Mindful Consumption: Recycling Facts

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


Does recycling really matter?

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


The Benefits of Recycling

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

What Can Be Recycled?

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

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

Containers

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

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

Paper

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

Wishcycling

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

Can You Recycle Plastic Bags?

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

 


Here’s another recycling fact:

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


Explore & Discover Sale

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Explore and Discover Sale

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

Products to Explore and Discover on Sale Now!


SHOP SALE


Want to learn more about trends in natural products?

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

FODMAP

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

Whole30®

Primal Kitchen sauce

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

Free-range Eggs

Happy Egg Heritage Breed Eggs

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

Gluten-free

Siete Grain Free Tortilla Chips

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

Eat the Rainbow

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

Do you have intentions of adding more fruits and veggies into your diet throughout 2019? Maybe you’re focusing on plant-based eating habits for the new year and need some inspiration! Whether you’re a produce connoisseur or you’re new to the idea of eating a variety of fruits and veggies, eating the rainbow is always a good idea.

Since February is a month of love, we’re going to hone in on red fruits and vegetables! Fortunately, Sprouts has all the red produce you need to incorporate into your day-to-day healthy living routine.

Eat the Rainbow with red fruits and vegetablesLet’s Start with Red Fruits

Apples are a great and versatile option. They’re high in fiber and a high-quality source of vitamin C. There are also a number of choices when it comes to red apples—Pink Lady, Honeycrisp, Gala, Fuji, Red Delicious, Ambrosia—the list goes on! If you’re obsessed with apples, check out this refreshing recipe for Apple Crunch Slaw with Almond Butter Dressing.

Cranberries contain a substantial amount of fiber, vitamin C and manganese. They make for a convenient and nutritious snack, a tasty addition to any salad and add a hint of sweetness to your oatmeal.

Cherries are bursting with fiber and vitamin C. The options are endless when it comes to different ways to enjoy cherries. Try them in sweet and juicy desserts, as well as savory dishes such as salads and appetizers. Since Valentine’s Day is near, be sure to try this Double Chocolate Cherry Skillet Brownie.

Raspberries are packed with many nutrients including fiber, vitamin K, magnesium, vitamin C and manganese. They’re perfect for a midday snack, a tasty salad dressing, flavorful boost to oatmeal and a refreshing addition to water.

Strawberries are a very good source of fiber, vitamin C and manganese. A versatile fruit, they’re great in salads, pancakes, fruit pizza, yogurt popsicles and by themselves—you simply can’t go wrong with them.

 

Now for the Red Veggies

Beets are an incredible source of dietary fiber, folate, potassium and manganese. A highly nutritious vegetable, they have a sweet and earthy flavor. Try roasting them, topping a salad with them or pairing them with apples and goat cheese—you won’t regret it!

Red bell peppers are a popular and versatile pepper that can be incorporated into any dish. They’re great diced up in an omelette for breakfast, sliced on top of a salad for lunch, and grilled or roasted as a side for dinner. You’ll get a boost of dietary fiber, vitamins A, C, E and B6, as well as folate from this nutritious veggie!

Red onions are a staple veggie for many. If you’re new to red onions, you may never go back to yellow or white! Packed with flavor and vitamin C, red onions can enhance any dish with flavor and nutrients. They pair perfectly with salads, on top of burgers, and roasted with balsamic vinegar for a side dish bursting with flavor.

Red potatoes are always a good idea. Create a simple side dish by roasting some red potatoes in olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic for the perfect combination. They can also be used in a potato salad using plain Greek yogurt and your favorite seasonings.

Rhubarb can be enjoyed in more ways than just pie! Loaded with many nutrients including fiber, vitamins C and K, calcium, potassium, and manganese, rhubarb is an intensely tart spring vegetable that tastes amazing in a fruit smoothie too!

Tomatoes can be enjoyed simply by slicing and adding salt and pepper on top. They also make a perfect soup for chilly weather or a refreshing addition to a cucumber and feta salad in the summer months. They’re a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamins A, C and K, potassium and manganese.

Remember to eat the rainbow every day, and this year make Valentine’s day festive with red produce!

 


 

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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Cal-Organic Farms

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Cal-Organic Farm Farmer with lettuceSince 1984, when the Duncan family started farming a quarter acre of lettuce in Lamont, California, they have expanded their organic farm to include more than 65 seasonal and year-round vegetables. Today, Cal-Organic Farms is the largest organic vegetable producer in the U.S.—100% of which is grown on family-owned acreage. They believe in doing everything it takes to provide vibrant and nutritious organic produce that you and your family will love.

Farmed with Pride & Integrity

Striving to be good stewards of the land by advancing innovation in farming, Cal Organic surpasses the standard for organic practices. Their farmers use composted manures, cover crops and crop rotation to enrich the soil naturally and prevent erosion. When it comes to pests and weeds, they turn to natural sources like populations of beneficial insects and use cover crops to divert attention away from their precious organic plants.

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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Recommended Daily Servings

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When asking what fruits and vegetables can do for you, the real question should be, what can’t they do? These powerhouses are packed with the fiber, vitamins and minerals essential for maintaining the health and vitality of your body.

Why Eat Fruits and VegetablesHow much and why?

The recommended serving size of fruits and veggies is five per day. But how much is one serving? It’s generally considered one-half cup, though for leafy greens like lettuce and spinach, a serving is one cup. Vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories. The fiber in both fruits and veggies helps you feel fuller longer and contributes to maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. And, they’re packed with all kinds of nutrients your body needs.

Carotenoids

Richly colored molecules, carotenoids are what puts the bright red, yellow and orange hues in both fruits and veggies. While there are more than 600 different types of carotenoids, a few you might have heard of include lycopene, beta carotene and lutein. Carotenoids have antioxidant properties—a boost to your immune system and can help to lower inflammation. Try these beautifully colored carotenoid-packed fruits and vegetables:

  • Tomatoes
  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Collard greens
  • Oranges
  • Watermelon

Vitamins & Minerals

Vitamins A, C, D, E and K as well as the nine vitamins that make up the B complex are a vital part of a healthy diet. Each one of these 14 vitamins plays a key role in various parts of your body’s well-being. A diet rich in produce is also a great source of minerals. Potassium is the mineral most abundant in fruits and vegetables, and is a contributor to lower blood pressure. While no single fruit or vegetable contains all vitamins and minerals, when you eat a variety of produce, you’ll be taking in an abundance of these important nutrients.

Where to start?

It’s easy to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet when you start with the things you know and love. Take a familiar dinner and veggify it! Love fish? Serve it up on a bed of greens with shredded cabbage, tomatoes and avocados, then dress with a sweet and savory mango salsa—colorful and delicious. Is pasta your thing? Try subbing the pasta with potassium-rich spaghetti squash, top it with your favorite sauce, add a side salad and you’ve got a perfect dinner. Or, take the bun out of your burger and serve it smothered in your favorite vegetables sautéed in olive oil.

Easy and delicious, juicing fruits and vegetables, either by themselves or in combinations, is a super refreshing way to get those recommended five servings a day. Check out our great article, Juicing Made Easy, where you’ll learn more and discover tasty sippable combos!

Start Fresh What To Eat

Get prepared

Plan your weekly meals ahead of time to stay on track with this downloadable worksheet!

GET WORKSHEET


Did you know?

More tomatoes are consumed in the U.S. than any other single fruit or vegetable!

MRM

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Inspired by Nature, Supported by Science

Founder Mark Olson’s goal, since he began MRM nearly 20 years ago, has been creating products to help you live a life filled with good health and vitality. Utilizing both Eastern and Western philosophies, as well as collaborative, science-based thinking, MRM does just that.

Their passion for developing innovative nutritional supplements starts by sourcing the highest quality ingredients for their products. Featuring responsibly sourced, all-natural ingredients, MRM’s Active Lifestyle Collection caters to every athletic need—whether it’s before, during or after your workout. Their therapeutic products are minimally processed to give you the purest form of nutrients to help keep your body functioning optimally day-to-day. MRM also crafts an extensive array of high-quality, animal-free products that are vegan and Non-GMO Project Verified.

The team at MRM loves to live life to the fullest and to use that passion to bring you products that allow you to do the same!


Keto Coffee Drops

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Wake up and smell the keto and paleo friendly coffee! Grass-fed ghee, coconut oil and MCT oil are combined to create a nutrient dense, delicious morning cup of coffee. Simply blend up a fresh cup of coffee with one drop for a smooth and creamy treat to fuel your day.

Keto coffee drops
Keto coffee drops

 

Keto Coffee Drops

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup MCT Oil
  • 1/2 cup Grass-fed Ghee
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 tsp. Ground cinnamon, optional
  • 1/2 tsp. Vanilla extract, optional
  • 1 pinch Salt, optional

Directions:

  1. To make the drops: Add MCT oil, ghee and coconut oil to a small pot and melt over medium heat. Add ground cinnamon, vanilla and salt. Whisk until well combined. Pour melted mixture into ice cube molds and freeze until solid. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
  2. To make the coffee: Brew a fresh cup of coffee and place in one drop. Blend with an immersion blender until drop has completely melted. If you do not have an immersion blender, pour coffee into a blender, place in one drop and blend until melted.

Best Organic Produce

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What Are Pesticides?

One of the benefits of choosing organic produce, is knowing it was grown without synthetic pesticides or herbicides which are used in conventional farming to reduce or eliminate the detrimental effects of pests, whether they’re of the plant or insect variety. Additionally, anything organic is also free of GMOs, or genetically modified organisms. If you’re looking to avoid pesticides in your diet, read on!

Every year, the Environmental Working Group tests over 35,000 samples of produce in order to discover how much pesticide residue is present on certain fruits and vegetables. They create a list of the produce that has the most and least pesticide residues on them.

Best non-organic produce, kiwi, avocado, snap peas, broccoli

Conventional Produce

When conventionally grown, these fruits and veggies have the least amount of pesticides on them:

  • Avocados
  • Sweet corn
  • Pineapples
  • Cabbages
  • Onions
  • Sweet peas
  • Papayas
  • Asparagus
  • Mangoes
  • Eggplants
  • Honeydews
  • Kiwis
  • Cantaloupes
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli

Best Organic Produce, pears, apples, strawberries

Organic Produce

Avoiding pesticides? These fruits and veggies are great organic options. Their conventionally grown counterparts had the highest amounts of pesticides on them. Start with these options:

  • Strawberries
  • Spinach
  • Nectarines
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Peaches
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Tomatoes
  • Celery
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet Bell Peppers

Did you know?

We think of the organic food movement as something recent, but really, it began in the 1940s as a response to the introduction of high-yield varieties and the use of pesticides.

What is a keto diet?

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Keto Steak SaladSimply put, the keto diet is a low-carb diet similar to the Atkins diet. Also known as a ketogenic diet, the keto diet works on the concept that your body loses weight more efficiently when it burns fat for fuel instead of carbs or sugar. To better understand the process, we’ll need to explore ketones and ketosis.

What are ketones and ketosis?

Ketones, also called ketone bodies, are chemicals produced in the liver. A product of your body breaking down fat for energy, ketones are produced when there is a limited amount of glucose (used for energy) available for your body to use. Ketosis is a result of the body using ketones in the blood for energy rather than the body using glucose as an energy source—the usual method of fueling your body.

The Keto Diet Plan

The key to the keto diet is jumpstarting ketosis by limiting carbs and eating good-for-you fats to burn instead—putting your body in a state of ketosis. Naturally, burning fat for fuel allows you to lose weight.

Fats

Over the last few years, the taboo on fat has been lifted. The keto diet focuses on healthy fats from oils, nuts and seeds, cooking fats and dairy products. Examples of ketogenic fats and oils include butter or ghee (a clarified butter), sesame oil, olive oil and MCT oil, among others. Nuts and seeds with lower net carb counts include almonds, walnuts and pumpkin seeds (also known as pepitas). Macadamia nuts and pecans are the two with the lowest carb counts, making them a great choice for your keto menu.

Dairy

Dairy is another acceptable form of fat allowed on the keto diet. Like the oils, nuts and seeds, you’ll want to keep an eye on the net carbohydrate count of the dairy you choose. Swiss, Brie, goat and cream cheeses are great sources of dairy fat to consider in your keto meal plan, as is sour cream for toppings.

Proteins

Where possible, opt for grass-fed and organic proteins. Grain-fed meats and dairy are higher in nutrients than those that are conventionally farmed. When choosing beef, look for cuts with a higher fat content, like ground beef, steak and roast. Similarly, look for fish with a high healthy-fat content like salmon and mackerel. Proteins to avoid on keto include processed meats like deli meat and hot dogs.

Carbohydrates

You’ll want to limit your carbohydrates while eating keto. Instead of getting carbs from grains, rice and starches like potatoes, you’ll incorporate lower-carb veggies and fruits. Think of leafy greens and those vegetables that grow above ground, like broccoli, cauliflower and asparagus.

What Not to Eat on a Keto Diet

There are some things you’ll need to avoid eating, in order to keep your body in ketosis. Processed carbs, sugars and fried food are good to avoid in any healthy diet. For keto, you’ll also omit grains, sugar, legumes (like beans and lentils), starchy vegetables and certain high-carb fruits.

Before you make any changes to your diet, be sure to consult your physician because every body needs something different!

 

Did you know? Popular in the 1920s and ‘30s, the ketogenic diet was originally developed to help treat epilepsy.