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Food Find | Tofurkey and other plant-based foods at Healthy Eatz

Tasty discovery: Tofurkey wrap (hickory smoked)

Price: $8.99

Destination: Healthy Eatz, 12838 Jefferson Ave., Newport News

Hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesdays to Thursdays, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Closed Sundays and Mondays.

More info: 757-243-2666

When David Pollard and Rachel Lough opened Healthy Eatz this year in the Denbigh section of Newport News, their goal was simple: Encourage people to eat better and make it easier for them to do so.

The approach, reflected in the fare on their menu and the signs on their walls, is straightforward. The menu is filled with sandwiches, entrees and comfort foods — all made to either vegetarian or vegan standards. And the walls, windows and even the tabletops show slogans such as “Take care of your body — it’s the only place you have to live” and “Skip the diet — just eat healthy.”

Pollard said the plant-based menu is entirely vegan, but customers can choose real dairy cheese for their sandwiches or pastas, which would make them vegetarian but not vegan. The food is made fresh, and Lough refuses to hurry a dish; Healthy Eatz has a comfortable, casual dining room but does much of its business with customers who call ahead and carry out.

The wide variety of meat substitutes includes Impossible, Beyond and Boca burgers, as well as a soy-based cold cut called tofurkey — a portmanteau for a cold cut that is made from tofu but has the taste and texture of tender turkey.

“It’s a blend of wheat and tofu, with some wild rice and bread crumbs all mixed in to make this product,” Pollard said. “So we take that product and we decide how we want to season it and how we want to cook it or prepare it to make the various dishes.”

The Healthy Eatz offers several dishes with tofurkey, including a hickory smoked tofurkey wrap, with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cheese and a house-made jalapeno sauce. The restaurant also offers several options for the tortilla wrap.

“This is what we were hoping to do when we opened Healthy Eatz,” Pollard said, “and so far people have responded well. People are really looking for healthier alternatives, and the options are out there if you know where to look. Anything we can do to promote a healthy lifestyle, we’d like to do it.”

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