Sometimes when life gets crazy busy, a new trend will pop up out of nowhere, like the Pokemon Go craze this summer, and I’ll be left behind asking: “How did this become a thing?”

For the past few months, I’ve been elbow-deep in diapers and bottles with a new baby at home, and I’m admittedly out of touch with what’s trending. So I was surprised during a recent trip to the grocery store to see so many foods – from popcorn to coffee creamer to cookies – labeled “simply.”

My guess is that food companies are trying to appeal to customers who say they want foods with fewer unfamiliar ingredients. And now that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is taking a closer look at whether it should define the “natural” label, perhaps “simply” is another way to market foods that appeal to those customers.

If you have questions about processed foods and their sometimes unpronounceable ingredients, I encourage you to check out the Best Food Facts website, my go-to source for expert answers.

In this issue of the Iowa Dish, we also take a closer look at food labels. Specifically, we ask an Iowa State University scientist to explain what those “no hormones added” labels on Thanksgiving turkeys mean.

In addition, we visit an eastern Iowa farm that’s growing hops to supply the booming craft beer business. And if you have student athletes at home, or hungry kids searching for a snack after school, seek a dietitian’s advice for keeping kids fueled with protein throughout the day.

For a taste of the fall, be sure to try the recipe below for pumpkin pie squares from the Midwest Dairy Council featuring two of my favorite healthy foods, yogurt and pumpkin.

Enjoy the last gorgeous days of fall, and please remember to keep food safety in mind when you’re preparing the Thanksgiving turkey and holiday eats for family and friends.


Teresa Bjork
Editor, The Iowa Dish

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