• 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

  • 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!!

  • 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.”

  • 18Feb

    Hearts, roses, chocolates, candles, red wine, love, pink hearts, red hearts, conversation hearts – blah blah blah, Valentine’s Day is over (amen?).

    Amen. Hallelujah.

    Well actually, February is American Heart Month, so we need to leave our hearts on the table a little longer….or at least our conversations about them.

    Here’s a big fact for you: Did you know that cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the Number 1 killer of men and women in the U.S.? This includes heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure.

    Happy Tuesday, folks.

    Some people are inherently more at risk than others because of their genetics; and sadly, some people are even more at risk because of their race and ethnicity.

    But the important thing to remember is that so many cardiovascular disease-related deaths can be PREVENTED through better eating and health habits, better living spaces, and proper care and control of chronic illnesses like diabetes and high blood pressure.

    Prevented, friends.

    It’s the year of Committing to Lean in 2014 with Good Measure Meals, and part of getting lean means getting healthy and preventing unnecessary death from cardiovascular disease (because if we’re being honest, nobody’s trying to die early from poor heart upkeep).

    Obviously, at Good Measure Meals, we’re here to help with getting your diet on track. And we do that pretty darn well, actually.

    But another major part of caring for your heart is exercise, and there’s just no way around that. The recommendation is to get your heart-rate up (to a point that it’s difficult to carry on a conversation) 30 minutes per day every day. Are you doing that? I don’t every day, and that’s on me. That’s my bad.

    But you know what? We can help with that, too.
    harmony and philip race numbersplushashtag

    EVERY MONTH, we participate in one 5K race around Atlanta that benefits a local non-profit. For all you newbies, a 5K is 3.1 miles. If you jog at a good 10-minute clip, you’ll have your 30-minutes of exercise for the day, easy peas-y. But walking during 5K’s is also perfectly acceptable.

    Guess what? We have a 5K coming up this weekend, too, and (if you’re a woman) you should really consider joining our “Race for Good” team. This race happens to be a woman’s-only race, because it is in celebration of this awesome organization, Back on My Feet Atlanta’s new women’s running program.

    Back on My Feet Atlanta helps homeless individuals in our city regain self-worth, self-esteem, and good health with the simple act of regularly meeting up to go for group runs. It’s a part-mentoring, part-health-promoting, part-group-bonding experience that really helps put the feet back under people who maybe haven’t had a purpose for their lives in recent memory.

    Anyway, it’s a great cause – not to mention, it is health-promoting for you, also.

    By the way, Good Measure Meals is also partnered with tons of gyms around Atlanta. Each of these gyms have great classes every day for those of you who may not be the running types. And all experience levels have a place in these classes.

    You may remember that time that a group of GMM folks did a bootcamp with some Atlanta firefighters.DSC01318

    Or that time that I did the boot camp with The SweatBox Decatur. That was new for me, and it was an awesome experience, and some really great exercise accountability.

    It’s American Heart Health Month, friends, so I just want to remind you that simply eating better is not going to transform your health.

    If you really want to Commit to Lean in 2014, you’ve got to get real and start caring for your heart. The upside (other than preventing cardiovascular disease, obviously) is that caring for your heart will also help with your weight-loss goals….and most likely your sanity, too.

    Oh, and come join us on Saturday at the Back on My Feet Mizuno Women’s 5K. It’s a great place to start and amazing cause to support.

  • 13Aug

    Today’s post is contributed by Good Measure Meals’ Senior Director of Programs and Policy Development, Charlotte Hayes

    Couple at gymThis weekend, I was fortunate to hear a presentation by BJ Fogg PhD, an innovator in the area of health behavior change and founder of the Persuasive Technology Lab at Stanford University.  I am so enthused about what he had to say that I want to share it with you.

    I guess I’m typical of most people – I have the best intentions of doing things that matter for my health, but when it comes to accomplishing those things, I don’t always succeed.    Let me use stretching as an example.  Stretching is something that I really should do.  I know it’s good for me, I know how much I should stretch, and I know the exercises I should do.  But, despite all of these “shoulds,” I don’t manage to routinely stretch.

    So, what would BJ Fogg advise?  He would encourage me to employ the Fogg Behavior Model:

    Behavior = motivation∙ability∙trigger

    Here’s how it works:  Success with doing something takes three things: 1) being motivated, 2) being confident in your ability to do what you set out to do, and 3) being reminded to do that thing (having a trigger) on a regular basis.  Fogg encourages taking a “tiny habits” approach toward building healthier practices into your daily routine. If repeated, “tiny habits” eventually become automatic – or what he calls “health reflexes.”

    So back to stretching — let’s compare two fictional characters, Frog and Monkey (random, differing characters Fogg uses to get his point across) and me, and look at our plans for stretching. Then let’s see who is likely to be successful and why. Here are our plans:

    Frog: “I will do two stretches each time I hear the bull frog croak.”

    Monkey:  “I will stretch for 5 minutes, six mornings this week after I swing from the trees.”

    Me: “I will do my stretching routine for 30 minutes, four evenings this week.”

    What do you think?  As it turns out, Frog and Monkey are much more likely to be successful than I am, and these are the reasons why:

    • When I stop and compare myself to Frog and Monkey, I lose confidence in my ability, because Frog and Monkey are naturally flexible creatures and better at stretching than I am. And, for all I know, they likely don’t have time pressures either, making it easier for them to fit stretching into their weekly schedules. My lack of confidence in myself is not a successful way to form a habit.
    • Both Frog and Monkey have simple plans, and they have identified triggers to stretch.   For Frog, this is the bull frog croaking; and for Monkey, this is the daily activity of swinging from trees.  These routine sounds and daily activities are their reminders to do a bit of stretching. My open-ended promise to myself to stretch on “any four evenings” of the week (no start time specified) gives me the ability to procrastinate in a way that does not allow for the completion of my goal for the week.
    • Finally, motivation.  I really can’t speak to Frog’s and Monkey’s levels of motivation, but stretching is definitely a little bit uncomfortable for me. Plus, my plan for stretching requires a dedicated block of precious evening time, which I’m reluctant to give up on a regular basis.  Given these two possible hindrances, I’m likely to push stretching off, since deep down, I’m more motivated to enjoy my evening than work toward my vague health goal. I will need small goals to work toward to motivate myself so I can celebrate my successes and continue toward forming a habit.

    So, lessons I’ve learned?  Identify a regular trigger in my life to be a reminder to do what I plan to do; have a simple plan that I can achieve at my ability level; build momentum for change through routine practice and gradual (motivating) improvement, and celebrate success (the biggest motivator of all)!iStock_000012393263Large[1]

    I’m now thinking about my daily routine, triggers I can use, and simple ways to fit stretching in to make it enjoyable and to set myself up for motivating accomplishments, no matter how small!  I’ll let you know how this works as I set out to make stretching a “health reflex.”  I’d like to know if there are health habits you’re working on, and how principles of the Fogg Behavior Model is helpful to you!

    One health habit we’re all working on is proper nutrition and maintaing a healthful daily diet. At Good Measure Meals, we simplify healthy eating so that you can learn how to have “healthy reflexes” with your food choices. We are dedicated to supporting your success with reaching your nutrition–related health goals!

     

  • 13Jun
    Feeling antsy in the office? Want to be in better shape after you leave your 9-to-5 than when you started your workday?
    Last week, VP Jess Parsons introduced the GMM staff to a series she titled “Desk-ercise.” Her 30-minute lunch session detailed many simple moves geared toward toning your upper body, lower body, core, and even increasing your cardio capacity.
    And all in a day’s work!

    Part 1: Upper Body Exercises

    What you’ll need: Swivel Desk Chair, Desk, Water Bottle, Resistance Band
    Bicep Curls: biceps
    Sitting in your chair, hold a water bottle in your right hand, and, with abs in and spine straight, curl bottle towards shoulder for 16 reps. Repeat with your left hand. Do 2-3 sets.

    Harmony deskercises with bicep curls.

    Chair Dips: triceps, chest and deltoids
    Make sure chair is stable and place hands next to hips or on arm rests. Move hips in front of chair and bend the elbows, lowering the body until the elbows are at 90 degrees. Push back up and repeat for 16 reps. Complete 2 sets.

    A tip (in hindsight): Secure rolling chairs against a wall before trying this exercise.

    Front Raise to Triceps Press: triceps & shoulders
    Sit tall with the abs in and hold a full water bottle in the left hand. Lift the bottle up to shoulder level, pause, and then continue lifting all the way up over the head. When the arm is next to the ear, bend the elbow, taking the water bottle behind you and contracting the triceps. Straighten the arm and lower down, repeating for 12 reps on each arm for 2 sets.

    Water: not just for drinking.

    Desk/Wall Press: chest, shoulders, arms & back
    Stand about three feet from a wall, and place your hands flush against the wall, about shoulder-width apart. Slowly lower your body toward the wall by flexing your elbows. When your elbows are aligned with your torso, push back up. Do 10 repetitions.

    Philip and Harmony team up for some Wall Presses

    Single Arm Row with Band: biceps, shoulders, & back
    Have a seat in your chair. Tie one end of the resistance band on a door knob, or handle of a locked drawer. Make sure that the secure end is level or lower than chest level. Take the other end of the band and wrap once around your right hand. Without Moving your torso, pull the band towards your abs so that your fist is touching your side with elbow bent. Pause, then slowly extend arm back to starting position. Do 2 sets of 16 reps with each arm.

    Philip was not harmed in the shooting of this Seated Arm Row.

    Stay tuned in the next few days/weeks for more installments of the Desk-ercise series!

  • 28Feb

    Go for your goals with enthusiasm and excitement!

    I am excited to announce that I’m embarking on a new chapter in my career. I have been accepted to attend the Chef’s Training at The Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts in New York City. My passion for health, cooking and food has always left me with a desire to learn more. Attending culinary school has been a goal of mine for several years.  The time has finally come for me to pursue this goal.

    I choose this particular culinary school because of its history, the emphasis on health, and its location in Manhattan. The curriculum focuses on health-supportive culinary arts and includes techniques for preparing a wide variety of foods such as whole grain baking, plant based proteins, natural sweeteners, vegetables, fruits, nuts, poultry and seafood. It connects nutrition, food and healing to diet and addresses topics such as healthy digestion, strengthening for the immune system and food for support of chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis and arthritis.

    I will continue to stay connected to Open Hand and Good Measure Meals while I’m away. My experiences will be posted here in a weekly blog. I’ll share information related to health-supportive culinary arts and will include practical and creative culinary tips and resources.

    I will return to Atlanta in September. The knowledge and skill that I will gain from this program will enhance our current offerings for nutrition, food and cooking classes in the community and will help to connect our customers with culinary skills and knowledge that will help them to have success with long-term health goals. I’m really looking forward to this!

    I bet there are many of you that have dreams and big goals of your own. I say go for it now! Don’t wait. You can start with baby steps,
    but don’t be afraid to take a large leap. It might be scary at first, but if your dreams come from your heart there will be no greater success for you!

  • 19Dec

    I’m not a trained exercise coach or a registered dietitian, but I have acquired some helpful suggestions while working here at Good Measure Meals, that I will use to help me get through the next couple of weeks.  My goal is to survive this holiday season unscathed by those pesky extra 5-10 pounds that I always seem to gain this time of year.

    Here are the things I’ve been told will be helpful:

    1)      Buddy up with a friend and keep each other accountable.  Make this person someone who has goals like your own.  Help keep each other on track by being a supportive friend and vice versa.

    2)      Don’t go to a holiday party on an empty stomach.  Make sure to nosh on something healthy before you leave for your night-on–the-town.  The chances are slim-to-none that you are going to find a healthy holiday spread waiting for you when you arrive.  If you show up with a little food in your stomach, you will be less likely to stuff yourself with all of the decadent foods that will be offered.

    3)      Limit your intake of “holiday cheer.”   A 6oz. glass of red wine has 128 calories.  Who pours a 6 oz glass of wine, especially during the holidays?  Here’s a great tip:  Drink a full 8 oz glass of water between each alcoholic beverage.  Not only will you cut down on how much you drink, but you will look great because you are keeping yourself hydrated and better yet, lessen the chance of a nasty hangover. 

    4)      Try to keep to your regular workout schedule.  Even if you shorten the duration or intensity of your workouts during the next couple of weeks, you are still making the effort.  Some exercise is better than none, and if you are usually consistent with your workouts throughout the year, a week or two of lower intensity isn’t going to derail what you’ve accomplished.

    5)      Get 8 hours of sleep a night.  I know, I know…..with all the wonderful, festive parties and all, how can you not stay up until the sun rises?  Sleep is crucial to regulate food cravings.   And having a fresh-mind will help you make healthy choices.

    6)      Wear your seatbelt.  And for goodness sake, call a taxi if you need one. 

    7)      Last, but not least, Don’t Deprive Yourself.  The holiday season only comes around once a year.  If you already have a solid nutrition foundation and fitness routine, a little indulging for a week or two isn’t going to hurt in the short-term.  Just be sure to get back on track with your routine after the new year arrives!

    I’m hoping to put some of these suggestions into practice this holiday season.  I know I won’t be perfect, and will probably eat a little more than I should, stay out a little later than is best for me, and skip a run or two.  But I’m not going to go overboard.  For me, this season, it’s “all things in moderation.”  I’m going to enjoy myself and everything this holiday season has to offer.  I hope you do the same!

    Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

    Philip Niekro, your Good Measure Meals Customer Service Representative