Put away those swimsuits and flip flops because it’s already fall. And with a new season comes new food trends that you can add to your dining program’s menu. Summer 2019 food trends were all about cold dishes, mocktails, and using less artificial ingredients in your meals. But fall is more about wasting less food, using new meat and milk alternatives, and incorporating nutrition-packed powders into your dishes. 

And because we’re celebrating vegetarian week here at Culinary Services Group, many of the trends below will be vegetarian or will have ways you can turn them into vegetarian meals. Here are the top five food trends for fall 2019 and how you can use them in your menus. 

1. Zero-waste cooking
Going “zero-waste” is a trend you might have heard about already due to the many restaurants across the country trying to implement it in their kitchens. It simply refers to the process of producing no waste in your dining facility. Home chefs try to do this by swapping disposable plastic containers for stainless steel or by swapping paper towels for reusable washcloths. 

In your kitchen, you can get closer to zero-waste by using as much of each food item as possible. For example, you can turn vegetable scraps into a tasty broth that you can use for future meals. You can do the same thing with leftover chicken or beef bones to make a flavorful stock. For the green tops of vegetables like carrots, turnips, and beets that you might usually throw out, consider turning those into a spread like pesto or just juice them. 

2. Powerful powders
Powders that pack a healthy punch, like maca powder or reishi powder, have been finding their way into foods recently. The reishi mushroom can have a positive effect on the immune system and help fight fatigue. You can use reishi mushroom powder in anything from soups to teas. 

Maca powder comes from the Peruvian maca plant and also may have some great health benefits. It has a good amount of fiber, vitamin C, and iron. It also might decrease diastolic blood pressure and depression. You can use maca powder in breakfast dishes like oatmeal, pancakes, waffles, or smoothies. Another popular way to use maca powder is in baked goods, like brownies or energy bars (or get the best of both worlds with this maca brownie energy bar recipe). 

3. Alternative burgers
You’ve probably heard of the Impossible or Beyond Meat burgers. They’re so popular that even fast-food restaurants, like Burger King, are serving them. Beyond Meat actually sells their burger patties in grocery stores, so you could buy those and cook them for your residents to easily take part in this trend. 

If you want to make alternative meat sandwiches from scratch, you have a few choices. Black bean and chickpea burgers are popular. With both options, you can incorporate other vegetables or spices to create the taste you’re going for. We also love jackfruit. Jackfruit is a fruit in the fig and breadfruit family but has a uniquely “meaty” texture. It’s a popular substitute for BBQ dishes, like pulled pork. Check out this recipe for an easy jackfruit sandwich with a healthy veggie slaw.  

4. Oat milk
Oat milk is joining almond and soy milk as a popular dairy substitute. It’s lower in calories than regular milk and has a creamy, milk-like texture that some people may prefer over other dairy-free alternatives. Oat milk is made from soaking and straining oats. You can typically find a variety of flavors, like plain, vanilla, and chocolate (however, these flavored versions are obviously higher in sugar than the plain, unsweetened kind). 

You can use oat milk as a substitute for milk in creamy dishes, like macaroni and cheese or curries. It’s also great to use in coffee, cereal, and baked goods (like muffins). 

5. Ugly produce
Our final fall trend for 2019 is ugly produce. This is similar to the zero-waste trend. Typically, only the prettiest produce gets chosen and used by shoppers, which means the uglier items get tossed/wasted. Many people are now trying to make the effort to use that ugly produce. The “ugly” stuff tastes the same, but might not look as appealing to your residents. So, if you have ugly produce laying around, use it in foods where it won’t really be seen, like soups, jams, or sauces and leave the pretty stuff for salads. 

Following each season’s trends allows you to have some new variety in your community’s menus. It also gives you the opportunity to educate your residents about what the new trends are and how they are beneficial. For example, a resident might see oat milk as an option for their cereal and ask a staff member about what it is and what it tastes like. This allows your team to educate the resident and show them a brand new, healthier food choice. 

However, a change to your menus every season can sometimes be difficult for facilities like yours. If you need some help bringing any of the above trends to your community in a healthy way, let us know. We can show you recipes for oat milk muffins or teach your food service team how to create less waste in the kitchen. Our team always keeps a close eye on what each season’s trends are, so once winter rolls around, you’ll know that those trends are being added to your menus too. 

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help, contact us here.

Culinary Services Group

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