Great Health Tip of the Day: Make Your Favorite Chili Healthier

October 15, 2014

mexican chili con carne in black plate with ingredientsI don’t know about you, but when I feel the chill in the air, I crave chili! I must not be alone, because October is National Chili Month. A warm bowl of chili can be a delicious, well-balanced meal, depending on the ingredients you use.

How do you keep your favorite chili recipe on the healthier side?

  • If you like your chili with meat, choose ground turkey or 93% lean ground beef or cubes of sirloin or round steak. Drain grease after browning.
  • Use more beans! They add protein and fiber, filling you up and keeping you feeling full longer.
  • Try “white” chili with chicken breast, green chilies, and white beans for a change.
  • Choose low sodium or no-salt added canned tomatoes/paste and beans. (Look for the Dietitians Choice tags!)
  • Watch your toppings. Try fat free plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream and load up with fresh cilantro or green onions. Use a sharp cheddar to get more flavor with a smaller portion.

Gluten Free Month

October 10, 2014

Gluten FreeYou may know Harmons as the place to shop for gluten-free foods with over 6,500 gluten-free products including many local products, but did you know we are one of the sponsors of the Gluten Free Expo? We’d love to see you at this fun event held tomorrow (Saturday), October 11th,from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. at the South Towne Exposition Center. Harmons Chef Aaron Ballard will be holding four cooking demonstrations starting at 11:15 a.m. and Harmons’ four dietitians will be available to answer your questions about following a healthy gluten-free diet. You can buy discount tickets for the Expo at Harmons.

During the month of October, Harmons dietitians will be holding gluten-free store tours and the cooking schools found at the Station Park, City Creek and Bangerter Crossing Harmons stores will each hold a gluten-free cooking class in October.

Sign up for free store tours at:

Sign up for cooking classes at:

For more information on the Gluten Free Expo:


Gluten Free Living & The Gluten Free Expo

October 9, 2014


Getting all the nutrients you need on a gluten free diet can be difficult since wheat can supply us with a lot of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Harmons dietitians maintain a comprehensive gluten free list you can find in the tagging system throughout the store and a complete list online. Look for the purple tag. We have thousands of gluten free products and frequently add to and update the list

Chef Aaron Ballard and Dietitian Laura Holtrop-Kohl visited ABC4′s Good Morning Utah to talk about gluten free living and shared some great tips and recipes for anyone living on a gluten free diet. Click HERE to find more information about gluten free living, Celiac Disease, and how to eat healthy on a gluten free diet.

Harmons chefs will also be on the cooking stage at the Gluten Free Expo this Saturday at the South Towne Expo Center at 11am, noon, and 1pm.

Gluten Free Spring Rolls
A gluten free recipe
Gluten Free Spring Rolls Ingredients
  1. 4 Rice Paper Wraps
  2. ½ carrot, julienned
  3. ½ cucumber, finely julienned
  4. ¼ cup bean sprouts
  5. ½ red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  6. ½ cup finely shredded cabbage
  7. ¼ cup finely sliced green onion
  8. 2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  1. 1. Mix vegetables together.
  2. 2. Dip each rice paper in a pan of water until softened (only takes a few seconds).
  3. 3. Lay the rice paper on a cutting board.
  4. 4. Place a small amount of veggie mix near one end.
  5. 5. Fold the end over the filling then fold both sides over to enclose the filling.
  6. 6. Serve with the dipping sauce.
Dipping sauce Ingredients
  1. ½ cup peanut butter
  2. ¼ cup dates
  3. 1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  4. ¼ cup reduced sodium gluten-free Tamari sauce
  5. ¼ cup raw cashews
  6. 2 tablespoons roasted chopped peanuts
  1. 1. Add all sauce ingredients minus chopped peanuts to a blender and blend until smooth. Blog

It’s the Last Day of Organic Month

September 30, 2014

VegetablesIt’s still National Organic Month! To celebrate, I thought it fitting to read a new research study comparing the nutritional quality of organic crops versus conventional crops. I like to keep current on this topic since the scientific community can confidently say that organic food has less of an impact on the environment and is safer for the health of farm workers and farm communities compared with conventional farming, but the nutritional difference is still up in the air. I wait eagerly for the verdict.

There have been a few review studies similar to this one in the past few years, most not finding a significant difference in the nutrients of the crops. This is most likely because measuring the nutrient content of crops is a very difficult task. It is influenced by a wide variety of factors including soil quality, weather, crop type, and growing practices, so it’s tough to compare apples to apples.

This new study summed up the results of 343 individual studies, many of them having never been including in a review before. It found some significant differences is nutrients.

Organic crops found to have more antioxidants

On average, organic crops had 18-69% higher amounts of certain antioxidants than conventional crops.   Interestingly enough, organic crops had lower amounts of vitamin E. Organic crops had lower levels of protein and fiber. These differences are most likely due to the added nitrogen in conventionally grown crops.

Pesticide Residues

Not surprisingly, this study found food grown organically to have 10-100 times lower amounts of pesticide residues. This fact may make you squirm, but amounts are still below the limits set by the Environmental Protection Agency. However, limited research suggests even low-level exposure to pesticides and herbicides may be linked to potentially negative health outcomes, especially in children and babies in utero, but I’m still waiting for stronger evidence of this.

Conventional or organic—eat your veggies!

And so our understanding of the nutritional differences of organic and conventional food continues to expand, currently in favor of organic. Still, the health benefits of eating 2 ½ cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit a day far outweighs the potential risks of any pesticide residues.

Barański, M. et al. Higher antioxidant and lower cadmium concentrations and lower incidence of pesticide residues in organically grown crops: a systematic literature review and meta-analyses. Br J Nutr. Sep 14, 2014; 112(5): 794–811. Published online Jul 15, 2014. doi: 10.1017/S0007114514001366
McCullum-Gomez C. Commentary: Role of organically produced foods in reducing exposure to synthetic pesticides in children’s diets. Diabetes Spectrum. 2010. 23(5): 254-256.
Bouchard et al. Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Urinary Metabolites of Organophosphate Pesticides. Pediatrics, June 2010 : 


Nutritious & Delicious Ways To Eat More Whole Grains

September 29, 2014

GrainsMost Americans do not eat the recommended amount of whole grains in their diet. Whole grains, as their name suggests, contain the whole grain, including the germ, bran and starchy endosperm. Whole grains contain an impressive amount of vitamins and minerals, and are a good source of fiber, which helps slow down digestion and the release of sugar into the blood stream, can help lower cholesterol levels. Also, they’re delicious! But, even with all of these reasons to eat whole grains, Americans are still not getting enough, with studies showing that the average American eats less than 1 serving of whole grains daily. The current recommendation is to make at least half of your grains whole (but really, the more the better!), which equates to about 3-5 servings of whole grains daily.

While many of us know about whole wheat bread or pasta, here are a few whole grains (and recipe suggestions) that maybe you haven’t thought of or tasted yet:

  • Whole white wheat. This is one of my favorite products, and also one that I frequently recommend to my clients who are wary of regular whole-wheat flour. Whole-wheat white flour, while seemingly an oxymoron, is produced from hard white spring wheat, which has a milder taste and lighter color than the red wheat you find in regular whole-wheat flours. I use white whole-wheat flour when I make bread or pancakes, and my taste tester (ok, husband…) doesn’t notice a difference.
  • Black rice. Brown rice is often a hard sell for those not used to its denser texture and nuttier flavor. Black rice, like brown rice, is a whole grain rice, but it has a higher antioxidant content due to the anthocyanins that provide its dark color. Black rice is a fun way to incorporate more whole grains, as well as more color, to your dinner. I like to drizzle it with a little sesame oil just before serving.
  • Farro. Many people I speak with haven’t heard of farro, which is a shame, as they are missing out on one of the tastiest whole grains! Farro is a variety of wheat, and when cooked has a similar appearance to barley, but with a chewier texture and nuttier flavor. I like cooking a big batch of it to have for the week, as it reheats well. Serve it as a side with your favorite fish and vegetables. (Note: this can be found in our stores in the rice section)
  • Oatmeal. People seem to forget that oatmeal is a whole grain, perhaps because it is such a ubiquitous and quick breakfast food. However, it is definitely a whole grain, and is also naturally gluten free. (Be sure to check that the product clearly says “Gluten Free”, as oats are sometimes processed in facilities with gluten containing ingredients.) While most often eaten as a breakfast food, oats can also be used as a quick grain side dish for lunch or dinner, especially when cooked with some low sodium ( salt added) chicken broth and a sprinkle of your favorite sharp cheese.
  • Prepared whole grains available in Harmons’ Fresh Departments. Not ready to experiment with making whole grains yourself? Give our delicatessen’s Wild Wheat Berry or Cranberry Quinoa salads a try – they are full of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and flavor. Our bakery also makes a fabulous 7 Grain Bread, which I like to keep stashed in my freezer for a quick grain option for dinners on the fly.

With so many delicious ways to enjoy whole grains, it really is easy to meet the dietary recommendations of making at least half of your grains whole. What are your favorite ways to enjoy whole grains?


Great Health Tip of the Week: Produce Pointers

September 23, 2014

producefridgeAvoid slimy spinach and mushy melon with these tips for keeping produce fresher, longer!

  • Wash produce just before you plan to eat it! Moisture hastens spoilage, especially in delicate berries and mushrooms
  • Some produce, like; peaches, apples, bananas and watermelon, mushrooms, tomatoes and avocados produce ethylene gas, a ripening agent. Keep these items away from other perfectly-ripe produce!
  • Prevent wrinkly grapes, by keeping them on the stem to retain moisture
  • If you find moldy fruits or veggies, remove them! One moldy strawberry can quickly spread through the whole container.
  • Store tomatoes in a cool dry place, but not in the refrigerator! An overly-cold environment can ruin the texture and flavor of tomatoes.
  • Store leafy greens with a paper towel to absorb excess moisture and keep them from becoming slimy
  • Storing greens in a perforated plastic bag can also be a great way to retain crispness!


Great Health Tip of the Day: National Organic Harvest Month

September 16, 2014

Organic_Month_HeroWhile we are enjoying Utah’s prime-time local produce, why not celebrate organics too? Harmons’ produce department is carrying several local items and over 100 organic items every day!

Why eat organic?

Eating organic food supports:

  • Healthier farm workers
  • Healthier farm communities
  • Healthier soil
  • Cleaner water & air
  • Food with fewer pesticide residues

Organic or not, aim for at least 5 servings of fruits and veggies every day!


Eat Local!

September 5, 2014

Utah GrownSeptember 6 – 13 is Utah Eat Local Week. Eating local has many benefits from supporting local businesses, to environmental benefits, to promoting diversity in our food supply. Recently, I read an article titled “The New Nordic Diet” published on the Berkeley Wellness web site that spoke of creating a healthy diet based on locally available foods. For the Nordic countries this included foods that were abundant in their area from root vegetables and ligonberries to rye and salmon. This illustrates that following a healthy diet and eating locally are not mutually exclusive.

At Harmons we have almost 1,200 local items in all areas of the store from produce’s current selection of watermelon, squash, corn, tomatoes, zucchini, peaches, nectarines and apples to the meat department’s locally raised turkey, lamb and grass-fed beef.  In the grocery section, we have many items – just look for our blue “local” tag!

What do you feel are the must-have local foods for a healthy diet?

Great Health Tip of the Day: National Mushroom Month

September 3, 2014

mushroom soup.Have you heard the phrase “if it’s white don’t bite”? When it comes to mushrooms I would ignore this otherwise fairly sound advice. Low in calories (white “button” mushrooms contain only 15 calories per cup of slices), and containing B vitamins, selenium, and potassium, mushrooms are a nutrition powerhouse. Beyond the common button mushroom, there are many other varieties including Portobello, porcini, oyster, shiitake, enoki and maitake.

Mushrooms add a “meaty” texture and savory flavor to foods. Try adding them to stir-fry dishes, soups, stews, rice dishes or try grilling a Portobello mushroom to make a vegetarian “burger” (delicious topped with Harmons guacamole, a roasted poblano or Anaheim chile and a slice of pepper jack cheese).


August 30, 2014

peachesHello! My name is Sarah and I’m the newest addition to the Harmon’s Dietitian team! I’ll be spending most of my time at The District store in South Jordan. I just moved to Utah from Indiana and I love so many things about Utah; the mountains, the sunny days and especially the produce! Summertime in Utah means stone fruits; like peaches, plums, apricots and cherries! Peaches are one of my favorite fruits and peak season in Utah lasts from early August through the end of September.

I love to eat peaches as a snack, but they can also be great in salads, salsas, meat dishes and of course, dessert! Below you will find one of my favorite quick and easy summer peach recipes:

Grilled Peach Dessert
  1. 4 ripe peaches, halved
  2. 2 teaspoons olive oil
  3. 1 cup vanilla or plain Greek yogurt
  4. ½ cup pistachios, shelled, roughly chopped
  5. ¼ cup Honey
  6. Fresh chopped mint for garnish (optional)
  1. Cut peaches in half and brush with olive oil. Place peaches on grill cut side down, until grill marks appear. Remove peaches from grill and top with yogurt, honey and pistachios. Serve immediately and enjoy! Blog
Grilled peaches are also delicious atop a simple spinach salad, or chicken. Take advantage of peach season while it lasts!