Are you practicing stealth health in your cafe?

How do you influence employees who just aren’t actively seeking healthy menu choices in your workplace cafe? For some, there are barriers like cost, temptation, convenience and unfamiliarity keeping them from making better-for-you food choices.

Enter: Stealth health.

Stealth health is a set of culinary tactics designed to nudge guests toward healthier food choices. The goal is to improve the nutrition profile and reduce the calories of popular menu items without upsetting your corporate community.

Successfully implementing stealth health solutions starts with an assessment of your guests’ motivations and barriers. Then you can move forward with an action plan with best practices that take advantage of motivations.

Here are four ways you can implement stealth health in your workplace cafe:

1. Add more nutrient-rich and water-dense ingredients to popular menu items.

Usually, this means adding more vegetables, which are both high in water content and rich in nutrients. Some examples of this tactic are the popular blended burger, which is made up of 25-40 percent roasted mushrooms. Another strategy involves adding grated or pureed vegetables, like squash, to soups, sauces and mixed dishes like lasagna.

If done correctly, the addition of vegetables will result in reduced calories, saturated fat and sodium – without the guest noticing.

2. Swap in healthier ingredients.

This tactic has resulted in zoodles (zucchini noodles) being substituted for pasta, riced cauliflower standing in for rice and fruit purees taking the place of oil in baking.


3. Do a protein or dessert flip.

A “flip” is a great stealth health tactic to use when temptation is the major barrier. Many of the most tempting foods – like chocolate, French fries and steak – are most appealing for the first few bites. Flipping involves taking the most-craved ingredient and using less of it.

A steak fajita bowl with 2 ounces of delicious and tempting steak in a colorful presentation can decrease the portion of a normal 6-ounce steak. You’ve given guests a healthier dish with the beef they crave.

Similarly, the oversized chocolate brownie with a half-strawberry garnish could flip into a luscious bowl of berries with a decadent mini brownie bite as the garnish.

4. Make it easier to be healthy.

Busy guests often choose the easiest option – which is often not the healthiest option. But making those easy options healthy by default can change that.

Making a whole wheat bun the default grilled sandwich bread resulted in increased consumption of whole wheat buns. Even though guests know that white buns are still available by request, it’s easier to go with the default.

This tactic can be employed at multiple café stations, including pasta, rice bowl, international and deli. The possibilities are endless.

If you would like more information about Compass Group and how we help our clients implement stealth health in their cafes, please contact us here.