facebook pixal

How to build dishes that are healthy and craveable

Photograph: Shutterstock

Consumers today look for healthy options that fulfill not only their hunger but also their nutritional needs. To continue meeting diners’ desires, operators are offering protein-packed, customizable options packed with whole grains, fresh and seasonal produce and craveable sauces and dressings.

According to Technomic’s 2018 Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report, while the top reason consumers choose healthy foods is still to feel better physically after they eat, 41% say they do so just because they simply like those foods. And that could be thanks to the expanded options available today. Today’s health-conscious consumers aren’t concerned only about low calorie counts—they’re also looking for dishes high in protein, dishes that incorporate ancient and whole grains as well as dishes with customizable ingredients.

For operators wanting to meet these needs, offering customizable bowl meals with a choice of lean protein, veggies and toppings can be a winning option.

For instance:

  • Saladworks, a fast-casual chain with locations in 12 states including New Jersey and Pennsylvania, introduced an LTO, the Asian Peanut Chicken Grain Bowl, in second-quarter 2019. It featured warm brown rice topped with mandarin oranges, roasted carrots, chicken, cucumbers, red peppers, sesame seeds and kale­­––topped with spicy peanut sauce.
  • Pret A Manger recently added the Chipotle Chicken Grain Bowl to its menu, featuring spicy chipotle chicken, quinoa and brown rice, charred corn and black bean salsa, plus fresh greens.
  • At Another Broken Egg Cafe, diners can enjoy the Protein Power Bowl, which combines farro and red rice with turkey, arugula, spicy house-pickled beets, mushrooms, avocado and fresh mozzarella, topped with a spicy, house-made honey-garlic glaze.
  • Create & Go, a quick-service restaurant in New York City, offers an array of customizable bowls. Offerings include healthy bowls using quinoa or brown rice as the base, with varieties such as The Greek Bowl (with grilled chicken, crumbled feta cheese, shredded lettuce, kalamata olives, cucumber, red onion and cherry tomatoes), as well as an array of Turkey Burger Bowls, such as The Buffalo Turkey Burger Bowl, featuring an organic turkey burger, melted mozzarella, lettuce, tomato and Buffalo sauce with a choice of quinoa or brown rice.

As consumers head into the new year, operators hoping to draw diners in may win by offering heartier items that still offer the healthy ingredients consumers are after. According to Technomic’s report, 61% of consumers say they would like more restaurants to list all of the ingredients in a dish, and 38% say that when they want to eat healthy, they look for items labeled as healthy on the menu. By posting vivid descriptions of dishes and highlighting healthy options, restaurants will be ready to go. 

This post is sponsored by Perdue Foodservice


Exclusive Content


Domino's CEO bets on himself

The Bottom Line: CEO Russell Weiner bought more than $1 million in stock earlier this month. But reversing the stock price’s recent slump will take a lot more.


A tweet comes between Grubhub and McDonald's franchisees

The Bottom Line: The fast-food burger chain’s former top U.S. corporate relations officer said, “cry me a river” in a now-deleted tweet about McDonald’s franchisees. It didn’t go over well, either with them or his new employer, Grubhub.


Burger King borrows preps from fine dining to innovate the menu

The burger chain’s new culinary focus reflects head chef Chad Brauze’s experience and passion gained in Michelin-starred restaurants.