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valentine’s day

Tips For A Healthier Valentine’s Day Meal

February is American Heart Month and Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. If you’re planning on treating your Valentine to a fancy restaurant dinner or a hearty home-cooked meal, be sure the menu is safe and heart-healthy. Here are some tips to make healthier choices on Valentine’s Day (and every day).

Restaurants

  • Assess the scene – Food safety is priority so look for the health inspection score (you may be able to access the health inspection reports online) and certificates verifying the staff is trained in food safety practices. Take a look around to ensure the glasses, silverware, napkins, and tablecloths are clean.
  • Know the facts – Look up the nutritional information in advance – most major restaurants chains have this data online. You can identify the healthier dishes and plan ahead.
  • Beware of unexpected sources of sodium – More than 40% of sodium that we eat comes from these common foods: bread and rolls, cold cuts and cured meats, poultry, soups, cheese, meat dishes, and snacks. Luckily, most restaurants offer lower sodium options for entrées and dressings, so be sure to check the menu or ask the staff.
  • Ask before ordering – Unless they are commercially pasteurized, raw or undercooked eggs can be a hidden hazard in foods (ex. Caesar salad, custards, some sauces).
  • Order it cooked thoroughly – Remember that foods like meat, poultry, and fish need to be cooked to an internal temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria. To err on the side of safety, order your foods well done.
  • Sharing is caring – Restaurants are known for hefty portions so consider sharing one entrée.
  • Refrigerate your leftovers – Your dinner was delicious, but you’re too stuffed to finish it. Unless you are going straight home, leave the leftovers there. Food should be refrigerated within two hours of being served, or one hour if the temperature outside is warmer than 90°F.

Dining In

  • Make recipes healthier – Healthier versions of classic recipes are just a click away (thank you, Internet). Get creative and find healthy swaps for saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol in baked goods and other foods.
  • Choose low-sodium options – Reach for spices before you reach for the salt, and try adding a citrus element. You may find that you don’t need salt after all. If possible, avoid prepackaged mixes (which may be loaded with lots of salt) or seek low-sodium or salt-free versions.
  • Steer clear of frying – Instead, try roasting, grilling or steaming your foods as these methods add little to no fat.
  • Keep HOT food HOT – Once food is cooked, it should be held at an internal temperature of 140°F or above. Just keeping food warm (between 40°F and 140°F – also known as the “danger zone”) encourages fast growth of germs that cause foodborne illness/food poisoning. Use a food thermometer to make sure your meal stays out of the “danger zone”.
  • Keep COLD food COLD – Cold foods should be kept at 40°F or below.
  • Follow the two-hour rule – Throw away all perishable foods (ex. meat, poultry, eggs, casseroles) that have been left at room temperature for more than two hours (one hour if the outside temperature is above 90°F).
  • Continue the celebration – Ate to your heart’s content, but still have leftovers? Go ahead and put them in the fridge to eat within three to four days. If you don’t plan on eating it within that time period, stick it in the freezer.

Share your own Valentine’s Day dinner tips with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest!

Avoid the crowds and treat your Valentine to a yummy breakfast or lunch at the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli. You can dine in with us or get the goods delivered to you via DoorDash or UberEATS!

Health-Conscious Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching – Sunday, February 14, to be exact. If you’ve got a health-conscious significant other, decadent chocolates or over-indulgent meals may not cut it. Think outside of the box and surprise your sweetie with one of these:

Massage/Spa Treatment
Massages can help circulation and relieve some tension and stress stored in your body. If your partner works out regularly, this could be the ideal rest day. Plus, who wouldn’t love to relax and get pampered?

Personal Trainer Sessions
Whether your partner frequents the gym or is a newbie, personal trainer sessions can be a thoughtful surprise. Personal trainers can offer tips and advice, help plan workouts and goals, and even introduce new exercises or routines. A few sessions could be enough, and if your partner chooses to, he/she can continue.

Fitness Tracker
There are plenty of fitness trackers on the market, which range in function and cost. Find the one that suits your budget and is also in line with your partner’s goals. For example, if their goal is to lose weight, find a device that tracks calories burned, or if they are interested in measuring their steps, a step counting device will suffice.

An Outdoor Adventure
Whether it’s that road trip you’ve been dying to go on, a local hike everyone’s been raving about, or even a trek up to the mountains to enjoy the snow, going on an outdoor adventure is great way to spend some one on one time. Taking a class together can also be a fun way to bond with your partner. Try a cooking class, painting class, or even a trapeze lesson.

Healthy Home-Cooked Meal
If you want, you can opt to stay in and cook dinner for your partner. Or you can both work together to make a delicious meal for yourselves. It’s a great way to save some money and enjoy a quiet night in. Added bonus: you can make your meal as healthy or decadent as you please.

What are your plans for Valentine’s Day? Got any tips for those planning last minute? Share with us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Vine or LinkedIn. You can find more great Valentine’s Day ideas on our Pinterest page, too.

Be sure to get your sandwich fix before the big day! Visit us in store or order online and we’ll you’re your order ready for you. We’re open weekdays 10:30am-7:30pm and Saturdays 10:30am-4:30pm. Happy Valentine’s Day from your friends at the Brick Market & Deli – Your Neighborhood Deli!

Budget Friendly Date Ideas For Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day can be an expensive holiday. Luckily we have some tips on how to create a thrifty yet fun Valentine’s Day for you and your loved one.

For those who want to save some money, staying in might be your best bet.

Eat At Home

Rather than dealing with the stress of making reservations in advance, why not take a quick trip to the grocery store and whip up a deliciously inexpensive meal at home? (Bonus points if you and your mate cook together). You’ll get to experience a fun and possibly new experience with your other half. Also, you’ll avoid the crazy crowds.

Give Each Other Massages

Giving each other massages as a gift is not only free, but also allows you both to relax and possibly have a meaningful conversation, or simply enjoy each other’s company.

Board Games

Need something a bit more interactive? Bust out an old board game! Who doesn’t enjoy a little friendly competition?

But if you must go out, try one of these activities.

Get Physical

Take a walk, go on a hike, or ride bikes together. You’ll get a nice workout which will release endorphins and instantly lift your spirits. You can take this opportunity to disconnect from your devices too. You can also take in a beautiful sunrise or sunset together – score!

Volunteer

Volunteering is always a good idea any day of the year. On such a superficial holiday, volunteering will help you realize that acts of kindness truly are the best gifts. You’ll feel good knowing that your time was well spent helping others.

Take A Road Trip

Gas prices are fairly reasonable these days so why not pack up and take on the open road. Go somewhere you’ve been itching to go, or simply see where the road takes you. Explore new places with your love and create memories to last a lifetime.

Celebrate Before/After

You’ll avoid the crowds and maybe even score better deals. Plus, there’s less pressure so you can let loose and be present.

Another way to save some money is to celebrate locally at your neighborhood deli. After 2pm on Valentine’s Day, we’ll be serving up buy one get one free sandwiches! Simply mention the promotion when you’re ordering and you’ll get your second sandwich free (of equal or lesser value). Dine in with your sweetie or take it to go for a sweet Valentine’s Day picnic. Remember, this cannot be combined with any other offer, gift card, or discount, and it is limited to one per customer.

If you decide to spend your Valentine’s Day with us, be sure to snap a photo and tag us! Find us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, & Pinterest. And did you know we have a Vine? Check it out!