Eat Well, Live Happy

At Happy Food Co., we are big fans of real food. Real, fresh, local food—the kind of stuff your grandma would approve. While we don't adhere to any particular diet plan, we do believe that pure ingredients and balanced nutrition are the best fuel for a healthy, active lifestyle.

Our meal kits are designed to strike a tasty/nutritious balance. We want you to feel great about what you're putting on the table—without overthinking it!

The Big Five

When it comes to nutrition, there are a ton of factors to consider, depending on your health and dietary goals. But to keep it simple, we like to boil it down to five key indicators:

These recommendations are based on a 2,000 calorie diet as defined in the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

Calories Are Calories...Right?

A calorie is a unit of energy—basically fuel for your body. Just like putting high-quality fuel in your car, you need to put high-quality calories in your body to feel and perform your best. 

Your daily calorie needs depend on a number of factors: your gender, weight, height, activity level and goals. If you consume more calories than you need on a regular basis, you may gain unwanted weight. Your doctor or nutritional counselor can advise you on how many calories you need per day. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans are based on 2,000 calories per day, but there's really no one-size-fits-all rule.

Food for Thought on Calories:

  • You need calories from a variety of foods to fuel your body. Don't deprive yourself too much, even if you're trying to lose weight. 
  • Stay away from empty calories that come from foods with little or no nutrients. Examples include soda, jelly beans, chips and cake. 
  • Consume nutrient-dense foods, which give you the biggest bang for your buck. For example, pick nutrient-dense blueberries over the nutrient-lacking blueberry toaster pastry. 
  • Don’t forget that calories are still calories. Be mindful of how much you're putting in your body, even if it's all healthy foods.  

What It Means for Your Meal:

  • We aim for 500–800 calories per serving in our meal kits.
  • Some of our meals are a little more indulgent, but you can always count on ingredients that are fresh and wholesome.
  • If you're on a restricted-calorie diet, please consult our nutrition facts to find the best meal kits for your needs.

The Facts on Fat

Fat is an essential part of a healthy diet. It provides us with energy, aids in the absorption of some vitamins, and helps to keep us full and satisfied. Fats, however, are not all created equal.  

Healthy fats can lower blood cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of heart disease. Sources of healthy fats include nuts and nut butter, avocados and fatty fish like salmon. You may see healthy fats labeled as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. You may also hear the terms omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Don’t know what those mean? That’s OK—they're all good. 

Saturated fat, on the other hand, can increase bad cholesterol (LDL) and total cholesterol levels, which increases the risk of heart disease. Saturated fat is solid at room temperature and typically comes from animal products. Examples include fatty cuts of red meat, dark poultry meat and skins, and high-fat dairy like cheese, sour cream and whole milk. Tropical oils such as coconut oil, palm oil and cocoa butter are also sources of saturated fats. 

Food for Thought on Fat:

  • Choose lean cuts of meat and skinless lean poultry.
  • Eat fish more often.
  • In most cases, choose liquid oils (such as olive oil) over solid oils (like butter).  
  • Choose low-fat or nonfat dairy products, which are lower in saturated fat.

What It Means for Your Meal:

  • We include many sources of healthy fats in our meal kits, including olive oil, avocados, lean proteins and nuts. 
  • We also believe in a good cheeseburger now and then. Moderation is key.
  • Our menu includes a number of fish and shellfish selections, which are great sources of healthy fats. We know it can be hard to get enough fish in your diet, and we aim to make it easy!

The Salty Truth

Sodium occurs naturally in most foods. It's also added to many foods in various forms—most often as table salt. Did you know that 1 teaspoon of table salt is equal to 2300 milligrams of sodium? That's your maximum daily recommended allowance. Seriously!  

Processed, packaged foods account for the highest amount of sodium in our diet. (Think crackers, lunch meat, canned vegetables, etc.) Adding salt while cooking or at meal time accounts for the next highest sodium levels—but the good news is, you're in control of how much you add.

So what's the big deal with salt? A high-sodium diet can lead to high blood pressure, which may increase your risk of heart-related diseases. Cutting back on sodium can be challenging at first because it impacts the flavor of your food. But remember, the more you reduce your salt intake, the less you will miss it.

Food for Thought on Sodium: 

  • Add herbs and salt-free spices to foods for flavor.
  • Taste foods before adding salt as it may not be needed.
  • Eat fresh or frozen vegetables without added salt.
  • Prepare fresh meals and snacks at home rather than relying on the packaged stuff.

What It Means for Your Meal:

  • We try to minimize the amount of sodium in our meal kits, allowing you to season your meals with salt and pepper to your personal tastes.
  • Some ingredients—such as cheese, broth and spice blends—contain sodium as shown in the nutrition facts for the meal.
  • If you are on a low-sodium diet, you can replace these items with unsalted varieties from your own pantry.  

Carbs Are Not the Enemy

Carbohydrates are 1 of the 3 macronutrients in our diet. (Protein and fat are the others.) Carbs are found in many of the foods we eat, including dairy, grains, beans, fruits, vegetables and foods with added sugar.

You've probably seen the trend of low-carb diets over the last several years, and while limiting your intake of simple carbs (like white bread and sugary snacks) can be a smart decision, you never want to cut carbs out of your diet entirely. You need 'em. 

Food for Thought on Carbs:

  • Healthy sources of carbs include sweet potatoes, beans, chickpeas, oatmeal, quinoa, apples, bananas and many other plant-based foods.
  • When it comes to grains, whole grains are a healthier option. They include the bran and germ, which contain fiber and vitamins.
  • Brown rice and 100% whole wheat bread are great examples of whole grain foods.
  • Multigrain does not necessarily mean whole grain.

What It Means for Your Meal:

  • Our meal kits include high-quality carbs in the form of whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
  • For customers who are gluten intolerant or who follow a lower-carb diet, we offer a number of tasty menus items that focus on lean proteins and fresh veggies.

Is There Sugar in That?

Sugar is a type of simple carbohydrate. You'll find natural sugars in fruits, vegetables and dairy products. Sugar is also added to many foods in different forms, and we call those “added sugars.”  The Dietary Guidelines for 2015–2020 recommend no more than 10% of daily calories come from added sugars. That equates to about 50g of added sugar per day (max) for a 2,000 calorie diet.

Why limit added sugars? Because they can:

  • Take the place of nutritious foods
  • Contribute to excess weight gain
  • Increase triglyceride levels, leading to greater risk of heart disease
  • Increase the risk of tooth decay

Sugar is disguised by many different names. Words that end in “ose” like fructose, sucrose and glucose are types of sugar. Be on the lookout for added sugar in foods where you wouldn't expect it, such as pasta sauce, canned soup, salad dressing and dried fruit.  

Food for Thought on Sugar:

  • Drink water! Unsweetened coffee and tea are good, too. Avoid sugary beverages like soda, sport drinks and even artificially sweetened drinks.
  • Consume naturally sweet foods (like whole fruit or fresh-pressed juice) for a treat.
  • Look at the label on sweet foods (like breakfast cereal) to see if there's a lower-sugar option.  

What It Means for Your Meal:

  • We limit added sugars in our meal kits. 
  • A few of our meals include a touch of honey or brown sugar for flavor, which you can omit if you choose.
  • Our nutrition facts show total sugar in grams for each meal. Most of these sugars are found naturally in fruits, vegetables and dairy products.