• 28Oct

    Today’s post was contributed by Alissa Palladino, RD, LD.

    fall veggies header

    It has been unseasonably warm the last week or so, but it looks like the weather finally decided to take a turn for the Fall-ish yesterday. If this cooler weather and the shorter and shorter days have you craving hearty, savory dishes then you’re in luck – the dark orange and green veggies in season now are perfect for creating warm and satisfying meals all season long. (Recipes at the end!)

    Butternut Squash: Just one of several squash varieties in season in the fall, butternut squash is high in fiber, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins A and C. With its bright orange color, butternut squash helps protect your eyes and can sub for pumpkin in recipes. For best quality, look for squash that’s heavy for its size and store it in a cool dark place for up to a month. Try it steamed and drizzled with olive oil, cubed and roasted, or mashed like potatoes. Make it sweet by seasoning with cinnamon, nuts and raisins.

    Sweet potatoes: Higher in vitamins A and C than their white counterparts, sweet potatoes can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Like other orange vegetables, sweet potatoes promote eye health and are high in fiber, potassium, and vitamins A and C. Choose firm, small to medium sized potatoes without blemishes or soft spots, store them in cool dark place and use within 3-5 weeks. Enjoy them baked, mashed, cubed and roasted, or –my personal favorite- cut them into wedges and make sweet potato fries! (See recipe below)

    punkinsPumpkin: The benefits and uses of pumpkin go far beyond their best-known role as jack-o-lanterns at Halloween. Like other orange vegetables, they are a good source of vitamin C and an excellent source of vitamin A. Select pumpkins that are firm and heavy for their size, and store in a cool dry place for up to two months. Try toasting the seeds with a little olive oil and salt for a savory snack– make them sweet by adding cinnamon and brown sugar, or spicy with a bit of cayenne paper. Enjoy the “meat” of the pumpkin by roasting or sautéing it diced, along with diced squash and/or sweet potato. For healthier baked goods, try subbing canned or pureed pumpkin for some of the fat in your favorite brownie or muffin recipe. Pureed pumpkin is also great in soups and parfaits.

    swiss chardSwiss Chard: A dark leafy green that often has colorful stems, Swiss Chard is high in magnesium and vitamins A and C. Choose chard with fresh green leaves and store unwashed in the crisper for 2 to 3 days. Delicious sautéed with olive oil and garlic, it’s also a great way to pack some extra nutrition into smoothies. Try adding it to soups and stews, layering it in lasagnas, subbing it for spinach in omelets and quiches, or steaming the stalks and eating them like asparagus.

    Brussels Sprouts: These cruciferous vegetables get a bad rep, but Brussels sprouts can actually be delicious when prepared right, not to mention low in calories and packed full of nutrients, such as fiber, vitamin C and folate. When shopping, look for firm, bright green sprout heads, and keep them refrigerated in a plastic bag for up to a week. My favorite way to enjoy Brussels sprouts is to cut them in halves, toss in olive oil and roast until they are brown and crispy, bringing out their natural sweetness (see recipe below). Parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar complement their flavor nicely. You can also steam them, boil them, add them to stir-fries, or try them shaved in a cold salad.

    sweet potato friesSweet Potato “Fries”
    1. Pre-heat oven to 450° F
    2. Peel sweet potatoes (if desired) and slice into wedges or strips.
    3. Coat with olive oil and spread on sheet pan.
    4. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and any other herbs or spices you enjoy. Try cinnamon and nutmeg for a sweet dish, or paprika and chili powder for a spicy kick. (Or rosemary, garlic powder, Cajun seasoning… the possibilities are endless!)
    5. Roast until potatoes start to brown and are slightly crispy, about 20-30 minutes, turning half-way through.
    6. Remove from heat and enjoy!

    roasted brusselsOven-Roasted Brussels Sprouts
    1. Pre-heat oven to 400° F
    2. Rinse and pat dry Brussels sprout heads. Trim ends and chop into halves.
    3. Toss in olive oil (or use spritzer) and spread on rimmed sheet pan.
    4. Roast sprouts until they turn golden brown and crispy (about 25-30 minutes), tossing half-way through.
    5. Remove from heat and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
    This recipe is delicious on its own, but there are many variations to explore to add flavor, texture and color! Try sprinkling Parmesan cheese, drizzling balsamic vinegar reduction, adding herbs and spices, such rosemary, or mixing in nuts and dried fruits (pecans and cranberries work great.)

  • 21Oct

    Today’s post was contributed by Alissa Palladino, RD, LD.

    healthy snacks to fuel your fitness

    By finding time for fitness this fall, you’re well on your way to improving your health. But don’t forget the other half of the equation: healthy eating! Good nutrition is vital to overall health – Good Measure Meals has your breakfast, lunch, and dinner balanced and portioned for you, and choosing the right snacks will also help fuel your active lifestyle. If you haven’t yet added a Good Measure Meals 200-calorie or 400-calorie snack plan to your meals yet, our snacks are an easy way to keep on track between meals while you’re on-the-go.

    Registered dietitian Alissa Palladino also has some tips for how to best stay healthy while you Fall into Fitness this season.

    For moderate exercise lasting less than an hour, there is no need to refuel while on-the-go. But for hikes, bike rides or other activities lasting longer than two hours, it is smart to pack a snack.

    trail mixSome portable and healthy options snack ideas include:

    Trail mix – the quintessential hiker’s snack! DIY and make your own tasty mix by combining your favorite types of unsalted nuts, seeds, dried fruit and whole grain cereal. This combination will provide a good dose of healthy fat, carbohydrates for energy, and protein to keep you satisfied. (Any of these ingredients on its own works as a snack, too!)
    Energy or granola bars – there are tons of options out there- your best bets will be minimally processed versions (i.e. not too many ingredients and ingredients you recognize). Look for bars that are low in saturated fat and added sugars and high in protein and fiber.
    veggies and hummusFruit – apples, oranges, grapes and bananas (especially if not too ripe) travel well, providing natural sugars for energy, water to keep you hydrated and important nutrients lost in sweat, like potassium.
    Raw veggies - baby carrots, sugar snap peas, and celery sticks are some easy and portable options. Pair with peanut butter or hummus for protein and healthy fat- you can even find these in single-serve containers for added convenience.

    Note that during vigorous aerobic exercise, like running, you’ll want to stick to simple carbohydrates for energy, and avoid high fat, high fiber, and high protein foods, which can cause GI distress. For exercise lasting more than an hour, try dried fruit like raisins, or pretzels (the salt may be helpful if you’re sweating heavily), or sports gels/chews containing a mixture of easily digestible simple sugars. Then, replenish with a balanced meal containing both carbohydrates and protein within an hour of exercise.

    No matter the type or intensity of physical activity, remember to stay hydrated! While you’ll likely sweat less in the cooler weather, it is still important to drink water before and after exercise. Bring along a water bottle if you’ll be out for over an hour. For vigorous bouts of exercise, consider a sports drink that provides electrolytes (sodium and potassium) to replenish sweat losses as well as carbohydrates for sustained energy.

  • 15Oct

    Today’s post was contributed by Alissa Palladino, RD, LD.

    fall into fitness header

    With the cooler weather and leaves starting to change color, the fall is a great time to be active outdoors. Walking, biking, jogging and hiking are all great ways to enjoy the outdoors and improve your fitness.

    Here is one important question to ask yourself honestly:
    Are you (a) getting in 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise five days a week OR (b) getting in 25 minutes of strenuous exercise three days a week?

    Moderate exercise is akin to pushing a stroller, biking 5 miles in 30 minutes, shooting baskets, playing touch football, raking leaves, or vigorous social dancing.
    Heart-pumping strenuous exercise is more along the lines of swimming laps, jogging/running, jumping rope, shoveling snow, or climbing stairs.

    Fitness is a life-long habit to start forming today, and regular aerobic exercise has many health benefits from protecting your heart, boosting your mood, raising your energy levels and even improving cognitive function!

    Whether you’re an early riser or prefer evening workouts, stay safe when exercising in the dark by sticking to well-lit areas and wearing reflective clothing or a headband flashlight.
    Remember to stay hydrated! Even though you’ll sweat less when working out in the cooler weather, it is still important to drink water before and after exercise, and definitely bring along a water bottle on longer bouts of exercise.

    jog with dogFinally, have fun! Working out does not have to be painful – in fact, it shouldn’t be! Take your dog out hiking with you, experiment with new activities, and explore new trails and parks to prevent boredom.

    If motivation is lacking, try signing up for a race  a few weeks/months ahead or making exercise plans with friends. Include your family in your workout routine, whether it’s jogging with a stroller, taking a walk together in the evenings or organizing a family bike ride on the weekends. You won’t have to sacrifice family time or your health, and you’ll be setting a great example for your kids.

    family fall bike ride

    By making exercise a regular and enjoyable part of your life this fall, it will become a healthy (and helpful) habit by the time holiday season strikes.

    So – what’s your favorite way to exercise outdoors?

  • 09Oct

    Today’s post was contributed by Alissa Palladino, RD, LD.

    notes from the kitchen

    The signs of fall are undeniable, from the cooler weather and leaves changing colors to pumpkin-flavored versions of just about everything! Good Measure Meals is marking the change of seasons by launching its fall/winter menu. You’ll still find many of your favorite meals, with the addition of seasonal vegetables and fall-inspired flavors. Here’s the inside scoop on some of our new items for autumn.

    It’s all about orange vegetables this season. High in vitamins A and C, fiber and potassium, nutritional powerhouses like butternut squash and sweet potatoes will help protect your eyes, support your immune system, regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and promote heart health. Plus, beta-carotene, the pro-vitamin A pigment that gives these veggies their bright orange color, is a powerful antioxidant.

    You’ll find roasted butternut squash and oven roasted sweet potatoes on our fall/winter menu as tasty and nutritious side dishes at lunch and dinner. They also make appearances as main dishes in creamy Butternut Squash Ravioli and a returning favorite, Sweet Potato Spinach Burgers.
    sweet potatoes

    squash2

    Another seasonal vegetable to look for this fall are Brussels sprouts. Packed with fiber, vitamin C and folate, these cruciferous vegetables don’t deserve their bad rep! They’re delicious roasted, which is exactly how you’ll find them as a savory side dish to our lunch and dinner meals.

    brussels1
    Some breakfast staples also get a fresh fall makeover with the addition of cranberries, in season during Fall/Winter. From orange cranberry scones to cranberry maple sauce for dipping French toast sticks, you’ll get a perfect balance of sweet and tart flavors and a good source of vitamin C and fiber to power up your morning.
    cran2

    cran3
    Start the season off right and enjoy the fresh favors of fall with Good Measure Meals!