• 9 Easy Ways to Eat More Plants at Every Meal

    Think about your daily routine. How do you celebrate plants? Maybe it’s by packing a leafy green salad for lunch or snacking on a crisp, red apple. Or maybe you’re feeling like you could use a little extra veg (or fruits, nuts, seeds and legumes) in your day. Either way, plants are awesome — and we want to help you eat more of them at every meal.

    Use these easy tips from Dani Little MS RD, a registered dietitian at Whole Foods Market, to add color to your plate at breakfast, lunch and dinner.

    Add greens — to everything. 

    When it comes to eating more plants, this is your mantra. From spinach to kale to Swiss chard, greens can be part of every meal. Add spinach to scrambled eggs or a breakfast burrito, stir kale into your favorite hot soup, tuck arugula into sandwiches and add sautéed Swiss chard to quesadillas and pasta dishes.

    Upgrade your oatmeal.

    Oatmeal is a blank canvas for just about anything. Instead of using milk or water, cook your oatmeal with a nondairy beverage made from almonds, cashews or oats. Then, top with chopped walnuts, hempseeds, fresh fruit, nut butter and more. 

    Sneak plants into smoothies

    Jump-start your day with a plant-powered smoothie. Blend in avocado, beets, grated carrots, spinach or kale, chia seeds, fresh herbs, grated fresh ginger and more. Get more plant-packed smoothie ideas here. 

    Build a brighter sandwich.

    Tired of the same plain turkey sandwich for lunch? Tuck in a handful of greens, sprouts, sliced avocados, sliced bell peppers, grated carrots. The more color, the better. Instead of mayo, try pesto or a spreadable vegan cheese (check out Miyoko’s Vegan Cream Cheese).  

    Pack better-for-you snacks.

    Stop yourself from running to the office vending machine by packing wholesome snacks. Fresh fruit, nondairy yogurt alternatives and DIY trail mix (visit the Whole Foods Market bulk bins for inspiration) are easy choices.

    Swap pasta for veggie noodles. 

    From zoodles to swoodles, veggie noodles are a delicious way to get an extra dose of plants. All you need is a spiralizer or a vegetable peeler. Top zucchini noodles with marinara or pesto sauce, stir carrot noodles into soups or make a sweet potato noodle bowl.

    Dress up your eggs. 

    Like oatmeal, eggs are the ultimate blank canvas. If you’re making a scramble for breakfast or a frittata for dinner, why not toss in a handful of veggies? Try mushrooms, spinach, zucchini, bell peppers — whatever is in your fridge. Extra points if you top your eggs with pesto.

    Revamp pizza night. 

    You know that pizza is a perfect carrier for veggie toppings like mushrooms, bell peppers, squash, arugula and more. Take it one step further by swapping traditional flour-based pizza crust for plant-based crust like our 365 Everyday Value Cauliflower Pizza Crust.

    Make a frozen banana treat. 

    Craving ice cream? Instead of picking up your favorite pint, whip up a frosty treat with frozen bananas and a nondairy milk alternative. It takes minutes to make and has a smooth and creamy texture like soft serve. Try this Banana Ice Cream, then serve with grilled fruit like pineapple or peaches.

    To see this blog post or others, visit: https://inspiration.wholefoodsmarket.com/

  • Your Pet is a Carnivore – feed them like one.

    January 2nd, 2020

    Raw pet foods have been growing in popularity for years – and with good reason. Raw diets provide high-quality nutrition that closely matches what dogs and cats ate in the wild for millennia.

    Benefits of raw pet foods

    Pet parents who incorporate raw foods into their pet’s diets report the following benefits:

    • Fewer allergies or controlled allergy symptoms – This results in lower vet bills and less physical discomfort for the pet.
    • Lush, glossy coat and healthy skin – Results in less shedding and mess around the house.
    • Smaller, firmer stools – For the owner, this means less backyard cleanup
    • Naturally clean teeth - Most dry foods leave a starchy coating on teeth; the starch contributes to plaque buildup. Raw diets don’t contain the starchy carbohydrates that stick to teeth, and meat and fat simply don’t adhere the way starches do. So raw feeders typically see better dental health because the building blocks for plaque are not present.
    • Increased energy to support vitality and health – The body expends less energy digesting foods and more energy is available for other things…like playing!
    • Decreased litter box odor - Many dry pet foods include protein that is less digestible, which leads to an undesirable odor in the litter box. For carnivores, plant based proteins are harder to digest.
    • Natural weight control – Cats (especially) and dogs maintain a healthier weight on a high protein, low carbohydrate, high moisture diet.

    If you’re already convinced about the benefits of raw foods, read on for guidance on how to choose the right product for your pet. Looking to learn more about the science? Start by scrolling down to the section on the evolutionary science of pet nutrition. There, we’ll walk you through your pet’s anatomy and how it affects how you should feed your pets.

    It isn’t all or nothing! Incorporating raw foods into your pet’s diet

    Although pet parents will typically see the most obvious benefits when they choose to switch entirely to a raw diet, raw feeding isn’t all or nothing. Just as humans can improve their health by swapping out that side of fries for a more nutritious side salad, pets can also experience better health when pet parents add raw foods as a “healthy side” or “booster” to a kibble or can-based diet. There are no rules for what the best choice is – it all comes down to making the best choice for your pet and your budget.

    Choosing between raw foods

    We split raw foods into two categories: raw frozen and freeze-dried/dehydrated. Whichever you choose, we recommend alternating between 2 or 3 different protein sources. Like all mammals, dogs and cats do best on a varied diet. You can switch between proteins daily, or alternate each time you open a new bag.

    Raw Frozen

    Raw frozenpet food is what most people think of when they imagine raw dog food or raw cat food: it looks, quite literally, like what you might see in the butcher section of the supermarket. Raw frozen pet foods differ from what you would get in the supermarket in two important ways:

    • 1)They include small amounts of ground animal bones and vegetables to ensure that the meal is nutritionally complete and balanced.
    • 2)They are subjected to a high-pressure water treatment (HHP) which eliminates pathogen bacteria. This is the same process used on lunchmeats, guacamole and other human foods. Because raw supermarket meat is intended for human consumption (and therefore expected to be cooked), it does not go through this process.

    Raw frozen foods come in patties, nuggets, pellets and pates (for cats only). Choose nuggets or pellets for smaller pets and any shape for large dogs. Finicky cats sometimes prefer the pates to nuggets. Raw frozen foods are generally less expensive than their freeze-dried or dehydrated equivalents.

    Freeze-Dried and Dehydrated

    Freeze-dried and dehydrated raw foods are as easy to feed as kibble, yet provide the same nutritional benefits as their raw frozen counterparts. Pour the right amount of food into a bowl, add water, and viola! – dinner is served. If you’re not interested in thawing frozen meat, freeze-dried and dehydrated pet foods are for you. When comparing the pricing for dehydrated foods to raw frozen or kibble, make sure to compare total servings, not pounds of food. Because the water has been removed, the serving size by weight is much smaller.

    How to feed

    Introduce slowly

    Transitioning between foods can be one of leading causes of digestive upset in pets. Some general guidelines to keep in mind:
    Pets who have switched foods frequently in the past tend to have a smoother transition. Introduce diet rotation early on to make transitions easier in the future. A pet on one diet for an extended period of time or a pet with a sensitive stomach will require more time. The general rule of thumb for switching foods is to be done over 7-10 days. Recommend this schedule:

    Days 1-3: 75% old diet + 25% new diet

    Days 4-7: 50% old diet + 50% new diet

    Days 7-10: 25% old diet + 75% new diet

    Day 11: 100% new diet

    Keep in mind the pace at which the pet changes foods will generally depend on the pet’s poop consistency. If the poop remains firm, with no constipation, the pet parent should feel free to continue. If not, revert to the feeding schedule of the day before until the pet has a healthy poop again before proceeding.

    Many pets do well unassisted with this slow gradual change in diet. Others may need a supplement to be successful. All pets are different so don’t jump to the conclusion the food is bad simply because your pet needs a slower transition.

    These transition guidelines tend to work best when switching between like forms of food (e.g. kibble to kibble). Switching between different forms of food (e.g. kibble to raw) usually requires a longer transition time and/or a digestive supplement if pets are not used to this.

    Anyone who has attempted to transition a cat to a new food knows that the cat is in charge of the process. At a young age, cats can imprint on food texture. Ever have a pet parent tell you their cat is a kibble addict or that their cat only likes certain textures of canned diets? Exposing kittens to a lot of textures early on can help prevent these issues. This doesn’t mean we can’t get an adult cat to eat other foods, it will require more patience though. Cats aren’t just addicted to texture but also to temperature of their food. Some ideas to help transition cats:

    Add water, goat’s milk, or bone broth to change the kibble’s texture slowly.

    Hide a tiny bit of new food at the bottom of their bowl under their old food.

    Instead of jumping straight to a frozen raw diet from kibble, try introducing a freeze-dried diet first.

    Try letting a frozen raw diet come to room temperature before introducing to the cat.

    Don’t free-feed the cat.

    Withhold a meal to get the cat hungry.

    Note: Unlike dogs, you cannot “starve” a cat to get them to eat a new food. A cat that doesn’t eat for several days runs the risk of developing potentially devastating health problems.






    For this blog post, or others, visit: https://www.petfood.express/blog

  • How to Store Fresh Produce So It Lasts Longer

    Written by Katy Green

    From stacks of perfect avocados to rows of juicy heirloom tomatoes, it’s easy to fill your shopping cart with fresh fruits and vegetables in our Produce department. But once you’ve taken your bounty home, how do you make sure it all stays fresh? We get this question a lot, actually. So to help you enjoy our produce for as long as possible, I’ve chosen popular fruits and vegetables and offered up my best storing tips.

    Tomatoes

    Tomatoes dislike cool temperatures, so it’s best to store them on your countertop. The chillier environment in your fridge can make tomatoes soft and mealy, rather than juicy and crisp. Need to ripen tomatoes quickly? Place them in a brown paper bag with a banana.

    Quick science lesson: As bananas ripen, they release ethylene gas. Trap this gas in an enclosed container or bag, and it can help speed up the ripening process of other fruits — like tomatoes. Yes, it’s weird. But it does work!

    Avocados

    Store avocados on your countertop until they reach desired softness. You can also place them in the refrigerator to slow down the ripening process. Need to ripen your avocado quickly? You guessed it. Place it in a brown paper bag with a banana or apple.

    Apples

    Store apples in the refrigerator, ideally in the crisper drawer where it’s more humid. I also like to place them in a plastic bag with a few holes poked through — this helps to trap humidity while also releasing ethylene gas that apples emit when they ripen.  

    Bananas

    Bananas are notorious for making everything around them smell like, well, bananas. For that reason, store them on your countertop away from other fruits and veggies. Need to ripen a green banana quickly? Place it in a brown paper bag with an apple and let ethylene gas work its magic. 

    Berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc.)

    Store fresh berries in the refrigerator — and don’t rinse them until you’re ready to eat them. Want to enjoy your berries year-round? Freeze them. Rinse and let dry in a single layer. Then, place on a baking sheet in a single layer and freeze. Once frozen, transfer to a freezer safe container or bag, then add to smoothies, pile over oatmeal or bake into pies.

    Cucumbers

    Cucumbers can be stored in your refrigerator, but their ideal temperature is actually 50 – 54°F. Keep them in the warmest part of your fridge, such as along the door, and try to use them within a couple of days. For extra protection, you can wrap cucumbers in paper towels and place them inside an open plastic bag.

    Lettuce

    Whether it’s an entire head or individual leaves, lettuce is delicate and shouldn’t be washed until you’re ready to use it. Store it in the refrigerator in an open plastic bag and add a few paper towels to soak up loose water. Leftover washed and chopped lettuce? Store it in a mostly closed zip-top bag with a damp paper towel.

    Potatoes

    Potatoes like cool, dark and dry environments. A root cellar is ideal — but a well-ventilated container like a basket or open cardboard box works just fine. If you can, keep your potatoes between 45 – 55°F and away from sunlight, which is a trigger for sprouting.

    Celery

    Store celery in the refrigerator. Try this trick: Trim the bottom of your celery stalks, then wrap in a damp paper towel. Wrap again in aluminum foil, then place in the crisper drawer of your fridge.

    Fresh herbs (cilantro, parsley, basil, etc.)

    Treat fresh herbs like a bouquet of fresh flowers. Trim at least half an inch from the bottom of the bunch and place in a cup of water. Store the cup in the refrigerator away from the coldest area, making sure to change out the water daily. You can also wrap herbs in a damp paper towel and store them in an open plastic bag. Basil and mint are the sole exceptions, as they are sensitive to colder temperatures. Store these on your countertop in a cup filled with water.

    Don’t see your fruit or vegetable on this list? Just ask a Produce team member. They’re happy to share storing tips for any of our produce — and tell you the best ways to cook it too!








    For this blog post and others like it, visit: https://inspiration.wholefoodsmarket.com

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