Marlisa Brown MS, RD, CDE, CDN - March 2018

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March 2018 Edition

Accommodating Customers Dietary Requests

by Marlisa Brown MS, RD, CDE, CDN

“Healthy” can mean different things to different people. When you are deciding which options to include on your menu it is important to understand what food trends your customers are looking for.

March 2018 Edition
  • Gluten Free: Requests include; individuals with Celiac Disease, Gluten Sensitivity, Wheat Intolerance, Food Allergies, FAD diets and GI symptoms. For some customers the risks cross contamination can be serious issue.
  • Paleo or The Caveman Diet: Looking for high amounts of protein; (fish and shellfish, beef, chicken, eggs).  Fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and healthful oils including olive oil, macadamia oil, flaxseed, walnut, avocado, and coconut. They avoid cereal grains, legumes, refined sugar, potatoes, processed foods, refined oils, and excess sodium. Milk products are avoided or consumed in small amounts.
  • Organic: Foods grown and raised without pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Healthful farming practices, no sewage, radiation, GMOs and antibiotics.
  • Antibiotic Free: Animals raised without growth hormones or antibiotics
  • Humanely Raised: Animals pasture-raised, grass fed, with no antibiotics, slaughtered in the least painful and stressful way.
  • Farm to Table: Local food that is picked ripe. Restaurants using community agriculture supporting sustainable organic foods. People believe that this increases flavor and product integrity.
  • Atkins: Avoids all or most carbohydrates. Utilizing proteins and fats as the base of the diet. Other variations of this diet are found with modified amounts of carbohydrates or an emphasis on more veggies and leaner less saturated protein options.

Dietary Needs Based on Other Health Issues:

  • Vegetarian: Plant based diet that may consume eggs and dairy, lifestyle choice.
  • Whole Food Plant Based: Similar to vegan avoids most animal products with some exceptions.
  • Vegan: Plant based diet that does not include any animal products, without exception. Often advocates of animal rights philosophy.
  • Raw Food Diet: Foods are not cooked more than 115 degrees F, foods are not pasteurized, and don’t have pesticides or chemicals. Methods of preparation include juicing, dehydrating, puree, and sprouting. Those following this diet believe that the food has more enzymes and better health properties. Lots of nuts, seeds, and fresh produce are consumed. May have some food safety risks depending on storage of food.
  • Food Allergies: The top eight allergens include: Egg, Fish, Shellfish, Milk, Soy, Wheat, Peanuts and Tree Nuts. Practices should be set in place to prevent cross contamination.  Only FDA requires these items listed on packaging, USDA does not mandate labeling.  Continual staff education needed.
  • Low Calorie: For weight loss, note measurements of servings and ingredients essential, need nutritional breakdowns.
  • Low Sodium: Difficult to follow in a restaurant setting.  Sodium is found in many foods requires strict label reading and the use of measuring utensils.
  • Low Fat: People following this diet may have a history of pre-diabetes, diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, triglycerides, or just a concern for a healthier diet.  High fat animal products are avoided, utilization of healthier oils and nuts but only in small amounts because they are 100% fat.
  • Diabetic Meal Planning: This is a more complex diet then just sugar-free options or no carbs. People with diabetes or pre-diabetes need carbohydrates but in more controlled portions. They are also looking for low-fat and lower sodium meals due to the many complications of managing these disorders. Restaurants must hire a registered dietitian and possibly and certified diabetes educator to help them design these menus.

Marlsa Brown MS RD CDE CDN, Registered Dietitian Certified Diabetes Education, Chef, Consultant, Author of “Gluten-Free Hassle-Free” and “Easy, Gluten-Free”

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