Celebrate the holiday season with savings!
Enjoy one-day deals throughout the store, December 1st - 12th only
Celebrate the holiday season with savings!
Enjoy one-day deals throughout the store, December 1st - 12th only
One of our favorite holiday traditions continues! Join us for seasonal family fun during our annual Gingerbread House Decorating event on Saturday, December 9th, from 11am-4pm, at all Sunset locations.
$15 gets you a prebuilt gingerbread house and all the gumdrops, candy canes, frosting, and other goodies you’ll need to decorate the gingerbread house of your dreams. Take it home, give it as a gift, or enjoy it yourself.
Space is limited, so please sign up with the customer service desk (either in-person or over the phone) of your favorite Sunset store.
This is event isn’t just for the little ones. Moms and Dads: we’re bringing you tasty inspiration for your holiday menu. Sample holiday items from our favorite vendors throughout the store. See you there!
Eating may be the reason for the season, but there’s a fine line between feeling pleasantly fed and gorging yourself to the point of agony. Here’s how to stay in control this year.
Show up satisfied
Have you ever walked into the kitchen starving, opened the fridge, and ate the first thing you saw (and the second, and the third…)? That’s not how you want to approach Thanksgiving dinner.
It’s tempting to arrive at dinner famished in preparation for the big meal. However, our ability to make good decisions tends to break down once we become too hungry. Instead, eat your typical breakfast, a light lunch, and if needed, a healthy snack a few hours before dinner. Focus on fiber-rich foods like fruits and vegetables to keep calories in check and hunger pangs at bay.
Save evidence of appetizers
Our stomachs can’t count. Our memories are even worse at math (i.e. have I eaten two bacon-wrapped dates or three?) Leaving your hor d’oeuvres’ skewers, toothpicks, shrimp tails, and chicken bones in-sight provides tangible evidence of how much you’ve eaten.
Research shows these visual reminders help us eat less. Researchers at Cornell University gave Superbowl party-goers a bucket of chicken wings. For some party-goers, researchers cleared away their bone scraps. For others, researchers provided a bowl to put bone scraps in, and left the bowl on the table. Not surprisingly, those who were forced to look at their bony remains ate 28% less.
Pause for conversation
We tend to eat less mindfully when we eat at social gatherings. Eating with others is part of the fun of Thanksgiving, but don’t let your company cause you to overeat.
When your mind is focused on your sister-in-law’s vacation photos or your cousin’s funny story, it’s not focused on your food. While most of us know not to talk with our mouth’s full, try not to listen with your mouth full, either. If you find yourself engrossed in good dinner conversation, put down the fork and give your fellow diners the attention they deserve. After they finish their point, pick the fork back up, and give your food the attention it deserves. Take a moment to notice your dinner’s colors, textures, aromas, flavors, temperatures, and mouthfeel. Savor everything about this particular eating experience—after all, it only comes around once a year!
Serve food off the table
Out of site is out of mind. You probably didn’t realize you wanted another serving of stuffing until the heaping platter caught your eye.
The tablescape plays a big role in how much we eat. The more food that’s in front of us, the more tempted we are to overeat. Especially if your favorite food is conveniently located inches from your plate. Rather, have guests serve themselves in the kitchen or at a separate serving table—and leave the food there throughout dinner. If you’re still hungry, by all means, go get seconds! By physically standing up to do so, your decision to continue eating is a more conscious one.
Eat to 80%
Remember how many Thanksgiving dinners you felt almost sickeningly full? Then remember how when dessert was served, more room in your stomach magically appeared?
Most Americans stop eating when they’re full (and in many cases, ‘full’ means ‘in pain’). Those in leaner cultures stop eating when they’re no longer hungry. In fact, the Okinawans—Japanese islanders known for their longevity—have an expression for when to stop eating. They call the concept hara hachi bu—eating until you’re just 80 percent full. Studies show that if you serve yourself 20% less, you probably won't even notice. Study participants noticed when they were served 30% less, but a 20% a difference flew under their radar.
Sunset’s Parmigiano Reggiano is special. Here’s why:
Our Parmigiano Reggiano hales from Malandrone farm, which has been managed by the Minelli family for over 100 years. The farm is nestled in the rural mountain town of Pavullo nel Frignano in the northern Italian province of Modena.
Our Parmigiano Reggiano is made at a higher elevation than most. In fact, it’s a certified ‘Mountain Product’—a unique designation given to Parmigiano Reggianos produced in pristine mountain environments. The mountain altitude and climate promotes the growth of lush grasses and herbs, whose unique aroma and flavors make their way into the cheese.
Our Parmigiano Reggiano is completely single-sourced. This is unique; most Parmigiano Reggiano dairies pool milk from a number of neighboring farms, make cheese from it, then sell it to a separate aging facility. Our Parmigiano Reggiano is produced on the Malandrone farm from start to finish. The Minelli family meticulously controls every detail of production, from the cow’s diet to the aging process.
The unpasteurized milk used for our Parmigiano Reggiano is sourced exclusively from cows born and raised on the Malandrone farm. About 150 Holstein Friesian cows are raised in the pasture and open housing. If the cow’s aren’t able to find enough to eat on their mountain pasture, supplemental forage is sourced locally within 3-4 miles from the farm.
The Minelli’s don’t cut corners in their cheese making process. Valuing flavor over return, they use the minimal amount of rennet and whey, and they favor a low fat to casein ratio (some dairies increase this ratio to increase yields, though this reduces the flavor complexity). They also know that a slow curd formation is crucial; the difference is evidence when flavors emerge during the aging process.
The Minell’s go above and beyond in their aging process, too. Their Parmigiano Reggiano is aged for 26 months—a period well over industry norms. After those 26 months, delicate flavors of butter and grass emerge, and distinctive bits of tyrosine crystals develop.
Taste why we’re so proud of our Parmigiano Reggiano (and many other cheeses) at our Fall Cheese Tasting on Saturday, 11/4 in Northbrook, or Saturday, 11/11 in Long Grove.
The best way to meet your nutrient needs is to eat a variety of healthy foods. While a ”food first” approach is important, sometimes life gets in the way. Busy schedules may lead to skipped meals, picky eating habits may make for limited diets, or dietary restrictions may make it difficult to cover your nutritional bases. For cases like these, multivitamins are helpful. Think of them as a nutritional insurance policy.
Choosing a high-quality vitamin is important. “Whole-food” vitamins are popular right now. The nutrients in these products are derived from food rather than nutrient extracts. Whole-food vitamins are made by putting a bunch of nutrient-dense foods into a stainless steel tank, then introducing a live bacteria culture that feeds on the food. This process creates a food-like matrix that’s then made into tablets.
Whole-food vitamins come with pros and cons. On one hand, they tend to be well tolerated and well absorbed. On the other hand, this food-like matrix is expensive to produce, leading to pricy bottles of vitamins. The matrix is also very bulky, which limits the amount of nutrients manufacturers can fit in a single tablet. The extra bulk results in very large tablets, or tablets with fewer nutrients.
Rainbow Light was one of the first companies to make a whole-food vitamin 20 years ago. While some of these products are still available, the company sought to make a more potent, more affordable product. So they shifted their focus to “food-based” rather than “whole-food”.
Food-based formulas are somewhere in between a whole-food vitamin and a vitamin that uses nutrient extracts, like Centrum, for example. The ‘base’ is mix of spirulina, a botanical blend, and a food-like matrix similar to that of a whole-food vitamin. But they still use extracts to help get nutrient amounts up to desired levels. As a result, food-based formulas like Rainbow Light have higher potencies of nutrients, while keeping the size of the tablet reasonable. For example, you’ll be hard pressed to find a whole-food multivitamin vitamin with calcium in it (personally, I’ve looked far and wide) because calcium is a bulky nutrient and manufacturers aren’t able to fit it in a whole-food tablet. Rainbow Light’s Women’s One multivitamin, on the other hand, has 20% of the daily value of calcium—more than what’s in a serving a dairy.
Not only are Rainbow Light products more nutrient-dense and easier to swallow than whole-food products, they’re also less expensive and more stable. They use reputable manufacturing practices, too. All Rainbow Light products are tested by third-party labs to verify that what's on the label is in the bottle, and that the products are free of heavy metals, pesticides, and other contaminants.
Rainbow Light vitamins are now available at all Sunset locations.
Nothing says fall like dipped apples and carved pumpkins. Join us in the Bakery department of your local Sunset for some fall fun—without any of the clean up!
Show off your craftsmanship and carve your very own pumpkin for $5. You bring the creativity, we’ll provide the pumpkins, tools, and Halloween spirit. Pumpkin carving is from 10am-3pm on Saturday, 10/21.
Nothing beats a freshly dipped caramel apple. Swing by our Bakery and decorate with your choice of yummy toppings. Apple dipping is from 11am-2pm on Saturday, 10/21.
These sweet seaonal events will take place at all Sunset locations. All ages are welcome!
Food-centric holidays like Halloween are challenging for those with food allergies or intolerances. If you have dietary restrictions, take a look at the list below to see which Halloween treats are fair game for you. You may find some of your favorites on the list!
Download a printer-friendly version of the list here.
And don't forget to join us for our Gluten-Free Expo in Highland Park on Saturday, October 14th, from 10am-2pm!
Normally, the wheat supply chain goes something like this: third-party suppliers source wheat from farmers all over North America, blend it together, then resell it on a commodity market. Albeit, this kind of wheat is uniform, though it’s completely detached from the farm it came from.
La Brea Reserve does not source wheat like this.
In fact, La Brea’s Reserve breads are changing the way we think about wheat entirely. The Reserve Line focuses on the idea of Farm First. Rather than sourcing generic varietals from a smattering of farms from across the continent, the wheat in Reserve breads are heirloom varietals, grown on a single parcel of land, by a solo farmer. Once a characterless commodity crop, wheat now has personality.
Finally, bread has caught up to the farm-to-table movement.
La Brea Reserve proves that wheat, like coffee or wine, can embody a place—the soil, the climate, and the topography. The farm is located in scenic Three Forks, Montana, near the headwaters of the Missouri River. The parcel is nestled within a valley, which sits atop a mountain at 5,000 feet—one of the highest elevations that grain is grown in America.
Those regional nuances create distinct flavors. La Brea Reserve tastes pure, rich, and earthy. It has gentle sour notes, a subtle sweetness, a hearty crust, and a divinely chewy crumb. No one else is making bread quite like La Brea Reserve. And no else carries it except Sunset. Give it a try (it’s on sale this week!) and you won’t want to go back to ordinary bread.
Healthy lunches are important. When kids skip lunch, they’re more likely to have trouble concentrating in the classroom, lack energy for after-school sports, and overeat low-nutrient after-school snacks.
When packing your child’s lunch, the goal is to choose items that pack a nutritional punch and appeal to your child. Use these tips to pack lunches your child will eat (and like!) rather than trade, throw away, or bring back home.
Balance it out.
Using MyPlate as a guide, try to get all major food groups represented in your child’s lunch. Here are some ideas:
Veggies – Add greens, tomato slices, or cucumber slices to sandwiches. Add avocado or guacamole to wraps. Swap the sandwich bread for a lettuce wrap. Try ‘finger veggies’ like baby carrots, celery sticks, mini peppers, cherry tomatoes, and sugar snap peas. Serve with a healthy dip like hummus, baba ganoush, or tzatiki.
Fruit – Bananas, grapes, and Clementine’s are easy-to-eat options for kids. If your child passes up apples, pears, or peaches, try serving them sliced. Dried fruit counts as a serving of fruit, too! Try raisins or easy-to-chew dried apricots, apples, or cherries. Swap fruit snacks for Kind Fruit Bites—the only ingredients are dried fruit!
Protein – Opt for lean animal proteins, like chicken or turkey deli meat, tuna, Canadian bacon, or hard-boiled egg. (Remember, chicken, tuna, and egg salads can be made ahead of time and hastily spread on sandwiches in the morning. Try replacing half the mayo with plain Greek yogurt for an extra protein boost). If nuts are allowed at school, try nut-based trail mix, nut-based Kind bars, peanut butter, or almond butter. If your child goes to a nut-free school, try sunflower butter instead.
Whole Grains – Swap refined grains for whole grain sandwich bread, wraps, and tortillas. Opt for whole grain crackers, like Wheat Thins or Triscuits. Popcorn is a whole grain, too! If you’re treating your child to a homemade baked good, try replacing half the flour with whole grain flour. Opt for quick breads made with a fruit or veggie, like zucchini bread, banana bread, or carrot muffins.
Dairy – Don't forget the dairy—kids’ bones are growing fast! Choose low-fat milk and pre-portioned cheeses, like string cheese or Baby Bells. Greek yogurt is a great choice. Opt for brands that sweeten with real fruit, like Chobani, Siggi’s, or Fage.
Make a plan.
Kids are far more likely to enjoy their lunch when they have a vested interest in it.
Involve kids in the planning process; sit down with your child before a weekend grocery trip and decide together what will go in school lunches. Determine which types of foods must go in each lunch (for example, a protein, a grain, a fruit and veggie, a dairy product, and an optional snack or sweet item), then make a checklist of things your child likes in each category. For example: “The vegetables I will eat in my lunch are: baby carrots, green pepper slices with ranch dip, cherry tomatoes, or a mini-salad.”
Kids, like adults, eat with their eyes first. Choose a reusable lunch bag or box with favorite characters or colors. Make foods as bright and colorful as possible (turmeric and beet juice make great natural dyes). Have fun with shapes and size—use cookie cutters on sandwiches or make mini-muffins.
Stay food safe.
Lunches with perishable foods like deli meat, dairy products, and cut fruits and vegetables should never be left out of refrigeration for more than 2 hours. For cold foods, invest in an insulated lunch bag and pack an icepack. Or, pack a frozen water bottle or box of 100% juice, and have your cold pack double as a refreshing noontime beverage. Pack hot foods like soup and stew in a thermos, and store in a separate compartment in your child’s lunchbox.
The best way to know if your child likes the lunches you pack? Ask them! Ask your child if you packed too much or too little food, if any items get mushy, discolored, or soggy by lunchtime, or if any items are too difficult for your child to open without an adult’s help.
Hatch Chiles are a finer gastronomic pleasure that, when you have the opportunity, you should really try.
A Hatch Chile is a green chili around 4-5 inches in length. They’re grown exclusively in a 100 square-mile area of New Mexico called the Mesilla Valley. The chili is named after the town of “Hatch”, a small village in the valley.
Like wine, the best chilies are grown in climates with hot daytime temperatures and cold nights. The intense sunlight and cool evening in the Mesilla Valley result in a uniquely flavored chile. Served raw, Hatch Chiles have earthy flavors, mild heat, and a subtle sweetness. Served roasted, these flavors intensify, creating complex, zesty and smoky flavors. Hatch Chiles are about half as hot as jalapenos. They tingle on the tongue rather than burn. Their meaty flesh stands up well to an open flame.
During the chili harvest, Hatch, NM hosts an annual Hatch Chile roast and festival. Thousands of out-of-state and international visitors flock to the sleepy New Mexican town to experience the esteemed Hatch Chile.
Sunset shoppers need only travel as far as the nearest Sunset store to experience a freshly roasted Hatch Chile. We’re shipping in Hatch Chiles direct from New Mexico, and roasting them outside all Sunset locations. Here’s the schedule:
Our rotating drum roasters turn the chilies as they roast over an open flame at 900 degrees. Watch them blister, char, and pop, then taste for yourself what all the hype is about. Purchase the chilies by-the-pound and stock up for the rest of the year (roasted Hatch Chiles freeze well in zip-lock bags). Or try one of Sunset’s original recipes featuring our favorite chili, such as:
Hatch Chile season is short. Fresh chilies are available for a limited 6-week window, with late August being peak harvest. Get ‘em while they’re hot!
There’s no doubt local food is #trending.
For many shoppers, the farmers’ market is as much a place to see and be seen as it is a place to buy vegetables. Community-supported agriculture is becoming increasingly popular, and more and more restaurants are catching on to the locavore movement.
Local is trendy for good reason. Not only does local food come with the environmental benefits of reduced emissions for transport, local food comes with economic and social benefits as well. Sourcing local builds a sense community, bolsters local economies, and gets people excited about where they live.
To Sunset, local is not a passing fad, nor is it anything new. Sunset has been sourcing locally for our entire 80-year history—long before anyone coined the term “locavore”. Supporting local vendors is part of our DNA. After all, Sunset’s a locally owned business, too.
In 2017, we still carry many of the same local vendors that we carried in 1937. For example, back in the 1930s, the original Cortesi clan forged a relationship with John Link—the original owner of Didier Farm in Lincolnshire, IL. Because the farm is less than 10 miles from Sunset, the Cortesis saw Didier Farm as the obvious choice to bring Sunset customers the freshest vegetables. To this day, we still carry peppers, squashes, beets, cabbage, kale, green beans, chard, cucumbers, and many other crops grown by Didier Farm. Shop our stores between late-July and mid-September, and you’ll find Didier populating our produce departments.
As the local food landscape evolves, we’re evolving with it, bringing in new local vendors as they enter the local marketplace. For many local vendors, Sunset was the first retailer to carry their product. For example, Meyer Farm Herbs, Carol’s Cookies, Hungry Monkey Baking Company, Hole in the Wall pasta sauce, and many others looked to Sunset to help launch their businesses.
If you see the value in understanding where your food came from, attend our Midwest Local Foods event on Saturday, August 12th, from 10am-2pm, at our Highland Park and Libertyville stores. Expand your locavore diet beyond just produce and sample the best the Midwest has to offer from all departments of our store. Shop small and fill your fridge, pantry, and freezer with food produced close to home.
After a hold-up in the courts, a new Cook County soda tax will go into effect tomorrow, August 2nd. The tax will collect $0.01 per ounce of sweetened beverages. This works out to $1.44 for a 12-pack of soda. The tax is expected to generate over $200 million dollars for Cook County each year.
While soda taxes are controversial, I encourage shoppers to drink less soda. A robust amount of evidence links sugary drinks with a host of detrimental outcomes, such as obesity, type II diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, liver disease, and dental disease. While sugary drinks are certainly not the only place you’ll find sugar in the diet, Americans do drink most of their sugar.
However, the Cook County tax is unique from most other soda taxes in that it includes artificially sweetened, or “diet”, beverages as well. The scientific evidence of harm from diet drinks is less certain than that of sugar-sweetened drinks.
And the policy doesn’t stop there. Here’s what's being taxed:
Here’s what’s not being taxed:
Switching to an unsweetened beverage has always been good for your health. Now, it’s good for your wallet, too. If it’s time to make a swap, I recommend La Croix or Perrier. Both products are calorie-free, sugar-free, carbonated, and come in many tasty, natural flavors. Neither are included in the tax.
A final note: if you can’t stomach the tax on your favorite drinks, our Highland Park, Lake Forest, Libertyville, and Long Grove stores do not tax sweetened beverages.
This pasta recipe has everything I look for in a summer dish: local, seasonal produce, few ingredients, and the option to serve it chilled. Not only are there only 6 ingredients in this recipe (besides salt and pepper), but all the ingredients are on sale from 7/19-7/26.
While any zucchini, chicken breast, and pesto will work in this recipe, I recommend you support our local food system and choose our local zucchini (grown by Ruhlig Farms in Carleton, MI), Miller chicken (raised by Amish families in Orland, IN), and Gotham Greens pesto (made with basil grown in greenhouses on the southside of Chicago).
You can make zucchini ribbons with a regular vegetable peeler. Zucchini ribbons have a similar shape and texture as fettuccini. They can help cut your carb intake by replacing some of the starchy pasta with a veggie. They also add a nice pop of color to the plate.
Click here to download a printable recipe card.
Madagascar grows about 80% of the global supply of vanilla beans. In March 2017, Madagascar was hit by the worst tropical cyclone in 13 years. The storm damaged about 30% of the vanilla crop, further shrinking the supply of already scarce vanilla beans. As a result, the 2017 Madagascar vanilla crop was the most expensive crop in decades. Five years ago, prices for vanilla beans were hovering around $20 a kilograms. Industry sources now report prices above $200 a kilogram.
Although farmers in countries other than Madagascar are considering growing more vanilla beans, prices may get worse before they get better. It takes four years to develop a commercial crop after planting vanilla beans.
And growing vanilla isn’t easy. In fact, it’s one of the most labor-intensive foods on earth. Vanilla beans are the seeds of an orchid. Madagascar doesn’t have the certain kind of bee that pollinates the vanilla flower (vanilla is originally from Mexico, and so are its pollinating bees). Instead, pollination must be done by hand. What’s more, the flowers that produce the bean pod open for less than a day each year. If no one pollinates the plant during this narrow window of time, that means no vanilla. If that’s not enough, after the seeds are harvested, each one must be soaked in hot water, then wrapped in wool blankets, then bundled and placed in a wooden box to “cure”, then laid out to dry in the sun. The whole process takes months.
Unfortunately, when vanilla prices are high, farmers are tempted to cut corners and sacrifice quality. For example, farmers may pick the beans before they’re mature—and before the flavor compounds have fully developed. Farmers may also bring their beans to market before they’ve been fully cured—a process that should take about 2 months—resulting in poorer quality beans.
Food companies also tend to cut corners when vanilla prices are high. For example, some companies opt for a synthetic—and much cheaper—type of vanilla called vanillin. Not Sunset. Brooke Edwards, our bakery director, refuses to settle for anything less than the real deal.
Vanilla goes into just about everything made in Sunset’s bakeries. Brooke orders our vanilla exclusively from Nielsen-Massey. Nielsen-Massey still makes vanilla the traditional way—from beans, not from a lab. Because of the vanilla shortage, Nielsen-Massey isn’t taking orders from any new customers at the moment, so we’re lucky to have the relationship with them that we do.
While you may see increases in price for your favorite vanilla ice cream or café lattes, you won’t see price increases in Sunset’s bakeries. Instead, we’re buying smaller quantities of vanilla at a time, and we’re taking especially great care to not waste a drop. We’re not skimping on the vanilla either. While some food companies are modifying their recipes to use less vanilla, there’s just as much of the good stuff in our baked goods as ever.
Bruschetta doesn’t have to be all about tomatoes. We swapped them out for sweet Northwest cherries, our favorite seasonal fruit right now.
Serve this Cherry Bruschetta as an elegant appetizer for a summer get-together. Or, serve it as a fresh, summery take on weekday breakfast. Remember, you don’t need to slice the entire baguette. Just a few slices make a perfect personal snack or mini-meal.
Download a printable recipe here.
Adding fresh cherries to your plate adds a pop of color and disease-fighting power. A growing body of science links cherries’ red color (provided by pigments that act as powerful antioxidants) to heart-health benefits related to reducing inflammation. Cherries also contain important nutrients like beta carotene, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, iron, fiber, and folate.
While there’s no established guidelines on how many cherries it takes to reap their benefits, experts suggest 1-2 servings of cherries a day can have some anti-inflammatory effects.
Cherry season is short. Get your servings of fresh ones while you can, then switch to frozen or dried.
While Michigan may take the cake for best baking cherries, the Pacific Northwest grows the most outstanding fresh, sweet cherries in the country. Farmers in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, and Montana grew the cherries in Sunset’s produce department. Cherries are a temperamental crop; not all areas can grow them well. There are lots of reasons why we choose to source our cherries from the Northwest:
Majestic mountains. Cherries are grown along hillsides near mountain ranges. Fresh water runs down the mountains, providing irrigation to the cherry orchards.
Little rain. Pests love moisture. Growing fruit in the desert means less disease pressure, meaning fewer pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides are used.
Temperature fluxes. The Northwest’s long, hot days followed by chilly nights are critical for concentrating the fruit’s sugars and retaining their bright red color.
Lush soils. Cherries love the sandy, slightly acidic soils in Northwest. Sandy soils drain water easily, yet retain the micronutrients the fruit needs.
Harsh winters. Cherries must undergo a sufficient winter chilling in order to break dormancy and bloom in the spring. Some cherry farmers use the motto “The deeper the snow, the better the cherries”.
Besides quality, sourcing cherries from this area of the country comes with another advantage: an extended harvest. This area’s wide range of latitudes play a role in harvest time. Because warm temperatures arrive in lower-latitude areas first, these trees are first to ripen. The harvest schedule works it way north, beginning in Utah, followed by Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and finally Washington.
Elevation, or altitude, also plays a role in the harvest schedule. The higher the elevation, the cooler the temperature. Orchards at high elevations ripen later than those at lower elevations. This system is best for shoppers. Because of cherries’ short shelf life, if all cherries were harvested at the same time, cherries would only be available for a couple weeks of the year. By varying harvest times, we’re able to bring you the nation’s sweetest cherries from mid-June through early September.
Speaking of harvest, our cherries are harvested by hand in the early morning (the fruit softens if picked later in the day). The fruit is then hydro-cooled, packed, and shipped to Sunset with 2 days of being picked.
Check back later this week for tasty recipes using our favorite cherry varieties!
I love a good grain salad, especially in the summer. Served chilled, it’s perfect for hot days when we swap out heavy dishes for lighter fare. This recipe in particular has a lovely balance of flavors. It’s part fruity, part bold, part citrusy, and a total crowd pleaser. Serve it as an accompaniment to whatever’s coming off the backyard grill. Or eat it all on its own for lunch. Between the quinoa and the cashews, there’s enough protein in this recipe to keep you full until dinner.
If you haven’t yet embraced quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah), this recipe is a great introduction. Although it’s technically a seed, quinoa behaves like a grain. In fact, you can use quinoa just about any place you would use rice, and it cooks up in much the same way. Like rice, quinoa is also gluten-free. The kernels are small—about the size of couscous—but they pack a big nutritional punch. Quinoa is unique in the sense that it’s a complete protein, meaning it supplies all the amino acids we can’t make ourselves. Not many grains can do that!
Quinoa was a staple food of Andean peoples. The Incas considered it to be sacred, referring to it as chisoya mama, or “mother of all grains.” Today, over 90% of the quinoa that’s available in the U.S. comes from Bolivia or Peru.There are many varietals of quinoa; you may notice white, red, or black quinoa on Sunset’s shelves. Nutritionally, each variety is very similar. Experiment with different colors to keep your pantry interesting.
So you’ve chosen your oil wisely. Now what? As a follow-up to Healthy Oils Part 1, here are more tips about how to keep your oil fresh for the longest amount of time possible.
Store it smart
Light is oil’s enemy; too much light will cause the oil to break down. Look for oil packaged in dark-colored glass or plastic that filters out light. Store your oil in a cool, dark cabinet—not the cabinet above the stove, and not on the counter-top—to minimize exposure to light and heat.
Even if gallon jugs of oil are on sale, don’t buy them. The larger the container, the larger amount of headspace above the oil’s surface. The larger the headspace, the more the oil interacts with the air in that headspace. This oxidizes the oil, creating harmful free radicals—the opposite of antioxidants. To minimize oxidation, purchase oil that’s packaged in a relatively small container.
Know when to toss it
Rancid oil doesn’t just taste unpleasant, it’s bad for your health. Your nose is the best indicator of rancidity. If your oil has that characteristic rancid odor (which smells like Crayons), it’s time to toss it. Avoid reusing oil you’ve already cooked with; reheating oil accelerates its deterioration.
Sunset’s selection of oils ranges from the familiar to the exotic. While there are many different types, not all oils are created equal. Each type of oil is unique, with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. The right oil for you depends on how you’re using it, your taste preferences, and what sort of health benefits you’re looking for. Here are some tips for choosing wisely.
Each type of oil has a different mix of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Each of these fatty acids has a different effect on our health. Here’s what each of them do:
At this point, we’re not exactly sure what the most beneficial ratio of MUFA to PUFA is. We do know they’re both good for us, and replacing saturated fats with MUFA and PUFA improves cardiovascular health.
Mind your omegas
Omega-3s and omega-6s are two types of polyunsaturated fat. Omega-3s reduce inflammation in the body, whereas omega-6s promotes inflammation Both are essential to the body, meaning the human body can’t make them and they must come from food. However, Americans tend to eat way too much omega-6s and not enough omega-3. A favorable omega-3 to omega-6 ratio reduces risk of inflammatory diseases like cardiovascular disease, cancer, type II diabetes, and neurodegenerative diseases.
Omega-6s are found soy oil, corn oil, grape seed oil, safflower oil, and sunflower oil, which are often used to make popular processed foods like cookies, crackers, and chips. Oils that are good sources of omega-3s, like canola oil, walnut oil, and flax oil, are less popular, though healthier choices.
Know your smoke point
Not all oils can take the heat. When cooking with oil, smoke point is important. The smoke point is the temperature at which oil will begin to smoke. At this point, the oil chemically breaks down and produces free radicals that are harmful to health. Oils that are heated past their smoke point may also impart bitter, unpleasant flavors. High smoke point oils, like avocado oil and safflower oil, are best for high-heat cooking like grilling, frying, and stir-frying. Save low smoke point oils, like walnut oil and flaxseed oil, for salad dressings and garnishes.
Refined vs. unrefined
Oils come in refined or unrefined versions. Refined oils will say so on the label. Unrefined oils may use terms like “cold pressed” or “virgin” on their label. The more refined the oil, the higher the smoke point. This is because the refining process removes impurities that cause the oil to smoke. Because these impurities also serve as flavor compounds, refined oils have a more neutral taste. For example, choose refined coconut oil when you don’t want your dish to taste like coconut.
Choosing refined oils is a nutritional trade-off, however, as refined oils have fewer nutrients. For example, the “impurities” found in extra-virgin olive oil not only give olive oil its bold, botanical flavors, but are also antioxidants.
Savor the flavor
Some oils have a neutral flavor that makes them versatile in the kitchen. Mild-tasting oils include canola oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, grape seed oil, and “light” (light in color and taste, not in calories) olive oil. Others lend themselves to bold flavors that can transform your meal. For example, avocado oil, coconut oil, and extra-virgin olive oil are fruity in flavor (unless they’ve been refined). Flaxseed oil and walnut oil have nutty and earthy flavors. Use peanut oil or sesame oil when you’re going for bold Asian-inspired flavors.
There’s so much to consider when shopping for oil! Here’s a handy chart to help you make the wisest choice in the aisle.
Check back later this week for more tips on choosing and storing oils properly.
When it comes to meeting nutrient needs, I take a “food first” approach. But where food comes up short, supplements can help fill in those nutritional gaps. I wanted to take a minute to express my enthusiasm for Carlson fish oils: one of the only supplements I take.
To meet our needs for omega-3 fatty acids, specifically EPA and DHA omega-3’s, we must eat fish at least twice a week. EPA and DHA are responsible for reducing inflammation, promoting healthy brains, hearts, skin, and eyes, even improving our mood. Cold-water fish like salmon, sardines, herring, and mackerel are all excellent source of omegas. However, fish may not always work itself into our diet with that twice-a-week frequency. For diets light in seafood, a good fish oil supplement comes in handy.
Because adulteration in the supplement industry is a growing concern, brand reputation matters—especially for fish oil. Nordic Naturals and Carlson are two highly reputable fish oil brands that come to mind. Both products are superior in quality. If you’re interested in a taking a soft-gel capsule, either choice is a good one. Personally, I favor the versatility and (surprisingly!) pleasant taste of Carlson’s ‘The Very Finest’ lemon flavored fish oil liquid.
In addition to taste, I appreciate Carlson’s fish oil for its ratio of EPA and DHA. While there’s no official recommendation for which ratio is preferred, keep in mind that EPA and DHA play different roles in the body. EPA has stronger heart, mood, and joint health benefits, whereas DHA promotes brain development, memory, and cognition. At 800mg EPA and 500mg DHA per teaspoon, Carlson’s product has a healthy balance of the two. Though every fish oil supplement is different; if you have specific health concerns, choose one with a ratio that favors the benefits you’re looking for.
I enjoy making a quick lemon balsamic vinaigrette dressing with Carlson’s lemon fish oil. My recipe is simple: 1 tsp fish oil + 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil + 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar + a splash of lemon juice + salt and pepper.
I’ll also throw my fish oil into any dish that calls for both olive oil and lemon—think Mediterranean salads, taboulehs, yogurt dressing, hummus, and lemon chicken. It’s also perfectly fine all on its own. (If you’ve ever tried flavored olive oil before, it tastes a lot like lemon flavored olive oil). Don’t believe me? Taste for yourself at one of our upcoming demos! Plus score coupons and tasty Carlson recipes.
6/11 – Libertyville – 11am-2pm
6/12 – Northbrook – 11am-2pm
6/19 – Lake Forest – 11am-2pm
6/26 – Long Grove – 11am-2pm
Fish oil isn't the only type of oil that's worth our while. Check back next week for tips on choosing, storing, and cooking with other healthy oils.
In a press release issued last month, several food safety advocacy are suing the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over failure to take responsibility for the safety of food additives. As the press release puts it,
“Under pressure from industry… FDA adopted a practice that allows food and chemical manufacturers to decide for themselves, without notice to FDA or the public, that food chemicals are safe—even if the chemicals are new, not widely studied, and not widely accepted as safe.”
Yes, you read that right. The FDA allows food manufacturers to sign off on the safety of their additives. In some cases, safety assessments are made by those employed by the manufacturer. In other cases, they are employees of consulting firms selected by the manufacturer. Either way, they are hardly independent third parties. As you can imagine, conflicts of interests in this field are an issue.
While we wait for this lawsuit to work itself out, we can find peace in fact that there are brands like Wild Harvest. Wild Harvest is a “free from” label, meaning it does not contain artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. While the FDA doesn’t always make it easy for you to support a safe food system, Wild Harvest does. Look for it on Sunset shelves today.
View the full list of ingredients not allowed in Wild Harvest products here.
Copper River salmon is said to be the best in the world. Here’s why this highly coveted fish is such a big deal.
The Copper River flows in Alaska. It is nearly 300 miles long, 10 miles wide, and replete with challenges like frigidly cold glacier-fed water, rushing rapids, and powerful currents. Every spring, King, Sockeye, and Coho salmon make their way from the Pacific Ocean up this treacherous river, where they’ll give birth to the next generation.
Because only the strong survive the Copper River, salmon must pack on pounds to complete their strenuous journey. Not only are Copper River salmon at peak maturity, they’re also extremely robust creatures with healthy stores of natural oils and body fat. These fats take the form of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential to human health. Specifically, omega-3’s are critical for a healthy heart, brain, and nervous system. In addition to nutritional benefits, the salmons’ fat stores also lend themselves to a rich, buttery flavor. One bite of this fish and you’ll understand why foodies everywhere relish Copper River salmon. Some consider the start of the Copper River salmon season a holiday.
Sustainability is critical to those who fish the Copper River. Fishing families of south-central Alaska are independent, small business owners. They are dedicated to the long-term sustainability of their fish stocks, livelihood, and environment. They have tremendous respect for the fish and the ocean, and happily adhere to Alaska’s fishing guidelines—which are among the strictest in the world—to ensure abundance for future generations.
Fisherman Michael Bowen on his boat, the Jenna Marie. Michael has been salmon fishing on the Copper River since 1970.
Commercial fishermen are only allowed to fish the Copper River from mid-May to mid-June, meaning this fishy delicacy is only available for a few weeks each year. Get yours at your nearest Sunset Foods this Saturday, May 27th, from 10am-4pm. Fillets, steaks, and whole fish are available. Our team will happily cut (and even season and cook) your fish however you’d like.
Whole grains are important for everyone's health, especially those on gluten-free diets. Gluten-free cookies, crackers, cereals, breads, and other grain-based foods are often made with a blend of flours that mimic the texture of gluten. Typically, this blend includes corn, rice, or tapioca flour—all of which are gluten-free, though are relatively low-fiber, low-protein, and not fortified with important nutrients. That’s where gluten-free whole grains come in.
Whole grains contain all 3 parts of the grain kernel—the bran, germ, and endosperm. Refined grains, on the other hand, consist only of the endosperm. The bran and the germ have been stripped away, leaving behind white, fluffy carbohydrate. Because the bran and germ are the most nutritious parts, whole grains contain more protein, fiber, B vitamins, and other nutrients compared to refined grains.
The protein and fiber found in whole grains are important. These nutrients slow down digestion, leaving us feeling full for longer, and promoting a healthier blood sugar response.
The b-vitamins founds in whole grains are important as well, especially for those on gluten-free diets. Our government mandates that wheat-based (i.e. gluten-containing) flours and cereals be fortified with important b-vitamins like folate, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, and iron. Gluten-free alternatives are not fortified, leaving gluten-free eaters at risk of developing deficiencies in these nutrients. Because whole grains are a natural source of b-vitamins, whole grains are a useful tool for helping those on gluten-free diets get the nutrients they need.
Luckily, many whole grains are naturally gluten-free. Combine them with your favorite veggies, seasonings, and a generous glug of olive oil. Or enjoy their nutty, earthy flavor on their own!
The Sunset family is thrilled to announce that we’re transitioning to a new primary distributor. We’ve partnered with SUPERVALU, a national wholesale distributor with a 140-year history of innovation. SUPERVALU is a true leader in the grocery industry, and we cannot wait to take advantage of their tremendous selection of products.
Rest assured, all the things that make Sunset special are not changing. This includes our commitment to carrying hyper-local, unique food products and specialty items. What will be new are hundreds of high-quality, affordable private label products sold under the Wild Harvest and Culinary Circle labels—brands which are already well-known to many Chicago shoppers.
We wholeheartedly believe the choice to switch to SUPERVALU is best for Sunset shoppers, and we’ve very excited for the changes that lie ahead. Shoppers can expect to see new products appearing on shelves soon!
We're particularly excited about Wild Harvest products. Wild Harvest is a “free from” label, meaning it does not contain artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. No more perusing labels for ingredients you’d prefer to avoid. The Wild Harvest line does the scrutiny work for you. You can trust everything with a Wild Harvest label came from nature, not a laboratory.
There are over 100 ingredients not allowed in Wild Harvest products. Here's the full list of prohibited ingredients:
While eating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables is important, dark leafy greens are perhaps the best nutritional bang for your caloric buck. Dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, collard greens, Swiss chard, and broccoli rabe are like nature’s multivitamins. These greens pack in a laundry list of important nutrients (vitamins A, C, and K, folate, copper, manganese, potassium, iron, calcium, fiber, and antioxidants, to name a few) all for about 30 calories per cup. The more vibrant the shade of green, the more nutrient-rich the leaves.
Whereas spinach and kale may be familiar favorites, broccoli rabe is an unsung nutritional hero. Also called “rapini” or “broccoli raab”, this cruciferous vegetable resembles broccoli, but doesn’t form a large head. It has a nutty, robust, and somewhat bitter flavor. The leaves, buds, and stems are edible.
Broccoli rabe is delicious when blanched, then sautéed in olive oil, salt, and garlic. Blanching is a type of cooking process (think of it as an abbreviated boil). Place your greens in salted boiling water for only 30 seconds to a minute. Watch as the plant’s color goes from green to greener. Remove with a strainer, then submerge in ice-cold water to stop the cooking process. The blanching process does two important things: it breaks down the plant’s fiber, making its nutrients more easily absorbed in our gut. Blanching also softens the greens, which cuts down the overall cooking time.
Still looking for inspiration about cooking with broccoli rabe? We’ve got you covered. Check out these recipes from our broccoli rabe grower. Better yet, watch (and taste!) a recipe being made in-person. Attend our live Broccoli Rabe Cooking Demos and taste this nutritional powerhouse for yourself.
Fresh herbs are an opportunity to take flavor from bland to brilliant, without adding salt, sugar, or fat. In fact, a bunch of herbs contains a bunch of nutrients. In addition to vitamins and minerals, the oils in most herbs lend antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can deliver impressive disease-fighting health benefits. Whether you're using a bunch or just a pinch, fresh herbs add aromatic flavors and an attractive pop of color to your plate.
Unsure of how to use fresh herbs in the kitchen? Fresh herbs fit into just about any dish. Keep in mind that in most cases, heat destroys the flavor and nutrients of fresh herbs, so they're best when added at the end of the cooking process. Exceptions are hardy, woody herbs like rosemary and sage, which can stand up to some heat. Otherwise there are no "rules" when cooking with fresh herbs—only that you and your guests enjoy eating them. Use the table below as a guide, but don't be afraid to get creative and use herbs in innovative ways!
|Flavor Profile||Perfect For...||World Cuisines to Inspire You||Recipes to Try|
|Basil||Bright, minty, and peppery with a bit of sweetness||Add basil to salads, sandwiches, pizza, marinara sauce, and pasta. Pair with anything involving tomatoes. Or make homemade pesto.||Italian|
|Chives||Refreshingly light onion taste||Thinly slice and use as a garnish for any savory dish. Chives are great in dips, in quesadillas, with eggs, and atop baked potatoes. They can also balance the heaviness of rich foods like cream sauces and risotto.||Chinese|
|Tri-Colored Penne, Argula, Cherry Tomatoes, Chives, and Fresh Mozzarella|
|Cilantro||Bright and citrusy, sometimes soapy||Add it to salsa, guacamole, soups, stews, salads, tacos, fish, and chicken dishes. Pairs well with any Mexican-inspired dish.||Mexican|
|Dill||Clean, grassy, tangy, and earthy||Pairs well with seafood (especially salmon) and anything involving cucumber. Add it to potato salad, omletes, yogurt dressing, and watery cheeses like cottage cheese, cream cheese, and goat cheese.||French||BBQ Pork Ribs and Creamy Dill Potato Salad|
|Mint||Refreshingly sweet flavor with a cooling aftertaste||Pairs well with lamb, stone fruit, berries, and chocolate. Add it to ice cream, frozen yogurt, iced tea, and mojitos.||Indian|
|Parsley||Grassy and slightly peppery. Curly parsley is less assertive that flat-leaf parsley (which is also called Italian parsley)||Use it as a garnish for just about any savory dish. Chop it up and sprinkle it over eggs, grilled steaks, fish, chicken, lamb, rice, or vegetables.||French|
|Herb-Crusted Chicken Breasts with Lemon Pepper Green Beans|
|Oregano||A hint of earthiness combined with a slight spiceness||Chop it up and add it to vinaigrette, pizza, rice, or tomato sauce. Pairs well with poultry and wild game.||French|
|Sun-Dried Tomato Soup|
|Rosemary||A strong, sometimes pungent, pine-like earthy fragrance and flavor||Pairs well with garlic and olive oil. Add it to beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, pork, or potatoes. Simmer stews, soups, or sauces with a sprig on the surface; remove before serving.||French|
|Roasted Lemon Chicken Sausages with Rosemary Garlic|
|Sage||Mild to slightly peppery taste, with a touch of mint, eucalyptus, and cedar||Stands up well to bold, savory dishes, like cured meats, sausages, por dishes, rich and creamy dishes, and anything invovling brown butter. It's also an American staple in turky dishes and stuffing.||Italian|
|Apple Sage Wild Rice Stuffing|
|Tarragon||A delicate anise or licorice flavor that's more sweet than strong||Pairs well with white wine vinegar and mustard. Add it to omelets, fish, and chicken dishes. Add it to stews, rice dishes, dips, and sauces.||French||Yogurt-Herb Dressing|
|Thyme||Lemony, slightly minty, piney, and earthy||Inlcude it in a bouquet garni to season stocks, soups, and sauces. Pairs well with pork, lamb, or duck, as well as with other herbs like rosemary, parsley, sage, and oregano. Add it to stews, rice dishes, dips, and sauces.||
|Leek and Goat Cheese Tart|
Store Your Herbs Right
To keep fresh herbs from going to waste, treat them like fresh flowers. Place them in a small jar or glass with an inch of water at the bottom. Place a plastic bag loosely over the leaves. Store them in the fridge or on the counter top.
OR freeze your herbs for later. Chop your herbs up and pack them into an ice cube tray. Fill each cell with olive oil and place them in the freezer until you're ready to up. Then simply add a cube to your dish, allow the oil to melt, and voila—a pop of herb flavor!
Meet Your Farmer: Meyer Farms
Sunset's selection of fine culinary herbs comes from Meyer Farms in Wauconda, IL. Vern Meyer is a pioneer in the packaged herb industry, and Sunset was his first customer back in 1990! His family-run organic farm continues to grow a superior product.
Click here to learn more about cooking with fresh herbs!
Plant-based diets are best for our planet and our bodies. Research suggests that diets rich in plant foods have a significantly lower environmental impact compared to animal foods. Plant foods have also been shown to reduce risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.1
Raising animals is taxing on our environment for many reasons. To put it simply, when we raise animals, we must feed and water them. Animals (especially cows) are quite inefficient at converting food and water into meat. This means it takes a lot of feed (usually in the form of grain) and water to produce small amounts of meat. For example, we must allocate a third of the Earth’s croplands to grow feed for livestock.2 Taking into account the water used to grow the grain fed to cattle, it takes over 1,845 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef.3 Rather than losing energy in the conversion from plants to animals, we could save resources by eating more plants.
What about protein? While animal foods are a great source of protein, plant foods have protein, too. In fact, when we get our protein from plants, it is more affordable, has a smaller environmental impact, and doesn’t come with saturated fat and cholesterol like animal protein does.
Beans and legumes—like chickpeas, black beans, and lentils—are an excellent source of plant-based protein. In addition to protein, beans and legumes are a great source of fiber. The combination of protein and fiber promotes a feeling of fullness—perfect for those trying to manage their weight. Beans also offer a host of other important nutrients like vitamin C, iron, vitamin B6, folate, copper, zinc, and manganese.
Despite their superior nutrition profile, many people have a hard time adding more beans to their diet. Banza products can help break down those barriers to eating beans. Banza makes pasta from chickpeas. A cup of Banza pasta contains nearly half of one’s fiber needs for the whole day. It also contains a whopping 25g of protein—the same amount in a 4oz steak.
Still skeptical of pasta made from beans? Our Moroccan Chickpea Pasta salad will make you a believer. Featuring Banza chickpea pasta, fresh herbs and veggies, creamy feta cheese, and Moroccan spices, this pasta salad will satisfy even the most enthusiastic carnivore. Find it in our deli (and on sale for $6.98/lb through 4/12!)
Celebrate Earth Month by choosing nutrient-packed beans a few times a week. After all, if Americans were to reduce their meat consumption by just 20%, it would be as if we all switched from a standard sedan to a Prius. With a dish as delicious as Moroccan Chickpea Pasta, you won’t miss the meat one bit.
For more tips about how to add beans to your diet, click here.
The owners and staff of Sunset Foods are honored to congratulate Allen “Totto” Perin, our Vice-President of Consumer Affairs, on his 60th year of service with Sunset. Totto's career began in 1957 as a bagger in the Highland Park store. He was quickly promoted to Meat Department Manager in the early 1960s at the newly opened Northbrook location. It was from behind the meat counter that Totto fully realized his passion for customer service and his ability to form lasting connections with customers. Totto attributes Sunset’s success to always putting the customer first. Throughout his lengthy career, this adage has always been at the heart of Totto’s work philosophy.
Promoted to store manager at the Libertyville location in 1998 and then to Vice-President of Operations in 2003, Totto's career is marked with personal achievement and profound dedication to our customers. Totto lives in Deerfield with his wife Ronny. He has three sons, Scott, Jeff, and Mark. If ever there was an employee who epitomizes the values that have made Sunset a North Shore institution, it is Allen "Totto" Perin. With a tremendous debt of gratitude, we recognize Totto’s milestone moment of 60 years (and counting) of faithful service to Sunset customers.
The foods we eat have an impact on our planet. Getting food from farm to fork spends 10% of the total U.S. energy budget1, uses 50% of our land2, and swallows 80% of all freshwater consumed in the United States3. Yet, 40% of food produced in the U.S. goes uneaten4.
Food is too good to waste. When we throw away food, we also waste the energy, land, and water that was needed to produce, package, and transport it. Wasted food is the single largest component of municipal solid waste in the U.S.5 What’s more, when wasted food sits in a landfill, it produces methane—a greenhouse gas about 30 times more potent that carbon dioxide6. Even the most sustainably farmed food does us no good if no one eats it.
If you’re interested in doing something good for the planet this Earth Month, curbing your food waste is an excellent place to start. In addition to reducing your carbon footprint, you’ll save money. The average American household tosses 25% of the food they buy. For a family of four, this amounts to about $2,275 each year7.
Below are some simple ways to waste less food. Commit to two or three (or more!) of these strategies this Earth Month. Even small changes make a big difference over time.
Know Your Dates
Use It Up
Look out for more sustainable-eating strategies throughout Earth Month!
The Nutrition Facts label is getting a face-lift. Among other changes, such as updated servings sizes and more prominent calorie and percent daily values, a major change to the label involves added sugars. On the new label, added sugars will be listed separately from natural sugars.
Manufacturers have until July of 2018 to adopt the new label and declare added sugars. However, you may notice that some food labels are already beginning to adopt the new label.
What are added sugars? Added sugars are sugars and syrups that are added to foods and beverages when they are processed or prepared. This includes sugars that are added by manufacturers, as well as sugars you may add at home. Added sugars are linked with a rise in chronic diseases like obesity, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Added sugars are found in processed foods. The largest sources of added sugars in Americans’ diet include:
Added sugar goes by many names on ingredient lists. Pseudonyms for added sugar include:
Some of these different forms of sugar may seem more wholesome than others, but our bodies generally do not differentiate between them.
How are added sugars different from natural sugars? Natural sugars occur naturally in fruits and dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese. Natural sugars are found in smaller amounts in vegetables, beans, and some grains.
Our bodies process all sugars, no matter the source, in very similar ways. However, there are big differences in the nutritional value of the foods in which those sugars are found. Foods with natural sugars are healthy foods that contain important nutrients. Besides sugars, fruits contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. Dairy products contain calcium, vitamin D, and protein.
So gram for gram, the sugar content of a candy bar may be similar to that of a couple oranges. However, the sugars in the candy bar are “empty calories” (i.e. calories that don’t offer any benefit besides energy), whereas the oranges provide vitamin C, fiber, and other health-promoting pytonutrients. It’s also important to note that the fiber in fruits and the protein in dairy products slow the digestion of sugars, leading to a healthier blood sugar response.
Why bother to declare added sugars? According to the FDA, the decision to declare added sugars “reflects our greater understanding of nutritional science…including the link between diet and chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease.” A key recommendation of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans is to reduce intake from solid fats, sodium, and added sugars because all have been linked to chronic disease. Solid fats and sodium are indicated on the nutrition label, whereas added sugars are not. The FDA recognizes that consumers are better able to make informed choices about added sugars when they know how much they normally eat.
The FDA also notes that mandatory declaration of added sugars may also prompt reformulation of foods high in added sugars. A similar situation occurred with trans fats; once the labeling trans fats became required, manufacturers voluntarily began removing them from their products.
How much is too much added sugar?
American Heart Association recommends no more than:
To put that in perspective, one 12-ounce can of soda contains about 38 grams of added sugars. Most Americans far exceed added sugar recommendations.
How can you reduce your added sugar intake?
In light of National Nutrition Month, try replacing a source of added sugar with a natural sugar. For example:
While Sunset carries fresh, sustainably-caught Hawaiian seafood year-round, this week we celebrate the flavors of the islands by overnight air-expressing an expanded assortment of freshly caught fish direct from Hawaii.
A selection of the fresh Hawaiian fish you can get at your local Sunset Foods includes: Ahi Tuna, Shutome, Mahi Mahi, Onaga, Ono, Monchong, and Opah. These fish are all line-caught in the open ocean off the Hawaiian Islands.
Also known as Yellowfin Tuna, this exceptional fish can be served raw as sashimi or sushi, offers a distinctive yet mild flavor, and has a pleasantly firm texture. Ahi is also delicious lightly seared and will absorb the flavor of whatever it’s cooked in.
Also known as Moonfish, this distinctive tropical fish combines a rich flavor with a firm and hearty texture. Opah’s pinkish orange flesh, is easy to prepare, and is as delicious raw, steamed, or smoked as it is baked, broiled, or sautéed.
Also known as Dorado, this deliciously sweet and perfectly mild fish offers a crowd-pleasing flaky texture without being dry. Mahi Mahi is wonderfully versatile and is well suited for any recipe that calls for white fish.
Ono means “good to eat” in Hawaiian, and for good reason! This exceptionally sweet and buttery fish is appealing to many and can be used in a variety of dishes. Like Ahi Tuna, Ono is especially delicious when served grilled or raw.
Also known as Hawaiian Red Snapper, this world-renowned fish combines a mildly sweet flavor with an exquisite texture. Onaga can be served raw, but also becomes sweeter and delicately flaky when cooked.
Also known as Broadbill Swordfish, this versatile and premium fish is easy to prepare and offers rich flavor as well as a smooth and tender texture. Shutome is ideal for grilling and is packed with lean protein, omega-3s, and vitamin B6.
Monchong is a versatile white-fleshed fish that can only befound in Hawaii. This unique fish is tender and moist and has a fantastic buttery flavor. Monchong is well suited to sautéing, baking, and poaching and is also firm enough for the grill.
Many consumers plan to eat healthier, only to find their plans derailed at the supermarket. Sunset is here to help.
Your neighborhood Sunset Foods is hosting free store nutrition tours to help customers ‘shop for health.’ Designed to engage, educate, and empower shoppers, our interactive tours transform supermarket aisles into learning laboratories. The goal of the tours is to help participants do three things: identify the healthiest foods in the market, plan meals and snacks to meet nutrition goals, and evaluate products for nutritional value.
Our resident Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Courtney Mayszak, leads these nutrition tours. As Courtney guides shoppers through the aisles, she points out specific products that pack a nutritional punch and discusses strategies for smarter shopping. Shoppers will leave the tour knowing how to navigate the Nutrition Facts label, ingredient statements, and label claims.
Tours are personalized to meet the unique needs of each shopper. Customers with conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, or a gluten-related disorder are highly encouraged to take a tour. Choosing foods that help keep blood sugar or blood pressure in check, for example, requires a keen eye in the aisles. The information presented in our tours can be the first line of defense when it comes to preventing and managing chronic disease.
Tours are also ideal for those who normally do household shopping or cooking, such as parents or caretakers. Anyone seeking fresh ideas for meals or snacks would benefit from one of our tours.
While speaking with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist usually comes at a price, these tours are now free for Sunset customers.* This is an excellent opportunity to bring questions about nutrition to an expert who can answer them.
Nutrition tours are offered at all Sunset locations on a per-appointment basis. To schedule a tour, call 847.681.5513 or email email@example.com. Individuals or groups are welcome.
*Restrictions may apply. Inquire for more details.
Fall is finally here and Sunset Foods is celebrating the season in style! On Saturday, October 22, the store is hosting its community Fall Festival Weekend with a multiple fun, educational, and delicious seasonal events. With so many events happening in one weekend, Sunset’s Fall Festival is sure to have something for the whole family. Sunset encourages you to mark your calendars, because this is one celebration you won’t want to miss.
Just in time for Halloween, Sunset is hosting a pumpkin carving at all stores from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This family-friendly event is a great opportunity for customers to be creative while they practice their pumpkin carving skills for just $5 per pumpkin. Whether customers want their pumpkins to be cute or spooky, this event is for everyone who enjoys Halloween.
Nothing says fall quite like delicious caramel apples. Come watch how this seasonal sweet treat is made and enjoy one (or two) of your own! Sunset’s Bakery is hosting its Caramel Apple Dipping day from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. so be sure to stop by any of our stores to participate!
You can try our Deli's ready-to-go chef-prepared What’s for Dinner meals before you buy them. These grab-and-go meals are available from 2pm-9pm with sampling taking place from 4pm-6pm.
If you are using a mobile device or need an accessible version of this menu, click here:
We’re kicking off a new weekend cheese tasting series that offers the opportunity to learn about dozens of delectable cheeses while getting the chance to sample them all.
This series is much more than just a tasting event. It’s a grand tour with some of the best artisanal guides in the business. Guests are invited to explore Sunset’s wide range of high-quality cheeses and talk with cheese experts.
The wide array of cheeses showcased each week will include plenty of the best quality international and domestic varieties. We’ll have creamy and flavorful options from Ireland’s Kerrygold, France’s Champs-Élysées, Italy’s Isola, and Spain’s Manchego. Our experts will also feature savory local and domestic offerings including Wisconsin Artisan Cheese, La Bottega Di Belgioioso, and Sartori cheeses.
Join us Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to enjoy this free event! It all kicks off September 10 at Sunset’s Highland Park location, September 17 at our Northbrook location, September 24 at our Lake Forest location, October 8 at our Long Grove location, and October 22 at our Libertyville location.
Fall is here and you know what that means- PUMPKIN RECIPES!! Everyone loves the classic pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread, but that's hardly all that pumpkin is good for. More adventurous than typical pumpkin desserts, these brownies are deliciously decadent and will most definitely put you and your family in the fall spirit.
This week's recipe: Whole Wheat Pumpkin Brownies
Nothing hits the spot when it’s cold out quite like a hearty soup, and our Creamy Turkey and Wild Rice Soup fits the bill perfectly. This velvety soup is creamy without being too heavy and is loaded with savory flavor. Even better, the addition of wild rice turns this dish into a complete meal. This soup can also be easily modified to suit your needs. Have some beans or peas you need to use up? Go ahead and chuck them in the pot! Want the soup to be gluten-free? Just make sure to use gluten-free stock or bouillon, and you’re good to go!
This week's recipe: Creamy Turkey and Wild Rice Soup
Why We Like It
Let’s face it: no one want’s to put much effort into cooking right after Thanksgiving, but no one really wants to eat reheated leftovers for a week either. That’s where this soup comes in! Our Creamy Turkey and Wild Rice Soup is a great way to use up some of that leftover turkey without spending your whole evening making dinner. Since the turkey is already cooked, just about all you have to do to prepare this soup is chop a few vegetables and throw them in a pot.
Thanksgiving is a holiday steeped in tradition. It’s a day filled with family and with delicious dishes that have been handed down for generations. In most households, turkey is the entrée of choice on this special, festive, and food-centric holiday. In fact, for many, it’s not really Thanksgiving if there isn’t a freshly roasted turkey on the table. That said, turkey is a dish that intimidates many; even those with a considerable amount of culinary experience may not be confident in their ability to cook a turkey to perfection. In this article, we’ve put together plenty of tips for preparing the perfect Thanksgiving turkey. The information below is based on the considerable experience of Sunset’s skilled staff, and is sure to make your holiday easier and more delicious than ever.
Fall is known for its warm spices and its cozy flavors, and this week’s recipe is the perfect side for crisp autumn nights. Not only is this recipe seasonally appropriate, it’s also healthful and packed with nutrition. This light and filling salad is also easy to make and only requires a few ingredients; with quick recipes like this one, you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the beautiful fall weather while it lasts.
This week’s recipe: Fall Quinoa Salad with Apples, Pecans, and Cranberries
This week’s recipe features sweet and succulent peaches, but not in a way you might expect. These elegantly simple crostini stacks are bursting with fresh summer flavor, require only a handful of ingredients, and can be prepared in minutes. Great as an appetizer or a light lunch, these slightly sweet yet delectably savory crostini stacks are a perfectly balanced summer dish.
With summer in full swing, fresh fruits and vegetables are ripe and delicious, and sweet, juicy strawberries aren’t just for desserts! They brighten up this spinach salad and pair perfectly with crunchy candied walnuts, creamy, tangy goat’s cheese, and a beautiful homemade poppy seed dressing. This salad is packed with a ton of bold, but complementary, flavors that will have you going back for seconds and thirds!
Almost nothing is as delicious and refreshing as ice cream on a hot, summer day. Unfortunately, ice cream isn’t ideal for those looking to eat lighter and to reduce the amount of fat in their diets. That’s where this incredible cherry vanilla sherbet comes in. This wonderful ice cream alternative is bursting with fresh cherries, and because it is made with Greek yogurt and soy cream, is a sweet treat that you don’t need to feel guilty about.
Next time you’re in the mood for Mexican, make your own delicious tacos at home with this quick and simple recipe. Filled with the flavors of Sunset’s Certified Angus ground beef, spicy taco seasoning, crisp lettuce, fresh tomatoes, and chunky guacamole, these tacos are perfect for summer and are sure to add excitement to your next meal.
When an island getaway just isn’t in the cards for your summer holidays, bring the flavors of the Caribbean right to your dinner table with this citrus and spice marinated chicken bursting with the zesty brightness of fresh ginger, orange, lime, and green chili. The chicken is paired with a delicious array of grilled vegetables. Together, the bold chicken and the colorful vegetables make a perfect summer meal that is as easy to make as it is to enjoy. If you listen closely, you just might hear the ocean as you dine!
Sticky barbeque ribs are one of the best reasons to get your hands and fingers dirty this summer, but even the perfect pork ribs need a delicious side dish! This double dill potato salad is just the right combination of fresh herbs and creamy dressing, with the tang and crunch of red onions and dill pickles. You can even pull out this recipe for the next backyard barbeque or poolside potluck, because it’s sure to pair well with any meat you’re throwing on the grill.
Sausages are easy to throw on the grill and are always a crowd pleaser, but instead of the traditional sausage on a bun again, why not try something a little more sophisticated? Serve these tasty sausage skewers as appetizers at your next summer barbeque, or just get the whole family involved for tonight’s dinner by letting them build their own skewers. They don’t take much time or effort to assemble, but they’re stacked with gorgeous colors and bold flavors, from savory sausage, sundried tomato, and tortellini to soft bocconcini and fresh basil. Delizioso!
Craving spicy buffalo chicken wings with a creamy, tangy blue cheese dipping sauce… But don’t want the mess of sticky fingers or the hassle of deep-frying chicken? Well here’s an alternative you’ll be happy you found. We’ve taken the same delicious ingredients but placed them in a fresh, crunchy salad, and used tender, moist grilled chicken breast as a lighter, healthier choice. Okay, it’s a little indulgent, but salads don’t have to be boring. And the rich, contrasting flavors are sure to satisfy your food desire and wow your taste buds.
The burger is a barbeque classic but if you’re craving more sophisticated fare, this upscale twist on the humble cheeseburger is it! The recipe itself is simple to prepare but full of flavor with toppings — crisp bacon, arugula, creamy, melted Brie, and caramelized pears with just a hint of cinnamon — that harmonize together in surprising ways.
With summer on the way, it’s out with heavy comfort foods and in with light, vibrant dishes full of bright colors and fresh flavors. This week’s recipe features sockeye salmon, known for its deep red flesh and considered to have the richest flavor of all the varieties. Full of vitamin D and omega-3s, this wild Alaska salmon is a delicious and heart-healthy choice, containing even more nutrients than other kinds of salmon.