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Eat Clean this Halloween

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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:

There’s a good selection from this Pinterest board, some appetizers from POPSUGAR Fitness, and a list of healthy treats from Cooking Light.

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. :)

Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal Recipe

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.

pumpkin pie oatmeal

 

On-The-Go Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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!

9 Fruits and Veggies that should say out of the Fridge

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.

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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.

The Most Important Meal

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.

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#ProduceProblems

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:

-       Apples

-       Strawberries

-       Grapes

-       Celery

-       Peaches

-       Spinach

-       Sweet bell peppers

-       Imported nectarines

-       Cucumbers

-       Cherry tomatoes

-       Imported snap peas

-       Potatoes

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!

-       Avocados

-       Sweet corn

-       Pineapples

-       Cabbage

-       Frozen sweet peas

-       Onions

-       Asparagus

-       Mangoes

-       Papayas

-       Kiwis

-       Eggplant

-       Grapefruit

-       Cantaloupe

-       Cauliflower

-       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.

Keeping Your Memorial Day Cookout 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.KeepitClean-sm

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.

Spring Cleaning… for your Diet!

Once spring arrives, everyone has one thing on his or her mind – spring cleaning! It’s a time to clean the house, get rid of unused items, donate old clothing, and kick off the season with a cleaner and more organized home.

We we’re into spring cleaning too, but we’re not talking about your house – we’re talking about your diet! We know leading a clean-eating lifestyle is not going to happen overnight, though creating smaller goals will help you make strides towards this desired end result. To help, we’ve created a spring-cleaning checklist for you to focus on one thing at a time.

- Start with your pantry. Go through all your packaged foods and read the ingredients labels. Throw out anything containing hydrogenated oil (Trans Fat), high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), monosodium glutamate (MSG).

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- Start buying fruits and vegetables in season. You get the most value for your food dollars, and not to mention fresh local produce is bursting with flavor andnutrition.

- Cut down on the alcohol. Try eliminating drinking during the week and treat your self on the weekends. Excessive drinking can affect your mood, sleep, and immune system.

- Start buying Greek yogurt instead of regular yogurt. Greek and regular yogurt can be part of a healthy diet as they are both low-calorie and packed with calcium. Though Greek yogurt is high in protein, which keeps you fuller longer, and helps you battle those snack cravings throughout the day.

- Replace your heavy, fatty dressings and dips with fresh salsas and vinaigrettes. It’s a simple substitution that could go a long way.

- Try eliminating processed sugar and artificial sweeteners from your diet for a week. Once you’re body gets used to it, you won’t crave it as often.

- Start your day with a glass of water. Drinking more water will help you lose weight, keep your skin clear and hydrated, and it even increase your brain’s cognitive function. It’s a win-win.

Fad Diets will Fade, but Clean Eating is Forever

Springtime is finally here and many of us are eager to start eating healthier and losing those few extra pounds we seem to have accumulated over the winter months.

So what’s the solution? The terms Paleo diet, juice cleanse, and Atkins have all been associated with the process of losing weight.  Although these fad diets have gained notoriety, they may not be the most effective in sustaining long-term weight loss or improving your unhealthy eating habits.

strawberry

Instead of enduring a week of only consuming lemon juice and cayenne pepper, why not make a lifestyle change and start eating clean. No processed foods, no preservatives, no artificial flavors and colors. Incorporating fresh and all naturalfoods into your diet goes a long way and will do your body good. Always check the ingredient list on your packaged foods in the grocery store to make sure the food your feeding you and your family isn’t made up of chemicals and artificial substances.

The benefits of clean eating momentously outweigh the extra 30 seconds that it takes to read ingredient labels. Dietitians who have worked with patients that have incorporated clean eating into their diets have noted increased energy, enhanced mood, cleaner skin, and overall better sleep quality. Not to mention switching to eating cleaner foods will help you drop a few pounds.

This spring, we at Good Food Made Simple, urge you to try replacing that word “diet” with “clean eating” and soon you too will be on the road to looking and feeling better!

 

 

The Truth about Trans Fat

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So, what really is Trans Fat? It’s hydrogen added to liquid vegetable oil to form partially hydrogenated oil. It’s also commonly used to make foods more solid and to improve taste and texture, but consequently introduces major health risks into your diet. That doesn’t sound like something you want to be eating, does it?

Even worse, federal regulations allow companies to print “ZERO grams of trans fat” on food labels as long as there is less than 0.5 grams per serving?

Most packaged foods contain more than one serving, which means while you may think you aren’t ingesting any trans fat you are actually consuming MULTIPLE grams of the harmful fat.

The American Heart Association actually advises people limit their trans fat intake to less than 2 grams per day. Given the amount of naturally occurring trans fats most eat every day, this leaves no room for industrially manufactured trans fats.

In a world where labels seem to be misguiding more than they are confiding, we’ve got some easy tips on what to look for to avoid tricky label loopholes:

  1. ZERO trans fat vs. NO trans fat: There is a difference between ZERO trans fat and NO trans fat. No trans fat means that the ingredients do not contain any traces of trans fat; zero grams of trans fat means there could be up to 0.5 grams.
  2. Read the ingredients:  Stay away from foods with “hydrogenated oil,” “partially hydrogenated oil” or “vegetable shortening.” These oils are the most common source of trans fat and are added to extend the shelf life of packaged foods.
  3. Choose food with liquid oils: The healthiest alternative is using liquid vegetable oils such as olive, canola, corn, or soy oils. Food companies began partially hydrogenating these oils because it’s cheaper, easier to transport and they don’t spoil as easily.

At Good Food Made Simple, we vow NEVER to use trans fat, hydrogenated oils or hydrogenated fats in our products. We’re on a mission to clean up the frozen food aisle and provide convenient options without all those harmful additives.  Take note of what ingredients and serving sizes are in your foods. Be good to you and your family.

“Say Cheese!” – Why food packaging can be deceiving

CHEESE

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The average American eats 33 pounds of cheese in a year.  Whether in Mac n’ Cheese, on nachos or just as a midday snack, that’s a lot of cheese.

But with all of the different looking products on the market claiming to contain cheese – from brightly colored corn puffs, to creamy pasta dishes, to sliced deli packages – how do we know what’s real, and what isn’t?

The answer? Read the ingredients label.  Just because it says cheese doesn’t mean it came from a cow…or an animal of any kind, for that matter.

Take the average Mac n’ Cheese box. Should be pretty simple ingredients: macaroni and cheese.  Maybe a little salt. But one glance at the Mac n’ Cheese nutrition label will tell you there may be a whole lot more in your cheese than natural cheese… including milk-fat protein concentrate, sodium tripolyphosphate and yellow dyes 5 and 6.

That doesn’t sound like cheese to us.

According to the National Dairy Association there are seven types of cheese ranging from natural cheese – the cheddars, mozzarellas and food we most closely identify as ‘cheese’- to pasteurized, processed cheese product (PPCP). A cheese product with less than 51% cheese and that is frequently made with chemicals, dyes and phosphates that have been linked to migraines, asthma and even kidney injury.

But yet it can still say “cheese” in big, bright letters right on the front of the package.

What does this mean? It means while PPCPs don’t sound like cheese, food labels can still claim it is. It means what food companies can say about their products can be very and different to how the average person understands it at a glance.

And what it really means is that if you want to know what you’re eating, you need to read the ingredients…not just the marketing hype.

After all, the first step to eating healthier is to know what it is you are eating. Look for ingredients that you understand, and food labels that don’t require a dictionary.

The good news in all of this? Real food (and cheese) is out there; you just have to look for it. And here is a good place to start…

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