Taste of the Tropics

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Taste of the Tropics: Tropical Fruits

Don’t let their exotic looks intimidate you—they’ve got exotic flavor to match! Next time you’re in our produce aisle, take home a taste of the tropics with some of these uniquely delicious fruits. To help demystify their appearance and how to eat them, we’ve put together a few tips and insights for you.

  • Dragon Fruit

    As mythical looking as its name suggests, the dragon fruit or pitaya, is an edible pod that grows off of flowering cacti. Don’t let the unusual exterior fool you, the very mild interior can be mixed into a variety of dishes and smoothies for a powerful burst of nutrients.

  • Star Fruit

    These little fruit shine as brightly as their name. When cut crosswise, the reason for its name is revealed. The yellow flesh tastes a little like a green grape—sometimes sweet with a hint of tang. Try it in fruit salads, by itself or as a drink garnish.

  • Passion Fruit

  • This small, roundish fruit grows on a vine from spectacular flowers. When ripe, the fruit’s skin is slightly wrinkly. It’s easy to eat; cut it in half and spoon out the fruit and seeds—they’re edible. Or, add it to oatmeal or salads.
  • Lychee

    You’ll know your lychee is ready-to-eat when the bumpy skin turns pinkish-red and gives a little when gently pressed. They’re only about an inch in diameter and though the skin looks tough, it’s easily pierced with your fingernail, then peeled like an orange. The texture is similar to a grape, but be aware of the pit in the center.

  • Tamarind

    The tamarind looks like a brown bean pod. The fruit becomes paste-like and sweeter as it ripens, which is why it’s also called the date of India. The shell can be easily cracked, so you can pull the fruit away from the strings that hold it in place and eat around the seeds.

  • Cherimoya

    The creamy texture of this high-altitude fruit lends to its other name, custard apple. The exterior is green and looks scaled, but the luscious fruit can be described as a combination of tropical flavors like banana, coconut, strawberry and mango. Cut it in half and eat with a spoon, but be aware the large, dark seeds are quite hard and inedible.

    Guava

    From skin to seeds, the entire guava is edible—dive in—the rind alone has more vitamin C than an orange. Guavas have a sweet, slightly floral flavor that is delicious and unique. Like any fruit, they’re great eaten alone, mixed in with a smoothie or added to fruit salad.

  • Mangosteen

    From a tropical evergreen tree, the deep, reddish-purple tough skin of the mangosteen is inedible, but the inner fruit has pale white sections like citrus. Sweet and tangy, the flavor has been likened to strawberry, kiwi and plums, as all of these and completely its own. It remains an indescribably delicious mystery you have to try!

  • Persimmon

    The beautiful orange color of persimmons is carried throughout the firm flesh of the fruit. They look a little like a tomato and are best eaten when slightly firm. Cut them into wedges for an easy on-the-go snack with a honeyed, almost pear-like flavor. If they get too soft? You can bake them in quick bread like you would bananas or make easy freezer jam.

    Sugar Cane

    What looks like a leafless, hard stalk resembling bamboo is the sweet treat sugar cane. When choosing a stalk, favor those that are thinner and heavier versus a thicker lighter one. To cut it, score it all the way around, then break it rather than trying to cut all the way through it. Once peeled, you can chew the fibrous stalk to enjoy the nectar (but don’t swallow the fibers, discard them). Or, cut into thin stalks and use as skewers or swizzle sticks to impart the sweetness to your food and drink.

  • Jackfruit

    This boulder of a fruit has an almost coral-like exterior. The biggest surprise is when its tangy flesh is cooked up, it has a texture similar to meat. Next time you’re looking for a meatless dinner, try this giant. Sauté the ripe fruit with onion and garlic, add barbeque sauce and allow to simmer for 15 minutes—serve on tortillas.

    Rambutan

    This little fruit is strange looking. Their alien appearance and spiny exterior might make you think they’re inedible … but that would be incorrect. Totally tasty, these exotic fruits have a tender texture and a sweet flavor similar to wild grapes. Cut the circumference of the fruit and remove it to reveal the spherical white fruit that harbors a pit.

    Tamarillo

    Shaped like a beautiful reddish egg, the tamarillo is also known as the tree tomato. When you cut it open, the seeds are nestled much like they are in a tomato and are edible as well. The skin tends to be bitter though, so best blanche and peel your tamarillo before eating. Or, enjoy its complex fruity and tomato-like flavor by cutting it in half and dig in with a spoon.

     

     

Ready to try some of these luscious tropical treats?
SHOP TROPICAL FRUIT

Taylor Farms

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Taylor Farms: Pea podFamily owned and operated since 1995, Taylor Farms started in Salinas Valley, California, affectionately called America’s Salad Bowl. As a third-generation produce grower, Bruce Taylor followed in his family’s footsteps to build Taylor Farms into the largest producer of salads and healthy fresh food. Growing high-quality salads and vegetables begins with high-quality farming families and sustainable farming practices.

Innovation: The Art of Growing

By pioneering the industry’s first advanced automated harvesters, Taylor Farms increased productivity and provided an ergonomically beneficial environment for employees. From the fields to the processing plants, Taylor Farms continually works to advance industry best practices. They developed SmartWash™, a revolutionary produce wash system that’s helped raise the bar in food safety—keeping your wellbeing a priority.

Environmental Sustainability

Taylor Farms is genuinely dedicated to protecting the health of our environment for future generations. Since 2012, Taylor Farms has completed ten major sustainability projects related to alternative and renewable energy, waste reduction and water conservation. With these renewable energy technologies, Taylor Farms has produced 53,326,167 KWh—offsetting 132,755 metric tons of CO2—the equivalent of taking 8,498 cars off the road annually! 

Thriving Communities

Giving back has been a part of Taylor Farms’ culture since day one, by sharing their success with the communities in which they live and work. They support their vision to create healthy lives through philanthropic programs focused on youth education and leadership, as well as health and wellness. In the past two years alone, Taylor Farms has donated over six million pounds of fresh produce.

Their Passion

From their fields to your fork, Taylor Farms is passionate about making vegetables an exciting and delightful part of your healthy lifestyle. They believe fresh, flavorful greens create the foundation for enjoying vegetables in imaginative and delicious ways.


Taylor Farms supplies one in three salads across the United States, they even supply our own Sprouts Brand salads and salad kits. We carry a wide variety of their healthy salads and greens for you to choose from.

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What is Regenerative Agriculture?

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Farmer on Tractor Regenerative Agriculture 640x640Caring for the health of our soil has become an increasingly important endeavor as we better understand the role nutrient-rich soil plays in the quality of our food and ecosystem. Regenerative agriculture is a system of farming that works to progressively improve the soil, water and the environment. These farming methods can help take CO2, a powerful greenhouse gas, out of the atmosphere and put it back where it can do the most good—under our feet—and that’s where this story begins, with soil.

Carbon Sequestration

Green plants naturally take carbon out of the air as part of photosynthesis and turn it into simple sugars. The sugars are exuded from the plant’s roots into the ground, where it feeds microorganisms that live around the root base. Those microorganisms use the carbon-based sugars to build topsoil—capturing, or sequestering carbon from the atmosphere. When a thin layer of compost is added to this system, it sets up a cycle where the plants are able to capture more and more carbon each year.

Cover Crops

Thoughtfully planted between other crops, cover crops can help to remedy soil shortcomings, keep weeds down, retain water and enrich the soil. This means the next crop will require less fertilizer, have a greater tolerance to drought and yield more. Another big plus to cover crops is they help to manage soil erosion.

No Till

Tilling the soil can lead to soil erosion, kill off the microorganisms necessary for healthy soil, encourage weed growth and can pack the soil making it harder for a crop to grow. Not tilling helps to create long-term soil fertility—organic soil that’s not tilled holds nutrients like a sponge, helping to create nutrient-rich food.

Regenerative Organic Certified logoComing soon …

Be prepared to start seeing more of this logo in the future. This certification will be used in tandem with the USDA Organic seal. The pilot program companies already produce USDA Certified Organic goods. Working towards Regenerative Organic Certification, they will be utilizing the additional regenerative agriculture practices of soil health and land management, as well as animal welfare, and farmer and worker fairness practices.

DIY Natural Cleaners w/ Castile Soap

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 With just a few simple ingredients, you can get a naturally and effectively clean home! Mixed in three different formulations, castile soap gives a gentle cleanse and added ingredients offer an anti-bacterial boost that will have all areas sparkling.

Homemade Soft Scrub for Bath and Tile

Soft Scrub for Bath & Tile

This scrub can also be used to clean the toilet and works great in a small squeeze bottle.

Homemade Soft Scrub for Bath and Tile

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup Baking soda (slightly heaped)
  • 1/3 cup Castile soap
  • 1 Tbsp. Water

 

Instructions: 

  1. In a bowl, combine ingredients and stir with a fork to make a nice soft, paste-like, consistency.
  2. Scoop out the scrub with a sponge and start cleaning.

Dusting Spray

This fresh-smelling spray is used to clean wood and other surfaces that need dusting.

Dusting Spray

Dusting Spray1Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Distilled water
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • 2 tsp. Castile soap
  • 8 drops Lemon essential oil
  • Glass spray bottle

 

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a glass spray bottle and shake.

 

 

 

All-purpose Cleaner

Use daily to clean your household surfaces, like kids toys, counters, door handles and more! All-Purpose Cleaner

Pouring Castile Soap into BottleIngredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups Distilled water
  • 2 Tbsp. Castile soap
  • 20 drops Lemon essential oil
  • Glass spray bottle

 

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in the bottle and shake.

 

 

 

Fresh Mommy Blog - Tabitha

About Tabitha Blue

Life Coach and blogger, Tabitha Blue, has been named Tampa Bay’s most influential mommy blogger. She is the writer behind FreshMommyBlog.com and also hosts her own online home makeover show, House to Home. She has made appearances on daytime TV and has been featured multiple times in print and national magazines, like InStyle, Health, Real Simple, Southern Living, People, O, The Oprah Magazine and more.

Tabitha looks for the beauty found in the everyday, like in a great lipstick or the laughter of her kids. Her blog, FreshMommyBlog.com, is where motherhood, food, travel, design and stylish little things collide.

Tabatha Blue

St. Patrick’s Day Recipes

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Looking to for ways to get green this St. Patrick’s Day? These recipes from our blogger friends are straight from the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!

Avocado Hummus

You’ll be over the rainbow for this Avocado Hummus with homemade tortilla chips in the shape of shamrocks! Recipe provided by our blogger friend, Karman at The Nutrition Adventure.

Avocado Hummus by TheNutritionAdventureIngredients:

  • 4 12-inch Whole wheat tortillas
  • 1/4 cup Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 15.5 oz. can Great Northern Beans
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1/4 cup Fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 Large garlic clove
  • 1/2 Jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed
  • 1/8 tsp. Salt
  • Cooking spray
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a 18×13 baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spray the foil with cooking spray.
  2. Serve hummus with tortilla chips and fresh vegetables, if desired. Keep hummus in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
  3. While the tortilla chips are baking, prepare hummus by combining the olive oil, beans, avocado, cilantro, lime juice, garlic, jalapeno, cumin, salt, and cayenne pepper in a food processor or blender, processing until smooth. If more liquid is needed to make the hummus smooth, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until desired consistency is achieved.
  4. Place baking sheet in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, turning the tortillas over half way through baking. Allow tortilla chips to cool thoroughly.
  5. Use a shamrock-shaped cookie cutter, or a circle cookie cutter, to cut out tortilla chips. Place the cut tortillas on the baking sheet, being sure to not overlap. Spray the tortillas with cooking spray and sprinkle with kosher salt.

Broccoli Soup

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a creamy and decadent bowl of warm broccoli cheddar soup, topped with shamrock-shaped croutons. Recipe provided by our blogger friend, Ericka, at Nibbles and Feasts.

Ingredients: Broccoli Soup by NibblesAndFeasts

  • 2 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups White onion, chopped
  • 2 Celery stalks, chopped
  • 5 cups Broccoli florets, save a few for garnish
  • 1 Medium Yukon gold potato, chopped
  • 4 cups Sprouts Vegetable Broth
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Black pepper
  • 1 cup Milk (2% or whole)
  • 2 cups Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 4 Large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. Dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. Dried thyme, crumbled
  • 1/2 tsp.Black pepper
  • 1/2 cup Olive oil
  • 6 slices Sour Dough bread

Instructions:

  1. For the soup: Heat oil in a large saucepan. Add onion and cook for 5-7 minutes, until tender. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  2. Add celery, broccoli and potato. Cook for 2 minutes and stir in vegetable broth, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until potato is soft.
  3. Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth or blend with an immersion blender in the saucepan. If blended in a blender, return soup to saucepan, add milk and stir in cheese until it melts. Serve. Garnish with small broccoli florets and croutons.
  4. For croutons: Preheat oven to 350° F. Combine garlic, oregano, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper and oil in a small saucepan over low medium heat. Bring to simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Cut out bread with a 2-inch shamrock cookie cutter. Cut any remaining bread in cubes.
  6. Arrange shamrock cutout bread and cubes in one layer on a baking sheet. Brush with oil mixture on all sides. Bake for 12-14 minutes until gold and crispy. Serve as soup topping.

Cookies and Cream Shamrock Cookies

These cookies can be cut into any shape, but they’re perfectly cute for St. Patrick’s Day in a simple shamrock shape. Topped with buttercream frosting, these cookies are flavorful and delicious. Recipe provided by our blogger friend, Glory at Glorious Treats

Cookies and Cream shamrock cookies by abakershouseIngredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups All-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup Crushed chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs (about eight)
  • 1 tsp. Baking powder
  • 1/2 + 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1 1/2 cups Unsalted butter
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla extract
  • 2 oz. Cream cheese
  • 2 cups Powdered sugar
  • Natural green food coloring

Instructions:

  1. For the cookies: Add chocolate sandwich cookies to a large zipper lock bag and crush (with a rolling pin) until crumbs. Measure out crumbs, making sure to scrape the inside of the bag as needed to get all the bits. You do not need to remove the filling from the cookies.
  2. Add 3/4 cup crumbs into a large bowl with flour, then add baking powder and salt and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, add 1 cup butter (cold, but cut into pieces) and blend until butter is smooth.
  4. Add sugar and blend until well combined and fluffy.
  5. Add egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla and blend until fully incorporated.
  6. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour/crumb mixture. Blend until all ingredients are combined and the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
  7. Remove dough and roll out on a lightly floured work surface, or roll out between two sheets of plastic wrap (and then no flour is needed). Roll to dough to about 3/8″ thick. Cutout desired shapes and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat type liner.
  8. Chill entire baking sheet of cookies (in the fridge) while you heat the oven to 350F. Bake cookies for about 10 minutes, or until the top surface of the cookies not longer looks moist. Allow to cool a few minutes on the baking sheet, then move to a cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting.
  9. For the frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat 1/2 cup butter until smooth. Add cream cheese and continue to blend until fully smooth.
  10.  Add 1 cup of powdered sugar and blend. Add 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. vanilla and continue to blend.
  11. Add second cup of powdered sugar and mix until smooth and fluffy. Add food coloring, as desired.
  12. Spread frosting onto fully cooled cookies, or add frosting to a piping bag and fill in the cookies with a tight zig-zag pattern (as shown).

Shamrock Spinach Pancakes

You’ll be surprised to find out these family-friendly pancakes don’t have an overwhelming taste of spinach and will make eating a healthier breeze. Recipe provided by our blogger friend, Holly Baker at A Bakers House.

Note: If you’d like to make shamrock shaped pancakes, place a metal cookie cutter sprayed with baking spray on your heated pan. Fill with a thin layer of spinach pancake batter. Wait until bubbles form then remove the cookie cutter with tongs (the cookie cutter will be HOT!), flip the pancake and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Spray the cookie cutter again before using for the next pancake.

Ingredients: Spinach Pancakes by abakershouse

  • 1 2/3 cups Gluten-free pancake mix
  • 1 1/2 cups Water
  • 1/2 cup Tightly packed fresh spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup Sprouts Organic Maple Syrup
  • 2 Tbsp. Sprouts unsalted butter
  • Baking Spray

Instructions:

  1. Heat a large pan or griddle over medium-high heat. Spray with baking spray.
  2. Pour batter onto the heated pan. Wait until bubbles start to form in the middle of the pancake, then flip and cook for another 30 seconds.
  3. Serve with butter and syrup.

Spring Break Travel Snack Tips

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by Mary Ellen Phipps, MPH, RDN, LD founder of milkandhoneynutrition.com

It’s hard to believe, but winter is quickly coming to an end and before we know it spring will be here bringing warmer temps, yummy produce and the start of a big travel season.

Bento-box-style snack boxes with fruit, vegetables and sandwiches.

Why Be Prepared

Whether you’re just making a day trip with the kids to your local zoo, setting out across the country for a fun-filled road trip, or hopping on a two-hour flight to your closest beach, there are a few reasons to make sure you come prepared with snacks from home.

Cost: Buying snack foods in airports, or convenience stores is far more expensive than purchasing them at your local grocery store or making them at home.

Gut health: The stress of travel alone can often throw gut bacteria out of whack. New-to-you snack foods purchased while traveling may create some GI distress as well. It’s a good idea to pack some tried-and-true favorites.

Immune health: Our immune systems can be another victim of travel stress. If we’re not fueling our bodies properly, our immune system could take an even bigger hit – making us more prone to getting sick.

A Few Things to Keep in Mind

Day Trip

Taking a day trip allows you the flexibility to pack both shelf-stable and refrigerated snacks in a cooler.  If you plan to be gone all day, remember to pack substantial foods as well. Freezing some beverages and ice packs will keep things nice and cool. Any food that is supposed to be refrigerated should be kept on ice as long as possible. Once it is taken out of the cooler (or the cooler is no longer below 40°F), it should be consumed within two to four hours. If you’re ever in doubt, just throw it out.

Day-Trip Snacks

  • Popcorn
  • Dark chocolate rice cakes
  • Bananas
  • Oranges
  • Energy bites

Cooler Snacks

  • Berries
  • Yogurt
  • Flavored water
  • Sandwiches
  • Chicken salad
  • Snacking cheese

Longer Road Trip

For longer road trips, you’ll want to keep the same food safety precautions in mind as you would on day trips. Keep in mind that cooler snacks will only last one day or less depending on the length of your trip. If your road trip will be longer than one day, try to scout out your favorite grocery stores along the route—stocking up on refrigerated goods as you make your way to your destination. Some of my preferred shelf-stable, travel-friendly snacks include:

  • 100% uncured beef sticks
  • Oat bites
  • Apple sauce
  • Nut butter
  • Whole-grain bread
  • Breakfast cereal
  • Snack-size bars
  • Nut butter pouches
  • Other shelf-stable produce options like apples and grapes

Plane Trip 

Plane trips are a bit different when it comes to picking out your snacks. You’ll need to consider what will fit in your carry-on bag as well as what security will allow you to bring. If you bring a cooler, make sure all the ice packs are frozen solid. Anything that is not frozen, including foods, beverages, and ice packs is subject to the TSA’s 3-1-1 rule.

Plane trips are the perfect opportunity to shop delicious bulk snacks in the Bulk Department, where you can choose the amount that best fits in your luggage. Easy-to-pack items include:

  • Walnuts
  • Chocolate-covered almonds
  • Pistachios
  • Dried mangos
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Plantain chips
  • Granola

Whatever your plans are this spring break, whether you’re traveling cross country or to the nearby park, make sure to stop by your local Sprouts to find your favorite travel-friendly snacks!


 

Influencer - Mary Ellen - Milk & Honey Nutrition

About Mary Ellen

Mary Ellen Phipps, MPH, RDN, LD, is the Registered Dietitian, mom, food blogger and recipe developer behind milkandhoneynutrition.com. She’s also a type 1 diabetic and firmly believes food should bring us joy, not stress. Mary Ellen makes healthy eating easy, realistic and most importantly … fun! Visit her website and you’ll find yummy low-sugar, diabetes-friendly recipes the whole family will love … as well as helpful tips and a little mom humor.

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Eat the Rainbow: Green Foods for St. Patrick’s Day

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by Kristina LaRue, RD, CSSD, founder of love & zest

There are so many fun and colorful ways to jazz up meal time with food! Eating the rainbow is easy with an endless amount of produce options—there’s a fruit and veggie for every color of the rainbow.

With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, it’s time to pull out all things green—including fruits and veggies! Sprouts has all the green foods you need to make this St. Patrick’s Day the best one yet.

Fresh green fruits and vegetables, with green drinkLet’s Chat Green Fruits

Avocados contain twice the potassium of a banana (gram for gram). Potassium is important for blood pressure and nerve function. Avocados also boast gamma-tocopherol, a defender against disease-provoking compounds in the body. If you’re craving avocado, check out this recipe for Avocado Chicken Caesar Salad, featuring creamy avocado dressing.

Granny Smith apples are an excellent source of vitamin C and dietary fiber. The polyphenolic compounds found in apples are phytonutrients that help protect against free radicals in the body. Apples can be enjoyed many different ways like in this recipe for Caramel Apple Oatmeal.

Kiwi may look foreign on the outside with its fuzzy skin, but there’s nothing weird about its health benefits! Did you know you can even eat the skin? Packed with vitamin C, dietary fiber, vitamin K and vitamin E, kiwi makes a great addition to smoothies and a tangy salad topping. Try it in this Summer Superfood Smoothie Bowl.

Limes are a good source of vitamin C and a tart, flavorful addition to many dishes. Squeeze limes on baked chicken, use in a marinade or enjoy in a refreshing glass of Tart Cherry Limeade bursting with lime flavor!

Remember the Green Veggies

Arugula is a nutrient-dense veggie with great sources of dietary fiber, vitamins A, C and K, as well as folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium! You can’t go wrong with this leafy green. Use it as a salad base, avocado toast topper or tossed with pasta like this Lemon Arugula Pasta Salad.

Broccoli contains very good sources of dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium. You can immerse broccoli in cold water after roasting to preserve the many nutrients it offers.

Green bell peppers are just one of the many bell pepper options. Green bell peppers in particular are slightly sweet and high in dietary fiber, vitamin A and vitamin C. They’re great diced in an omelette, chopped in a salad or stuffed like these Vegetarian Quinoa Stuffed Peppers.

Kale is incredibly nutritious. A one-cup serving provides 133% of the daily value of vitamin A and 134% of the daily value of vitamin C. Plus, there are endless ways to enjoy kale—toss with avocado oil and lemon juice for a nutritious side dish, add to a smoothie, or cook and stuff in a sweet potato for a hearty dish!

Remember to eat the rainbow every day. Check out the red Eat the Rainbow article for more inspiration!


 

Kristina portrait from Love and Zest

About Kristina

Kristina LaRue, RD, CSSD, is the owner of popular food and nutrition website, Love & Zest, where she shares (mostly) healthy recipes to fuel the whole family and real-life stories of modern motherhood. Kristina is a former NBA team dietitian, collegiate sports RD and cookbook author. She’s the mama to two active and hungry boys and lives in Orlando with her middle-school sweetheart. Follow Love & Zest on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook, and get her new family-friendly weeknight dinner guide for stress-free meal planning.

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How to Prepare, Cook & Eat an Artichoke

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Native to the Mediterranean region, the artichoke is the not-yet-bloomed flower of a thistle plant that is part of the sunflower family. Despite their slightly prickly exterior, artichokes are quite easy to prepare, cook and eat. Plus, they’re packed with antioxidants, vitamin C and dietary fiber.

Preparing an artichoke: Fresh artichokes in a paper bag

Easy Artichoke Prep

  • Because they have sharp barbs, the first thing you’ll want to do in preparation is to cut the top cluster of barbs off with a sharp knife. This will remove about a quarter of the artichoke. Then, utilizing kitchen shears, cut the barbs off the tops of the remaining leaves.

TIP: Don’t worry that you’re taking too much off the top of the artichoke or the tops of the leaves—the edible part is at the base of the leaf. More on that later …

  • Now that the artichoke is easier to handle, remove the small leaves at the base, closest to the stem and cut the stem, leaving about a ½”.
  • The final step is to rinse the artichoke under cool running water to remove any debris that might be trapped in between petals.

Cooking an Artichoke: It’s Easy!

  1. Add just enough water to a pot so that the water is just below the steamer basket. Cover and bring the water to a boil.
  2. Add the prepared artichoke, replace the lid and lower the heat to simmer the water. It will take 20-40 minutes to cook. After 20 minutes, you’ll want to check the artichoke(s) every 5 minutes. The color will change from fresh green to a more muted green and you’ll know it’s read when you can easily remove a petal. TIP: Use tongs for this part—those petals will be really hot!
  3. Set aside and allow to cool a bit before eating it.

Now What? How to Eat an Artichoke

  • Serve the artichoke right-side up on a plate.
  • Remove a petal from the artichoke and eat only the bottom, whitish fleshy part of the petal that was closest to the base of the artichoke.
  • You can certainly eat artichokes plain, or with a little salt & pepper. Try dipping them in melted butter or ghee, a tangy vinaigrette or a savory aioli.

TIP: Have a bowl at-the-ready for discarded petals.

Easy Aioli Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 Garlic cloves, pressed
  • ¼ tsp. Kosher salt
  • ½ cup Sprouts Organic Mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp. Sprouts Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp. Fresh lemon juice
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Mash garlic and salt in a small bowl until a paste forms.
  2. Whisk in mayonnaise, oil and lemon juice.
  3. Season with salt and pepper—enjoy!

Did you know?

One artichoke plant can produce up to 20 artichokes per year.

Mindful Consumption: Recycling Facts

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Recycling seems pretty simple. But did you know things like cleanliness and contamination play into the whole system? To help you become a model recycler, we’ll be answering questions like, how clean is clean? And, can those plastic windows in envelopes be included with the paper?


Does recycling really matter?

Yes! Here’s a recycling fact: Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for two hours, or a laptop for three hours or light a 100-watt bulb for 20 hours.


The Benefits of Recycling

When we choose to recycle things like paper, cardboard, glass and plastic, we’re sending less material to the landfill. At the same time, when those materials we divert from the landfill are reused, they’re saving other valuable natural resources like water, trees and minerals. Recycling also benefits our economy by creating a domestic source of materials. Last but not least, recycling saves energy.

What Can Be Recycled?

The best answer to this question is: Check locally! Because recycling programs vary from one area to the next, there is no set answer for what materials can be recycled in your neighborhood. The non-profit organization, Keep America Beautiful, has a fantastic website to help you find information on the recycling programs in your area—searchable by zip code!

Recycling facts: Various bottles, cans and newspapers arranged in circular design

Containers

Is it really true that if you don’t clean your plastic, glass or can you ruin it for all the other recycles? Yes and no. If there are still a few schmears of mayo in the jar after you’ve rinsed it out, no harm done. But if the container has not been rinsed at all and/or contains leftover food or liquids, yes, it could contaminate other materials, especially in places that have a single-stream system.

Consider this: An unrinsed food jar could come open or break somewhere in the process. If it gets on paper and cardboard recyclables, they’ll be ruined. You don’t have to spotlessly clean plastics and glass with soap and water, just rinse them so little to no food is left in them. And let them dry too. Wet containers with paper and cardboard aren’t a good combo—soggy items can contaminate a whole bundle of paper products.

Paper

Crumpled paper, newspaper and cardboard are a-okay. Shredded however, in most cases, is not. You can use it in your compost pile as a brown/carbon. As for those pesky plastic windows in paper envelopes? It’s best to remove them before adding the envelope to the recycle bin. (Don’t worry if there is a little sliver of plastic that hangs on.) And unless you can completely separate the paper part of a bubble-wrap mailer from the plastic, those shipping envelopes will need to be reused or thrown in the garbage.

Wishcycling

When you toss something in the recycling bin that you hope is recyclable, but aren’t sure, you’re wishcycling. The trouble with this practice is, if what you’re adding to the recycles truly isn’t recyclable, you run the risk turning vast amounts of potentially recyclable material into trash or at the very least, bringing the process to a halt at the recycling center. Keep in mind, just because something has the chasing arrows symbol on it does not mean it can go in the bin with everything else. Boost your eco-savvy by checking with your local municipality for the rules as to what can be collected in your area.

Can You Recycle Plastic Bags?

Most recycling programs will not take plastic bags, even if it has the recycling logo on it. At Sprouts, we have containers at the front of every store where plastic bags can be recycled. Last year, our customers returned 22 million plastic bags to us, so we could recycle them for you. We also recycled 850,000 pounds of our own mixed recyclables including paper, plastic, aluminum and glass, as well as 80 million pounds of cardboard—that’s equivalent to 450,000 trees!

 


Here’s another recycling fact:

It’s possible to turn an aluminum can into another aluminum product in as little as 60 days!


Explore & Discover Sale

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Explore and Discover Sale

At Sprouts, we’re passionate about bringing you the hottest new and unique products in fresh and natural foods so you can be the first to try them! Come explore and discover hundreds of these exciting products throughout the store while they’re on sale, now through Wednesday, March 6. You’ll find interesting, better-for-you items featuring trending products like grass-fed dairy and local honey, as well as specially sourced ingredients like grain-free cassava flour, heritage breed eggs and plant-based proteins, just to name a few. You’ll also discover products that support dietary preferences such as FODMAP, Whole30®, keto and Paleo.

Products to Explore and Discover on Sale Now!


SHOP SALE


Want to learn more about trends in natural products?

Explore what’s in-store with these resources on popular topics—some that have been the inspiration for new products hitting shelves now for you to discover.

FODMAP

Learn about this acronym for various short-chain carbohydrates, how they can affect digestion and what foods they’re in.

Whole30®

Primal Kitchen sauce

More like a digestive reset, this focus centers around your total health, habits and relationship with food. You can learn more about the Whole30 program and find a great shopping guide in our article by Whole30® founder Melissa Hartwig.

Free-range Eggs

Happy Egg Heritage Breed Eggs

With a continued interest in animal welfare, it’s important to understand where our eggs come from. Learn about what free-range really means and get egg-ucated!

Gluten-free

Siete Grain Free Tortilla Chips

Going gluten-free? Knowing what to look for is half the battle! Get gluten-free tips and recipes in this quick read.