Cycle menus are most often used in food service operations that serve the same group of customers every day, such as healthcare facilities, schools, restaurants, etc. Cycle menus follow a particular pattern designed to meet the customer needs and repeat on a regular basis.
Why a Cycle Menu?
- Help reduce plate waste
- Reduce food costs
- Helps plan seasonal meals for the spring, summer, and fall/winter (featuring local foods with cultural flavors)
- Produce standardized recipes
- Cut ordering or purchasing time due to repeated use of foods or meals
- Encourage participation through planning of popular meals
- Analyze nutrients for age or grade groups
- Serve tasty and healthy meals that fit within the USDA meal guidelines
Challenges for Cycle Menu Planning:
While planning a cycle menu for a period, the cycle menu period is fixed based on customer preferences. For example, a hospital can typically use a shorter cycle menu, perhaps five to seven days, for patients, because most patients do not stay in a hospital for many days. But, when it comes to creating a cycle menu for a school, the cycle menu may tend to be as long as six weeks, because in this case, the same students may be eating in the cafeteria on a daily basis.
Cycle menus may be planned seasonally, so that the cycle might have the spring, summer, and fall/winter cycle.
Cycle menu planning can be tedious. It is also challenging for healthcare professionals, school dietitians, and others who are assigned to plan cycle menus to make sure they are strictly food regulatory compliant.
Cycle menu planning regulations include balance, nutritional quality, aesthetics, color, flavors, shapes, and size of food. In addition, there are costs, production and other management factors during the process of cycle menu planning.
Simply put, a cycle menu offers different meal plans for each day within a cycle. When a cycle ends, it repeats again in the same order. It provides structure, predictability, and documentation. All of these are helpful factors to plan, maintain and validate menus which help meet the nutritional standards and guidelines.
What is the Easy Solution for Cycle Menu Creation?
Cycle menu planning manually is tiring, taxing and time-consuming. Organizations which need to plan cycle menus on a daily basis would unlikely approve allocation of time resources when the demand is high in other areas.
In order to improve food service operations, an organization can start using a cycle menu creation software to efficiently complete the entire task. A cycle menu creation software will analyze for nutrition content, standardize quality and streamline production in food service operations. These software products are designed to increase food-service satisfaction and improve cost control.
Nutritionist Pro™ is a perfect choice for cycle menu planning. It provides an end-to-end cycle menu planning solution. It allows its users to:
- Create a menu by using our Quick Menu Wizard
- Add custom foods and recipes to a menu
- Compare menus against customized or DRI goals
- Generate reports
- Test or modify recipes and menu items to meet goals for certain nutrients
Nutritionist Pro™ is designed to reduce the workload of cycle menu creation. It contains data from many regions of the world to quickly use foods based on customers’ needs and it also has the ability to use your own custom foods. One can create menus fast and add unlimited recipes and menus, share reports with the team to improve efficiency as well, test new recipes and menu items with the kitchen team and compare to your nutrient goals quickly and efficiently.
Want to learn how easily and quickly Nutritionist Pro™ can create cycle menus? Watch this video.