• 27Aug

    Contributed by GMM Registered Dietitian, Laura Delfausse

    So I am a vegetarian.

    No, I don’t mind if you eat that Philly Cheesesteak in front of me; no, I don’t miss bacon; and yes, I get plenty of protein. I do own a juicer (though admittedly I’ve only used it twice), I try to buy organic when it is feasible, and…sometimes…I do wear leather shoes.  The point I am trying to make is that we like to affix labels to people based on our own lifestyle choices. And in my experience, some people fit these stereotypes to a “T,” but most of us do not, and so these labels can be very damaging.

    Take the vegetarian diet, for example. There are so many health benefits to meatless meals, but so many people hesitate to try vegetarianism because they are afraid of meat substitutes or because they think it is impossible to get all of the nutrients they need (even though many cultures have sustained themselves for a millennium on vegetarian diets!).

    GMM Vegetarian Pesto Garbanzo Bean Salad with Mixed Greens

    GMM Vegetarian Pesto Garbanzo Bean Salad with Mixed Greens

    I would never suggest that anyone go vegetarian unless they wanted to, but Americans as a general population eat way too much meat, and this is often because our portion sizes are way out of control.  Cutting back on meat consumption may not be such a bad idea after all.  John’s Hopkins University even started a ‘Meatless Mondays’ campaign with the simple concept of eliminating meat and high fat dairy products on Mondays only.  It’s a wellness-promoting campaign aimed at reducing the intake of saturated fats, which are the heart-clogging fats found mostly in animal products.  According to the University’s research, by cutting out meat and high-fat dairy products for just one day, a person can reduce their overall intake of saturated fats by 15-pecent! That’s a pretty significant amount, and considering heart disease is the number one killer in the U.S., this is something that we should all consider.

    Long story short, don’t be afraid to try a meatless meal every once in a while!  Especially with Good Measure Meals, which has a wide and delicious variety of vegetarian meals to keep newcomer, temporary, and even seasoned vegetarians excited and satisfied.

    GMM Lemongrass Tofu with Edamame Risotto and Ginger-glazed Carrots

    GMM Lemongrass Tofu with Edamame Risotto and Ginger-glazed Carrots

    Chances are even good that you already incorporate meatless meals into your diet from time to time, but this may not be a conscious decision on your part.  My recommendation is to step out of the box a little and make a conscious decision to reduce your saturated fat intake regularly.  You will probably even discover some new foods that you really like (GMM’s Thursday Quinoa Loaf dinner this week with Cheesy Whole Wheat Penne and a side of Green Beans, for instance) and that’s a win-win situation in my book!

  • 20Aug

    Today’s post is contributed by GMM Registered Dietitian, Laura Delfausse 

    Mayo1Anyone who knows me knows that my distaste for mayonnaise runs deep.

    Lucky for me, it is also not the healthiest condiment out there, so I feel no guilt avoiding it.  But I realize that for most people, this may be more of a sacrifice; because let’s be honest, if you grew up in the south, “salad” is something totally different than those green leafy concoctions you find at Ruby Tuesdays.

    True Southern salads are potato salad, chicken salad, broccoli salad, pasta salad, egg salad…am I right? And the list goes on . . . Long story short, we eat a lot of salads, and thus a lot of mayo.  And a lot of mayo means a lot of added fat.  All brands vary, but one tablespoon can pack in anywhere from 10-12 grams of fat.  Most people use at least twice that amount of mayo in their “salads!” That’s a lot of fat.

    So you might be asking yourself, why not use the low-fat or reduced fat varieties?  That’s fine, but realize that the fat in the mayo has to be replaced with something else. Most often it is replaced with sugars, like high fructose corn syrup.  In my opinion, replacing one unhealthy ingredient for another is not exactly the best solution.  Here are some better options:

    1. Use a vinaigrette, like mustard vinaigrette,Mayo2 on your tuna salad instead of mayo. This tangy addition not only incorporates more heart healthy fats (like olive oil), but the mustard can also cut the fishiness of the tuna.  This also works great on a potato salad! Have you tried Good Measure Meals’ Dijon Vinaigrette Potato Salad that we serve with our BBQ Chicken and Green Beans? It’s coming up for lunch on Monday, September 2, and it’s a real winner.
    2. Flavor your salads with pesto (especially good on pasta salad) – like the GMM Vegetarian Pesto Garbanzo Bean Salad over Fresh Mixed Greens!  When we think of pesto, we typically think of a mixture of basil, parmesan cheese, some spices and olive oil, but pesto can take on many different personalities.  There is sundried tomato pesto, sweet pea pesto, pumpkin seed pesto – the possibilities are endless and, like vinaigrettes, they encorporate heart healthy fats. As an added bonus, pesto has a little more of a gourmet feel to it, so if you are bringing your dish to a party, the guests will be quite impressed.
    3. Okay, so you don’t want to cut the mayo out completely? Try reducing it by replacing some of it with Greek yogurt.  At Good Measure Meals, we use Greek Yogurt to cut the fat in many of our spreads.  For instance, this week’s Cranberry Almond Chicken Salad has a Greek yogurt and mayonnaise base. This tasty compromise is sure to satisfy even the pickiest eaters.  Plus, Greek Yogurt is super high in protein and contains beneficial probiotics.
    4. Are you still craving the creamy, salty taste of mayo?  Try cottage cheese instead.  All you have to do is drain the cottage cheese overnight using cheese cloth, place the curds in a food processor and process until smooth.  Then, use the cottage cheese just how you would use regular mayonnaise, in salads or as a sandwich spread!

    So I have I convinced you to ditch the mayo yet? Sigh. Probably not, but I hope that I have at least encouraged you to diversify.  And all prejudices aside, you will really be doing your heart a favor (not to mention pleasing your mayo-hating friends).  Here’s to hoping the next BBQ I attend will have a little less mayo!

  • 13Aug

    Today’s post is contributed by Good Measure Meals’ Senior Director of Programs and Policy Development, Charlotte Hayes

    Couple at gymThis weekend, I was fortunate to hear a presentation by BJ Fogg PhD, an innovator in the area of health behavior change and founder of the Persuasive Technology Lab at Stanford University.  I am so enthused about what he had to say that I want to share it with you.

    I guess I’m typical of most people – I have the best intentions of doing things that matter for my health, but when it comes to accomplishing those things, I don’t always succeed.    Let me use stretching as an example.  Stretching is something that I really should do.  I know it’s good for me, I know how much I should stretch, and I know the exercises I should do.  But, despite all of these “shoulds,” I don’t manage to routinely stretch.

    So, what would BJ Fogg advise?  He would encourage me to employ the Fogg Behavior Model:

    Behavior = motivation∙ability∙trigger

    Here’s how it works:  Success with doing something takes three things: 1) being motivated, 2) being confident in your ability to do what you set out to do, and 3) being reminded to do that thing (having a trigger) on a regular basis.  Fogg encourages taking a “tiny habits” approach toward building healthier practices into your daily routine. If repeated, “tiny habits” eventually become automatic – or what he calls “health reflexes.”

    So back to stretching — let’s compare two fictional characters, Frog and Monkey (random, differing characters Fogg uses to get his point across) and me, and look at our plans for stretching. Then let’s see who is likely to be successful and why. Here are our plans:

    Frog: “I will do two stretches each time I hear the bull frog croak.”

    Monkey:  “I will stretch for 5 minutes, six mornings this week after I swing from the trees.”

    Me: “I will do my stretching routine for 30 minutes, four evenings this week.”

    What do you think?  As it turns out, Frog and Monkey are much more likely to be successful than I am, and these are the reasons why:

    • When I stop and compare myself to Frog and Monkey, I lose confidence in my ability, because Frog and Monkey are naturally flexible creatures and better at stretching than I am. And, for all I know, they likely don’t have time pressures either, making it easier for them to fit stretching into their weekly schedules. My lack of confidence in myself is not a successful way to form a habit.
    • Both Frog and Monkey have simple plans, and they have identified triggers to stretch.   For Frog, this is the bull frog croaking; and for Monkey, this is the daily activity of swinging from trees.  These routine sounds and daily activities are their reminders to do a bit of stretching. My open-ended promise to myself to stretch on “any four evenings” of the week (no start time specified) gives me the ability to procrastinate in a way that does not allow for the completion of my goal for the week.
    • Finally, motivation.  I really can’t speak to Frog’s and Monkey’s levels of motivation, but stretching is definitely a little bit uncomfortable for me. Plus, my plan for stretching requires a dedicated block of precious evening time, which I’m reluctant to give up on a regular basis.  Given these two possible hindrances, I’m likely to push stretching off, since deep down, I’m more motivated to enjoy my evening than work toward my vague health goal. I will need small goals to work toward to motivate myself so I can celebrate my successes and continue toward forming a habit.

    So, lessons I’ve learned?  Identify a regular trigger in my life to be a reminder to do what I plan to do; have a simple plan that I can achieve at my ability level; build momentum for change through routine practice and gradual (motivating) improvement, and celebrate success (the biggest motivator of all)!iStock_000012393263Large[1]

    I’m now thinking about my daily routine, triggers I can use, and simple ways to fit stretching in to make it enjoyable and to set myself up for motivating accomplishments, no matter how small!  I’ll let you know how this works as I set out to make stretching a “health reflex.”  I’d like to know if there are health habits you’re working on, and how principles of the Fogg Behavior Model is helpful to you!

    One health habit we’re all working on is proper nutrition and maintaing a healthful daily diet. At Good Measure Meals, we simplify healthy eating so that you can learn how to have “healthy reflexes” with your food choices. We are dedicated to supporting your success with reaching your nutrition–related health goals!

     

  • 05Aug

    Contributed by Good Measure Meals Registered Dietitian, Joy Goetz

    1363010941_peaches_fruit_wallpaperAugust is National Peach Month. As a huge fan of this fruit and a resident of the Peach State, I think it’s fitting to devote at least a blog post to this decadent summer treat.

    Every summer, when my family made our annual trip to North Georgia from South Florida, my mom insisted on stopping at the peach orchards and loading down the car with bushels of peaches. We all thought she was crazy, but no one complained when we were enjoying sweet, juicy peaches for weeks after we returned. My appreciation for this fruit has only deepened with time, as I become a more adventurous cook and eater. Sweet, savory, fresh or cooked…the peach is a wonderfully versatile fruit, and an easy way to jazz up just about anything. Some of my favorite quick and easy peach recipe ideas:

    • Peach salsa (peaches + tomatoes + Vidalia onion + bell pepper + cilantro = a low-calorie summertime favorite)
    • Peaches and cream (by cream, I mean yogurt or fro-yo). My current favorite breakfast is Atlanta Fresh ginger peach Greek yogurt, sliced fresh peaches and ginger granola. Now that’s a way to start the day!
    • Grilled peach slices on arugula salad with goat cheese, pecans and white balsamic vinaigrette. (My own creation based on this recipe.)
    • Peach cobbler. For a quick, easy and healthy version of this summer favorite, simply slice a few peaches, drizzle with a touch of honey, top with your favorite granola and bake at 350 until warm and bubbly. There’s really no set recipe-it comes out great whether you’re making a single serving or enough for a family reunion.)

    When shopping for fresh peaches, choose peaches that are on the firmer side-they travel better- and allow them to ripen in a paper bag at room temperature. Peaches are ripe when they are fragrant and yield to gentle pressure.

    I hope you’re enjoying peach season as much as I am. Check out GMM meals featuring peaches: Peaches and Cream Oatmeal topped with Walnuts, served with Turkey Sausage, and a Fresh Orange; Zucchini Frittata, with Oven Roasted Sweet Potatoes, and Peach Crisp;  and Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes with Peach Sauce and a side of Scrambled Eggs and Egg Whites.

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