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Menus of Change

Menus of Change recommends food service operation, menu and consumer choices that improve our health and nutrition, as well as the health of our planet ( Menus of Change principles are based on the best environmental and nutritional evidence available to topic-area experts gathered by the Culinary Institute of America and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. HUDS uses these principles to guide our decisions and make continuous improvement.

Here's a sampling of how we incorporate the 24 Principles in our operations:

Be Transparent About Sourcing and Preparation

  1. Have an open kitchen policy, offer kitchen tours
  2. Share who our vendors and farmers are, and invite customers to tour/visit
  3. Share recipes, ingredients and nutrition info
  4. Teach people how to cook


Buy Fresh and Seasonal, Local and Global

  1. Use seasonal menus
  2. Develop partnerships for local purchasing with numerous vendors, including Costa Fruit & Produce, Red's Best, Northcoast Seafood, Cabot, Hood, LaRonga Bakery and more
  3. Work to source a full year's supply of a single product from local sources, for example squash, marinara sauce
  4. Recognize quality limitations of freezing, even in the IQF era— we'd rather buy fresh broccoli from California in winter than have a frozen supply of local


Reward Better Agricultural Practices

  1. In making purchasing decisions, examine and support farmer practices, such as IPM
  2. Buy some seafood from sustainably certified farms
  3. Review current organic products and revisit opportunities to buy organics on a cost-neutral basis


Leverage Globally Inspired, Plant-based Culinary Strategies

  1. Offer a multitude of ethnic cuisines on menu
  2. Increase ratio of vegetables to meat in dishes
  3. Use naturally occurring plant-based proteins such as beans or whole grains
  4. Work with Red Lentil and Humane Society to adopt new meatless recipes
  5. Utilize mushroom blending


Focus on Whole, Minimally Processed Foods

  1. Make products in-house that were formerly outsourced - lasagna, deli salads, composed salads, soups, sauces
  2. Make salad dressings from scratch (in select locations)


Grow Everyday Options while Honoring Special Occasion Traditions

  1. Make everyday menu standards default to healthier choices, such as whole grains, lean proteins, etc.
  2. Continue to celebrate holidays with standing Harvard traditions


Lead with Menu Messaging Around Flavor

  1. Offer one simple and one flavor-driven vegetable dish at each meal (Residential)
  2. Revisit menu naming
  3. Highlight ingredient sources, tell the food story, not health story


Reduce Portions, Emphasizing Calorie Quality Over Quantity

  1. Push animal proteins toward smaller serving sizes (blending and cut sizes)
  2. Eliminate saturated fats
  3. Offer parallel choices, such as white and brown rices


Celebrate Cultural Diversity and Discovery

  1. Design menus to pull from a broad range of cultures
  2. Promote Staff Recipes from Home program to lead to new menu discoveries
  3. Monitor trends


Design Health and Sustainability into Operations and Dining Spaces

  1. Establish and expland Green Restaurant Certifications
  2. Roll-out MOC principles to consumers
  3. Promote Food Literacy Project/FoodBetter education opportunities
  4. Implement re-usable and compostable programs


Think Produce First

  1. Offer simple steamed vegetables, which allow customization
  2. Use interesting seasonings to make vegetables tastier
  3. Offer composed salads to simplify choice and introduce new flavors


Make Whole, Intact Grains the New Norm

  1. Offer brown rice and whole grain pasta daily
  2. Offer whole grain composed salads
  3. Offer steel cut oats instead of milled oats


Limit Potatoes

  1. Adjust for less frequent menuing
  2. Offer alternative offerings, such as sweet potatoes or mashed cauliflower


Move Nuts and Legumes to the Center of the Plate

  1. Offer daily hot bean or grain
  2. Offer daily vegetarian entrée with a good source of plant protein


Choose Healthier Oils

  1. Eliminated trans fats
  2. Use canola oil for cooking
  3. Serve more fish


Go “Good Fat,” Not “Low Fat”

  1. Cook in canola oil
  2. Offer olive oils on salad bars
  3. Offer low-fat dairy products and limit non-fat items


Serve More Kinds of Seafood, More Often

  1. Partner with Red’s Best “Catch of the Day” program to introduce new, underutilized varieties twice per week
  2. Serve responsibly sourced salmon and other farmed
  3. Offer fish more frequently on the menu


Reimagine Dairy in a Supporting Role

  1. Offer Greek, unflavored yogurts
  2. Source milk that is antibiotic free


Use Poultry and Eggs in Moderation

  1. Offer egg whites
  2. Emphasize chicken as a healthy protein source, menu most frequently among animal proteins
  3. Eliminate highly processed chicken products such as Chickwich


Serve Less Red Meat, Less Often

  1. Reduce frequency of menuing of red meats
  2. Serve roast beef on deli as an occassional option, not a daily feature
  3. Utilize mushroom blending


Reduce Added Sugar

  1. Reduce menu offerings with added sugars (like vegetable dishes)
  2. Reduce use of sauces
  3. Add more fruit desserts


Cut the Salt; Rethink Flavor Development from the Ground Up

  1. Switched to Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt (salt crystal structure reduces sodium over traditional iodized salt)
  2. Partner with processors and vendors to reduce sodium
  3. Use low-sodium deli products
  4. Switched to unbrined chicken breasts


Substantially Reduce Sugary Beverages; Innovate Replacements

  1. Provide unsweetened beverage options
  2. Source low- or naturally-sweetened beverage alternatives
  3. Emphasize water consumption


Drink Healthy

  1. Offer water stations (at Yardfest, SPH)
  2. Emphasize water consumption