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Vegan/ Vegetarian

Breads & Their Benefits

Bread has gotten a bad rap over the years thanks to its high ranking on the glycemic index scale. With white bread specifically, the sugars are quickly broken down and sent into the bloodstream. This causes blood sugar levels to spike and increases your chances for obesity and diabetes. Luckily, there are many other, healthier options for bread than white bread.

Ezekiel Bread
No added sugar and sprouted whole grains make Ezekiel bread a top choice. The sprouting process increases the amount and bio-availability of vitamins and minerals, and can be done either dry or wet.

Dry sprouting: Sprout the grain and then dry it to lock in the nutrients when they are at their peak. The sprouted grain can be stored until it is cooked or milled into sprouted grain flour to then make bread.

Wet sprouting: Mash wet, sprouted grains into a thick paste used to make breads, tortillas, and more (often described as “flourless”).

For vegetarians, Ezekiel bread is a great choice. It’s made from wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet, and spelt, which, when all are sprouted and combined, create a complete protein similar to that found in milk and eggs. In addition, it also contains all nine essential amino acids.

Flaxseed Bread
Flax seeds are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, especially for vegans since oily fish and fish oil are not an option. Flax seed and flaxseed bread can help reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes.

Rye Bread
Rye bread is made with rye flour which comes from a wheat-like plant. A study on mice that were fed whole grain diets based on either wheat or rye showed that whole grain rye reduced body weight, slightly improved insulin sensitivity, and lowered total cholesterol in mice. Other studies found that people who ate rye bread for breakfast had decreased hunger and desire to eat eight hours later in comparison to those who ate wheat bread.

Oat Bread
Oats are one of the healthiest sources of good carbs as they are slow-digesting, and thus, make you feel fuller longer. Oats also provide a high amount of beta-glucan (a cholesterol-lowering fiber) which has been shown to reduce certain cancers (such as colon cancer), diabetes, digestive problems, and heart disease. They also have more protein than wheat, and contain various vitamins (ex. vitamin E), and nutrients (ex. iron, calcium). Oat bread may contain whole grain oat groats, steel cut oats, and thick oats.

Whole Wheat Bread
When choosing whole wheat bread, be sure to choose 100% whole wheat versus enriched wheat flour. Although the U.S. requires manufacturers to enrich wheat flour with vitamins B1, B2, B3, and iron because processing takes over half of the nutrients out, the same amount that’s been depleted is not put back in. In its original, non-enriched form, whole wheat is a great source of dietary fiber, manganese, and magnesium.

Remember, in order for something to be whole wheat, the product has to be made from the entire wheat kernel. Therefore, whole wheat is one kind of whole grain. While all whole wheat is whole grain, not all whole grain is whole wheat.

Whole Grain
Whole grain foods contain a bevy of nutrients, fiber, and healthy plant compounds naturally found in the grain. You want to look for products that list the first ingredient as “whole wheat,” “whole oats,” or a similar whole grain.

For further clarification, whole grains can mean it has one of many types of healthy grains included, while whole wheat labels the specific grain that’s being used.

Multigrain Bread
Multigrain bread is another that may be confused with whole grain bread. Multigrain means a food has more than one type of grain, although they might not all be whole grains. You want to check the label to ensure that you are choosing multigrain bread with whole grains.

Brown Rice Bread
This is a great options for those who are vegan and gluten-free. With brown rice bread, you still get the benefits of fiber, proteins, thiamine, calcium, magnesium, fiber, and potassium natural to the rice, without gluten or any animal products/byproducts.

Gluten-Free Bread
With gluten-free bread, the wheat, rye and barley are substituted with cornstarch, rice flour, tapioca starch and potato flour. This bread should be reserved for those with Celiac disease or with gluten allergies since gluten-free diets are often stripped of lots of nutrients. If you have neither condition, try a different type of healthy bread on the list.

The making of sourdough bread is quote labor-intensive. The longer rise time increases the lactic acid and creates and ideal pH for the enzyme phytase. This enzyme breaks down phytates, which bind to minerals like iron, zinc, and manganese, slowing their absorption. The long fermentation process allows the bacteria to break down the carbs and gluten in the bread, making it easier to digest and releasing the nutrients so that they are easier to absorb.

Did we miss any other healthy breads? Share with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Don’t forget – our new store hours are in full effect! We are now open Monday-Friday 8:00am-7:00pm and Saturdays 8:00am-4:30pm. Spread the word & join us for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

Catering Tips For Office Lunches

Good office lunch catering can be the saving grace of an otherwise mundane or stressful work day. It can boost workers’ spirits and fuel them for the rest of the day. However, a lot can go wrong if these catered lunches are planned and executed poorly. Heed these tips and advice when planning your next office lunch catering.

  • Headcount

Getting a final headcount is crucial – nothing is more problematic or embarrassing as running out of food. Be sure to double check your headcount to ensure there will be enough food for everyone participating.

  • Narrow It Down

Instead of taking individual orders from everyone, pick a restaurant and take a look at the menu. Narrow it down to a few options from which workers may choose and give a deadline for order submissions.

  • Location, Location, Location

If your employees will be eating in the conference room during a meeting, there are some things to consider.

You will need to set up a food table opposite from the presentation. If people would like to go back for seconds, they can without crossing in front of the screen. Also avoid messy or noisy foods for minimal interruptions and issues.

  • Time

If there’s a time crunch, setup can make or break the catering all together. When this is the case, individually packed paper bag lunches can help. These prevent long lines, help control portions, and give employees the freedom of a “to go” option if they need to get back into the meeting.

  • The Extras

Workers will appreciate the little things like extra napkins, hand sanitizers, wet wipes, and mints. These thoughtful touches can help everything run smoothly and neatly.

  • Go Seasonal

If there’s a holiday around the corner, you may want to consider adding a few hints to the food and décor.

  • Offer Some Agency

Give people a little power over what they eat and save the organizer from taking individual orders. For example, instead of taking individual sandwich orders, provide the components for a salad and sandwich bar and let everyone build their own lunch.

  • Food Sensitivities

First and foremost, be mindful of serious food allergies amongst the staff. And you must also keep in mind any food sensitivities and personal preferences. Gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options are essential these days.

  • Fun, Healthy Options

Although they may be overlooked, an effort to provide wholesome food should be made. Make it fun with things like Edible arrangements, Sun Chips, or Luna Bars.

  • Sweet Tooth

As long as you have healthy options, it’s fine to add an additional treat.  For those who don’t mind indulging a bit, a cupcake or pastry can go a long way.

Did you know we cater? From sandwich catering packs to boxed lunches to meat & cheese trays, we’ve got you covered! Call 909-596-5225 to learn more and let us cater your next party or special event.  And don’t forget to connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest!

Vegan Facts & Fiction

Did you know November is World Vegan Month? If you’ve ever thought about becoming vegan, or at least eating less meat and more plant-based foods, there are some important things you need to know before you dive in. These are some common misconceptions about the vegan diet.

X MYTH: Vegans don’t get enough protein.
In actuality, we all pretty much get enough protein. It’s not one of the nutrients we really need to worry about since we have so many sources for it. And a proper vegan diet incorporates plant proteins from sources such as nuts, beans, soy foods, and quinoa. Even athletes, who have particular protein needs, can meet their protein requirement by choosing a variety of plant protein sources.

And although most plant proteins are considered “incomplete” proteins (they don’t have all nine essential amino acids that animal proteins do), as long as you eat a variety of protein sources on a given day, you should be covered.

  • FACT: Vegans never eat meat, fish, dairy, or eggs.
    Strict vegans only eat food from plants. Vegetarians may eat dairy and eggs, vegans don’t eat any animal by-products, including honey. While the reasons may vary (animal welfare concerns, environmental reasons, health/weight loss, wellness beliefs), vegans only consume foods and products made from plants.

X MYTH: Going vegan always leads to weight loss.
Vegan diets may prompt weight loss, but it is not guaranteed. You should still pay attention to the nutritional value of the vegan foods you consume. For example, Oreos and French fries are vegan-friendly, but may not be helpful when it comes to weight loss. You should focus on consuming fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans for an increased fiber intake, which can help you lose weight over time.

  • FACT: You need to supplement a vegan diet.
    Vitamin B12 (critical in cell division and the maintenance of nerve cells) is only found in animal products and not plant foods, which means vegans are susceptible to a deficiency. Vegans should supplement with vitamin B12 pill or fortified cereal. But when it comes to fortified cereal, it is important to read to label to be sure vitamin B12 is covered.

Vegans at risk for falling short on other nutrients (calcium, iron, omega-3 fatty acids) should meet with a registered dietician who can either suggest how to meet your needs with foods or recommend a quality vegan supplement.

X MYTH: Meat alternatives are healthier than meat.
Unfortunately, many meat alternatives contain lots of sodium, which can increase blood pressure. Ideally, we should be consuming no more than 1500mg of sodium per day (as recommended by the American Heart Association). However, some frozen veggie burgers can contain up to 600mg of sodium per burger. Even more concerning, not all meat impersonators are vegan so be sure to read the fine print.

Vegan or not, we should be choosing whole foods over hyper-processed ones. Vegans should focus on animal-free whole food staples (beans, nuts, whole grains, fruits & veggies) for a nutritious and balanced diet.

Overall Benefits
Aside from the environmental and animal welfare benefits, there are also great health benefits associated with a vegan diet. Studies show that these diets can lower the risk of cancer, most likely due to an increased consumption of antioxidant- and fiber-rich foods (fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes).

Food can be healing as well, and the foods included in a vegan diet are associated with improved blood pressure, reductions in heart disease, and a lower chance of developing type 2 diabetes.

Not ready to jump in? You can benefit from a more flexible approach. Make it a point to consume less meat and more plant-based foods by adjusting your diet. For example, you can designate a day or two during the week in which you consume vegan friendly meals and snacks.

Have you tried to go vegan? Share your stories with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Did you know our vegetarian sandwiches can be made vegan? Simply let our staff know and we will gladly prepare a vegan friendly meal for you! Visit us weekdays from 7:00am-4:00pm and Saturdays 8:00am-4:30pm.

Make Healthier Sandwiches

National Sandwich Month is coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy the lunchtime favorite. We all know the basic ingredients to a sandwich include bread and protein plus your toppings and condiments of choice. But sometimes, our choice ingredients, although delicious, are not always the healthiest. If you are looking to make a better-for-you sandwich, review these simple healthy sandwich do’s and don’ts.


  • Fruits & Veggies

These are often secondary to meat and cheese, but they don’t have to be. Whether you’re adding to your meat and cheese, or making a vegetarian sandwich, you can load up on your favorites. Cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, and eggplant are just some of the many veggies you can add to your sandwich. It may sound taboo, but fruits can add a new flavor and texture to your sandwich. Think thinly sliced pears, apples, watermelon or honeydew to add a slightly sweet touch to an otherwise savory sandwich. However, when you go to restaurants, be wary of their veggie sandwiches. From afar they may seem like a healthy choice, but upon further inspection, they are often loaded with high calorie condiments or excessive cheese portions.

  • Lighter Spread

You might want to rethink your condiments. While your sandwich may contain healthy ingredients, you may be sabotaging it by using high-calorie spreads such as full-fat mayo. Instead, try low-fat mayo or salad dressing, mustard, hummus, or even avocado slices.

  • Lean Protein

Opt for healthier proteins like sliced chicken breast, fish, or turkey, or even canned tuna or salmon. Great plant-based options include tofu, tempeh or lentils.

  • Whole Wheat Bread

Choosing the right bread is crucial. Breads higher in fiber, like whole wheat bread, are nutritious and will help to keep you fuller longer.

  • Downsize

Simply put – make a smaller sandwich. Keep portion sizes in mind and be moderate with toppings. For example, instead of having afoot long sub, opt for half and save the rest for later.


    X Cold Cuts

While prepackaged sandwich meats and cold cuts can save time, they are not the best option for your health. They can be loaded with fats, sodium and preservatives. Fresh slices of cooked chicken, turkey, or seafood are all leaner options.

    X Cheese

Cheese is great and tastes delicious in sandwiches, but they can pack on the fat and calories. Be mindful of cheese portions, opt for low-fat cheeses, or, if you can, ditch it all together. Add more flavor with a smear of hummus or more fruits and vegetables.

    X White Bread

Unfortunately, white bread is filled with preservatives and processed flours and offers very little nutrition. As mentioned, whole wheat and other whole grain breads are better options. You can even try a healthy wrap made of whole grains or skip the bread all together and use lettuce.

    X Grilled Sandwiches

The secret to that delicious grilled, crusty texture is often lots of oils or butter. If you’re looking for a crusty, crunchy texture, choose toasted bread instead.

    X Prepackaged Sandwiches

Avoid these if at all possible. You can’t be sure of their freshness and they are usually made with white bread and cheap meats, cheeses and spreads. In addition, they are loaded with preservatives and sodium. You are better off making yourself a sandwich at home, where you can control the ingredients and portions.

If you don’t have time to make yourself a sandwich, come on down to the Brick and we’ll make your favorite sandwich fresh to order. You can visit us weekdays 7:00am-4:00pm and Saturdays 8:00am-4:30pm for yummy sandwiches and breakfast food (served until 10:30am). Feel free to connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Build A Better Sandwich: Vegetarian Edition

We’ve shared tips on how to build a better sandwich, but this time we’re looking at vegetarian sandwiches. As with any other sandwich, vegetarian sandwiches require a certain craft to take them above and beyond. With that said, here are some of the best tips on crafting the perfect vegetarian sandwich.

Why limit yourself to lettuce? Soft herbs with tender stems offer a crunchy texture along with fresh flavor. Try subbing your standard Iceberg or Bibb lettuce for fresh herbs, or use both for an interesting mix.

Rather than simply stuffing a salad between bread, choose a vegetable that mimics meat to add some bulk. Some good options include roasted eggplant, sweet potato, Portobello mushroom, broccolini, or lentils.

Add mayo, avocado and/or cheese to give your sandwich body and to blend flavors together. Just be mindful not to overdo it.

Whether you like to show off your culinary creations or not, there is a universal understanding that presentation is key. Vegetarian sandwiches allow you to get incredibly creative and colorful (ex. orange sweet potatoes, hot pink beets, green herbs). Remember that a colorful sandwich is a flavorful sandwich.

Luckily, you can play with the textures of various ingredients. Have fun with crunchy and tender veggies, herbs, soft or crusty bread, and even cheese textures.

While pickles and coleslaw are classic condiments, try thinking outside of the box. For that vinegary, acidic flavor, try pickled red onions or mustard greens (both of which can be overwhelming when served raw).

Do you get imaginative with your vegetarian sandwiches or do you have a go-to recipe? Share your favorite recipes, veggie combos, and tips with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Come in and try our Lentilicious Sandwich or build your own Veggie sandwich today! Dine in weekdays 7:00am-4:00pm and Saturdays 8:00-4:30pm or get our yummy sandwiches and salads delivered to you via DoorDash or UberEATS!

Building Healthy Sandwiches

Thanksgiving has come and gone, but the holiday season has only just begun. And with the holidays comes the holiday foods. It can be a struggle to stay on track during this time of year. Luckily, preparing meals head of time can help with that, and what’s more convenient than sandwiches?  The tricky thing is that the calories can add up as you add to your sandwich. To build a tasty and healthy sandwich, consider these sandwich tips.

Go Vegetarian
Sticking with a vegetarian sandwich will cut your saturated fat consumption. And when it comes to vegetarian fillings, the options are seemingly endless. From spinach to sprouts, lettuce to lentils, tomatoes to tempeh, you can get rather creative. Depending on your choices, you can also increase your nutrient intake.

Opt For Complex Carbs
Processed, simple carbohydrates (ex. white bread) contain hidden sugars which can cause us to eventually crash and crave more foods. Instead, opt for a clean, complex carb option like sweet potato toast, which is also a great source of fiber. Fiber will help to keep you fuller longer and won’t spike your body’s blood sugar levels.

Swap Spreads For Avocado
Your favorite spreads and condiments could be adding unnecessary calories and sugars to your sandwich. Try swapping those for avocado, which provides a rich, creamy texture. And aside from tasting great, avocados are also packed with heart-healthy fats.

How do you make your sandwiches healthier? Share with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest!

Let us make your favorite sandwiches and salads today! Dine in at the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli or get your meals delivered via DoorDash or UberEATS.

Cheat Meals: Do’s & Don’ts

While we all may manage our health and wellness differently, there is one thing we have in common – at one point or another, we like to indulge in a cheat meal. Cravings vary from person to person, but regardless of what they may be, the way they affect us depends on the way we approach it.

Whether you give in to a lavish meal, snack, or dessert, here are some things you should and shouldn’t do.

x DON’T Get Consumed By Guilt
Try to avoid using the word “cheat” as it holds a negative connotation and may make you feel guilty. When it comes to your diet, some choices are better than others, but ultimately, there are no “right” and “wrong” choices. Let go of the guilt and simply opt for a healthier choice for your next snack or meal. An occasional indulgence won’t make or break a mostly healthy diet.

  • DO Indulge Your Cravings

As mentioned, surrender to your cravings and really enjoy it. Denying your body what it really wants often leads to obsessing about the food or continuing to eat and seek out foods that won’t ever satisfy you (and can lead to over-eating). By allowing your body to have what it is craving is a way for you to treat yourself with loving kindness, something that is important in maintaining a healthy relationship with food. Be mindful of what your are eating and make sure the treat is really worth it.

x DON’T Turn A “Cheat” Meal Into A Cheat Day/Week/Month

Again, it comes down to making better choices. It is perfectly fine to indulge here and there, but it is also important to do it smartly. Choose the one thing you are really craving and fight the urge to extend the indulgences over a day or a week or longer.

  • DO Have A Small Treat Every Day (Really!)

Rather than going overboard in your indulgences, enjoy a small treat and really take the time to enjoy it. Be mindful of this indulgence by eliminating any distractions while you eat, chewing slowly and paying attention to your senses. Practicing mindful eating may even show you that you only need a few bites to be fully satisfied.

x DON’T Go Into An Indulgent Meal All-Out Starving
If you’re going out to a barbecue or happy hour, you may want to refrain from eating beforehand to save your appetite. However, this may work against you. Depending on how long you withhold from eating, you may be so starving that you want to eat everything in sight. If your plans aren’t for a few hours, maybe have something light like veggies and hummus, or maybe some fruit. This may help steer you toward a healthier option.

  • DO Create A Buffer When You Indulge

If you know you’re going to indulge, eat lighter meals before and after the main event. Listen to your body and understand when it’s hungry and full. If lunch was extra heavy, maybe you can skip that afternoon snack. Enough of this practice will train you to healthfully manage your portion sizes and find balance in your eating habits.

  • DO Pinpoint What You’re Craving And Make It Healthier

Figure out what it is you are really craving and find something healthier that provides a similar flavor or texture. Whatever you are craving, you can likely find a healthier version with a quick internet search. For example, a grilled hummus quesadilla may be just as satisfying as regular cheesy quesadilla, while providing you with more healthful benefits.

What are your favorite indulgences? How to you stop yourself from going overboard? Share your secrets and tips with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Visit us today for a yummy breakfast or lunch. Looking for a lighter option? Try our Lentilicious (vegetarian) sandwich or build your own Veggie sandwich (both can be made vegan – just ask). View our menu online or call 909-596-5225 if you have any questions.

Get The Most Out Of Your Vegan Diet

When it comes to vegan diets, the most nutrition problems surface as deficiencies in essential nutrients. Here we address the most common nutrition mistakes for vegans and how to correct them.

Overestimating Protein Intake
Despite almonds being in rich in protein (6 grams per ounce), almond milk is surprisingly not (1 gram per cup). Instead of using almond milk, try adding a tablespoon of almond butter or soaked whole almonds to your smoothie. Using plant-based protein powder can also help.

Quinoa is another misunderstood vegan food. While it appears to be extremely healthful in comparison to other plant-based foods (contains all of the essential amino acids), its protein content isn’t as great (4 grams per half cup). While it does provide slow-digesting carbs and filling fiber, you may want to add beans, nuts, or seeds to increase your protein intake.

Not Enough Iron
Because animal-based sources of iron are better absorbed by the body than plant-based sources, vegans often need double the amount of iron. And unfortunately, severely low levels of iron lead to anemia which leaves you feeling weak and tired.

Fake, Processed “Meats”
If you are transitioning to a vegan diet, easing your way in with vegan versions of meats may not be the best idea. While they may help you stick to a vegan diet when you’re experiencing a craving for meat, they are not a healthy option as they are often loaded with sodium and low in protein content.

Jackfruit is a newly popular meat alternative that will trick you into thinking you’re eating meat. Luckily, jackfruit is extremely versatile so try your hand with one of the many jackfruit recipes out there.

Snacking On Refined Carbs
What do pretzels, licorice, corn, and rice cereal have in common? Aside from being vegan-friendly snacks, they are also rather unhealthy. Refined carbohydrates may give you a quick energy boost, but they also provide a quick crash and leave you craving more.

Instead, trade them for whole-grain, fiber-rich snacks with protein, like fresh fruit with nut butter or whole-grain crackers with seed butter.

Not Enough Vitamin B12
Because vitamin B12 is only naturally found in foods that come from animals, vegans must find other ways to maintain adequate B12 levels. A short-term vitamin B12 deficiency makes you feel tired and weak, whereas a long-term deficiency can cause more severe side effects, including nerve damage and decreasing brain health and memory function.

Taking a supplement is likely the best option, along with vegan foods that are fortified with B12. While there are claims that spirulina, seaweed, and fermented soy contain it, your body is unable to process and absorb the B12 found in them.

Vegan ≠ Healthy
Vegan snacks often boast the “health halo,” however, don’t fall for it (vegan cookies are still cookies). And while vegan diets have their benefits, it can be difficult to achieve sufficient amounts of nutrients within your diet.

Be sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need by ensuring that every meal includes whole grains (steel-cut oats, brown rice, millet, amaranth) or starchy vegetables packed with beta-carotene and fiber (pumpkin, squash, sweet potatoes, corn). Also include vegan protein sources such as legumes (beans, lentils), nuts or seeds, and a multicolored variety of vegetables.

Not Enough Calcium
The amount of calcium in leafy greens can be impressive, but the calcium in some greens is absorbed better than others. Spinach, Swiss chard, beet greens, and rhubarb are high in calcium, however, are also high in oxalates, which are compounds that prevent your body from absorbing calcium. Instead, opt for kale, collard greens, and mustard greens, all of which contain calcium that is absorbed more easily.

Missing Out On Vitamin D
For those who don’t spend a lot of time outside, or live in areas where sunny weather is few and far between, you could be lacking vitamin D. In this case, getting vitamin D from food or supplements are your only options.

Oily fish and egg yolks are two of the main sources of vitamin D, which limits vegan’s options. Instead, vegans should look to fortified almond or soy milk or vegan margarine, or consult with a doctor about possibly adding a supplement.

Lacking Omega-3s
Most people look to oily fish for their omega-3 fatty acids fix. These omega-3s found in fish are referred to as EPA and DHA (long-chain fatty acids that have more research behind their health benefits). Plant-based omega-3s more commonly come from ALA, which are short-chain fatty acids.

For vegans, the best sources of omega-3s are ground flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts. To get even more omega-3s in your diet, try using flaxseed oil, walnut oil, and canola oil in your salad dressings.

Not Consulting With A Registered Dietician
If you are just starting your vegan lifestyle, or if you want to ensure you are getting enough of your essential nutrients, it is advised to meet with a registered dietician. He or she can help to make sure you are meeting all of your health goals. If you’re becoming more active or planning on starting a family, your body will need more of certain nutrients.

Have you adopted a vegan diet? Share your vegan tips, tricks, and healthy recipes with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest.

We can make vegan-friendly sandwiches, inquire about them today! Visit us weekdays from 7:00am-4:00pm and Saturdays 8:00am-4:30pm, we’re located on the corner of Garey Avenue and Arrow Highway (next to Johnny’s). We look forward to seeing you all soon!

Healthy Fall Foods

Fall is here, and with it comes an abundance of comfort foods. But instead of indulging in these heavy meals, why not fuel our bodies with delicious, healthy foods? Here are some great nutritious fall foods to make your fall dishes a bit more healthful.

These purple beauties house excellent benefits. The compound nasunin protects your brain cells from oxidation, while chlorogenic acid gives eggplants anti-cancer, anti-viral, and cholesterol-lowering properties. Because they act like sponges when cooking, eggplants fried in oil or loaded with cheese will negate its positive effects. With only 20 calories per cup, there are healthier ways to enjoy eggplant.

Skip the heavy Eggplant Parm and try an easy veggie roll up. Start by slicing the eggplant along the long edge. Sprinkle the slices with salt, let it sit for 10 minutes and use a paper towel to blot the excess water. Next, drizzle the slices with olive oil and roast at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes (flip halfway through). Let it cool then layer each slice with your favorite hummus and veggies (ex. raw or grilled zucchini and bell peppers slices). Lastly, roll each slice and secure each roll with a toothpick.

Butternut Squash
With the beautifully orange flesh of butternut squash, you have an excellent source of beta-carotene (300% of your daily value per cup). Beta-carotene is a precursor to vitamin A, which supports healthy skin, eyes, and bones. It also contains vitamin C to support your immune system along with dietary fiber for overall gut health.

Add pureed butternut squash to your tomato soup, pancakes, or even your morning smoothie. Experience a new flavor combo plus more health benefits.

Pomegranates are great for your heart. The juicy little seeds help to reduce the buildup of harmful fat in your arteries, which prevents circulatory damage in the long run.

Aside from tearing it open and enjoying the seeds alone, you can use it as a topping on your oatmeal, salad, or mixed into pancakes.

Anthocyanins are compounds that give cranberries that deep-red color and act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. Cranberries can help to improve bladder health, defend against cancers (breast, colon, lung, prostate) and even add a little fiber to your diet.

Instead of making a sugar filled cranberry sauce for the holidays, try a spiced cranberry relish instead.

Broccoli Rabe
Broccoli rabe contains about two times the amount of zinc as broccoli (yet bears no relation to it). Zinc is especially good for your immune system, and with the cold and flu season approaching, your immune system could use a boost. It also contains about 1.5 times as much fiber as kale, which is good news if you’re over kale and ready for something new.

Step up your avocado toast game by adding sautéed broccoli rabe and a poached egg. Or sauté broccoli rabe with some garlic and olive oil for a lovely side dish.

Leeks are related to garlic, onions, shallots, and scallions (they resemble large scallions). Because of this, they are a great source of polyphenols, which prevent oxidative damage to blood vessels and atherosclerosis while keeping heart disease at bay. Leeks are also high in vitamin K, which research has shown can be anti-cancer forming, can increase your body’s sensitivity to insulin, and is great for bone health.

Aside from their traditional use in Potato Leek soup or latkes, you can braise leeks and serve them as a side dish. Or sauté leeks and add them to your omelet.

Do you have any lighter recipes to share? Connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest!

Get your fix of freshly made sandwiches and salads at the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli in Pomona. Visit us weekdays 10:30am-7:30pm and Saturdays 10:30am-4:30pm.

Food Waste

Food waste has become a burgeoning problem among our society. Did you know that roughly one third of the food produced in the world gets lost or wasted?  From improper use or storage to discarded “ugly” produce, we must find a way to address this issue.

This was the task at hand for students at the University of Florida’s Innovation Academy. They were asked to create a business concept or invention that could tackle the food waste problem. Ideas included a household composting device, participating in food drives, and donating to food pantries. These bright young students were onto something, however, they all seemed to assume that food waste is inevitable. We need to take a closer look at what causes us to create food waste so we can stop it at the source.

Take, for example, the standards that fruits and vegetables must meet in order to be on display. We have these ideas of what produce should look like in our minds and if they do not match what is available, we likely will not buy it. Thus, “ugly” produce that do not meet the standards is often discarded or wasted. Also, because of our attraction to abundance, we are more likely to choose from a large pile of apples as opposed to a small one, even if they were identical apples.

So how can we proactively decrease food waste? Imperfect Produce is a company that offers affordable fruits and vegetables to consumers by sourcing the produce rejected on farms for cosmetic reasons. Whether they are too small, misshapen or the wrong color, rather than being wasted, they are salvaged  and help offered at a lower price, also helping to decrease food insecurity.

Another proposed idea is to get people involved in food production. When students plant a seed and watch it grow into sustainable food, they get to experience firsthand all the hard work that goes into food production (energy, time, labor, water). Their investment in the production of food could lead to a better understanding that when it comes to food waste, we lose much more than just food.

Do you have any ideas on how we can prevent food waste? Any thoughts on how to make the most of our food waste? Share with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You can also find us on Instagram, Vine, and Pinterest.

Visit the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli in Pomona. Come in for a yummy sandwich, fresh salad, or tasty dessert weekdays from 10:30am-7:30pm and Saturdays 10:30am-4:30pm (closed Sundays).