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Health

Healthy Benefits Of Peanut Butter & Jelly

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a classic American favorite, and with good reason – they’re delicious! While these sandwiches may evoke sweet childhood memories or provide an occasional sweet treat, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches also provide some surprising health benefits. Read more to find out how healthy this yummy sandwich can be.

Protein
Protein contributes to healthy muscles, skin, hair, and teeth and plays a role in hormonal function. It also helps to keep blood healthy. A serving of peanut butter (2 tbsp) contains about 8g of protein, and using whole wheat bread can increase your protein intake.

Fiber
Fiber promotes regularity in digestion and helps control cholesterol levels. It also helps to keep you full longer. Luckily, jelly made from all fruit contains more fiber than other varieties, and peanut butter contains 2g per serving.

Healthy Fats
Did you know peanuts are a good source of heart-healthy fats? Unsaturated fats found in nuts can lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk of developing heart disease. They also help your brain, skin, and even provide an energy boost. Peanut butter can provide some of these benefits, and, in moderation, jelly can be a healthy part of a low-fat and heart-healthy diet.

Antioxidants
Vitamin E is an antioxidant found in peanuts and can help protect your body from free-radical damage that contributes to the development of cancer and heart disease. In addition, resveratrol is another antioxidant found in peanuts and peanut butter that has potential to protect you from cancer and heart problems. It also has anti-aging, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties, and offers protection for healthy brain function.

Vitamins
Jelly is made with fruit, thus, you increase your vitamin C intake when you consume it. Vitamin C is important for immunity, would healing and the health of your teeth and gums. While jelly contains trace amounts of some B vitamins, peanut butter is good source of several B vitamins, which are necessary for your body to use the energy it gets from the foods you eat. Niacin is one of the B vitamins found in peanut butter, and one serving offers 24% of your daily needs. And adequate intake of niacin could reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Another B vitamin found in peanut butter is folate, which helps prevent birth defects in gestating infants.

Minerals
As a whole, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich contains a few minerals including potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, and calcium. Potassium helps to regulate a healthy blood pressure while magnesium and calcium play role in healthy bones. Zinc is important for vision and wound healing, and iron is a necessary nutrient for healthy blood oxygenation.

Did you know August is National Sandwich Month? Share your favorite sandwiches with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Stop by and celebrate National Sandwich Month with your favorite signature sandwiches from the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli! We’re open weekdays 7:00am-4:00pm & Saturdays 8:00am-4:30pm. We also offer delivery via DoorDash or UberEATS.

Salad For Breakfast

The idea of a breakfast salad may sound taboo at first, but it deserves to be given a try. Having a salad for breakfast can start you with a great amount of nutrition and energy for the day. The trick to a delicious breakfast salad (or any salad for that matter) is to build it with only the foods you want to eat. Here are some tips to get you started on a healthy and yummy breakfast salad.

Greens
For your base, you should concentrate on antioxidant-rich leafy greens like kale, microgreens, or spinach. Feel free to mix it up, too. You can add cabbage and romaine for a delightful crunch, arugula for a peppery kick, or beet or turnip greens to cut back on your food waste.

Protein
Protein helps to boost metabolism and keep you feeling full longer. And what food offers a good amount of protein and screams breakfast more than eggs? Aside from that, you can incorporate Greek yogurt, tofu, or bacon into your breakfast salad.

Fiber
Up your fiber intake by adding grains or beans. Quinoa, farro, barley, or brown rice can make your breakfast salad more filling. You can even add roasted chickpeas in lieu of croutons.

Natural Fats
Add fats from fruits, seeds, and oils to help fill you up (o clarify, fruit means avocados).You can add nuts and seeds for a yummy, crunchy texture, and extra virgin olive oil is great for dressing. You can make it creamy with a dollop of hummus.

Fresh Fruit
Create a sweet and savory salad by add pomegranate seeds, slices of citrus, mango, watermelon, or berries – the possibilities are endless. You can also use fresh citrus juices or berries for the dressing.

When it comes to breakfast salads, feel free to experiment with different recipes, greens, toppings, until you find your favorites. If you must use store bought dressings and fried and refined toppings, do so in moderation. But remember, it’s your breakfast salad and you can build it however you like it.

What are your favorite breakfast salad recipes? Share with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Join us for breakfast six days a week! Our breakfast menu is available Monday-Saturday until 10:30am. Visit us in store or have our food delivered to you via DoorDash or UberEATS.

Ayurvedic Diet: What You Need To Know

You may have heard of Ayurveda and the Ayurvedic diet, but do you know what it is? Ayurveda is a holistic medicine practice from India. “Ayu” means life and “veda” means science, therefore it technically means “the science of life.” Ayurveda has been around for over 5,000 years and basically promotes a more natural lifestyle that subsequently makes you feel better. In the West, many have adopted an Ayurvedic lifestyle that includes local, seasonal foods chosen for an individual’s unique set of biophysical needs, practicing stress-management techniques, and drinking herbal teas.

When it comes to cooking, essentially all cooking is Ayurveda. Choosing fresh produce, whole grains, sustainable protein sources and spices promotes Ayurveda. Whether you want to adopt an Ayurvedic diet or not, these Ayurvedic cooking techniques will help to make your meals healthier.

Think Seasonal
Start with your local farmer’s market as it is a helpful resource to inform you what’s growing in your region. You can chat with farmers to understand how their fresh produce can be incorporated into your cooking. Remember, Ayurveda promotes keeping it simple and local.

Spice It Up
Spices support digestion, provide other health benefits, and are key components in Ayurvedic cooking.
Even in small amounts, they support the entire system.  For example, turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties, ginger supports the immune system and digestion, and cardamom can lower the acidity of coffee.

Plan Ahead
Meal prep is an easy way to save time and energy. Planning ahead eliminates the need to ponder your meals daily and prevents you from ordering takeout. You can try soaking beans and rice in the morning so they cook faster when you get home. Or you can make spice blends on the weekend so they’re ready for you whenever you decide to meal prep.

Cook A Little Everyday
Preventable health issues are on the rise, thus it is imperative that we start cooking healthy food at home. If you eat out for a majority of your meals, start by cooking one meal at home each day. Then you can increase this at a steady pace so that eventually you are making most of your meals at home. Cooking at home is rewarding as saves time and money and is a great way to bond with your loved ones.

Have you adopted the Ayurvedic diet?  Share your experiences with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Join us for yummy sandwiches and salads made fresh to order! We’re located at 105 East Arrow Highway (the northeast corner of E Arrow Hwy & Garey Ave) and open weekdays 7:00am-4:00pm & Saturdays 8:00am-4:30pm.

Food Safety For The Summer

Summer has arrived and it’s the season for backyard barbecues and outdoor gatherings. While it may be nice to host parties under the sun, the unpredictable weather and outdoor conditions may not be the safest place for food. Here are some food safety tips for your next outdoor summer party.

  • Choose Wisely

It can get extremely hot during the summer, and when you’re serving food outdoors, that makes it harder to maintain the safe temperatures for foods. To err on the side of caution, avoid foods that are highly sensitive to temperature and pose a high risk for foodborne illness. Instead choose hardy foods that don’t spoil easy and you can keep at the appropriate temperature.

  • Plan Ahead

Depending on your menu, be sure you have the right tools (coolers, warming stations, etc.) to keep your cold foods cold and your hot foods hot. Also, to avoid any cross contamination, have separate utensils and cutting boards for raw and cooked foods. Bring enough containers, plates and utensils for your guests and the amount of food you plan on serving. And designate an area to store food that is covered and protected pests or weather-related contaminants (ex. mud, blown leaves).

  • Serve Smartly

Whether you’re catering to a small or large group, it’s best to serve food in smaller batches. That way, the food will be used faster while maintaining the proper temperatures. And whenever replenishing food, do not pile on new food on top of old food – use a new container for the new batch.

  • Wash Your Hands

It’s not only important for food safety, but your health in general. Always wash your hands before and after handling food, whether you’re serving, eating, or cleaning up. Bring wet naps and hand sanitizer as backup.

Share your own food safety tips with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest!

Got an upcoming party, baby shower, family gathering, or business meeting? Let us cater your next event! From sandwiches to salads to baked goods, we’ve got you covered. Give us a call 909-596-5225 for more information or visit us in store to discuss your options. We look forward to working with you!

Make Time For Breakfast

Starting your day with breakfast, even something small, can make a big difference. What we eat in the morning is what kick starts our metabolism and fuels us for the day. Unfortunately, with our busy schedules, breakfast often gets forgotten. Start making breakfast part of your daily schedule by adopting these healthy breakfast habits.

  • Don’t skip breakfast.
    As mentioned, starting your morning with breakfast will boost metabolism.
  • Eat within an hour after you get up.
    Eating breakfast also helps to keep your blood sugar levels stable during the day.
  • Make it simple.
    If you usually skip breakfast, you may think you don’t have time or you feel like you’re not hungry. Luckily, a little can go a long way in the morning. Keep it simple, like yogurt or oatmeal topped with fruits, nuts and seeds.
  • Start with water.
    A glass or two of room temperature water or warmer on an empty stomach is a good start for your digestive system. Adding a squeeze of fresh lemon juice can add flavor along with vitamin C.
  • Choose healthy foods.
    The last thing you want to do is start your day with foods that will weigh you down. Keep it light and healthful with whole grains, lean protein, fruits and vegetables. Keep the saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars to a minimum. Try incorporating things like whole wheat bread, whole grain cereals, plain yogurt, fruits, or hard-boiled eggs.
  • Plan ahead.
    Most breakfast foods can be prepared the night before, so planning ahead can save you some time in the morning. For example, you can chop fruits ahead of time for a fresh fruit salad, or oats can be soaked overnight and topped with your favorite additions in the morning.
  • Pick protein.
    Protein takes time to digest, and thus, helps to stave off the craving for a mid-morning snack. To further sustain you throughout the day, pair lean protein with fiber. Good protein sources include eggs, cottage cheese, nuts, lean meat and fish.
  • Warm it up.
    Be sure to include a warm aspect in your breakfast. If you prefer cold food, try to pair it with a warm drink like tea or coffee. Warm food and liquids help to get your digestive system going.
  • Change it up.
    It may be easier to eat the same thing every day, however, it helps to change it up. There is no food that has all the nutrients you need in the optimum amounts, so having a variety of breakfast options over the course of a week helps to ensure you’re getting all the good stuff in proper amounts.
  • Take your time.
    Busy mornings are usually the reason why most of us skip breakfast. If at all possible, take time to sit down, relax, and really enjoy your breakfast. By slowing down, and chewing carefully and mindfully, you may end up eating less food, feeling full faster, and improving your digestion.

Share your own breakfast tips with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest!

Join us for breakfast six days a week! Our breakfast menu is available Monday-Saturday until 10:30am. Visit us in store or have our food delivered to you via DoorDash or UberEATS.

Healthy Breakfast Essentials

Start your day off right with a healthy and hearty breakfast! The best breakfast will be satisfying and nutrient-rich to fuel your morning and keep you satiated until lunchtime. Be sure your morning meal contains these breakfast essentials.

Protein

This is what keeps you full longer, helps your brain function better and helps to stabilize your blood sugar. Protein is the most important part of breakfast when it comes to fueling your body for the day.

Sources:

  • Eggs – 6 grams per egg
  • Greek Yogurt – 15 grams per ½ cup plain yogurt
  • Milk/Almond Milk – 8 grams per 8 ounces
  • Peanut Butter – 8 grams per 2 tablespoons
  • Oatmeal – 6 grams per ½ cup oats

Whole Grains

Fiber keeps your digestive system working properly, keeps you full, and balances blood sugar. Luckily, whole grains are a great source of fiber. When you pair fiber with protein and healthy fats, your body works to break down whole grains slowly and efficiently.

Sources:

  • Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Whole Wheat Toast
  • Whole Grain Muffins
  • Pancakes/Waffles made with Oats or Whole Wheat Flour
  • Granola

Healthy Fats

Again, healthy fats help to keep you full, and help the condition of your skin, hair, brain function.

Sources:

  • Nuts/Nut Butter
  • Coconut Oil
  • Avocados
  • Eggs
  • Flax Seed
  • Coconut Milk, Almond Milk, Regular

Fruits/Veggies

Including at least one serving of fruits and vegetables in your breakfast is an easy way to help you reach the recommended daily intake.

Ways To Add Fruits & Veggies To Breakfast:

  • Smoothies – you can mix both fruits and vegetables for a refreshing drink
  • Oatmeal – top with bananas or apples, or add carrots and raisins to create a Carrot Cake-like oatmeal
  • Hash – try a sweet potato has for a hearty breakfast
  • Frittata – use up leftover roasted vegetables for a veggie-filled dish
  • Sandwiches – load up with different veggies and eggs
  • Pancakes – top whole wheat pancakes with your favorite fruits

Prep The Night Before

By preparing your breakfast food the night before gives you one less thing you need to worry about in the morning. And if time is the main reason you skip breakfast in the morning, now you have no excuse.

What’s your favorite healthy breakfast? Share with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest! Be sure to join us for breakfast, served until 10:30am, six days a week (Monday-Friday 7:00am-4:00pm, Saturdays 8:00am-4:30pm). Visit us in store or have it delivered via DoorDash or UberEATS.

Seasonal Spring Produce

Spring is officially here and that means that delicious spring produce is in season. Start enjoying these yummy in-season foods now.

Arugula
In addition to arugula, other leafy greens like romaine and red leaf lettuce are also in season. These leafy greens are rich in vitamins A, K, and folate, chlorophyll, fiber, and water. They can help reduce inflammation while also hydrating and detoxifying your body.

Build delicious salads with these leafy greens and other veggies, nuts or seeds, drizzled with EVOO, balsamic vinegar or citrus juice.

Artichokes
Despite being available in both spring and fall, artichokes are a great spring food. Rich in folic acid, vitamin C, B-complex vitamins, and many minerals, artichokes can help lower cholesterol, reduce free radicals, and promote optimal metabolic cell function.

You can boil artichokes for about 20 minutes and enjoy them by peeling off the leaves and pairing it with your favorite dipping sauce.

Asparagus
Asparagus contains an abundance of vitamin K, which is important for blood clotting, heart and bone health, cancer prevention, and other functions. It’s also loaded with copper, selenium, B vitamins and other important nutrients.

Cooking asparagus is fairly simple. You can sauté it with your favorite seasonings in butter, ghee, or your oil of choice. Just be cautious to not overcook them. Don’t let them get too wilted – you want them to stay vibrant green and retain their shape.

Beets
As you may gather from their deep and juicy color, beets are great for blood and circulation. They are a unique source of phytonutrients called betalains, which can lower blood pressure, boost stamina, and support detoxification.

There are numerous ways you can reap the benefits beets. You can juice them, add them to smoothies, roast them as a side dish, or even add them to salads.

Carrots
When they’re in season locally, carrots taste even better. These delicious root vegetables are high in vitamin A and other antioxidants and help you maintain healthy hair, skin, and nails.

As we all know, carrots are yummy whether eaten raw or cooked. Chop, slice or shred them onto anything from salads to sandwiches, or bring them along as a travel snack.

Mint
Mint has powerful healing properties. It contains rosmarinic acid, an antioxidant that can relieve seasonal allergy symptoms. It also contains menthol, which is a natural decongestant, and can soothe an upset stomach.

Since mint is such a delicate herb, it’s best not to cook it. Instead, add it to water or iced tea for natural flavoring. You can also add it as an edible garnish, or chop it up and add it to fruit salads.

Peas
Peas are an excellent anti-inflammatory food thanks to the wide variety of vitamins and minerals they contain, including vitamins C, K, several B vitamins, manganese, phosphorus, and protein. Because they have a short growing season, enjoying them during their peak is something special.

Snack on sugar snap peas straight out of the pod or add them to salads, smoothies, stir-fries, noodle dishes, and more.

Strawberries
There’s nothing better than ripe, sweet strawberries. Did you know they are among the top five sources of antioxidant-rich fruit in the U.S.? And despite containing fructose, strawberries can help balance blood sugar. Strawberries also contain polyphenols which support immunity, healthy cell renewal, and other functions.

Eat them raw or freeze them (with the stems removed) to add to smoothies. You can also add them to chia pudding or oatmeal, make jam, or even make decadent chocolate-covered strawberries.

Spring Onions
Speaking of polyphenols, onions contain a high amount, especially flavonoids, which are compounds that play a major role in disease prevention. They are also natural antihistamines, and have antibacterial and antifungal properties.

Add raw onions to salads or tacos, sauté them with sea salt as a tasty caramelized onion side dish, or use them as a tasty base for spring sauces and soups.

Radishes
Radishes are a great detoxifier. They work at removing waste and toxins from both the stomach and liver. Also a natural diuretic, radishes help treat urinary and kidney conditions. In addition, they hydrate your skin, reduce fevers, and even treat insect bites.

You can add raw slices to salads, roast them as a side dish, or even juice them for a healthy drink.

What are your favorite seasonal spring foods? Share with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest.

For a yummy deli sandwich or salad made with the finest and freshest ingredients available, visit the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli in Pomona! We are open weekdays from 7:00am-4:00pm and Saturdays 8:00am-4:30pm.

Energizing Breakfast Foods

A delicious and filling breakfast can help set the tone for the day. Be sure you’re filling up on foods that will fuel you for the rest of the day. Here are some great nutritious and energizing breakfast foods.

  • Avocado
    There’s a reason avocado toast is a popular breakfast food. Loaded with heart healthy fats, B vitamins, and fiber, avocados take longer to digest, and thus, help sustain your energy throughout the day. Next time, top your avocado toast with an egg for more nutritional benefits.
  • Bananas
    Not only are they an easy option for those busy mornings, bananas offer a unique mix of antioxidants, carbohydrates, and potassium that give you an energy boost. Next time you want to reach for an energy drink, try a banana instead.
  • Breakfast Smoothie
    You can craft these to your liking and prepare them ahead of time, making them a healthy and smart option. Fruits and vegetables contains excellent nutrients that will provide you with energy through the day, and adding a source of protein will help to keep you full.
  • Eggs
    This classic and versatile breakfast food is nutrient-rich and a great source of protein. Aside from keeping you full and stabilizing your energy levels, eggs contain choline, which plays a role muscle control, and B vitamins, which convert food into energy.
  • Fresh Fruit
    Why not start your day with nature’s candy? Get your sweet tooth fix without the crash with fresh fruits. Fresh fruits contain powerful antioxidants along with fiber, which helps to keep your blood sugar levels steady.
  • Greek Yogurt
    Greek yogurt is a great source of lean protein (almost two times more than traditional yogurt), fat, and carbohydrates. The protein and fiber combination helps to delay digestion of the meal and avoid the spike and crash in blood sugar.
  • Herbal Tea
    If you can, try swapping your coffee for herbal tea. Since they have less caffeine and are water based, teas are more hydrating and contain phytochemicals and antioxidants that help protect you from free radicals.
  • Lean Meat
    Lean meats provide protein, and the amino acids in proteins help keep you alert throughout the day. Try lean meats like ham, turkey, or smoked salmon.
  • Non-Dairy Milk
    For those with dietary restrictions, non-dairy milk helps to provide vitamins and a lean source of protein sans cholesterol. Also, seek fortified versions as they will have more energy supporting nutrients than others.
  • Peanut Butter
    You may reserve peanut and other nut butters for your snacks later in the day, but adding it to breakfast can give you an extra boost. Remember, the protein and fat (and fiber when possible) combination is key to preventing highs, lows, and crashes, and will help to curb your appetite.
  • Steel-Cut Oatmeal
    Opt for steel-cut oatmeal versus the processed instant oatmeal. Your body has to work harder to break down the steel-cut oats, leaving you with more sustained energy. Also, the soluble fiber in oats helps to slow the digestion of simple carbohydrates, eliminating the spike and crash of blood sugar levels.
  • Whole Grain Bread
    Ditch the white bread – whole grain bread offers more fiber and good fats to keep you fuller longer. Whole grain bread is also fortified with B vitamins, which help with energy production in the body.

What’s your go-to breakfast when you need a little boost in the morning? Share with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Join the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli for breakfast or lunch six days a week! Breakfast is served until 10:30am and we are open weekdays 7:00am-4:00pm and Saturdays 8:00am-4:30pm.

Practice Mindful Eating

Mindful eating encourages you to pay attention to what you are eating, heightening our awareness of pleasure and nourishment from our food. While the overall idea of mindful eating seems simple, to really master it takes gentle and consistent practice. Over time it can become a conscious habit, but realistically, we may fall in and out of it as staying present with eating can be a challenge in different situations.

Mindful eating often slows down the process of eating, so begin by taking a few mindful breaths to relax and become centered and present. Here are more mindful eating tips to get you started on the mindfulness path.

  • Mindful Check-In
    As mentioned, before a meal, bring awareness to your breathing. Take a breath, pause, and then notice any present thoughts or feelings, particularly in relation to the food you are about to eat. This can be brief moment or last up to a couple of minutes.

    Take a few deep, relaxing breaths and pay attention to the movement of your breaths in and out. Slowly expand your awareness to include your whole body and notice without judgment what thoughts, feelings, and body sensations are present. Consider how these may influence your choices on how much, when, and what to eat, along with desires or cravings for food.

  • Hunger & Fullness Levels
    As you are mindfully checking-in, tune in to your level of physical hunger. Most of us enjoy food most when we have some to moderate hunger – when we are too hungry, we tend to eat fast and overeat.

    Ask yourself “How hungry am I?” Listen to your body and determine whether it is physical hunger or something else. If it is the latter, ask yourself “What am I really hungry for?”

    To understand your level of physical fullness, you should also ask yourself “How full am I?” Again, listen to the messages your body is sending you. Do what would most honor your body at the present moment.

  • Reflect Upon Your Food
    How did your food get to you? What went into making it and who/what were involved (people, sun, earth, water, farmers)? Think about the quality and sources of your food, and let the sense of appreciation or gratitude for your food wash over you.
  • Senses
    Enjoy your food with all your senses:

    • Feast your eyes on your food – visually appreciate the color, texture, and shape.
    • Breathe in the aromas, and notice the nuances with both nostrils.
    • Savor your food without chewing first – notice the flavor, texture, and sensations.
    • As you chew your food, stay as present as possible with each bite and immerse yourself in the experience.
    • Mindfully swallow when ready.
      Notice any associations that arise, whether pleasant or unpleasant. Bask in pleasant associations or positive memories if you’ve like, while staying present with the full experience.
  • Taste Mindfully
    Savor the taste of your food fully, and pay attention to when the taste diminishes and your enjoyment lessens. This awareness is tool and will help you make better decisions about how much and how little to eat, as well as when to stop and when to eat more.
  • Check In With Hunger & Fullness
    Check in with hunger and fullness levels occasionally throughout the snack or meal. As you did before your meal, continue to do so throughout the meal.
  • Practice
    When you begin mindful eating, you start a slow pace as you get accustomed to the different aspects. As you hone your attention skills, your mindful eating habits will become more natural, enabling you to eat mindfully at different paces, in different settings, and with different people.

Do you practice mindful eating? What benefits have you noticed? Share with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Practice your mindful eating skills with us at the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli. We’re open weekdays 7:00am-4:00pm and Saturdays 8:00-4:30pm. Dine in or have your food delivered via DoorDash or UberEATS.

Scrumptious Salad Tips

Salads don’t have to be bland or boring. With the right skills, fresh ingredients, and proper execution, you can enjoy a scrumptious and satisfying salad. These simple rules and tips will help you improve your salad skills.

Before getting started, there are some general rules you should follow:

  • Quality

Since a salad is basically a mishmash of veggies and produce, in order to create a delicious salad you must start with quality ingredients. Shop and eat seasonally and locally for an exceptional salad (and a more sustainable meal). Most products at farmer’s markets are picked within 24 hours of being sold so you are pretty much guaranteed fresh, prime produce.

  • Variety

Say no to bland, boring salads. Incorporating a variety of ingredients, textures, shapes, and sizes is vital to creating complex flavors and textures within your salad.

  • Chopping

Smaller pieces mean your fork can pick up more different items for a more exciting bite. Chop your ingredients finely, especially your lettuce or greens. You can even learn how to chop different shapes and styles for more diversity in your salad.

Making The Salad
Now that you have reviewed these basic rules, it is time to make your salad.

Variety of Greens
By mixing different types of lettuce, you not only introduce new flavors and textures, but you also diversify the nutrient content of your salad. You can even go beyond leafy greens and use things like grains, other vegetables, or even legumes or beans as your base.

Season Your Greens
Before adding any dressing or toppings, season your greens with salt and pepper. This minor detail can really add to your salad overall. And really, you should be seasoning your food at every level to build a more complex flavor profile (your taste buds will thank you). In addition, you may consider adding fresh chopped herbs and citrus zest during this step.

Dressing
With salad dressing, a little goes a long way, so dress lightly. Remember, you can always add more, but you can’t take it back. Add a little at a time and taste it as you go. For a more even coating, use your freshly washed hands to mix it all up.

Make Your Own Dressing
Homemade dressing is worth the extra effort – you can control the ingredients and adjust it to your liking. In general, dressing should have a good balance of fat, acidity, and flavor. And different greens pair with different flavors. Remember, pair bold with bold and light with light.

  • Arugula – The slightly bitter and peppery flavor is best balanced with sweetness, like a balsamic reduction.
  • Kale – Be sure to massage kale thoroughly and then dress it lightly with an acidic or creamy dressing.
  • Spring/Summer Mixes and Tender Lettuces (Boston bibb, butter lettuce) – Simple vinaigrettes and citronettes (olive oil, acidity, salt and pepper) work well with these simple greens.
  • Spinach – Because spinach wilts easily, you should use a simple dressing (honey or Dijon vinaigrette, bacon dressing) at the last minute.
  • Romaine – Because it is very versatile, it can work with any type of dressing.
  • Watercress – This can be extremely bitter, so it is best to embrace fat, creaminess and sweetness.
  • Iceberg – Creamy dressing can help build the bland flavor of iceberg lettuce.
  • Grains – These are also very versatile, thus, can handle any dressing. Remember to dress grains while they are still warm for better absorption.

Texture & Toppings
Aim for at least one from each category.

  • Crunch – Add texture with things like nuts, seeds, croutons (homemade), parmesan crisps, roasted chickpeas or lentils.
  • Grains – Bulk up your salad and stay full longer with grains like quinoa, bulgur, couscous, barley, farro, or wheat berries.
  • Protein: Protein can help round out your salad and keep you satiated. Try beans, lentils, roasted tofu, poached eggs, falafel, grilled chicken, or salmon.
  • Optional items include fats (avocado, cheese), fresh fruit (pomegranate seeds, tart green apples), or roasted veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, butternut squash). And remember, leftovers sometimes make the best salad toppings.

The finished product is a salad that you will enjoy as it includes your favorite foods and flavors with various textures – an absolute treat for your taste buds. It make sound like a lot of work, but if you do a little prep at the beginning of the week, such as washing and drying your produce, chopping veggies, or making a large batch of grains, assembling a satisfying salad won’t be so bad.

Have any other salad tips to share? Connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Visit the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli weekdays 7:00am-4:00pm and Saturdays 8:00am-4:30pm. Dine in, order to-go, or have our food delivered via DoorDash or UberEATS.