• 31Jul

    Today’s post in the series “What Are Your Tips for Staying Hydrated?” was contributed by Sarah Shanahan MS, RD, LD; Good Measure Meals Community Wellness Representative

    Sarah_ShanahanFueling and hydrating are two of my favorite nutrition topics. I could easily write on and on about the best ways to stay hydrated, especially during the hot and humid summer we struggle through in the south. But, since Jess covered them so well in a previous post, I can write about something more fun. Cocktails. And their more hydrating better half, mocktails.

    I love a good cocktail. However, since there are a bunch of reasons why I shouldn’t sit down and drink a bunch of cocktails, I like to switch it up with mocktails.

    What’s a mocktail? It’s a faux cocktail. Basically, it’s all the parts of the cocktail that taste good, minus the alcohol. And unlike cocktails, mocktails can be great way to stay hydrated!

    Alcohol itself is dehydrating, and a whole lot of those nasty side effects to a really fun night out are just symptoms of dehydration and low blood glucose. Additionally, anything over “moderate” alcohol intake (in general, one drink daily for women and two daily for men) can at best cause an increase in triglycerides and blood pressure. And at worst, can lead to liver damage, certain cancers, decreased immune system, diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. Yuck. And I didn’t even mention the excess calories you consume and the subsequent drop in blood glucose that make you feel hungrier than normal, which in turn makes you want to eat more than you need. No thanks.

    cocktail 2In an effort to enjoy my night, and the bright life I have ahead of me, I like to sip on lower calorie, alcohol-free mocktails. Don’t get me wrong, you can still make yourself a high calorie mocktail, but there are so many fun things you can do to keep the calories to a minimum. My basic mocktail recipe follows, with some ideas to dress it up. And I highly suggest you serve them in your special occasion glassware to make them stand out.

    Basic Mocktail
    8oz Plain seltzer or soda water
    2oz Juice
    Citrus or Herb garnish
    Stir and serve over ice

    cocktail 1Examples
    Cape Cran
    8oz Plain seltzer or soda water
    2oz Cranberry juice
    Juice of ¼ lime
    Stir and serve over ice with a lime garnish

    Minted Mini Greyhound
    8oz Seltzer or soda water
    2oz grapefruit juice
    Fresh mint leaves
    Stir together and serve over ice

  • 22Jul

    Today’s post in the series “What Are Your Tips for Staying Hydrated?” was collaborated by Jamie Hamblin, Good Measure Meals Community Dietitian, and Katherine Clevenger, GMM Communications Coordinator

    JamieHamblin_5Lately I’ve been excited to incorporate a water carbonator into my regular personal use. One of my dear co-workers just recently moved to Minnesota, and she gave me a free water carbonator in her absence.

    Now, carbonated water (or sparkling water…or soda water) definitely is a unique experience for first-timers. When we think of water, we think of simple hydration with a nearly complete lack of flavor associated. When we think of sodas, we think of sweet, bubbly drinks. Soda/carbonated water has the same hydrating, non-sweet experience like water, but it has the bubbly/fizzy feel that sodas do.

    I’ve really enjoyed drinking carbonated water (it’s pretty mainstream in Europe, as you travelers will know), and I’ve realized that it is a great alternative to regular water for those of you looking for creative ways to drink more H20. It’s just got that little extra “something” to keep you interested and wanting another glass.

    san pellierObviously you don’t have to go all-in and buy a water carbonator to get some carbonated water for yourself. There are many carbonated/sparkling waters on the market that are delicious. As far as some good brands to look out for, the key is to check out the label to avoid added sugar. Also, there are quite a few brands that boast flavor, but use artificial sweeteners. Be wary of words like aspartame, sucralose, acesulfame potassium, saccharin.
    Perrier and San Pellegrino are examples of two well-known sparkling water producers; and LaCroix, for example, is a brand that is known for it’s completely naturally flavored (sugar free) sparkling water options.lacroix

    Now if you find that you’re drinking a 6-pack of LaCroix a day, a personal water carbonator might just be a good investment. Plus you can add your own flavor – lemon, lime, orange, whatever you like. If you do go the water carbonator direction, just make sure to watch out for the flavor packets that come with the machine – often they include artificial colors, flavors, and added sugar – NOT something you want hidden in your water-of-choice.

    Carbonated water can also be a great base for some tasty, nutritious beverages – especially if you don’t feel like you have developed a taste for straight carbonated water yet. One of my favorites is Agua Fresca from Leanne Brown’s A Snap Cookbook – Good and Cheap. I use carbonated water instead of regular water to add some extra pop!

    Check it out:

    agua fresca recipe

  • 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!!