• 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!

  • 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!!

  • 26Jun

    Today’s post in the series “What are your Favorite Summer Fruits and Veggies?” was contributed by David Rogers.

    Summer-eating season is one of my favorite times of the year! Living in suburban Atlanta, I have a wealth of fresh local produce (including my own and my neighbors’ gardens) to choose from.

    This season’s recipes and fare are lighter and easier to prepare, and are on the menu as much as possible at my house.

    Since my family stays pretty active outdoors during the longer daylight hours, there are a few go-to items that I keep handy in my own kitchen for quick preparation: tomatoes, fresh basil and mozzarella, cilantro, garlic and nuts are the types of ingredients we like to eat on a regular basis. These can be prepared in simple, hearty meals with little-to-no prep time.

    farm fresh veggiesOne of my all-time favorites is a Beefsteak or Big Boy tomato. Slice up one of these and pair it with light mayo, Greek yogurt, or just enjoy it as a plain tomato sandwich, and you’ll have a wonderful picnic meal or after-swim snack! Make the tomato into a fresh summer salad by pairing it with fresh basil, spinach or mixed greens, parmesan cheese, and your favorite nut like almonds, walnuts, or pecans. Nuts like thsese are packed with nutritional value and help balance out the meal. I like to dress a salad like this with a homemade balsamic vinaigrette, a light dressing that brings out the fresh, natural flavors of the salad.

    I also like to serve easy tapas like these Pesto-Stuffed Peppers. They are a perfect complement to a salad or to something fresh from the grill like veggies, chicken, beef or fish.

    I hope you enjoy your summer eating, and remember to keep it simple and fresh!

    Fresh Pesto
    Ingredients
    • 2 cups fresh cilantro
    • 2 small garlic cloves
    • 3/4 cup toasted walnuts
    • Small pinch of sea salt
    • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
    • 1 cup olive oil
    • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice

    Instructions
    Put all of the above ingredients in a blender or a food processor and puree.

    Pesto-stuffed Peppers

    Pesto-stuffed Peppers

    Pesto-Stuffed Peppers
    Ingredients
    • Pesto (see recipe above)
    • 30 red, yellow, orange Sweet Mini Peppers
    • 18 ounces cream cheese or goat cheese

    Instructions
    Preheat oven to 350. Leaving stem on the peppers, slice peppers and remove the seeds. Fill each pepper with cheese. Arrange peppers on a baking sheet, drizzle with a touch of olive oil and bake for about 8-10 minutes until peppers are tender and a touch crispy. Remove from oven and arrange on a platter & spoon pesto on top of each pepper. Save left over pesto — it’s great on grilled chicken or warm veggies!
    Balsamic Dressing
    Ingredients
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
    • Italian spice blend to taste

    Instructions
    Mix ingredients in cruet. Shake and enjoy!

  • 19Jun

    Today’s blog post in the series, “What are your favorite summer fruits and veggies?” was contributed by Harmony Blackwell, Good Measure Meals Customer Service Representative.

    harmonyHailing from Pittsburgh, Penn., I have a love for all the different seasons of the year. However, summer might just be my favorite.

    I don’t know about you, but I find that when it gets really hot, I don’t think about cooked food as often, especially in the morning. Personally, I love juicing fruits and veggies into tasty drinks, and also making smoothies and fruit salads. I love the light and fresh tastes of fruit during the hot months, and I even have a few recipes I’d like to share that I’ve developed over the years that are particularly yummy. Hope you enjoy them (and enjoy the process of making them) as much as I do!

    Tropical Apple-Ginger-Beet-Cilantro Fruit Juice/Smoothie Recipe:
    The colors and the aromatic scents of certain fruits and vegetables are what inspire me in the kitchen.

    For instance, one of my juice recipes calls for a carrot, a piece of ginger, a Fuji apple, a bunch of cilantro and a small beet. First of all, I love ginger, the spicier the better – can’t you just taste it now? The scent of the apple juices and ginger combined are divine, and when I add the fragrant cilantro at the end, I feel like I’m in a tropical land! (Side note – It’s kind-of like how I feel when I’m eating the Good Measure Meals Cilantro Lime Shrimp – oh my goodness, so good! But let’s re-focus…)

    Anyway, the end result is a wonderful (very colorful) combination of nutritious fruits and vegetables high in vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and a rich supply of antioxidants.

    Apple, Ginger, Beet, Cilantro juice! Spicy, sweet, flavorful and delicious.

    Apple, Ginger, Beet, Cilantro juice! Spicy, sweet, flavorful and delicious.

    By the way, here’s a little beet trivia for you: Beets are an ancient, pre-historic food that grew naturally along the coastlines of North Africa, Asia, and Europe. Originally, since the beet itself is a root, people ate only beet greens. It’s been reported that by the 19th century the natural sweetness of beets came to be appreciated and beets began to be used as a source of sugar.

    Avocado Fruit Salad Recipe:
    Fruit salads are just the best to eat while chilling out by the pool on a sunny afternoon, am I right??

    My sister, Vision, recently turned me on to her Avocado Fruit Salad (yes, you read that right), and it is AWESOME! When I first heard about it, I skeptically thought, “Avocado — hmmm, I would never think that would work in a fruit salad.” But it turns out that avocado actually works beautifully alongside the other fruits!

    Salad Ingredients

    The original recipe calls for: Avocado, Fuji apples, raisins, and fresh-squeezed orange juice (or a little lime juice to help keep the fruit fresh/bright); however you can add any fruits you like. When I made the recipe, I decided to venture out and add blueberries to the recipe, which I really enjoyed. Cherries, sliced plums, or chopped up peaches would be tasty in this salad, too. And I recently read that some antioxidants are often better absorbed when paired with a healthy fat, which avocados have in abundance!

    Cutting Board N Fruit_edit

    Avocado Fruit Salad

    Avocado Fruit Salad

    So here’s to some tasty poolside snacking this season!

    What sorts of fresh foods or snacks do you pack to help beat the heat during the summertime in Hotlanta?

  • 12Jun

    Today’s blog post in the series, “What are your favorite summer fruits and veggies?” was contributed by Callie O’Steen, Good Measure Meals Community Registered Dietitian

    callieosteenWhen I think of summer, my mouth waters – Literally!

    So many in-season, fresh fruits and vegetables! And we’re lucky here in the South because we produce some pretty tasty produce. Let’s get to know some of our Georgia-grown (and some of my personal favorites) a little better, shall we?

    What is the state fruit of Georgia?

    So this is the easiest question on earth. And if you got it wrong… I’m just going to assume you moved here from the moon.

    peaches on treesThe answer, for our moon-peeps: Peaches! Not only do they provide fiber for digestive regulation, they’re also full of great vitamins and minerals. That rich, orange color in peaches contains Beta-carotene, a derivative of Vitamin A, which protect cells from harm. Peaches are also a good source of Potassium, which can counteract the effects of Sodium!

    Peaches are in season between June and August so they may also cost less in these months because of the higher supply. Plus they’re outrageously, naturally, and addictively sweet! Such a fun summer treat!

    Ready for another question? This one’s a little harder…

    We learned that Peaches are the state fruit of Georgia but what is the state vegetable?
    (Hint: it, too, is sweet…)

    vidalia onionIf you guessed Vidalia onions, you are right! They are only grown in a very specific region of South Georgia and are known for their sweetness. They are grown in low-sulfur soil, so this means no tears when you cut into them! And similar to our peaches, Vidalia onions contain potassium as well.

    So what happens when you combine these Georgia produce stars? “Simply Southern Salad!”

    Georgia Peach and Vidalia Onion Salad with White Balsamic Vinaigrette
    Recipe sourced from Chef Klaskala:
    Ingredients
    • 4 fresh peaches, preferably free stone
    • ¼ cup Vidalia onions, thinly sliced
    • 1 teaspoon fresh mint, roughly torn
    • 1½ tablespoons grapeseed oil
    • 2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • 1 cup mixed field greens

    Instructions:
    Cut the peaches in half, remove stone, and cut into thick wedges. In a medium bowl, combine the peaches, onions and mint. Add grapeseed oil and white balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and
    pepper and gently toss.
    To serve:
    Divide peach, onion and mint salad evenly between 8 serving plates. Toss field greens in bowl with the dressing that remains and clings to the bowl. Scatter field greens on plates and serve.

  • 05Jun

    Today’s blog post in our series “What are your favorite Summer fruits and Veggies?” was contributed by Rachel Stroud, Good Measure Meals Community Wellness Rep, RD, LD

    Headshot_RStroud_2013I like being that dietitian who breaks the “rules.” The one that tells you things are okay that everyone around you is shouting “DO NOT EAT.”

    Here’s why: I love food. When I have to choose, I love food more than nutrition. But the fact is: I rarely have to choose. Food is wonderful. Calories are glorious little morsels of energy that fuel our bodies to do all the things we love to do. They’re not the enemy, they’re not to be avoided – they’re to be enjoyed, and chosen wisely.

    So here’s the food I want to talk about today: Corn.

    People LOVE to hate on corn.

    “It’s SOOOOOO starchy”
    “You feed your kids WHAT?!”
    “Corn is soooo not a vegetable”

    Let’s all take a step back for a minute. Corn is a vegetable, agriculturally speaking. Nutritionally, a medium ear of corn has ¼ the sugar of an apple and ¾ of the total carbohydrates. Corn is a good source of fiber, and provides us with a solid helping of thiamin, niacin, and folate, all tasty B vitamins.

    Yes folks, it does have a higher carb count than leafy greens, but eat it instead of your roll with dinner and you have a glorious, nutritious side dish. Corn should not take the place of your leafy greens, or other non-starchy veggies, but it certainly deserves a chance in place of a grain or bread, on occasion. Especially this time of year, when the ears are falling heavy off of their stalks and all 800 kernels/ear are puffed full of their sugary, creamy, white juice.

    Summer's fruits, veggies, and herbs make for delicious recipes!

    Summer’s fruits, veggies, and herbs make for delicious recipes!

    You know what else I love about corn? You can eat it raw. Enough of those shallow pans of boiling water that ultimately burn my fingers while I try to spin the corn so that each side gets cooked (but not TOO cooked!!). Enough of that.
    Cold, raw, sweet, fresh corn is one of the greatest parts of summer. Just slice it off the cob, and you’re in business.

    Here is one of my favorite recipes:
    2 cups raw, fresh, sweet Corn (3-4 ears)
    1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
    ½ c Fresh Mozzarella (preferably in ½ in cubes)
    ¼ c chopped basil
    1 T Olive Oil
    2T White Balsamic Vinegar
    salt and pepper to taste

    Get ready to take away the emptiest bowl after your next dinner party.

    P.S. Next time, we’ll talk about potatoes.