Menu planning DRAFT ONLY Foundation
Learning objectives • To understand how The eatwell plate can be used in menu planning. • To know the impact of ingredient selection and methods of food production and processing on the nutritional value of food. • To identify individual nutritional needs in respect to stage of life, religious or cultural beliefs and some health concerns.
A balanced diet There are no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ foods – it is the overall balance of the diet that is important.
The eatwell plate This eating model for the UK promotes: • increased consumption of fruit and vegetables and starchy foods; • moderate consumption of meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non dairy sources of protein; • moderate consumption of milk and dairy foods; • small consumption of food containing fat and sugar. The eatwell plate can be used to achieve healthier menu planning.
Serve more bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods Ideas for increasing foods from this group in the menu include: • using thick cut bread for sandwiches; • using more pasta in relation to meat sauce in lasagne; • using more potato in relation to meat in cottage pie; • serving Naan bread and plenty of rice with curries; • experiment with different cereals e.g. quinoa or polenta.
Serve more fruit and vegetables Ideas for increasing foods from this group in the menu include: • add extra vegetables into casseroles; • offer colourful and interesting salads (with low fat dressings) and vegetables with main course; • incorporate fruit into desserts and dishes, including cold starters, e.g. apricot chicken or asparagus and orange salad.
Serve moderate amounts of milk and dairy foods Ideas for including foods from this group in the menu include: • use fromage frais, quark or plain yogurt in dishes in place of some of the cream in soups and sauces; • switch to semi skimmed or skimmed milk when serving adults and older children; • serve fromage frais, quark or plain yogurt with dessert; • use small amounts of stronger tasting cheese or grate cheese when adding to pasta and salads.
Serve moderate amounts of meat, fish,eggs and beans Ideas for including foods from this group in the menu include: • add pulses to increase the fibre content, reduce the overall fat content and add extra protein to a dish; • experiment with alternatives to meat, such as mycoprotein, tofu, texturised vegetable protein based products and soya; • use lean meat, and trim fat from meat or remove the skin to reduce the fat content.
Serve smaller amounts of foodhigh in fat and/or sugar People do not need to eat foods from this group. However fat and sugar help to make foods tastier or more palatable. Ideas for making a menu healthier include: • reduce the amount of sugar added, where acceptable; • use dried or fresh fruit to sweeten dishes, as an alternative.
Serve smaller amounts of foodhigh in fat and/or sugar Ideas for making a menu healthier include: • choose healthier cooking options rather than frying (steaming, poaching, baking); • use ingredients such as unsaturated fat or reduced fat alternatives; • serve salad dressings and dessert toppings separately to allow people to add their own.
Cut down on salt Salt is not found on The eatwell plate. However, it can be found in many processed foods as well as added during cooking. Ideas to reduce salt in the menu include: • use combinations of fresh herbs and spices instead (this creates a much wider range of flavours that salt could use alone); • use reduced salt foods as an alternative; • experiment with dishes to see how much salt can be reduced without compromising on taste.
Food preparation and cooking The way in which food is prepared and cooked can have a large impact on the amount of fat it contains, e.g. removing skin from poultry, trimming excess fat off meat before cooking. Using different methods rather than frying or roasting will also substantially reduce the fat content. Instead choose methods such as: • grilling; • steaming; • baking.
Food preparation and cooking Chips are an example of a food which gain nutrients during cooking. Deep frying chips will increase the fat content of the food. Tips on making healthier chips include: • cutting the chips larger, so less fat will be absorbed when deep frying; • baking the chips instead of deep frying; • adding herbs or spices rather than salt.
Food preparation and cooking Tips to prevent the unnecessary loss of vitamins from fruit and vegetables include: • short storage periods; • using minimum water during cooking, e.g. steaming; • placing foods directing into water that is already boiling or steaming.
Individual nutritional needs Nutritional needs alter throughout the different stages of life. These can also vary according to physical activity levels. Religious groups may abstain from particular foods, meaning they will choose different foods to meet their nutritional needs. Some individuals cannot eat certain foods for health reasons, and will also choose different foods to meet their nutritional needs.
Pregnant women Pregnant woman do not need to eat twice as much food, but they do need to continue to eat a healthy and varied diet. Folate (and folic acid) is an important nutrient for woman just prior and during the first trimester of pregnancy.
Pregnant women Public health recommendations include avoiding: • alcohol; • shark, marlin and swordfish; • raw shellfish; • uncooked or undercooked ready meals; • undercooked meat; • unwashed fruit and vegetables; • unpasteurised dairy products; • foods high in vitamin A, e.g. liver or pâté.
Infants Infants have high needs of energy because their bodies are growing and they are physically active. Public health recommendations include avoiding: • honey (under 1 years); • salt, sugar and foods that contain added sugar. • nuts (children under 5 may choke on these); • shark, swordfish and marlin; • reduced fat dairy food (under 2 years); • skimmed milk (under 5 years).
Children It is important for children to eat a balanced diet and be exposed to a wide variety of foods. Ideas for the menu include: • serve portion size appropriate for the child; • at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Some children are fussy eaters. This does not mean that they should never be offered new food, but they should never be forced to eat a food they dislike.
Adolescence Adolescents have high needs of energy because their bodies are growing and they are physically active. Ideas for the menu include: • use food high in iron, e.g. red meat or wholegrains. Adolescent females have a higher need for iron due to iron loss during menstruation. • use food high in calcium, e.g. low fat milk and dairy foods. This helps adolescence develop, increase and strengthen bones and this will reduce the risk of osteoporosis developing later in life.
Elderly people Elderly people do not have high energy needs, because they generally are less active. Some elderly adults may encounter problems when eating such as: • trouble with teeth. This may mean that they find food difficult to chew; • trouble with arthritis. This may mean they find it difficult to use cutlery and slice and chop food on their plate. Suitable meals could include, shepherd’s pie, soup, or casserole.
Ethnic minority groups Some religious groups do not eat certain food or drinks. The following table summarises some of these. Religious group Food and drinks which may be avoided Muslim Pork, non-halal meat and chicken, shellfish, and alcohol. Hindu Meat (some eat lamb, chicken), fish (some eat white fish), eggs, and alcohol. Sikh Beef, pork (some are vegetarian), and alcohol.
Ethnic minority groups Religious group Food and drinks which may be avoided Buddhist Chicken, lamb, pork, beef, shellfish (some avoid all fish), and alcohol. Rastafarian Animal products (except milk), foods which are not ital (i.e. avoid tinned or processed food) alcohol, tea and coffee. Jewish Pork, meat which is not kosher, or shellfish. Meat and milk products must not be served at the same meal.
Vegetarians Vegetarians need food high in protein and iron from non meat sources. Ideas for the menu include: • offer plenty of fruit and vegetables (serve orange juice to help absorb non-haem iron); • offer lower fat dairy products or calcium fortified soya-based milk; • offer a variety of non-meat alternatives, e.g. fish and eggs (if eaten), pulses, tofu, nuts and seeds.
People on gluten free diets People with coeliac disease need to avoid gluten which is found in products made from oats, wheat, rye and barley. Ideas for the menu include: • offer gluten free cereals, e.g. rice, potatoes, buckwheat, tapioca, breakfast cereals made from corn or rice; • offer some lower fat varieties of dairy products (avoiding cheese spreads and artificial creams containing gluten); • offer lean meat, fish, eggs, pulses, nuts (check the labelling if sauces or crumbs have been added).
People with high cholesterol A person with high cholesterol should reduce saturated fat intake and increase intake of soluble dietary fibre. Ideas for the menu include: • use plenty of wholegrain bread, rice, pasta, cereals, potatoes; • use plenty of fruit and vegetables; • experiment using different pulses and legumes in dishes; • offer some lower fat varieties of milk and dairy products; • offer a moderate amount lean meat or fish.
Review of the learning objectives • To understand how The eatwell plate can be used in menu planning. • To know the impact of ingredient selection and methods of food production and processing on the nutritional value of food. • To identify individual nutritional needs in respect to stage of life, religious or cultural beliefs and some health concerns.
For more information visit www.nutrition.org.ukwww.foodafactoflife.org.uk