Last Memorial Day Weekend, we posted a blog with some pointers on how to keep your spring and summer cookouts “clean.” This year, we’re following up with one of our favorite ideas from that blog post: the many ways, shapes, and forms that fruit can take to satisfy your summertime sweet tooth!
See below for some great picnic fundamentals, cookout necessities, and snack time must-haves – all starting with our favorite fruits.
From the Fridge
We love the way it keeps cookies simple! Instead of unnatural sweeteners, it calls for a cup of Medjool dates, which are a naturally sweet fruit. These cookies are simple to make, use clean ingredients, and are a great way to incorporate a serving of fruit into your Memorial Day dessert spread.
Cottage cheese and natural yogurts (with little to no added sweetener) make tried-and-true base dishes colorful with ripe, naturally scrumptious berries. Try a medley of the following for a patriotic (and probiotic!) feel:
On the Grill
Wrapping a banana in tin foil and throwing it on the grate makes for a delicious, fruit-based dessert when you’re grilling. It’s yummy, fun, and satisfies your sweet tooth without an overload of artificial sugars!
Fresh peaches are also great on the grill. Slice them in half and keep them over the fire until they’re hot and soft, then enjoy a naturally super-sweet fruit prepared in true Memorial Day fashion!
Homemade popsicles are a classic warm-weather treat and make for a great way to monitor exactly how much sugar – and what kinds of sugar – are in your summer sweets. Try mixing and matching 100% fruit juices (that aren’t artificially colored). We recommend the combos below:
Another idea to make your popsicles a bit creamier is to puree fresh fruits in a blender, add some all-natural yogurt, and pour the mixture into either ice cube trays or popsicle trays. They’re easy to make, fun to eat and a low-sugar alternative to traditional creamy desserts like ice cream.
Lastly, frozen grapes are one of the simplest ways to make fruit more fun, and make dessert a bit friendlier to your health! Other fresh fruits are great frozen, too, and maintain their natural sweetness really well. Try some of the following to mix it up:
With Easter right around the corner, we’ve begun brainstorming ideas for our favorite Easter day activities. Our list of to-dos may possibly be a little eccentric, but it is undoubtedly egg-centric. It goes something like this:
1. Dye Easter Eggs
2. Hide/Hunt for Easter Eggs
3. Eat Easter Eggs
Speaking of nutrients, eggs contain high levels of quality proteins, essential amino acids, antioxidants, loads of vitamins, and are a great way to increase HDL (in other words, “good”) cholesterols, which lower the risk of heart disease.1 That’s why we encourage you, this Easter, to forego those plastic eggs and stick to the real deal! Dye ‘em, find ‘em, and eat ‘em.
Swirly Look: Line a glass baking dish with shaving cream, drop a few colors of food coloring onto it, then run the tip of a skewer or other similar utensil through the drops of color, creating a loosely swirled design in the shaving cream. From there, roll your egg on top of the shaving cream where its designs are in tact (in areas that look smeared, re-apply shaving cream and add a new swirled design). Let the shaving cream dry for about 30 minutes, then wipe the excess off to reveal a beautiful swirled design!
Textured Eggs: Decorate your eggs with a glue gun but creating bumps or raised designs “drawn” in hot glue! Then dye your eggs in the traditional mixture of water and food coloring for a crafty twist on the classic technique.
Experiment With Paints: Why not decorate your eggs with paint markers, fabric paints, nail polishes, or even acrylic paints? With tiny paintbrushes or paints that have deliberate nozzles for detail application, there’s no reason you need to stick to water and food coloring to dye or to paint your eggs!
Faces: To add a little personality to your eggs this Easter, turn them into animals! Glue on googly eyes, decorative feathers and the like. Cut out construction paper ears, animal noses, beaks, or even paws, and then fold a small piece of the paper on one end of your cutout. That folded piece of the construction paper cutout will sit flat on the egg, which you can glue down, so that the animal “appendage” sticks out from the egg.
Tie-Dye: Just like you’d tie-dye a tee shirt, you can wrap tiny, rubber hairbands around your blank boiled eggs. From there, put your eggs into a colander. Release one drop of concentrated food coloring atop each egg, and give the colander a spin. The drops of color spread out and down the surface of the egg. Do this for a couple more colors, allowing each color drop to dry briefly between applications. Finally, remove the bands to reveal a striped, tie-dye look!
‘Tis the day to wear green, and to pinch the folks who aren’t! But don’t worry, you don’t have to be Irish to participate in all the fun St. Patrick’s Day has to offer. Here at Good Food Made Simple, we believe that not only should we be wearing green today – we should be eating it, too!
In fact, as most of us probably know (and less of us probably put into practice), eating greens should be a part of our everyday diets. Nutrition and health expert Joy Bauer recommends eating at least five servings of vegetables every day, which equates to 2.5 cups of cooked veggies.
In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, check out some of our favorite herbs, legumes, leafy greens, and other delicious green veggies, along with a few ideas about how to incorporate them into balanced meals. Practice not only eating green – but eating clean!
Chop up some broccoli florets and throw them into your next serving of our Original Mac & Cheese. The complementary flavor profiles of cheese and broccoli make for a great and delicious pairing.
With a texture profile similar to that of chickpeas, cooked lentils are great to puree in a blender, add spices and a bit of oil to, and use like a hummus dip! They’re also full of fiber, iron, and protein!
Green Bell Peppers
We use green bell peppers in our breakfast bowls to add a little crunch and a whole lot of nutrients to your morning. Try green bell peppers as a crudité, too, by slicing them up and eating them with dips as a chip alternative.
Some sprigs of fresh mint leaves in your GFMS Fruit and Berries oatmeal can really brighten your morning – not to mention your bowl!
This peppery, leafy green is a great source of potassium. Try tossing a salad with arugula next time, adding a light vinaigrette and maybe some sliced fresh pear to complement the greens.
Add shaved Brussels sprouts to your oatmeal, top it off with slivers of Parmesan cheese, cracked sea salt and some truffle oil for a savory, veggie-fied twist on your GFMS Original Steel-Cut Oats!
Make a sandwich with one of our varieties of egg patties, and add some raw butterhead lettuce for a tasty, low profile dose of vegetables.
With Thanksgiving next week, you might already be craving some turkey. While we love turkey (just check out our turkey sausage burrito or uncured bacon & turkey sausage breakfast bowl) not all of it is created equal. The keyword here is created.
If you pick up cold cuts from your local deli, odds are you’re purchasing processed meat. Processed meats are, according to an article from Women’s Health, “anything more manipulated than cut or ground.” These meats can contain harmful chemical compounds like sodium nitrites that, when combined with amines in your stomach, can become carcinogenic compounds. If you consistently consume large quantities of processed meats, this could result in severe health consequences.
Here are some stats that might make you think twice about regularly consuming processed meats:
So, be wary the next time you go to the supermarket. Make sure that you are purchasing whole cuts (“a section of meat or poultry that has been cooked, possibly flavored with salt, spices, or sugars that is then sliced) rather than processed meats. So for your turkey cravings, choose options like fresh-roasted turkey breast, or choose to cook your own protein.
At Good Food Made Simple, we know the value of clean ingredients. It’s why we avoid hydrogenated oils, filler ingredients, and chemical preservatives in all of our products. After all, a healthy body is a happy mind!
It can be hard to maintain your well-balanced diet when Halloween rolls around. While your buying bags of snickers, M&M’s, and skittles for the trick-or-treaters in your neighborhood, it’s almost impossible not to indulge yourself with a few sweet treats yourself.
So, we’ve decided to put together a “Clean Halloween” list to help you avoid over-indulging in all those added sugars and unnatural ingredients.
1. Buy your candy at the last minute:
If you buy your candy too early in the month, it will be lying in your house tempting you to eat it. If you buy candy a few days before the big night, you’re less likely to grab that handful of tootsie rolls.
2. Buy candy you don’t like:
Candy corn, Mary Janes, and Good and Plenty are all in the ranks for the most disliked candy. Pick up a pack of something you don’t like and you’ll feel safe knowing that they’ll stay in your cupboard until Halloween.
3. Try a satisfying alternative to over-processed candy: Dark Chocolate
Sometimes restricting yourself too much can lead to binge eating. Instead, allow yourself to have a few pieces of dark chocolate throughout the week. It’s full of antioxidants, is high in vitamins and minerals, and helps control blood sugar.
4. Make your own nutritious confections:
5. Keep some peppermints, sugar-free gum, or a bag full of trail-mix on hand at all times.
Whenever you get a craving, just whip out your go-to snack. Mint gum or tea is especially helpful, as it’s a widely known appetite suppressant. (Remember, our Good Food Made Simple products are ready in less than five minutes, so if you start to feel your willpower wavering, you can always grab a burrito or some mac & cheese and dig-in.)
Hope our tricks will keep you away from the treats this Halloween.
The fall season has arrived and with that crisp fall air, there is no better way to start the day with a warm bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. Along with the brilliantly colored foliage, fall is a time for all things pumpkin: pumpkin picking, pumpkin pies, and pumpkin carving. So it’s not surprising that this orange gourd starts to symbolize everything we love about the season.
If you’re just as crazy about pumpkins as we are, you should check out this recipe for Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal by acclaimed Food Network chef Aarti Sequeira. Don’t have time in the morning to pull this off? Don’t worry, we have you covered. We took this delicious recipe and converted it into an on-the-go version using our GFMS Steel Cut Oats. Check out our 5-minute Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal recipe below.
1 puck Good Food Made Simple Original Unsweetened Steel Cut Oats
¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice OR ½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon honey OR pure maple syrup
Raisins, for serving
Remove plastic from one puck from Good Food Made Simple Original Unsweetened Steel Cut Oats and place in microwave safe bowl. Heat 3 ½ minutes on high and stir oatmeal. If needed, place back in microwave until hot. Let stand for 1 minute.
Add pumpkin pie spice, honey, maple syrup, and/or raisins per preference. Enjoy!
Have you hit the Farmer’s Market yet this summer? There is nothing like taking home fresh fruits and vegetables, especially when you are trying to eat clean foods. But beware, not all produce should be stored in the fridge.
Here are 8 Farmer’s Market finds that should stay out of the fridge:
1. Tomatoes – If you’ve ever grown tomatoes, then you know that this fruit loves the heat and hates the cold. In the fridge, juicy tomatoes become mealy and tasteless.
2. Apples – Many people put their apples in the fridge, but what they don’t know is that storing apples at cold temperatures is reducing their antioxidants and health benefits.
3. Melon – Keeping melons (such as Watermelons, Cantaloupe, Honeydew Melons) chilled also depletes their nutritional benefits. The cold temperatures stunt their ripening processes too.
4. Potatoes – Potatoes are root vegetables and like cool temperatures, but not cold temperatures. Cold temperatures convert their starch to sugar more quickly, which can affect flavor, texture and the way they cook.
5. Onions - To develop their papery skin and keep that dry outer layer, onions need to be kept in a dry environment like a pantry. The fridge can be damp, and the lack of air circulation will cause onions to spoil.
6. Garlic – Like onions, garlic should be stored in a dry environment and storing the cloves in the refrigerator may cause them to grow mold due to the moisture.
7. Stone Fruit (Peaches, Nectarines, Plums) – Since peaches and nectarines continue to ripen after they’ve been harvested, you should store them at room temperature. Chilling them before they ripen will stunt their ripening process and leave them mealy and flavorless.
8. Basil – Keeping your basil in the refrigerator will cause it to wilt prematurely. Treat your basil like fresh cut flowers and keep them on the counter in a cup of water.
9. Avocados - If you buy a hard avocado that you want to use in the near future, don’t store it in your refrigerator, as it slows the ripening process.
It has been said over and over that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but do you really know why? There are numerous benefits to eating a healthy breakfast. Whether you have time to sit down for an early morning meal at the table or have to take a quick bite to eat on the go, here’s why breakfast should be a part of your daily routine.
It keeps you from binging. People who don’t eat breakfast tend to consume more calories throughout the day. This is because by lunchtime, you’re more likely to be starving and choose something less nutritious to satisfy your cravings. You are also more likely to snack during the day and late into the night. A satisfying breakfast keeps your hunger under control and helps you to make healthy choices all day long.
It keeps you in a good mood. Skipping breakfast can leave you feeling tired, restless, or irritable. Eating a healthy meal in the morning refuels your body after a full night of sleep and gives you the energy to take on your daily tasks. A nutritious breakfast can get you through your workday and sustain the kids through a busy morning at camp!
It revs your metabolism. Eating breakfast wakes up your body and tells it that its time to get working. When you don’t eat breakfast your body tries to conserve the energy from the day before by slowing down the metabolism. Breakfast kick-starts your digestive system and can help you burn more calories throughout the day.
It helps you focus. Hunger and fatigue due to skipping breakfast can cause you to be distracted from your work and can keep your kids from engaging fully in their fun summer activities! A morning meal wakes up your brain and allows the whole family to be fully present and enjoy the day.
Summer is finally here! Soon families across the country will be stocking their shelves with all of the fresh produce that is finally in season. However, the Environmental Working Group urges shoppers to use caution when selecting their fruits and vegetables this year. But wait – Aren’t these supposed to be the healthiest foods?
The EWG calls attention to the overwhelming presence of “bug- and weed-killers” in America’s supply of produce. The 2014 statistics show that two-thirds of produce samples in recent tests have pesticide residues. This group outlines the cleanest and dirtiest conventionally raised fruits and vegetables in its Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce.
The “Dirty Dozen” is the EWG’s list of twelve foods that contain the highest number of different pesticide residues in high concentrations relative to other produce items. Consuming these pesticides can lead to health issues such as irritated skin, hormone imbalances, or problems with the nervous system. The list includes:
- Sweet bell peppers
- Imported nectarines
- Cherry tomatoes
- Imported snap peas
Now, on to the “Clean Fifteen”! These produce items are the least likely to hold pesticide residues, and should be kept on your radar when shopping for fresh foods this summer!
- Sweet corn
- Frozen sweet peas
- Sweet potatoes
If you find some of your favorites on the dirty list, the EWG advises you to opt for organic produce instead. However, when selecting conventionally raised produce, save your body and stick to what’s clean.
Memorial Day Weekend is the kick-off to the summer season, and also marks the beginning of cookout season. When we think of “cookouts”, we think of endless bowls of chips and dip, juicy burgers, and savory desserts that we just have to try – even when our stomachs are telling us we’re already full.
While it may not be inconceivable to have a true Memorial Day celebration without these traditional foods, it is possible to keep the feel of a genuine cookout without all of the greasy and sugary side effects. We have found a few basic tips to help you incorporate a clean menu into your holiday gathering this year!
Stick to lean proteins. One easy way to mimic typical cookout-style food is to incorporate turkey burgers into the menu. They are a much leaner and heart-friendly food that can be just as delicious as regular beef burgers.
Add a skewer or kabob to your list. These are easy to make and do not require a fancy recipe; you can simply grill chicken or shrimp with some of your favorite vegetables and allow your guests to build their own dish!
Add a healthy twist to your side dishes. Cookouts are often full of dips and potato salads covered in piles of mayonnaise and other condiments. With just a few ingredient substitutions, you can turn your platter into something your body will be thankful for. Sweet potato fries are an easy and delicious alternative to salty, greasy french-fries. For your coleslaw recipes, use Greek yogurt instead of mayo to “clean up” the ingredients.
Fruit can satisfy your sweet tooth. You can’t forget about dessert. It’s easy to just whip up a batch of cookies, or run out to the store and buy a cake, but there are much cleaner options that are still sweet and delicious. Fresh fruit can be sweet enough to satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth. Even try pairing it with a Greek yogurt and honey dip!
So this year, be sure to keep these clean-eating tips in mind while you’re planning for your Memorial Day cookout.← Older Meals
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