• 30Nov

    The holiday season is notorious for temptation…From second helpings of holiday dinners to endless cookie baskets in the office break room, most of us find the pounds packing on from late November through the end of the year.  While I never advise anyone to miss out on the richness of flavor during the holiday months (Pumpkin Pie is a staple in my holiday diet), we do need to find balance. Remember, we can enjoy seasonal treats by burning those calories off in fun and festive ways!

    Calories Consumed Vs. Calories Burned

    Apple Pie (1 slice = 300 calories) –> Putting up/decorating the Christmas Tree (151 cal/hour)

    Egg Nog (1/2 cup = 180 calories) –> 1 hour of cooking (180 calories)

    Candy Cane (45 calories) –> 15 minutes of cleaning up (62 calories)

    Honeybaked Ham (1 slice=209 calories) –> 35 minutes of stacking firewood (206 calories)

    Hot Chocolate with Whip Cream (12 oz = 250 calories) –> 1 hour of shopping for presents (249 calories)

    Sweet Potato Soufflé (121g = 511 calories) –> Shoveling snow off the drive and sidewalks (700 cal/hr)

    Roasted Chestnuts (100g = 220 calories) –> 30 minutes of sledding (242 calories)

    Gingerbread Man (1 cookie = 76 Calories) –> Wrap presents for 1 hour (99 calories)

    *calories estimated for a 145lb. woman.  Increases of weight will increase the calories burned.

    In the end it is all about balance and knowing that you can enjoy the holidays to the fullest if you remember to also get a little activity in there.  So next time you reach for that second slice of pie, follow the sweet treat with a family outing to the skating rink and maximize the holiday fun!

  • 24Nov

    Picture of the Frozen Pumpkin Mousse Pie. Image from eatingwell.com

    The American Council on Exercise claims the average Thanksgiving meal could contain upwards of 3,000 calories and 229 grams of fat. That is the equivalent to consuming 5.5 McDonald’s Big Macs or 15 ‘Supreme’ tacos from Taco Bell! Wow! No matter what your health goals are, there is no benefit to consuming such a large volume of calories and fat. Don’t fall into this food coma. I recommend practicing portion control and contributing healthy options at Thanksgiving.

    In my family it is common for about 15 of us to come together on Thanksgiving and create an amazing meal with traditional and non traditional dishes. Everyone contributes something of their own creation. Most dishes are not very healthy! My family knows that they can always count on me for contributing something nutritious, healthy and flavor packed. This year I’m bringing a non-guilt version of a pumpkin pie called ‘Frozen Pumpkin Mousse Pie’. I found it in Eating Well Magazine. Check it out! I’m sure it will be a topic of discussion. Reviewers commented that this recipe is:

    “Amazing! Tastes just like pumpkin pie but not as thick or filling! And love love love the ginger snaps as the crust! Will make again indefinitely!!”

    “I also made this for Thanksgiving and it was a hit. I like it better than regular pumpkin pie because it doesn’t leave me feeling like I ate a brick. I used Bryers fat free vanilla ice cream which is creamy and delicious, although I did have to put a little bit more of the spices in to suite my taste. This is going to be a new tradition in our house!”

    “This is really freaking good!”

    I hope my family likes it just as much as these reviewers.

    The healthy modifications to this recipe give it an impressive difference in nutrients per slice:

    Frozen Pumpkin Mouse Pie        VS   Traditional Pumpkin Pie
    230 calories 480 calories
    5 g fat 33 g fat
    1 g saturated fat 20 g saturated fat
    2 g fiber 3 g fiber
    179 mg sodium 191 mg sodium

     

    Are you cooking up something healthy for Thanksgiving this year? Tell us about it!  

    Need some inspiration? Check out these links:

    Thanksgiving recipes: Delicious options for healthy eating  from the Mayo Clinic

    10 Tips for a Thinner Thanksgiving from WebMD

    Holiday Meal Planning from The American Diabetes Association

    Tips for a Healthier Holiday Season from mypyramid.gov

    I hope you have a delicious and healthy Thanksgiving!

  • 19Nov

    Breakfast is an essential component of a balanced diet, and not only provides your body with the energy that you need to function throughout the morning, but also assists with weight management by jump starting your metabolism!  I will admit that I have always been a breakfast eater, but until I started on my Good Measure Meals™- I usually resorted to a grab and go item or a bowl of cereal if I had the time.  I knew that I should be eating a more nutrient dense morning meal, but who has the time to whip up and perfectly balance breakfast?

    I have GMM to thank for my new morning routine, that still manages to keep my mornings quick (I really do enjoy hitting the snooze button in the A.M.!) and provides me with the protein and energy to make it through the day!  In honor of breakfast, I wanted to write a quick blog post about one of my favorite breakfast entrees, the Pumpkin Oatmeal Breakfast Bar with Cranberries and Walnuts!  We all love the taste, but in GMM fashion, there is a lot of great nutrition that goes into the recipe, so I thought I would break down some of the ingredients for everyone, to show you why our culinary staff includes certain items in our menu!  Here it goes…

    Pumpkin: A naturally low fat and low calorie food, pumpkin is packed with disease fighting nutrients like alpha and beta-carotene, fiber, vitamins C & E, potassium and magnesium. The carotenes are converted into vitamin A once eaten and promote healthy vision immune response.  There is also evidence that pumpkin helps reverse skin damage caused by the sun and acts as an anti-inflammatory.  The Carotenoid properties of pumpkin also boost immunity and lessen the risk of heart disease!

    Oats: A great source of soluble fiber, oats have been proven to help lower “bad” cholesterol (LDL), boost “good” cholesterol(HDL), maintain a healthy circulatory system, and help prevent heart attacks!  Not only do they provide these heart healthy benefits, they are also jam packed with a wide range of vitamins and minerals including vitamins B and E, magnesium, iron and calcium!  They are also low on the glycemic index, so for folks managing insulin resistance, oats are a great addition to the diet!

    Cranberries: They may be small, but this tiny fruit is a powerhouse for health!  Cranberries are high in soluble fiber and protect against heart disease.  Because of their quinic acid content, they are one of the best treatments for urinary tract infections and help prevent digestive disorders and stomach ulcers

    Walnuts: Nuts are notorious for their high fat content, but walnuts are much richer in polyunsaturated fats than monounsaturated fats, boasting an unusually high content of omega-3 fatty acid.  This makeup proves walnuts to be helpful in the prevention of heart disease, cancers, arthritis, skin problems and disorders of the nervous system.  There’s more too!  Walnuts have been should to lower “bad” cholesterol and blood pressure, while increasing the elasticity of the arteries!

    Cinnamon: Did you know that cinnamon has an anticoagulant compound (cinnamaldehyde) that can help protect against strokes?  It is also an anti-inflammatory, shown to relieve symptoms of arthritis and asthma…hard to believe, right?  The benefits don’t stop there though, cinnamon also functions as a digestive aid- relieving bloating and flatulence, and reducing heartburn… maybe that’s why it is so abundant in the holiday feasts!

    Now that you know some of the health benefits of this morning treat, get excited about Monday morning, because your GMM breakfast kicks off the week with our very own Pumpkin Oatmeal Breakfast Bar goodness!

    What’s your favorite Good Measure Meal™ Breakfast?

  • 16Nov

    As the Georgia weather becomes more and more tolerable into the autumn days, I find myself wanting to spend every moment I can outdoors. As a wellness professional, I am constantly looking for ways to stay fit and have fun, utilizing the resources we have right here in our community. This last weekend, myself and GMM Culinary Dietitian Ashley Ritchie decided that we were in need of some physical activity and fresh air, so we decided to turn our fitness focus to Stone Mountain Park.

    There are so many ways to be active at the park, from hiking up the mountain(a 1.3 mile trek to the top!), completing the sky ropes course(for the adventurous visitor) to biking, running the 5 mile loop around the mountain, or going on a pedal boat ride through the lake. There are even 15 miles of hiking trails throughout the park! That being said, Ashley and I decided that we’d take a scenic trail to the base of the mountain and then make the hike straight up, which starts out at a pretty gradual slope and manages to become incredibly steep near the top! Check out the pics from the hike up!

    On the way back down, we were discussing how amazing it was to see so many active folks climbing up and running around the park. Being in the wellness industry, we were both impressed and excited to see all the activity around us and decided we should make a habit of hiking around the park with friends and family. No sooner than this fleeting thought left our conversation, did we stumble upon two of our favorite coworkers and their wives, making their trek up the massive hill! Great fun seeing friends out being active!

    Fitness fanatics from GMM and Open Hand!

    At the end of the hike we had taken over 9000 steps (thanks to the trusty pedometer I wore to track our trek!) and thoroughly enjoyed the great outdoors! We even stopped at the Farmer’s Market on the way home to scout out some ideas for the next GMM menu cycle! What a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon embracing health and wellness!

    Almost a days worth!

  • 16Nov

    This is me posing next to a giant carrot at the food and nutrition expo. There were over 400 venders showcasing the latest in nutrition products.

    I attended the American Dietetic Association’s Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo last week. It was held in Boston. This conference is the world’s largest meeting of food and nutrition experts – more than 10,000 registered dietitians, nutrition science researchers, policy makers, health care professionals and industry leaders attend the annual meeting – and address key issues affecting the health of all Americans. The annual conference features more than 100 research and educational presentations, lectures, debates, panel discussions and culinary demonstrations. It was really an amazing event!

    I had the opportunity to hear many educational sessions that covered the hottest topics in nutrition including obesity, the green revolution in food, the science of spices and herbs, new sodium guidelines and culinary trends. It was fun and inspirational to attend several cooking demos highlighting a huge variety of healthful foods. I also walked the expo floor and got a look at over 400 companies featuring new, innovative products and services related to nutrition. It was a really great experience.

    Have you heard of Anthony Bourdain? He gave the most entertaining session by far! If you don’t know Anthony Bourdain – check him out! He is a chef and author of Kitchen Confidential and is best known for traveling the globe on his stomach, daringly consuming some of the world’s most exotic dishes on his hit Travel Channel TV show, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations. He gave an enlightening and entertaining presentation on how cultures from around the world are hanging on to their authentic cuisine and ingredients and the positive results on the communication between cultures. It was very interesting indeed!

    Anthony Bourdain presented the closing session entitled "How to Stop Worrying and Enjoy Globalization"

    I also attended a very informative session on the latest research related to spices and herbs and how they can help improve health. The speakers presented several studies on exciting new findings related to the potential protective benefits of spices and herbs which are rich in polyphenols and antioxidants. The session included a culinary demonstration which inspired me to want to incorporate these healthful and flavorful spices and herbs into more Good Measure Meals recipes. Gotta love an extra boost of flavor combined with extra health benefits! I will be writing a new blog post very soon highlighting some of these health promoting spices and herbs. Tell me – what are your favorite spice and herb flavorings?

  • 09Nov

     

    More information? Click on the image to see how you can get involved!

    Open Hand, the nonprofit to which all Good Measure Meals™ proceeds go to, seriously has the most creative ways to raise money to support educating and feeding the community.  Currently, we are working on the Empty Bowl Project, which raises awareness about hunger in Atlanta.

     How fun is this….  People interested in participating in this fundraiser get to play or eat!  Seriously! Between Friday, October 1 – Sunday, November 14 those wanting to contribute to the cause simply have to swing by Wired and Fired (994 Virginia Avenue/ 404.885.1024) pick out a bowl ($12) and let their creativity soar!  There are so many glazes to choose from and the purpose is to create a fun and colorful bowl that will then be donated.  All the donated bowls will then be put on display, Wednesday November 17th from 11am to 5 pm at Murphy’s (404.872.0904) in Virginia Highlands. 

    This is where the second round of fun happens.  You can purchase any of the donated bowls and have it filled with a delicious dish from a special bowl menu prepared by Executive chef Tom Harvey for $20!  All proceed benefit Open Hand!

    Can you think of a better way to raise money for a great cause? Get your family or friends together and paint those bowls, or schedule your lunch at Murphy’s on the 17th and enjoy a delicious dish and a new bowl created with love!  So many ways to participate and enjoy philanthropy!

    Check out the pictures below of the GMM/Open Hand Staff painting our very own bowls!  What fun!  You can bet that we’ll be there on the 17th to enjoy Chef Harvey’s soup in the very bowls we decorated!

    We had a blast! What a great way to spend an afternoon!Some of the GMM Staff getting creative for a cause!

    The GMM Staff getting creative for a cause!

  • 02Nov

    Halloween is over and many of you are left with Jack-o-lanterns and a pile of dried pumpkin seeds that you were planning on doing something with, but just haven’t gotten around to yet… am I right?

     As my favorite seasonal food, pumpkin makes its way into many of my holiday recipes and while most people would probably guess that this means pumpkin breads, pies and cookies- there are also many healthy ways to use this amazing food. Today I want to focus on pumpkin seeds. Many of you might have noticed that new GMM menu found a use for pumpkin seeds in one of our new Dinner Selections: Northern Italian Raviolis of Sage Pasta stuffed with Butternut Squash topped with Genoa Style Tomato Sauce. Fresh Spinach Salad with Carrots, Pumpkin Seeds and Multigrain Croutons with Balsamic Vinaigrette. Sound delicious? It is and also a great way to incorporate the nutrient packed pumpkin seed into a balanced meal! Great work Ashley!

    Pumpkin seeds are not edible when raw, but with a little olive oil and 20 minutes in the oven on low heat, you have a tasty and oh so healthy snack. The seeds are extremely high in both zinc and iron, both minerals needed in our daily diets. Zinc is an antioxidant mineral, which not only boosts the immune system, but also protects against prostate enlargement and cancer in the male population. Iron improves energy levels and is vital for healthy blood cells. Foods that contain high amounts of these minerals are particularly important for vegetarians, but also very beneficial to meat eaters, as the seeds also contain sterols, which help remove “bad” cholesterol, lowering LDL. As if these benefits weren’t enough to entice you to add pumpkin seeds into your diet, they also contain some Omega-3 fats (the healthy fat!), vitamin E, folate, and magnesium that can maintain heart health!

     Tips for Using Pumpkin Seeds: Always chew the seeds well to ensure maximum absorption of nutrients and think about adding seeds to salads, yogurt, muesli or cereal. You can also consider grounding the seeds and adding it to veggie, nut or bean burgers to increase your iron!

    How do you use pumpkin seeds?