Tips for Reading Food Labels

By Angela Sidlo/ Certified Health Coach and Co-op Board Member

Angela Sidlo for webMost packaged foods have a Nutrition Facts label. Here are some tips for reading the label and making smart food choices:

Check servings and calories. Look at the serving size and how many servings you are actually eating.  That bowl of chips you ate while watching the ball game could have been as much as 4 servings worth!  That means 4 times the calories too.

Make your calories count.  Look at the calories on the label and compare them with the nutrients they offer.  Tip: When you look at a food’s nutrition label, first check the calories, and then check the nutrients to decide whether the food is worth eating.
reading nutrition label for web
Eat less sugar.  Read the ingredient list, if sugars are one of the first few ingredients, put it back on the shelf. 4 grams of sugar equals 1 teaspoon.  The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends for men: 150 calories per day (37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons), women: 100 calories per day (25 grams or 6 teaspoons).  Tip: names for added sugars (caloric sweeteners) include sucrose, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, maple syrup, and fructose.

Know your fats.  Look for foods low in saturated and trans fats, and cholesterol, for heart health.  Most of the fats you eat should be polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, such as those in fish, nuts, and vegetable oils.  My favorite good oils list includes olive, avocado, sesame, sunflower and organic canola oils.  Tip: goods fats should be in the range of 20% to 35% of the total calories you eat.

Reduce sodium (salt); increase potassium.  Research shows that eating no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium each day, the equivalent of about 3/4 teaspoon, reduces the risk of high blood pressure.  To meet the daily potassium recommendation of at least 4,700 milligrams, consume fruits and vegetables that are sources of potassium including: sweet potatoes, beet greens, white potatoes, white beans, prune juice, and bananas.  These counteract some of sodium’s effects on blood pressure.  When choosing salt, get himalayan or sea salt as they are high in trace minerals as well.

Use the % Daily Value (% DV) column: 5% DV or less is low, and 20% DV or more is high.

Keep these low: saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, and sodium.

Get enough of these: potassium and fiber, vitamins A, C, and D, calcium, and iron.
Check the calories: 400 or more calories per serving of a single food item is high.

To learn more about Angela Sidlo or to get in touch, check out her web site.

New Holiday Products

You know what’s great? When companies make the holiday things all the kids want, with great ingredients! Check out these new products we got in for the holidays:

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Check the back of the peppermint marshmallow bag for a recipe for all natural crispy rice cereal bars. Happy holidays from the Co-op!

Holiday Pie

The wonderful cooks in our deli are making holiday pies this year.  Pumpkin and apple are available.  They’re made with high quality organic ingredients.  Got a special diet?  No problem!  Gluten free options are available for both types of pie and our apple pies are vegan.  Just talk to a cashier to order your pie and we’ll have it ready to pickup the day before Thanksgiving.

Prices: $19.99 each ($20.99 for gluten free)


Turkey Time

roast-turkeyWe’ve carried Mary’s Turkeys for many years and have been impressed with the quality. This year our free range birds have been raised with non-GMO feed! As you can see in our Fresh Deals flyer, they’re priced to sell, first come first served.

We also have a limited number of organic turkeys in stock.

The turkeys are frozen, so please be sure and allow for adequate thawing time in your refrigerator.  Click here for defrosting information and roasting times.

Recipe Contest

The most common question our produce team hears this time a year is “what is that?” Nine times out of ten the question refers to a knobby, scraggly, pale-green vegetable known as celeriac or celery root. While it can be intimidating to first reach for celeriac, the rewards of getting to know this flavorful root are well worth the time.

Got a great celeriac recipe for our newsletter?  Email  $25 prize for the recipe we select.  Deadline for submitting recipes: November 4, 2016.  Please make sure it is your own original recipe.  (If it’s adapted from another recipe, please let us know.)

Food Film

Sunday October 23 noon-12:30
Liberty Theater 1203 Commercial Street Astoria, OR
Astoria International Film Festival

Our food choices are deeply connected to climate change. Unbroken Ground, a compelling new Patagonia Provisions film directed by Chris Malloy, explains the critical role food will play in the next frontier of our efforts to solve the environmental crisis.

Click here to watch the trailer.

Astoria Co-op Grocery

Beans for Bags

IMG_5956When you bring a reusable shopping bag to the Co-op you’re doing something really cool not only for our entire planet but for our community as well.  The Co-op takes the money (a nickel) that we would have spent on a bag and gives it to a local non-profit.  A token representing the nickel is a bean.  A cashier will give you a bean for each reusable bag you use and you get to drop it in a jar of your choice representing one of three local charities.

We totally have really nice paper bags for anyone to use, but Beans for Bags offers a fun incentive for reusable bags that fund some important programs.

Recipients January-March 2017:

Lower Columbia Q Center’s mission is to be a safe and welcoming resource and support service to the LGBT community, friends, families, and allies of the lower Columbia Region.

Columbia Senior Diners is a nonprofit struggling to make ends meet.  It provides low cost lunches at the Astoria Senior Center.  Seniors who cannot join others in the dining area can have meals delivered to their homes.

Astoria High School Orchestra is planning an educational trip to Disneyland.  The student musicians would have an opportunity to play their instruments as an ensemble for critique and add the music in the final performance to animation.

Click here for an application to become a Beans for Bags recipient.  The Co-op Board of Directors will select new recipients for the final quarter of this year.

Gaining Ground Film

A new film on growing food, empowering communities & changing lives

Sunday October 9 at 4 p.m.
Columbian Theater 1114 Marine Drive Astoria

sf-march-against-monsanto-2The negative impacts of industrial agriculture are everywhere. The increasing threat of genetically engineered food and the destruction of local communities can make us feel powerless to effect change. GAINING GROUND, a new documentary film by Elaine Velazquez and Barbara Bernstein, is an intimate view of rural and urban farmers embracing this challenge.

GAINING GROUND is coming to communities around Oregon this fall. This
film presents the personal stories of farmers and activists confronting the challenges of
feeding their local communities sustainably grown food. The documentary interweaves
experiences of Urban Tilth’s farmer-activists transforming corners of Richmond,
California’s inner city food desert into vibrant community gardens; Sun Gold Farm, a
small family farm in rural Oregon converting from commodity dairy to sustainably
grown produce and Stalford Seed Farms in the Willamette Valley transitioning from
growing grass seed to organic grains. As the film explores these paradigm shifts, it
personalizes class, gender, race and environmental justice issues by rooting them
within narratives of compelling individuals. While the film is sober about the obstacles
to creating change, it points the way toward hope.

ut-greenway-teresa-and-internsThe screening will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers and people featured in the film. View the GAINING GROUND trailer:

Local sponsors: Astoria Co-op Grocery, Columbia Riverkeeper, North Coast Food Web, Coast Community Radio and CREATE

Co-op Month

Co-ops Grow Communities: Celebrating Co-op Month 2016

Co-ops around the world share a set of guiding principles with Astoria Co-op Grocery, including “cooperation among cooperatives,” and “concern for community.” When you purchase delicious, healthy food at the co-op, you’re supporting a business that cares about people and contributes to a livable, sustainable community. And when you choose products from co-op farmers and vendors, that impact grows and grows!

In October, we’re proud to join with nearly 150 food co-ops around the country to celebrate the many stories of how cooperative companies, suppliers, manufacturers and farmers are growing strong, healthy communities around the world. Together with our co-op shoppers, we can make a difference!

Alter Eco Quinoa Farmers

Alter Eco Quinoa Farmers

The participating companies in the October 5-18 promotion work with cooperative suppliers and manufacturers or are cooperatives themselves, and as such, work to build strong bonds between the people who purchase their products and the people who supply them. Co-ops offer a way to transform how business is typically done; co-ops give you the opportunity to get the products and services you need on a daily basis while strengthening the community around you. Participating companies include Alaffia, Alter Eco, Divine Chocolate, Dr. Bronner’s, Equal Exchange, Guayaki, Maggie’s Organics, Organic Valley, Shady Maple Farms and Theo Chocolate.

These companies along with National Co+op Grocers are aiming to raise $80,000 for the La Riojana Co-op, an Argentinian producer of wine and olive oil. Through their cooperative business model, La Riojana has been able to significantly improve the well-being of their member communities. With the funds raised, La Riojana Co-op can obtain organic certification for almost two villages, which equates to 80-95 growers.

To learn more about how these companies are helping communities to grow around the world, visit and look for more information in the October Co+op Deals flyer. Happy Co-op Month!

Board Election Results

Our community owners elect a Board of Directors to oversee our grocery store. An election occurred at our Annual Meeting September 14, 2016. Here’s a photo of all the board members and staff we could wrangle for a photo. To see more photos from the meeting go to the album on our Facebook page.

Co-op Board & Staff

Each candidate was elected unanimously.  They are as following:

Allie Evans/ Current Board President

Dr. Allie HeadshotQ: What is your familiarity with Astoria Co-op Grocery?

A: My life has been largely centered around co-ops since college. I have lived in housing co-ops, worked at food co-ops, and shopped at co-ops. What draws me to the cooperative model is working together toward something we all believe in and reaping the benefits (in this case good food) while forming a sense of family and inter-connectedness. Naturally, I joined our Co-op when I moved to the coast in 2004. I joined our Board of Directors in 2010 and have served as President of the board since 2013.

Q: How does your education, professional background, and skills make you a good candidate for the Co-op board?

A: Professionally, I am a Naturopathic Physician (family medicine) but hold a very important other title as a mom. I graduated from University of Michigan and came out west to study medicine in Portland. There is an overlap in looking at the way the body works as a whole integrated unit and looking at the way our Co-op works much in the same way. A successful cooperative business and a vital and healthy body flow much in the same way and of course you cannot have a healthy body without a place to buy nourishing food.

Q: Why have you chosen to run for re-election to the Co-op board?

A: I am running for re-election to the Board because I am so excited and proud to be a part of the process of evolving and growing our store and our impact on the local economy and creating community and health. We are at such an exciting time as we enter into expansion. I would like to continue being a part of this process.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish during your term if re-elected?

A: During this term on the board I am committed to providing board oversight and guidance through the process of creating a new store that serves the community. I am also committed to continually improving board structure and process to ensure that we are able to meet changing demands of governing a larger store.

Dan Reef

Dan joined the Board in spring of this year. He is up for his first election and is looking forward to continuing his work with the Board.

DanQ: What is your familiarity with Astoria Co-op Grocery?

A: My wife actually discovered the Co-op in 2001. We became members (owners) and have been doing all our healthy choice/organic shopping ever since. The friendly and knowledgeable staff is always such fun and willing to help or follow up on any product questions.

Q: How does your education, professional background, and skills make you a good candidate for the Co-op board?

A: I was born and raised in Astoria and graduated from Astoria High School in 1982. After high school I traveled five western states building retail stores. In 1988 I started work for a commercial contractor from 1995 until 2014. My job was the on-site superintendent. I performed all the duties to build all sorts of commercial buildings including grocery stores, banks, schools, colleges, medical/dental, warehousing, condos, apartments, police stations, fire stations, and more. In 2014 I hung up my commercial construction hat and took a job with the City of Astoria’s public works department.

Q: Why have you chosen to run for election to the Co-op board?

A: I am running for the board because I feel I bring diversity and professionalism to an already very talented board.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish during your term if elected?

A: During my time on the board I hope to be a part in the planning and construction of our new store and take part in the decision-making to make the Co-op the best store on the North Oregon Coast.

Todd Holm

Todd has served on the Co-op Board since fall 2015. He is up for his first election and is looking forward to serving a full term.

ToddQ: What is your familiarity with Astoria Co-op Grocery?

A: When my wife and I moved here over seven years ago we quickly discovered the Co-op and have been using the store as our primary food source since. I have always known that if you want to make good food you need to have good food to make and our Co-op has that and a whole lot more.

Q: How does your education, professional background, and skills make you a good candidate for the Co-op board?

A: I graduated from Hudson’s Bay High School in 1979 and went to work, raised a family, 4 daughters and 1 son. I worked for the same company, Wicks Airfreight Inc. for 15 years. I stepped into banking in 2001, working with West Coast Bank as an Account Executive and accepted a regional position with US Bank in 2008 where I am still currently employed as a Marketing Manager for the Columbia Pacific region. I work exclusively with businesses, providing credit products, payment solutions and services that help our bank clients maintain positive growth.

Q: Why have you chosen to run for election to the Co-op board?

A: Being a member of our Board of Directors is a great honor and I am running for election because I feel that my past experiences as well as my banking background will be a great asset as we move forward with our expansion. I am looking forward to continue being a part of the decision-making process with this dynamic group of like-minded individuals.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish during your term if elected?

A: During my term I want to help accomplish: continued positive growth, decisions that make the Co-op a great place to work, creating the best place to shop in Clatsop County and beyond, building a shiny new store in a great location that we will all be proud of, opportunities that benefit our community through the strength of our Co-op, and increasing membership.