• 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.

  • 18Sep

    notes from the kitchen

    When it comes to food, sometimes it feels like a choice between what tastes good and what we know is good for us. With Good Measure Meals, you don’t have to sacrifice flavor OR your health goals. Check out these healthy, fresh and still-delicious takes on classic comfort-food favorites, featured in next week’s menu!

    Asian-Inspired Turkey and Chicken Meatloaf, with Wasabi Mashed Potatoes and Edamame Succotash

    Asian Meatloaf_crop_editYour mom’s meatloaf and mashed potatoes, only better! Made with turkey and chicken instead of beef, this meatloaf is lower in fat but still high in protein, moist, and full of flavor! The kick from the wasabi means you won’t miss all the butter and whole milk that typically make mashed potatoes loaded with artery-clogging saturated fat. Even traditional succotash gets a healthy makeover thanks to the addition of edamame, or soybeans, which are full of fiber and a great plant source of complete protein. Eat up!

    Cheese Lasagna with Marinara Sauce served with a side of Zucchini and an Oat Bran Roll with Smart Balance Spread

    Zucchini on the wooden tablePortion control is key to creating a lighter and leaner version of this Italian favorite. Marinara sauce is an excellent source of the carotenoid lycopene, a potent antioxidant that offers protection against many cancers and is actually better absorbed when cooked and consumed with some fat (thanks, cheese!).
    The dinner rolls gets a boost of healthful soluble fiber from oat bran, which can help lower “bad” cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar, and promote regular bowel movements. Rounding out the meal is zucchini—a good source of potassium and vitamin C. High in water and low in calories, it will fill you up without weighing you down.

    Buon appetito!

     

     

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

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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?

  • 22May

    Today’s Blog Post in the “What is Your Favorite Warm-Weather Form of Exercise” Series was contributed by GMM Business Development Representative, David Rogers.

    My favorite warm-weather exercise is either outdoor walking or bike riding. I grew up doing these activities with my parents and siblings after dinner to help us after our meals to promote good health, family time and better sleep.

    photo 2_2These days, I am very fortunate to live in a great walking and biking neighborhood. The rolling landscape of my route provides not only moderate resistance for raising my heart rate, but also a visually beautiful area to help reduce stress. Plus, it’s always nice to catch the smell of the flowers just before you need a burst of energy to stride up a hill (and build some muscle!).

    It’s also just nice to be able to chat with and catch up with any of the neighbors that might be out along the way, and to even bring my dog along for the walk. Having a community network is proven to be a key to good health and happiness, so taking a walk or bike ride around the neighborhood and speaking with the neighbors checks two health-promoting boxes at once!

    photo 1To mix things up, my town has also created a 5-mile trail system that has pedestrian- and bike-friendly lanes. I often step out of my usual routine and even enlist my friends and family to join me for a 30-45 minute trek along these trails. Most communities offer a similar set-up or have local parks nearby with wellness challenge stations to help improve your strength, flexibility, and stamina, so I usually look for these for an added challenge along the way.

    For me, exercising during the warm summer months is all about having the right shoes, bringing along proper hydration, and most importantly having good company to encourage me to get outside to keep promoting my good health and reduce my stress.

  • 14May

    Today’s Blog Post in the “What is Your Favorite Warm-Weather Form of Exercise” Series was contributed by GMM Registered Dietitian, Callie O’Steen.

    callieosteenIs it just me, or did we just get hit with summertime here in Atlanta?? Warm weather days are definitely upon us! Bring on the sunshine (no sunscreen, because this pale girl needs a tan!) — alright, alright, maybe I will compromise and put on SPF 15 so my dermatologist doesn’t hate me.

    I don’t know about you, but warm weather motivates me to be healthier. I run more, go on longer bike rides, (eat more ice cream), and I eat fresher, too!

    But one of my favorite warm-weather activities is walking. You get in some good physical activity, and you don’t come away completely drenched in sweat. Walking is also a great way to start exercising if it’s been a while since that gym card’s been swiped - and walking definitely isn’t as intimidating as that hot yoga-pilates-spin-boot camp class they offer at the gym.

    Convinced yet? If not….

    Did you know that walking can help reduce your risk of diabetes, heart disease, dementia, and depression?! Whoa now – time to lace up those tennis shoes!!

    If you like to walk (yay!) and talk (yay!) about nutrition (DOUBLE YAY!) come join us for our “Walks and Talks with an RD on the Beltline!” Our registered dietitians (RDs) host weekly walks along the beautiful Atlanta Beltline, and we discuss any questions or topics that may be on your mind. So come out and ask us questions, we love chatting!

    Here are some meeting locations where you can find us on a weekly basis. We hope to see you at a Walk soon!

    Piedmont Park (Park Tavern parking lot), 1014 Monroe Drive, Atlanta, GA, 30306: Wednesdays at 5:30pm with RD Callie

    Washington Park (Tennis Center), 1125 Lena St., Atlanta, GA, 30314: Thursdays at 7:30am with RD Jamie

    Eastside Trail Extension (H. Haper Station), 904 Memorial Dr SE, Atlanta, GA, 30316: Thursdays at 5:30pm with RD Kristi

    Callie O'Steen, left, leads a crew on a Beltline "Walk and Talk with an RD."

    Callie O’Steen, left, leads a crew on a Beltline “Walk and Talk with an RD.”