The hotter temperatures and longer days mean that summer is finally here. And with a new season comes new food trends that you can bring to your healthcare facility. Spring 2019 was all about meal kits, fresh greens, and foraged ingredients.
But the summer months usually mean colder dishes and new drink trends come into play as people try to escape the heat. And this year is no different. Here are this summer’s top four biggest food trends and how you can incorporate them into your facility’s dining program this season.
Cold dishes have always been popular in the summer, and aguachile is no exception. This seafood dish is a type of Mexican ceviche with a little heat. Ceviche is a raw fish dish that is typically marinated in a citrus juice, like lemon or lime. Aguachile is different from classic ceviche because it includes hot peppers, like jalapenos, that are ground up and mixed with water. Then, this peppery paste is added to the mixture of raw fish, cucumber, onion, and citrus juice. While regular ceviche is cured in the marinade for about 15-30 minutes, it’s recommended that aguachile is served immediately after mixing. If you’re planning on making this for your residents, it’s extremely important to use sushi grade fish to keep everyone safe.
If you want to add this summer food trend to your menu, we recommend serving it as an appetizer or snack with tortilla chips or tostadas. Feel free to play around with the types of fish you use (we like to use shrimp, scallops, or a white fish like halibut). You can also swap out the jalapeno for a hotter pepper, like serranos or habaneros, just make sure your residents are okay with those heat levels.
2. Less Artificial Ingredients
Many brands and restaurants, like Trader Joes, Subway, and Nestle, have recently announced publicly that they will be reducing or eliminating food additives in their products. This is happening because consumers are becoming increasingly more aware of what’s in their food and are concerned about unsafe ingredients. About 91% of consumers today think that foods and beverages with recognizable ingredients are healthier.
To follow this trend at your facility, take a closer look at the ingredients you purchase from your food suppliers. Look for foods that are free of artificial additives and ingredients. If you need to use an item with added flavor, make sure they are natural flavors rather than artificial. Also, consider labeling menu items that are free from additives or artificial ingredients so residents who are concerned about eating clean foods can make a more informed choice.
You don’t need to serve alcohol at your facility to participate in this summer 2019 food trend. Mocktails are drinks that are made to taste like alcohol beverages, but they don’t include any alcoholic ingredients. They’re gaining popularity in recent years because people still want to participate in social activities, like going to a bar, but they don’t want to experience the side effects of alcohol. This is where mocktails come in.
To make mocktails for your residents in a healthy way, use good-for-you ingredients like fresh juice, kombucha, or pieces of fruit instead of alcohol. If possible, avoid added sugars and sodas.
If you want another creative way to bring this trend to your facility this summer, we suggest hosting a weekly “happy hour” for residents and serving different mocktail options at each one. One of our favorite recipes is for non-alcoholic sangria because you can use red or white grape juice instead of wine. Then, you can mix in other juices of your choice (like orange juice), and use whatever fruit is in season to finish off the drink.
4. Pop-Up Restaurants
Pop-up restaurants are dining establishments that suddenly appear in random places for a very short amount of time. They originally “popped-up” as supper clubs in the ‘60s, and in 2019 this unique dining experience is trending again. Chefs typically use pop-up restaurants to draw in a bigger audience or to gain buzz for a new restaurant they may be opening. They can appear almost anywhere and creators have full control over the menu and theme. When diners grab a meal at a pop-up restaurant, they get the joy of having an unexpected, unique dining experience.
To bring pop-up restaurant vibes to your community, consider setting up tables and chairs in a part of your facility other than the dining area, like an outdoor space or media room. You could also try theme nights with your menu, like turning your dining area into a pop-up Italian restaurant for the night.
How to Bring These Summer 2019 Trends to Your Facility
By keeping up with each season’s food trends, you can keep your menus exciting and interesting to all of your residents. You may introduce them to new foods, like aguachile, that they never would have known about.
We know that it can sometimes be a challenge figuring out how to try out these trends at your community in a healthy way. If you’d like some suggestions about how to incorporate mocktails into your menus or on how to create the perfect pop-up, we’re here to help. Culinary Services Group has a team of experts that can help you with everything from menu planning to ordering ingredients with less artificial flavors and additives. Our chefs stay up-to-date on each season’s trends, so you can be sure that when fall and winter come around, those trends will be incorporated into your menus as well. If you’d like to learn more, contact us here.