Most people try to start the new year off on a healthy note. But did you know that certain foods can contribute to a healthy mindset, too? According to Psychology Today, a “few simple dietary changes may boost cognitive function and reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders.”
The gut has its own nervous system, so making impactful decisions in your cafe can help support your team’s emotional and physical well-being.
You may want to consider these options:
Elevate your salads
A deficiency of folate, found in foods like leafy greens, can lead to higher rates of depression, fatigue and insomnia, so pile on the kale, spinach, romaine and turnip greens. Keep your plant-forward diners charged up by offering a greater variety of toppings that also charge the brain, such as broccoli, brazil nuts, walnuts and lean meats.
Rotate avocados and other superfoods in as seasonal toppings. Select dressing options that include healthy fats and, most importantly, be sure to label anything that has a health booster in it – guests will appreciate it!
What’s on your grill?
The grill is always a customer favorite, and it can also be used to feature foods that boost mood. Chicken, turkey breast, bison and other lean proteins increase serotonin levels, which can contribute to increased well-being and happiness.
These lean proteins make for an easy substitution for beef burgers and other fried foods that typically come from the grill. Don’t be afraid to inject creativity into your menu, like these lemon herb feta chicken sliders.
Top off your grill favorites with whole-grain bread, which has been shown to balance glucose levels. Glucose spikes can cause headaches, thirst and lead to diabetes.
Yogurt and active cultures
Customers often look for high-energy, grab-and-go snacks and light breakfasts to start the day. Yogurt parfaits with layers of fruit, nuts and seeds provide numerous health benefits, including mood enhancers. Fermented foods like yogurt and tempeh contain probiotics. Studies have shown they can reduce anxiety and stress hormones.
Consider an all-day yogurt bar in your cafe or pantries where people can make their own delicious parfait. Start with low-fat, nonfat or Greek yogurt, and be sure to include lots of mood-enhancing foods like oats, seeds, nuts and fruits, which have also been shown to lower the risk of depression.
Tempeh is a soy product, similar to tofu, that can be offered at cultural stations to boost mood as a hearty meat alternative.
Pump up the hydration
Drinking plenty of fluids boosts your immune system and helps you maintain a healthy weight. Dehydration can cause fatigue, muscle weakness, poor concentration, fogginess and headaches. Although water is the most natural source of hydration, there’s a movement toward so called “hyper function” or “high performance” drinks that include extra vitamins or minerals.
Drinks that are marketed to help sharpen focus, reduce anxiety and provide energy boosting vitamins and minerals can be a popular addition to your standard options. Your drink displays should be well maintained, marked and easily accessible to maximize your team’s hydration!
Welcome to 2020!
When your team is aware that the food and drinks they consume can positively impact their mood, a few thoughtful choices will help launch a happier new year.
Talk to your chef about opportunities to include happy alternatives in your cafe to help keep people on track with their healthy goals.
Want to learn more? Get in touch with us.