Note: The following giveaway is open to Canadians only.
I’m here to make a confession. To stick my stake in the ground, as it were. To be completely and transparently honest about two things:
1. I often feel guilty about the foods I feed my children, and
2. 10/10 times, I prefer to choose food with ingredients I can pronounce.
Let’s tackle the first issue: guilt. If you’ve been following my life over the years, you’ll know that I work around the clock. In fact, I wear so many hats that no two days are the same; I’m a writer, photographer, host, traveller, reviewer, social media influencer, etc. Unfortunately, the lack of structure also means that meals are often last-minute decisions vs. carefully planned menus. Yes, I rely on convenience foods like hot dogs, cold cuts and frozen foods, more frequently than I’d like to admit.
However, even though I heavily rely on packaged food at mealtimes, I’d still like to be able to feed my kids food with real, natural ingredients. I’m less intrigued about the science behind a product and more concerned with being able to visualize, relate to and pronounce what I’m putting on the plate.
Until recently, I thought that I’d always be stuck in an endless cycle – 1. feeling guilty about the foods I’m serving, yet 2. serving the same foods anyways, while 3. having a desire to do better. Repeat.
Today, with the help of Maple Leaf Foods, I feel better about my choices.
I recently attended a media day at Maple Leaf Foods headquarters. The audience? Moms and dads in the social space, who were open to learning about the sweeping changes in the iconic brand.
“We wanted to go back to the basics,” explained Michael H. McCain, president and CEO. “Maple Leaf has always connected with families trying to make responsible food choices. We set out on this bold initiative – to do that better than ever before.”
As we were guided through a day of presentations, food demonstrations, product tastings and even a sought-after Q&A period with Mr. McCain, a thought crept into my mind: with Maple Leaf Food’s complete overhaul of their existing recipes, rejigged to use NO artificial preservatives, NO artificial flavours, NO artificial colours, NO artificial sweeteners, and NO animal by-products – I could finally see myself breaking the cycle.
No guilt. Real, natural ingredients. YES!
After digesting (pun intended!) all the information and delicious foods presented, I feel the easiest way to sum up their commitment is to share the Maple Leaf Foods brand new manifesto:
Love what you see? Me too! In fact, I’ve found myself enjoying some childhood favourites more than usual, like Maple Leaf Top Dogs Original Hot Dogs, Maple Leaf Original Natural Bacon and Maple Leaf Original Natural Smoked Ham.
I’ll be posting the recipe for my Thai-Inspired Hot Dogs (pictured above) shortly, but right now, Stop! It’s HAM-mer Time!
I’m so excited that I rediscovered the versatility of Maple Leaf Original Natural Smoked Ham. Fully cooked, it can be enjoyed straight from the package or warmed in the oven for a traditional ham dinner. However, at the recent Maple Leaf Foods media day, I was tipped off with another use – Fried Rice! I mean, of course! It’s perfect for adding a little protein to a tried-and-true family favourite, and since all you have to do is slice, dice and sauté, dinner can be ready in a flash.
Since you can basically add anything your heart desires to fried rice, this is less of a structured recipe and more of a suggested list of ingredients. You’ll want to grab day-old jasmine rice, sliced carrots, fresh or frozen peas, diced green onions, chopped egg omelette and of course, cubed Maple Leaf Original Natural Smoked Ham. A dash of soy sauce and you’re in flavourtown!
I like to quickly fry the cubed ham separately in a stainless steel pan over medium heat with a touch of oil. This will crisp the ham slightly and deepen the flavour, but you can skip this step if you’re short on time (or patience). After all, the ham will be sautéed with the other ingredients below, but there’s just something about the two-step method that gives me a taste and texture I love.
Add two tablespoons of vegetable oil to a large wok. Over medium to high heat, sauté carrots, peas, ham and green onion for barely two minutes. Add jasmine rice and one tablespoon (or more, to taste) of low sodium soy sauce. Stir in chopped egg.
Garnish with fresh green onion and a few red pepper flakes for heat, cause it’s fun to live on the edge sometimes, amirite?
From start to finish, I put together the entire meal in about 15 minutes. And I made it on a weeknight! I don’t want to pat myself on the back too vigorously, but after constantly feeling like dinner was an “either-or” situation (either convenient or healthy), I’m glad I can have both.
Want to learn more about real food from simple ingredients you can pronounce? Visit mapleleaf.ca.
I’ve teamed up with Maple Leaf Foods for a very awesome giveaway – one lucky reader will WIN $100 in Maple Leaf Foods Free Product Coupons! To enter, simply fill the form below with your qualifying entries. Good luck!
This post is sponsored by Maple Leaf Foods. The opinions on this blog, as always, are my own.
Yes because I value what I put into my body!
While I do love the trend to cleaner and simpler ingredients it still comes down to price when I shop.
Been a Maple Leaf fan and consumer as long as i can remember so love to win this as the products are ALL awesome!
Really like the Thai hot dogs – great article! Time to start teaching a new way of saying to my 5 year old.
We’ve always loved Maple Leaf foods! Great to know it’s made with natural ingredients!
For sure i would much rather buy better for you food that has real ingredients. The less processing the better.
I am definitely more likely to purchase ML foods now that they are made with real, natural ingredients – because I too feel guilty when feeding certain things to my kids. The more natural, the better! I like to be conscience of what we put into our bodies, and it’s nice to see big companies stepping up like this :)
I love the idea of simpler cooking. Being able to pronounce what is in the foods I feed my family is something I strive for
I already purchase Maple Leaf food whenever it’s an option. Being made of simple, natural ingredients is another plus for a brand I already love.
always depends on the product. overall, the less messing with it, the better. thanks
I will definitely choose Maple Leaf now!!
I really do love Maple Leaf products, been buying them for a long time! Really fantastic the products are made with real, simple and natural ingredients. I feel great serving them to my family and friends!
I already purchase Maple Leaf products. One of the reasons is because they are made from real ingredients. I am currently making Maple Leaf Top Dogs for lunch!
Yes absolutely! It will give me peace of mind feeding my family.
I have always liked Maple Leaf products, but this is an amazing change that cements my belief that I am feeding my family quality products
Most definitely. We often buy this brand anyhow but we don’t eat very many hotdogs in our house. We love maple leaf meats, especially the hams
of course! let’s face it…we don’t really know what has been included in these products before – lots of scary ingredients – the more natural the better !
for sure; real ingredients top the list.
I am happy that Maple Leaf products are made with natural ingredients!
I feel much better and more confident about eating foods made from natural ingredients.
Yes we all want real ingredients.The ham recipe looks great.
We’ve always bought Maple Leaf products when possible. I am happy to see that they are now using natural ingredients and is now a healthier food choice for us. Makes me want to buy their products more often.
for sure! i didn’t know that but already loved maple leaf
Yes, I am more likely to buy Maple Leaf now. I’m always concerned with what I’m feeding my family.
Yes, I would – especially as they do not have animal by-products.
I love Maple leaf products especially now that they are made of real ingredients!
I love buying products made with natural ingredients! Way to go Maple Leaf :)
Yes, I am as I prefer natural natural ingredients.
I love that they are going to made with simple, natural ingredients. I will be buying them more often.
I’ve always been a fan of Maple Leaf, and this just convinces me I’ve made the right choice!!
I like their products so hearing that they put quality ingredients in their food is definitely a plus!
yes, because I like real simple ingredients!
It’s heartening to see well-established companies changing recipes to focus on quality ingredients and avoiding use of artificial favourings, colourings and preservatives. Many prepared foods contain far too much salt and sugar, which is not only unhealthy, but detracts from the taste of the product. We welcome the changes!
Yes I am more likely to purchase Maple Leaf food products knowing that they are made with real natural ingredients.
Yes because I do not want to ingest cancer-causing substances.
Definitely more inclined to buy now that I know what’s in the products.
I have always bought Maple Leaf products, we all like them here in our household!
I think likely, as long as you can trust the label. Thank you.
Yes as I like natural ingredients.
Yes, definitely, so much better for your health!
We always read labels and choose based on the amount of additives that are in the products. We like close to natural as possible but realize that the food needs to last and be safe to eat. I am glad that Maple Leaf has listened to consumers and decided to go back to that way of making their products so close to natural ingredients. One of the reasons we turn down products is also the soy additives that are in so many products now and it is the 7th top allergy affecting people. Products have to be safe for children as well as the adults.
Yes I love to be able to choose natural ingredients when possible
Yes, I definitely am. Simpler means better.
I would purchase Maple Leaf products regardless because I know they make a quality product that my family will enjoy.
Definitely, we are trying to simplify our foods, buying more from Farmer’s Markets to eating food that are as natural as possible.
Of course, I go natural when I can. I need to as I want to keep a decent over all well being. I care about most foods that go in my body.
definitely more likely to purchase ML foods now that they are made with real, natural ingredients .
I would definitely purchase these products based on this review
I am more likely to buy them now. I really like natural ingredients.
yes i like natural products allot better as i think they are better for you
I am more likely to purchase Maple Leaf Foods products now that they’re made with real natural ingredients because I care what goes into my body!
Yes I am absolutely more likely to buy them with real ingredients. This is important to me.
Absolutely! I think they taste better.
Yes because being a mom of a young toddler, I am more careful of choosing natural, real ingredients.
I already purchase and use lots of delicious Maple Leaf products – but this makes me even more inclined to use them !
My mom use to buy Maple Leaf Hot Dogs when I was a child. We still buy them. They are made with natural ingredients that makes them even better.
YES!!!!!!!!!! I have been staying away from products that use sodium nitrate and all this other crappy stuff in their foods. I will definitely buy if that isn’t the case
Yes,I am more likely to purchase Maple Leaf Foods products now that they’re made with natural ingredients because many processed foods make me ill so I’m looking forward to trying these !
I am more likely to purchase Maple Leaf products now as I would rather have foods that are more natural as the chemicals can’t be good for our systems.
i really care about what my children eat and what is used to make the products that they love
While I don’t personally eat meat; I do cook for others and prefer a natural product 100%
I am more likely to purchase MPF’s products because we are trying to eat more natural
Yes! They are the only brand I trust!
I wouldn’t be more or less likely to purchase. I have always trusted and bought Maple Leaf Products. This new stance is just a bonus! (One of the McCain’s was a teacher at my school).
Yes, because real tastes better and feels better. This would be great to win. Thanks!
I have always trusted Maple leaf brand meat and will continue to choose Maple leaf with its prime ingredients.
Yes I am since real ingredients are so important when it comes to feeding my family.
Yes, I always read the labels to make sure I am getting clean natural ingredients.
Yes I am more likely to purchase these products more then before because I too felt guilty, but now that they are making changes, I can feel less guilty!
I have always bought Maple Leaf products & I’m proud they are moving in the direction of natural ingredients, it does make me more likely to keep buying their products especially for the sake of my children’s health.
Yes because I love knowing that the ingredients are healthy and natural
I try to limit consumption of products that use sodium nitrate, so I would be more likely to buy brands without it Price is a big factor too.
I mostly cook from scratch, exactly because I want to know what we eat. And in the rare instances I do rely on something pre-made I have a (very) short list of my go to products. If Maple Leaf list of ingredients satisfy me I’ll definitely add them to that list.
Yes I always feel better energy wise when I eat healthier food. Thanks
Definitely, I am more likely to purchase Maple Leaf foods now that they are made with real, natural ingredients. I like to be aware of what my family and I are consuming.
These are still considered ‘treat’ foods rather than everyday foods.
I have always been a Maple Leaf Foods products fan and it is the natural ingredients that influences me to continue buying these delicious products.
These foods taste so flavourful because they have no artificial, preservatives, flavours, colours or by products in them. I like to know that what my family is eating is healthy and nutritious for them and will not harm them in any way.
Yes, I’m more likely to buy Maple Leaf Foods products since they are made with natural ingredients and are better for you. Less processing.
yes as I am eating healthier now and try to stay away from processed foods
I’ve been eating Maple Leaf Foods products since before I was born, so yes even more.
Will definitely purchase more. I’m always looking for products that are safe for my family and that contain the least amount of chemicals.
I like this product and it makes me feel like I am making the right choice knowing that we are enjoying quality products!
I’m all for real ingredients! I’ll be buying these for sure.
Absolutely! I will be purchasing more Maple Leafs foods now! They’re great, and I love that they are now even better. Thanks, Lena!
Yes definitely. I love natural ingredients
I have always bought Maple Leaf products.
Yes will purchase them now that they are made healthier.
Yes I am much more likely, I’m excited about this change
Yes I am much more likely, I’m excited about this change, I do buy their products already but I will probably buy more as I look for healthy options for my kids
Yes, I actually already purchase Maple Leaf products, they are great tasting and good quality
Yes as everyone has to stay healthy, and many people have allergies to food.
I buy Maple Leaf products regularly, I love the healthy options!
I do like that they are natural, but I will buy Maple Leaf because their products are delicious. Thank you for such a yummy contest
Absolutely! I love eating fresh, clean, & preservative free
I enjoy Maple Leaf products. Healthy choices are fantastic.
Yes! Natural and simple is always good!
Absolutely happy to hear natural and healthy so yes for sure.
Ive always purchased Maple Leaf products, but Im even more happy to hear about all the goodness !
I do value simple and natural ingredients. As I’m growing older, I’m finding my body is more sensitive to what I put into it. I’m much more likely to buy Maple Leaf if I know what the food does and doesn’t contain.
Yes I am more likely to purchase Maple Leaf food products
Definitely, we consume far too many additives.
Yes, I like eating natural products without chemicals.
I’ve eaten Maple Leaf food products for many years and I’ve never felt that they were bad for me. I’ll probably continue to eat their stuff but I don’t trust their natural ingredient bs so I’ll consume less.
Our family already purchases Maple Leaf products but this makes me even happier!
I am health conscious & will look for the natural products.
Our family loves Maple Leaf foods!
Yes, I am more likely to purchase Maple Leaf food products.
Yes… the healthier the better — right?
I am more likely to purchase Maple Leaf Foods products now that they’re made with real, simple and natural ingredients because it is much better for you
Yes, I am more likely, because I know they’re healthy.
I read labels and buy products whose ingredients I know and can read. Knowing that Maple Leaf contains only natural ingredients, it will be on my grocery list.
Yes!!!!Since seeing that Maple Leaf Foods products are now made with real, simple ingredients, I look for these products when grocery shopping. It is the only hot dog I buy for my family.
Yes I am more likely because we are trying to eat healthier and this is part of it.
I’ve enjoyed Maple Leaf products for many years.
I like to know exactly what I’m putting in my mouth so I am more likely to purchase Maple Leaf Foods products now that they’re made with real simple, natural ingredients.
yes, I’m more likely to buy Maple Leaf. It’s nice to get back to basics especially with foods. Thanks ML !
I definitely will be enjoying these Maple Leaf products more now that they are made with ingredients that I can pronounce.
I have always bought Maple Leaf products and will continue to buy them now that they’re made with real simple, natural ingredients.
I like to know what my kids are eating so of course I want real simple natural food
I’m vegan so I won’t be buying them for myself, but I’m sure my family members would love them!
Yes I am more likely to purchase Maple Leaf Foods products now that they’re made with real, simple or natural ingredients because I am trying to eat healthy and remove chemicals from my diet.
I’m more likely to purchase Maple Leaf products for my family knowing that they are made with natural ingredients. It feels good you don’t have read their labels. You can just trust them for your family.
I’ve always trusted maple leaf, this only helps reinforce my love for them
The more natural the better
Yes – I’ve always been afraid of what I don’t know going into my processed food.
for sure! i didn’t know that but already loved maple leaf
I had no idea I will buy this brand before others
Definitely! I have stayed away from hot dogs the past few years because I had believed that they were all made with junk ingredients
Yes because I like to know what Im eating and that it is healthy
We already buy a lot of maple leaf foods but knowing they are the better choice makes it an easier decision for me , its better to know what we are putting in our bodies
This looks really good and quick too!
Wonderful read! Maple Leaf has been part of my life since childhood BBQ’s with family to present BBQ’s with family albeit different family as some have passed. Tonight is Maple Leaf all beef on the q! Can’t wait to bite into my Maple Leaf Hotdog covered in onion, sauerkraut & mustard! Talk about easy breezy dinner!! Thank you, Lena & Maple Leaf!!
Yes, I love that brand! I want the best for my family!
Yes! I highly recommend the Maple Leaf products. They are great..and if I had a choice- I will always select the Maple Leaf product.
Hungry for Maple Leaf hotdogs now
I probably might choose these more often now that I know this.
I already knew that Maple Leaf Foods products were made with real, simple or natural ingredients and we buy them for this reason.
Yes, Maple Leaf is a brand I know and trust.
I’ve always been a Maple Leaf shopper, and I’ve been buying even more Maple Leaf products lately. I love their already cooked sausages and bacon, its perfect for my youngest son who mostly eats meat (rarely vegetables or fruit) so that he can warm them up when he’s munchy.
I am always looking for foods that are more natural. I would love to try these products out.
Yes, because simple food without a lot of additives is best.
most likely – still depends on the producer and how much I trust their labelling. thx
Jason E Woods
For sure i would much rather buy better for you food that has real ingredients. The less processing the bette, but price is still a consideration too.
Always look for the Maple Leaf brand…taste good!
Much more likely to buy now
Yes definitely – we love natural ingredients
I already purchase Maple Leaf products, so this just makes me feel even better for serving them to my family.
I’ve always been a fan of Maple Leaf foods!
Yes, but depends on the price.
Absolutely! I am always looking for more natural foods!
Yes, because we are really trying to eat healthier, real foods!
Yes, I would buy Maple Leaf more with simple ingredients because I am more careful with foods with my children.
Yes and so funny I just tried their chicken burgers for lunch and I have to say they were quite good ! Also the new packaging is nice .
I’ll start following their products and would love to try . Thank you
Definitely would buy more if they are all natural!
Happy to be eating natural foods,thanks Maple leaf.
Yes, to Maple Leaf foods for this! We eat very little processed anything in our home…
I would certainly purchase more maple leaf products if i knew exactly what was in them. I like the idea of feeding my family natural and healthy food.
Yes we always try to eat as healthy and natural at possible
I’m definitely more likely to buy because they’re better for me now
Maple Leaf Foods ingredients is why I like the food so much.
I am because we are trying to cut back on processed food.
Great ideas! Very creative and original – just what is needed for busy moms!
We avoid eating processed foods as much as possible, so definitely will purchase Maple Leaf Foods now that they are made with real, natural ingredients.
I am more likely however they still need to add ethically raised to their list for it to become a top choice for us.
I love Maple leaf products. I buy them all the time.
I already buy their products because their a trusted brand in our house but hearing this makes me more happy!
Yes I am more likely to buy it with real ingredients since that is very important to me.
yes indeed, knowing what is going into my food is important
No guilty feeling here for using Maple Leaf products. Convenience can still provide the nutrition required.
OH YES!! I really think its important not to eat or feed my kids processed anything.
likely but it really depends on the product. thx
I definitely am. I have always regarded deli meats as something g you can eat very seldomly because of the health risks. Now they have removed the nasty ingredients, I feel I can indulge more often.
for sure, as we are trying to eat more natural and less processed foods.
I have always bought Maple Leaf products. Now that they have natural ingredients even better.
I feel so much better feeding my family with simple ingredients
I will definitely check them out more often now.
yes, I am more likely to buy them now!! I am trying to eat healthier and buy healthier options for my family.
Always looking for healthy choices for my family.
Yes I would and I also find them tastier.
Yes, I watch for all healthier choices for my family. The rice dish looks awesome
yes. I am always looking for healthier choices for myself and my family ….I am a label reader so always like finding food items that are more wholesome and better for my family
I am more likely to buy them now. I like natural ingredients. This is a very good thing.
Yes. I try to pay more attention for that stuff these days
Yes simple natural ingredients are always bes5 for my family
Yes I appreciate food that is less processed. Much better for us.
Yes because they taste delicious.
Yes!!! For sure i will be purchasing more Maple Leaf products now that they are made with natural ingredients and no more preservatives /”crappy stuff”, I’ve avoided most products in the past few years because of the ingredients that were listed on the packages.
I have always liked their products, more so now.
We grow our own beef & chicken and you can taste the real meat difference
Yes, I love the fact that their products use natural ingredients.
Yes for sure now I now that I know that they use natural ingredients.
We have always enjoyed Maple Leaf products, so we will keep buying, nice that they are making these changes.
Would LOVE to win Maple Leaf products….Mmmmm they are so good!! Thanks for the awesome chance to win these totally awesome products. Thanks a million listentolena.com for having such a wonderful contest on your blog!
Maple Leaf uses NO artificial preservatives, NO artificial flavours, NO artificial colours, NO artificial sweeteners, and NO animal by-products . . !? Then YES, PLEASE!
I like products that use natural ingredients and no artificial preservatives, flavours or colours, so Yes, I do use Maple Leaf foods.
Price is something that matters in my household so no.
I try to only purchase maple leaf cause it is our families trusted go to brand
This is awesome thanks for the chance
Yes, because I have a toddler and am pregnant with another!
I have always loved maple leaf products this makes me love them even more
Love the products like this I have a toddler and baby happy to give them this.
Yes, because I like to know what I’m eating!
Yes I’m glad they are using more natural ingredients.
Yes, I am more likely to purchase Maple Leaf Foods products now that they’re made with real, simple or natural ingredients because I’m I care about what I put into the bellies of my family
Yes, absolutely. It’s very important in our household to be conscious about what we are putting in our bodies.
Yes, I like healthy food for my family.
Most definitely I will purchase items with real and natural products. I don’t want to put any products that are not natural in my body.
Great recipe. Thanks
I am starting to eat more organic / health foods. I would love to try these out.
Maple Leaf has always been my family’s favourite for bacon and hot dogs, so this is a welcome development. Yes, I will purchase Maple Leaf products more often, now
Yes!!! My kids eat a lot of sandwiches so it’s important.
I have been a faithful consumer of Maple Leaf products but this makes them even better! We try to live and eat healthy so this is perfect.
I have not had a hotdog in year’s I was just telling my daughter the other day I was craving one. YUM. It has to be B.B.Q
I love this! I am so happy that they don’t use artificial sweeteners – we try to avoid those at all costs.
This is why we love Maple Leaf foods! They make excellent products.
I believe that it’s very important to eat foods made with natural ingredients whenever possible. Maple Leaf certainly provides those now and is always a good choice.