Mariano’s Health Key System Makes Grocery Shopping Easy

by Jennifer Wieland
Mexican Rice and CHicken Tenders #shop

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client.


marianos logo #shop

 In this day and age of healthy eating and food allergies going to the grocery store can turn from an easy thing to a time consuming event marked with label reading and confusion on the part of the shopper. What items are organic? Which ones are gluten-free? Where are the heart healthy items? For many families, trying to navigate the grocery store can be a job in itself. Mariano’s health key system is changing all that though and makes grocery shopping easy for families like mine.

In my house we don’t have any food allergies luckily but there are many houses that do. We do though have one college student who is into healthy eating, a mom trying to lose weight and get in shape and two Autistic children who we try to feed as GMO free as possible. So what does that mean? It means that in the last couple of years we have been trying to get our food back to what people used to eat. We try to buy as much organic as we can. We like our meats to be grass-fed, free-range, antibiotic, hormone free. In fact, one of the reasons I started baking so much is to give the kids sweet treats without all the chemicals and preservatives. This upcoming year though I am hoping to take this all a step further. I want to start including gluten-free options, cut out more fried foods, add some vegetarian meals and swap out kiddie favorites with healthy alternatives. So I headed to Mariano’s to check out their health key system and make a kiddie meal that was similar to a favorite but a healthy option.

This was my first trip to Mariano’s. I have been wanting to go and check out the store but it’s not in my town and I have a 25 minute drive to get there. Since my neighborhood stores offer less than appealing healthy options though I am willing to drive for quality and it doesn’t hurt that the prices are great either. I found that using the health key system was a piece of cake. Shelves were clearly marked with the tags letting shoppers know which items were organic, gluten-free, heart healthy, etc. This takes the mystery out of what to buy and would be a great help for anyone who is changing their family diets or who may be having guests with specific food requirements. I have to say that shopping at Mariano’s was such a great experience. My kids want to go back with me next time and with the smoothie and gelato bars in the store this may be one grocery store that I can take them to without getting a headache.  Although, going by myself and enjoying a nice, quiet meal that’s still hot before shopping may be the ultimate mom treat for me. I did also register for a Mariano’s rewards card while I was there since I plan on making this my go to store now. It was quick and easy with the little computer kiosks to get it all registered.

Mariano's Collage #shop

As you can see the Health Key System makes it easy to find healthy foods for your family’s diet needs.

My kids are like most other kids. They like chicken tenders and french fries and I’m not going to lie… so do I. They are good but full of fat and grease and in some cases you wonder how much is really even chicken that you are eating or feeding your kids. I decided to make a flavorful, healthy alternative that would have them asking for seconds and me not feeling like a bad mother for feeding them junk. I made Mexican Rice and Chicken Tenders and they were a huge hit. This is definitely going to stay on our family menu and was so good even my pickiest eater ate and asked for more.

Mexican Rice and Chicken Tenders #shop

The chicken is flavorful without all the fat and grease from frying and the rice is a nice alternative to french fries. The rice also served nicely to slip the kids some veggies easily without any fighting, whining or complaining. This meal was even a hit with the adults. The rice is baked in the oven and the chicken can be grilled, baked or sauteed. This makes for an easy meal to prepare even on a busy weeknight. You can also dice the veggies ahead of time and keep in baggies until ready to use and you can make the marinade ahead of time and let the chicken soak up even more flavor.

Mexican Rice #shop

Mexican Rice
Write a review
1059 calories
202 g
22 g
10 g
35 g
3 g
1114 g
3440 g
19 g
0 g
7 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 1059
Calories from Fat 91
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 10g
Saturated Fat 3g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 22mg
Sodium 3440mg
Total Carbohydrates 202g
Dietary Fiber 5g
Sugars 19g
Protein 35g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 1/2 c. Spanish onion, diced (you can use yellow if you can't find it)
  2. 1/4 c. carrots, diced
  3. 1/4 c. celery, diced
  4. 1/3 c. red bell pepper, diced
  5. 1 c. converted rice
  6. 3 c. chicken stock
  7. 3 tsp. garlic paste
  8. 1 tsp. salt (optional)
  9. 1/2 tsp. pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and place the vegetables and rice into a 9x13" baking pan. Whisk together the chicken stock, garlic paste, salt and pepper. Pour the liquid over the rice and vegetables. Give it a stir and then cover tightly with foil or a lid. Bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes or until the stock is absorbed. Remove form oven and let sit covered for a couple of minutes. Remove cover and fluff rice with a fork, then serve.
  1. For this dish I used organic produce, including the garlic paste and organic chicken stock.
My Sweet Sanity
Mexican Citrus Vinaigrette/Marinade
Write a review
1067 calories
15 g
0 g
114 g
2 g
16 g
247 g
1306 g
6 g
0 g
95 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 1067
Calories from Fat 1008
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 114g
Saturated Fat 16g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 12g
Monounsaturated Fat 83g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 1306mg
Total Carbohydrates 15g
Dietary Fiber 3g
Sugars 6g
Protein 2g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 2 tsp. honey dijon mustard
  2. 2 tbsp. + 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  3. 1 tsp. sugar
  4. 1/2 tsp. salt
  5. 1/4 tsp. pepper
  6. 1 tsp. garlic paste
  7. 4 oz. olive oil
  8. 1 tsp. chopped cilantro
  9. juice of half an orange, lemon and lime
  1. Whisk all of the ingredients together until combined. Use as a salad dressing or meat marinade.
  1. I marinated some chicken tenders in this for half an hour in a gallon sized baggie, in the refrigerator. I then cooked the chicken through on a grill pan. I spooned additional marinade on before serving.
My Sweet Sanity
For more information on Mariano’s health key system head on over here. For news, recipes and ideas from Mariano’s check out their community page. You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.



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Jennifer is a mom to 5 boys, 1 girl and 1 husband. Her kids range in age from 8-24 so things are always crazy with everything from school life, to autism and to college and beyond. She tries to bake, craft, travel and blog her way through all of the chaos and craziness that life, her kids and her husband throw her way.

32 Responses to “Mariano’s Health Key System Makes Grocery Shopping Easy”

  1. 1

    Those chicken tenders look so delicious!
    Megan @ That Neat Blog recently posted…Talking to your son about “periods”My Profile

  2. 2
  3. 3
    Tonya says:

    That looks yummy! I have a feeling that we are dealing with some food allergies in our house. We’re trying to figure things out now and determine exactly what they are.
    Tonya recently posted…The Top Ten Posts of 2013My Profile

  4. 4

    I’ll keep an eye out for this brand the next time I go grocery shopping. The chicken tenders look delicious.
    Kelly @ A Girl Worth Saving recently posted…Merry ChristmasMy Profile

  5. 5

    I love Marianos! They are popping up everywhere around where we live 🙂
    Stephanie Person recently posted…Kidoodle.TVMy Profile

  6. 6

    This looks delicious and makes me hungry for second dinner!
    Kelly @ Texas Type A Mom recently posted…M&M Filled Chocolate Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting RecipeMy Profile

  7. 7
    Julie says:

    We don’t have Mariano’s here, but some of our healthy grocers here have a similar system – it makes shopping SO much easier when I’m trying to avoid certain things.
    Julie recently posted…Review: Citrus Lane December Box, Part TwoMy Profile

  8. 8
    jeanae says:

    I am saving this recipe… It looks wonderful!
    jeanae recently posted…Merry Monday MemoriesMy Profile

  9. 9
    Michelle says:

    We don’t have a Mariano’s but those recipes look fabulous! They’re going on my To Try list!!

    Michelle recently posted…My Own 52 Week Plan for 2014!My Profile

  10. 10

    Pinning this recipe! Is it lunch time yet!!
    Heather @ Work from Home with Kids recently posted…Get Out the Gunk and Start FreshMy Profile

  11. 11

    I’m looking for healthy recipes to start out his new year with, this one looks amazing!
    Donna Chaffins recently posted…Tips for a Great Start with Team Kellogg’sMy Profile

  12. 12
    Tammy says:

    These dishes don’t sound spicy at all (which I find most Mexican food is!) and since we don’t do ‘hot’ in our family I like it! I’m going to put it in one of our meal plans this month 🙂
    Tammy recently posted…Leftovers Pot PieMy Profile

    • 12.1
      Jen W. says:

      Yup, these are not at all spicy. They are just nice and flavorful. I think in the U.S. most people think of Mexican food as spicy and some of it is but there is a ton that is not too.

  13. 13
    Brandi says:

    OMG! Those tenders look yummy. And the rice. I know my kids would eat this up. I’m pinning this for later!
    Brandi recently posted…Why yes. That is blue hair.My Profile

  14. 14
    Kathleen says:

    That meal looks delicious, and it even looks like something all of my kids would eat. I love the functionality of this store, I just wish we had one by us.
    Kathleen recently posted…Easy Crockpot Bread RecipeMy Profile

  15. 15
    Cori says:

    Looks yummy! I bet my kids would even eat it. 🙂
    Cori recently posted…Fashion Playtes Gift Card Giveaway!My Profile

  16. 16

    That looks so good, I may just drool right onto my keyboard. Pinning it now!
    Rebekah {honeyandcheese} recently posted…Straw into GoldMy Profile

  17. 17

    The Mexican rice looks really good. Thanks for the recipe!

  18. 18
    Kerri says:

    Looks like that have great healthy options! I want to try your recipes!
    Kerri recently posted…Go Go Play Day is January 11th #Free #Coupon for @GogoSqueez #GoGoPlayfullyMy Profile

  19. 19
    Natalie says:

    I find it difficult enough buying healthy nutritious food without all the added junk – I can’t imagine the challenges faced by families with allergies. Any form of food labelling that makes this process easier has got to be a big win!
    Natalie recently posted…52-Week Money Saving Challenge {Free Printable}My Profile

  20. 20
    Nichol says:

    I wish we had a store like that in our area. Our small town has nothing but I’m happy our Wegman’s as a HUGE organic section. That meal looks healthy and something everyone in my family would enjoy.
    Nichol recently posted…Baby Boy Valentine’s Day Clothes and OutfitsMy Profile

  21. 21

    Those chicken tenders look really good! Sadly, we don’t have Mariano’s in this part of upstate NY, but I’m wondering if one of our other nicer grocers around here doesn’t have something similar? I’m moving away from grains and sugar and having a system like this would be really nice!
    Audrey at Barking Mad! recently posted…Weight and See – No Scales for a YEAR? Could YOU Do It?My Profile

  22. 22
    Nina Say says:

    I am a huge sucker for rice! This is amazing, pinning it for when I’m not on a low-carb diet {cry}
    Nina Say recently posted…Low Carb Keto Peanut Butter Bread RecipeMy Profile

  23. 23
    Shell Feis says:

    That looks delicious! I wish we had a Mariano’s here.
    Shell Feis recently posted…5 Ways to Save Money & Eat Healthier {Plus $50 Family Dollar Gift Card & Panini Maker Giveaway}My Profile

  24. 24
    Digna D. says:

    Marianos is new to me, we probably don’t have them on the East Coast. As a family we are always looking to eat healthier. This sounds like a great store, even better with a Rewards card.
    Digna D. recently posted…Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures 2014 Movie Schedule -Another Amazing YearMy Profile

  25. 25

    That chicken looks amazing!

    We don’t have a Mariano’s – but I wish we did! I hear fantastic things about them.
    Sara Phillips recently posted…Wordless WednesdayMy Profile

  26. 26
    Jesica H says:

    Those recipes look great, and I love the key system. I wish more stores did stuff like that!
    Jesica H recently posted…Angry Birds Go! Telepods Pig Rock Raceway ReviewMy Profile

  27. 27

    Now that is what a chicken tender should look like! I like how the shelves are clearly labeled.
    Billie @ Rowell Reviews recently posted…The Top Mobile Phones to Lookout For in 2014My Profile

  28. 28
    Kris Cain says:

    Yum!! That chicken looks and sounds delicious! And I have never thought about cooking rice in the oven. I will certainly have to give that a try. 🙂 #client

    Kris Cain recently posted…Tech Days of Christmas: More Winners!!My Profile

  29. 29
    Alicia says:

    Yum! That recipe looks delicious!:) I love all those clearly labeled tags- it makes shopping so much faster! #client
    Alicia recently posted…Reception Like No Other { #VZWVOICES #MOM}My Profile

  30. 30
    HilLesha says:

    Everything looks amazing, especially the rice. I love rice!
    HilLesha recently posted…Healthy Snacking with Mott’s® Snack & GoMy Profile

  31. 31

    […] Mexican Rice and Chicken Tenders […]

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