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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Meet Some Veggies That Will Boost Your Weight Loss Efforts- Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Everyone knows that eating your veggies is good for your health, but on top of that we’ve discovered that a number of vegetables happen to carry specific nutritional profiles that make them especially beneficial as aids to weight loss by revving your metabolism, turning off belly fat genes, and melting excess body fat. For Example:

  • Bell peppers - contain a metabolism-boosting compound, dihydrocapsiate, and their high vitamin-C content can help you lose weight. Just one cup of sweet bell peppers serves up three times the daily requirement of vitamin C, which counteracts stress hormones which trigger fat storage around the midsection. For a healthy snack, dip slices of bell peppers into hummus.

  • Broccoli - contains a phytonutrient called sulforaphane that will increase testosterone and fight off body fat storage. Like bell peppers, broccoli is also is a good source of Vitamin C.

  • Spinach - According to health experts, Popeye was on to something when he would bulk-up on spinach. Not only did it give him great biceps, but spinach took his calorie burning capability up a notch or two. The reason is that spinach is packed with protein, a nutrient that aids post-pump muscle recovery and growth.

  • Pickles – Bet you didn’t see that one coming. Pickles are low-cal, filled with fiber and covered in vinegar. One large pickle has just 15 calories and 2 grams of belly-filling fiber, so eating three or four can actually leave you feeling pretty satiated for less than 100 calories! How does the vinegar come into play? Acidic foods help increase the rate at which the body burns off carbs by up to 40 percent—and the faster you burn off carbs, the sooner your body starts incinerating fat, which can help you get that lean look you crave.

  • Onions – To begin with, onions are very low in calories and easy to add to most meals. However, the bigger benefit that onions offer is that they are rich in quercetin, a flavonoid that increase blood flow and activates a protein in the body that helps regulate glucose levels, torches stored fat, and keeps new fat cells from forming.


Quick and Painless Ways to Reduce Calories- Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Okay, for those of you who are determined to maintain your 2018 New Year’s resolution to lose weight, here are a few painless ways to reduce the the number of calories you consume at each meal.

  1. Make French toast using egg whites and skim milk, and cook in a non-oiled, non-stick pan. This can save up to 250 calories.

  2. Make your own breakfast sandwich: Use an English muffin or two slices of multi-grain bread, microwave-poach an egg, then add tomato and a slice of fat-free cheese. Save about 500 calories.

  3. For breakfast, eat a low-fat waffle. (It racks up only 70 calories, while a bagel is about 360 calories. Save over 250 calories!)

  4. Reach for an orange rather than a glass of orange juice. You will feel fuller and save about 100 calories.

  5. Use ground chicken or turkey in your pasta sauce or chili rather than ground beef and save up 250 calories.

  6. Whip your soft-tub margarine with a countertop or hand blender. The whipped in air will make it have the consistency of pancake house whipped spread, and you will save 100 calories as you eat far less margarine.

  7. Avoid the ‘meat lovers’ pizza. Select a thin crust instead of a thick one, and order half the cheese and double the vegetables. This will easily save you about 500 calories.

  8. Spread sugar-free jam on your toast or sandwich. Two tablespoons contain just 20 calories, compared with 100 calories in traditional jam.


Slimming down for Spring- Tuesday, March 21, 2017

We can all breathe a sigh of relief at the passing of winter; the days are now consistently warmer, and the odds of a sudden cold snap are that much lower. And while the time for jeans and long-sleeved shirts is definitely not over, it's not unrealistic to assume that warm weather wearables are going to see far more use over the next couple weeks.

If you are like many other Americans, however, you've likely put on a few pounds (or more) over the winter – a few pounds you probably wouldn't mind losing before slipping back into your shorts or capris. If you want to look and feel your best when summer comes around, now is the time to start exerting a bit more control over your diet and exercise habits.

Here are a few suggestions to start yourself on the right track, health-wise, without killing your motivation right out of the gate.

[info courtesy of]

Forget "dieting" – In fact, you should try adding foods to your diet instead of subtracting them. Add in healthy goodies you really love, like deep-red cherries, juicy grapes, or crunchy snow peas. Slip your favorite fruits into your bag lunch and breakfast cereal; add the veggies into soups, stews, and sauces.

Scale back on the foods you already enjoy – One of the easiest ways to cut back without feeling denied is to switch to lower-calorie versions of the foods you crave. A pizza tastes just as good with reduced-fat cheese, and when you garnish low-fat ice cream with your favorite toppers, who notices those missing calories?

  • Boost your fiber intake, too. Fiber helps you feel satisfied longer, so while you lighten your favorite foods, you can easily amp up the fiber by adding a cup of whole wheat flour to your pizza dough, or toss a handful of red bell peppers on the pizza.

  • Don't forget to lighten the drinks going with that meal, too. Try switching from high-calorie favorites to diet soda or light beer, or maybe add a spritz of seltzer to your wine.

Avoid more structured workouts, initially – Rather than jumping into an intense workout program right off the bat, burn calories and invigorate muscles by pursuing activities you consider fun or enjoyable. Beachcombing, riding bikes, hiking, washing the car, playing Frisbee, or even chasing the dog around the yard are all valid options.

Walk as much as possible – Walking around your neighborhood when the weather's nice is an easy way to keep fit. Other options to get yourself moving are to:

  • Trade your power mower for a push version.

  • Park your car at the back of the lot.

  • Sweep the drive or rake the leaves instead of using a leaf-blower.

  • Get off the bus a few stops earlier.

  • Hike the mall, being sure to hit all the levels.

  • Take the stairs every chance you get.

  • Crank the music and get your heart rate up the next time you mop or vacuum.

Drink more water – Down some water before a meal and you're likely to eat less.

Get in some resistance exercise while engaged in other activites – Do you tend to spend a lot of time in front of the television? Why not combine some of that down time with a little bit of exercise? During commercial breaks, pedal your stationery bike, walk the treadmill, or slip in a little strength training with objects around the house. It doesn't matter exactly what you do, so long as you're up and active.


Meal Prep Made Easy- Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Everyone knows that the best way to control your weight and keep a healthy lifestyle comes down to what you eat and incorporating regular exercise into your daily routine. In a perfect world, you'd cook all your own meals. You'd never pick up jelly doughnuts on the way to work, eat fast food for lunch, or order pizza because you're too stressed to even think about dinner.

Sadly, it’s just not that easy to eat the way we know we should. However, with some preplanning and a little work you can make the challenge of eating healthier a whole lot easier. The secret? Meal prep. Essentially, it's the practice of spending a few hours each week making huge batches of whole grains, proteins, veggies, and snacks, ensuring that you're prepared to fight fast-food temptation with tasty, clean, home-cooked meals all week long.

For starters, why not use one of the most versatile and easy to prepare meal bases -- pasta. That’s right, toss your favorite noodles, a bunch of raw ingredients and some water into a pot, and in just a matter of minutes you can have a tasty dinner for you and your family.

Here are some recipe suggestions for pasta meals to get you started.

Pasta Primavera

Shrimp Scampi Pasta

Easy Carbonara

Tagliatelle and Italian Sausage

Spaghetti with Pesto Sauce



Want to lose weight? Who Doesn’t? Perhaps you might try to eat more meat.- Tuesday, February 14, 2017

As was mentioned in an earlier shout out article this year there is a trend by health-conscious people to eat more vegetables and we support that notion and would encourage you to continue to fill your shopping carts with plenty of fresh produce each week.  However, before anyone thinks we are going overboard in support of a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle our friends the meat lovers want to be certain that they receive equal time.

Meat proteins are the main building blocks of the body. They’re used to make muscles, tendons, organs and skin. Proteins are also used to make enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters and various tiny molecules that serve important functions. Without protein, life as we know it would not be possible. Proteins are made of smaller molecules called amino acids, which are linked together like beads on a string. The linked amino acids form long protein chains, which are then folded into complex shapes.   Some of these amino acids can be produced by the body, while we must get others from the diet. The ones we cannot produce and must get from our foods are called the “essential” amino acids.

Protein Can Help You Lose Weight (and Prevent You from Gaining it in The First Place)

Protein is incredibly important when it comes to losing weight.  To lose weight, everyone should know that we need to take in fewer calories than we burn.  Eating protein can help with that, by boosting your metabolic rate (calories out) and reducing your appetite (calories in). How’s that for a different perspective on weight loss?

In a well-balanced diet where protein makes up around 25-30% of calorie studies have shown that we receive a boosted metabolism by up to 80 to 100 calories per day, compared to lower protein diets. An even more important contribution of protein to weight loss, however, is its ability to reduce appetite and cause a spontaneous reduction in calorie intake. Protein is much more satiating than both fat and carbs.  If you ever raided the refrigerator for a slice of lemon meringue pie and then find yourself needing several hands full of potato chips you will know what I mean… sugar craving carbs.

In a study in obese men, protein at 25% of calories increased feelings of fullness, reduced the desire for late-night snacking by half and reduced obsessive thoughts about food by 60%.  In another study, women who increased protein intake to 30% of calories ended up eating 441 fewer calories per day. They also lost 11 pounds in 12 weeks, just by adding more protein to their diet.

But protein doesn’t just help you lose… it can also help prevent you from gaining weight in the first place.   In one study, just a modest increase in protein from 15% of calories to 18% of calories reduced the amount of fat people regained after weight loss by 50%.

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Turn your New Year’s resolutions into real solutions for healthy eating!- Sunday, January 1, 2017

Every year as we head home from the last holiday party, usually a New Year’s celebration, we make a promise to ourselves to cut back on junk food and embrace healthier eating and physical exercise. Unfortunately, very few of us ever make it through the football playoff season and by the time the Superbowl arrives in early February, all our best intentions have fallen to the wayside.

It’s not easy to suddenly acquire will power and get serious about healthy eating and exercise, but if only we could it would do us all a world of good. There are tools, tips and aids that can help, and that is what we would like to begin to share with you today.

There are some painless ways that you can help yourself and other members of your family begin and maintain a healthier lifestyle. One great place to start is with the MyPlate Daily checklist, which isprovided by the US Department of Agriculture. Visit their website and take a few seconds to provide your sex, age, height and weight, and it will generate a couple eating checklists for you: One that will allow you to maintain your present weight if that is where you want to be, and another to help you lose weight over time. Here is the link.

In addition to the MyPlate Daily checklist, this site provides a wealth of information and great tips to help us all develop healthier lifestyles, especially as they relate to what we eat.



Everything You Eat and Drink Matters — Focus on Variety, Amount, and Nutrition

Choose a variety of foods and beverages from each food group to build healthy eating styles. Include choices from all the MyPlate food groups to meet your calorie and nutrient needs when planning or preparing meals and snacks.


Fruits - Focus on whole fruits. Fresh is best but also consider frozen, dried, and canned options. Always choose whole fruits more often than 100% fruit juice to help control sugar intake.

Vegetables - Vary your veggies. Vegetables are divided into five subgroups and include dark-green vegetables, red and orange vegetables, legumes (beans and peas), starchy vegetables, and other vegetables.

Grains - Make half your grains whole grains. Grains include whole grains and refined, enriched grains.

Protein Foods - Choose a variety of lean protein foods. Protein comes from both animal (seafood, meat, poultry, and eggs) and plant sources, (nuts, beans and peas (yes, these last two are veggies as well), seeds, and soy products).

Dairy - Move to low-fat or fat-free milk and yogurt. Dairy includes milk, yogurt, cheese, and calcium-fortified soy beverages (soy milk).

Oils - Oils are part of healthy eating styles because they provide nutrients for the body, like fatty acids and vitamin E. They also enhance the flavor of your food. Some oils are eaten as a natural part of the food such as in nuts, olives, avocados, and seafood. Other oils are refined and added to a food during processing or preparation, such as soybean, canola, and safflower oils. Choose the right amount of oil to stay within your daily calorie needs.

Choose Foods and Beverages with Less Saturated Fat, Sodium, and Added Sugars

The saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars found in foods and beverages are important for you to think about as you build your healthy eating style. Although sometimes found naturally in foods and beverages, sugars, sodium, and ingredients high in saturated fat are very often added during processing or preparing foods and beverages. Try to limit or avoid highly processed foods.

Start with Small Changes

Create an eating style that can improve your health now and in the future by making small changes over time. Consider changes that reflect your personal preferences, culture and traditions. Think of each change as a “win” as you build positive habits and find solutions that reflect your healthy eating style.


Eating habits and the New Year- Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Here are some suggested New Year’s Food Resolutions

Read Labels

As you walk through our store doing the weekly grocery shopping, take the time to read the ingredient label and nutritional information 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, perhaps you should ask yourself if it’s really something that you want to serve your family.

Eat Your Vegetables

Most of us fall considerably short of the suggested daily intake of fruits and vegetables; if you shop at our stores regularly, you will have to agree that it’s not for lack of variety. In any given week we carry hundreds of different fresh fruits and vegetables. If you see something that you are unfamiliar with, ask for help. In addition, our website has over 6,800 recipes available for you to use. All you need to do is go to the search box and type in the specific ingredient you are interested in using. For example, if you were to look up Brussels sprouts, you would discover 13 different recipes that all call for that ingredient.

Try Something New

The next time you go to a favorite restaurant, don’t pick your old stand-by. Ask your server to suggest something new and exciting, and give it a try!

Cook More

Most of us love to eat out; however, there’s nothing more satisfying than cooking and enjoying your own meal. Your family will enjoy it and you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you have provided them with a nutritious, low cost meal.

Dinner with Family and Friends

Dine with family and friends. In the process, take the time to sit and enjoy your food, not mindlessly gorge while watching the television. This is the best opportunity you will have each day to bring the family closer together. Take advantage of your time together and appreciate each other's company over a good, home-cooked meal.


Thinking about Healthy Eating in the Off Season- Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Everyone knows that eating healthy is an important part of living a healthier life and feeling better about ourselves. That’s nice, but how many of us are doing anything about it on a regular basis? Yes, as the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas pass we all want to start out each New Year by turning over a new leaf, and we all vow to eat healthier, exercise more and lose weight. For the vast majority, however, that genuinely sincere commitment has vanished from our conscious thought before the first page on the new calendar gets turned.

What is wrong with this picture? Why are we so weak when it comes to sticking to our commitment of eating healthier and exercise?  If you are looking for the magic bullet we can use to help strengthen our backbones and get us to stick to our commitments, I’m sorry, no such thing exists... At least, not as far as I know! However, there has to be something that can help motivate us all to try harder for longer periods of time so that a healthier lifestyle need not be a wild, unattainable dream.

I’m somewhat convinced that part of the problem is that when we finally take on the task of addressing how we eat and exercise, we feel the only way to succeed is to “go all in”.  Going all in, however, is not how we are built and that approach tends to set us up for failure.  Many of us ask ourselves, “If I can’t do it exactly correct, why bother at all?” 

Once doubt sets in, failure and resignation are quick to follow.

I’d like to suggest a different tack and a different time of year.  You see, some people are indeed successful at changing their less-than-good eating habits, and often this happens because of some outside influence like a warning from the doctor that they need to change their diet and lose weight or suffer dire consequences.  So, my idea is this: Why not start a weight loss/healthier eating campaign now at a time of year when it’s not the thing everyone is doing?  The weather is warn, exercise is easier, and fresh wholesome fruits and vegetables are most plentiful.

The other thing to do to give us at least a fighting chance is to keep it as simple as possible. Let’s not try to lose twenty pounds in a month or run a marathon by October.  Let’s just try to stick to some very basic good habits for as long as we can, and in time see if we can add to that discipline if prudent. The key to our success is being able to maintain this perspective: Our food should be about pleasure and nourishment.

Here are some practical ideas I’ve run across while researching healthier eating options.

1. Eliminate processed foods.

Don’t know where to start? Take a look at the ingredient list of each item in your kitchen cupboards, refrigerator and storage room. Avoid anything that has artificial additives, artificial sweeteners, refined sugars, or vegetable oils. This includes fried foods, sweets and refined grain products such as cookies and bread.  Processed foods will mess up your digestion, increase your anxiety levels, and more than likely lead to weight gain. There are plenty of healthy alternatives for your favorite comfort foods, such as raw chocolate, flax crackers, oven-baked sweet potato fries, and fresh green salads.

2. Choose whole foods.

Whole foods include fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, unrefined grains and beans. They're unprocessed, unrefined and don’t contain any added salt, added sweeteners, added fats or artificial additives.  Whole foods are very high in vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and water, which is why they will keep you healthy, beautiful and energized. By choosing whole foods over processed foods, you'll be able to enjoy delicious meals without feeling guilty or bloated afterward.  Our produce department is your best source for these foods, and check out some of the homemade salads and prepared foods in our deli. Beth and her team are always tweaking our offerings to add new healthier and tastier items.

3. Have at least 1 green smoothie a day.

Admittedly, this a a bit radical for most folks, but it’s not so far out there that it is impractical to try.  Green smoothies are an excellent way to start your day. They will satisfy your sugar cravings, cleanse your colon, and provide your body with plenty of vitamins and minerals to keep you energized and happy. Green smoothies are also incredibly high in chlorophyll, a powerful antioxidant that flushes out heavy metals, pesticides and other toxic residue from your body.  Not certain how to make a green smoothie?  Here is a very simple recipe: 1 large ripe mango (or 2 ripe bananas), two handfuls of spinach (or any other type of leafy green) and 1 to 2 cups of water. Add everything to your blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

4. Don’t be afraid of fruit.

If you ever tried a low carb diet, you were most likely taught that fruits were loaded with carbohydrates and something to be avoided.  Well that is a misconception and not a good rule of thumb; you see, not all carbohydrates are created equal!  Yes indeed, you will want to avoid processed carbohydrates like white bread, cookies, wheat pasta and sugar-laden breakfast cereals, but you should consume healthy carbohydrates such as fresh fruits and sweet root vegetables. They'll reduce your cravings for sugary snacks and keep your energy levels high at all times.  As with anything, too much of a good thing can be a problem.  In order to prevent blood sugar spikes and to protect your teeth from fruit sugars, try combining your fruits with leafy greens. A fruit and spinach salad tastes delicious and does the trick.

5. Eat your greens.

Green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, collard greens and romaine lettuce will help you to detoxify, alkalize your body and get your mineral levels up. They're packed with essential nutrients such as iron, zinc and magnesium that will boost your energy levels, strengthen your immune system and clear up your skin.  Enjoy your leafy greens as the base for a colorful rainbow salad, blend them into a creamy green smoothie, or treat yourself to a fresh green juice. Green juices are an excellent way to avoid that dreaded afternoon slump!

Good Eating – and stay healthy.

Bill Vella, Produce Manager


If you slow down and enjoy your food you will lose weight- Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Did you ever think about all the catchy sayings we have about time management?

  • “Time waits for no man.”
  • “Slow and steady wins the race.”
  • “Move it or lose it.”
  • “Slow down and smell the roses.”
  • “Hurry up, time is a wasting.”

By nature we are an impatient lot, and we tend to let time manage our lives more than we manage our time. One area that most of us don’t even notice is the time we take eating. Often, what we do for a living tends to dictate how fast we eat. How often do you find yourself “grabbing a fast food” breakfast on the way to work, having a “quick bite” to eat for lunch, or “wolfing down dinner” in order to run off to a meeting at school?

Research has proven that the way we eat has a direct impact on our body weight. Most Americans eat too fast, and, as a result, they take in too many calories before they realize they've eaten enough. It takes approximately 20 minutes from the time you start eating for your brain to send out signals of fullness.  Think about it this way:  If you eat an average of three bites per minute, by the time your brain gets the message that you have had enough to eat, you will have consumed sixty bites of food.

Leisurely eating allows ample time to trigger the signal from your brain that you are full. And feeling full translates into eating less. Not only does eating slowly and mindfully help you eat less, it enhances the pleasure of the dining experience.

Here are some tips to help you slow down, enjoy your food more and avoid over-eating:

1.  Chew your food.  I know, it sounds like something that your mother told you as a child. It's true, though. Chewing your food gives it more time on your tongue to enjoy,  breaks up the food (making it easier to digest), and slows down the eating process, thereby allowing your brain to recognize when you have eaten enough to satisfy your body's needs.

2.  Put down your knife and fork.  It sounds so simple yet it’s a tough lesson to put into practice. We hate to waste energy picking up our utensils with each mouthful, so we tend to hold our silverware in our hands. As a result, we are often in the process of cutting off the next bite before we've really had a chance to taste the previous.

3.  Remove the distractions.  Turn off the TV, put your cell phone in another room and let your calls go to voice mail, and carry on a conversation with your family and friends. But don’t forget the other rule that your mom taught you:  Never talk with food in your mouth. This is guaranteed to help you slow down the rate at which you eat.

4.  Drink water.  We all know that drinking lots of water is good for us, and many of us try to keep a glass or bottle of water handy for use throughout the day. Drinking water during a meal serves  the purpose of helping you start feeling fuller, faster.

5.  Don’t let yourself become famished.  When we are overly hungry we tend to eat very fast, frequently eating second and even third helpings. You'll find it easier to slow the pace if you eat regular, smaller meals at three or four hour intervals, rather two or three meals with several hours between them.

Let Fresh Produce Help You Shed the Holiday Bulge- Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Weight loss is by no means a mystery: simply burn more calories with work and exercise than the amount you consume daily in food and you will lose weight. Sounds so simple but yet we all know just how hard it can be. You can create lower-calorie versions of some of your favorite dishes by substituting low-calorie fruits and vegetables in place of higher-calorie ingredients. The water and fiber in fruits and vegetables will add volume to your dishes, so you can eat the same amount of food with fewer calories. Most fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories and are filling.

Looking for some simple ways to make this work? Try these simple substitutions throughput the day and you can definitely eat less calories without ever feeling hungry, or like you are missing something:

At Breakfast

  • Substitute some spinach, onions, or mushrooms for one of the eggs or half of the cheese in your morning omelet. The vegetables will add volume and flavor to the dish with fewer calories than the egg or cheese.
  • Cut back on the amount of cereal in your bowl to make room for some cut-up bananas, peaches, or strawberries. You can still eat a full bowl, but with fewer calories. Substitute a lower butterfat milk type and save calories as well. Rather than 2% use 1% milk.

For Lunch

  • Substitute vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, or onions for 2 ounces of the cheese and 2 ounces of the meat in your sandwich, wrap, or burrito. Take out a slice of ham or cheese and substitute some lettuce or kale. The new version will fill you up with fewer calories than the original.
  • Add a cup of chopped vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, beans, or red peppers, in place of 2 ounces of the meat or 1 cup of noodles in your favorite broth-based soup or chili. The vegetables will help fill you up, so you won't miss those extra calories.


  • Add in 1 cup of chopped vegetables such as broccoli, tomatoes, squash, onions, or peppers, while removing 1 cup of the rice or pasta in your favorite dish. The dish with the vegetables will be just as satisfying but will have fewer calories than the same amount of the original version.
  • Take a good look at your dinner plate. Vegetables, fruit, and whole grains should take up the largest portion of your plate. If they do not, replace some of the meat, cheese, white pasta, or rice with legumes, steamed broccoli, asparagus, greens, or another favorite vegetable. This will reduce the total calories in your meal without reducing the amount of food you eat. Try to limit any meal to only one serving and no piece of meat should be bigger that a pack of playing cards. Also be certain that you use a normal- or small-size plate — not a platter.


Simple things like this are really not too hard to do and if done consistently and coupled with a modest amount of exercise will definitely allow you to shed that holiday bulge that popped up out of nowhere.

 Good luck,


Bill Vella

Prisco’s Family Market - Produce Manager