Four Ways to Substitute for Low Cost Food That Are High in Quality & Nutrition

Four Ways to Substitute for Low Cost Food That Are High in Quality & Nutrition

Due to COVID-19 interruptions in harvesting, production, purchasing and transportation, many food and supply costs have risen, especially with beef, chicken, certain vegetables and pasteurized eggs. In this recording, learn about ways to mitigate these cost increases. Substituting and sourcing cost effective items is a sure way to save on the rising food expenses while shifting your menu and satisfying your residents.

Janet McKeeHere is a recent example of a price increase due to the pandemic:

On 3/1/2020 hamburger was $2.99/lb and as of 5/5/2020 that same product was being sold for $6.25/lb – that is a 273% PRICE INCREASE! We expect there to be continued challenges during these difficult times.

Substituting items can be as easy as choosing Boneless Chicken Thighs (42 cents) instead of Chicken Breast (96 cents) by using these cost effective protein equivalents you can create your menu items at a fraction of the cost. Another great example is adding Ham & Beans in place of Sliced Ham for the same amount of protein.

By using your order guide you can use the “Hunt & Peck” method to find adequate substitutions. All of the items in our easy to use protein, meat & substitutions & alternatives chart are exchangeable, all nutritiously sound and great options for existing menu meals.

View our latest webinar Reducing Food Costs for more information and ways to effectively mitigate these cost increases!

Here are four menu examples of effective substitutions:

1. Spaghetti Pie

Normally prepared with hamburger 80/20 for $6.29/lb

    • Substitute with ground turkey for $4.29/lb (just add extra seasoning to achieve similar taste)
    • $2.00 saving per serving!
    • Tastes great and is a filling meal to satisfy residents

2. Vegetables

    • Use frozen or canned instead of fresh
    • Use instant mashed potatoes
    • Instead of using baked potatoes you can save time and costs on labor by offering greens of choice
    • Use seasonal vegetables when regulations permit – you can save on costs.
      • EX. Spaghetti squash (46 cents/serving) to Summer Corn (25 cents/serving)
    • Easy to Use Vegetable Substitutions Chart

3. Fruits & Juices

    • Utilize your local fruits when regulations permit
    • Select juice blends instead of 100% juices
      • EX.  100% Orange juice ($3.29/ half gallon) or Orange juice/pear blend ($2.12/ half gallon) vitamin C fortified.
    • Use cost effective fruits

4. Offering combination meals of meat & starch instead of separate items.

Review your menu and pricing several times each week, alter as needed. Collaborate with your RDN to ensure you are adequately providing quality, flavorful and nutritional meals to residents. Post accurate menus daily to keep residents informed.

Do you need more ideas to cut costs effectively during the pandemic? Check out our webinar Reducing Food Costs for more information on adequate substitutes and other ways to provide your residents with nutritious items!

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