Some ideas that you can use to make your menus healthier:
- Use as fresh ingredients as possible.
- Increase variety and choice, offer healthy dishes alongside more indulgent options.
- Try to encourage portion control in a subtle way (e.g. ensure spoons and plates are not too large).
- Serve dressings, gravies and sauces separately so one can choose the quantity.
- Encourage healthy choices by putting the most healthy dishes first on the table.
- Use different colors, shapes and textures to add excitement to your dishes.
- Offer colorful starters such as salads and soups.
- Replace products high in saturated fat such as butter, lard, suet, creamed coconut, ghee and palm oil with foods containing unsaturated fat like sunflower, olive, peanut or sesame oils and (low-fat) mayonnaise.
- For cooking use heat stable refined vegetable oils like canola, soy, corn, olive, peanut, soft and liquid fats and use a spray to apply them rather than straight from the bottle.
- Use lean meat such as roast beef, pork tenderloin, lamb fillet, skinless chicken or turkey breast.
- Cut visible fat from meat and remove the skin from poultry.
- Use lean and fatty fish. Fatty fish is a source of good fat. Use shellfish, white fish such as cod and pollock and fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel.
- Try to use nuts, seeds and pulses as an alternate protein source. They are source of good fats and a cost effective alternative.
- Use low fat or skimmed alternatives of dairy products such as semi-skimmed milk, buttermilk, low-fat yoghurt or low-fat alternatives of cream, cottage cheese, ricotta, feta or mozzarella.
- When stir frying use a tiny amount of vegetable or sunflower oil, then add water to steam cook.
- Increase the fibre content of your dishes by serving brown rice, wholegrain noodles and pasta and whole meal or granary bread.
- Add vegetables to your main dishes such as stir fries, casseroles and stews. This will add color and help reduce costs on meat.
- Offer more fruit based desserts like fruit salads, yoghurts with fruit, or stewed fruit with spices.
- Offer a choice of potatoes not just French Fries. Try baked potatoes, new potatoes boiled in their skins and then lightly crushed, oven roasted sweet potato, or mashed using semi-skimmed milk, herbs and spices or horseradish for some extra flavor.
- Be careful with adding sugar, syrup and honey to dishes, use 100% fruit juices or fruit purées instead factory food.
- Limit the addition of salt during cooking. To compensate use herbs and spices that give a robust flavor. Add lemon juice or a little vinegar to finish seasoning a dish and a good pinch of black pepper instead of further salt.
- Be careful with products that are often high in salt such as soy sauce, anchovies, olives, capers, pickles, cheese, ham, bacon, yeast extract, processed meats, smoked meat and fish – a little goes a long way in terms of flavor.