These days, it’s easy to hear all sorts of information about food on the Internet, television and kitchen scuttlebutt. The hard part is digesting the entire gastronomic gospel and separating the facts from the fiction. The doubt is out, as we have finally investigated some of the most common myths about food.
Sprouts wants to help you on your healthy living journey by offering a great selection of good-for-you foods and tips for making every meal a healthy choice in 2018.
#1 – Load Up on Fruits & VegetablesThe USDA’s guideline is to eat 5–9 servings of fresh fruit and vegetables—or two cups of fruit and two-and-a-half cups of veggies—daily. Fruits and veggies contain antioxidants, essential minerals, like potassium and fiber to protect against chronic illness and disease. Try this! Add fresh or frozen veggies to smoothies or casseroles for an extra serving of nutritious, colorful produce.
#2 – Boost Energy with Whole GrainsWhole grains are a great source for the B vitamins that help boost energy and fiber to feel fuller longer. Rich in nutrients, whole grains can offer protection against heart disease and diabetes, as well as significantly reduce the amount of cholesterol in the bloodstream. Aim for 5–8 servings of grains per day, with half of those being whole grain. Try this! Add a little whole-grain twist to your soups or salads by adding quinoa, amaranth, barley or wheat berry.
#3 – Maintain a Balance with Cultured FoodCultured foods can improve digestion, support a healthy immune system and promote friendly flora in the gut. These live-cultured foods are loaded with probiotics, essential vitamins and minerals. When ingested, they are beneficial in helping prevent and treat numerous medical conditions. Try this! Add unpasteurized sauerkraut on your sandwich, add kefir or yogurt to a smoothie or enjoy a cup of miso soup for a probiotic punch.
#4 – Build Muscle with Lean ProteinProtein, the building block of muscles, also creates the necessary enzymes to help repair body tissue, skin and cartilage. Choose lean meats (like buffalo), egg whites and incorporate a variety of seafood 2–3 times a week. Meat isn’t the only source of good protein—try plant-based proteins like dried beans, lentils or tofu. Try this! Use beans and lentils as a main dish for burgers or burritos. Beans contain slow releasing carbohydrates, and are low in fat and high in protein.
#5 – Fill Nutritional Gaps with the “Essential 4”Eating a proper diet should be all you need to get the recommended vitamins, minerals and nutrients for optimal health. However, these nutritional marks are often missed by consuming suboptimal foods. The Essential 4 are supplements that easily incorporate into your lifestyle and help fill those nutritional gaps. Try this! Incorporate Sprouts Essential 4 in your diet: (1) Multivitamins, (2) Omega-Rich Oils, (3) Probiotics, (4) Superfoods. Note: Be sure to check with your physician before starting any supplement routine.
One healthy habit that can keep you on the track to wellness is starting your day fresh with a nutrient-dense smoothie. A great on-the-go option, smoothies are perfect for busy lifestyles. Need some inspiration to mix it up (pun intended)? Make a top-notch nutritious juice or smoothie with these mix-ins.
Cacao NibsGreat news for chocolate lovers! Cacao nibs, which are chocolate in their purest form, are full of both antioxidants and flavonoids. Cacao also stimulates the brain, triggering the release of phenylethylamine, a neurotransmitter commonly referred to as “the love drug,” which elicits feelings of contentment and alertness. There might be a reason for our chocolate love affair after all.
Turmeric RootspiceA pinch of ground turmeric rootspice is great in juices and smoothies. Part of the ginger family, turmeric adds a warm spice flavor to your smoothie or juice while providing powerful anti-inflammatory benefits and antioxidants.
Maca PowderMaca’s health-boosting properties have been used by the native Andean people in Peru for thousands of years. Rich in carbohydrates, protein and a variety of essential minerals, maca enhances endocrine function, regulating metabolism, fertility, sexual function, energy levels and the nervous system.
Goji BerriesA true superfood, goji berries contain natural antioxidants that support healthy skin. Beyond antioxidants, they also boast 18 amino acids, carotenoids, vitamins A, C and E. In fact, per ounce, goji berries tout more vitamin C than oranges!
Powdered Peanut ButterEnjoy the taste of traditional creamy or chunky peanut butter in smoothies by mixing in powdered peanut butter. Just like the traditional version, powdered peanut butter is loaded with protein, potassium, niacin and folates. Blend with cacao nibs, almond milk, whey protein and bananas for a healthy twist on a chocolate and peanut butter smoothie that’s friendly for the waist.
Avocados are both popular and populous in California. About 90 percent of crops from the U.S. come from the Golden State, with more than 6,000 growers producing trees that bear anywhere from 150–500 fruits apiece, each of which is picked by hand. That’s a lot of work! Their popularity stems from the fact that they are creamy and flavorful, but also very good for you: they are one of the only fruits that has “good” fats (about 3 grams per serving of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats), and no cholesterol or sodium.
Video Description: When selecting a perfectly ripened avocado look for produce that is green to purple-black in color. Place the avocado in the palm of your hand and squeeze gently. If it yields slightly then your avocado is ready to eat!
Picking Out a Good OneThe most common variety of avocado is the Hass, and that’s pretty much all that Sprouts sells. Ripe Hass avocados are darker in color—anywhere from dark green to black—and the best ones will be firm but also yield gently to pressure. If you happen to get some that are a little too hard, just put them in a brown paper bag along with an apple or banana for a couple of days. The natural ethylene gases given off by those fruits act as a good ripening agent.
Peeling ItThere are several techniques for peeling the skin off an avocado and removing the large seed, but the easiest one is this:
- Using a paring knife, slice the avocado lengthwise just off center. You’ll be able to feel where the seed is. (Note: the seed is rather thick, so you should try to cut it with its wide surface perpendicular to the table.)
- Once you have sliced off that smaller half, use a teaspoon to scoop out the seed from the remaining larger half.
- Now lay each piece down on a cutting board, flat side down, and use the paring knife to peel back the skin, starting at the narrow end.
- (Alternatively, you can use the spoon to scoop out the avocado meat.)
Long work days and hectic schedules can send stress levels sky-high. Keep your mind, body and spirit in balance with aromatherapy.
What Is Aromatherapy?Aromatherapy is the practice of using extracted oils from roots, seeds, plants, flowers, wood or bark. Their aromatic fragrance can stimulate the part of the brain that controls relaxation, emotion, motivation and spiritual influence.
How to Use Essential Oils:Oils can be used in a variety of ways. Some oils, like rose and patchouli, can be applied directly to the skin, other oils such as peppermint or sandalwood should be diluted into carrier oils (jojoba, almond or avocado oil) before applying to the skin. They can be inhaled, added to bath water, body lotions, shampoos, even cleaning detergents.
- Rose = Happy
- Lavender = Calm
- Patchouli = Relaxed
- Sweet Orange = Positive
- Sandalwood = Peaceful
- Peppermint = Energized
Sometimes when we are really hungry or in a hurry it can be too easy to forget our nourishing greens. Instead, we just reach for something sweet or salty. Luckily, there are many quick ways to get more greens into your daily meals and snacks. Greens are low-carb, raw, fat-free, low-cal, gluten-free and vegan. That means no matter what diet you’re on—from raw to Paleo—greens fit right in. Crisp, fresh and dark leafy greens are great in a salad or steamed as a side. But if you’re tired of the same old steamed spinach, here are a few new ways to enjoy leafy greens.
Stir Fry:Swiss chard is a favorite for simple leafy green sautés. The dark green leaves are a visual treat while the mild, slightly peppery flavor blends well with garlic, water chestnuts and mushrooms. Also try kale, beet greens, mustard greens, spinach or a mixture of several varieties.
Green Smoothies and Juices:This is probably the quickest way to get in your recommended servings of vegetables. One of our favorite combinations is green apple, lemon, ginger, kale, parsley and spinach. Spirulina, chlorella, or a good green powder are also healthy and convenient for smoothie additions.
Pasta:Tuck some kale between layers of lasagna noodles, throw a handful of collard greens or chard into your favorite ravioli, or toss macaroni with a nutritious spinach pesto. You’ll find comfort in knowing that your favorite foods have a boost of nutrition.
Soup:Soups are a great way to use leftover leafy greens that you have on hand. Add collard greens to lentil soup or kale to any sausage, potato or white bean concoction. Even those who don’t get excited by cooking greens enjoy the earthy flavors they provide in soups.
Scrambled Eggs:Next time you get a hankering for a big ol’ omelet, add in some shredded kale, cilantro or parsley for a big flavor boost without adding extra calories or fat. Quick, warm, savory and nutritious, what more could you ask for? Baked kale chips are a crispy, crunchy way to snack on leafy greens. Kids love them, too! Click here for a recipe!
There’s nothing more frustrating than cutting into a steak fresh off the grill and realizing that it’s overdone. Or equally frustrating, cutting into it and realizing that it’s underdone and needs to be thrown back on the grill; the juices spill out before the meat has had a chance to rest. So, how exactly can you tell when your steak is to your preferred doneness? Here’s an easy trick from our friends at The Spice Hunter that uses the best cooking tool you have: your hands. Using your hands, you can tell if your steak is rare, medium-rare, medium, medium-well or well done depending on which finger you press to your thumb.
Video Description: Looking to grill up the perfect steak? Check out the tips below for how to achieve preparations from rare to well done.
Rare:Relax your hand. Using your other hand, touch the fleshy part of your hand beneath your thumb. This is what a rare steak feels like.
Medium-rare:Gently touch your index finger to your thumb. Using your other hand, touch the fleshy part of your opposite hand beneath your thumb is firmer. This is what a medium-rare steak feels like.
Medium:Gently touch your middle finger to your thumb. Using your other hand, touch the fleshy part of your opposite hand beneath your thumb. This is what a medium steak feels like.
Medium-well:Gently touch your ring finger to your thumb. Using your other hand, touch the fleshy part of your opposite hand beneath your thumb. This is what a medium-well steak feels like.
Well:Gently touch your pinky finger to your thumb. Using your other hand, touch the fleshy part of your opposite hand beneath your thumb. This is what a well-done steak feels like.
Grilled Steak RecipeNow that we know how to tell when the steak is done to perfection, here’s a simple recipe for perfectly delicious grilled steak.
- 4 10-oz. Ribeye steaks
- 1/4 cup The Spice Hunter Steak & Chop, Grill & Broil
- Olive oil for brushing
Preparation:Sprinkle the steaks with the desired amount of steak rub. Rub the steaks on both sides. Brush one side with oil and place on the grill. When ready to flip, brush the top side of the steak with oil. Allow the steaks to rest for 5–10 minutes before serving.
You know that greens are nutritious—now make them delicious! Wilted, blanched, sautéed, braised or even puréed, these greens add great balance and depth to any dish and pair especially well with garlic, lemon and olive oil. With these shopping and cooking tips, you’ll be turning over a new leaf in no time.
How to Choose & Store Your GreensWhen buying greens, look for crisp, young leaves with vibrant color. Discard any bruised, slimy leaves and stems before storage. Most will keep for a few days when tightly wrapped in paper towels and stored in the refrigerator. Wash just before using. Pre-packaged greens are a real time-saver too. Look for pre-washed Sprouts Lettuce in the Produce Department.
How To Eat Your Greens
Bok ChoyDon’t stop at stir-fries! Fold these sweet, vitamin C-packed leaves raw into salads, slaws or even chicken noodle soup. Try making a simple side dish with mushrooms, bok choy and miso paste.
Collard GreensThis fiber-rich favorite is more versatile than you might think. Try collards folded into your morning frittata or added to your homemade marinara sauce.
KaleBursting with vitamin C, kale makes a hearty Caesar salad, brightens vegetable soups, and will even supercharge a pesto. Roast small pieces with a little olive oil, salt and pepper for a light and flavorful snack chip.
Mustard GreensThese vitamin A-filled leaves add a jolt of color and flavor to a meal, complementing meat as well as fish. Try them in braises, curries and pastas too.
Dandelion GreensThese peppery, vitamin K-loaded leaves are best served simply: sautéed in garlic and olive oil and given a spritz of lemon. You can also toss into a salad in place of arugula.
Turnip GreensIf you’ve already used your turnips in another recipe and have a pile of tops covering your cutting board, use these dark, spicy greens as you do kale or collards. They pair well with salty meats, heavy cream or fresh garlic. Or, try a fresh green smoothie for a vitamin-packed breakfast.
Swiss ChardChard is a nutritional powerhouse. The stems can be used much like celery, chopped and sautéed to add depth to soups. Use its slightly sweet leaves to class up a pasta dish. (Psst! A little nutmeg adds a special flavor too.) We sell red, green and rainbow varieties at Sprouts.
SpinachTied with kale as the most nutritious of all the greens, it delivers more than a dozen flavonoids (anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting compounds) and half the recommended dose of vision-maintaining vitamin A.
RadicchioSometimes bitter is better! Okay, so it’s not green, but this red-leaf Italian chicory is traditionally used in salads. It’s also excellent grilled and drizzled with balsamic vinegar.
EscaroleIt may look like romaine, but this bold and bitter green is much more flavorful. It has a delicious nutty flavor and is a wonderful accompaniment to rich meats, a topping for stews or soups, or a wrap for scallops and shrimp. Plus, you’ll find about 65 percent of your daily recommended bone-healthy vitamin K in just half a cup.
If grocery goods had personalities, apple cider vinegar would have one that comes with being naturally good at just about anything. Used for centuries, this vinegar is a born-ready helper offering benefits for cooking, cleaning and a number of natural remedies.
Uses for Apple Cider Vinegar
- Mix in your salad dressing – Add some zest and flavor to your next bowl of greens by topping it with a homemade dressing that includes a bit of this wonder food.
- Include in a marinade – Marinade anything from meats to veggies in a bag or bowl and simply let sit for a few hours to allow flavors to set.
- Add to a drink – Up your smoothie, juice or tea by simply including a bit of apple cider vinegar. A teaspoon is plenty!
- Boost metabolism – Taking an ounce a day may help to boost your metabolism.*
- Create a natural skin astringent – Apple cider vinegar can help restore your skin’s natural pH levels, which helps to keep your skin looking healthy and clear.*
- Use as a baking ingredient – Give your cake and muffin batters a lift with this natural leavening agent.
- Fight bacteria and fungus – Add apple cider vinegar to salad dressings, meals and more as it contains malic acid which can help fight bugs and germs that may come your way.*
- Detoxify naturally – Taking apple cider vinegar each day can help rid the body of toxins.*
- Use as a household cleaner – Meet your new all-purpose cleaner! Best used in a spray bottle, it can be mixed with water to create an all-natural cleaner for use in the kitchen, on countertops and floors while also effectively removing any odors that linger in the house.
- Enhance & protect your garden – Rid your garden of weeds and watch it grow with this vinegar. Apple cider vinegar can work as a fertilizer when mixed with water and just might help you in achieving a green thumb!