Popcorn 5 Ways

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Whether you like it sweet or savory, these snack-worthy popcorn recipes by our blogger friends will have you reaching for more:

Lemon White Chocolate PopcornLemon White Chocolate Popcorn by The Nutrition Adventure:

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag Sprouts Salted Microwave Popcorn
  • 3/4 cup White chocolate chips
  • ¼ tsp. Canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp. Grated lemon zest

Instructions:

  1. Pop microwave popcorn according to package directions. Place popcorn into a large mixing bowl, removing any unpopped kernels.
  2. Place white chocolate chips into a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 25-30 seconds intervals, stirring in between. Be careful to not overheat the chocolate. Stir in canola oil, mixing well.
  3. Pour one-third of the melted chocolate over the popcorn and mix. Repeat this two more times until all chocolate is used.
  4. Once the popcorn is coated, pour onto a large baking sheet. Sprinkle lemon zest over popcorn, evenly distributing.
  5. Spread the popcorn out into a single, even layer and allow to dry for about 2 hours.

Stovetop Spicy PopcornSpicy Paprika, Rosemary, & Garlic Stovetop Popcorn by Beautiful Eats and Things:

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup Sprouts Popcorn Kernels
  • ¼ cup Oil
  • 1 and ½ Tbsp. Garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp. Sprouts Grund Paprika
  • ½ tsp. Sprouts Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, minced
  • Salt to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a large, thick-bottomed pot, heat ¼ cup of oil on medium to high heat.
  2. Add 1 and ½ tablespoons of garlic powder and ½ cup Sprouts Popcorn Kernels to the pot. Stir and make sure that the kernels form an even layer on the bottom of the pot. Cover with lid.
  3. As the kernels pop, shake the pot a couple of times to help prevent burning.
  4. When the popping starts to slow down, remove from heat and keep covered.
  5. In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of Sprouts Paprika, ½ teaspoon of Sprouts Cayenne Pepper, and minced rosemary. Sprinkle over popcorn and toss.
  6. Season with salt to taste and enjoy!

Nutty Cherry & Bacon Popcorn by Milk & Honey Nutrition:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
  • 2 Tbsp. Avocado oil
  • ½ Red onion, diced
  • 6oz. Uncured bacon
  • 1/2 cup Sprouts Organic Cherry Fruit Spread
  • 1/2 cup Almond butter
  • 1 cup raw cashews (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Heat the avocado oil over medium high heat, in a large pot on the stove. Add 3-4 popcorn kernels to the pot and cover with the lid. As soon as one of the kernels has popped, add the rest of the kernels. Slightly tilt the lid to vent the steam and shake occasionally until all the kernels are popping 2-3 seconds apart. Transfer the popcorn to a bowl and set aside. Don’t wash the pot just yet, you’ll use it again a bit later on. (Alternatively, you can use a store bought bag of popcorn. You’ll need about 15 cups of popcorn.)
  2. Assemble a baking rack on top of a sheet pan with edges. Spread the uncooked bacon pieces on top of the rack, making sure they aren’t touching each other. Cook the bacon until slightly crispy following the package instructions for time and temperature setting. Set the bacon aside and let it cool, then chop it up into bite size pieces.
  3. Place the pot you popped the popcorn in back on the stove, and begin to heat it over medium heat. Add the fruit spread and almond butter to the pan and stir constantly until the mixture is hot and almost bubbling (about 5-6 minutes). Remove it from the heat.
  4. Spread the popcorn into an even layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. (Be sure to use. baking sheets with edges/sides.) Spoon the almond butter and cherry fruit spread mixture onto the popcorn and carefully toss and mix the popcorn to make sure the popcorn is evenly coated. (Note: You can also do this in a bowl or bag separately and then spread the coated popcorn out onto the parchment lined pan.) Sprinkle the chopped up bacon and cashews evenly over the popcorn.
  5. Bake on 225 degrees for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Remove the popcorn from the oven and let it cool completely. Enjoy!

Churro PopcornCinnamon Churro Popcorn by One Lovely Life:

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups Popped popcorn (from about 1/3 cup un-popped Sprouts Organic Popcorn Kernels) – see instructions for how to pop popcorn.
  • 3 Tbsp. Butter or vegan butter
  • 4 Tbsp. Coconut sugar or Sprouts brown sugar
  • ½ tsp. Sprouts Organic Ground Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. Sprouts organic vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Pop your popcorn. Put half of the un-popped popcorn kernels (about 2 ½ Tbsp. kernels) in a paper lunch sack and fold the top over twice.
  3. Place bag fold side down in the microwave and microwave on HIGH power for 2 minutes.
  4. Remove from microwave and let cool slightly before pouring out into a large bowl.
  5. Repeat with remaining un-popped kernels. (You can re-use the bag)
  6. Sort out and discard any remaining un-popped kernels from the popped popcorn.
  7. Meanwhile, make the butter and sugar mixture. Gently melt 3 Tbsp. butter and 4 Tbsp coconut sugar over low heat in a small saucepan, just until sugar is dissolved and the mixture comes together.
  8. Add ½ tsp. ground cinnamon and ½ tsp. vanilla extract to the butter/sugar mixture. Stir to combine. (Mixture will be fairly thick). Let cool for 1 minute or so.
  9. Pour butter/sugar mixture over the popped popcorn and stir with a spatula to coat the popcorn well. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
  10. Pour coated popcorn onto your prepared baking sheet and bake at 300 degrees F. for 10 minutes, stirring every 3-4 minutes for even cooking.
  11. Let cool before serving.

Sweet and Salty PopcornSweet and Salty Popcorn Snack Mix by The Speckled Palate:

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz. Sprouts Organic Popcorn, Lightly Buttered flavor
  • 1 ½ cups Sprouts Mini Twist Pretzels
  • 1 cup Dark Chocolate Pretzels
  • 1 cup Wild West Roasted and Salted Trail Mix
  • ½ cup 85% Dark chocolate almonds with sea salt
  • ½ cup Red Tart Cherries

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, pour in the Sprouts Organic Popcorn.
  2. Add the Sprouts Mini Twist Pretzels, Dark Chocolate Pretzels, Wild West Roasted and Salted Trail Mix, 85% dark chocolate almonds with sea salt and Red Tart Cherries.
  3. Toss until combined.
  4. Serve in bowls or popcorn bags.

Health Benefits of Citrus Fruits and Juices

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

We’re in the middle of winter and many parts of the country are covered in snow. Citrus fruits can offer a fun way to brighten things up any time of year, but especially in these cold winter months.

Citrus fruits include: sweet oranges, mandarins, lemons, limes, grapefruit, and a few other lesser known varieties. Not only do they offer delicious taste, but their vibrant colors can brighten up any dish or beverage. You’ll find a huge variety of citrus at your local Sprouts Farmers Market.

In addition to their great taste and pretty colors, they also come loaded with an abundance of health benefits.

Health Benefits of Citrus Fruits and JuicesNutrients Found in Citrus Fruits

Likely the most well-known nutrient in citrus fruits is vitamin C, which can be found in all citrus fruits. In fact, just one medium orange or grapefruit provides 100% of your daily vitamin C needs.

Citrus fruits also contain the B vitamins thiamin, niacin and B6.

And potassium, an electrolyte essential for human health, is found in citrus fruits, along with phosphorus and magnesium.

Other nutrients to make note of in citrus fruits include antioxidants such as flavonoids and carotenoids.

Potential Health Benefits of Citrus Fruits

Given the powerhouse of nutrients found in citrus fruits, it’s no surprise that there are a lot of potential health benefits when it comes to citrus and their (no-added-sugar) juice counterparts.

Heart Health

Several of the nutrients found in citrus fruits help support a healthy heart and cardiovascular system. Specifically: vitamin C, soluble fiber and flavonoids. In addition, multiple studies have found lower rates of heart disease in people who consume higher amounts of citrus fruits as part of an overall balanced diet. Both the fruits themselves and juices have been found to have positive effects on heart health when consumed in appropriate amounts.

Cancer Risk Reduction

Numerous studies have found that citrus fruits and the nutrients they contain may offer protection against certain types of cancer including: lung, esophageal, breast, stomach and pancreatic cancers. This is likely due to antioxidant activity (certain types of both flavonoids and carotenoids can act as antioxidants) to inhibit cancer growth and repair cell damage, as well as the fiber content. Diets higher in fiber are associated with lower cancer rates.

Brain Health

Some research has shown that citrus fruits may protect our brains against inflammatory conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Flavonoids (specifically hesperidin), found in abundance in citrus fruits, may slow the rate of deterioration, while also delaying the onset of these conditions.

Bone Health

Vitamin C, potassium and magnesium (all found in citrus fruits) play an important role in bone structure, density and strength. And while calcium and vitamin D aren’t found naturally in large amounts in citrus fruits, the vitamin C content of citrus fruits can help increase the amount of calcium and vitamin D we are able to absorb from other foods. This why 100% orange juice is sometimes fortified with calcium and vitamin D.

Kidney Health

People who eat less citrus fruits tend to have higher rates of kidney stones. One type of kidney stone is caused by low levels of citrate in urine. Consuming citrus fruits can help raise the levels of citrate in urine, and thus may help decrease the risk of developing kidney stones.

Iron Absorption

It is hard for our bodies to absorb all of the iron we consume in food. In fact, it’s impossible. Depending on the source of the iron, our bodies will only absorb about 14–18% of the iron in our foods, but consuming vitamin C (which is found in large amounts in citrus foods) at the same time can increase the amount of iron your body is able to absorb.

Immune System Support

Many citrus fruits are in season in the winter time, which also happens to be the heart of cold and flu season. Consuming citrus fruits and juices can increase your intake of vitamin C, flavonoids and carotenoids which help support healthy immune systems by fighting inflammation and helping your body’s cells communicate with each other.

Skin Health

Citrus fruits and juices can improve skin health because of their high vitamin C content. Vitamin C helps protect our body’s cells from damage, and even helps the cells repair themselves. People who consume more vitamin C may have a lower risk of skin damage from the sun (though you should always wear sunscreen!). Your body also uses vitamin C to build collagen which improves skin elasticity and tone.

Respiratory Health

Several studies have linked the symptoms associated with asthma and citrus fruit consumption. Both Both vitamin C and flavonoids, may play a role in decreasing the frequency of asthma attacks and/or improving its symptoms.

Diabetes Prevention and Management

Believe it or not, eating fruit is not bad for people with diabetes and it does not increase your risk for diabetes. Studies have shown over and over that people who eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, specifically those higher in vitamin C and fiber, have a lower risk of diabetes. It also should be noted that vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and may help prevent or reduce the amount if inflammation present in people with diabetes.

So, whether it’s a grapefruit, lemon, tangerine or glass of 100% orange juice, rest assured you’ll do your body some good by reaching for those citrus fruits the next time you’re in the Sprouts Produce Department!


Please note: The information contained in this article is not intended to treat, cure, or diagnose any medical condition and should not be treated as such. Please seek out your physician or dietitian before making changes to your diet.


 

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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Touchdown Wings for the Big Game

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You can’t spell wing without “win”! Our blogger friends put together five delicious wing recipes that are sure to score big points on game day.

Asian BBQ Wings by Nourish Nutrition Blog

These Asian BBQ wings have a spicy, crisp outside and flavor, tender inside—that you and your guests will love.

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 lbs. Sprouts Butcher Shop Chicken Wings
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1/4 cup Sprouts Organic Asian BBQ Sauce, plus more for dipping
  • 1/4 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1+ Tbsp. Sriracha, or more depending on desired spice level
  • 1 Tbsp. Sesame seeds

 

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Pour water into the bowl of an instant pot, then place chicken wings in steamer basket of instant pot. Close lid, and set vent to sealing. Set to manual, and cook for 10 minutes, at high pressure. It should take about 20 minutes from start to finish.
  2. Once wings are done, turn vent to venting setting and let pressure release, once steam stops, remove lid.
  3. Just prior to serving, set oven to broil. Remove chicken wings and place on a lined baking sheet, slather wings with BBQ sauce, and broil for just 2–3 minutes.
  4. While wings are in the oven, mix together mayonnaise and Sriracha in a dipping bowl, and pour more BBQ sauce into another dipping bowl.
  5. Transfer hot chicken wings from baking sheet to serving bowl, sprinkle with sesame seeds and enjoy.

Vegan Thai Spicy Buffalo Wings by The Vegan Caveman

Made from seitan, these spicy Thai-inspired wings boast a special kick from the homemade Buffalo sauce. You won’t want to stop eating ’em! Brush on extra sauce for more flavor. Optional: serve with vegan ranch.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 75 minutes

Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS:

For the seitan wings: 

  • 1 cup Vital wheat gluten 
  • 3 Tbsp. Brown rice flour 
  • 1 Tbsp. Nutritional yeast 
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Dried thyme 
  • 1/2 tsp. Dried basil 
  • 1/2 tsp. Dried oregano 
  • 1/2 tsp. Smoked paprika 
  • 1/4 tsp. Coriander 
  • 1/2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp. Garlic powder 
  • 1/4 tsp. White pepper 
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt 
  • 1/2 cup Warm water 
  • 2 Tbsp. Liquid aminos (sub soy sauce) 
  • 8 cups Low-sodium organic vegetable broth 
  • 3 Garlic cloves 

Vegan-Thai-Spicy-Buffalo-Wings1

Vegan-Thai-Spicy-Buffalo-Wings

For the Thai Buffalo sauce: 

  • 2 Flax eggs (2 tbsp. flax meal + 5 tbsp. warm water, set for 10 minutes) 
  • 1/2 cup Buffalo sauce (vegan) 
  • 2 Tbsp. Red wine vinegar 
  • 2 Tbsp. Liquid aminos (or soy sauce) 
  • 1 Tbsp. Coconut sugar (or cane sugar) 
  • 1/2 Lime, juiced 
  • 1 Garlic clove, minced 
  • 1 dash Pepper and salt

Other: 

  • 1/2 cup Brown rice flour 
  • 1/2 cup All-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 tsp. Black pepper 
  • 2 Tbsp. Vegan butter 
  • Green onions, thinly sliced, optional, to serve 
  • Vegan ranch, optional, to serve 

DIRECTIONS:

Note: The following directions will be given for stand mixer and without on each step. 

  1. Using a stand mixer, mix together the vital wheat gluten, brown rice flour, nutritional yeast, onion powder, dried thyme, dried basil, dried oregano, smoked paprika, coriander, Old Bay, garlic powder, white pepper and salt with a paddle attachment on low speed until well mixed. If no stand mixer, mix with a wooden spoon till well blended. 
  2. While mixer runs on low, add in 1/2 cup warm water and 2 tablespoons liquid aminos. If using bowl, continue stirring with wooden spoon while adding water and aminos. 
  3. Change the paddle for the dough hook on stand mixer if using. 
  4. Run the dough hook on low for 10 minutes to knead the dough, add in another 2 tablespoons of warm water, and run on low for another 10 minutes. If not using a stand mixer, once well mixed with a wooden spoon, pour the mixture onto a flour-lined surface. Knead the dough with hands for about 8–10 minutes until it becomes elastic-like and can be pulled apart without breaking. 
  5. Once done with mixer or kneading, form into 10–12 small wings.
  6. In a large soup pot, bring the 8 cups of broth and 3 garlic cloves to a boil over medium-high heat. 
  7. Add the wings to the boiling broth and reduce heat to medium. Simmer for 60 minutes until wings double in size. 
  8. While the wings cook, mix together all ingredients for the Thai Buffalo sauce in a small bowl. Additionally, in a shallow bowl or plate, mix 1/2 cup brown rice flour, 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, and 1 teaspoon black pepper. 
  9. Once wings are done cooking, drained and cooled for a few minutes, dredge in the flour/pepper mixture until well coated. Set on a plate.
  10.   Add 2 tablespoons vegan butter to a large frying pan. When the butter starts to pop, dip the dredged wing in the Thai Buffalo sauce and lay on the pan. Repeat until all wings are complete. Flip after 1–2 minutes when the wings start to brown. I like a little burn on my wings as it adds a nice smoky char. Once browned on both sides, set on paper-towel-lined plate.
  11.  Using a pastry brush or spoon, brush the rest of the Buffalo sauce on the wings. Serve and enjoy!

Air Fryer Sweet Chili & Onion Wings by Beautiful Eats and Things

Get your air fryer ready! The sweetness from the honey and the spiciness from the cayenne pepper are two bold flavors that are perfect for kick-off-ready wings. 

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 30-40 minutes

Serves: 4

Air Fryer Sweet Chili & Onion Wings

INGREDIENTS:

    • lb. Sprouts Butcher Shop raw chicken wings 
    • 2 tsp. Sprouts Cayenne Pepper 
    • 2 tsp. Sprouts Paprika 
    • 1 1/2 Tbsp. Sprouts Raw Unfiltered Honey 
    • 1 Tbsp. Oil 
    • 1 pkt. Mild chili seasoning 
    • 1 pkt. French onion dip seasoning 
    • Salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1.  Place wings in a large bowl and add oil, honey and all seasonings.
  2. Combine until all ingredients are distributed evenly. Cover and let sit for about 10 minutes. 
  3. Spray air fryer basket with cooking spray and place chicken wings in basket. Cook at 380°F for 25 minutes, shaking the basket every 5–10 minutes. 
  4. After 25 minutes, increase the temperature to 400°F and cook for 10–15 minutes longer. Shake every 5 minutes and begin checking for doneness at 5 minutes.  
  5. Remove when the wings are crisped to your liking and enjoy!

Brown Sugar BBQ Wings by Spices in my DNA

Brown sugar adds a classic sweetness to traditional BBQ wings. Because this recipe calls for ketchup as the base, the seasonings can be easily altered to your liking. The wings are made extra hot and crunchy from the oven, so no extra oil here!

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 40 minutes

Serves: 4

Brown Sugar BBQ Wings

INGREDIENTS:

For the wings: 

  • 2 lbs. Sprouts Butcher Shop chicken wings 
  • 1 tsp. Salt 
  • 2 tsp. Baking powder 
  • Nonstick cooking spray 

Brown Sugar BBQ Wings1For the sauce: 

  • 1 1/2 cups Sprouts Ketchup 
  • 1/2 cup Sprouts Light Brown Sugar, loosely packed 
  • 1/4 cup Water 
  • 1 Tbsp. Molasses 
  • 1 Tbsp. Honey 
  • 2 Tbsp. Apple cider vinegar 
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce 
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard 
  • 1 tsp. Paprika
  • 1 tsp. Garlic powder 
  • 1 tsp. Onion powder 
  • 1/2 tsp. Sprouts Dry Mustard 
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt 
  • 1/2 tsp. Pepper

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Pat wings dry with paper towels. Place wings in a large, non-reactive glass or plastic bowl. Add the salt and toss to coat. Sprinkle the baking powder over the wings and toss again to coat. Place in the fridge for at least 4 hours or up to overnight. (This step helps the wings get super crispy when they’re baked!) 
  2. Preheat oven to 450℉. Spray a large, rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Set aside. Evenly layer the wings on the baking sheet, and bake for 20 minutes, then flip them, and bake for another 15–20 minutes or until golden and crispy. 
  3. While wings are baking, in a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients for the BBQ sauce. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if desired. 
  4. When wings are finished baking, add to a large bowl along with ½–¾ cup (or desired amount) of BBQ sauce and toss to coat! The amount is totally up to you and how saucy you want them! (You will have extra sauce leftover for another use.) Serve immediately with extra BBQ sauce and enjoy.

Grilled Cajun Wings by Cake ‘N’ Knife

These wings are grilled and great! With a cayenne-spiked hot sauce, it won’t just be the heat from the grill you’re feeling.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 40 minutes

Serves: 6

Grilled Cajun Wings

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 lbs. Sprouts Butcher Shop chicken wings, broken down into drumettes and flats

For the rub:

  • Tbsp. Baking powder 
  • tsp. Paprika 
  • tsp. Garlic powder 
  • tsp. Onion powder 
  • tsp. Dried thyme 
  • 1/2 tsp. Dried oregano 
  • 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt 
  • 1/2 tsp. Freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1/4 tsp. Cayenne pepper

For the sauce:

  • Tbsp. Butter, melted 
  • Tbsp. Hot sauce (I used Buffalo-style hot sauce, but you can use your favorite kind) 
  • 1/4 cup Honey 
  • 1/2 tsp, Cajun spice mix (reserved from above) 
  • tsp. Apple cider vinegar 
  • Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce 
  • Fresh parsley for garnish 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a small bowl, mix together paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, oregano, salt, pepper and cayenne. Set aside 1/2 teaspoon of the mixture. Mix in baking powder with the majority of the spice mix.
  2. Pat chicken wings dry with paper towels. Place in a large bowl and sprinkle with majority of the Cajun seasoning. Toss to coat. Place on a wire rack on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Refrigerate for 8 hours.
  3. Grill wings skin-side up for 30–35 minutes, covered and over indirect heat. 
  4. While the wings are grilling, make the sauce. Whisk together butter, hot sauce, honey, Cajun spice rub, apple cider vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce. Brush the wings with the sauce and cook an additional 5 minutes, covered. 
  5. Add the remaining sauce to a large bowl and toss the wings in the sauce. Add the wings to a serving bowl or platter and sprinkle with parsley before serving. 

The Party Platter that WINGS the Big Game by Honeysuckle

Video Description: The Party Platter that WINGS the Big Game | The Big Game is here so make sure to have an Epic Chicken Wings Platter from Sprouts!

7 Ways to Avoid a Blood Sugar Crash

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

Whether you’re sitting at your desk at work, chasing kids around at home, or just enjoying the day … that sinking I-need-a-nap-ASAP-feeling, can hit out of nowhere. What causes this? And how do you avoid it?

For a lot of people, that onset of exhaustion can be related to low blood sugar levels. Most of our energy levels throughout the day are directly tied to our blood glucose (or blood sugar) levels. Rapid changes in your blood sugar—both up and down—can leave you feeling like you need a nap.

Balanced meals and snacks with the right foods, can help prevent this. A blood sugar-friendly meal or snack should have three things:

  1. Protein
  2. Fat
  3. Fiber

All three of these things act as buffers on your body’s blood sugar after you eat. They prevent blood sugar spikes, and the inevitable crashing feeling afterwards. And they also help keep you full and satisfied for a longer period of time.

After we eat, our food goes to our stomachs and takes anywhere from one to four one to four hours to be moved into our small intestines. Low-fiber carbohydrates get processed the quickest and can cause some rapid blood sugar rises. When you add protein, fat, and/or fiber to a meal or snack, the speed at which your body digests your food slows down—which is great for blood sugar control! Slower digestion means we feel full and energized longer, and provides your body with a steady supply of nutrients.

Healthy food bowl to avoid blood sugar crashHere are 7 tips to avoid a blood sugar crash:

Tip 1. Eat breakfast

Skipping meals, especially breakfast, can cause hunger- and satiety-related hormones to get out of balance, which also means blood sugars start to be less stable.

Tip 2. Eat consistently

It’s important to feed yourself at consistent times throughout the day. There’s a reason our GI tracts, energy levels, and overall health can get out of whack when we aren’t in our routine.

Tip 3. Eat similarly sized meals

Try to avoid having a small breakfast, medium lunch, and large dinner (like a lot of Americans do), and you also want to avoid the opposite (a large breakfast and so on …) Ideally, to keep blood sugar levels stable and prevent a big rise, and subsequent big fall, all of your meals should be about the same size/same amount of food.

Tip 4. Eat every four to six hours

Don’t go more than four to six hours without eating. This is very much related to number two above, and means you should plan ahead. Maybe you know you’ll be running between meetings at work, or out running errands and won’t be headed back home. Either way, if there’s a chance you’re going to have to go a long time between meals, it’s definitely wise to pack a snack.

Tip 5. Keep snacks handy

Keep quality plant-based fat sources with you for when you’re on the go. As I mentioned above, fat takes longer to digest and helps keep us full longer. It also keeps blood sugars stable by delaying the release of carbohydrate from our stomachs. Great choices include:

  • Nut butter packets
  • String cheese
  • Avocados
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Nut and trail mixes

Tip 6. Try not to eat carbohydrates by themselves

Pairing a carbohydrate source with a protein or fat source will keep you fuller longer, and help keep blood sugar levels stable. Instead of eating an apple or crackers by themselves, try pairing either with peanut butter or cheese for added fat and protein.

Tip 7. Choose higher-fiber carbs

Just like fat and protein, fiber slows down digestion, which as you know helps blood sugars stay steady. Some easy swaps are:

  • Crackers and bread made with whole grains instead of white flour
  • Bean-based pasta instead of white-flour pasta
  • Adding nuts and seeds to salads and sandwiches
  • Load up your next pizza with veggies

Now that you know some of these basic tips for avoiding blood sugar swings, you’re prepared to tackle the day with a steady supply of energy. If you’re curious about learning more, seek out your health care provider for more information.


Please note: The information contained in this article is not intended to treat, cure, or diagnose any medical condition and should not be treated as such. Please seek out your physician or dietitian before making changes to your diet.


 

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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Tips for Keto Diet Success from Dr. Josh Axe

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Article by Dr. Josh Axe

You’ve read about the keto diet, what to expect when you’re eating keto and have your keto shopping list—now you’re ready to start the keto diet. Here are six great tips for keto diet success.

1. Start by doing a kitchen clear-out and overhaul

So that you’re not tempted to eat sugary foods and carbs that are off limits, get rid of anything you’ll be avoiding on the keto diet. (It’s understand-able that you may still need to keep some things at home for others you live with, but try to keep big temptations out of the house.)

Foods you’ll want to dispose of include: all sugary foods/desserts, sweetened drinks, grain/wheat products, foods made with corn and potatoes, sweetened dairy products, and ideally all processed foods made with synthetic ingredients or artificial sweeteners too.

Tips for keto diet success

2. Stock your kitchen with healthy fats & keto-approved foods

Head to Sprouts and seek out healthy fats/oils, quality proteins, lots of different veggies, as well as condiments and seasonings that will make keto meals taste great. (Check out the Keto Diet Food List for a comprehensive list of what to stock in your kitchen when eating keto.)

How can you enhance the flavor of keto meals? Use all types of herbs/spices, real sea salt, olive oil, good quality butter, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, stevia extract, hot sauces and lemon juice.

3. Write out meal and snack ideas

Because the keto diet will likely be very different than the diet you previously ate, you’ll feel more prepared if you can meal-plan for the first couple weeks. Look for inspiration for keto recipes online on keto-focused web-sites, Pinterest or in low-carb cookbooks/magazines. Create a plan to get you started, so you can stay on track.

In terms of keto-snacking, you may find that your appetite is suppressed and you’re not hungry between meals. But if you find yourself needing something to hold you over, try keto snacks like deviled hard-boiled eggs, half an avocado, some nuts, bone broth, beef jerky or a keto smoothie.

4. Keep a food journal to help troubleshoot

Grab a journal or create a document on your computer where you can write out what you’re eating each day and how it’s making you feel. If you’re willing to test your ketone levels (by using urine strips, a blood test monitor or a breathalyzer) you can record how your meals are affecting your ketone levels, which gives you real-time feedback.

5. Finding that you’re not feeling satisfied after meals, overly hungry or just plain tired?

Try increasing the amount of fat you eat, and make sure you’re not drastically under-eating calories depending on your needs. You can also benefit from adding more veggies to your diet, since they are your best source of many essential nutrients like fiber and antioxidants, support digestion, lead to satiety and help reduce inflammation. Even though fats are king on the keto diet, keep eating several servings of veggies per day (a serving is about one cup).

6. Continue to practice self-care

Of course, the types of meals you eat are very important on the keto diet, but other lifestyle factors can also affect the results you’ll experience.

  • Be sure to drink lots of water (check out the best keto drinks)
  • Get plenty of sleep (important for regulating hunger hormones)
  • Stay active in a gentle way such as by walking, doing yoga, leisurely biking, etc.
  • Carve out time for relaxing and restorative activities such as reading, napping, exploring the outdoors, getting a massage, etc.

All of these can help to reduce any keto side effects you might encounter and will keep your energy level up, giving you the best chance of sticking with the diet.

Final Thoughts on Planning Keto Meals

To do the ketogenic diet correctly, so that you enter into nutritional ketosis and start burning fat for energy, you’ll need to get roughly 75% or more of your daily calories from healthy-fat sources.

  • About 20% of your daily calories should come from protein. Fat will be your primary source of your calories, not protein, so aim to eat smaller amounts of healthy protein sources throughout the day.
  • Just about 5–10% of your calories will come from carbohydrates, mostly non-starchy vegetables.
  • Overall, the goal is to keep your daily net carb intake—meaning the total grams of carbs you eat per day minus the grams of fiber you eat—to just 25–50 grams.

 

Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS, is a doctor of natural medicine, clinical nutritionist and author with a passion to help people get well using food as medicine. Author of the books Eat Dirt, Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine and the upcoming Keto Diet: Your 30-Day Plan to Lose Weight, Balance Hormones and Reserve Disease (February 2019), he also operates the number-one natural health website in the world at DrAxe.com, with over 15 million unique visitors every month. He’s a co-founder of Ancient Nutrition, a health company where the mission is to restore health, strength and vitality by providing history’s healthiest whole food nutrients to the modern world.

Keto Diet Food List by Dr. Josh Axe

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Article by Dr. Josh Axe

Keto Diet Food List
Non-starchy vegetables, like the cruciferous ones shown here, are great additions to the keto diet.

The whole point of the keto diet is to enter and then remain in the metabolic state called ketosis, in which you burn fat for energy, rather than carbohydrates (glucose).

Over the past 100 years, researchers have discovered that ketones have some pretty amazing attributes—such as enhancing fat loss, suppressing our appetites, increasing mental clarity, and decreasing the risk for a number of chronic diseases.

How to Eat Keto

In order to make ketones, you need to eat plenty of keto fats while also drastically reducing the amount of carbs you eat.

How do you go about getting started on the keto diet? Before diving into the best keto diet foods, here’s what you can expect in terms of what you will and won’t be eating:

  • Good-for-you fats will be your primary source of calories on the keto diet, providing roughly 75% or more of your daily calories. Aim to get about 20% of calories from protein, and just 5–10 percent from carbs.
  • On a traditional keto diet, the goal is to keep your daily net carb intake—meaning the total grams of carbs you eat per day minus the grams of fiber—to just 25–30 grams. This amount causes your glycogen stores to be depleted fast, so your body starts making ketones.

What Not to Buy

When grocery shopping, you’ll want to avoid buying the following items which are high in carbs and/or sugar: all fruit, anything made with added sugar (white, brown, cane, raw and confectioner’s sugar, syrups like maple, honey and agave), all drinks high in sugar, all foods made with any grains or grain flour (this includes all whole grains and white/wheat flour), corn and all products containing corn, conventional dairy products such as most yogurts, granola bars and most protein bars or meal replacements, most canned soups, many condiments, and many prepackaged meals.

Your Keto Shopping List

Because the foods below are high in fat, low in carbs, plus they supply protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber, these are the best keto diet foods to focus on:

  • Healthy fats – Olive oil, coconut oil, grass-fed butter, ghee, palm oil, avocado oil, avocado, MCT oil, lard, chicken fat or duck fat (can be bought at a butcher) and all types of nuts and seeds. You can also have full-fat dairy products like butter, heavy cream, sour cream, organic cheeses, and in small amounts full-fat/unsweetened yogurt, kefir or milk. Almonds, walnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, pistachios, chestnuts, pump-kin seeds, nut butters and seed butters, chia seeds and flaxseeds are also good sources of fats (just stick to having about 1/4 cup per day, or 2 tablespoons of nut/seed butter).
  • Quality protein – Grass-fed meat, pasture-raised poultry, cage-free eggs, all types of wild-caught fish and seafood (such as tuna, trout, anchovies, bass, flounder, mackerel, salmon, sardines), organ meats like liver, and turkey, or beef jerky.
  • Non-starchy vegetables – Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and other cruciferous veggies, all types of leafy greens (like spinach, dandelion or beet greens, col-lards, mustard, turnip, arugula, chicory, endive, escarole, fennel, radicchio and kale), asparagus, cucumber, celery, mushrooms, bell peppers, zucchini, tomatoes and carrots (careful to limit veggies that tend to be sweet like potatoes, butternut squash, beets, etc.).
  • Condiments and beverages – Water, water with a slice of lemon or lime, seltzer, herbal tea, black/green tea, coffee, bone broth, unsweetened almond or coconut milk, or freshly made vegetable juice. All types of fresh or dried herbs/spices like cinnamon, basil, rosemary, thyme, turmeric, ginger, cilantro, red pepper, etc., hot sauce, apple cider vinegar and other vinegars, unsweetened mustard, soy sauce, lemon/lime juice, cocoa powder, stevia extract, vanilla extract and sour cream.
Josh Axe

About Josh

Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS, is a doctor of natural medicine, clinical nutritionist and author with a passion to help people get well using food as medicine. Author of the books Eat Dirt, Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine and the upcoming Keto Diet: Your 30-Day Plan to Lose Weight, Balance Hormones and Reserve Disease (February 2019), he also operates the number-one natural health website in the world at DrAxe.com, with over 15 million unique visitors every month. He’s a co-founder of Ancient Nutrition, a health company where the mission is to restore health, strength and vitality by providing history’s healthiest whole food nutrients to the modern world.

What to Expect When Eating Keto by Dr. Josh Axe

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Article by Dr. Josh Axe

What to expect when eating keto

Believe it or not, studies show that people consuming a typical Western diet, consume well over 1,000 empty calories each day from ultra-processed foods like sugary snacks, sweetened drinks and processed grains! Sugar is currently the most popular ingredient added to foods in the U.S. This means that the high-carb diet many are accustomed to eating stands in stark contrast to the ketogenic diet—a very low-carb, very-high fat diet that’s been shown to have numerous health benefits.

Giving up nearly all carbohydrate foods (grains, fruit, dessert, many drinks) isn’t easy, but the payoffs can be well worth the effort.

What types of benefits can you expect to experience on the keto diet? Dozens of recent studies show that some of the most noteworthy include: help with weight loss (particularly fat loss, even while retaining lean muscle mass), reduced risk for metabolic syndrome, improved glucose tolerance/protection against insulin resistance, better appetite regulation and reduced cravings, and even improved mental/neurological health.

Transition Slowly for Keto Success

If you’re willing to give the keto diet a try, know that in the beginning you’ll need some time to adjust, both mentally and physically. This new way of eating requires some trial and error and a little bit of patience, considering your body will be going through some significant metabolic changes—since the keto diet causes you to burn fat for energy, rather than glucose from carbohydrates.

Initially this can cause some temporary side effects as you essentially experience carb or sugar withdrawal (often called the keto flu). This transition period lasts about one to two weeks on average, and may cause symptoms such as cravings for carbs, fatigue, headaches and constipation. But once you’re in the clear, you can expect to feel more energized, clear-headed and in control of your hunger levels and cravings.

Rather than dropping carbs and sugar cold-turkey, you might choose to slowly start reducing your carb intake over the course of several weeks or so. Begin to experiment with higher-fat meals and carb substitutes, this way your body and mind are less in shock once you fully jump in.

Now that you know what to expect when eating keto, check out these tips for keto diet success by Dr. Axe as well!

 

Josh Axe

About Josh

Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS, is a doctor of natural medicine, clinical nutritionist and author with a passion to help people get well using food as medicine. Author of the books Eat Dirt, Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine and the upcoming Keto Diet: Your 30-Day Plan to Lose Weight, Balance Hormones and Reserve Disease (February 2019), he also operates the number-one natural health website in the world at DrAxe.com, with over 15 million unique visitors every month. He’s a co-founder of Ancient Nutrition, a health company where the mission is to restore health, strength and vitality by providing history’s healthiest whole food nutrients to the modern world.

37 Staples for a Diabetes-Friendly Pantry

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Whether you have diabetes, or a loved one that does, it can be an intimidating disease to manage if you’re not prepared. Stocking a diabetesfriendly pantry is key for balancing blood sugars and living a healthy life.

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month

From balancing blood sugars, to medications, to making sure you’re counting those carbohydrates correctly, it can feel like a lot. Whether it’s type 1, type 2, gestational, LADA (latent autoimmune diabetes in adults) or one of the other types of diabetes, there are some central themes to nutrition management for any type of diabetes.

Having a grocery store like Sprouts close by is a huge blessing to anyone looking to manage their diabetes. Not only do they offer inexpensive pantry staples, perfect for someone looking to stock a diabetes friendly pantry, but they also educate and train their staff to be able to answer general questions you may have about the products they sell.

Stocking a Diabetes-Friendly Pantry

I’ve got 37 staples for stocking a diabetes-friendly pantry that will make life easier and more efficient. Make sure to check out your local Sprouts for these items!

Oils, Vinegars and Condiments

Oil, vinegar and condiments are a great way to add flavor and depth to an otherwise bland dish—without adding carbohydrates, sodium or preservatives—but you have to know which ones to pick.

Avocado oil and grapeseed oil, are two versatile oils. They’re great for high-heat cooking and both have a smoke point of at least 450°F. Extra virgin olive oil is great for homemade salad dressings and marinades for lower-heat cooking. All three oils offer those good fats recommended for people with diabetes.

Balsamic vinegar and red wine vinegar are great to have on hand for homemade salad dressings and marinades. Some preliminary research has also shown vinegar to be effective in managing post-meal blood sugar levels.

When shopping for condiments, try looking for avocado oil mayonnaise, unsweetened ketchup, lowsodium mustard and salsa, as well as low-sodium tomato sauce and vegetable broth.

Spices and Little Extras

Diabetes and hypertension are often diagnosed simultaneously. It’s important to keep sodium low when cooking, salt-free spice blends are a great way to do that.

Pickles, olives and sun-dried tomatoes are low-carb (though some are high in sodium) options when your blood sugar may be high or medications warrant a lower-carb snack.

Grains, Cereals and Breads

Quinoa can be a nutritious rice replacement. It has more fiber and protein making it less likely to spike blood sugar levels. 

Pasta is hard for many diabetics. It usually results in a blood sugar spike, even with whole-wheat varieties. Bean-based pastas are ideal for diabetics offering more protein and fiber than traditional pastas.

Steel cut oats and barley are other higher-fiber, lower-glycemic grain options.

Higher-fiber grains like popcorn, high-fiber cereals, whole-grain crackers and low-sugar granola make great snack options when paired with a protein or fat source.

Sandwich rounds are perfect for making sandwiches. Most varieties are thinner than traditional sandwich bread making them more blood sugar friendly.

Beans and Legumes

Canned beans and lentils offer plant-based protein and fiber, and are great for diabetes-friendly meatless meals. Make sure to look for lower-sodium options.

37 Staples for a Diabetes-Friendly PantryNuts, Nut Butter and Seeds

Almonds and walnuts are both higher in omega-3s than other nuts and make for great snack options for diabetics.

Pistachios, though not as high in omega-3s, are one of the lowest calorie nuts making them better for weight management.

Both peanut butter and almond butter offer healthy fats and protein—great for topping toast or adding to a yogurt bowl.

Some research has shown, pumpkin seeds are effective in lowering blood sugar levels for people with type 2 diabetes. One theory suggests their high magnesium content may be responsible for this.

Chia seeds and hemp seeds are high in fiber and protein. They’re great for adding a little crunch to everything from yogurt bowls to salads and baked goods.

Shelf-Stable Protein

Canned tuna is great for making quick, protein-rich lunches. Make sure to look for varieties packed in water and low in sodium.

Low Blood Sugar Treatment Options

Unsweetened apple sauce and no-added-sugar juice boxes are perfect shelf-stable, low blood sugar treatment options to keep on hand. Glucose tabs, while effective, are not the most appetizing things, nor are they easy to eat. Apple sauce and juice are easy to consume and raise blood sugars quickly.

 

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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How to Cook a Ham – Tips for Making the Best Ham This Holiday Season!

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Thanksgiving Tips

Spiral hams are a super popular choice for large holiday gatherings. They’re such a crowd pleaser, and the leftovers are perfect for sandwiches, breakfast hashes and my personal favorite—my grandma’s ham, leek and potato soup. If you’re wondering how to cook the best ham possible, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Spiral ham on platter with oranges and herbs

Spiral Hams Are the Way to Go

A spiral cut ham is the easiest to prepare, cook and serve. Remove the ham from its packaging and reheat. The ham is pre-cut, so guests can take the amount they desire. By taking stress and time out of the equation, you can enjoy your meal without any extra steps. Sprouts’ Butcher Shop spiral sliced hams come with a flavor packet, either a dry rub or a glaze which you can choose to use or not. A great ham won’t need a thing and will be flavorful enough without the added seasonings. Serve with different mustards or fruity preserves if you’d like—the possibilities are endless—but you don’t need to add much to the ham if you cook it right!

For Extra Flavor …

Wondering how to add extra flavor when cooking a ham? For a little extra flavor, you can pour apple cider in the roasting pan, as well as cinnamon sticks, cloves and allspice. They create an amazing aroma and holiday flavor that infuses the ham, without a lot of extra work.

To glaze or not to glaze?

If you do want to glaze your ham, I’d recommend making your own, with simple ingredients. I like using a mixture of pure maple syrup, orange marmalade, mustard, brown sugar and herbs. Get creative with it, depending on how sweet or savory you’d like your ham to be! If you’re not using a glaze, make sure you cover the ham with foil to keep the moisture in, helping to prevent the ham from drying out.

Making the Moist of Your Ham

Sprouts’ Butcher Shop spiral hams are cooked in their natural juices with no added water for the most flavorful and moist experience. Pay attention to the weight of the ham and the recommended cooking time. Ham can dry out if you don’t take note of those two things.

No food waste!

There shouldn’t be any waste when it comes to cooking a ham! There are so many things you can do with the ham leftovers, like making soups, soup stock, ham salad or scrambled with eggs, as well as regular ham sandwiches. Remember, there may be pan drippings from heating the ham which can be saved or frozen for use in making a super-flavorful soup.

Overall, spiral hams are a long-standing family favorite. They’re super easy to prepare, always a crowd-pleaser, create minimal food waste, are cost effective and require minimal hands-on prep time. If you’re looking for a stress-free option to serve at any large gathering—ham is a great choice. Following the cooking guidelines will help you end up with the perfect ham!


Photo of Molly - Spices in my DNA

About Molly

Molly Krebs is the photographer, food blogger and recipe developer behind Spices in My DNA, a food blog dedicated to healthy recipes with a sprinkle of indulgence mixed in! Molly is wildly passionate about food, and grew up in a family of foodies. She was surrounded by it from an early age and immediately fell in love. Molly loves to share super flavorful, unique and healthy recipes, as well as indulgent, comforting meals. Through her time blogging, she has grown to have a passion for photography as well. You can find Molly’s recipes at spicesinmydna.com, and her first cookbook will be published in August of 2019!

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