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Featured Food Tip

Pears are sweet and delicious treats wrapped in their own nutritious, edible packaging. They’re loaded with nutrients and heart-healthy fiber, and are an excellent choice for snacks, salads, entrees, or desserts. Pears have no saturated fat and are a cholesterol-and sodium-free source of the vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals the body needs to maintain optimal health and fight disease. And, at about one hundred calories per medium-size fruit, pears are a nutritional bargain.   FIBER One medium pear provides 5.1 grams of dietary fiber, which is 20 percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA). Forty-one percent of the fiber in pears is pectin; a soluble fiber that research indicates lowers cholesterol and may prevent heart disease. Pectin (which is often added to jellies and jams to make them gel) binds to fatty substances in the intestine and helps flush them out of the body, which helps lower cholesterol. Research indicates the pectin from food sources (but not supplements) may also protect against colon cancer. Pears are also one of the best fruit sources of lignin, an insoluble fiber that promotes healthy digestion. Studies indicate that people who eat a diet high in fiber may have a lower risk of heart disease, some types of cancer, Type 2 diabetes, and obesity. A NATURAL ENERGY SOURCE The natural sugars fructose and glucose make pears a quick source of energy. Even with their terrific sweet flavor, pears are low on glycemic index and provide only 17 net grams of carbohydrates. The high fiber content of pears means these healthy carbs are slow to convert to sugar and enter the bloodstream, so they don’t produce the blood sugar spike and crash that’s typical of low-fiber simple carbohydrates. VITAMIN C Fresh pears are a good source of vitamin C. One fresh pear provides 10 percent of the RDA for vitamin C, an essential antioxidant that fights disease and promotes healing of cuts and bruises. POTASSIUM Fresh pears are packed with potassium, a mineral that regulates heart, nerve, and muscle functions; helps regulate water and electrolyte levels; and maintains carbohydrate and protein metabolism. It’s an important nutrient for keeping blood pressure levels in the normal range. A medium pear offers 208 milligrams of potassium, or about 6 percent of the RDA. Potassium is easily lost through dehydration or perspiration, so grabbing a pear before or after working out is a great way to help maintain potassium levels. A COLOURFUL APPROACH TO GOOD HEALTH A great deal of exciting research indicates that eating a variety of colorful produce can help fight disease and promote good health. Researchers believe the benefit comes from phytochemicals, the substances in fresh produce that give them their vibrant colours. Nutrition experts recommend eats at least five servings of a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables. Pears are represented in four out of the five “Color Way” color categories: yellow/orange, red, white, and green. Eating pears, along with a range of other “colors” as part of a healthy diet, is an easy and tasty way to achieve better health.   MORE TIPS Pears are an excellent source of fiber and a good source of the antioxidant vitamin C. One medium sized pear provides 24% of your day’s fiber and 10% of your day’s vitamin C for only 100 calories. Pears are versatile and are delicious in salads, sandwiches, and desserts, as well as in savory entrees and side dishes.

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