Healthy Restaurant Snack Menus
Healthy restaurant snack menus are important! Eating out was once seen as a rare, indulgent treat to savour on weekends and special occasions only. However, now it can satisfy the need for healthy, convenient and delicious food every day.
To accommodate our busy lifestyles and increasing demand for food that is as fast-paced and sociable as we are, restaurants are adding innovative healthy small plates and snacks to their menus.
Dining out no longer has to be a guilty pleasure but could be an everyday celebration of all things healthy! Read on to discover more about the rise of healthy restaurant snack menus and what’s in it for you.
The Not-So Guilty Pleasure of Snacking
In decades gone by, people relatively demonised snacking. They considered it to be a contributor to excess calories between meals. Indeed, they thought it would push us over our daily allowance and into the red zone for weight gain.
Snacks are historically not the healthiest foods – we’re talking pork scratchings, crisps and confectionery; loaded with unhealthy fats, refined sugar and empty calories.
Whilst these have not usually had a place in the restaurant trade, they continue to make an appearance in bars and on countertops, perhaps the only offering of a snack you’d historically see in a traditional pub or restaurant.
But recent times have seen a steady shift away from the traditional three meals per day, with more and more of us utilising the convenience and speed of lighter meals and snacks to gain our nourishment – meet generation graze!
We are more health-conscious than ever and when it comes to grazing, we want healthy snacks that are both nutritious and delicious.
So goodbye bar snacks and hello small plates, sharing plates and healthy snack menus.
As a nation of snackers with plenty of health-conscious foodies we just aren’t willing to compromise on taste to get our nutritional fix!
So, reinvented snacks are now beginning to prove that convenience doesn’t have to come at a cost to our health!
Here are just some of the attributes many of us lookout for when seeking out our healthy snack fix:
- Healthy – Snacks, which help to optimise health rather than just provide energy and satisfy hunger. There is a great demand for snacks incorporating healthy fats, protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in one small, convenient package. Nutrient-dense snacks that contain all of these in small doses are called superfoods. They’re a definite green light for the health-conscious consumer.
- Affordable – There’s no better thing to invest in than our health but the food industry has to be realistic when pricing their products – consumers simply don’t expect to pay the same for a healthy snack as they would for a regular-sized meal! Same goes with restaurant small plates and snack menus, you would expect the snack section to fall in line with the prices of the sides and starters – not the main course options.
- Fast-Paced – If it’s a snack by name then it has to be a snack by nature! A rise in health-conscious mentalities is not the only driving force behind the healthy snack revolution, our busy modern lifestyles have also created a need for food that’s available on the go, ready in an instant and entirely portable. Whether that’s shop-bought snacks, street food or the full sit-down menu experience; snack foods should fit comfortably within a busy schedule. They should require little patience. Indeed, we should be able to enjoy them as part of a fast-paced lifestyle.
“Healthy snacks should be flavoursome, satisfying and moreish.”
- Free From – These days we are as conscious about what isn’t in our food as what is. Healthy eating has seen a rise in the demand for foods which are free from allergens, gluten, dairy, artificial ingredients, refined sugar and the list goes on! The plant-based revolution has seen the reinvention of our favourite snack foods to fit in with a meat-free lifestyle. Vegan foods are just one example of the quest for clean eating and ingredient transparency, with the gold standard being healthy snacks which use 100% natural ingredients.
- Delicious and Nutritious – Last but not least, one of the biggest selling points for a healthy snack is that it is as good for you as it tastes! Healthy snacks should be flavoursome, satisfying and moreish. It is this harmony between nutritious and delicious that food manufacturers and restauranteurs aim to provide. That means heaps of natural flavourings, exotic ingredients and innovative healthy snacks! After all, if it doesn’t taste great then you won’t consider buying it again.
Healthy restaurant Snack Menus: The Modern Meal
So, there’s a definite demand for healthy snacks overall, but where do they stand in our restaurants? As with all elements of the food industry, restaurant trends are governed and guided by changes in consumer demand.
For snacks, the hustle and bustle of a busy modern lifestyle pair them up favourably with consumers who seek speed, ease and value from their food.
The rise in smaller plates and lighter meals works in synergy with the equally desired concepts of street food and grab-and-go eating.
One trend for Millennials, in particular, is the demand for food which accommodates the social side of eating out. Inspired by lands afar and their sharing mentality, snack menus offer up a more communal and accessible way of eating for groups of friends.
This has seen the introduction of grazing snacks, sharing plates, small plates and scaled-down entrees on restaurant menus. When it comes to eating out, snacking is the sociable choice!
Small Portion, Small Price
The restaurant scene has responded in force to the demand for healthy small plates and snacks. A whole spectrum of innovative healthy eating options is being offered alongside their regular menus.
They are a fraction of the portion, a fraction of the price and can be enjoyed in a fraction of the time you’d need for a full meal!
Don’t think your waistline or wallet can stretch to a meal out? Guess again! The fact that small plates and snack menu items are smaller in size also reflects in their price. Ultimately, this makes eating out more affordable than ever.
Delicious Meets Nutritious
Lots of people have taken an interest in nutrition in recent years and their understanding of functional foods is ever-growing.
Consumers expect next-level snacking with innovative health-boosting properties; there’s more to healthy snacks than taste and satisfaction. There is a demand for food high in protein, rich in flavour and as close to nature as possible.
What’s more, looking at the increasing number of fermented food and drink products, gut-health seems to be gaining popularity every day.
So, when browsing the snack menu for small plates and sharing plates you’re likely to learn a lot more about your food than just the ingredients.
Healthy restaurants in London proudly boast their healthy eating expertise with labels such as vegan, plant-based, gluten-free, sugar-free, high in protein and gut-boosting.
Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner there is a health-boosting snack out there to cater to everyone’s dietary desires!
So, the demand for restaurant snacks is undeniably surfacing. But to bring snacks up to restaurant standard there has to be a facelift of sorts, a snack upgrade if you like.
Consumers still desire attention to detail and the full dining experience when snacking in restaurants – they are expectant to try new things and expand their taste horizons.
Salty and processed beef jerky is overshadowed by finer quality grass-fed biltong. Also, it is locally sourced, minimally processed and handcrafted, of course.
And gone are the days of humble potato crisp bar snacks. Instead, restaurateurs make crisps using lentils, sweet potato or quinoa. Thus they boast fibre, vitamins and protein instead of trans fats and refined sugars. What’s more, they serve them alongside a cool matcha green tea – not a sugar-laden soft drink!
To earn a healthy label, snacks include natural, healthful ingredients. Furthermore, they incorporate functional foods which have specific benefits such as detoxing and boosting energy.
Upgrading healthy snacks is precisely what we do here at Nutmad.
We started with the idea to create a snack which is healthy and delicious, proving that both taste and nutrition can coexist and work in synergy.
Activating is an age-old traditional practice, which makes the nuts easier to digest and much tastier.
It also makes their nutrients easier to absorb and utilise, helping to boost energy and satisfy hunger.
“Activated nuts” means that we have soaked them in water to neutralize the enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid they contain.
These compounds bind to nutrients such as iron, zinc, manganese, calcium etc., which means they stop the body from absorbing the minerals fully, and they can also put a strain on our digestive system.
After soaking them, we dehydrate nuts at low temperatures to preserve their nutrients. As a result, they improve their taste and are gentler on the stomach compared with raw nuts.
This is a prime example of the type of upgraded snack you can expect to see in restaurants, which will provide healthful and convenient food to accompany cocktails, soft drinks or long drinks – not to mention ticking boxes such as high protein, vegan-friendly and innovative.
Snacks: The Fourth Meal
Eating little and often can boost metabolism, ward off pesky cravings and help us to energise naturally. And with smaller plates comes smaller prices, so healthy snacks are all-round winners!
So, next time you’re in town why not explore local healthy restaurant snack menus to discover how fast food doesn’t have to be unhealthy and could be the nutrient boost you need to get you through your busy day.
With influence from the wider world of international cuisine and a push towards convenience, speed and sociable eating – there’s definitely a seat at the table for snacks in restaurants.
What’s more, incorporating snacks into a menu opens restaurant doors to those who would otherwise be too pressed for time, money or effort to sit down to a traditional meal.
Adapting to meet the demands of generation graze should prove to be a smart solution for the restaurant trade and a welcome progression for those of us who enjoy healthy snacking.
Remember, snacking doesn’t have to be a guilty pleasure. It can, in fact, be an opportunity to optimise nutrition and help you to feel your best. Whether you’re eating out, eating in or eating on the move – grab a healthy snack for a speedy, delicious and nutritious pick-me-up.