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Back to School Lunches

August 7, 2014

Hello fellow Power Shoppers!

Well, this is the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Whether you love or dread the first day of school, we can all agree on the importance of stocking up on the best lunches and munchies from the get-go. I’ve got answers to all your back-to-school culinary needs for toddlers, teens and everything in between.








Back-to-School Breakfasts

Amidst the wild, every-second-counts mornings, we often forget just how vital a nutritious breakfast is. Maybe you don’t have a minute to spare or you simply aren’t hungry when you first awake, but breakfast is necessary to get your metabolism moving and your brain functioning properly.

Preplan your breakfasts

  • If you have multiple mouths to feed, try to plan foods that everyone likes.
  • When you go grocery shopping, think ahead, and purchase healthy options that you can prepare ahead of time.

Go for whole grains and protein

  • Don’t be tempted by pastries and doughnuts! Try spreading peanut butter on a frozen whole grain waffle instead.
  • Another tip I love: wrap egg whites in a low carb tortilla with your favorite fixins’ and freeze on Sunday night. Just pop it in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes while you get ready in the morning, and you’ll have a scrumptious handheld meal!

Think fruits

  • Apples and bananas are classic to-go breakfast items, but change it up by packing grapes, berries and melons in a plastic baggie the night before.

Brown Bagging It

I know your pain. After about a month, I start running out of interesting lunch ideas, and the peanut butter & jelly sandwich starts making a regular appearance. Here are my tips for keeping things fresh and unique for your kids and yourself.

Mark your calendars

  • Put your ideas on a calendar ahead of time to avoid repeat lunches!

Keep it cool

  • Freeze yogurt, grapes and water bottles so they stay cold until lunch AND act as an ice pack!

Bread Variations

  • Sandwiches are nearly impossible to avoid. You can, however, change up your bread style to keep things interesting. Think about enclosing your lunch meat, chicken salad or veggies in a low carb tortilla, lettuce wrap, pita pocket, English muffin or whole wheat waffle.

Afterschool Noshes

Something scary happens around 3 pm. You all know the drill. My ravenous teenage son speed walks through the front door, straight to the pantry or fridge with his eye on the prize. Often, that prize is chicken nuggets, chips and dip or frozen pizza. This year, I’m armed and ready with salty snack alternatives.

Healthier options

  • Hummus with a mix of pita chips and raw veggies
  • Peanut butter spread on banana, apple or wheat bread
  • Your favorite low-fat cheese on thin pretzels
  • Homemade trail mix made with almonds, dark chocolate pieces, dried fruit and a healthy cereal

Of course, feel free to apply my healthy eating advice in your own meals as well (You certainly deserve it.)!

Be sure to check out the Healthy Living section of our website here for more tips and be sure to follow our friends at NuVal on social media for even more insight into the NuVal nutrition scoring system:

East TN:  https://twitter.com/NUVALneasttn

Southwest VA: https://twitter.com/NUVALswestva

Eastern KY:  https://twitter.com/NUVALeasternky

Now, I want to hear from YOU! How do you stretch your creative lunch ideas long into the school year?  Leave a comment below! Happy shopping :)

-Katie Swanson



Celebrate Earth Week with Food City

April 23, 2014

Springtime is here, fellow power shoppers, and I’ve got the environment on my mind. No, I’m not talking about my allergies; this week is Earth Week! Food City is working hard to be more environmentally friendly all year round, and you can too!

Energy Conservation

Food City has an in-house training program that emphases reducing energy use. By sourcing locally grown produce, not only do they have the freshest, most delectable food, but it also saves 82,600 miles and 16,520 gallons of fuel each year. I’ve heard that if they trucked in their produce from California, they would burn about 17,000 additional gallons of fossil fuels. That’s some major energy savings, and you know I love my savings!


Recycling may be the simplest way to preserve the environment. At Food City, over 17% of their produce is received in reusable plastic containers instead of cardboard boxes or wax containers. 98% of Food City’s mushrooms are sold in recyclable cardboard containers rather than polystyrene, which is tough to recycle. Food City also recycles over 554 tons of plastic a year, and that includes any plastic bottles, plastic shrink-wrap and plastic shopping bags.

Food City’s recycling is endless!

  • Cardboard
  • Used clothing with our Earth Day Clothing Drive
  • Prescription drugs with our Drug Take Back
  • Prescription Stock Bottles
  • Printer Toner Cartridges
  • Used engine oil
  • Metal from oil filters
  • Printers
  • Recycled computer waste
  • Metal computer waste
  • Used ordering guns

Organic and Eco-Friendly Products

Food City’s Full Circle line makes it easy for me to spot the highest quality organics on a quick shopping trip. I especially love their giant selection of organic produce, so I always know my family is safe from pesticides and other chemicals 

Now, I’ve got some conservation tips for you!

Being more environmentally friendly is easy when you plan ahead. Here are my simple tips to get you going:

  • Turn off lights, TVs and water faucets when you leave the room
  • Carpool with family and friends, or better yet, walk or ride a bike!
  • Start using reusable tote bags when you grocery shop
  • Don’t forget that your old newspapers and magazines are easy to recycle
  • Donate your gently used clothing
  • Discard old printer cartridges in specified bins
  • Look out for Food City’s organic and eco-friendly products


Well, that’s enough from me! I’d love to hear how YOU plan to be more environmentally friendly this year. Leave a comment or tweet at @FoodCity, so we can share ideas!


Meg Jensen, Power Shopper


Giving Back During National Nutrition Month

March 31, 2014

Sadly, we are coming to an end for this year’s National Nutrition Month. It has been a fun and enlightening journey for me and I hope it has been the same for all of you! Like I have stated before, I am honored to be representing Food City this year at many different events. There are many things that Food City does that I am proud about, but today I want to focus on the support and encouragement Food City gives to food banks within the Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee.

This topic is more on a serious note, but it is something that needs to be addressed and something that I am passionate about. Until I volunteered for Second Harvest Food Bank of NETN, I did not understand the severity of food insecurity within this area. According to the Food Bank website, they provide emergency food for an estimated 70,500 different people annually and about 10,900 different people in any given week. A large majority of these people are in poor health and are not receiving the adequate nutrition they need to prevent many illnesses. The face of hunger can be a child, adult, or an older adult and can happen to anyone at any given time. Since 2007, Second Harvest alone has seen a 56% increase in the number of households requiring emergency assistance. These statistics do not figure in local pantries that are not affiliated with Second Harvest and communities in Kentucky and Virginia. The number of people needing assistance is larger than what we can imagine.

So what can you do to help? In honor of the end of National Nutrition Month, you can give back to your community through many different ways to help fight against hunger. You can make a monetary donation, volunteer, donate food, or even donate your voice to promote the cause of fighting against hunger. I have personally volunteered many times for food banks like Second Harvest and would volunteer again in a heartbeat. Whenever someone spends time volunteering for a food pantry, it is very easy to see how imperative it is to have these organizations within our community. Food City recognizes food insecurity and continues to support Second Harvest, and other food pantries, and even partnered up with suppliers like Smithfield and ConAgra Foods to fight against hunger. With the help of Food City and their suppliers, food pantries, and all of you, we can help individuals that are in need of emergency food get adequate nutrition and help prevent illnesses.

Thank you so much for following me through our journey of National Nutrition Month! You can still follow my journey as Miss Food City 2014 by keeping in touch with Food City events through the website, Twitter, and Facebook.

Hope to see you all soon. Stay healthy and eat happy!

Kayla Neikirk

Miss Food City


National Frozen Foods Month

March 21, 2014

Wow…what an AMAZING time I had last week at the Food City 500! It was great seeing you all and I can’t wait to see you back at Bristol Motor Speedway in August for the Food City 300 and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying Night Races. I have FINALLY caught up on my nutrition schoolwork at East Tennessee State University to get back to blogging. So here we go! Like I have preached before, it is National Nutrition Month, but are you aware that it is also National Frozen Foods Month? Talk about great timing! Today, we are going to focus on the possible confusion of buying fresh or frozen vegetables.

Lets start out with the statistic from the World Health Organization stating that up to 2.7 million lives could be saved annually with sufficient fruit and vegetable consumption. That is a lot of people! Our lives are getting busier by the second and at times it is a challenge to prepare fresh vegetables. As a college student, I’m constantly on the go and searching for new ways to incorporate vegetables into my diet. What is an option that I love and use frequently? Frozen vegetables! According to the handy dandy Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, food suppliers freeze vegetables by blanching the product as soon as it is harvested. This blanching process is a heat treatment that is used to inactivate enzymes that are involved in the spoilage of fresh vegetables while keeping the majority of the antioxidant activity that we want in our foods to achieve optimal health. Very recent research from the Journal of Innovative Food Science and Emerging Technologies has also supported this fact.

Now that I just threw research and information your way, how can you check these facts? You can double-check my research by using the NuVal System in Food City stores! An independent panel of nutrition and medical experts has done the research and legwork for you by creating this system; all you have to do is look at the numbers! The gist of the NuVal System is that a food item is scored on a scale of 1-100 and is next to the price on the shelf tag. The higher the score, the better the nutrition. How easy is that? So while at the “Ask the RD” Nutrition Station this week, I decided to test my theory that fresh vegetables would have the exact same NuVal score as the coordinating frozen vegetable. Prepare to be amazed. Fresh AND frozen, plain okra was scored 100. It was the same story for the broccoli, corn, and spinach. I took it one step further (nerd alert) to see if there was a difference between company brands. There was no difference in NuVal scoring among the brands; even our very own Food Club frozen vegetables had the same excellent scores as other name brands! I looked at plain frozen vegetables, not frozen vegetables with added sauces.

Hope I was able to shed a little light on the mystery of fresh or frozen vegetables. When push comes to shove, both fresh and frozen vegetables are great nutritional options. It all depends on what is convenient for you and your family.

There are still events going on in March to celebrate National Nutrition Month! Look out for where the next Nutrition Station will be on Food City’s Twitter, Facebook, and website.

Stay healthy and eat happy!


Race Week Nutrition

March 11, 2014

So we all know what is happening this week, correct? If not, take a drive by the Bristol Motor Speedway and you will easily figure it out. It’s finally time for the Drive to Stop Diabetes 300 and the Food City 500 at BMS! Thousands of campers are traveling as we speak to the Last Great Coliseum to experience Bristol, no doubt a memory that will last a lifetime. As we all know, camping and tailgating food are a big part of race week. I hear the groans now… because you should be able to see where this blog is going. Oh yes, I’m going to talk about the difficult subject of… good nutrition…during race week! (I am a nutrition student after all). Challenge accepted!

Remember how I said in the previous blog that adequate nutrition has been proven to be very effective in preventing diseases? In this blog, we are going to focus on food safety and the prevention of foodborne illnesses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that each year roughly one in six Americans (48 million people) get sick and 128,000 are hospitalized because of foodborne illnesses. To give you an idea of how many people that is, keep in mind when you sit at the Last Great Coliseum that maximum capacity is roughly 160,000 people. That is a LOT of sick people!

Let’s make sure you all stay well this race week! There are a few key things that campers and tailgaters need to remember to prevent foodborne illnesses. Making sure your food is properly stored after purchase is the most important component to preventing foodborne illnesses. When grilling your food, do NOT rely solely on sight, smell, or taste.  Use a food thermometer to check the temperature and constantly check your food. Each time you check the temperature of the food, make sure to wash the thermometer. Doing these simple tasks can prevent very harmful foodborne illnesses. Not sure what temperature to cook your food? The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has created an app for your smart phone that will provide safe cooking temperatures AND food storage guide for every food imaginable. Best part? It’s a FREE app! Click here to download: http://www.homefoodsafety.org/app

Here are just a few extra speedy tips to remember this week. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has determined that there can be an increase in fluid loss by consuming drinks that contain caffeine or alcohol. So while consuming these drinks, be sure to drink water as well. Dehydration can be an easy fix! Pick up some water bottles along with your other beverages while you’re at Food City so you can enjoy your camping and tailgating experience to the fullest. Also remember that grilling and tailgating is also a part of the fun! Don’t beat yourself up for indulging a little. Eating should be enjoyable! All food is okay in MODERATION!

Be sure to check the schedule of events on the Food City and BMS websites. Can’t wait to see y’all this week!

Stay healthy and eat happy!

Kayla Neikirk

Miss Food City


Miss Food City Kicks Off National Nutrition Month!

March 6, 2014

I’m Kayla Neikirk, Miss Food City 2014, filling you all in on exciting things that are going on this month. Yes, we know that March means the beginning of spring and the excitement for the NASCAR race in Bristol, but did you also know that it is National Nutrition Month? For those that don’t know, I am a nutrition student at East Tennessee State University and Food City has asked me to write a series of blogs throughout National Nutrition Month! Appropriate, right?

So why is it necessary to have a month dedicated to just nutrition? According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, nutrition has been proven to be very effective in prevention of diseases, like obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and even cancer! This is not only affecting our adults, but it is also affecting our children who are the future of the United States. It is incredibly important to understand that our children need to have adequate nutrition to prevent long-term health issues and numerous medications. With unsuccessful fad diets, bogus nutrition theories, and expensive weight loss programs everywhere in the media, who can save us? Who can we trust? Who will be the superhero that will save the day and ultimately save the world? *Cue drum roll* DIETITIANS!

Let me explain how registered dietitians are superheroes. Dietitians are considered nutrition experts. The concepts and beliefs of dietitians are based on actual, scientific evidence! They base their recommendations on the most CURRENT research. Lucky for Food City shoppers, there will be amazing opportunities to talk to a dietitian every Thursday for the month of March! This is the perfect opportunity to ask them your burning questions. How can you use the NuVal system? What is the best way to manage my…(insert medical issue here)? How can I sneak healthier ingredients into my family’s dinner? Not only can you ask the dietitian questions, but there will also be samples of healthy, delicious, and easy recipes that even the most inexperienced cook could prepare. This recipe will not only be nutritious for you, but preparing it will be faster than a race-car completing one lap at the Bristol Motor Speedway!

To see the dietitians, be sure to check the Food City Twitter, Facebook, and webpage for more details. You never know who you may see while you’re there! ;) Be sure to stay tuned for more nutrition advice throughout the rest of this month on the Power Shopper Blog.

Stay healthy and eat happy!

Kayla Neikirk

Miss Food City 2014


National Potato Lover’s Month: Spicy Buffalo Potato Wedges

February 28, 2014

Our final dish in the series of potato recipes for National Potato Lover’s Month is Spicy Buffalo Potato Wedges. These are perfect for entertaining and will help add a little spice to any meal! I’ve found them to be a big hit for the men in my family especially. They’re easy to make, delicious and pair perfectly with bleu cheese. Make them for yourself next time you have guests over and let us know how they turn out! Tweet us @FoodCity with the tag #PotatoLover and share your story. Special thanks goes out to the US Potato Board for helping us celebrate National Potato Lover’s Month! For more potato goodness, head to the US Potato Board’s website, and Check your weekly Food City ad to see which items are on sale at your neighborhood store this week. 


8 lb. Russet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into wedges
1/2 cup Vegetable oil
4 tsp Salt
4 tsp Black pepper
4 ounces Butter
1 cup Hot sauce
4 tsp Garlic powder


1. In large bowl, toss potatoes with oil, salt and pepper;
spread on sheet pan.
2. Roast in 400°F oven for 30 minutes, turning occasionally
with spatula, until potatoes are tender and golden brown.
3. Melt butter; whisk in hot sauce and garlic powder.
drizzle over potatoes; shake to coat evenly. Roast for 10
minutes, turning occasionally with spatula.


National Potato Lover’s Month: Spinach and Artichoke Heart Two Potato Casserole

February 24, 2014

The next recipe in our series of potato recipes for National Potato Lover’s Month is a perfect brunch dish! I, personally, devour anything containing spinach and artichokes and this dish is no exception. Try your own variation and let us know what you think by tweeting us @FoodCity with the tag #PotatoLover and tell us how it turned out!

Also, while you’re making your grocery list, pay close attention to our NuVal nutritional scoring system displayed right on the tags at all Food City locations. Idaho potatoes have a score of 93 on the NuVal system, meaning they provide GREAT nutritional value! Learn more about the NuVal system here. Happy cooking, fellow power shoppers!

Yield: 8 Servings
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hours 35 Minutes

1 lb. red potatoes
1 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes
1 1/4 cups vegetable broth or stock
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic salt
4 oz. Neufchatel (1/3-less fat) cream cheese
4 oz. fat-free cream cheese or 1/2 cup shredded fat-free Cheddar cheese
1 (7.5-oz.) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 (6-oz.) bag baby spinach, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup sliced green onions

Preheat oven to 425°F and coat a 9-inch square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Cut
potatoes in half lengthwise. Place cut side down on a board and slice very thinly. Place in a large
bowl and set aside. Heat broth, Parmesan, garlic salt, cheeses and artichoke hearts in a medium
saucepan until cheeses are melted. Stir in spinach and cook until wilted. Stir mixture into potatoes
with green onions, mixing well to coat potatoes as evenly as possible. Spread in prepared dish and
bake for 30 minutes. Cover loosely with foil and reduce temperature to 375°F; cook for 1 hour more
or until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork. Makes 8 servings.

Quick Tip: To shave an hour off the cook time, boil potatoes for 5 minutes or until tender, then drain
well. Prepare as directed above then bake at 425°F for 30 minutes.

Nutritional Value per serving
Calories: 180 Fat: 5g Cholesterol: 15mg Sodium: 510mg Vitamin C: 0.45%
Carbohydrates: 25g Fiber: 3g Protein: 9g Potassium: 314mg

For more potato goodness, head to the US Potato Board’s website!


National Potato Lover’s Month: Slow Cooker Chicken & Potatoes

February 19, 2014

This quick and healthy recipe for Slow Cooker Chicken and Potatoes is the next one in our series of National Potato Lover’s Month recipes from the US Potato Board. It is perfect for on-the-go families who want to come home to a comforting meal that’s ready to eat. With just 30 minutes prep time, you can set the slow cooker in the morning and forget about it until dinner time, which makes it so much easier if you’re a busy mom on the go, like me! Adding Herbs de Provence (dried herbs found in the spice section of Food City) makes this dish smell as good as it tastes, exuding a “fresh from the farmer’s market” flavor. Plus, it’s easy to adapt the basic recipe to fit your favorite flavor profile using variations like Mexican (sub chili powder, ground cumin and oregano for Herbs de Provence; top with salsa and cilantro) or Italian (Omit Herbs de Provence and sprinkle chicken with Italian herb seasoning and sun-dried tomatoes). Try your own variation and let us know what you think by tweeting us @FoodCity with the tag #PotatoLover and tell us how it turned out!

4 small (2 pounds) bone-in chicken breasts, skin removed
2 teaspoons Herbs de Provence (or combination of dried thyme, fennel, basil and savory)
1 teaspoon garlic salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup flour
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 1/4 pounds small red potatoes
3/4 cup frozen, thawed pearl onions
1 cup small baby carrots
3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
8 ounces small baby bella or white mushrooms
Chopped fresh thyme (optional)

Combine the Herbs de Provence, garlic salt and pepper on a dinner plate. Spoon flour on to second dinner plate. Coat each chicken breast in the herb mixture; then dredge well in flour. Heat oil in a large skillet. Add chicken and cook over medium-high heat until chicken is golden brown on both sides (approximately 3-4 minutes per side). Cook chicken in two batches if necessary so as not to crowd the pan. Place chicken in a large slow cooker and add remaining ingredients except fresh thyme. Cover slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours. Sprinkle with fresh thyme before serving, if desired.
Makes 6 servings.

Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories: 460, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 1.5g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 100mg, Sodium: 410mg, Potassium: 589mg, Carbohydrates: 47g, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 6g, Protein: 47g, Vitamin A: 90%, Vitamin C: 60%, Calcium: 10%, Iron: 30%

Check your weekly Food City ad to see which items are on sale at your neighborhood store this week. For more potato goodness, head to the US Potato Board’s website.

Happy cooking :)


National Potato Lover’s Month: Mini Scalloped Potato Cups

February 11, 2014

If you’re anything like me, you love all “mini” foods! I don’t know what it is, but I love baking/cooking any kind of bite-sized goodness, and these Mini Scalloped Potato Cups are no exception. I tried these out for the first time this weekend and my family loved them! They are the perfect side dish to compliment any kind of entree. Side note: The recipe calls to cook them in separate ramekins, but if you don’t have any, a cupcake pan will work just as well. 

Check your weekly Food City ad to see which items are on sale at your neighborhood store this week. Also, learn about Food City’s NuVal nutritional scoring system to see which items on your list are the healthiest each time you shop.

Stay tuned for more potato recipes this month, and let us know what you think by tweeting us @FoodCity with the tag #PotatoLover! Happy cooking :)

Yield: 12 Servings
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Ready Time: 1 Hours 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 45 Minutes

1 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup fat-free 1/2 & 1/2
1 cup shredded Jarlsberg or Swiss cheese
1/4 cup each: sharp Cheddar and smoked Gruyere cheese
1/2 cup 1/4-inch diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup real bacon bits or pieces
1 tablespoon stone ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon dried dill
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350°F and spray 12 small ramekins with nonstick cooking spray. Place potatoes in
a microwave-safe bowl; cover and microwave on HIGH for 6 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute
more. Slowly stir in 1/2 & 1/2, cooking until mixture is smooth. Add cheeses, a little at a time, then
stir in remaining ingredients. Spoon into prepared ramekins and bake for 30 minutes or until lightly
browned and bubbly. Makes 12 appetizer servings.

Nutritional Value
Calories: 130 Fat: 6g Cholesterol: 20mg Sodium: 260mg Vitamin C: 25%
Carbohydrates: 12g Fiber: 1g Protein: 7g Potassium: 176mg


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