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National Restaurant Association - 7 NRA Show standouts for healthful menu options

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7 NRA Show standouts for healthful menu options

Healthful kids' meals, ancient grains and nutrition remain among top menu trends for 2017, according to our What's Hot culinary forecast. How do you stand out among the competition with your gluten-free, vegetarian-friendly and nutritious options? NRA Show 2017 exhibitors offer ideas to satisfy guests' dietary preferences and needs.

Plant-based protein even meatlovers will love

Plant-based foods made from veggies, anciet grains and soy are making the rounds this year. Two unusual standouts: Ocean Hugger Foods’ Ahimi and Beyond Meat's Beyond Burger. The ahimi made from tomatoes can be used it in sashimi, sushi, poke, tartare and ceviche. The Beyond Burger, made from peas rather than soy, has 20 grams of protein per serving. The vegan patty also is gluten free. And they're not not just for your vegetarian and vegan guests: It's hard to tell the difference between the protein alternatives and the real thing. 

Protein-packed ancient and whole grains

We met the original whole-grain purveyor, Bob Moore, in the Natural and Organic Pavilion on the NRA Show floor. Moore began milling grain in 1972 and opened Bob's Red Mill Natural Foods six years later. Since then, his whole-grain flour, cereal and baking mixes have developed a loyal following from people who see whole grains as an important part of their diets. As restaurant customers began seeking whole-grain menu items, Bob's Red Mill entered the foodservice market. For the past five years, the Portland, Ore.-based company has been coming to the NRA Show, to introduce restaurant operators to ancient, whole and protein-packed grain, flour and even grab-and-go cereal. Moore himself spent Monday in the booth, answering questions from chefs looking for ideas to use whole grains and signing his latest recipe book.

All that and a bag of chickpea puffs


Share your favorite booth displays with us by hashtagging #NRAShow17! ___ 🚌 @hippeas_snacks

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Hippeas' organic chickpea puffs are sure to please parents looking for a healthful side item to kids' meals. The grab-and-go organic alternative to a traditional cheese puff can be a guilt-free treat for adults, too. They're gluten-free, kosher, vegan, non-GMO and provide 5 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber per serving. 

Chickpea-powered pasta

You don’t have to be an NBA player to eat high-protein chickpea pasta. But Kevin Durant’s executive chef fed him Banza pasta during the most recent playoffs, says Lisa Jarrell, national sales director-foodservice. One serving of pasta has the same amount of protein as a chicken breast, she says. The product appeals to vegetarian, gluten-free and diet-conscious consumers, as well as professional and college athletes.

Move over, potato. Make way for the Millet Tot


Set up and ready to go at NRA! Come see us at booth 10822 #notateralltot #millettots #nrashow17 #nrashow

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Lindsey and Ryan Cunningham were operating a food truck and catering company when they decided to to bring their top-selling item to market. They introduced Millet Tots, a crispy version of tater tots made from an ancient whole grain. Higher in fiber and protein than traditional tots, the millet bits are a “great dietary-friendly product,” Lindsey says. After two years in retail, the tots are available in several flavors for foodservice. By taking the leap and offering Millet Tots on the menu, restaurant operators can set themselves apart from the competition, she says. “Nobody else has it. It shows they’re innovative.” 

Gluten-free dough, bread and buns

As more diners grapple with Celiac disease and gluten intolerance, more restaurants are looking to increase the items they can offer to guests. This year, Venice Bakery returned to the NRA Show with a new gluten-free pizza dough ball and a cauliflower-crust thin pizza that tastes nothing like cauliflower. Wildflower Bakery introduced herb-flavored gluten-free hoagie rolls, and Kiki’s served up portable breakfast sandwiches with fried eggs on a gluten-free buttermilk biscuit. All are 2017 FABI Award recipients. Who says your gluten-free guests can’t have great bread or pizza?

Healthy, convenient hummus


Hummus remains a popular component of healthful appetizers, snacks and sandwiches. One health-food oriented company, Baruvi Fresh LLC, offers a new way to quickly create and serve your own USDA-certified organic, instant hummus products. Hummustir, which comes packaged in individual pouches in a container, can be mixed together just before serving. The preservative-free product uses only non-GMO ingredients. 


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