• 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!

  • 04Jun

    Contributed by Charlotte Hayes, Good Measure Meals’ Senior Director of Program and Policy Development

         Schools are out and the long Memorial Day weekend is over.  This week is the first seemingly ordinary week in a while.  Unless you are one of the lucky ones heading off for a summer vacation, things may seem pretty run of the mill to you too. I came to discover though, that this is not just an ordinary week!

          I live in one of those areas that Atlanta sprawled into during the 50’s and 60’s.  You know – no sidewalks and neighborhood streets that dump into cut-through roads which are treacherous if you are a pedestrian.   You jump into the car to do just about everything – including heading to a fast food drive-through to pick up dinner.  Yep, typical type of development which has encouraged lifestyle patterns that have contributed to our Nation’s growing girth and declining health.

         Yet, extraordinary things have been happening where I live, and in many pockets of Metro-Atlanta. In recent years, paths and parkways have been laid.  I can now walk or bicycle to my community farmer’s market on Saturday mornings. None of this was possible a couple of years ago because neither sidewalks and bike lanes nor a farmer’s market were part of my neighborhood experience. Better yet this year, we have our first neighborhood community garden.  My family had good fortune. We have a plot!  Along with neighbors and friends, old and new, we are growing some amazing bounty.

    My family’s raised bed in our neighborhood community garden.

    My family’s raised bed in our neighborhood community garden.

    Community Health Awareness     This is getting to why this week is not just an ordinary week. It is Community Health Improvement Week, which is all about highlighting activities that protect and improve the health of communities like yours and mine.  All of the enhancements in my community are aimed at improving nutrition, physical activity and health.

         At Good Measure Meals™ we too are committed to improving the health of our GMM community.  Our goals are to:

    • Promote optimal health by making the healthy choice the easy choice,
    • Protect health by ensuring that fresh,  health promoting foods are featured in great tasting, nutrient-rich meals,
    • Provide a broad menu of nutrition and self-management support services to enable success for those who want to prevent or better manage chronic health conditions,
    • Work with our many collaborative partners throughout Atlanta to ensure that extraordinary improvements continue to happen to advance the health and wellness of everyone living in our fantastic city.

         Now you know what we’re doing at GMM to promote health, not just this week, but every week.  You also know the great things that are going on in my local community to positively impact the health of those of us who live there.

        I would like to hear your stories about community health improvements.  What health promoting activities are you involved in? And what else is happening in your local neighborhood or community to make it a healthier place to live and be?

     

     

  • 24May

    Contributed by Good Measure Meals Registered Dietitian, Joy Goetz.

    One look at Pinterest, Tumblr, or just about any social networking website, and it’s clear that DIY is all the rage!

    Nothing gets me more excited than a new project, but I know from experience that they usually involve more work than I think, and things often do not go as planned – especially when Mother Nature is involved.

    Maybe that’s why gardening is intimidating for some people. Outcomes are not guaranteed, even when we do everything right! However, there is nothing more satisfying than picking your own fresh herbs from your garden or biting into your first home-grown tomato of the season.

    Garden-fresh cucumbers and tomatoes

    Garden-fresh cucumbers and tomatoes

    If you’ve never had a green thumb before, here are some of the most important things to remember:
    1. Pick a convenient location. This is key! If you see the garden every day, you are much more likely to notice if your plants need attention and it will increase your chances of success…AND your enjoyment of your  garden. Your ideal spot will get at least 6-8 hours of sunlight per day, have easy access to water, and be convenient for you.

    2. Plant the right thing at the right time. If this is your first summer, set yourself up for success by starting small: cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, hot peppers and herbs are pretty fool-proof and grow really well in containers. For a June garden, I’d recommend buying tomato and pepper plants, but herbs and vegetables that have larger seeds (think cucumbers, beans and squash) grow quickly and you can save some money by buying seeds for those. How many should you buy? The Square Foot Gardening method has excellent instructions for how to space your plants to maximize what you can grow by planting 1, 4, 9 or 16 plants per square foot. Do a little math before you go shopping!

    Potted cherry tomato plant

    Potted cherry tomato plant

    3. Pay attention to your garden. Picking a good location (step #1!) helps with this. Gardens are kind of like babies. They can’t talk to you, but if you pay attention, you’ll notice if they’re looking thirsty or if a pesky bug is bothering them.

    It’s really just that easy! Anyone can do it.

    Potted basil plant

    Potted basil plant

    In fact, as part of the Senior Community Garden Initiative last year, I helped over 100 people (half were first-time gardeners) get started.

    The Senior Community Garden Initiative was a joint project between Open Hand, the Atlanta Regional Commission and the Atlanta Community Bank, and resulted in 8 new community gardens in the Atlanta area, most of them in low-income neighborhoods.

    This is one of the ways Open Hand is working to improve the nutrition and quality of life of our neighbors. Remember, 100% of the profits from Good Measure Meals go directly to Atlanta non-profit Open Hand, and help to fund exciting projects like this.

    Let’s get planting!