Traditional Ham with a Twist

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With Easter right around the corner, we are delighted to share these ham-tastic, tasty recipes from our blogger friends with you.

Spiced Baked Ham with Apple Chutney

A decadent blend of spices, perfectly paired with rich apple chutney. Recipe provided by our blogger friend, Andrea, from Beautiful Eats and Things. Spiced Baked Ham with Apple Chutney

Ingredients

  • 10 lb. Butcher Shop Spiral-sliced Ham
  • Cloves
  • 2 Red apples, diced
  • 1 sm. Onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1/4 tsp. Sprouts Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 tsp. Nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Remove ham from packaging, set glaze pack aside, and place ham in a large roasting pan. Place cloves along the outside of the ham; about 1 1/2-inches apart. Add about 1 inch of water to pan and cover loosely with foil. Bake for about 1 hour and 45 minutes, or 7–10 minutes per each pound.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat oil on medium-high heat. Add diced apples and onions to saucepan and cook until onions are soft.
  3. Once apples are completely soft, remove from heat and add salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. When the ham is done cooking, make glaze according to the package instructions, spreading it on the outside of the ham. Turn oven up to 425°F and bake ham, uncovered, for about 10 minutes or until glaze starts to bubble.
  5. Serve with Apple Chutney and enjoy!
 

Maple Rosemary Glazed Ham

If you’re in the mood for sweet and savory, trade the glaze packet for an easy, two-ingredient maple rosemary glaze. Recipe provided by our blogger friend, Rebecca, at Nourish Nutrition Blog.

Overhead of maple ham in pot

Ingredients

  • 10 lb. Butcher Shop Spiral Sliced Ham
  • 1/3 cup Maple syrup
  • 3 Rosemary sprigs

Maple ham on plateDirections

  1. Preheat oven to 275°F. While oven is preheating, place ham in roasting pan, cut side down and cover with tin foil.
  2. Place in oven once preheated. Cook for 10–12 minutes per pound. When there are 45 minutes of cook time left, prepare glaze by pouring 1/3 cup maple syrup into sauce pan. Add 3 sprigs of rosemary. Heat over medium-low heat for 15 minutes.
  3. Remove ham from oven with about 30 minutes remaining on cooking time. Pour maple rosemary glaze over ham, brush it into each cut in the ham. Return to oven, uncovered. Cook for another 30 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven. Brush more glaze (from the bottom of the pan) onto ham, it will be watery, but that’s okay. Cover with foil again and let it rest for 15–20 minutes.
 

Baked Ham with Bourbon Orange Glaze

Elevate your ham by adding a homemade bourbon orange glaze! This is an amazing recipe that  looks fancy but is super simple to make. Recipe provided by our blogger friend, Erin, at Speckled Palate.  
Baked Ham with Bourbon Orange Glaze

Ingredients

 
  • 11 lb. Butcher Shop Spiral-sliced Ham
  • 1 cup Orange juice
  • 6 Tbsp. Honey
  • 1/4 cup Honey Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup Stone-ground mustard
  • 1/4 cup Unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup Bourbon
  • 2 Navel oranges, zested
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Directions

  1. For the ham: preheat the oven to 350°F. On a large sheet pan lined with three layers of aluminum foil, which you will wrap the ham in.
  2. Remove the ham from its packaging, and remove the plastic from the bone end of the ham. Place the ham face down on the prepared, lined baking sheet.
  3. Cover loosely and completely with the foil, making sure the foil ends are crimped so juices don’t leak out of the foil.
  4. Once the ham is ready, bake for 100 minutes. (The package’s instructions say to bake the ham 7–10 minutes per pound, and that the internal temperature needs to reach 120°F, so if you have a smaller ham, be sure to calculate your time accordingly.)
  5. For the glaze: When the ham is almost done with its first bake, make the glaze in a saucepan. Combine the orange juice, honey, mustards, butter, bourbon, orange zest and Worcestershire sauce. Whisk until smooth.
  6. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 20–25 minutes, or until thick and bubbly. (Stirring constantly will ensure that it doesn’t burn, because if you’re not careful, it will.)
  7. When the ham has finished its first bake, remove from the oven and remove the foil from the top of the ham. Roll them down, crimping near the bottom, so the ham is exposed, but the foil still covers the bottom of the ham.
  8. Turn up the oven to 425°F. Brush the glaze over the uncovered ham, and place in the oven to bake for an additional hour. Every 15 minutes, remove the ham from the oven and liberally coat the ham in glaze.
  9. After brushing with the last of the glaze, bake an additional 30 minutes, or until the ham is caramelized. If any parts of the ham look like they’re at risk to burn, cover loosely with foil.
  10. Remove the ham from the oven, and let cool for 15 minutes. Carve and serve warm!
 

Tangy Glazed Ham

Chipotle and Dijon mustards team up to make this ham glaze with zip. Recipe provided by our blogger friend, Cheryl, at Pook’s Pantry.

Tangy glazed ham

Ingredients

  • 10 lb. Butcher Shop Spiral-sliced Ham
  • 4 Tbsp. Unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup Brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup Honey
  • 2 Tbsp. Sauce from chipotles en adobo
  • 2 Tbsp. Whole-grain Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. Minced garlic

Directions

  1. For the ham: Preheat oven to 325° F. Place ham, flat side down, on a rack inside of a roasting pan and add 1/2 cup water to the pan. Cover tightly with aluminum foil.
  2. Bake for 1 1/2 hours or until heated through.
  3. For the glaze: In a small sauce pot, combine butter, brown sugar, honey, sauce from chipotles, Dijon mustard and garlic. Whisk to combine.
  4. Heat until bubbling and sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. When ham is heated through, remove it from the oven, take off the foil and raise oven temperature to 400°F.
  6. Brush half of the glaze on the ham and bake uncovered for 10 minutes. Brush remaining glaze on the ham and bake for another 10 minutes until glaze is caramelized. Let rest for 8–10 minutes before serving.
 

Mother’s Day Gift Baskets

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Shower mom with love this Mother’s Day! From a picnic basket perfect for one-on-one time, to a basket she’ll grab for a relaxing night, our blogger friends crafted four baskets perfect for showing just how special the moms in our lives are.

Spring Picnic Basket

Picnics are a wonderful way to connect and enjoy each other’s favorite delights together. Create a personalized picnic gift basket for Mother’s Day by collecting assorted snacks. I always love to pack deliciously smooth cheese, fresh bread, jam, and sparkling drinks. You can even add in summer sausage! It’s like the having a beautiful charcuterie board all wrapped up in one special gift. Basket provided by our blogger friend, Tabitha, at Fresh Mommy Blog.

Woman Holding Mother's Day Picnic Basket editSUPPLIES:  

  • Alba  sun screens 
  • EO hand sanitizers 
  • Lip balm  
  • Sprouts Vitamin Fizzy C’s 
  • Burt’s Bees Rescue Ointment 
  • Snacks of choice: fresh bread, fig jam, cheese, assorted nuts and fruit, etc. 
  • Sprouts Sparkling Lemonade 
  • Eco utensils 
  • Blanket or cloth napkins
  • Basket of your choice

INSTRUCTIONS:  

In basket of choice, begin by layering a blanket or cloth napkins. Add gifting “ingredients” until basket looks filled and presentable. Try to layer by starting with the taller items in the back of the basket and work your way forward by adding in the smaller items.

Kick Back and Relax Basket

All moms deserve to take some time for themselves. This Kick Back and Relax Basket is a must-have gift for those moms who enjoy the cleansing aura of alone time. She’ll have just what she needs for a hot soak in the bath and a soothing cup of tea. Basket idea provided by our blogger friend, Jenn, from Hello Rigby.

SUPPLIES:Overhead Kick Back and Relax Basket on Wood Table

  • Soothing Touch Bath Salts
  • Pukka Three Ginger Tea
  • Sprouts Nourishing Fizzy Bath Bomb in Orange Blossom
  • Sprouts Facial Towelettes
  • Sprouts Uplifting Body Lotion
  • Andalou Instant Luminous Face Mask
  • Sprouts Chocolate-flavored Coconut Rolls
  • Sprouts Lip Balm in Coconut Mango
  • Endangered Species Chocolate Tiger Dark Chocolate With Espresso Beans Bar
  • Tissue paper
  • Basket of your choice

INSTRUCTIONS:

Layer the bottom of a basket with tissue paper Add all ingredients into the basket.

Self Care Basket

Our moms are busy! This gift basket features natural and organic products to help the mom in your life relax and enjoy some self care—no appointment needed! The basket features a full range of bath and spa products, guilt-free wine, snacks, and quality essential oils for beauty sleep. She’d never splurge on herself, so spoil her this Mother’s Day with the gift of relaxation. Basket idea provided by our blogger friend, Audrey, at The Audrey Reel.

Self Care Basket on StepSUPPLIES:

  • Sprouts Essentials Epsom Salt 
  • Andalou Naturals Argan Stem Cell Shampoo 
  • Andalou Naturals Argan Stem Cell Conditioner 
  • Andalou Naturals Instant Pure Pore Hydro Serum Facial Mask 
  • Schmidt’s Fragrance-Free Natural Deodorant 
  • Giovanni Natural Mouse Hair Styling Foam
  • Neocell Marine Collagen for Youth & Hydration  
  • Essential Oils Sulfate-Free Hand Soap in French Lavender
  • Cupcake Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 
  • Risata Moscato D’Asti 
  • Sprouts Bulk roasted unsalted cashews
  • Skinny Pop Butter Popcorn
  • Aura Cacia Peppermint Roll-on 
  • Aura Cacia Pillow Potion 
  • Shredded filler or crinkle-cut paper
  • Basket

INSTRUCTIONS:

In a basket, lay down shredded filler or crinkle-cut paper. Place bigger items near the back of the basket, with smaller items towards the front.

Latte Lover’s Basket

This Mother’s Day basket is perfect for the coffeeloving mama! It’s filled with everything she’ll need to craft the ultimate cup of joe! Begin with a K-cup brew, she can flavor with her favorite spices. There are even options for her to grab a cold brew if she’s on the go. There are plenty of sweet treats as well. Basket idea by our blogger friend, Jamie, at The Girly Pearly.

Latte Lover's Basket

SUPPLIES:

  • (3) Vital Proteins Single Serve Collagen Creamer Packets 
  • (2) Bulletproof Cold Brew, one in vanilla and one in mocha
  • Tillamook Stumptown Cold Brew Coffee Ice Cream 
  • Sprouts Ground Cinnamon 
  • Grady’s Cold Brew 
  • Sprouts Coconut Water with Coffee  
  • Bolthouse Farms Mocha Cappuccino 
  • Sprouts Coconut Rolls 
  • Cold Brew High Brew Coffee 
  • Sprouts Organic Dark Chocolate and Caramel with Sea Salt Bar 
  • Sprouts Organic Sprouts Blend K-cups 
  • Plastic basket of your choice

INSTRUCTIONS:

Keep the cold brew, ice cream and mocha cappuccino drink refrigerated until the basket is ready to be gifted. Place all items into the basket.

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, shamrock-shaped tortilla chips! 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 lg. Garlic clove
  • 1/2 Jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed
  • 1/8 tsp. Salt
  • Cooking spray
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line a 18×13-inch baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spray the foil with cooking spray.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
 

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:

  • 2 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • Broccoli Soup by NibblesAndFeasts

    1 1/2 cups White onion, chopped
  • 2 Celery stalks, chopped
  • 5 cups Broccoli florets, save a few for garnish
  • 1 med. 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 lg. Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. Dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. Dried thyme, crumbled
  • 1/2 tsp.Black pepper
  • 1/2 cup Olive oil
  • 6 slices Sourdough 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 cut-out 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 Chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs (about eight, filling included)
  • 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. In a large bowl, add the crushed cookie crumbs to flour, then add baking powder and salt and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, add 1 cup butter (cold, but cut into pieces) and blend until butter is smooth.
  3. Add sugar to the butter and blend until well-combined and fluffy.
  4. Add egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla to the sugar and butter mixture, blend until fully incorporated.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 dough to about 3/8″ thick. Cut out desired shapes and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone liner.
  7. Chill entire baking sheet of cookies (in the fridge) while you heat the oven to 350°F. Bake cookies for about 10 minutes, or until the tops no longer looks moist. Allow to cool a few minutes on the baking sheet, then move to a cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting.
  8. 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.
  9.  Add 1 cup of powdered sugar and blend. Add 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. vanilla and continue to blend.
  10. Add second cup of powdered sugar and mix until smooth and fluffy. Add food coloring, as desired.
  11. 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 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:

  • 1 2/3 cups Gluten-free pancake mix
  • Spinach Pancakes by abakershouse

    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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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 Popcorn by The Nutrition Adventure:

Lemon White Chocolate Popcorn

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!

Bacon Cherry Popcorn Nutty Cherry & Bacon Popcorn by Milk & Honey Nutrition:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
  • 2 Tbsp. Avocado oil
  • 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.