Don’t forget lunch for the kids. Try bento box-style packs filled with nitrate-free meats, diced cheeses, hard-boiled eggs, fruits, sliced carrots, cucumbers and broccoli, and BFY dips and dressings like Primal Kitchen Ranch. Add treats like grain-free crackers, 60% dark chocolate, or fruit leathers made with real fruit and no additives or dyes.
Busy consumers are drawn to pre-cooked, heat-and-serve dinners. Some on-trend convenient options include cauliflower-crust pizza topped with veggies, nitrate-free pepperoni and whole-milk mozzarella. Try combinations of cooked meat, veggies, and mashed or roasted sweet or regular potatoes. Zoodles, or veggie noodles, are great topped with store-made meatballs. Consider using almond flour instead of bread in the meat mixture, and finish with high-quality marinara or alfredo sauce.
PG: What is your advice for upgrading typical deli department fare with a few easy, unexpected steps?
TD: An easy, everyday idea is to upgrade your protein-based salads like tuna, chicken and egg salad. Use avocado-oil-based mayo in the dressing for these salads, and advertise that you’ve done so.
Consider extending the hours of breakfast offerings at the deli or hot-food bar, and offer plenty of protein options such as omelets, frittatas and egg cups. Add a grain-free granola option to the bar alongside the regular granola, fruit and yogurt. You can also provide healthy add-ins at your coffee bar, like plain and flavored collagen products, and medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) oil.
Finally, add variety by building around food themes or highlighting ethnic cuisine options at the deli or salad bar. For example, ride the popular wave of Taco Tuesday by setting up a build-your-own taco bar. Offer corn and flour tortillas and shells, as well as a grain-free option. Make a robust taco salad setup that includes a variety of chopped greens, crisp veggies like sliced bell peppers, julienned jicama, grilled onions and zucchini. Don’t forget roasted chiles and pickled jalapeños. Offer upgraded protein choices like grilled cilantro-lime steak or chicken, spicy pulled pork or carnitas.