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How to Stay on Track With Your New Year’s Resolutions

The house is clean, the ball has dropped, and the relatives have gone home, but the Internet and your friends continue to talk about 2016 resolutions.  Should you write them down?  Should you look at that list every day?  How many resolutions should you have?  Should they be vague or number-oriented?  It’s no wonder that, out of approximately half of all adults to make a resolution, only 77 percent are on track a week into the new year, and 40 percent after 6 months.

Resolutions don’t have to be hard; we’re here to help make them simple.

2016 Goals

Know Yourself

Surely you’ve seen and been impacted by friends’ resolutions on Facebook, but don’t be intimidated into making goals that aren’t right for you.  Someone else might be ready to run a marathon in 2016; you might be ready for your first 5k.  Your coworker might be diving into vegetarianism, but you might start with a resolution for morning smoothies, or trading the fast food breakfast for a GFMS breakfast burrito.  Your sibling wants to read a book a week, but your travel schedule might make a dozen books this year a more manageable goal.  In this context we can think of these peer pressures as “resolution guilt.”  Making a goal based on someone else’s thought process is sure to be the goal you don’t achieve.  Be realistic about yourself and your objectives, and your resolutions with fall into place.

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Enlist Friends

Let’s say you made a resolution to run your first 5k. It might be intimidating to go out and run one alone, so enlist some friends! Maybe make try something that supports happiness and community, like a Color Run, where runners are doused with bright paint as they go. Or download a fitness app where you can track your progress alongside others, such as PumpUp or Under Armour Record. Regardless of your friends’ resolution goals, they might be inclined to help you out in a fun way and you’ll be more likely to complete a resolution if it’s enjoyable and social.  The same can be said for so many other resolutions: create a book club, take a cooking class, or form a carpool.

This is for a better you

Resolutions can become stressful when rewards and punishments are associated with them.  Don’t get frazzled by January 31, toss your list, and take the punishment you set for yourself; instead, work gradually.  If you eat those chips one day and ruin your junk food resolution, don’t stress.  Just re-focus, and start again tomorrow.  The best way to think about resolutions might be as suggestions.  You have a year to focus on goals you set for yourself, and the best reward for achieving—or surpassing—them is a better you.

Be sure to share your resolutions with @GFMSimple!

How to Come Away a Winner from this Year’s Holiday Festivities

Holiday festivities have begun and, along with the joy and traditions, come endless errands, checklists, family gatherings and office parties to attend.  It’s easy to forget about yourself throughout this busy time of year, so we’ve compiled some tips to help keep you focused and healthy when it’s hard this holiday season.

Moderation

Many holiday traditions revolve around certain dishes or treats, but don’t stress out trying to finish that big recipe or complicated batch of cookies by yourself.  Holidays are about sharing time with family.  Enlist the help of your kids or loved ones to make the process easier, and turn the chore into a bonding experience.

Once you’re at holiday events and gatherings, don’t feel like you have to load up on every dish that’s laid out.  Just try a bite of what appeals to you, and you’ll have plenty of feedback for the chef.  If you know there might not be any vegetables or lighter fare to offset the rich food we indulge in over the winter, pick up a veggie tray on the way.  Staying balanced in your eating habits will keep your mindset on track in the New Year.

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Drinks

Hydration is crucial and underrated during the holidays.  As you’re cooking up a storm, running holiday errands, traveling, or balancing all three, it’s important to keep your body just as healthy as you do in warmer months.  Carry a water bottle, tea, and fresh juice with you to ensure constant hydration.  Even better, take along some healthy snacks like nuts or dried fruit so you don’t succumb to fast food during your errands.  With these preparations, you’ll be better focused and hopefully avoid headaches and fatigue.

Speaking of drinking: be sure to eat something before indulging in the rich or alcoholic drinks that often go hand-in-hand with the holidays.  We recommend heating up a quick Good Food Made Simple wrap before heading out for gatherings where drinks might outweigh the food.  Staying hydrated and fed will keep you singing those carols long into the night.

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Exercise:

Your normal workout schedule might not be going too well with everything happening during the holidays, but don’t despair!  Any exercise is better than nothing.  Try some short at-home body weight workouts to keep you moving.  Scheduling time for yourself in the morning before work or errands will clear your head and ensure you start the day off right.  There are numerous workouts online, but here are a couple to start you off from Men’s Health and Greatist.  If you’re not into classic workouts, schedule some time with a friend to catch-up on a walk around town.  Better yet, make time for a family trip to your neighborhood sledding hill for fun and exercise.

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Have a wonderful holiday season with your friends and family.  Make time for yourself to eat well and exercise—your mind and body will be grateful, and ready for the New Year.  Be sure to share your festivities with @GFMSimple!

How to Stay Healthy When It’s Hard

During the holidays and throughout the winter season, it’s especially difficult to keep up with healthy habits. From eating well-rounded meals when surrounded by Christmas cookies – to maintaining an exercise regiment when you’re traveling or snowed in, there are plenty of roadblocks in your way. We’ve decided to take some initiative this year and help our fans make it out on top! Read on for more details and enter to win a TomTom multisport watch on our Facebook page.

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Fitness Influencers

We’ve asked World Champion gymnast Aly Raisman and fitness guru Sarah Dussault to get their perspective on how to stay healthy when it’s hard.  With busy training schedules combined with bustling holiday festivities both Aly and Sarah know the importance of staying healthy on the go. We can’t wait to see what they are up to this season.

We’re also giving away a TomTom Runner Cardio GPS watch watch to one lucky winner, so they can better track their fitness goals. All you have to do is enter your email address on our Facebook entry form.

Well-Balanced Meals

Good Food Made Simple focuses on clean, nutritious foods with no artificial ingredients, and we understand that your diet should consist of a variety of food groups. This balance can be challenging when you’re on the go, but many of our products feature a combination of protein, veggies, grains and dairy, and are ready to eat in under five minutes!

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Healthy Tip: The USDA recently updated the suggested daily food group serving size; so those of you who grew up with a pyramid should check out ChooseMyPlate.gov. It’s easier to eat healthy when you have a goal in mind.

Stay tuned for more advice like this… we’d also love to hear how you stay healthy when it’s hard, so comment below!

Eat Clean(er) This Thanksgiving

Stores now advertise holiday decorations and seasonal foods months in advance. The push to decorate, plan, and cook for the holidays can get overwhelming to the point that we cut corners. You know it will take 4 hours to baste and roast the Thanksgiving turkey, so why not use boxed mashed potatoes instead of peeling spuds all morning – or purchase a pre-made pie instead of baking from scratch?

But along with some popular pre-packaged Thanksgiving dishes come artificial colors, excessive amounts of sodium and other harmful additives. In order to aim for a cleaner Thanksgiving; we’ll show you some alternative recipes and semi-homemade options that will be sure to satisfy your guests.

Cranberries

Canned cranberry versus homemade cranberry sauce is an age-old Thanksgiving debate. Despite its nostalgic can-rings, the leading brand of canned jellied cranberry sauce contains 25 grams of carbs and a whopping 21 grams of sugar per ¼ cup serving. Keep in mind that while cranberries are naturally tart, the main ingredient in most canned options besides the fruit is high fructose corn syrup. We checked around and Stonewall Kitchen makes a nice Cranberry Relish that could serve as a better store-bought alternative.

Homemade variations are simple, usually comprised of just cranberries, sugar, and water. While still very sweet, homemade recipes contain much less sugar, try this 20-minute homemade cranberry sauce if you’re up for a change—or to incite further debate!  

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Source: Huffington Post

Stuffing

What’s so bad about boxed stuffing, it’s just some bread and spices, right?

Not so fast. Every stuffing mix has added sugar. Nearly half the available products have BHA and BHT chemicals (preservatives to keep the oils from oxidizing and spoiling). One ½ cup serving of the leading stuffing brand contains 29% of your daily salt intake and includes ingredients like niacin, high fructose corn syrup, hydrolyzed soy protein, and monosodium glutamate.

Can’t say that sounds too appetizing, so here’s a clean, chemical-free recipe that won’t take you all day to prepare. French bread sounds a whole lot better than MSG!

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Pie

It’s the grand finale, the quintessential conclusion to this epic November meal: pie. Making a pie by hand can be an all-day event, and grabbing one at the supermarket seems like a simpler option; same for picking up a pre-made crust and canned filling. Have you ever taken a look at what’s in those cans, though? It’s along the same lines as the jellied cranberry: high fructose corn syrup and modified food starch. Pumpkin pie filling is healthier than the cranberries, but still has added sugar syrup, which brings the total sugar per 1/3 cup serving to 17g.

Try your hand at a healthy (semi) homemade pie this season; we’d love to see the results. Here are a few recipes for pumpkin and apple pie to get you started. And if you’re hesitant to try and make your own crust, look for a Non-GMO, preservative-free option like Immaculate Baking offers.

HD-200911-r-classic-pumpkin-pie Photo Courtesy of Foodandwine.com

Enjoy your Thanksgiving without over-loading on sodium and sugar. Your dishes might even taste better—and your body will thank you for the changes. Be sure to share your favorite Turkey-Day dishes with us @GFMSimple!

Make the Most of Your Already Loved GFMS Meals

At Good Food Made Simple, our products are comprised of a few, simple ingredients, maintaining the purity of our promise. The benefit is not only freedom from unhealthy ingredients, but also the freedom to “dress up” these foundational foods. It could be any piece of food flair, from adding your favorite fruit to our oatmeal, to a touch of spices from your own cabinet when making our egg patties. It’s a total win-win for the body and the palate!

Although the list of creative food options limitless, see below for some of our favorites with awesome, and still totally healthy twists. Also, make sure to check out our Facebook page for more ways to Make the Most of Your Meal, and the chance to win a cooking class for two at Williams-Sonoma!

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Baked Mac & Cheese With Broccoli

Add minced onion, fresh broccoli florets, seasoned breadcrumbs, and salt and pepper to GFMS mac and cheese for some extra fiber and vitamins. Bake dish for 15 minutes after prepared.

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Banana-Nut Oatmeal

For a robust, flavorful, and whole hearty breakfast, add chopped up banana, walnuts, and cinnamon to an already healthy bowl of oatmeal.

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Low Calorie Bacon Avocado Breakfast Sandwich

Craving a delicious breakfast sandwich but don’t want all the added calories? Try adding 1/2 a yellow squash, 1/4 orange bell pepper, 2 slices of turkey bacon, 2 slices of avocado, and 1 tablespoon of hummus on thin sliced whole grain hamburger bun. Our friends at Food for Life Baking company make plenty of delicious options!

cheese and veg breakfast wrap

Pico de Gallo-Bathed Burrito

Dice up crisp tomatoes, seeded jalapeños, and white onion, then toss with freshly squeezed lime juice and salt to taste. Add in corn off the cob, and if you’re feeling adventurous, diced apple or mango! Spoon this homemade pico de gallo atop your favorite Good Food Made Simple burrito.

Any other ideas? Share with us below! And don’t forget to enter to win those Williams-Sonoma cooking classes!

Easing the Transition to Fall Cooking

As the weather gets colder and we start pulling out sweaters and boots, our cooking transitions from cool and refreshing, to hearty and savory dishes. Roasts and stews; pumpkin and cranberry; chai and hot chocolate; we all know these classic tastes of fall. However, there is more produce in season throughout September, October, and November than you might expect. No need to rely on canned or frozen fruits and veggies, there are plenty of fresh options readily available!

Squash:

Butternut and acorn squashes are fall staples, but try a new variety this season like buttercup, sweet dumpling, delicata, or chayote.

Tip: Every part of the sweet dumpling squashes can be eaten, so the roots and leaves make great additions to stews.


Fruits:

Don’t think fall means that only apples are in season. Pick up some key limes, pineapples, persimmons, passion fruit, kumquats, and grapes for refreshing sides or desserts. More classic fall fruits like gooseberries, crab apples, cranberries and date plums can offer a tangy bite to your seasonal desserts.

Tip: Waking up to a warm bowl of Good Food Made Simple Vermont Maple Oatmeal gets a fall morning off on the right foot. Try sprinkling in some cranberries or crab apple slices before microwaving for a new take on the fall fave.

More Veggies:

Swiss Chard, bok choy, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, broccoli; fall veggies are hearty and wholesome. Sautée them, stew them, or stick them on the grill for one last barbecue! Make sure to give turnips a chance as well!

Photo courtesy of The Pioneer Woman: Sunday Night Stew

Enjoy your fall foods, and be sure to share your favorites with us @GFMSimple!
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Staying Street (And Eat) Smart: A College Student’s Guide To Living Well

Most of us have either been through college, are in the throes of it, or will be there someday. For the folks among us who are “living the college dream” right now, we can sympathize with you in that it can be difficult to eat and live healthily.

Does any of this sound familiar?

  • “I’ve got eight tests this week, so I HAVE to stay up all night studying.”
  • “Food was so much better when my mom would just cook it for me… #lazystudentproblems”
  • “It’s 3:00 am and I just spent 8 hours in the library, all I want to do is plop in front of the TV with a pizza!”

Take from us a few tips on how to transform your habits while in college, so you’re able to enjoy a healthy lifestyle beyond the dorm days and into the future.

No Excuses

  • One of the most common excuses students tell themselves is that they have no time to cook up a healthy meal.
  • Keep a stock of GFMS burritos, like the buffalo style chicken entree burrito, in your freezer for a quick, all natural, and flavorful lunch meal! The time you save just may allow you to squeeze in a trip to the library… (Okay fine, a trip to the park!) Just be sure to read the ingredients and nutrition facts.

gfms buffalo style chicken burrito-01If You Don’t Snooze, You Lose  

  • Studies show that lack of sleep is a tremendous factor in weight gain, in other words, that infamous “freshman 15”. When we’re well rested, maintain a physically active routine, and eat nutrient rich foods, we’re more likely to eat fewer calories and, thus, to keep a consistent number on the scale.

Nobody’s Perfect

  • By focusing on just simply doing your best and not being perfect, you can make progress toward your goals to a healthier, better lifestyle
  • Have a breakfast, lunch, and a good dinner meal that will keep you full and not craving any of that (way too) late night pizza
  • Keep healthy food options in your living space so that it’s easier to curb cravings with nutritious snacks

bowl_turkeysausageEnjoy these simple guidelines to make the most out of your college years. School isn’t only for studying those textbooks – it’s also for life lessons, like how to stay healthy!
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Popular Food Myths Debunked

Does watermelon really grow in your stomach if you swallow the seeds? Are you what you eat!? (Stay away from the nuts!)

Here’s a peek at a few popular food myths, and the rationales behind their faulty assertions.

Microwaving Food Destroys Nutrients

The microwave oven technology, which came onto the market in the late 1940s, received a lot of flack initially. However, the myth that microwaves suck nutrients from food is in fact false. High temperatures and long cook times are actually what tend to work away at the nutrients in your food, so the decreased cook time in a microwave is not doing your food the harm it’s been reputed to do.

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A Gluten Free Diet is Good For Everyone

Only about 1% of the population suffers from gluten intolerance, and doctors recommend that those who don’t should continue to include whole grains into their meal plans as part of a balanced diet. Digestion and healthy cholesterol levels are just a couple of the benefits of whole grains, which naturally contain gluten – and are great for you!

Eggs Are Bad For Your Heart

Because eggs are high in cholesterol, they often get a bad reputation. However, due to their immense amounts of nutrients and protein, they in fact allow your body to produce less cholesterol. As long as you don’t have a preternatural susceptibility to heart disease, the results of eating eggs include extreme benefits for your body, your heart, and your health.

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Organic Food is Always Healthier

The “organic” label on foods does not necessarily mean that they’re any better than non-organic foods. Rather, it refers to exactly how those foods were grown or produced. In that sense, the nutrients of each are comparable, and what’s important is to make sure you’re eating well and being conscious of what you’re putting into your body.

Do any other food myths keep you up at night?

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Smart Summer Eating Guide: How To Keep Your Meals Safe During The Year’s Hottest Season

Summer time is in full swing! At Good Food Made Simple, we love a nice picnic or barbecue. I mean, what’s not to appreciate about a warm, sunshiney forecast and some of the “coolest” foods out there? But as the weather gets warmer, there are more risks that come with outdoor eating and food prep. Leaving food out for too long at room temperature, for example, can cause all different kinds of harmful bacteria to grow.

As people who truly value eating, take from us these tips for how to eat safely during the summer season.

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1.    Keep Your Food Out of the “Danger Zone”

  • Keep hot food hot – at or above 140 °F
  • Keep cold food cold – at or below 40 °F
  • Never leave food out of refrigeration for over 2 hours
  • If the temperature is above 90 °F, food should not be left out for more than 1 hour

2.    Keep Cooking Safe

  •  Raw meat and poultry should always be cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature. (Check out the helpful thermostat illustration below for details!)
  • When roasting meat and poultry, use an oven temperature no lower than 325°F
  • If you aren’t serving hot food right away, keep it at 140 °F or above

3.    Storing Leftovers

  • Since bacteria can be reintroduced to food even AFTER it is safely cooked, leftovers must be kept in shallow containers for quick cooling and kept refrigerated at 40 °F or below within 2 hours

4.    Reheating for Re-eating

  • When you get those cravings for some delicious leftovers, you should reheat the food thoroughly to an internal temperature of 165 °F or until it is steaming hot.
  • If you are using the microwave to reheat the food, cover the dish and rotate so it heats evenly 

Fourth 3

 

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Simplify Your Summer Palette

Summer: a time with lots to do and lots to eat! Considering all the beautiful produce and the seasonal warm weather snacks, no wonder it is such a unanimously popular season. But with all the fun to be had comes hidden dangers in some of our most treasured summer foods.

The perils of artificial dyes

While the FDA has not banned all food dyes, the remaining list of those approved by the FDA are constantly under speculation because of existing side effects other dyes are known to produce. Specifically, these dyes have been under speculation regarding the mental development of young children.

At Good Food Made Simple, we would never subject you to any of these artificial additives. Find more information on the strict ingredient exclusions we abide by here.

food dye

Did you know these fun summertime foods are often altered beyond their natural color?

  • Chocolate
    • Oftentimes chocolate products have added colorings to make them look more “chocolatey.” What’s more chocolatey than just plain chocolate?!
  • Macaroni & Cheese
    • Many mac and cheese brands have fluorescent-colored orange dyes that poorly emulate the color of cheddar cheese. Ours, of course, does not!
  • Juices
    • It’s no secret that sodas are often artificially colored. But what about fruit juices? It’s important to note what’s “fruit-flavored” and what’s actually fruit, as well as what summertime beverages have added dyes.

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Natural dye alternatives

There are some great products on the market that utilize nature’s own resources to produce colorful foods. Likewise, when cooking at home it can be fun to experiment with already colorful foods in new and inventive ways to color-up the tabletop. Take these, for example:

  • Turmeric produces an orange-yellow dye
  • Elderberries are purple-blue
  • Black Carrots are peach-red
  • Saffron is yellow
  • Red Cabbage is blue
  • Carrot Oil is orange
  • Beets are reddish-purple

Keeping your summer colorful doesn’t have to mean keeping it artificial.
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