Designing The Perfect MenuDesigning The Perfect Menu

About Me

Designing The Perfect Menu

Those brand new area rugs and that spiffy dining room paint job might look great, but all customers will remember about your restaurant is the food. Unfortunately, if you design a lackluster menu, your guests might not be tempted to try some of your best dishes. In my twenty years in the restaurant business, I have made some mistakes and had more than a few successes. I want to share the things with you that really work, so that you can enjoy your early days as a restaurant owner. Operating a restaurant is hard, but by heeding the right advice, you can enjoy the journey.


Dining And Dashing: Why You Should Eat At An Italian Restaurant Before An Endurance Race

Training for an endurance event, like a marathon or bicycle road race, is an exciting time. In the final days before your event, loading up on carbohydrates can significantly improve your performance. If your competition is out of town, however, finding quality pre-competition meals can be challenging, but Italian restaurants all over are changing this. Here is an introduction to carbohydrate loading, why Italian food is the perfect pre-race meal, and what to order.

What is "Carbo-Loading"?

Many athletes, especially long distance runners, "carbo-load" in the days before a big event. Scientific research backs up athletes' claims that this habit improves athletic performance, increases endurance, and prevents the dreaded "wall."

During the carbohydrate-loading phase, an athlete will monumentally increase the amount of carbohydrates in the diet. This increases the amount of energy-fueling glycogen stored in the muscles. When the muscles are depleted of glycogen, athletes "hit the wall." Switching to a diet consisting of 85-95% carbohydrates in the days before an athletic event will significantly reduce an athlete's odds of bonking in mid-competition.

Why Italian Food is Great for Carbohydrate Loading

Italian cuisine is very conducive to an athlete's diet, particularly during the carbohydrate-loading phase. Pasta is synonymous with Italian cuisine, and nothing says "successful carbohydrate load" than these Italian noodles.

Italian pasta dishes are available in a variety of noodle shapes, including macaronis, shells, corkscrews, penne, linguini, manicotti, and rigatoni. As a result, an athlete can eat a different pasta dish for every meal during the several days of carbo-loading without boring the taste buds.

Italian Restaurants: Changing the Way Athletes Carbo-Load

Most competitive athletes shy away from restaurants and take-out foods, especially in the days before a big event. This is because menu items often use industrially-processed ingredients, unhealthy fats and oils, too much salt, and lesser-quality ingredients. Many restaurants effectively turn these cheaper, unhealthy ingredients into a delicious course that can negatively impact an athlete's performance.

Today, "eating out" no longer carries the bad connotation that athletes once associated with the phrase. Not all restaurants follow the traditional unhealthy-ingredient model. More and more people are eating healthier, and this demand has influenced restaurants' choice of menu items. Year-round healthy options are not the only positive change restaurants are adding to their menus, either; some restaurants will even offer guests a special menu when a sporting event, like a marathon, comes to town. For example, restaurants in the vicinity of the world-renown Boston Marathon offer race specials that are high in healthy carbohydrates.

What to Look For When Carbo-Loading at an Italian Restaurant

Just because a menu item is pasta-based does not mean that you should immediately assume it is a good carbo-loading choice. Proper carbohydrate-loading diets have key things in common.

  • Complex Carbohydrates: Pasta noodles are not all created equal. Noodles made of complex carbohydrates, like whole wheat and whole grain pastas, stay in your system longer than simple carbohydrates, like enriched flour or white flour noodles. Choose a menu dish that consists of complex carbohydrate-rich pasta.
  • Light Sauce: Choose your sauce wisely. Sauces that are made of heavy creams, like Alfredo sauce, can disrupt your stomach. The same is true with spicy or overly-seasoned sauces. For most people, tomato-based sauces make good pre-competition choices, but experiment beforehand to see if the acidity will sour your stomach.
  • Low Fiber: Avoid pasta dishes with an excessive amount of fiber. Ironically, this means skipping the extra veggies. Fiber-rich vegetables are almost always good, healthy diet additions, but if you consume too many of them before you compete, you might be ditching the race and running for the bathroom instead.

For more information, contact O J'S Steak & Pizza or a similar location.