refrigeration systems’ direct air path, or they will dehydrate and shrivel. Grapes mold when stored moist, so wait to wash your grapes until you’re ready to consume/cook them. Grapes absorb the odors and flavors around them, so keep onions away. How to Store Avocado: You need to store avocados in a way that promotes ripening, because avocadoes don't ripen until they're picked. Avocados won't ripen correctly at low temperatures. They are high ethylene producers, so keep them away from ethylene-sensitive produce. Like bananas, you can expedite avocados’ ripening process by storing them in a paper bag. How to Store Fruits and Vegetables Chart Enliven your restaurant’s menu by incorporating fresh regional produce each season without losing profits to food spoilage with our fruit and vegetable storage chart. Produce Type Ideal Storage Temperature Ethylene Production Ethylene Sensitivity Storage Life Apples30-35 °FHighYes8 weeks Apricots31-32 °FHighYes1-3 weeks Artichokes34-38 °FNoNo5-7 days Asparagus32-35 °FNoYes2-3 weeks Avocados, ripe41-55 °FHighYes3 days Avocados, unripe36-40 °FLowYes (High)4-5 five days until ripe Bananas, green59-68 °FLowYes 3-4 days until ripe Bananas, ripe56-58 °FMediumNo3-7 days Basil51-59 °FNoYes1-2 weeks Beans, green or snap41-45 °FNoYes7-10 days Beans, sprouts32 °FLowYes (Low)7-9 days Beets32-40 °FNoYes10-14 days = bunched 1-3 months = topped Blackberries31-32 °FVery LowNo3-6 days Blueberries33-34 °FVery LowNo1-2 weeks Bok Choy32-35 °FNoYes3-4 days Broccoli32 °FNoYes21-28 days Brussels Sprouts32 °FVery LowYes3-5 weeks Cabbages32 °FNoYes (High)Early cabbages = 3-6 weeks Late cabbages = 5-6 months Cantaloupe36-41 °FYesYes12-15 days Carrots32 °FVery LowYes (High)10-14 days = bunched 7-9 months = mature roots 3-4 weeks = fresh cut Cauliflower32 °FNoYes (High) 4 weeks Celery32 °FNoYes (High)2-3 months Cherries30-32 °FVery LowNo4-10 days Chicory32-35 °FNoNo3-5 days Coconuts32-25 °FNoNo2-3 weeks Collards32-36 °FNoYes5-7 days Corn, sweet32-34 °FNoNo5-7 days Cranberries36-40 °FNoNo2-4 months Cucumbers50-55 °FVery LowYes10-14 days Currants34 °FLowYes (Low)1-2 weeks Eggplant50-54 °FNoYes (High)14 days Figs30-32 °FLowYes5-7 days Fresh, Whole Garlic30-32 °FNoNo3-6 months Ginger Root54-57 °FNoNo4-6 weeks Grapefruit55-60 °FVery LowNo6 weeks Grapes30-32 °FVery LowYes1-2 weeks Green Peas32-40 °FNoYes 2 Weeks Greens, leafy32 °FNoYes (High)7-14 days Guavas42-50 °FMediumYes15 days Herbs32-35 °FNoYes2-3 weeks Horseradish30-32 °FYes (Very Low)Low4-6 months Jicama55-59 °FVery LowNo2-4 months Kale32 °FNoYes (High)1-2 weeks Kiwi32-35 °FHigh when ripe, low when unripeVery sensitive when unripe, sensitive once ripe1-4 weeks once ripe Leeks32 °FNoYes5-14 days Lemons54-57 °FVery LowYes (Low)3-6 weeks Lettuce, Crisphead32 °FNoYes (High)2-3 weeks Lettuce, Romaine32 °FVery LowYes (High)2 weeks Limes50-55 °FNoYes1 month Lychees35-50 °FVery LowYes (Very Low)5-7 days Mangos50-55 °FMediumYes5 days Melons, Honey Dew45-50 °FMediumYes12-15 days Mushrooms32-35 °FVery LowNo5-7 days Nectarines31-45 °FHighNo2-4 weeks Okra45-50 °FVery LowYes1 week Onions32 °FNoNo2 months Oranges38-46 °FVery LowNo10 days Papayas45-55 °FMediumYes5-7 days Parsley32 °FNoYes2 weeks Parsnips32-40 °FNoYes2 weeks Peaches30.5-32 °FHighYes3-5 days Pear, Bartlett30-32 °FHighYes5-12 days Peas, green32 °FNo Yes3-5 days Peppers, hot chili41-45 °FYesMost varieties are sensitive, Jalapenos are not.3-5 weeks Peppers, bell41-45 °FYes (Low)Low3-5 weeks Persimmons30-34 °FLowYes (High)1-2 weeks Pineapples45-55 °FVery LowNo4-5 days Plums30.5-32 °FHighYes3-5 days once ripe Pomegranates41-50 °FVery LowNo2 months Potatoes42-50 °FVery LowNo2-3 months Pumpkins50-59 °FVery LowYes2-4 months Radicchio32 °FLowYes3-4 weeks Radish32 °FNo Yes7-14 days = with tops 21-28 days = without tops Raspberries31-32 °FVery LowNo1-7 days Rhubarb32-40 °FNoNo2-4 weeks Rutabagas32-35 °FVery LowYes (Low)4-6 weeks Salad Mixes32-35 °FNoYes7-10 days when unopened Spinach32 °FNoYes (High)3-7 days Sprouts32 °FNoYes5-9 days Squashes, summer41-50 °FVery LowYes5-7 days Strawberries31-33 °FVery LowNo3-7 days Sweet Potatoes55-59 °FVery LowYes6-10 months Tangerines41-46 °FNoYes2-6 weeks Tomatoes44-50 °FYesYes3-5 days Turnips32-40 °FNoYes4-5 months Watercress32 °FNoYes 5 days Watermelon50-59 °FVery LowYes (High)14 days On average each year, every restaurant loses $25,000 to $75,000 due to wasted food. You can’t control whether patrons take their leftovers, but you can prevent food spoilage. Use our produce storage guide to reduce profit losses and increase flavor quality.