At this point, if you haven’t tried the Keto diet or know someone who has, it’s likely you’ve at least heard of it. This fat-focused, metabolism changing dietary trend has made it’s way on to the scene and has progressively changed the way that consumers order food. And now, the trend itself has begun to evolve, encouraging followers to go put down the bacon and go plant-based. That’s right, ketotarian has made its entrance and is redefining the diet in a healthy way.
The word Ketotarian is a combination term of “keto” and “vegetarian”. If you or someone you know hopped on the keto bandwagon because of a love of butter and bacon grease, the Keto-tarian version allows for the follower to bring some much needed fiber, vitamins and minerals into the mix via an increased intake of vegetables and a healthy dose of better-for-you fats to fuel the changing metabolism. As a quick reminder, the keto diet switches the body’s fuel source from carbohydrates (which is preferred) to it’s secondary fuel source: fat. This is done by increasing the intake of fats while consuming a scant amount of net carbohydrates (total carbohydrate – fiber count = net carbohydrates) to force the body to to release ketones from stored fat within the body and utilize it for energy. This is the primary reason why subscribers to this lifestyle tend to burn fat at an incredibly fast pace, which is a very enticing benefit of committing to this lifestyle.
Unfortunately, this diet can result in weight loss without having to be healthy. One can consume large amounts of fat-heavy meats, oils and dairy products and reap the weight loss benefits. And while this sounds like a dream come true (because, well, butter), it’s hard on the renal system and doesn’t give the body the much-needed nutrients that it needs to function on a cellular level. Subscribers to the keto diet often complain of “keto flu” and other uncomfortable aspects of this diet that can be alleviated by simply switching up the intake of low-carb vegetables, and other plant sources that are rich in micronutrients and provided much-needed fiber to assist in the facilitation and the absorption of the heavy fats.
So if you’re interested in riding the new wave of Keto and appealing to the your customers with some healthy plant-based “KETO-tarian” options, here’s some helpful tips to get you started.
Expand Your Oil Inventory
We all know that fats lend a ton of flavor to every dish. And while butter tends to be a staple in many dishes and has a high heat threshold that makes it very versatile, there are other plant-based options that are a healthier form of fat. Butter is in the category of “saturated fat” known for clogging arteries and impairing heart health. Olive oil, nut, and seed butters are a form of monounsaturated fatty acids that do quite the opposite: reducing cholesterol levels and contributing to heart health. Many of these oils can be used 1:1 to butter while offering substantial health benefits without increasing carbohydrate count!
Know Your Plant-Based Proteins
Plant-based proteins have grown substantially within the food industry over the last 10 years. Whether consumers were concerned about their health or the environment (with global meat consumption hitting an all-time high) more and more people have been willing to expand their palate to include meat substitutes. Staples like tofu have been well-known throughout the vegetarian community to offer protein with a complex amino acid profile that stands up to most meats. Luckily, because the plant-based meat market has expanded, manufacturers have created vegan meat substitutes that look and taste like their animal-based counterparts.
Get Familiar with Low-Carb Vegetables
Vegetables not only bring color and flavor to any dish, but they are packed with the vitamins, minerals and fiber content that the Ketotarian follower needs to process heavy fats and proteins. But not all vegetables are created equal. Because keto-followers have a scant allowance for carbohydrates in their daily intake, it is important to be well informed on what is acceptable. Starchy vegetables such as squash and potatoes don’t quite fit in the keto lifestyle, however, leafy vegetables and plenty of others in all colors shapes and sizes pack a ton of nutrients minus the carb count.
Test Your New Menu Items
Whenever you add new menu items, it’s important to promote and pay attention to the customer feedback to see if they are worth becoming a staple item on your regular menu. While surveys, promotions and other avenues for marketing are helpful for determining the success of a new menu item, there are other helpful tracking systems that you can put into play that can track your customer’s ordering preferences and provide weekly reports containing valuable data that can create a foolproof plan for creating successful menu items. One such system (not to be biased) is our MealBuilder platform.
MealBuilder is created to look just like your online menu and connects directly into your POS system to help you get the data you need to understand your customer’s ordering habits and preferences. From individual ingredient tracking to the success of menu items and build your own menu items, MealBuilder does it all. So when considering the option of creating Ketotarian meals to cater to this growing audience, also consider what it would be like to receive live-feedback on a weekly basis at the click of a button with our menu optimization platform.
Curious about MealBuilder? Or maybe you’re interested in the help of an industry Registered Dietitian to help assist you in creating Ketotarian or other dietary-preference-focused menu items for your menu? Contact us today.