A Dietitian’s Picks- 5 for $25

It’s time for Harmons 5 for $25 meat sale! This is a great opportunity to stock up on a variety of meat items. Meat is a great source of protein and provides key nutrients like iron and Vitamin B12. However, some cuts can be higher in saturated fat, which the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends keeping to less than 10% of your calorie intake. If you’re looking for some healthier meat options, look for our green Dietitians Choice sticker on the package. This is an effortless way to identify that the product is a healthier option as determined by your Harmons dietitians. If you’re looking for some recipe ideas for these items, we’ve got you covered! 

Boneless, Skinless Chicken breast

Pork loin chops

  • This make-ahead spice blend gives pork chops a beautiful yellow hue from turmeric and is lower in sodium than most prepackaged spice blends. Store in an air-tight container and use on pork chops as-needed; add your favorite whole grain and seasonal vegetables for a complete meal. 
  • Pork lends itself well to sweet flavors which makes it an ideal pairing for sweeter condiments like barbeque sauce or honey mustard. Simply sear pork chops in high-heat oil, coat in your sauce of choice, and then bake until completely cooked. 

Top sirloin steaks

  • Chimichurri is a sauce found in Argentinian and Uruguayan cuisine. With fresh herbs, acidity, and spice, it is sure to brighten up your steak!  
  • Sirloin steak is a great protein source for meal preparation such as a steak burrito bowl. Sear sirloin steaks with your favorite spice blend and let rest before cutting into cubes. Pair with brown rice, Harmons corn and black bean salad, and Harmons guacamole for a quick, balanced lunch option. 

Whether you prefer chicken, pork, or beef, we’ve got you covered! If you’re looking for additional healthy meat options or recipes, please email dietitian@harmonsgrocery.com. 

Protein Powder Taste and Texture Considerations

Are you overwhelmed by the wide variety of protein powders in the sports nutrition aisle and aren’t sure which will best meet your individual needs? This article is part of a series, written by Harmons Dietitian Hannah Langley, to take an extensive look at protein powders and help you make the most informed choice when shopping for your health.

Taste and Texture Considerations

Taste and texture of protein powder can vary greatly depending on processing methods, flavorings, and other additives brands choose to use.  

Whey and casein proteins generally have a very light, minimal ‘milky’ flavor. Whey tends to have a smoother consistency while casein, specifically micellar casein, is slightly more granular and is harder to mix into liquid.    

For plant proteins, the underlying flavor varies depending on the type of protein used. Generally, the taste is reminiscent of the original ingredient. Legume-based proteins may taste slightly earthy, nut-based proteins slightly nutty, and brown rice protein generally has a minimal mild flavor. Plant based proteins may sometimes have a more granular texture due to greater fiber content. 

Hydrolysates, whether milk or plant protein, naturally have a bitter flavor. Enzymes may be added during the manufacturing process to reduce the bitter flavor, while flavorings and sweeteners may be added to the finished product to help mask the bitter flavor.  

Brands may choose to include powdered milk or coconut creamer, nonfat dry milk, and more to create a richer consistency and creamier final product. Be aware that the inclusion of these ingredients might increase the amount of sugar and fat in your protein powder and slightly decrease the rate of utilization. Be particularly mindful of saturated fat and added sugar – we want to moderate our intake of these nutrients for general health and wellbeing, as most Americans typically overconsume them. 


Alternative sweeteners are commonly added to protein powder to provide a sweet, palatable taste without using added sugar and increasing calories. These sweeteners work by activating the sweet taste receptors on our tongue but are processed and digested in different ways.  

Stevia: Stevia sweeteners come from a specific extract of the stevia plant, known as steviol glycosides. It is a non-nutritive sweetener, meaning it provides no calories. It is about 200-400 times sweeter than table sugar, and it is generally recognized as safe by the FDA with no specific acceptable daily intake (ADI). Stevia is generally well tolerated with little to no side effects. Some people describe the aftertaste of stevia sweeteners as metallic or licorice.  

Monk fruit: Monk fruit sweeteners come from lo han guo, or monk fruit plant. The seed and skin of the fruit are crushed to produce juice, then certain sweet-flavored antioxidants called mogrosides are separated from the naturally occurring sugar. It is non-nutritive, 100-250 times sweeter than table sugar, and the FDA has set an ADI of 4 mg per kg of body weight per day. Monk fruit is generally well tolerated with little to no side effects. It is a member of the gourd family and therefore may not be suitable for individuals who have an allergy to pumpkin, squash, cucumber or melon.   

Sugar alcohols: Sugar alcohols are a cross between sugar and alcohol molecules, called polyols, that are 25-100% as sweet as table sugar. Some sugar alcohols occur naturally in fruits and vegetables and may also be man-made. There are currently 8 sugar alcohols generally recognized as safe by the FDA, the most commonly used being xylitol, erythritol, mannitol, isomalt, and sorbitol. They are low-calorie sweeteners and can contain between 1.5-3 calories per gram. They are partially digested in the small intestine and then fermented in the large intestine. Sugar alcohols are generally well tolerated in small amounts, up to 10-15 grams per day. Excess sugar alcohol can have a laxative effect, may cause additional gastrointestinal upset like bloating and flatulence, and are not suitable for those following a low-FODMAP diet.  

Sucralose: Sucralose is a man-made non-nutritive sweetener that is about 400-700x sweeter than table sugar. It is generally recognized as safe by the FDA and has an ADI of 5 mg per kg of body weight per day. Some research suggests that sucralose may have negative effects on good intestinal bacteria when consumed in excess over long periods of time, but more research needs to be conducted.  

Acesulfame Potassium or AcesulfameK: AceK is a man-made non-nutritive sweetener that is about 200 times sweeter than table sugar. It is generally recognized as safe by the FDA with an ADI of 15 mg per kg of body weight per day. It has a slight bitter aftertaste and contributes to daily potassium intake, so it may not be suitable for individuals who need to limit potassium.  

Indigestible fibers: Chicory root fiber, inulin, allulose, oligofructose, and others are prebiotic fibers that that are found in some fruits and vegetables. They are not fully digested in the small intestine and instead ferment in the large intestine and colon, feeding good gut bacteria. This can be beneficial for those looking to increase satiety and their dietary fiber intake. They stimulate sweet taste receptors on the tongue and are generally recognized as safe by the FDA. Indigestible fibers may cause gastrointestinal upset such as gas, bloating, and flatulence in large amounts and in sensitive individuals. They are not suitable for those following a low-FODMAP diet. Isomalto-oligosaccharides may also be labeled as a prebiotic indigestible fiber, but new research suggests that they may actually be slow-digesting carbohydrates that fully contribute to caloric intake. 

Key Takeaways

  • The flavor of protein powders is generally reminiscent of their original ingredient but can vary depending on what flavors and extra ingredients are added. Hydrolysates tend to be bitter, while plant proteins and casein tend to have a more granular texture.   
  • Out of many alternative sweeteners used, stevia and monk fruit are typically tolerated the best.
  • Sugar alcohols and prebiotic fibers have a greater chance of causing gastrointestinal symptoms, but can be well tolerated in small amounts. 

Your Harmons Dietitian can help if you have questions, would like personalized product recommendations, or are curious about your individual protein needs. Reach out to dietitian@harmonsgrocery.com 

Protein Powder and Third-Party Certifications

Are you overwhelmed by the wide variety of protein powders in the sports nutrition aisle and aren’t sure which will best meet your individual needs? This article is part of a series, written by Harmons Dietitian Hannah Langley, to take an extensive look at protein powders and help you make the most informed choice when shopping for your health 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not approve dietary supplements for safety and efficacy before they are put on the market. Instead, it is up to individual companies to create and enact a plan that ensures their products, facilities, and production methods meet safety standards. After the product becomes commercially available, the FDA may periodically inspect manufacturing facilities, supplement labels, and adverse events reported by consumers. Limited inspections and product testing poses an increased risk for dietary supplements to become contaminated with other substances or cut with lower quality ingredients. Some companies opt to pay a third-party organization to inspect their facilities, certify that Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) are being met, and purity test products before they’re commercially available. Look for these certifications:  

NSF Certified for Sport: This certification screens for 270+ banned substances, conducts random GMP facility audits, product toxicology assessments, tests raw product materials, and verifies the Supplement Facts label. Every batch of a product is tested before it is released to the market. 

Informed Sport: This certification screens for 200+ banned substances, conducts random GMP facility audits, product toxicology assessments, and tests raw product materials. Every batch of a product is tested before it is released to the market.  

Informed Choice: This certification screens for 200+ banned substances, conducts random GMP facility audits, product toxicology assessments, and tests raw product materials. Products are purchased for monthly blind testing.  

Good Manufacturing Practice: GMP facilities are required to prove the cleanliness and sanitation of their facility, manufacturing, and storage practices. General guidelines are provided, and it is up to the manufacturer to determine how best to meet them.  

Key Takeaways

  • Third party certifications ensure the quality and purity of protein powders.   
  • Third-party certifications are the gold-standard for protein powder.

Your Harmons Dietitian can help if you have questions, would like personalized product recommendations, or are curious about your individual protein needs. Reach out to dietitian@harmonsgrocery.com 

Whey and Casein 101

Are you overwhelmed by the wide variety of protein powders in the sports nutrition aisle and aren’t sure which will best meet your individual needs? This article is part of a series, written by Harmons Dietitian Hannah Langley, to take an extensive look at protein powders and help you make the most informed choice when shopping for your health 

Milk contains two forms of protein, whey and casein. About 80% of the protein in milk comes from casein, while the remaining 20% is whey. Both whey and casein have high bioavailability and a complete amino acid profile, but their rate of utilization varies greatly. Whey has a high rate of utilization, while casein has a low rate of utilization 

Manufacturing – Concentrates vs Isolates vs Hydrolysates:

Many brands choose to separate the proteins into two different supplements due to the difference in rate of utilization. These milk proteins are separated from one another as byproducts of cheese production. Pasteurized milk is heated and treated with enzymes that cause casein to solidify into curds and separate from the liquid whey. The liquid whey and casein curds are then separated from one another and can be used to make dietary supplements (protein powder) or in casein’s case, cheese.  

The liquid whey undergoes microfiltration, where a combination of pressure and a semi-permeable barrier filters out the smaller molecules of lactose, carbohydrates, minerals, fat, and water. The protein molecules are too big to pass through the filter, resulting in a whey protein concentrate liquid. The product contains mostly whey protein, with small amounts of lactose, carbohydrates, minerals, and fat remaining.  

Whey protein isolate has a higher concentration of protein and minimal amounts of lactose, carbohydrates, and fat. To get whey protein isolate, the concentrated whey protein liquid undergoes additional filtration, known as ultrafiltration, to further remove remaining lactose, carbohydrates, minerals, and fat to isolate the whey protein.

Whey Protein Hydrolysate is sometimes referred to as ‘partially digested’ because it has undergone a process called hydrolysis. Hydrolysis is a process that naturally occurs in the digestive tract by enzymes to break down the chain of amino acids linked together as a protein. The protein is broken into smaller chains called peptides and into single amino acids, which can be readily absorbed by our body. To create whey protein hydrolysate, liquid whey is treated with a protein-digesting enzyme, heat, and an alkaline solution prior to being filtered and concentrated. The protein-digesting enzyme begins breaking the amino acid chains from proteins into peptides, the alkaline solution ensures the solution stays at a proper pH, and then the solution is heated to stop the enzyme from fully digesting the peptides. The resulting hydrolyzed liquid whey can then be filtered and concentrated.

The whey liquid, whether concentrated, isolated, or hydrolyzed, is loaded into a large dryer that blasts it with hot and cold air to dry the liquid whey into powder form and remove any remaining water. The dried and powdered protein product is then distributed to companies who can combine it with their own additional blend of flavors, ingredients, and additives to create the protein powders you see on our grocery shelves. 

As for casein, the curds are removed from the liquid whey and are washed with low-pH water to remove lactose, fat, and other molecules. The acidic environment also removes some minerals, and the curds are pulverized into a smooth paste. To bring the pH of the acidic casein curds to an optimal range, and to make the isolated casein proteins soluble in water, they are treated with an alkaline solution. This solution is typically sodium hydroxide or calcium hydroxide, to form sodium or calcium caseinate. 

Micellar casein is created by the microfiltration of skim milk. This process does not require the casein to be turned into curds and separated from the whey; casein micelles are large enough that smaller molecules of whey, lactose can be filtered away without having to solidify the curds.  

Some brands will include milk protein concentrate or milk protein isolate as a secondary ingredient in their protein powders. Milk protein is the natural combination of casein and whey, the two proteins are not separated as outlined above. Instead, the milk is filtered to concentrate both milk proteins. This type of protein retains more of the fat, carbohydrates, lactose, and minerals naturally occurring in milk.  

Best Use

Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC) has a protein content of up to 89% and contains small amounts of naturally occurring carbohydrates, fat, and lactose. Due to its high bioavailability and rate of utilization, WPC is best used for post-exercise recovery and increasing total daily protein intake.  

Whey Protein Isolate (WPI) has a protein content of 90% or greater with minimal carbohydrates, fat, and lactose. WPI likely has a slightly higher rate of utilization and cost than WPC due to the additional filtration it undergoes to further concentrate the protein and limit other substances. These factors make WPI best used for post-exercise recovery.  

Whey Protein Hydrolysate (WPH) has a protein content of 90-95%, and minimal carbohydrates, fat, and lactose. WPH has a high bioavailability and the highest rate of utilization of whey protein powders due to its highly absorbable peptide form. The additional processing required to hydrolyze the protein increases the overall cost of WPH. The best use of WPH is post-exercise recovery for high level athletes or individuals that are lactose intolerant and experience discomfort using WPC or WPI.   

Calcium or Sodium Caseinate are isolated casein proteins that are bound to either calcium or sodium to make them soluble in water. Sodium caseinate will contribute to daily sodium intake and would not be suitable for those with high blood pressure or hypertension. Calcium caseinate will increase daily calcium intake, which can be beneficial for those trying to increase total calcium or not suitable for those who may need to avoid it. They have a medium-high bioavailability and a slow rate of utilization, making their best use increasing total daily protein intake.  

Micellar Casein is the naturally occurring form of casein in milk products. It has a medium-high bioavailability and a slow rate of utilization, even slightly slower than caseinates. Its best use is for increasing total daily protein intake 

Key Takeaways

  • If using a protein powder to increase total daily protein intake, protein concentrates or casein are best. 
  • If using milk protein powder for post-exercise muscle recovery, whey protein isolate or hydrolysates are best. Protein hydrolysates are typically more beneficial for high-level athletes. 

Your Harmons Dietitian can help if you have questions, would like personalized product recommendations, or are curious about your individual protein needs. Reach out to dietitian@harmonsgrocery.com 

Chile Roast Time!

Every year, thousands of people come to participate in the Harmons Chile Roast, to get their hands on our delicious fire-roasted chiles! At Harmons, we received inspiration and guidance for our unique roasting technique from the world-famous Chile Pepper Institute  at New Mexico State University. This roasting process enhances the chile’s flavor profile by intensifying each pepper’s overall taste, texture, and spice.

Large chile roasters will be stationed outside of each Harmons location starting at the end of August. Like a large, grated 50-gallon drum, these roasters rotate to evenly roast each chile pepper to perfection. Harmons is selling these delicious fire-roasted chiles by the bushel. So don’t miss out! Be sure to attend this year’s Chile Roast Event, which will be held: 

  • Every Friday and Saturday between August 16 and September 5 
  • Labor Day: Monday, September 5, 2022 

How to store, package, and freeze your chiles ​

Once you have your beloved chiles, follow these steps to properly store, package, and freeze them. Freshly roasted chiles can be stored for up to 6 days in the fridge. They can also be stored in the freezer for many months to extend shelf life!  

The best practice for freezing your chiles is to start with clean processing surfaces, equipment, and packaging containers. Next, use a freezer safe storage bag for packaging the chiles. Be sure to remove the air content and seal tightly. Immediately after packing the chiles, freeze, and store at or below 0°F. Chiles must be fully frozen within 4 hours for proper food safety. One way to accomplish this is to packagthe chiles in multiple individual servings and leave space between each package to allow for cool air to circulate more freely. To ensure this quick freeze, package chiles in multiple individual servings. 

Packing and freezing in individual serving sizes is incredibly useful in the future when you are ready to use the chiles. You can thaw the peppers in a reasonable quantity for each dish. Also, removal of the outer skin of the chile becomes easier after freezing. So, feel free to freeze your chiles whole if you would like to try this technique for peeling skins off during the thawing period.

For more information on freezing and storing roasted chiles, please visit Harmons Chile Roasting 101 blog post. 

Nutritional Content of Chile Peppers ​

Just one serving of chiles (about 1/2 cup chopped) contains multiple vitamins and minerals including important nutrients such as magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and vitamins A, C, and K. The chiles also contain several disease-fighting phytochemicals such as beta carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Phytonutrients are important for vision and eye health, immune system support, and they work to scavenge free radicals that contribute to aging and the progression of certain chronic diseases. 

Roasted Chile Recipes

Add these flavorful roasted chiles to your own recipes by experimenting with different dishes like; breakfast scrambles, enchiladas, Spanish rice, bean soup, guacamole, or even cilantro lime and chile vinaigrette. The possibilities are endless! 

Harmons also offers some delicious, in-store chile options. Our produce department will be making  fire roasted chile hummus and fire roasted chile pineapple salsa- both Dietitians Choice! Our specialty cheese department is bringing in Beehive red butte hatch chile cheese, and our bakery department is featuring a hatch chile cheese bread all month long. Our kitchens are making delicious chile verde, or try our new corn and veggie tamale for a flavorful plant-based option.

Harmons has developed several savory recipes that incorporate roasted chiles. Check out some of the following–they won’t disappoint!  

Sweet Potato and Bean Stuffed Poblano Chiles​

Chilaquiles Verdes

Chile Rellenos​

Pork Chile Verde​

Building a Balanced Plant-Based Meal

Are you new to a plant-based diet, a long-time vegan looking for a refresher, or are interested in meatless Mondays?  Plant-based diets can have many benefits for your health and the environment, though they may require a little more thought to ensure you’re meeting your unique nutrition needs. Here are a few key nutrients to pay special attention to so that your plant-based diet is balanced with all the nutrients it needs to thrive!  


Luckily, there are a wide variety of whole-food and fortified protein sources to choose from. Whole-food protein options like legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds are good sources of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. When choosing animal product alternatives, like plant-based milks and meats, try to keep the saturated fat to less than 10% of calories for heart health. 

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin required for healthy red blood cell formation and maintenance of our central nervous system. Low intakes over time can lead to megaloblastic anemia, leaving you feeling tired and weak. Few significant plant-based sources of Vitamin B12 exist, making it very important to find foods fortified with B12. Cereals and grain products like Cheerios and bran flakes, are an easy place to start! Nutritional yeast is also fortified with Vitamin B12 and has a nutty, cheesy flavor similar to parmesan. If you have a hard time consuming enough fortified foods, have a conversation with your doctor or registered dietitian about using a third-party tested Vitamin B12 supplement.  


There are two forms of iron: heme iron, which is found in animal products and readily utilized by our bodies, and non-heme iron, which is found in plant-foods and harder to absorb. Iron-rich foods include legumes, some nuts and seeds, soy products, white and morel mushrooms, potato skins, and leafy greens.   

Plant-based sources of iron can be a catch-22. Tofu and legumes may be a good source of iron, but they can also be high in calcium and phytic acid, both of which limit iron absorption along with caffeine. Pair iron-rich foods with foods that are high in vitamin C, like citrus fruits and berries, which help boost iron absorption! Cooking plant foods also makes the iron in them more absorbable, so take advantage of your stove, oven, and microwave.  

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids have powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects and are important for maintaining brain, eye, and heart health. There are three forms of Omega-3 fatty acids: Alpha-Linoleic Acid (ALA), Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA). These three omega-3 fatty acids each have similar but unique roles in our bodies, so it’s important that we consume all three types. 

ALA is found in many nuts, seeds, and plant oils like chia, flax, walnut, and pecan. Keep in mind that these plant oils are best used in dressings or as a finishing oil; you won’t get their omega-3 benefit if you use these oils for cooking!  

EPA and DHA are mainly found in seafood and marine algae, making them much harder to come by in a plant-based diet. Our body can convert a very small amount of ALA into EPA and DHA, but not enough to meet our omega-3 needs by consuming ALA alone. Look for foods fortified with EPA and DHA, like Ripple Unsweetened plant-based milks. Third-party tested omega-3 supplements that are made with marine algae oil also supply EPA, DHA, and are vegan friendly.  


For additional product suggestions, check out our plant-based collection on eshop! If you want additional guidance on creating a balanced plant-based diet, reach out to your Harmons Registered Dietitian at dietitian@harmonsgrocery.com 

Fresh for Fall

Today’s blog was written by a previous Harmons nutrition intern Andrea Walsh, a master of science student at the University of Utah, with revisions and updates from Harmons Dietitian Heather Lieber. 

Temperatures are dropping, and fall has arrived! Bring on all the warm soups, stews, and goodies. However, even through Autumn there is still a variety of vibrant, fresh produce to incorporate. This time of year, keep your eyes on the prize with root vegetables, leafy greens, winter squash, and apples that are perfectly in season. m

Root Vegetables

Sure, there are carrots and potatoes (who doesn’t love a classic roast and vegetables?) but what about the other root vegetables? Rutabagas, turnips, parsnips, fennel bulbs and beets are all in full glory in the coming months. Root vegetables are delicious oven roasted, thrown into stews and soups, or mashed for a hearty side. As a bonus, root vegetables are good source of vitamin C, potassium and vitamin A! For general roasting instructions, check out this blog post. For a complete meal, try Dietitian Ashley’s French Chicken Roast recipe that includes a full helping of root vegetables from fennel to beets. 

Leafy Greens

Dark leafy greens are nutrient powerhouses. Include them raw tossed in a salad, or take advantage of their quick cooking time and add them into cooked dishes. We are nearing the end of their season locally, but thanks to the globalization of the food supply these greens are available year-round to accompany all the Fall dishesPictured below is a recipe from Chef Callyn—one of our experts in plant-based cooking. This is a seasonal Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad which also includes butternut squash. 

Winter Squash

Carotenoids (a type of antioxidant that protects our cells from damage) give winter squashes their beautiful yellows and oranges. These antioxidants alongside vitamins A and C make winter squash a package of immune system supporting nutrients. Winter squash can be roasted and pureed into soups and sauces or folded into ravioli. Really, there’s nothing they can’t do! In the coming months, watch for the unique varieties to hit the shelves such as acorn, kabocha, banana and delicata. Find local butternut and spaghetti squash on the shelves now. For a hearty grain salad, try out Dietitian Jonnell’s Butternut Squash and Sage QuinoaIf you’re short on time, use the shortcut microwave method to cook spaghetti squash and use it as a base for your favorite toppings.


For the perfect sweet treat in early Fall, look no further. Fresh, crunchy apples can give you your fix. Enjoy them as is, dipped into Harmons almond or peanut butter, dipped into Greek yogurt or incorporated into recipes. For a quick breakfast, prep this Apple Pie Chia Pudding or Apple Cinnamon Overnight Oats the night before. 

For more fresh, Fall-inspired ideas, contact the dietitian team at dietitian@harmonsgrocery.com. 

Heather’s interest in nutrition sparked from her passion for both delicious food and overall wellness. She completed her degree in Nutrition and Dietetics through Utah State University, and her dietetic internship in the St. George area.

Learn more about Heather here.

What’s In Season for October?

Here at Harmons, we’re officially “falling” for the delicious produce October brings us. The star of the show is squash. With so many to choose from, you’re sure to find at least one variety of squash that will satisfy your taste buds.  

When shopping for winter squash, look for squash that feels heavy for its size and has a hard, deep-colored skin that’s free of blemishes. Here are some tips on how to prepare some of these delicious squash varieties, as well as some tried and true recipes to get you started! 

Spaghetti Squash

Once cooked, pull the inner flesh of the squash with a fork until you get long strands of squash, similar in looks to spaghetti. Spaghetti squash is a great lower carb alternative to pasta. Here are some simple recipes for my pasta lovers out there: 


Halloween isn’t complete without pumpkins. Aside from being the perfect gourd to carve, pumpkins also make a delicious addition to a variety of dishes. Save your pumpkin seeds and roast for a protein packed snack, or blend them up into a delicious, creamy sauce. Check out the sauces below for some inspiration! 

Butternut squash 

These squash behemoths are a little easier to handle once cut in half lengthwise. Peel the skin and scoop out the seeds to make these squashes recipe ready. Butternut squash can be cooked quickly by microwaving, or roasted to bring out its natural sugars. Check out our Harmons Roasted Butternut Squash Soup in the kitchen department, or try Dietitian Melanie’s Butternut Queso Fundido for a healthy take on queso dip. 

Acorn Squash

With a mild yet sweet flavor, acorn squash is a versatile squash. Roast acorn squash to bring out its natural sweetnessor steam it to keep the flavor milder. Acorn squash’s skin becomes soft enough to eat when roasted, and is delicious both on its own or added to dishes like soups. 

Be sure to look for a few more squashes coming into season, including buttercup, honeynut, delicata, kuri, sugar pumpkin, turban, Hubbard and kabocha. 

Squashes aren’t the only produce in season in October. Below are a few in-season fruit options to choose from as well. 

Honeycrisp apples ​

There’s a reason Honeycrisp apples are some of the most popular apples in the U.S. With a deliciously sweet flavor and a touch of tartnessthey’re perfect for both snacking and using in recipes. Honeycrisp apples also have a long shelf-life, lasting up to 6 weeks when refrigerated in a plastic bag. 

Holiday Seedless Grapes

These extra-large grapes are the perfect juicy-sweet fruit to snack on this month. Snack on them right out of the bag, or freeze and eat with a toothpick for a frozen treat. Use Holiday grapes in this Garlic Rosemary Chicken With Red Grapes recipe for a festive entrée. 


A simple trick to tell if your cranberries are fresh or not is to do the bounce test. On a flat surface, bounce your cranberries. Fresh cranberries will bounce while old or damaged berries will not. Use fresh cranberries in baked goods, add to salads, or cook down into a delicious sauce. Check out Chef Casey’s Cran-Raspberry Sauce for an easy, fruit forward cranberry sauce. Add to plain yogurt or oatmeal for a healthy breakfast, or use in a grilled cheese sandwich to add a touch of sweetness.

Other fruits in season this fall include pomegranates, kiwi and many more varieties of apples, including the beautiful Lucy Glow and Lucy Rose. 

Want monthly updates of what’s in season? Follow @harmonsgrocery on Instagram where we post what’s in season each month. 

Our Dietitians’ Local Favorites

One of the many things Harmons excels at is supporting local products. With over 6,000 local products to choose from, there’s no shortage of variety if you’re looking for food grown or made close to home. You’ll notice local products are clearly tagged on our shelves and our eShop website with a blue local logo. 

Another tag unique to Harmons is our Dietitians Choice tag. This helps you find a healthier choice in any given category instantly with the ease of seeing the green logo. There is a select group of products that we carry that meet criteria for both the “local” and “Dietitians Choice” tags. When you buy these items, you  support local businesses and make a nutritious choice to fuel a healthy lifestyle. Now that’s a winning combination.  

With that in mind, we’d like to spotlight some of our favorite local, Dietitians Choice foods and meals using them. 

Oakdell Farms Eggs

Oakdell Farms started with one of the founders being gifted 10 chickens back in 1905. They have since built their business into three operation sites with the closest being in Lewiston, Utah. Lewiston lies in the beautiful wide-open space on the border of Utah and Idaho. Their eggs provide inexpensive, quick-cooking protein that can be used to make a meal satisfying and tasty. Try the omega-3 eggs for an extra boost of healthy fat that may lower risk of cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, and cognitive dysfunction such as Alzheimer’s. If you are not a fan of seafood, it is important to consciously get omega-3’s from other sources like these eggs.

Laziz Foods Dips

Laziz is Lebanese for “tasty and lighthearted.” Laziz Foods got their start by selling hummus at farmers markets in Utah. They’ve now expanded into a restaurant in Salt Lake City called Laziz Kitchen, and produce other Lebanese dips for Harmons stores such as baba ghanouj (eggplant-based dip), garlic toum, and beet dip. These sauces are perfect for crisp cut veggies, pita, pita chips, or spread on wraps. Because they are chickpea, eggplant, garlic, or beet based, they are nutritious picks. Additionally, they contain less sodium and calories than their competitors while still packing a flavorful punch. 

Salsa Del Diablo

Salsa Del Diablo began with Daniel Benites making homemade salsas for his friends. Eventually his wife suggested that they start selling them. Their variety of flavors offers a favorite for all tastebuds and diets. Many of the flavors are gluten free and vegan. The special reserve salsa is a traditional combination of roasted tomatoes and peppers, tomatillo guacamole salsa offers a slightly creamy take on tomatillo salsa, and cashew dream is a smoky, creamy dip. Cashews are the magic ingredient for creamy vegan sauces. 

G2G Bars

G2G protein bars opened their doors in Orem, Utah in 2010. These nut butter and whey protein isolate-based bars are rich in healthy fat and protein. They’re sure to fill you up and keep you satisfied until your next meal. One indication of freshness of these bars is that they are stored in the refrigerator. Every bar is gluten free and offers 18 grams of protein. The company shares their tagline which is, “when you eat one, you’ll know!” We do indeed know that these bars are locally manufactured, healthy goodness that we want to share with our customers. 

Pop Zero

Pop Zero Popcorn comes out of Provo, Utah and uses two unique ingredients, algae oil and pea protein! This plant-based popcorn is a wonderful option with all the flavor but less salt and saturated fat than other popcorn. Algae oil combined with their winning flavors (cinnamon toast, sea salt, and cinema) makes for a perfect snack. Like fish oil, algae oil contains the valuable omega-3 fatty acids that are mentioned above. 

Meals that Hit Close to Home

Here are some simple meal combinations from some tasty local Dietitians Choice products. If you have 15 minutes to spare, you have time to prepare these meals! 

Bagel Breakfast Sandwich 

  • Toast a Bubba’s 100% whole wheat skinny bagel (South Jordan, UT) 
  • Add spinach on top of egg and put the other half of the bagel on top 
  • Serve with a side of fruit (look for the local logo on seasonal produce!) 

Frozen Burrito with Salsa 

  • Serve with a side of fruit (look for the local logo on seasonal produce!) 

Chocolate Raspberry Kodiak Waffle 

  • Serve with a hot cup of black coffee from Café Ibis (Logan, UT) 

Local AB & J (Almond butter and jelly)

We hope you try out some of our favorite local and Dietitians Choice products. Did we mention you receive 2x fuel points on all purchased products with the blue local tag through October 2, 2021? Enjoy what is grown and made close to home, it‘s both good food and good for you. Contact your store’s dietitian at dietitian@harmonsgrocery.com for more nutrition guidance. 

Heather’s interest in nutrition sparked from her passion for both delicious food and overall wellness. She completed her degree in Nutrition and Dietetics through Utah State University, and her dietetic internship in the St. George area.

Learn more about Heather here.

Cycling Fuel

Harmons Grocery has been a longtime supporter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. We accept donations at checkout stands throughout the month of June. In addition, Harmons will match the first $25,000 in customer donations dollar for dollar.  

Another way to join in the cause is by participating in the in-person bike race! Bike MS: Harmons Best Dam Bike Ride 2021 will be held on June 26. To register and join the Harmons team, go here

In honor of the Bike MS event, Harmons’ passion for food, and my personal investment in nutrition and bikes, here we are for a post all about cycling fuel. 

First, let’s set the record straight: you don’t have to be racing the Tour de France or be a professional athlete to pay attention to sports nutrition. A little knowledge can go a long way in maximizing performance. Maximizing performance is important whether you’re riding across the country or around the block. 

There are some nutrition principles are that are generalizable to most sports. For the basics, see our Sports Nutrition 101 post. For this post, we will talk nutrition within the context of endurance cycling. 

Pre-Ride Nutrition

Pre-ride carbohydrates: Your body has approximately 1800 calories’ worth of carbohydrates stored in the muscle and liver.  These limited stores influence how long and hard you can ride.  By eating enough carbohydrates before and during your ride, you can delay the onset of fatigue and avoid “bonking.” 

What are the best pre-ride food choices? Something familiar is a good place to start.  Trying new foods on race day can be a recipe for disaster!   Everyone is unique, so you will have to do some experimenting, but: 

A balanced meal, 3-4 hours before exercise has been shown to improve performance. This means including a variety of food groups! Protein, fat, and carbohydrate all contribute to a balanced meal. Also shoot to include a fruit or vegetable—or even better—both! Fiber is necessary for a well-rounded diet, but it’s best not to overload right before exercise. Moderate amounts of fruits and veggies should be fine 3-4 hours before, but get to know what your body tolerates. Because carbohydrates will be a main source of fuel for endurance exercise, don’t skimp on them. Aim for at least 300 calories from carbohydrates. 

Snacking close to the starting line: The closer it is to “go” time, the more careful you want to be with your snacking. A safe bet is something carbohydrate-rich that is low in fat, protein, and fiber. This will likely sit well and digest easily rather than feel heavy and uncomfortable. Here are some ideas: 

*These are higher in fiber; know beforehand what sits well with your individual body before exercise. 

Mid-Ride Nutrition

Fueling during a ride prevents dehydration and low blood sugar, either of which could sideline you with fatigue. 

Avoiding Dehydration: It’s best to start hydrating before your body starts signaling thirst!  Drink small amounts consistentlysmall amounts are usually better tolerated than chugging all at once. For a ride under an hour, water is most likely sufficient. For longer rides, sports drinks and electrolyte beverages can be a great tool. These products all have different combinations of carbohydrates, sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and other minerals and vitamins. Some also have added caffeine. Products marketed with zero sugar may sound healthy and appealing but would not be a good choice if you are looking to replenish carbs throughout. Make sure you read the nutrition or supplement facts panel on the product to make an informed decision on what will be a good fit. Here are some examples of products to hydrate with for those long rides: 

Avoiding Low Blood Sugar:  Because your brain controls your muscles and your ability to concentrate on a task, you will ride well and have more fun if your brain is well fed.  The brain relies on glucose for fuel.  The glucose comes from carbohydrates you eat and the stores in your body. You need to fuel appropriately both before and during the ride to stay sharp and feel good. 

The general recommendation for carbohydrate consumption is about 30-60 grams of carbohydrate per hour of activity. Ideally, have some of your 30-60 grams of carbohydrates every 15-20 minutes throughout the ride, rather than waiting until you are hungry. Slow, consistent carbohydrate consumption ensures a steady stream of energy and reduces the risk of digestive discomfort. Remember that beverages like sports drinks can also include carbohydrates. A few product suggestions to meet your 30-60 g per hour: 

Post-Ride Nutrition

Fluids: Replace lost fluids as soon as possible! As soon as you get off the bike, hydrate. A more exact way of measuring fluid need is to weigh yourself before and after exercise, and replenish the weight lost in fluids. Since this is not always realistic, drink enough to quench your thirst, then continue to sip water the rest of the day. 

Carbohydrates: Replace lost carbohydrates as soon as possible! Eat a carbohydrate-rich food as soon as you can tolerate it (ideally within 1-1.5 hours of finishing). If it was a long endurance activity, be conscious of eating every couple of hours for the rest of the day. The food doesn’t have to be exclusively carbohydrates; it can and should be a part of a well-balanced meal. 

Protein: Eat a small amount of protein along with carbohydrates to aid in muscle repair and reduce soreness. Try to get in about 20 g of protein within 30-60 minutes after the ride. Both carbohydrates and protein are important for recovery. A recommended ratio is 3:1 or 4:1 grams of carbohydrate to protein.  

Why Does This Matter?

Applying even a small component of this information to your cycling could be the difference between a massive victory or hitting a wall of fatigue. Paying closer attention to your fueling before, during, and after rides can help you to have the best performance possible. For more specific or individualized sports nutrition guidance, contact your dietitian at dietitian@harmonsgrocery.com.