• 29Aug

    Today’s post is contributed by Good Measure Meals intern, Claudia Utesch.

    Fall is just around the corner, which means there are a few weeks left to take full advantage of the longer, sunny, warm days that are currently at our fingertips.

    Summer is truly one of the best times of the year to be outside and enjoy what your environment has to offer. It is such a treat living in Atlanta because it is the best combination between city life and the great outdoors. Atlanta has a variety of parks, running routes, and even mountains just a short drive away. This Labor Day weekend, get out and take advantage of the outdoors with a couple of these helpful tips.

    1. Try out a variety of parks. There are so many parks in the metro Atlanta area like Piedmont Park, Grant Park, Candler Park, Inman Park, and of course Centennial Park. Take your loved ones for a day at the park; bring a picnic and some activities (bocce ball, frisbee, a kite to fly, etc.) to do outside while you enjoy being outdoors. Many of these parks like Piedmont Park and Grant Park offer a pool for visitors to cool off from that late-summer Georgia heat.
    piedmont park

    2. Another great way to get out and play is finding running routes or trails near you. The Atlanta Beltline covers a 22 mile radius around the city of Atlanta. The Beltline is commonly used for biking, running, and walking. The Beltline runs through multiple parks like Piedmont, Glenwood, Maddox, and Atlanta Memorial Park. Finding a trail near you, whether it is a neighborhood trail or a public one can be a great way to spend the afternoon exploring the nooks and cranny’s of your community. Check out the Beltline’s and the PATH Foundation’s lists of trails to find one near you!

    tomato3. Gardening – it’s not just a spring-time activity! Whether it’s a fruit, vegetable, or a bed of flowers or plants, gardening can be enjoyable and therapeutic. As I have gotten older, a couple of my friends have started their own small gardens. It is incredibly rewarding to  experience the growing process under your care. Fruit and vegetable gardens can have a lot of benefits, especially because you can add the end product to your dinner table! And now is the time to get your Fall veggies in the ground – plant your kale, carrots, beets, lettuce, spinach, and turnips in September, and enjoy the perfect harvest for stews, roasts, and Fall flavors.

    4. Georgia has a wide variety of hiking trails on which to spend a few minutes, hours, or an entire afternoon. The closest “mountain” to the Atlanta area is Stone Mountain. This hike is relatively short, but has QUITE an incline. Kennesaw Mountain and Sweetwater Creek are other nearby trail systems, and these paths are usually quiet and filled with lots of shade. Find a list of top 10 Atlanta hiking trails here!

    waterpark5. Waterfront activities like visiting a pool, a lake, or the beach are a great way to get the kids out of the house while keeping cool. Georgia has several lakes that you and your family can relax on during a late summer day. And if you’d rather have a more exciting day in the water, you can also visit some of the waterparks in the area, like those at Lake Lanier Island. Spending the day in the water is a fun way to maximize the final weeks of summer and relax with your loved ones and friends.

    Take the time out of your busy schedule to explore what our area has to offer outside. You may be surprised at the fun adventures you can find without spending a fortune!

  • 21Aug

    Today’s guest article is contributed by Open Hand Atlanta/Good Measure Meals intern, Claudia Utesch. Claudia is a senior in the Didactic program at Georgia State University. She currently holds the position as student gardener in the Nutrition Student Network at State and works as a supervisor at the Georgia State Recreation Center.

    Often when people think of farmer’s markets, they think of springtime. Fresh produce and new growth after dormant winters, and all.

    But, weather pending, high season for farmer’s markets is actually during July/August, when produce is catapulting from the ground in epic proportions after weeks of careful planning, growing, and harvesting. Maybe you haven’t been to a farmer’s market yet in 2014, maybe you haven’t been since the spring, or maybe there are ones you haven’t tried out yet. Either way, the time is now to hit the markets – especially if you only use Good Measure Meals for 1 or 2 meals per day!

    However, while farmer’s markets are new and exciting places to shop for ingredients, they can also be a little daunting. There is a variety of produce available to shoppers, but where to start and what to buy can leave a shopper discouraged. Follow these steps to make your late summer trip to the farmer’s market a success.

    Know what is in Season
    Before heading to the farmer’s market, understand which fruits and vegetables are in season. Since most the produce is local, the season will strongly impact what you see as you search for ingredients. Here is a link that shows which months will bring specific fruits and vegetables.

    farmersmarketunionFind a Location near You
    Don’t know where to find a farmer’s market? It can be challenging to find one you enjoy that is close by. Luckily, the Atlanta area has many options, and there are a couple websites that can direct you to the closest one. Try out a couple different locations to get a feel of what you like in a farmer’s market. Here is a link of some markets in your area.

    Plan Ahead
    Go with recipes in mind. Since farmer’s markets are not laid out like grocery stores, it can be difficult to know exactly what you need. Try to find recipes that include a lot of produce and make sure to stock up. There are a variety of fruits and vegetables so try and get all you or your family needs for the week. If you are in need of ideas, try tomato basil skewers as healthy snacks for your next summer BBQ.
    **Tip: At farm stand farmers markets with farmers present, ask the farmer how best to store the produce you purchase for maximum/prolonged freshness. Not everything needs to go in the refrigerator, and many things should be stored specifically in plastic or paper. Your farmer should have good tips so that your food doesn’t spoil before you get to it.**

    Try Something Different
    Have you ever gone to the store and noticed a fruit or vegetable that you are not familiar with? Unknown produce often looks way more complicated than it actually is, and it can seem daunting as a waste of precious time in the kitchen compared to tried and true recipes. But trying a new vegetable or fruit could ultimately open up your list of recipes and mealtime variety, not to mention your taste buds. Start by picking up one different fruit or vegetable, and incorporate it into your salad, sandwich, stir-fry, veggie roast, etc. You never know until you try it! Here are some examples of exotic produce worth testing in your home kitchen: tomatillo, star fruit, young coconuts, Dragon Fruit, Kumquat, or even a Pummelo.

    farmers market 1Ask the Farmer
    If you are unsure about what an item is or how to cook it, do not be afraid to ask the seller. Farmer’s markets can have a lot of local farmers who are happy to show people how to use their products in the tastiest ways possible. Asking for new recipes or ways to cook produce can be an exciting activity for you and the family!

  • 07Aug

    Today’s post is contributed by GMM Intern, Claudia Utesch

    OpeningSummer is beginning to round a corner.  Some are finishing up family vacations, capitalizing on the last few weeks of real summer (let’s face it, September never feels like Summer).  Some are headed back to school, finding themselves in limbo and adjusting back to a life of schedules and routine.  Wherever you may find yourself, day long activities call for snacks in between; finding snacks that promote healthiness rather than indulgence are difficult to find these days. Here are five summertime snacks that are easy, quick, and nutritious.

    Grab some Fruit
    Purchase a variety of fruits and put them into separate containers for each day of the week or put the containers in the freezer for a cold snack (frozen grapes are a personal favorite). Some delicious seasonal fruits during the summer months are blackberries, cantaloupe, grapes, strawberries, and watermelon. Fruit is a filling food source that contains natural sugars along with various vitamins and minerals.  Satisfying to your sweet tooth and your body.

    Nuts, More than just a Snack
    NutsNuts are a great snack because they contain protein and essential fatty acids. They are filling and easy to carry around. Try a farmer’s market for a more inexpensive variety of nuts. You can make your own mixed snack easily with a couple of these recipes: http://greatist.com/health/21-healthier-trail-mix-ideas.

    Don’t Forget your Veggies
    Trying to fit four to six servings of fruits and vegetables into your diet can be a challenge. Fitting in a serving of vegetables for your snack with some dips like peanut butter or hummus can make eating them a little more fun. Buy a bag of raw veggies, like edamame, at your grocery store and heat them up at work or before you leave for the day.

    Smoothies!
    If you know your next meal may be a while, Smoothiepack a smoothie to fill you up until then. There are tons of delicious smoothie recipes for a variety of taste buds. You can easily add a lot of macronutrients like protein, dairy, and carbohydrates into your smoothies. Here are some great smoothie recipes: http://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-recipes/20-super-healthy-smoothies?s=4.  Better yet, freeze them into popsicles for a delicious summer day treat.

    Greek Yogurt
    Greek yogurt is an easily and reliable snack that packs a punch of calcium and protein. Make it fun by adding mixed nuts, frozen fruit, or a splash of locally produced honey into yogurt the next time you need a snack.

    Share your snacking favorites with us on our facebook page!