PLANT1At Price Chopper and Market 32, we know one thing – making sure we have the best quality foods in our own brands brings value and enjoyment to our customers and communities. In business over 80 years, we also know that working with our local agricultural producers is a great way to deliver on that promise, and our PICS long process, naturally aged, award winning cheddar is a great example.   pics new york extra sharp cheddar cheese Did you know – the most popular cheese in America is cheddar? This spring, with friends from the American Dairy Association Northeast, I visited the cheese makers that create this wonderful cheese, and saw firsthand how hard they work to make it. We partner with Great Lakes Cheese Company, located in Adams, NY, in the heart of New York dairy country. They have been here over 40 years, and are committed to the New York North Country, so much so that they doubled production capacity in 2009. Experts that have crafted their process over time, they make several types here – mild, sharp, and extra sharp New York cheddar cheese to name a few. They also process the whey portion as part of sustainability efforts and for new product ingredient markets.   John Jennings, Plant Manager for over 40 years, and Nathan Pistner, Assistant Plant Manager, were proud to show us the inner workings of this modern facility, and most proud of their 122 employees. There is a lot of workmanship in this cheese – over 300 years of combined expertise on first shift alone!   cow1 By the numbers, they receive 2,500,000 pounds of high quality milk from local dairy farms like Murcrest Farms per day, which becomes over 87 million pounds of cheese per year. (Cheese heaven?!) The farms they work with must meet high standards for cow care. Like the farms, this is a 24- hour, 365 days per year operation – cows don’t take any days off. They use natural ingredients, and move the cheese through the process using air, to protect the curd integrity and texture. These steps ensure a premium, reliable, delicious cheese on your table every time! The tour showed us all of the work and time that goes into making this cheddar – there are quality tests built into every step, and they continue throughout the entire year of aging. Once they have the cheese in production, and process the whey, they turn the remaining liquid back into clean water that helps keep the plant clean – another sustainability process they are very committed to. Tradition and technology are part of making sure they are serving their own communities and partners well. You will be sure to enjoy these wonderful cheddars, as a great snack, or as part of a new recipe – check out the links below for some delicious ideas!  – this would be a great stuffed burger, too! — Ellie Wilson, MS, RDN Senior Nutritionist     Written by Ellie Wilson, MS, RDN Senior Nutritionist salmon_3Fish and seafood continue to gain fans and favor with health organizations around the world. Seafood twice per week benefits heart and mind, so I am sharing some get-you-there guidelines to make it easy.  We have highlighted these benefits by ages and stages –time to get everyone to the table for delicious, nutritious seafood. Most seafood is high in lean protein, omega 3 fatty acids and other important nutrients, like selenium. NuVal® Nutrition Scores at Price Chopper and Market 32 confirm this –most seafood scores 90 and above. Look for the blue score on the case and shelf tags. Ages and Stages Pregnant Mom, preterm infant: The USDA guideline is 8 – 12 oz. of fish and seafood per week. This is a great way to boost infant brain development – the omega 3’s from seafood are important to development. Young child – Mild taste and easy, quick prep make seafood a great idea for busy parents. Fish sticks or fish bites are easy to make and fun finger food. Bonus – kids get more omega 3’s in a lean protein package. Tweens and teens – Keep seafood on the plate as tweens and teens start to pay more attention to their food. Seafood is super easy to season and cook – quick and versatile, they can make dinner for everyone in just a few minutes! Launch a great food habit they will enjoy and that will protect their health across their whole lifespan. Adults – Seafood twice per week protects heart and mind – shown to reduce risk of some cardiac disease, and also to support memory as we age. Remember to eat seafood twice per week. Winner, winner, seafood dinner! Recipe tip – most seafood recipes are very versatile, and you can switch out or swap in your choice instead of the recipe item. Trying to plan a quick and easy meal? Consider the Create, Take and Bake seafood meals at the Price Chopper seafood counter – your choice of 4 different fish or shrimp, fresh cut veggies and seasoned to order in a steam-at-the-store  or bake-at-home self-contained package. Great meal, no muss, no fuss! Or, enjoy these great recipes you can make with and for friends and family. Learn more about seafood at     Written by Ellie Wilson, MS, RDN  Senior Nutritionist   blueberry-heartResolutions abound in the New Year, particularly those that connect food and health. Weight loss is still top of mind for many after the indulgence of the holidays, but more and more, emphasis is being put on adding nutrition benefits over cutting calories. We have plenty of ways to help you enjoy a fresh take on being well this year.   Fruit and Veggie Hacks More matters, and there are so many easy ways to add produce to your day. Our Fresh Express salad section keeps bringing new ideas to your table! Enjoy easy prep and great salad variety with added flavor and nutrition boosts from cheese, pepitas, nuts, and fruit accents, included right in the package. Dole and Welch frozen fruits, and PICS frozen vegetables are adding more varieties to their ranks, and make it easy to enjoy smoothies, yogurt parfaits, and inspired oatmeal combinations, and quick dinner prep. Beverage Bonanza Keep an eye on beverages all over the store – super seltzers, enhanced waters, drinkable yogurts, teas, added probiotics, and lower calories are all themes in new items and refreshed favorites. Good Fats Nuts rule, and Emerald 100 calorie packages help you max the benefits and manage the calories. Avocados continue to climb higher on the health (and taste!) ladder. Add just a little more olive or canola oil to your recipes and enjoy supporting your healthy heart. Protein Power Convenient servings and packages help you eat well at home and include a wide variety of lean proteins – check out frozen grilled chicken and deli tubs, string cheese and new options with yogurt and cottage cheese. The trend toward plant protein is also powering up in a lot of delicious and interesting food products. Many new items are designed to help you easily and quickly add delicious ancient grains, lentils, beans and pea protein to your table and snacks. These are just a few of the food trends you will see as we ring in a healthy New Year – we can’t wait to share them all! For recipes and inspiration, visit our New Year New You Pinterest board!           Woman holding bowl of fresh berries for a healthy breakfast Written by Ellie Wilson, MS, RD Senior Nutritionist January is resolution season, with weight loss topping the chart for many people. January 17th through the 23rd is Healthy Weight Week, and Friday the 22nd is Healthy Weight Day for women.  In the spirit of keeping it fresh, here are some ideas for helping set and really reach your goals in a healthy way. Visualize the Process, Not the Result Research has shown that visualizing the end result can trick us into thinking we have already made a good effort, which then reduces execution of our plans. The better strategy is to keep visualizing what you are doing to reach your goal –  planning a menu, making lunches each day, exercising – basically, visualizing the lifestyle actions that will get you to your goal, versus what you will look like at any stage. The doing is what brings the success. Craving Crusher A study released last year tested a method for distracting us from capitulating to cravings. Tapping your forehead, ear or toe for 30 seconds has been shown to successfully diminish cravings for even our most favorite items. The research was done at Mt. Sinai in New York City, and offers an easy and accessible tool for those plagued by visions of favorite foods when they are managing calories. Get Lean with Protein Including some protein with each meal has multiple benefits for weight loss – it helps to preserve muscle, and improves satisfaction with meals and snacks. Several studies have shown greater fat loss with higher protein-calorie controlled diets. Proteins include lean meats, seafood, beans, legumes, nuts and low fat dairy, so there is great variety to keep interest and appetite engaged. Fiber Facts Whole grains and higher fiber foods, containing both soluble and insoluble fiber, help us fill up without filling out. High fiber foods tend to be lower in calories, and are also good for digestion. Foods to choose include vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains. Enjoy a great New Year and success with all of your health goals!