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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.

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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…

Reading Labels Part 2

“Oatmeal Ingredient Showdown”

We’ve shared some ingredients to watch out for when you are reading food labels (artificial colors, partially hydrogenated oils, potassium benzoate), but now it’s time to put our own ingredients to the test.

First, let’s look at the ingredient list on Quaker Instant Oatmeal Maple and Brown Sugar.  Should be too complex, right? The ingredients include:

  • Whole grain rolled oats
  • Natural and artificial flavor (Uh oh, BAD ingredient alert)
  • Salt
  • Calcium carbonate
  • Guar gum (Gum? I thought I was eating oatmeal?)
  • Caramel color
  • Niacinamide
  • Reduced iron
  • Vitamin A palminate
  • Pyridoxine hydrochloride (Is this breakfast or a chemistry lesson?)
  • Riboflavin
  • Thiamin mononitrate
  • Folic acid

Calcium carbonate? That is an unnecessary additive that is essentially chalk which is added to “make it look pretty.” What about all chemical sounding ingredients at the end? While they may be forms of vitamin B, as listed on the package, the question is, are they necessary?

Now let’s look at Good Food Made Simple Oatmeal with Brown Sugar and Cinnamon:

  • Filtered water
  • 100% whole grain organic rolled oats
  • Brown sugar
  • Sea salt, spices
  • Natural vanilla flavoring

Big difference, huh?

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The point is, it’s time to read and recognize the ingredients on packaged foods. We’re not just saying this because the products we produce all have recognizable ingredients; it’s because we want you to be healthy.

Reading Labels Part 1

“What to Watch Out For”

Americans eat 31 percent more packaged food than fresh food, many of which contain ingredients that are unpronounceable, unnecessary and unhealthy like Niacin, Sodium Tripolyphosphate and Hydrolyzed Corn/Soy Protein.

A quick lesson …

Many of the ingredients found in packaged foods can have significant side effects. Here is a short list of “watch out” additives – used in foods to enhance flavor, texture, color or to prevent spoilage, oxidation and mold – and the damage they do to our bodies.

  • Artificial Colors: Although 9 artificial colors are approved by use by the FDA, all are synthetically derived from coal tar, a carcinogen. If that’s not bad enough, they may cause asthma, hyperactivity, tumors, stomach and reproduction difficulties … the list goes on. So, artificial colors found? In hundreds of processed food such as Doritos, Crystal Light, Kfraft Mac and Cheese, Fiber One 90 Carlorie: Chocolate Caramel and Pretzel, among many, many others.

  • Partially Hydrogenated oils (Trans fat): Found almost always in processed foods such as crackers, frozen bakery products, cakes, cookies, French fries, frozen meats and microwave popcorn, Trans Fat has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, colon cancer, coronary heart disease, obesity, liver dysfunction, along others.

  • Potassium Benzoate: This ingredient is yet another derivative from petroleum or coal tar derivative is found in soft drinks and juices. The health effects? Asthma, hives, eczema.

As you know, you can trust Good Food Made Simple to never include any of these ingredients.  It’s time to start reading and understanding, labels. We care about your health, and you should too!

Introducing: Eat Clean, Eat Simple

Today is the beginning of a new and exciting educational journey. It’s the launch of our national campaign, Eat Clean, Eat Simple, where we will help you better understand ingredients, inspire label reading and give you the tools to help you live a healthier life.

We passionately believe that ingredients are the priority in every product.
We believe that the eggs you eat shouldn’t have chemicals or additives.
We believe that breakfast sausage shouldn’t be filled with nitrates and phosphates.
We believe that instant oatmeal shouldn’t have artificial flavors or colors.
We believe that fruit and vegetables shouldn’t be treated with chemical preservatives.
And we believe this should be common sense. Sadly, it’s not.

So, we’re on a mission to empower consumers to take control over what they put into their bodies simply by reading labels. It’s called Eat Clean, Eat Simple, and it really is… simple.

So what is the goal of Eat Clean, Eat Simple?

1. EXPOSE. We’ll reveal concerning information, dispel myths, state the facts and expose ingredients (and brands) for who/what they truly do.

2. EDUCATE. We’ll teach you about the ingredients that make up the food you eat so you have the knowledge to make conscious decisions.

3. EMPOWER. We hope to inspire close label reading with clarity and context so that we can all feel comfortable that we are eating real food.

At Good Food Made Simple, we only use clean, simple ingredients that you know and trust. No unnecessary additives and absolutely nothing artificial…EVER. Visit our new Eat Clean, Eat Simple page to learn more about ingredients that make up your food, take the Eat Clean pledge, and even take a short quiz that will provide you with a chance to win a GFMS coupons and a “clean” supermarket sweeps!

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We can’t start this revolution alone, so join us on our mission to Eat Clean, Eat Simple, and be healthier.

Breakfast in a Time Crunch!

Today, the fast food industry is expanding into every meal, snack and beverage and breakfast (famously, the most important) is no exception. Undoubtedly the busiest time of every person’s day, breakfasts are more about grabbing and going, than savoring and enjoying.

In fact, according to Gawker, “NPD Group VP Harry Balzer, [notes] that the average time spent eating breakfast is 13 minutes.” We understand that go-go-go lifestyle, and we too have very little time in the morning. But instead of sacrificing your health for that McCafe Deluxe Breakfast (which clocks in at over 1,000 calories), find something that doesn’t compromise your health and takes less time than the drive-thru.

Kids need breakfast even more than adults do too. Studies show that children need about one-quarter of their daily nutrition at breakfast to keep their energy and attention high; however, just filling their bellies is not enough! Doctors say that children’s ideal breakfast should be high in carbohydrates and low in fat. But what’s a parent to do when there aren’t any nutrition labels on those fast food bags?

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One of our favorites here at GFMS are the breakfast burritos; they only require one hand but are chock full of wholesome and satisfying ingredients you know.  Good in the car, on the train or at your desk, it’s a breakfast you can feel good about and all for less time than it takes to cruise up to that take-out window. And with our new varieties, including Garden Veggie, Southwestern and Chicken Apple Sausage, there’s a burrito for everyone in your family.

What’s your favorite on-the-go food?

- Team GFMS

The White vs. The Yolk

Over the past few years, the egg white trend has grown bigger and bigger. Today, you hear more orders for “egg white omelets” than just “omelets”.  The standard egg sandwich has become the “egg white only” sandwich.

We all think we know why choosing the egg-white option is “healthier”. Egg whites have fewer calories, and the yolks contain fat and cholesterol… but does that make eggs yolks “unhealthy”? According to recent studies, perhaps not!

Let’s get down to the facts:

Egg whites are…

  • Low in calories (16 calories per egg)
  • A good source of protein (3.6g per egg)
  • Contain no saturated fat and no cholesterol

Egg yolks are…

  • Rich in A, B, and D vitamins
  • Rich in iron and calcium
  • Rich essential nutrients for brain health
  • An equal source of protein as the egg white
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When you are counting calories, selecting an egg white breakfast sandwich is a smart decision, at only 16 calories per egg, you can get a lot of protein for not a lot of calories! But if you are looking for a well-balanced breakfast, choosing the whole egg option will greatly benefit your health. A recent study by the Journal of Nutrition concluded the benefits of eating whole eggs now outweigh the drawbacks because of evidence that they increase a heart-protective, “good” cholesterol called HDL. So feel free to bring yolks back to the breakfast table!

Here at Good Food Made Simple, we offer whole egg and egg white patty options because we see the benefits of both.  Our egg patties are all natural, packed with protein and nutrients, and are ready in 80 seconds. Eating a well-balanced breakfast has never been so simple.

So whatever type of egg you fancy, just make sure it’s a wholesome pick for you.

- Team GFMS

Summer Fun with Oatmeal

Summer is finally here, and that means that means pool dates, BBQs, and time to relax with your family. A time of year when a Tuesday can feel like a Sunday, without the backpack rush and homework shenanigans.

With a little bit more time on our hands in the morning, why not bring the kids into the kitchen for breakfast. Set up a workstation, bring out the chefs hats and aprons, and make putting breakfast together a fun activity for the whole family. After all, studies show that kids who cook are hungrier for healthy food choices, and who wouldn’t want that?

Here at Good Food Made Simple, we can’t wait for leisurely summer mornings. So here are our top 3 oatmeal recipes to shake things up for summer. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

1. Peanut Butter & Jelly Oatmeal: The classic sandwich turned into a spoon-worthy meal. Swirl in a spoonful of your favorite natural peanut butter (avoid any with added ingredients such as hydrogenated oils or HFCS), and preserves for a new take on an old favorite. (Potato chips optional!)

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2. Strawberries & Cream Oatmeal: Nothing says summer like strawberries. Throw a handful of sliced strawberries in a bowl of our oats and top with vanilla soymilk or some vanilla Greek yogurt for a fresh twist on an old staple.

3. Protein Power Banana Whipped Oatmeal: For the long summer days when you need a little extra oomph. When you’re ¾ through cooking your oats, whip in a spoonful of cottage cheese and a half of a banana for a smooth and fluffy texture that gives you a pep in your step. (Trust us, you can’t taste the cottage cheese!)

What’s your favorite Oatmeal add-in? We’d love to hear!

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