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Tis the season to celebrate! Whether you’re planning a cozy get-together with close friends, hosting the family or going all out, Sprouts has you covered. Share some of these inspired appetizers at your next holiday gathering. And if you’re feeling pinched for time, make shopping easy and have it delivered!
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Gut health is one of the hot topics in nutrition research right now. It turns out, the bacteria that take up residence in your belly may play a significant role in wellness. Indeed, studies have found a healthy gut can support your immune system and shows promise in decreasing risk for colon cancer, food allergies, inflammatory bowel disease and obesity.
Although research is still in the works, one thing is certain: when it comes to good bacteria, strength comes in numbers. With that in mind, here are three types of food you can add to your diet to boost beneficial bacteria.
Load Up on Fiber
Good bacteria feast on fiber and need it for survival. Aim for a diet of fiber-rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, beans and legumes. The Bulk Department and Produce Department at Sprouts are great places to start.
Minimize Processed Food
This is just one more reason to eat a real-food diet. Some research has shown that certain additives, such as artificial sweeteners, can alter gut bacteria. Plus, a diet of processed food probably means you’re not getting enough fiber to help those healthy bacteria thrive.
Include Probiotic Foods
Seek out foods that are naturally rich in good bacteria, otherwise known as probiotics. These include:
- Fermented Vegetables – Products such as Farmhouse Culture Kimchi or Wild Brine Kraut add flavor to the plate along with good-for-you bacteria.
- Yogurt – Yogurt is inoculated with two primary strains of bacteria, which is what gives it that pleasingly tangy flavor.
- Kefir – Another probiotic-rich option in the dairy aisle that’s similar in consistency to drinkable yogurt.
- Miso & Tempeh – These two ingredients are derived from fermented soy and one more way to work good bacteria into your diet.
- Probiotic Supplements – In addition to food sources, a probiotic supplement is another option for upping your intake.
About Katie Morford
Katie Morford is a writer, cookbook author, registered dietitian and mother of three. She has published two cookbooks, Rise & Shine (Roost Books, 2016) and Best Lunch Box Ever (Chronicle Books, 2013). Her work has been featured in Cooking Light, Oprah, Real Simple, Bon Appetit, Parents, Redbook, the New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. She is the voice behind the award-nominated blog Mom’s Kitchen Handbook: Raising Fresh-Food Kids in a French-Fried World and blogs regularly on the Huffington Post. She lives with her husband and three daughters in San Francisco.
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Looking for a natural way to handle stress? Ashwagandha is your herb! It has been used for centuries to promote mental and physical health. With holidays right around the corner, look to this energy-restoring herb to help support both mental and physical health.
Its Latin name is Withania somnifera, but ashwagandha is also known as Indian ginseng or winter cherry, and is part of the nightshade family. Taken from the root, ashwagandha has been used for centuries in the traditional Indian medical practice known as Ayurveda.
An adaptogen, ashwagandha acts as a stress reliever and balancer. Adaptogens are known to increase the body’s resistance to stress and exert a positive effect on the various systems, including immune, nervous and cardiovascular function.
Immune & Adrenal Support
The holiday season is known for increasing stress levels and time spent with large groups of people, both contributors that can lead to the unfortunate side effect of sickness. That’s why it’s important that your immune system be at its best!
Ashwagandha is particularly helpful in lowering your stress levels and helping balance your immune system by supporting the body’s ability to fight off stress and sickness. When your body is in balance, your adrenals can respond more effectively to create a healthier stress response to a hectic holiday season.
Did you know? The Sanskrit word ashwagandha is a combination of ashva, meaning horse, and gandha, meaning smell, and refers to the strong smell of the plant’s root.
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Colorful, tasty and beneficial for the body, the European elder tree is native to Europe and parts of Asia and Africa. The flowers are white with green berries that turn red, then black when fully ripe. Both berries and flowers have been used in folk medicine for centuries to treat digestive disorders, influenza, colds, sinusitis and other allergy symptoms.
A Concentrated Antioxidant
Elderberries are a concentrated source of two antioxidants: quercetin and anthocyanin. These powerful antioxidants enhance the body’s immune response by increasing the production of cytokines. Cytokines are the immune system’s messengers, helping to regulate the body’s response to disease, inflammation and infection. The high antioxidant capacity in elderberries neutralizes harmful free radicals and protects the body against illness and disease.
Excellent Source of Vitamins A and C
Elderberries are also an excellent source of vitamins A and C. Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant, which is part of what makes it a great addition to your wellness routine. Vitamin A helps with the formation of white blood cells essential to your body’s defense against illness. Together, they make an outstanding one-two punch to assist in warding off those pesky bugs that make the rounds this season.
Enhancing Immunity Quickens Recovery
Elderberry’s high antioxidants, as well as its high content of vitamins A and C are compelling reasons to try elderberry next time you feel you might be fighting a bug.
Did you know?
Elderberry significantly more antioxidant capacity than either blueberries or cranberries.
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i Eur Cytokine Netw. 2001 Apr-Jun;12 (2):290-6.
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The days are getting shorter, there’s a crispness in the air and the leaves are becoming crunchy and colorful—there’s no denying it, fall is in full swing! Time to dust off those boots, pull out those sweaters and prepare for the cooler weather and stresses that naturally come with transitioning into a new season. Between holiday traveling and jam-packed schedules, it’s important to keep you and your family feeling your best as winter quickly approaches. Here are our top tips to make this your healthiest autumn yet:
The sweltering summer heat has come to an end and the icy winter air has not yet approached. It’s the perfect time to throw on a scarf and enjoy the outdoors. Gather friends and family for a fall picnic or head over to the pumpkin patch and corn maze. Soaking up the sun makes for happy memories and a healthier you.
While cozying up on the couch may sound tempting, it’s important to continue exercising throughout the fall and winter seasons both for physical and mental health. Enjoy the fresh fall breeze and go for a walk or skip hitting the snooze button and go for an early morning workout.
Support Your Immune System
Feel your best this season! To maintain a healthy immune system these products may just be what you are looking for. Our Sprouts Fizzy Vitamin C packs 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C as well as antioxidants, electrolytes, essential nutrients and B vitamins to help you stay on top of the season. Gaia Herbs’ Black Elderberry and Source Natural’s Wellness Formula both help to maintain your immunity as well. If you’re already feeling down, try Gaia Herbs’ Turmeric Supreme Immune A.S.A.P., Herb Pharm’s Rapid Immune Boost or Boiron’s Oscillococcinum to get on your feet again.
Along with the joy and excitement of this season, comes stress and anxiety. When you feel like your emotions are getting the best of you, try Natural Factors’ Mind Retreat or Nelson Bach’s Rescue Remedy. Don’t forget about your furry friends either, try Nelson Bach’s Rescue Remedy for Pets.
Get Plenty of Zzzs
Preparing for the holidays and resetting your fall schedule can leave you short on time and sleep. It’s important to maintain a consistent sleep schedule so that you can enjoy every moment that this season has to offer. Promote relaxation and sleep quality with Natural Factors’ Stress Relax Tranquil Sleep, Genexa’s Sleepology® or Sleep Rejuvenation™ from Source Naturals®.
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This holiday season, spice up your Thanksgiving table. Rich spices and fiery flavors can add a new twist to traditional recipes for turkey, stuffing and other holiday sides.
Spiced Citrus Turkey – In this recipe, fresh citrus, smoky spices and fresh cilantro bring warmth and zest to the traditional turkey rub.
Turkey Enchiladas – Made with salsa verde, creamy avocados and fresh herbs, this dish made from leftover turkey is a crowd-pleasing platter.
Pumpkin Horchata – Add popular pumpkin flavors to this sweet Southwestern drink made from rice milk and cinnamon.
Chorizo & Cornbread Stuffing – Sweet and spicy, this stuffing recipe is the perfect match to a smoky Thanksgiving turkey.
Cran-Raspberry Jalapeño Sauce – Tart cranberries, sweet raspberries, smoky jalapeños and fresh orange juice make for and delicious dish in this tangy holiday recipe.
Cranberry Avocado Salsa – The fresh and surprising pairing of avocado and cranberry in this pico-style salsa is sure to garner the enthusiasm of your holiday guests this season.
Video Description: Farm-Fresh Eats – Cranberry Avocado Salsa
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It’s no secret Southerners love good food and giving thanks. Mix it all together for a healthy and fun holiday food craft.
For the Snack Mix
Gobble up a seasonal snack mix from Sprouts bulk bins. Toss together:
- 1 scoop Dark chocolate-covered pretzels
- 2 scoops Apple cinnamon granola
- 3 scoops Cranberry trail mix.
Portion in brown sacks from the paper goods aisle and adorn with handcrafted turkeys.
Let’s Talk Turkey
Cut heart shapes from craft paper in your school colors. Overlap the hearts a smidgen and secure with tape on the back. Cut 1 1/2-inch rounds from brown paper using a craft punch. Doodle a sweet little turkey mug using a marker. Finish with a holiday saying and attach to the sacks for heart-warming smiles.
About Buttermilk Lipstick
Quite Simply the “Bee’s Knees” of Everyday Living
Rebecca Gordon is a Southern lifestyle expert specializing in food and entertaining. She designed, directed and launched the lifestyle brand, Buttermilk Lipstick which celebrates everyday living from home-cooked recipes, style round-ups and crafts that tie back to her food background and her passion for Southern football and tailgating.
Prior to launching Buttermilk Lipstick, Gordon served as Test Kitchen Director for Southern Living magazine and traveled the South as an on-stage presenter with the Southern Living Cooking School, as a Foods and Entertaining Specialist.
Rebecca graduated summa cum laude from Johnson and Wales University in Charleston, South Carolina, specializing in Baking and Pastry Arts. She received her undergraduate degree in Restaurant Management from the University of Alabama and gained extensive experience as a pastry chef for many restaurants throughout the South including Frank Stitt’s Highlands Bar and Grill and Bottega restaurants. When she’s not cooking and entertaining friends, you’ll find her gardening or rearranging furniture around her work-in-progress bungalow and, in the fall, cheering on the Alabama Crimson Tide.
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What are your holiday plans this year? We’re keeping things fairly low-key—no fancy dress-up parties to attend, and no traveling. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t celebrating! We’re home for the holidays this year, so we’re doing everything we can to make them special. Click the button below to learn how to make three of Emily’s favorite holiday drinks.
First up is this Cranberry Lime Spritzer. It’s a sparkly little mocktail that’s naturally sweetened (no added sugar!) and tastes amazing. It’s the perfect blend of tart, sweet and sparkle. We do a dinner of appetizers and finger foods Christmas Eve, and I’m already planning to serve this with it. It’d also be fabulous for New Year’s Eve to toast in the New Year with little ones, or for any of the many holiday parties throughout the season.
This is a healthier take on holiday eggnog. This one is completely vegan, lower in calories, naturally sweetened and comes with an extra nutrient boost! I’ve combined it with another favorite drink—golden milk. I’ve taken the best of both drinks and blended them into something really delicious. You can enjoy this warm or cold, and it’s the perfect little something to sip this season.
Wassail is one of the most popular holiday drinks out there. This mulled cider is dressed up with festive spices and a little secret boost from greens. Keep it warm on the stove (or pop it in your slow cooker!) to greet you after playing in the snow, for sipping while wrapping presents or cuddling up in front of a fire.
Emily lives, loves and cooks at One Lovely Life, where she shares healthy recipes and inspiration for living a happy, full life. When her daughter developed an intolerance to gluten and dairy, her blog shifted to accommodate their new eating style, and these days you’ll find fresh, vibrant, colorful recipes that don’t feel like they’re missing anything. In addition to enjoying healthy meal choices on her blog, you’ll find made-over sweet treats, book recommendations and tips for living a life you love.
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Reclaim the winter season as your wellness season with these herbal remedies! Here are a few tips to help strengthen your system for the season as well as fight back when a cold or flu strikes.
Prepare Your Immune System
There’s nothing like the sudden arrival of cold symptoms that sends us on a focused mission to boost our immune system. It is all too easy to forget the importance of strengthening the body’s defenses before sickness strikes.
While tending to your immune system at any time never hurts, you will thank yourself for doing it sooner rather than later. Echinacea is a great way to start. Studies show it can support your immune function by helping to stimulate white blood cells. Find out more about this immune-strengthening herb!
Support Your Immune System
Using adaptogens during the hectic cold and flu season is a great way to help your immune system. Adaptogens are part of a special group of healing plants that help to balance, protect and restore the body. From a member of the pea family, the adaptogen astragalus is taken from the root of the plant. It can boost your immunity as well as potentially buffer the effects of stress—making it a great addition to your holiday health routine!
Not All Bugs Are the Same
Ever thought you’ve caught your cold for the season, only to be hit with a new one? Different colds lend themselves to different symptoms. Some bugs leave you with a dry, scratchy throat while others leave you with a wet, runny nose. Along with echinacea and astragalus, try out these beneficial herbs to help support the respiratory system:
“Wet” Bugs (Cough with mucus):
- Black cherry bark
“Dry” Bugs (Scratchy, irritated cough):
- Marshmallow root
- Slippery elm
Remember too, one of the easiest preventative steps you can take this season is simply to wash your hands often and keep them away from your eyes, nose and mouth. Sprouts wants you to feel well this fall, winter and all year-round!
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By Southern Bite
With Thanksgiving upon us, the quest to produce the most beautiful, perfectly browned, yet still juicy, turkey is back on our minds. If you’re like me, it’s easy to get so caught up in all the other things that go along with the holiday, you often forget to give that turkey the attention is needs. The truth is, one easy step will help make that turkey the showstopping centerpiece it should be!
A brine is the perfect way to impart some amazing flavor in your turkey and keep it from drying out too much—which will help if it gets a little overcooked, too. It’s a basic solution of salt and sugar that helps to lock in moisture and add flavor. To add that flavor, I add soy sauce, garlic and fresh herbs. Don’t worry, it doesn’t end up tasting like soy sauce. It just gives it a great umami flavor. You can also add lemon peel, orange peel, peppercorns and other aromatics. Just be cautious not to add anything acidic.
There are a few things you should keep in mind, however. Make sure you use a fresh turkey when brining. Often times, frozen turkeys have been frozen in a sodium solution and brining would most likely add too much salt. I also recommend not stuffing a brined bird. The seasonings in the turkey can often leaching into the stuffing and cause it to be too salty. I recommend cooking your stuffing (or dressing) in a separate casserole dish just to be safe. On the same note, it’s best to be cautious when making gravy with the drippings from a brined turkey. It too can become too salty for the same reasons. Be sure to taste your gravy before adding any seasonings if you do use the drippings.
- 2 gallons water
- 1 cup Salt
- 1 cup Sugar
- 1 head Garlic, sliced crosswise
- 1 cup Soy sauce
- 6 sprigs Fresh thyme
- 4 springs Fresh rosemary
- 1 Turkey
- Make sure the turkey has been well rinsed, with the giblets removed.
- In an extra-large stock pot, combine the water, salt, sugar, garlic, soy sauce and herbs. Stir until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Submerge the turkey in the brine, and refrigerate for 18–24 hours.
- Prior to cooking, remove the turkey from brine and discard the brine. Rinse the turkey well with cool water to remove the excess salt, and pat it dry with paper towels. Cook the turkey as you normally would.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries & Pecans
By Southern Bite
Brussels sprouts make the perfect side dish to accompany any Thanksgiving feast. This recipe is so simple, it will allow you to create a show-stopper side without a lot of work. It’s so tasty, no one will know how easy it was. Plus, roasting is the perfect way to prevent that bitter taste that Brussels sprouts get when they are over-cooked. The sweet cranberries and balsamic vinegar are the perfect complement. I bet even those in your family who don’t like Brussels sprouts might like these.
- 1 1/2 lbs. Brussels sprouts
- 3 Tbsp. Olive oil
- 1 cup Pecan halves, toasted
- 1/2 cup Dried cranberries
- 1 Tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
- ash and trim the ends from the Brussels sprouts. Remove any dark outer leaves and slice them in half from top to bottom.
- In a large bowl, combine the trimmed Brussels sprouts with the olive oil and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Toss to coat the sprouts in the oil and arrange on the baking sheet. Roast for 20–30 minutes or until the sprouts are tender, with crispy, dark roasted outer leaves. Remove from the oven. Toss with the pecans and dried cranberries and drizzle with the balsamic vinegar. Serve immediately.
About Southern Bite
Supper Made Simple
Blogger and Wall Street Journal best-selling author Stacey Little is committed to getting folks back to the table for dinner. His quick and easy recipes are allowing families to get a home-cooked meal on the table without a lot of hassle or expense. Southern Living Magazine named Stacey one of the top 30 bloggers to be following in 2015. He has appeared on The Today Show and Fox and Friends, and has lent his talents to national brands like Betty Crocker, GE, White Lily, Martha White, Kraft, and Queen Latifah—just to name a few. Today, his easy, delicious recipes and heartfelt stories have brought millions to his blog, SouthernBite.com, since he created it in 2008. Stacey’s cookbook, The Southern Bite Cookbook (Thomas Nelson: March 2014), is available at book retailers across the country and online. Stacey’s deep Southern roots have him firmly planted in central Alabama where he lives with his wife, little boy, two dogs, and his collection of cast iron skillets.