Prisco’s Family Market

1108 Prairie Street, Aurora, IL 60506 | 630-264-9400

Hours: Monday - Friday, 7 am to 8:30 pm | Saturday, 7 am to 8 pm | Sunday, 8 am to 7 pm

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Healthier options for snacking- Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Here in the U.S., it's considered standard for a person to eat three meals per day. Unfortunately, this often means people will go four or five hours at a stretch between meals -- which can be problematic, energy-wise. This is especially true for people who are physically active for much of their day, but of course, even sedentary folks are prone to "snack attacks".

If you find yourself feeling uncomfortably hungry between meals, your likely course of action is to go grab something to snack on. Sadly, for many individuals, the most readily obtainable foods are also of the "junk" variety. Junk food such as chips (or other salty foods), candy or cookies are some of the most popular snacks around, but they aren't particularly nutritious -- nor are they as satisfying as fresh food options, which can lead to overeating.

If you are a frequent snacker and at least a little bit health-conscious, your best bet is to pre-purchase or prepare your snack(s) in advance so as to avoid the allure of the vending machine, and to safeguard yourself from eating too much and ruining your dinner (or your diet!). Here are a few ideas (courtesy of and to keep you on track nutritionally, while also keeping your hunger at bay between meal times:

Greek Yogurt - One cup Greek yogurt. (130 Calories)

With 2 1/2 times the protein -- essential for building and maintaining muscle -- of regular yogurt and 15 to 20 percent of your daily requirement of calcium (necessary for strong bones and teeth), Greek yogurt is one of the smartest snacks out there. Regular Greek yogurt is much creamier than the nonfat variety, and still has only 2.5 grams of saturated fat.

Alternatively: Add a 1/2 cup of chopped fresh fruit or whole berries, such as strawberries or blueberries, to your yogurt for flavor, fiber, and Vitamin C. (158 Calories)

Hummus and Peas - One cup Snap Peas with 3 tablespoons Hummus for dipping. (106 Calories)

Chickpeas, the base ingredient of hummus, are very healthy because they do not contain any cholesterol or saturated fats. They are also rich in protein and are known to be effective in preventing buildup of cholesterol in the blood vessels, as well as maintain correct blood sugar levels.

Alternatively: Try Celery Sticks with Hummus and Olives - Top 3 celery sticks with 3 tablespoons hummus and 3 sliced kalamata olives. (129 Calories)

Pear and Almond Milk - One medium pear plus an 8-ounce glass of unsweetened almond milk. (136 Calories)

Of course, fruit is the perfect fiber-filled portable snack, but almond milk has its own benefits. Almond milk contains no cholesterol and only 5 mg of sodium per serving. Unlike other milk alternatives, plain almond milk contains only 8 grams of carbohydrates per serving, and the low amount of sugars in almond milk have a low glycemic nature, meaning our bodies fully digest them and use them as energy.

Crackers With Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread and Banana - Two crisp bread crackers, 1 tablespoon chocolate-hazelnut spread, and one small sliced banana. (214 Calories)


Hip or emerging food trends for 2016- Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Making our livelihood in the food business, it’s important that we stay on top of new trends, and when things move from being just a quirky fad and start to become more mainstream we need to be certain that we have adjusted our offerings and taken what’s new into account.

I thought that some of our readers might be interested in what we’ve been reading about recently, and perhaps you can share your thoughts on some of these new concepts and let us know if they interest you.

Here are two categories we are looking at expanding as they each clearly have moved beyond the food fad stage and are becoming a bigger part of our diets.

Healthy nut butters - nothing wrong with our old stand-by, peanut butter, but it’s time to expand your horizons. High in protein and usually gluten-free with no added sugar, this is vegan heaven and an easy way to add those essential proteins to smoothies, on toast or over ice cream.

Almond butter – dieters delight - Per serving, it has one of the least amounts of calories, it's a good source of protein, and contains the most fiber of all of the nut butters. Oh, and almonds can play a key role in weight loss. According to research published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, a breakfast containing almonds may aid in stabilizing blood sugar levels for the rest of the day. When your blood sugar is steady you often have more energy and are less likely to be starved and give in to food cravings.

Nut butter superheroes - Looking for ways to fight bad cholesterol? Just a tablespoon of almond butter a day promotes heart health by reducing LDL (bad) cholesterol, says Lori Shemek, PhD, and author of Fire-Up Your Fat Burn. Pistachio butter will also help to keep your arteries flexible and reduce cholesterol.

Sunflower seed spreads - Another alternative for people with peanut or nut meat allergies, this is a great alternative and it is allowed in schools that restrict or prohibit peanuts and peanut butter. Sunflower seed spread meets school foodservice meat/meat alternative requirements.

From a nutritional perspective, sunflower seed spread has just as much protein as the leading brand of peanut butter, but with one-third less saturated fat, no trans fats, less sodium, and less sugar! One serving of provides more vitamin E, twice as much fiber and zinc, and nearly triple the iron than is provided by one serving of peanut butter!

Sriracha - The hottest new condiment spicing up our menus. Most people pronounce it incorrectly, (see-ROTCH-ah). For those of you that are still unfamiliar with it, sriracha is a chili sauce from Thailand made from chilies, vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt. Sriracha is often served as a dip with spring rolls or added to soups and stir-fries. Mixed with honey or maple syrup, it makes a great sweet chili marinade for chicken.

For all of you nay-sayers, sriracha is now the number one hot sauce in America. The leading brand by far is produced by Huy Fong Sriracha. It’s founder, David Tran of Chinese descent, began his chili making mastery in 1975 in Vietnam. He made the original version of Sriracha in Gerber baby food jars before immigrating to the US aboard the freighter Huy Fong and restarting the business. The company has never spent a penny on advertising, but the hot sauce has quickly become the darling of the food world all via word-of-mouth. Don’t think that the big boys haven’t noticed. Recently, makers of the USA’s biggest condiment Heinz Ketchup have introduced a sriracha flavored ketchup.

Finally, here is one that recently popped up on our radar and we need to do some more research to see if it has lasting potential, but for now it looks like something that can be fun and tasty:

Shrubs, also known as drinking vinegars - Dating back to colonial times, a shrub is basically fruit, or even vegetables, combined with two other components: sugar and vinegar. After the correct ratio of those ingredients integrate over a little time, the result is a perfect balance of tartness, sweetness, acidity, and texture. Shrubs are mouth-watering and concentrated, and they taste amazing when combined with soda water or integrated into a cocktail.


Here's to healthy eating,



Let’s help each other eat healthier- Tuesday, January 19, 2016

As we were coming up with ideas for this week’s ad and in-store merchandising plans, the usual ideas percolated to the surface... “Let’s promote lots of diet foods because after the holidays everyone thinks that they should be on a diet for a week or two anyway” being one of them.

Let’s face it, no one likes to diet and most of us are very short on willpower. Naturally, we are always looking for the quick fix and an easy way to solve our poor eating habits. Doing a little digging on the internet, I was able to come up with a few easy to follow recommendations that will help us all eat a bit healthier -- and we won’t need to expend any extra energy to do it!

For example:

  1. Balance your meals – This sounds harder than it is. As you prepare a meal, make sure to include protein (30%), carbohydrates (40%), and fat (30%). This will give you the energy to optimize your day and make sure you stay full for longer. A well-balanced diet provides the right vitamins, minerals and nutrients to keep the body and mind strong and healthy. Eating well can also aid in the prevention of a variety of diseases and health problems, as well as helping to maintain a healthy body weight, providing energy and promoting a general feeling of well-being.

  2. Beware of sugar - If you are eating a packaged food that contains sugar, make sure it's low on the nutrition list. The lower the ranking, the less sugar is used compared to other ingredients.

  3. Count ingredients - We love to obsess over the number of calories we eat but we would be better to count the number of ingredients used. The fewer the better. What’s worse than finding a recipe that sounds ah-mazing and then seeing an ingredient section of 18 ingredients — or filled with things you’ve never heard of?

  4. All fat is not evil - We actually need fats and simply can't live without them. In fact, fats are an important part of a healthy diet. They provide essential fatty acids, they keep our skin soft, they deliver fat-soluble vitamins, and they are a great source of energizing fuel. Make sure you focus on eating healthy fats from foods like nuts, fatty fish, and olive oil.

  5. Portion control – For most of us this is the real game changer. We love good food. When we get it we eat too fast and our body never has the chance to say, “Hey that was great, just enough and I don’t feel over-stuffed.” The easiest way to resolve this problem is to watch how much you pile on your plate (you want to see the outer rim of the plate). Slow down, take a fork full, chew on it for a while slowly and enjoy all the tastes. Try putting your fork down for at least 30 seconds. The idea is to give your body enough time to register fullness.

That’s enough for now, let’s keep it simple. As I mentioned in in my New Year’s Shout-Out message, we want to become more knowledgeable about the foods that we currently offer or don’t yet offer, so as to better educate our customers on their meal options. Helping all of us make healthier eating choices is something that we feel we can do to help promote a better shopping and eating experience for everyone.


Good eating,


Healthy Recipe Substitutions- Tuesday, January 19, 2016

There are plenty of options out there for improving the nutritional content of your meals without severely altering the flavor or appearance, or adding significantly to your preparation time. Here are a few suggestions that you can use when baking courtesy of With these changes we can turn an ordinary batch of brownies into a vegan, gluten-free treat that is lower in fat and calories.

Flax meal for eggs

This one’s an old vegan trick. Mix 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds (aka flax meal) with 3 tablespoons of warm water and whisk with a fork to combine. Now let it sit in the fridge for 5-10 minutes before subbing for 1 egg in any baked recipe.

Mashed bananas for fats

The creamy, thickening-power of mashed (ripe!) banana acts the same as avocado in terms of replacing fat in baking recipes. The consistency is ideal, and the bananas add nutrients like potassium, fiber, and vitamin B6. One cup (appx. 3 bananas) of mashed banana works perfectly in place of 1 cup of butter or oil!

Vanilla or Unsweetened Applesauce for sugar

Cutting sugar in half and adding a teaspoon of vanilla as a replacement can give just as much flavor with significantly fewer calories. Assuming the recipe originally calls for one cup of sugar, that’s already almost 400 calories cut out! Of course, you can’t sub this one in equal ratios, but next time you’re whipping up some cookies, try cutting 2 tablespoons of sugar and adding an extra 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Alternatively, using applesauce in place of sugar can give the necessary sweetness as well, without the extra calories. While one cup of unsweetened applesauce contains only about 100 calories, a cup of sugar can pack in more than 770 calories. You can sub sugar for applesauce in a 1:1 ratio, but for every cup of applesauce you use, reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe by 1/4 cup.

Black beans for flour

Swapping out flour for a can of black beans (drained and rinsed, of course) in brownies is a great way to cut out the gluten and fit in an extra dose of protein. When baking, swap out 1 cup flour for 1 cup black bean puree (about a 15 oz. can).

We start with our recipe for Brown Brownies, a popular dessert recipe, and made the following substitutions:

  • Replace 1/4 cup unsalted butter with 3 mashed bananas

  • Replaced 1 cup sugar with 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce, 1/2 tsp vanilla, and 6 Tbsp. sugar

  • Replaced 1/4 cup flour with 1/4 cup pureed cooked black beans

  • Replaced 2 eggs with  2 Tbsp. ground flax seeds (mixed with water)


Look at the nutritional difference per serving between the two recipes:


                                                            Original           Revised                Difference           Improvement


350 cal

240 cal

-110 cal



33 g

29 g

- 4g


Fat, total

25 g


- 10gg


Fat, Saturated

10 g

4.2 g



Fat, Mono

9.1 g

6.3 g

-2.8 g


Fat Poly

3.7 g

3.7 g




3.9 g

3.3 g

- .6

Loss of 15%



4.9 g

+2.1 g



27 g

20 g

-7 g



67 mg

1   Mg

-  67 mg



(The above analysis only covers the major nutritional elements of the two desserts, but bear in mind that the recipe containing the substitutions also provides more in the way of some essential vitamins and minerals, particularly magnesium and potassium, and vitamin B6.)

As you can see, just a few alterations to a recipe can have a fairly dramatic effect on the nutritional outcome. You don't even need to employ all of these substitutions in a given recipe; just making one or two changes can help.  Try experimenting to see what works best for you and your family, and know that whatever you do the end result will be healthier food.


Changes we want you to know about!- Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Doing business in the same town for ninety years has given us one advantage our competition can’t appreciate: We have seen the grocery business come full circle.

When my Great Grandparents Tony and Mary Prisco opened our first store in 1926, most groceries in the US were bought in a mom & pop neighborhood store like ours. Self-service supermarkets were the rage in the late thirties, and after World War II regional & national chains like National Tea, A&P, Kroger, Jewel Tea, and others all but wiped out the mom & pop stores. Fast forward another forty or so years and the large box stores started cropping up everywhere, offering limited services, loads of selection and extended hours. But, unfortunately, the customers became statistics rather than being viewed as people.

For the past twenty or so years, much of what was traditionally only sold in grocery stores is now available in variety stores, drug stores, gigantic discount stores, dollar stores, and even in some hardware and home improvement stores. Lest we forget, there are also new encroachments every day coming from online giants like

What’s New? The good news is that there is a definite trend to return to our roots. No, we will never return to times like the 1920s when every neighborhood had its corner grocery store, but there has been a definite emerging trend among shoppers to value family-owned, local stores. That is the perfect for us because customer service is what we are known for and as anyone who shops with us knows, we are very much in support of all things local.

With that in mind, about two years ago we took a close look at how we were promoting our store, what we were spending on advertising and where we spent our advertising and marketing budgets, and we learned a lot and made some dramatic changes.

For example:

  1. In 2013 we sent out an 8-page flyer to almost 30,000 homes in the Aurora area every week. When we looked at the actual number of shoppers we had each week, we realized that the vast majority of those flyers were being donated to local recycling plants having never been opened.

  2. First, we cut costs in half by changing to a two-week ad. This helped reduce our advertising expenses significantly, but as one might expect did nothing to attract new customers.

  3. The next step was even more radical. We stopped placing our ads in the newspaper insert section and reduced the number of pages to six and cut the circulation from almost 30K to around 5,000 every other week. In addition, we started mailing this new ad directly to homes that were closest to our store. Amazingly, with a less cluttered ad and with far fewer copies distributed, and by using the US mail, we began to see a modest uptick on weekly foot traffic.

  4. Most recently, we have been experimenting with different print formats, including a recent postcard featuring only a handful of items with lots more sale items being offered in store and on our website. We have been very pleased with the results of this new postcard and plan to repeat it again often.

Here is what we want all of our customers to know about the way we get our message out:

  1. Print advertising was, until recently, almost the only form of advertising available to small businesses like ours. It was relatively inexpensive and it worked. Not anymore, though. While still an inexpensive means of advertising it simply doesn’t work well enough to be relied upon to bring shoppers into the store on a regular basis. There are far too many competitive choices, and by and large shoppers no longer have the time or interest in perusing shopping flyers.

  2. Email and social media like Facebook and Twitter are the most cost-effective ways to reach shoppers, and that is what we will be focusing on going forward.

  3. While email and social media are cost-effective ways of communicating with customers who know Prisco’s and what type of store we are, we still need to reach out to new potential customers all the time and we plan to use the US postal system to accomplish that goal.


If you are reading this Shout Out article, it’s a safe bet that we have your email address. However, here is a hint we want to let you in on: If you haven’t done so already, take just a couple of moments to register as a Prisco's Family Market shopper on our website and be certain to provide us with your local mailing address. Why, you ask? Because more and more of our very best offers are going to be mailed either directly to home or to the email box of our registered shoppers. This is the best means we have of eliminating wasted advertising and reaching interested, loyal Prisco shoppers like yourself.

Here is a link to the website registration form, and trust me, it only takes moments to complete. To register, click here.

See you at the store!



A serious problem with salt- Tuesday, January 12, 2016

[Info courtesy of webmd,, &]

Salt is a very common seasoning in most foods; in fact, here in America, we pretty much take it for granted. Just about every pre-made or pre-packaged and/or processed food item contains some salt, with a number of very common -- and commonly used -- foods and ingredients containing it in large quantities. Soups, broths and gravies, soy and other sauces, salad dressings, bacon and other cured meats, cheese, a huge variety of snack foods such as pretzels and popcorn, and pickled foods all boast unusually high salt content. To be precise, it's not the salt in and of itself that is the problem: it's the sodium component of salt. Salt is sodium plus chloride. Both are minerals. Salt is made up of 40% sodium and 60% chloride and it's that 40% that causes so much concern among modern doctors.

Of course, the human body requires some salt. Sodium is an essential nutrient required by the body for maintaining levels of fluids and for providing channels for nerve signaling. However, many people consume many times their recommended daily allowance of 1.5 grams per day.Too much salt can have a negative impact on the body, resulting in anything from hypernatremia, or an imbalance of the amounts of salt and water in the body, in the short term, and increased blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and osteoporosis in the long term.

How to reduce your intake of salt/sodium

[info courtesy of]

There are a number of ways you can reduce the amount of sodium in your diet, including the following --

  • Use fresh, rather than packaged, meats. Fresh cuts of beef, chicken or pork contain natural sodium, but the content is still much less than the hidden extra sodium added during processing in products like bacon or ham. If a food item keeps well in the fridge for days or weeks, that's a tip off that the sodium content is too high.

  • Choose fresh fruit and vegetables as well, since they are very low in sodium. Canned and frozen fruits are also low in sodium.

  • When buying frozen vegetables, choose those that are labeled "fresh frozen" and do not contain added seasoning or sauces.

  • Begin reading food labels as a matter of course. Sodium content is always listed on the label. Sometimes the high sugar content in a product like apple pie can mask the high sodium content so it's important to check every label for sodium content.

  • Compare various brands of the same food item until you find the one that has the lowest sodium content, since this will vary from brand to brand.

  • Select spices or seasonings that do not list sodium on their labels, i.e. choose garlic powder over garlic salt.


Enjoy Sweet Scarletts Red Grapefruit today!- Tuesday, January 5, 2016

“Everything may be bigger in Texas, but when it comes to grapefruit, everything’s sweeter too! We farm over 10,000 acres in the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas. From there we grow, harvest and package our grapefruit, and we stand by each and every spectacular one we sell. What’s more, those hot sunny days and cool nights guarantee our Texas Reds are as sweet as can be.” --

At Prisco’s Family Market, we pride ourselves on providing our customers with the best selection of fresh produce anywhere. In keeping with that philosophy, we would like to introduce you to the "star of the Lone Star State", Sweet Scarletts Texas Red Grapefruit – one of the many varieties of fresh citrus fruits available at our stores and a real nutritional powerhouse... Be certain to take advantage of our Red Scarlett feature retail this week, where you can buy two 5 lb. bags for just $5.

Health benefits of Sweet Scarletts Red Grapefruits

[info courtesy of, &]

Grapefruits are high in fiber and low in calories, and they contain bioflavonoids which protect against serious diseases like cancer, heart disease, and the formation of tumors. Grapefruit can help increase the body’s metabolic rate, lower insulin levels and keep you feeling full between meals. The nutrients and other natural chemicals in grapefruit also assist the human body in fighting various conditions like fatigue, fever, malaria, diabetes, constipation, indigestion, urinary problems, and excess acidity.

Other Grapefruit Facts

  • About one half of a Sweet Scarlett grapefruit contains 100% of your daily value for vitamin C.

  • Scarlett (and other) grapefruits contains a powerful antioxidant called lycopene, which also contributes to the pinkish color in the fruit. Lycopene is a carotenoid phytonutrient and has the highest capacity at fighting free radical damage to cells.

  • Grapefruits in general are considered a low GI (glycemic index) fruit, which basically is a measure of the foods impact on your blood sugar levels. Typically the lower the GI, the better.

  • Half of a Scarlett grapefruit only has 9g of sugar in comparison to other fruits, which may have upwards to 30g. They are also a low calorie food, at just 60 calories per serving.

  • Grapefruit may help reduce body fat in some individuals when mixed with other compounds such as caffeine, grapefruit polyphenols, and other antioxidants found in the berry family of fruits.

  • Grapefruit may increase metabolic rate on a cellular level, increasing the amount of ATP (or “cellular energy”).


What’s more important... exercise or diet?- Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Let’s face it, darn near every one of us is looking to lose a few pounds -- for some, a lot of weight -- as we start a new year. So what’s the best way to do that? “Exercise more and eat less”. Well thank you, Dr. Obvious. As the well-known auto insurance commercial so often states, “Everybody knows that”.

The trick is, what is the best way to combine these two in order to attain maximum results that you can live with for an extended period of time? To answer that question, I did a little searching on the world wide inter-web, i.e. the internet via Google.

In a short period of time I learned something that sounds simple but makes lots of sense. Turns out that far too often we place too much emphasis on one or the other element (exercise or diet), and as a result can get results that are either self-defeating or impossible to maintain for an extended period of time.

Here is something I found on the Mayo Clinic website written by Donald Hensrud, M.D.:

Cutting calories through dietary changes seems to promote weight loss more effectively than does exercise and physical activity. But physical activity also is important in weight control. For most people, it's possible to lower their calorie intake to a greater degree than it is to burn more calories through increased exercise.”

This, then, says that exercise alone can be a bit futile. If we regularly go to the gym or walk, run, swim and become more active, that’s great. However, it does you no good if you don’t do something to restrict the amount of calories, carbs and fat that you consume daily. In fact, studies repeatedly show that humans tend to over-estimate the amount of calories burned through exercise and under-estimate the number of calories taken in through poor eating habits and unhealthy food choices. That's why cutting calories through dieting is generally more effective for weight loss. But doing both — cutting calories and exercising — can help give you the weight-loss edge. Exercise can help burn even more calories than just dieting. Exercise also is important because it can help you maintain your weight loss. Studies show that people who lose weight and keep it off over the long term get regular physical activity.

If you lose weight by crash dieting or by drastically restricting yourself to 400 to 800 calories a day, you're more likely to regain weight quickly, often within six months after you stop dieting. Getting regular exercise also can help prevent excess weight gain in the first place.

So if we want to lose weight and maintain that weight loss, we need to start with paying attention to what we eat. How? Here are some guidelines that help.

  1. Measure what we eat – keep a log or take mental notes of what we eat and how much we eat. Don’t try starvation diets which you can’t maintain. Try to avoid seconds, and when you serve yourself try to leave enough room on the plate to see the rim of the palate around the food. Try downsizing from 10” to 8" plate.

  2. Read Labels - take the time to read the ingredient label and nutritional information, especially on packages of prepared foods. Try to eat less sugar, salt, and unsaturated fats. If the ingredients list is full of names that you can’t pronounce, move along and find a product with natural ingredients.

  3. Prepare your own meals more often – Some restaurants are very good at disclosing what is in their menu but most often we have no idea what we are consuming from a fat, sugar, salt and carb point of view. A home cooked meal can be time well spent making certain that what you and your family eat is good for you, and good use of natural spices, which have minimal nutritional consequences, can make what might otherwise be bland come alive with exciting flavors.

  4. Once intake is inline, add modest exercise – Never try to turn from a couch potato in to a decathlete. Not only will you give up because you can’t maintain the intense commitment to physical exercise but the over achievement of exercise will make you easily justify adding to your calorie intake and offset what you have accomplished in the kitchen. Think of exercise as something that takes some effort but not more than you can handle and that adding exercise to a well maintained diet will speed up initial weight loss and help in the long run to maintain your weight and stamina once you reach your goal.

As you shop our store this year we plan to do a better job of pointing out healthy food alternatives, and we look forward to hearing from you as to what you would like to see us carry and promote to help you and your family live a healthier, more productive life.

Good Eating!


Beth – Director of Prepared Foods