• 17Jul

    Today’s post in the series “What Are Your Tips for Staying Hydrated?” was contributed by Jess Parsons-White, GMM Senior VP.

    The summer heat is sweltering and without proper hydration you might find yourself feeling lethargic, cramping, or even dizzy. For some, it is an easy solution of drinking more water, but for those on the move or who may not enjoy guzzling a gallon of cool refreshing water, staying hydrated in the heat can be a challenge.

    Luckily, our Open Hand Wellness Committee has put together a quick fact sheet for staying hydrated on go, as well as a few suggestions for how to “rethink your drink” by adding flavorful infusions to your water bottle.

    Tip one: Invest in a good water bottle! Look for a BPA-free container that is easy to fill and to drink out of while driving or exercising. The easier it is to use the more you’ll drink!

    Tip two: Before hitting the road fill your water bottle up with cold water, and when it’s empty, make it a priority to find a water fountain or rest stop where you can safely replenish. Our own Good Measure Meals drivers struggled getting their daily dose of H2O; but recognizing the need, our Wellness Committee partnered with Kaiser to distribute new water bottles to all the drivers. Now there is a line at the filtered water dispenser every morning!

    Joe HydrationDonny Hydration

    Tip three: Don’t be afraid to add unique flavor combinations to your pitcher or glass. Fresh Herbs and fruits can be combined to add an exciting twist to your drink! Just throw a handful of each into a pitcher and them strain out after an hour.
    • Looking for a calming classic? Try Cucumber Mint.
    • For a zesty combo, try Pineapple Parsley.
    • Maybe you’re into a sweeter treat? Strawberry Basil is a personal favorite.
    • Not convinced yet? Start with a few slices of Lemons, Limes, and Oranges for a classic citrus zing!

    **Now check out a quick demonstration for how to infuse water by our Spring Dietetic Intern, Frances Ennis! And for even MORE info, check out Jess’ previous post about the benefits of good hydration.**

  • 09Jul

    Today’s post was contributed by guest blogger Frances Ennis, GMM Spring Dietetic Intern

    It’s not uncommon to start a weight loss plan and feel like you’re doing everything right, and yet the weight doesn’t seem to come off. What gives? Perhaps your answer could lie in one of the following 5 questions. If you’re guilty of one or more of these, we might have found the culprit.

    GMM Greek Yogurt Breakfast Parfait with Apricot Compote

    GMM Greek Yogurt Breakfast Parfait with Apricot Compote

    1. Are you skipping breakfast?
    While skipping breakfast sounds like a great way to “save calories” for a meal later in the day, it actually can cause you to feel those mid-morning hunger aches which lead to mindless snacking on high calorie junk foods. If you don’t have time to make breakfast yourself, let GMM take care of you with our tasty and balanced breakfast menu options!

    2. Are you drinking your calories?
    So you’re eating a balanced diet and watching the calories you eat, but what about your drinks? If you drink a glass of orange juice at breakfast, a flavored coffee drink for your morning energy boost, a glass of lemonade at lunch, and a glass of wine with dinner you’ve consumed up to 700 calories in beverages alone! Try to sub out those drinks for water with lemon or unsweetened tea. It will make achieving your weight loss goal much easier.

    3. Are you eating too much of the right foods?
    Even though consuming a balanced diet with all of the food groups is the best way to keep your body fueled during weight loss, calorie intake is what drives that scale number down. It’s important to monitor your portion sizes even when you are eating the healthy foods. Try eating your meal on a salad plate instead of an entrée plate, and wait 15 minutes before going back for second helpings. If you’re unsure of what appropriate portion sizes are, GMM can take the guesswork out of the equation and provide you with the right amount of food you need to achieve your goals.

    4. Do you think about exercise a lot?
    It’s easy to see a new exercise routine as license to eat a few extra calories, but that quickly defeats the goal of weight loss. And studies have shown that merely thinking about exercise can cause you to be hungrier and eat more! Avoid the temptation and restrict your pre- or post-gym snack to 150 calories or less.

    sleep5. Are you getting enough sleep?
    Inadequate sleep can send your body into a fat and carb-craving survival mode. Additionally, if you’re awake more hours of the day, it’s easy to make time for another meal or snack which adds to your calorie tally for the day. Most adults need 7-8 of sleep hours each day. If you still find yourself groggy after 8 hours, you might need up to 9. It’s also much easier to muster the energy for exercise after you’ve had a good night’s sleep.

    Remember, the best and safest way to lose weight is all about balance. Balance your nutrients. Balance your calorie intake and exercise. Stay hydrated and get plenty of sleep. If you’re still unsure of what to do, reach out to our registered dietitians for a consult at customerservice@goodmeasuremeals.com!

  • 03Jul

    Today’s post in the series “What are your Favorite Summer Fruits and Veggies?” was contributed by Philip Niekro, GMM Customer Service Manager.

    Philip_picAs much as I love to cook, I don’t seem to cook much during the summer. Maybe it’s because it’s so hot outside or maybe it’s because I’m a little more tired than usual during my training season for the July 4 Peachtree Road Race (anyone else running tomorrow??). Who knows!

    This summer I’ve been working on losing a few pounds and am being successful on the Good Measure Meals plan. And since I’m on the 5-day a week plan, I do have to make some smart choices on the weekends. Fortunately, for me, this is the time I get to indulge with my favorite summer fruits and vegetables: Strawberries and cucumbers!

    Strawberries are chock full of Vitamin C and, calorie-wise, you get a big bang for your buck. Here is a favorite recipe from my mom. I love making this recipe and have altered it a bit to make it a little more healthy.

    strawberriesStrawberry Spinach Salad

    Ingredients
    1 pint strawberries, sliced
    1 bunch fresh spinach, torn
    ½ red onion, thickly sliced

    Instructions
    Toss in bowl with dressing just before serving

    Dressing:
    3 T sugar
    3 T light mayonnaise
    2 T fat-free milk
    1 T white vinegar
    1 T poppy seeds

     

    As for cucumber recipes, this one is really easy!

    Peel and slice one fresh cucumber.

    cucumberUsing an infusion pitcher, add sliced cucumber and one small bunch of washed basil in the center compartment and add filtered water. If you do not have an infusion pitcher, just put the cucumber and basil into a regular pitcher and then make sure to hold back the cucumber and basil when pouring your glass of water (unless you’d like cucumber and basil in your cup – if so, pour away!).

    Place in fridge for at least 2 hours, then enjoy!!

    I like to make this cucumber/basil infused water because it’s so fresh tasting. During these hot summer months, a different approach to hydration is sometimes all it takes to make drinking more water a little more exciting.

    I hope you give these recipes a try, and that you get creative with them, too. If you put your own spin on them, let us know in the comments section, below. Do you have a favorite infused water combination? Share your great ideas!

    Whatever you do, make sure to enjoy the wonderful produce and herbs that this season has to offer – and most of all, have a great Summer!!

  • 26Jun

    Today’s post in the series “What are your Favorite Summer Fruits and Veggies?” was contributed by David Rogers.

    Summer-eating season is one of my favorite times of the year! Living in suburban Atlanta, I have a wealth of fresh local produce (including my own and my neighbors’ gardens) to choose from.

    This season’s recipes and fare are lighter and easier to prepare, and are on the menu as much as possible at my house.

    Since my family stays pretty active outdoors during the longer daylight hours, there are a few go-to items that I keep handy in my own kitchen for quick preparation: tomatoes, fresh basil and mozzarella, cilantro, garlic and nuts are the types of ingredients we like to eat on a regular basis. These can be prepared in simple, hearty meals with little-to-no prep time.

    farm fresh veggiesOne of my all-time favorites is a Beefsteak or Big Boy tomato. Slice up one of these and pair it with light mayo, Greek yogurt, or just enjoy it as a plain tomato sandwich, and you’ll have a wonderful picnic meal or after-swim snack! Make the tomato into a fresh summer salad by pairing it with fresh basil, spinach or mixed greens, parmesan cheese, and your favorite nut like almonds, walnuts, or pecans. Nuts like thsese are packed with nutritional value and help balance out the meal. I like to dress a salad like this with a homemade balsamic vinaigrette, a light dressing that brings out the fresh, natural flavors of the salad.

    I also like to serve easy tapas like these Pesto-Stuffed Peppers. They are a perfect complement to a salad or to something fresh from the grill like veggies, chicken, beef or fish.

    I hope you enjoy your summer eating, and remember to keep it simple and fresh!

    Fresh Pesto
    Ingredients
    • 2 cups fresh cilantro
    • 2 small garlic cloves
    • 3/4 cup toasted walnuts
    • Small pinch of sea salt
    • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
    • 1 cup olive oil
    • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice

    Instructions
    Put all of the above ingredients in a blender or a food processor and puree.

    Pesto-stuffed Peppers

    Pesto-stuffed Peppers

    Pesto-Stuffed Peppers
    Ingredients
    • Pesto (see recipe above)
    • 30 red, yellow, orange Sweet Mini Peppers
    • 18 ounces cream cheese or goat cheese

    Instructions
    Preheat oven to 350. Leaving stem on the peppers, slice peppers and remove the seeds. Fill each pepper with cheese. Arrange peppers on a baking sheet, drizzle with a touch of olive oil and bake for about 8-10 minutes until peppers are tender and a touch crispy. Remove from oven and arrange on a platter & spoon pesto on top of each pepper. Save left over pesto — it’s great on grilled chicken or warm veggies!
    Balsamic Dressing
    Ingredients
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
    • Italian spice blend to taste

    Instructions
    Mix ingredients in cruet. Shake and enjoy!

  • 19Jun

    Today’s blog post in the series, “What are your favorite summer fruits and veggies?” was contributed by Harmony Blackwell, Good Measure Meals Customer Service Representative.

    harmonyHailing from Pittsburgh, Penn., I have a love for all the different seasons of the year. However, summer might just be my favorite.

    I don’t know about you, but I find that when it gets really hot, I don’t think about cooked food as often, especially in the morning. Personally, I love juicing fruits and veggies into tasty drinks, and also making smoothies and fruit salads. I love the light and fresh tastes of fruit during the hot months, and I even have a few recipes I’d like to share that I’ve developed over the years that are particularly yummy. Hope you enjoy them (and enjoy the process of making them) as much as I do!

    Tropical Apple-Ginger-Beet-Cilantro Fruit Juice/Smoothie Recipe:
    The colors and the aromatic scents of certain fruits and vegetables are what inspire me in the kitchen.

    For instance, one of my juice recipes calls for a carrot, a piece of ginger, a Fuji apple, a bunch of cilantro and a small beet. First of all, I love ginger, the spicier the better – can’t you just taste it now? The scent of the apple juices and ginger combined are divine, and when I add the fragrant cilantro at the end, I feel like I’m in a tropical land! (Side note – It’s kind-of like how I feel when I’m eating the Good Measure Meals Cilantro Lime Shrimp – oh my goodness, so good! But let’s re-focus…)

    Anyway, the end result is a wonderful (very colorful) combination of nutritious fruits and vegetables high in vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and a rich supply of antioxidants.

    Apple, Ginger, Beet, Cilantro juice! Spicy, sweet, flavorful and delicious.

    Apple, Ginger, Beet, Cilantro juice! Spicy, sweet, flavorful and delicious.

    By the way, here’s a little beet trivia for you: Beets are an ancient, pre-historic food that grew naturally along the coastlines of North Africa, Asia, and Europe. Originally, since the beet itself is a root, people ate only beet greens. It’s been reported that by the 19th century the natural sweetness of beets came to be appreciated and beets began to be used as a source of sugar.

    Avocado Fruit Salad Recipe:
    Fruit salads are just the best to eat while chilling out by the pool on a sunny afternoon, am I right??

    My sister, Vision, recently turned me on to her Avocado Fruit Salad (yes, you read that right), and it is AWESOME! When I first heard about it, I skeptically thought, “Avocado — hmmm, I would never think that would work in a fruit salad.” But it turns out that avocado actually works beautifully alongside the other fruits!

    Salad Ingredients

    The original recipe calls for: Avocado, Fuji apples, raisins, and fresh-squeezed orange juice (or a little lime juice to help keep the fruit fresh/bright); however you can add any fruits you like. When I made the recipe, I decided to venture out and add blueberries to the recipe, which I really enjoyed. Cherries, sliced plums, or chopped up peaches would be tasty in this salad, too. And I recently read that some antioxidants are often better absorbed when paired with a healthy fat, which avocados have in abundance!

    Cutting Board N Fruit_edit

    Avocado Fruit Salad

    Avocado Fruit Salad

    So here’s to some tasty poolside snacking this season!

    What sorts of fresh foods or snacks do you pack to help beat the heat during the summertime in Hotlanta?

  • 12Jun

    Today’s blog post in the series, “What are your favorite summer fruits and veggies?” was contributed by Callie O’Steen, Good Measure Meals Community Registered Dietitian

    callieosteenWhen I think of summer, my mouth waters – Literally!

    So many in-season, fresh fruits and vegetables! And we’re lucky here in the South because we produce some pretty tasty produce. Let’s get to know some of our Georgia-grown (and some of my personal favorites) a little better, shall we?

    What is the state fruit of Georgia?

    So this is the easiest question on earth. And if you got it wrong… I’m just going to assume you moved here from the moon.

    peaches on treesThe answer, for our moon-peeps: Peaches! Not only do they provide fiber for digestive regulation, they’re also full of great vitamins and minerals. That rich, orange color in peaches contains Beta-carotene, a derivative of Vitamin A, which protect cells from harm. Peaches are also a good source of Potassium, which can counteract the effects of Sodium!

    Peaches are in season between June and August so they may also cost less in these months because of the higher supply. Plus they’re outrageously, naturally, and addictively sweet! Such a fun summer treat!

    Ready for another question? This one’s a little harder…

    We learned that Peaches are the state fruit of Georgia but what is the state vegetable?
    (Hint: it, too, is sweet…)

    vidalia onionIf you guessed Vidalia onions, you are right! They are only grown in a very specific region of South Georgia and are known for their sweetness. They are grown in low-sulfur soil, so this means no tears when you cut into them! And similar to our peaches, Vidalia onions contain potassium as well.

    So what happens when you combine these Georgia produce stars? “Simply Southern Salad!”

    Georgia Peach and Vidalia Onion Salad with White Balsamic Vinaigrette
    Recipe sourced from Chef Klaskala:
    Ingredients
    • 4 fresh peaches, preferably free stone
    • ¼ cup Vidalia onions, thinly sliced
    • 1 teaspoon fresh mint, roughly torn
    • 1½ tablespoons grapeseed oil
    • 2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • 1 cup mixed field greens

    Instructions:
    Cut the peaches in half, remove stone, and cut into thick wedges. In a medium bowl, combine the peaches, onions and mint. Add grapeseed oil and white balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and
    pepper and gently toss.
    To serve:
    Divide peach, onion and mint salad evenly between 8 serving plates. Toss field greens in bowl with the dressing that remains and clings to the bowl. Scatter field greens on plates and serve.

  • 05Jun

    Today’s blog post in our series “What are your favorite Summer fruits and Veggies?” was contributed by Rachel Stroud, Good Measure Meals Community Wellness Rep, RD, LD

    Headshot_RStroud_2013I like being that dietitian who breaks the “rules.” The one that tells you things are okay that everyone around you is shouting “DO NOT EAT.”

    Here’s why: I love food. When I have to choose, I love food more than nutrition. But the fact is: I rarely have to choose. Food is wonderful. Calories are glorious little morsels of energy that fuel our bodies to do all the things we love to do. They’re not the enemy, they’re not to be avoided – they’re to be enjoyed, and chosen wisely.

    So here’s the food I want to talk about today: Corn.

    People LOVE to hate on corn.

    “It’s SOOOOOO starchy”
    “You feed your kids WHAT?!”
    “Corn is soooo not a vegetable”

    Let’s all take a step back for a minute. Corn is a vegetable, agriculturally speaking. Nutritionally, a medium ear of corn has ¼ the sugar of an apple and ¾ of the total carbohydrates. Corn is a good source of fiber, and provides us with a solid helping of thiamin, niacin, and folate, all tasty B vitamins.

    Yes folks, it does have a higher carb count than leafy greens, but eat it instead of your roll with dinner and you have a glorious, nutritious side dish. Corn should not take the place of your leafy greens, or other non-starchy veggies, but it certainly deserves a chance in place of a grain or bread, on occasion. Especially this time of year, when the ears are falling heavy off of their stalks and all 800 kernels/ear are puffed full of their sugary, creamy, white juice.

    Summer's fruits, veggies, and herbs make for delicious recipes!

    Summer’s fruits, veggies, and herbs make for delicious recipes!

    You know what else I love about corn? You can eat it raw. Enough of those shallow pans of boiling water that ultimately burn my fingers while I try to spin the corn so that each side gets cooked (but not TOO cooked!!). Enough of that.
    Cold, raw, sweet, fresh corn is one of the greatest parts of summer. Just slice it off the cob, and you’re in business.

    Here is one of my favorite recipes:
    2 cups raw, fresh, sweet Corn (3-4 ears)
    1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
    ½ c Fresh Mozzarella (preferably in ½ in cubes)
    ¼ c chopped basil
    1 T Olive Oil
    2T White Balsamic Vinegar
    salt and pepper to taste

    Get ready to take away the emptiest bowl after your next dinner party.

    P.S. Next time, we’ll talk about potatoes.

  • 08May

    Summer is right around the corner, and the hot weather has already started rolling in! Our town isn’t called “Hotlanta” for nothing, so we asked our staff members: “What is your favorite way to exercise in the heat?”
    harmony

    Over the next few weeks we’ll share their responses. We hope you find some motivation to get out and move around, too!

    Today’s post is contributed by GMM Customer Service Representative, Harmony Blackwell.

     

    My favorite way to exercise in the summer is to swim.
    It gives me a chance to move my whole body while having fun and staying cool. The weightlessness that I experience in the water enables me to do various exercises that I cannot do as easily out of the water.

    Consistent swimming tones the body, improves cardiovascular health, and lengthens the muscles, all without breaking down the body. In fact, swimming is often used as a method of therapy and rehabilitation for athletes who have been injured while participating in high-impact sports.

    fun noodle

    Swimming is also good for relaxation and clearing of the mind. I LOVE floating on those fun noodles you see at the pool. First of all there’s a knack to balancing along the length of the noodle with my legs crossed. Once I’ve got the perfect position, I use my arms to snake across the water as I look up in the sky making stories up based on the various cloud formations that flow through the air. There’s something about floating and staring up into the expanse of the sky that makes you feel connected to the Earth.

    Looks like this guy enjoys floating with a fun noodle, too ;)

    My other favorite thing about being in the water is playing volleyball! You get a serious workout between the jumping and diving for the ball. Not to mention the laughter that constantly happens during the game!

    And last, but not least, I LOVE the ocean! Swimming with sea life is one of the most awesome experiences! It taps me into an whole separate world of life, and even teaches me how to “go with the flow.” Not to mention that the salt water and sand are great cleansers and exfoliators for your skin.

    running into ocean

    Since January of this year, I’ve decided to make a “Commit to Lean”-style life change: Eating right with the help of Good Measure Meals, doing a consistent weekly workout, and making sure I’m drinking the proper amount of water.

    And now that it’s already halfway through the year, and I’ve been keeping at my goals, I’m ready for bikini season!

    What about you, what is your favorite hot-weather workout?

  • 29Apr

    Today’s post is contributed by Good Measure Meals Research and Development Chef, Catherine Izzo

    When we are planning a new menu, the first place that we look for inspiration is the feedback from our customer surveys. By analyzing the scores and reading all of the open-ended comments, we can clearly see which meals are customer favorites and what they would like to see more of.

    One of the distinct favorites from the menu that most customers wanted to see more of is our oven-fried chicken, which is marinated in buttermilk and herbs, coated in corn flakes and a little bit of Parmesan then baked until brown and crunchy.

    GMM Oven "Fried" Chicken

    GMM Oven “Fried” Chicken


    So, this got me thinking; how can I use the oven fried chicken more often without having the same meal twice in a menu cycle?

    Of course, the first thing that popped into this Italian’s head was one of my favorite comfort food recipes: Chicken Parmesan. So, we got to work on developing a meal that would still be as comforting, but would fit into our strict nutritional profile.

    The result is one my new favorite meals on the menu: the Chicken Parmesan with Whole Wheat Spaghetti and a side of Asparagus (coming up for dinner on Wednesday, May 14)!

    But it is so very hard to pick just one favorite meal from the GMM menus!

    From the Healthy Selection menu, I also love the Moroccan Chicken with Orange Couscous and Baby Spinach Salad (next Tuesday, May 6!), and the Kung Pao Chicken with the Thai Pineapple Rice (Friday, May 30). Of course, the Vegetarian menu also has great new items like the Mexican Vegetarian Rice Bowl (Monday, May 12), and the Sweet Potato Burger with Lemon Basil Spread served with the Cannellini Bean Salad (Monday, May 26).

    I could go on, but we would like to hear from you! Which are your new favorites?

    GMM Moroccan Chicken with Orange Couscous and Baby Spinach Salad with Toasted Almonds, Dates and Cumin Lime Dressing

    GMM Moroccan Chicken with Orange Couscous and Baby Spinach Salad with Toasted Almonds, Dates and Cumin Lime Dressing

  • 24Apr

    Today’s post is contributed by GMM’s beloved Customer Service Manager, Philip Neikro

    336040_10150888354297309_499730162_o Hi Everyone! I’m Philip Niekro, GMM’s Customer Service Manager. I was asked to write a little blog entry about my favorite GMM meal. I haven’t contributed to our blog in a while, and since I’ve just recently resumed my GMM meal plan, I thought I’d share a little bit about my experience with Good Measure Meals.

    I’ve been an off and on again GMM customer for over 5 years. I found out about this wonderful service back when I was looking to lose some weight and was at a point where I didn’t know what to do next. I had a friend who had just started working for this cool company that offered a fresh, calorie-controlled meal plan that, also, happened to be a fund raiser for a wonderful local non-profit called Open Hand.

    I gave Good Measure Meals a call and started picking up their 1700 Calorie, Healthy Selection, 7-day plan the very next Monday. I had never used a meal service like this before and was excited to try a new avenue to shed some pounds. I figured I’d at least give them a try. Needless to say, I ended up staying on the plan for almost 4 months and reached my goal of losing 30+ lbs! I was thrilled with my accomplishment and became one of GMM’s biggest fans.

    A couple of years later, I heard through that same friend that they were looking to hire a new customer service representative. I jumped at the chance! I got the job and was thrilled! I was going to be working for this great company that I had been recommending to all of my friends and, at the same time, help this awesome non-profit get medically appropriate meals to a group of people in Atlanta who would otherwise be in need.

    I’m now going on my 4th year here at RagnarGood Measure Meals and, still, to this day, have to pinch myself on occasion to remind myself that, yes, you do work for this amazing company. I get to talk to all of you wonderful customers, help you choose the right plan, find out what is working for you and what isn’t, find out what your favorite dishes are, answer questions about our service to new customers, and be an ear to those of you who might need a little support. Two years ago, I became GMM’s Manager of Customer Service and am excited to be able to help steer my team into an even better customer service department while being a part of the exciting things happening at GMM and Open Hand.

    And finally: What is my favorite GMM Meals? It has to be any kind of breakfast that contains Greek yogurt. I love the build-your-own parfait breakfasts the most. For some reason, interacting with your food that way is fun and feels like a treat.

    Good Measure Meals has helped me lose weight and get healthy. I’ve learned what a correct portion size of healthy prepared food looks like. GMM takes a part of that oh so difficult losing weight equation and does that work for me. I don’t have to worry about going to the grocery store, about what to buy or leave on the shelf, I don’t have to cook for a while, and I get to enjoy really tasty meals. By letting someone else take those duties away from me, I get to use my time and energy on the other part of the equation, ramping up my exercise and working to make other important decisions regarding my diet, i.e., late night snacking, emotional eating, etc.

    Currently, I’m looking to drop a little weight again. I’m back on GMM meals and am totally loving the new menu. I’m looking forward to reaching my goal weight again and enjoy the process at the same time.

    Interested in joining me? Come join the healthy meal plan train with me! Give me a call and I’ll get you started! Let’s do this together!

    Philip and his awesome team can be reached at 404-815-7695