• 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?

  • 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!

  • 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.”

  • 08May

    Summer is right around the corner, and the hot weather has already started rolling in! Our town isn’t called “Hotlanta” for nothing, so we asked our staff members: “What is your favorite way to exercise in the heat?”
    harmony

    Over the next few weeks we’ll share their responses. We hope you find some motivation to get out and move around, too!

    Today’s post is contributed by GMM Customer Service Representative, Harmony Blackwell.

     

    My favorite way to exercise in the summer is to swim.
    It gives me a chance to move my whole body while having fun and staying cool. The weightlessness that I experience in the water enables me to do various exercises that I cannot do as easily out of the water.

    Consistent swimming tones the body, improves cardiovascular health, and lengthens the muscles, all without breaking down the body. In fact, swimming is often used as a method of therapy and rehabilitation for athletes who have been injured while participating in high-impact sports.

    fun noodle

    Swimming is also good for relaxation and clearing of the mind. I LOVE floating on those fun noodles you see at the pool. First of all there’s a knack to balancing along the length of the noodle with my legs crossed. Once I’ve got the perfect position, I use my arms to snake across the water as I look up in the sky making stories up based on the various cloud formations that flow through the air. There’s something about floating and staring up into the expanse of the sky that makes you feel connected to the Earth.

    Looks like this guy enjoys floating with a fun noodle, too ;)

    My other favorite thing about being in the water is playing volleyball! You get a serious workout between the jumping and diving for the ball. Not to mention the laughter that constantly happens during the game!

    And last, but not least, I LOVE the ocean! Swimming with sea life is one of the most awesome experiences! It taps me into an whole separate world of life, and even teaches me how to “go with the flow.” Not to mention that the salt water and sand are great cleansers and exfoliators for your skin.

    running into ocean

    Since January of this year, I’ve decided to make a “Commit to Lean”-style life change: Eating right with the help of Good Measure Meals, doing a consistent weekly workout, and making sure I’m drinking the proper amount of water.

    And now that it’s already halfway through the year, and I’ve been keeping at my goals, I’m ready for bikini season!

    What about you, what is your favorite hot-weather workout?

  • 10Apr

    Have you been tuning in to our Atlanta and Company segments the last couple of weeks?

    Rachel Stroud, our GMM Registered Dietitian and Community Wellness Rep, has been joining host Rashan Ali to discuss some really important keys to weight-loss success. She will continue this series each week for the next few weeks, so make sure to tune in at 12:30 each Wednesday for some informed discussion (and a special FLASH SALE discount!!).

    photo 1

    Hopefully you’ve already made the pledge to yourself to Commit to Lean in 2014 and are on your way toward meeting your health goals this year. If you are, you know that the process of re-learning portion control and creating those engrained healthy habits takes a while.

    The complicated part is that so many diets out there make weight loss about less, less, less. Less calories, less food equals MORE WEIGHT LOSS.

    But for real weight loss that lasts, we need to replace the idea of “less” with the concept of balance and of sustainability. Repeat that to yourself: balance and sustainability. Balance and sustainability.

    rachel scary childhood meals

    Energy Balance is the simplest equation we have for achieving weight loss or weight maintenance. Our body takes in energy through food and beverages, and we put energy out through basic survival, activities of daily life, and planned exercise. If we want to lose weight, we have to put out more energy than we’re taking in.

    The calories you personally need each day for basic survival is called your Basil Metabolic Rate. It’s the number of calories your body need to function if you simply laid in bed all day. Those calories are the energy necessary for your heart to pump, your lungs to expand, and your lean muscles to be fueled.

    Now, IF, in the name of quick weight loss, you eat LESS than your body’s Basil Metabolic Rate, your body will enter “Starvation Mode.” Starvation mode changes the way the body processes nutrients so it stores our fat (gasp!) and breaks down muscle for the energy it needs instead.

    Now here’s the real kicker: fueling our muscles with oxygen and energy is a significant part of our metabolic rate, so let’s say your body breaks down muscle to fuel itself during your diet regimen of drastic calorie-cutting. In the process, you’ve lessened the amount of calories your body needs in a day. This means that instead of functioning at your normal (for example) 1700 calories necessary per day, your body has dropped and acclamated to functioning on (for example) 1000 calories per day.

    Now let’s say you go back to consuming the amount of calories you used to at your former Basil Metabolic Rate, or what you used to consider “normal” before severely cutting your calories. At that point it is going to be harder to continue to lose weight and to keep the weight you have lost off, because during the “starvation mode” period you have decreased your metabolism by decreasing your muscle mass.

    Make sense?

    The moral of the story is: the only way to increase your metabolism (so that you can actually burn away that FAT) is to build more muscle. This raises your metabolism and the amount of calories you burn in a day, despite your physical activity. Very low calorie diets shoot down your metabolism and cause you to lose muscle.

    Unless you want to continue cutting away calories and restricting your access to food for the rest of your life, losing weight the healthy and sustainable way means keeping your muscle and your metabolism and burning away your fat with a balance of nutrition and calorie intake that works for your exercise level and Basal Metabolic needs.

    Ever heard a weight loss plan tell you that you need to eat to lose weight? We just did.

    Tune in each week at 12:30 p.m. on Atlanta and Company to hear the discussion continue with Rachel and Rashan about healthy weight loss.

    And if you’re curious about how many calories YOU need per day, fill out your info in the Calorie Calculator tool at the bottom of the homepage of our website, or schedule a Med Gem appointment with one of our dietitians to find out your exact Basal Metabolic Rate!

    photo 7