Family laughing around a good meal in kitchen

Family Meals – Fresh and Fast

Ellie Wilson, MS, RDN Senior Nutritionist

September is a time the majority of us hit the reset button, pull out the calendar and get back to school and work routines. No doubt, many of us find we are already overcommitted before we even get started! Catching up around the dinner table is a great way to reconnect after these busy days, but getting that organized can be one more thing on that already long list. Don’t worry, we have your back with #TimeBetterSpent solutions to kick off National #FamilyMealsMonth, an annual celebration of all of the benefits every occasion you can eat together with family and friends can bring.

Sunday – Get ahead and power up Monday breakfast with a delicious, easy overnight oats and berries recipe (see below). September is also #WholeGrainsMonth! Give everyone the protein and #wholegrains they need for brain power, and know some morning time eating together will get the week off to a great start!

Monday – Go Can Crazy with a quick family and budget friendly chili recipe. Crunch some #wholegrain chips or fresh baked corn bread from the bakery and get all the news of the day at dinner.

Tuesday – First night for sports, Scouts, homework – way too many things to think about cooking too! Rustle up a fresh Rotisserie Chicken, bagged Fresh Express salad,  and the leftover corn bread. Fresh and fast!

Wednesday – Mac and Cheese please (see below)! Comfort food that connects the dots – time and kid-friendly, make it with #wholegrain PICS whole wheat rotini so they get what they want, and you get what you want – healthy, happy kids!

Thursday – Dinner is in the bag! Seal and Cook fresh seafood meals made daily in stores include cut fresh vegetables, 4 different seafood choices, and are made with or without garlic butter. They can be steamed in the store, microwaved or baked at home. Seafood is brain food, smart families are enjoying more with this no muss, no fuss solution!

FridayRotisserie Turkey (Bonus AdvantEdge points!) or chicken and bagged Fresh Express salad close the week with a fresh family favorite.  

#TimeBetterSpent on #FamilyMeals pays off with a lifetime of benefits for your whole family. Learn more about #FamilyMealsMonth at https://www.pricechopper.com/time-better-spent/. You bring the kids, and we’ll bring you the meal solutions!

Overnight Oatmeal and Berries by Jodie Fitz

 2 1/2 cups PICS Greek plain or vanilla yogurt 

2 cups PICS old-fashioned rolled oats

¼ cup PICS honey

1 teaspoon Full Circle cinnamon

1 cup PICS frozen blueberries or strawberries

In a large bowl, stir the yogurt, oats, honey and cinnamon together.  Divide the mixture among 4 airtight containers*.  Add the frozen berries on top.  Seal the containers and let sit overnight in the refrigerator.  Grab and go in the morning for a quick and easy breakfast!

*Small canning jars work great!

Macaroni and Cheese

8 oz. PICS whole wheat rotini

4 T. PICS unsalted butter (1/2 stick)

4 T. PICS all-purpose flour

2 cups PICS milk

Salt and pepper to season

Pinch Full Circle organic nutmeg

2 cups PICS shredded macaroni and cheese blend

1 cup crushed PICS snack crackers

2 T. PICS melted butter

2 tsp. smoked paprika

Cook pasta until tender, drain and rinse.

Meanwhile, melt 4 T. butter in a sauce pan and add the flour to make a roux. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the milk and whisk until smooth. Reduce heat and simmer for approximately 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the shredded cheeses.

Toss the pasta and sauce together to coat well. Spoon into a lightly greased casserole dish or 4 individual ramekins.

Combine the crackers, 2 T. melted butter and paprika. Sprinkle over macaroni and cheese, and place in a preheated 375° oven and bake for 20 minutes until bubbly and golden brown. Serves 4.

Ellie Wilson, MS, RDN, Senior Nutritionist The research about how food can protect our heart continues to improve and expand. Even better, the focus is also on eating foods we also really enjoy – this is not the “don’t eat that” diet of yore, but one that is much more inclusive and enticing. The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) and the Mediterranean diet both show great benefit for those preventing heart disease and managing a current diagnosis of high blood pressure or high cholesterol.  The researchers have broadened the scope again, and found that those who ate key foods from both guidelines could also significantly reduce their risk of Alzheimer’s disease.  They now call this guideline the MIND diet. It features regular intake of: It limits these groups The MIND diet includes at least three servings of whole grains, a salad and one other vegetable every day — along with a glass of wine. It also involves snacking most days on nuts and eating beans every other day or so, poultry and berries at least twice a week and fish at least once a week. Dieters must limit eating the designated unhealthy foods, especially butter (less than 1 tablespoon a day), cheese, and fried or fast food (less than a serving a week for any of the three), to have a real shot at avoiding the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s, according to the study. Use the NuVal Nutrition Scores throughout the store and you will find high scoring foods are the ones that all of these guidelines are based on. We make it easy to connect your healthy heart and mind goals to the foods and habits that will benefit them the most!   Cold redcurrant tea with lemon and mint in a glass jar. Written by Sara Rockman, Marketing Intern  One way to stay cool and hydrated in the summer heat? Infused water. Infused water is a great way to drink the recommend eight 8 oz. glasses a day, but without it being boring. Infused water is simply water flavored by fresh fruit, with the occasional herb or two thrown in. The fruit can either be put directly into the water or there are special bottles and pitchers made specifically for infusing. (These are nice because they help so you don’t accidentally drink a seed or unexpected chunk of fruit.) I usually like to make my infused water the night before so more flavor is absorbed (I also recommend this if you are a chronic user of the snooze button like myself, so you don’t have to rush in the morning), but for a more subtle taste it can be made the day you plan to drink it. If making it the day of, let the water sit for about 10 minutes either with ice or in the fridge before you drink it so the flavors have a chance to be absorbed. This step should also be taken if you are refilling your water bottle throughout the day. Towards the end of the day, there won’t be a very strong flavor, but the subtle flavor is still very refreshing! As for what to put into your infused water, it’s pretty much open to what you like. I go from lemon and lime one day, to strawberry-kiwi, to mixed berry, whatever suits my mood (or more truthfully, whatever is in my fridge). One of my favorite infused water recipe is a strawberry-cucumber water, with basil. (I know it sounds like a really weird mix, but it’s very refreshing)! When choosing ingredients for your infused water pick fruits loaded with vitamins and antioxidants to help boost your metabolism and immune system. Plus, drinking lots of water whether infused or not is good for your skin and promotes weight loss!  As an all-natural option, it keeps you both hydrated and healthy by cutting out unnecessary sugars and additives. Pinterest is a great place to find inspiration for different recipes. Submit your favorite infused water recipe in the comments and it could be featured on our Instagram and Pinterest! Written by Kimberly Houser, PharmD Don’t wait to get vaccinated! Two viruses that commonly circulate this time of year are the flu and the common cold. Price Chopper has all of the resources that your family needs to help prevent and also treat these illnesses! The Center for Disease Control (CDC), recommends that everyone over the age of 6 months receive their flu vaccine to help prevent illness1. This includes pregnant women and patients with diabetes! The flu virus most commonly causes mild symptoms that tend to include: fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache, body aches, chills, and fatigue2. The flu virus is also associated with complications including hospitalization and even death. This is why it is so important to receive your flu vaccine to help prevent illness and complications. Price Chopper Pharmacy is now carrying two formulations of the flu vaccine and can vaccinate patients over the age of 19. Patients can receive the intradermal formulation. The intradermal flu shot has a 90% smaller needle so it is a great option for people that are afraid of needles. Patients over the age of 65 can also receive the high dose flu vaccine at their local Price Chopper Pharmacy. This vaccine has four times the amount of antigen to help boost the immune response in patients over the age of 65. Ask your local Price Chopper Pharmacist which flu vaccine is right for you! Along with proper hand washing, the flu vaccine is the best way to prevent the flu, but unfortunately can’t prevent the common cold. Common symptoms for a cold include: stuffy, runny nose, scratchy throat, sneezing, watering eyes, low-grade fever, sore throat, or mild hacking cough3. If someone in your family comes down with a cold this season, stop by your local Price Chopper for all of your cough and cold needs. Stock up today on helpful items like hand sanitizer, tissues, and antihistamines. Don’t forget to ask your pharmacist which products are best for you!
  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices Recommends Universal Annual Influenza Vaccination [Internet]. 2010 [cited 2010 May 11]. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/media/pressrel/2010/r100224.htm
  2. About the Flu [Internet]. [cited 2010 May 11]. Available from: http://www.flu.gov/individualfamily/about/index.html
  3. Common Cold [Internet]. [cited 2012 June 18]. Available from: http://pricechopper.staywellsolutionsonline.com/Search/85,P00620
Demystifying Cholesterol and Whole Grains by Sheryl Norman, It’s not just coincidence that September is Cholesterol Awareness Month and Whole GrainsMonth. Cholesterol levels can be managed in manyways, and key among them is eating whole grain foods. The Good, the Bad: Cholesterol Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in the fats in our blood. Our bodies need cholesterol to build healthy cells, but having high cholesterol can increase the risk of heart disease or stroke. Everyone has good and bad cholesterol. “Bad cholesterol,” LDL, can clog arteries and increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke. “Good cholesterol,” HDL, takes “bad cholesterol” out of the  bloodstream. High cholesterol risk factors include: Smoking, obesity, poor diet, lack of exercise, high blood pressure, diabetes and a family history of heart disease. However, the condition has no outright symptoms. A blood test is the only way to detect high cholesterol. It can also be inherited, but is often treatable. Lifestyle changes are your best fi rst line of defense against high  cholesterol. Medication may also be necessary; check with your physician or health care provider to be sure. According to Peter H. Gott, M.D., diet is the cheapest, safest and most reasonable first step to lowering cholesterol levels. And according to the Mayo Clinic, a diet low in saturated fat—high in fiber, fruits and vegetables—may help lower cholesterol as much as statin medications for some people.

The Whole Story on Whole Grains

Health experts say that everyone—men, women, young, old—needs grains as part of a healthy everyday diet. And at least half of our daily grains should be “whole grains.” Contrary to popular belief, whole grains don’t taste like cardboard! Whole grains include wheat, corn, rice, oats, barley, quinoa, sorghum, spelt, rye—even popcorn! Whole grains contain disease-fighting  phytochemicals and antioxidants, plus are a good source of protein, B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, iron and fiber. Eating whole grains helps to lower cholesterol levels, plus reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and obesity. Few foods offer such diverse benefits. This is why the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that all adults eat at least 3 to 5 servings of whole grains every day; children need 2 to 3 servings or more.  Beyond buying whole grain breads, pastas and cereals, try these easy ways to enjoy whole grains: • Add a half-cup of cooked bulgur, wild rice or barley to bread stuffing • Enjoy whole grain salads like tabbouleh • Stir a handful of rolled oats into yogurt for a satisfying and healthy crunch

What IS a Whole Grain and How Do I Find It?

All grains start life as whole grains. A whole grain is simply the whole seed (or kernel) of a plant, which includes three key parts: the bran, germ and endosperm. When grains are processed, the bran and germ are often removed. Without the bran and germ, about 25% of a grain’s protein is lost, along with at least 17 key nutrients. The Whole Grains Council has created the Whole Grain Stamp to help you find real whole grain products. Until the Whole Grain Stamp is used on all foods, check the package label. Look for words like “whole wheat,” “whole [other grain],” “stone-ground whole [grain],” “brown rice,” “oats, oatmeal” or “wheatberries.”