• 29Feb

    At GMM, our world revolves around nutrition and healthy lifestyles, so it’s no surprise that we would jump at the opportunity to help support the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics celebrate National Nutrition Month.  This March, our amazing team of registered dietitians will help you “Get your Plate in Shape,” a concept that encourages our community to include a diverse offering of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and dairy on their plate each and every day.  Not only will our dietitians be going into the field to educate our community, but will be educating our own staff here at Open Hand/Good Measure Meals!  As a part of our Wellness Committee, our dietitians seek out opportunities to help our own team walk the talk-and we are so thankful to have their knowledge and passion right here on campus.

    This March 14th, we have the opportunity to celebrate Registered Dietitian Day, recognizing the commitment that dietitians have made to help people enjoy healthier lives.  So I will leave the education to the RD’s, and instead take a minute to thank them for all that they do for our team, for our customers, and most importantly for our community.  These ladies are such an incredible asset to this organization and as part of National Nutrition Month and Registered Dietitian Day; we thank you from the bottom of our hearts!  You make Good Measure Meals and Open Hand possible!

    Ashley, Bethany, Charlotte, Joy, Julie, Michele and Rachel- here’s to you and same lifelong health you support for those around you!

  • 28Feb

    Go for your goals with enthusiasm and excitement!

    I am excited to announce that I’m embarking on a new chapter in my career. I have been accepted to attend the Chef’s Training at The Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts in New York City. My passion for health, cooking and food has always left me with a desire to learn more. Attending culinary school has been a goal of mine for several years.  The time has finally come for me to pursue this goal.

    I choose this particular culinary school because of its history, the emphasis on health, and its location in Manhattan. The curriculum focuses on health-supportive culinary arts and includes techniques for preparing a wide variety of foods such as whole grain baking, plant based proteins, natural sweeteners, vegetables, fruits, nuts, poultry and seafood. It connects nutrition, food and healing to diet and addresses topics such as healthy digestion, strengthening for the immune system and food for support of chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis and arthritis.

    I will continue to stay connected to Open Hand and Good Measure Meals while I’m away. My experiences will be posted here in a weekly blog. I’ll share information related to health-supportive culinary arts and will include practical and creative culinary tips and resources.

    I will return to Atlanta in September. The knowledge and skill that I will gain from this program will enhance our current offerings for nutrition, food and cooking classes in the community and will help to connect our customers with culinary skills and knowledge that will help them to have success with long-term health goals. I’m really looking forward to this!

    I bet there are many of you that have dreams and big goals of your own. I say go for it now! Don’t wait. You can start with baby steps,
    but don’t be afraid to take a large leap. It might be scary at first, but if your dreams come from your heart there will be no greater success for you!

  • 20Feb

    For me, pizza brings back memories of Friday nights as a child.  My mom cooked most nights of the week and ordering pepperoni pizza on Friday was a treat for us, and a break from cooking for my mom.  We washed it down with pop (as we called it in the Midwest).  Pizza and pop just went hand-in-hand.

    As a kid, I ate pepperoni pizza and remember thinking, “Why would you ruin pizza and put veggies on it?”

    Well, times have changed and so have my tastes.  Don’t get me wrong – I love pepperoni but unfortunately as a dietitian, I know too much about how unhealthy processed meats can be.  Pepperoni is now a treat on occasion, but 95% of the time, I’m ordering a veggie pizza.

    So…the question remains, “Can pizza actually be healthy?”

    As with most nutrition topics, there is no black or white answer.  It all depends on the ingredients and the choices you make when ordering.  It’s not so much about where you go, but rather what you eat.  Check out my seven tips to tackle pizza shops in a healthy way:

    1. Order water. No matter what beverage you choose (if you are watching calories, unsweet tea, water, or club soda are good calorie-free choices), order a glass of water.  Drink water between each bite of food to help you feel full faster.

    2. Choose the right starter. Hot pretzels, wings, and garlic knots may taste delicious but your heart and stomach will thank you later if you pass.  Start with a salad full of veggies and mixed greens with a vinegar-based dressing for more fiber and less guilt.

    3. Go heavy on the veggie toppings. The variety of veggies offered depends on the restaurant and from my own experience, local pizza joints seem to offer more variety than large pizza chains. But no matter where you go, tomatoes, onions, garlic, spinach, mushrooms, olives, and peppers are usually options – so load up!

    4. Season with the shaker or red sauce instead of dipping sauce.  The two ounce side of blue cheese dressing, tzatziki sauce or other creamy dip will add 100-200 more calories and a dose of fat.  Choose more marinara sauce, red pepper flakes, garlic powder or Italian seasonings for flavor without the extra calories and fat.

    5. Stop at one or two slices.  Depending how big each slice is, you may be able to stop after one piece of pizza.  Are you no longer hungry yet not uncomfortable?  You have likely eaten enough.  When in doubt, wait 15-20 minutes for your brain to catch up with your stomach and re-evaluate.

    6. Breadsticks?  Cinnamon Apple Pizza? Leave ‘em off.  Your waistline AND your wallet will thank you.

    7. Balance it out. If you truly enjoy a savory pizza, and the veggie version with a salad simply won’t do, then eat pizza less often and keep your nutrition in balance by eating low calorie, healthy meals 5-6 nights per week.    Choosing a Good Measure Meals 5 day plan can help you do just that!

  • 13Feb
    Steamed broccoli & potatoes for our curry dish

    According to the American Heart Association, by age 80, over 80 percent of both men and women will have some form of cardiovascular disease. Deaths have declined from heart disease in the past 20 years, but despite advances in treating heart disease, it still takes more lives than any other other illness.

    February is Heart Month – a month set aside to remind us all to take care of our most valuable organ – our hearts.   So…Ashley and I decided this would be a great theme for our monthly cooking demos at the Cancer Support Community Atlanta.   As diets high in saturated fat (typically from animals) are linked to high cholesterol and heart disease, we decided to talk about a few ways to incorporate some vegetarian meals.

    One recipe we chose to incorporate was a Broccoli, Potatoes & Tofu Stir Fry.  Why should you give this a try?  Check out key facts about these ingredients:

    Broccoli

    First of all, broccoli is full of folate, potassium, magnesium, vitamin K, vitamin C and fiber.  A  3/4 cup of cooked broccoli contains only 40 calories.   Diets rich in fiber can lower cholesterol to reduce your risk of heart disease.

    Turmeric

    This stir fry is also full of turmeric— a spice native to Asia commonly used in curry dishes.  It’s active ingredient, curcumin (not related to cumin) is an antioxidant.  Turmeric has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects in the body, which could help reduce the risk of heart disease.

    Coconut Milk

    Although rich in saturated fat, 1/2 of this fat comes from lauric acid, a compound that the body turns into monolaurin, an antiviral, antibacterial compound.   In addition, the saturated fat in coconut milk is mostly in the form of  medium-chain fatty acids, which are not broken down by the body the same way that long-chain  fatty acids found in animal products are.   According to the Coconut Research Center, people with diets high in coconut oil have lower cholesterol levels and lower  rates of heart disease, and properties in the coconut oil may actually reduce your risk of heart disease.  More research is needed in this area, so as with most foods rich in fat – use in moderation.

    Below is the recipe to try; however, if you aren’t up to cooking your own vegetarian meals just yet, give our Good Measure Meals vegetarian meals a try first!

    Broccoli, Potatoes & Tofu Green Curry

    4-5 cups of broccoli florets, 1 medium head

    1/2 lb fingerling or red potatoes, sliced 1/3 inch thick

    Salt for water

    3/4 cup green onions, sliced, about 1 bunch

    1/2 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped

    1/2 tsp turmeric

    1-2 Serrano chiles, coarsely chopped

    3 1/2 tbsp peanut oil

    1/2 lb of firm tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes, drained and pressed

    1/4 tsp salt

    1 15-oz can unsweetened coconut milk

    1 bunch of Swiss chard, sliced, stems removed

    Bring about 6 cups of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli and potatoes. Boil until tender, about 7-10 minutes, drain and set aside. Place cilantro, turmeric, chiles, and 1.5 tablespoons of peanut oil in a food    chopper or processor; puree, scrapping down the sides until it becomes a smooth paste.  Heat the remaining oil over medium heat in a large skillet or wok. Sauté green onion for 1 minute. Add the tofu and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add the Swiss chard and sauté until wilted and tender, about 5 minutes. Add the pureed mixture  and sauté for several minutes. Add the cooked broccoli and potatoes, season with salt and sauté until heated through. Pour in the coconut milk and stir to combine, bringing to a simmer for about 2 minutes.  Serve with brown basmati or jasmine rice.

  • 06Feb

    Like many Americans last night, I joined a group of friends for a Superbowl party.

    When the array of people and food arrived, I realized that Superbowl calorie consumption is likely similar to that of Thanksgiving Day or Christmas. Granted, the menu is different, but the foods are likely just as rich. For example, take our menu from last night:

    Appetizers:

    *Meat & Cheese Tray (see photo)
    *Chips
    *Carrots, Celery & Dip
    *Chicken Wing Dip & Tortilla Chips
    *Pepperoni, Cheese and Spinach Pizzas

    Halftime Entree

    * 7 types of chili for our own chili cook-off including one made with steak, beer, bacon and sausage.

    *Cornbread

    Dessert:

    *Brownies
    *Caramel-peanut brownies
    *Assorted cookies & cupcakes

    Assuming you tasted a little of everything, you could easily eat 1000+ calories! So just how bad is the damage?

    If this happens only once a year, not much; however, if this is similar to your menu at every college football tailgate and every NFL Sunday, you might be in trouble. If that’s the case, what can you do to keep your calories in check?

    1. Throw in some veggies. Rather than chips with dip, try a raw veggie platter.

    2. Even better, replace the creamy dips with hummus. Homemade hummus tastes best, but grab the premade if you are in a hurry.

    3. Fill up on hearty soup. We had 7 types of chili – including a black bean and corn, and a meat loaded version with steak, sausage and bacon. Make your version bean and veggie heavy, and you’ll be full of fiber rather than guilt.

    4. Choose alcohol wisely. Generally speaking, one beer = 70-100 calories. If you are watching your waistline, limit to one or two drinks.

    5. Eat from a small plate. Rather than grazing with your hands, grab a small plate and fill it once.

    6.  Sit away from the food. I made the mistake last night of sitting on the floor next to the coffee table with the appetizers. In this case, distance is a good thing.

    7. Dessert and dash. To avoid going back for more, grab one small bite of a dessert on the way out the door.