• 14Jan

    Katherine here, finishing up the recap of my SweatBox experience from just before the holidays.

    If you missed the first installment, check it out now: http://goo.gl/VEsIOw

    kd tire2

    I wish I could say that I ended my 3-week stint at the SweatBox in full glory, lifting one of those huge monster truck tires over my head like it was merely a box of Christmas decorations intended for the top closet shelf. All in a day’s work, and such.

    It turns out that in real life, Gray and I were out of town for two of the three Fit in 3 weekends, so we missed two of the awesome combined Saturday classes, plus the Friday classes before them. We couldn’t even go to the SweatBox’s Christmas party because we were out of town that weekend!

    Plus, when you add in company and social holiday parties across town after work, Christmas shopping, etc. … let’s just say that I ended up limping to the SweatBox finish line with large gaps in my bootcamp attendance record.

    I ultimately realized a couple of important things about myself at the end of Fit and 3:

    1. I like running.
    2. If there is a way to make an excuse for something slightly inconvenient, I will find a way to do so.
    3. I’m highly competitive when it comes to exercising. Possibly to a fault.
    4. I really actually enjoyed the SweatBox’s class environment and not having to think up every workout on my own every day. Plus the variety in the workouts each time was awesome.

    I also realized from emailing with a GMM customer this week that everyone has a different way that they fit exercise into their schedule to make it work the best for them. For me, I think this is going to be purchasing either a gym membership, utilizing drop-in rates for classes, or investing in a pack of group workouts like they offer at the SweatBox (8 classes for $96). This will allow me some freedom to go to as many or as few group classes as I want each week without going through the personal guilt trip for missing a class (is anyone else hard on themselves when they choose to skip?). Plus I’ll still be able to get in some good long, mindless runs more often, which I love.

    On the other hand, Gray was chomping at the bit to get back into the SweatBox after the holidays.

    You know what he did? He signed himself up (and convinced his roommate to join him) for another round of bootcamp classes there, and this time it’s Fit in 5, so he’ll get an additional two weeks of hardcore, muscle-toning action.

    gray go hard

    “I learned a lot of new exercises and that I needed to work out in a group to get better results,” he said. “It helped me push myself harder than just going on a run or doing those Insanity DVD’s.”

    “And I decided to go back because I started seeing some results, and it felt great to get my butt kicked every night. Felt like I really deserved a good night’s sleep…or that beer on the weekend,” he said.

    How about you? Have you decided to take the plunge and join an exercise group on a regular basis or make the commitment to start working out on your own for a set amount of time and number of days each week?

    If you need any recommendations for good places to look for classes, contact us! We have fitness partners all over the Metro Atlanta area that would be happy to introduce you to their offerings.

    If there’s one thing I’ve learned through Fit in 3 at the Sweatbox, it’s that there’s no such thing as “beginner.” Everyone is moving at their own pace on their own personal workout journey. Whether it’s your first step on the journey, or if you’re well on your way toward your goals, the point is to be moving and keep moving.

    man up




  • 24Dec

    Today’s post is contributed by GMM Intern Skye Estroff

    It’s hard to be good at everything. You juggle a job (or not), school (or not), family, friends, responsibilities, pets, bills, getting your car washed, not to mention all the holiday parties you’ve been attending…you name it- you’re doing it! There’s no time for you to improve your habits this time of year, right? Wrong! You don’t even have to change your routine to follow my healthy tips! Use these as a guide toward daily health, especially as we taper off from the hustle of the holidays and settle back into routine.  Eventually you can add your own ideas to the list if you ever find room in your busy schedule!

    • Don’t get hungry!k7036195
      • You may be too busy to keep on track with your favorite TV series, but I bet you’ve seen the newest Snickers commercial at least one time. (If not, here you go) It’s true; “You’re not you when you’re hungry”. In my case, I have an alter-ego of a ravenous bear so I know I can’t let my hunger get out of control. It’s important to eat nutritious meals and snacks throughout the day so you don’t get to the point of unrecognizable. Try some snacks mentioned below to keep your body happy all day long!
    • Stop the mindless eating!12969117-table-with-bowl-of-popcorn-cold-drink-dvd-discs-and-remote-control
      • We all have our bad habits, and eating an obscene amount of Chex Mix, pita chips, or (insert favorite snack name here) in front of the TV screen happens to be incredibly common. As much as we think an immeasurable amount to us is also immeasurable to our bodies internal calorie count, it’s not. These starchy snacks pack on the pounds just as well as any meal. Be aware of when and why you’re eating. Is it out of habit or are you starving for something substantial? Take a look at the recipes below if you need something nutritious to curb the hunger pains, but no more finishing those extra large Cheetos bags, please!
    • Cook like a champ!cooking-at-home
      • Time to whip out those dusty aprons and get cooking! The best way to stay healthy is to cook for yourself. This way you know everything going into your food, you can make it taste exactly as you like it and you can portion control! If you have a family, this is a great way to work together and pass down healthy skills. The physical health benefits are endless, but the most special benefit is for you and your family to connect and feel proud of your meals, which is something a drive thru dinner can never emulate.

    Healthy snack recipes (in case you need a place to start):

    1. GMM Mock Guac- http://www.goodmeasuremeals.com/health/healthy-mock-gauc
    2. GMM Granola Bars- http://www.goodmeasuremeals.com/health/gmm-granola-bars
    3. So Very Blessed Quinoa Pizza Bites- http://www.soveryblessed.com/2012/02/03/quinoa-pizza-bites-2/

    Skye Estroff is a senior at the University of Georgia studying Dietetics as well as Human Development and Family Science. She is an ambassador for the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, an active member of the Student Dietetic Association and NEGDA, and regularly shadows a Clinical Dietitian at Athens Regional Medical Center.  She is now working as a Health Promotion Intern for Good Measure Meals. 

  • 17Dec

    This post is contributed by GMM Registered Dietitian and Chef, Catherine Izzo.

    I am definitely among the many that think “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” I don’t feel this way just because that song is my officemate’s ring tone; there are so many things to love about this time of year! No matter what your religious beliefs may be, the lights, songs, and even the cold make this time of year so special. People’s smiles are warmer, there is a stronger feeling of community and most take joy in the traditions practiced for generations. Apple hearts for heart health

    Every year since I was a child, my parents, brothers and I would sit around the table, take ordinary ingredients like cookies, candy and frosting, then turn them into an edible neighborhood. We always put a lot of thought into our construction. Throughout the years there have been houses off of a cobblestone street, a quaint main street with garland and even a train placed on tracks made of pretzels! The hours spent on these projects every year were my favorite from the entire year. The creativity, laughter, and pride that I shared with my family always made me feel grateful and blessed.


    Working at Open Hand and Good Measure meals during this time of year has filled my heart with similar sentiments. As I write this, I hear the laughter of volunteers on the Open Hand packaging line. These very special people and so many others take time out of their busy holiday schedules to help us package and deliver healthy holiday meals to the chronically ill and the food insecure. I cannot help but be proud of the positive impact our company has on the community and my place within it.

    It is with the joy of the season that we wish you happiness and health throughout the holiday season and into the new year!

  • 12Mar

    Contributed by GMM’s Registered Dietitian, Rachel Stroud


    The history of St. Patrick’s Day has been long lost on us. No longer do we spend the day recognizing Saint Patrick’s contribution of Christianity to Ireland, or observing the richness of native Irish culture.  Instead St. Patrick’s Day has become the grand excuse to wear green (and pinch those who failed to check the date), make green cupcakes, and drink “Irish” drink in an attempt to feel connected to a commercialized version of Irish Heritage.

    But whether our celebration of St. Patrick’s Day is authentic to the origin of the day or not, it provides us with a reason to celebrate—a reason to gather with friends, cook new recipes, drink new  drinks, and connect for a day.  In my opinion, no matter what the occasion is, gathering together is always a positive thing.

    As a dietitian and a foodie, I am a strong believer in the fact that every chance to attempt a new recipe should be taken, and that if it’s green – you have a 70% chance that it’s moderately healthy (the other 30% contains a large amount of food coloring).  If you’re at all like me, and are looking for creative ways to fold green into your St. Patrick’s Day recipes and celebration, see my 3 latest Green Food Ideas below to get your creative juices flowing:

    3 Recipes to Get More Green (that do not include food coloring):

    Pesto – Most of us get stuck on the fact that pesto must include basil, olive oil, lemon juice, nuts, and parmesan…I am here to tell you that there ARE other options, and they couldn’t be simpler.  Take out the basil and substitute in ANYTHING green.  Cilantro, Broccoli, Arugula, Peas, Parsley, Mint…feel free to get creative.  Use as dippings for your Irish Soda bread, or drizzle on top of corned beef and cabbage for a little spin on the traditional.
    Grown-Up Grilled Cheese – My life changed the day someone suggested I put pickles on top of Grilled Cheese.  Disclaimer: I’m not even a big pickle fan.  I saw the suggestion as adulterating something simple and delicious and wanted nothing to do with it for the first 5 times it was suggested.  And then…the 6th time came.  They’re glorious. Some dill pickle slices on top of a classic grilled cheese sandwich are the perfect addition to your St Patrick’s Day dinner or appetizer spread.  Consider cutting them into small squares and placing a pickle round on top with a toothpick through the center.
    Roasty Toasty Broccoli – Calling all vegetable haters! Would you eat broccoli if it crunched like a pastry and was as sweet as fruit?  Broccoli has natural sugars in it that come out and caramelize when exposed to high temperatures and a little extra help.  Cut broccoli into spears, toss in olive oil, sprinkle with a dash of salt, and a pinch of sugar.  Roast in a 400 degree oven for 10-12 minutes or until the tips are brown and crisp, and then I dare you to refrain from eating them off the pan.

  • 28Dec

    Contributed by Atlanta-based Registered Dietitian Joanna Skinner


    I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season!

    I’m back to talk about the nutrition highlights of two meals I recently had the pleasure of sampling.  This week, I tried the cinnamon sweet potato pancakes with primavera egg whites and vanilla Greek yogurt with strawberry compote, and the lentil stuffed pepper with a mixture of vegetables, brown
    rice, and cheese with a side of mashed cauliflower.

    Both meals have an assortment of flavors, and they pack a serious nutritional punch.  In addition to the excellent nutrient profile, both meals feature ingredients (sweet potatoes and cauliflower, respectively) that are in season in Georgia now.  As you could probably tell from my last post about greens, eating in season is a priority for me.

    Seasonal or not, one way you can tell whether a meal offers you a wide range of vitamins and minerals is by looking at the variety of colors.  The more colorful your meal (artificial colors not included, of course), the more vitamins and minerals you’ll get.  That’s what I love about both of the meals I tried:  they each had an array of colors, so I knew I was getting a lot of different nutrients.  I’ll break down the main nutrition highlights of each meal.

    Sweet Potato Pancakes, Greek Yogurt, and Eggs:

    Sweet potatoes are very high in beta carotene (the orange color gives this away), which is converted to vitamin A in your body.  Vitamin A helps protect your eyes, skin, and immune system.  Sweet potatoes also contain vitamin C (which is good for the collagen in your skin and may boost immunity), iron (an important part of red blood cells) and calcium (to keep your bones strong and help your nervous system work properly).

    Greek yogurt, as you’re probably aware, is known for being a good source of protein.  Though it’s not as high in calcium as non-Greek yogurt, it’s still a good source.  It also contains potassium (which helps keep your blood pressure normal and is necessary for muscle contractions) and vitamin B12 (to keep your brain functioning well and your blood cells healthy).


    Egg whites are high in protein and free of saturated fat and cholesterol, making them heart healthy.  Mixing them with vegetables like spinach and mushrooms adds some fiber and small amounts of a few extra nutrients, such as vitamins A and D.

    Stuffed Peppers with Cauliflower:

    Have you ever doubted that white vegetables, such as cauliflower and onions, contain many nutrients?  If so, put your doubts away.  A cup of cauliflower, for example, contains more than half the vitamin C you need in a day, and it also has potassium, folate (needed by everyone for healthy red blood cells and DNA, but especially by women of child-bearing age), and vitamin K (needed for normal blood clotting as well as for bone health).

    Bell peppers of all colors are high in vitamin C, folate, vitamin A, and potassium.  In addition to providing a meaty texture, the lentils in the pepper’s filling contribute protein, iron, folate,  phosphorus (which is mostly found in bones and teeth, but also assists with kidney function and tissue repair), potassium, and large amounts of trace minerals that keep your body working.


    On top of providing an assortment of vitamins and minerals, vegetables in general are high in fiber and low in calories.  Though we often associate holiday eating with endless sugary and high-fat foods, it’s a great time of year to chow down on veggies, too.

    Happy (and healthy) eating!

  • 21Nov

    Happy Thanksgiving to all our friends! In the spirit of the holiday, we asked the GMM staff what they’re thankful for this year. We’ll let the answers speak for themselves.


    Katherine: Since starting at GMM this spring, I’ve been so thankful for our customers’ honesty through the year about their favorite parts of the menu and their suggestions/ideas for improvement. And more than that, I’m thankful to be part of a team that actually listens to the customer and makes the changes needed to put out the best product possible.

    Sule: I am thankful for being part of a team whose success is directly tied to providing a product that improves the health of our overall community. I am also thankful that our customers are taking an active interest in making healthy lifestyle choices not only for themselves, but also knowingly do so to help people in need they may never meet.  True “Health Care” happens when all of us help each  other, not just an individual feeling better or one entity being profitable.

    Philip: This year, I am thankful for family.  Not only does this include my immediate household, but my family here at Open Hand/Good Measure Meals.  Coming to work every day is such a  pleasure.  I thoroughly enjoy working with like-minded people who are committed to helping others achieve their fitness and health goals.   I am thankful that I get to help others.

    David: I am thankful for customers that give us great feedback about our meal plans. I am also thankful for our OH/GMM staff that listens and works together to accommodate needed changes.

    Jess: I am thankful for our amazing team of passionate health nuts!  Everyone has their own unique reason for driving our mission and it makes my job so enjoyable and rewarding!  I am also thankful to have a job that allows me to positively impact the health of our community through helping each and every one of our customers pursue their health and wellness goals.

    Judi: I am thankful for the incredible opportunity I have to affect so many lives in a positive way just by working for Open Hand and Good Measure Meals.  It is a way to connect to people in our  community who were invisible to me before I started working here.

    Harmony: I am very thankful that we have customers who not only care about themselves, but care about others. Our customers are aware that we give back to Open Hand, and they still give extra donations when ordering. I am thankful to work with a group of people whose commitment to health and wellness is outstanding! And I am thankful to work with such a great team in customer service!  We, as a team, take pride in what we do, and we have so much fun in the process!  From teamwork to problem solving, it’s always a good day at Good Measure Meals!

  • 20Nov

    Thanksgiving leftovers. We all have them (if we’re lucky), but we don’t always want to eat the same meal ten times in succession.

    Leftovers at work! Leftovers at home! Leftovers coming out of our ears!


    Fortunately our resident chefs and dietitians have put together some winning recipes for how to retool your leftovers into completely different and altogether delicious dishes. Happy cooking and bon appetit!


    Turkey Omelet

    Organic canola oil

    ½ small onion, chopped

    ½ small red bell pepper, chopped

    ½ cup leftover cooked turkey breast, shredded

    ¼ cup shredded cheese

    2 eggs + 1 egg white, beaten

    2 Tbsp skim milk

    1/2 avocado, sliced

    Salt & pepper, to taste

    Saute onion and bell pepper in 1-2 tsp oil over medium heat until tender.  Add in leftover turkey until warm.  Remove vegetables and turkey from pan.  Beat eggs and milk together and season with salt and pepper.  Pour into pan and cook until no longer runny. Place turkey, vegetables and cheese on ½ of omelet.  Fold in half, top with avocado and serve.

    Sweet Potato Pancakes

    1 ¾ cup leftover mashed sweet potatoes

    ½ cup whole wheat flour (add more if needed until you reach desired thickness)

    1 egg or 2 egg whites, beaten

    Organic canola oil

    Mix all ingredients well.  Heat a small amount of oil over low-medium heat in a nonstick skillet.  Pour 1/3 cup batter into pan and spread slightly to make pancake. Cook until lightly brown on one side about 2-3 minutes, then flip and brown on other side.  Top with crushed pecans and a drizzle of 100% maple syrup. Makes 6 small pancakes.


    Turkey Salad

    2 cups cooked turkey breast, shredded

    ¼ cup dried cranberries

    ¼ cup pecans

    ¼ cup celery, diced

    ¼ cup plain 0% fat Greek yogurt

    2 Tbsp light mayo

    ½ Tbsp honey

    ¼ tsp salt

    1/8 tsp pepper

    ¾ tsp dried tarragon (or 1 ½ tsp fresh)

    Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.  Serve on a bed of lettuce with whole grain crackers and fruit.


    Turkey Brunswick Stew

    1-28oz can peeled stewed tomatoes

    1 cup frozen sweet corn, thawed

    1 cup frozen lima beans, thawed

    1 ½ cups leftover diced new potatoes

    1 ½ cups leftover shredded turkey breast

    ½ cup BBQ sauce

    1 cup water

    1 small onion, chopped

    ½ bell pepper, chopped

    Place tomatoes, corn, lima beans, turkey, potatoes, BBQ sauce and water in pot and heat over medium-low heat.  Saute bell pepper and onion in nonstick skillet.  Add pepper and onion to soup.  Simmer on low 30 minutes and serve.

  • 14Nov

    With Thanksgiving around the corner, now is the time to consider what your diet next week might look like. You CAN plan ahead and have a week of healthy nutrition and balanced meals each day. A little thought goes a long way. Contact GMM if you have any questions or need any help prioritizing your diet during the holidays.

    Mindful eating to me means taking the time to making healthy eating a priority.

    It’s not just about being mindful in the moment, but purposefully taking an hour or two each weekend to plan my upcoming week along with what I will eat when.

    When I do this, I eat well and generally feel well about what I’m eating.  The weeks I don’t plan well or grocery shop, I am victim to more mindless eating and grabbing the easiest thing to eat out of sheer convenience or necessity.

    Planning for me is the key to mindful eating.

    - Bethany Smith, RD, CSO, LD, GMM Community Wellness Representative


    Bethany, making a healthy vinaigrette for a GMM cooking demonstration.

  • 30Oct

    The holidays are fast approaching, and if there’s one thing I know about the holidays, it is that they are difficult waters to navigate in the food department.

    First of all, there’s the fact that with the time change and darker evenings, it is really difficult to work up motivation to exercise
    before or after the average 9-5 work hours. Not to mention the cold (or the Hurricane Sandy winds).

    Then there are all the parties. With food. With holiday food – desserts, cheese-laden casseroles, spiked warm drinks – easy, rich foods to nab from an hors d’oeuvres or snack table….every time you walk by.

    Plus, there’s football and tailgating, reunions with friends, and reunions with family – and all the ensuing rollercoasters of emotional stressors that those interactions inevitably bring.


    The holidays are fast approaching, and I know myself and my tendency to just throw my hands and all my healthful eating patterns up in the air in a big “Who cares!/Resistance is futile!” bluster. I usually always do, and then I find myself all the way into Easter season realizing that summertime beach trips are just around the corner, and what the heck happened to my waistline and my health and my self image during the winter holiday months, anyway?!


    Mindful eating is a choice, and it is a conscious choice. Mindful eating doesn’t mean being restrictive so as to deny myself treats and tastes of my favorite (and rich!) winter foods and drinks during holiday times. It doesn’t mean comparing myself to or subconsciously competing with my friends in a sort of “holier than thou” way with the things I choose to order or eat in a group setting. It doesn’t recognize “good” foods or “bad” foods - just food choices, to be mindfully considered and selected in healthful moderation.
    To me, mindful eating takes work and is a lifestyle change. And now – with Halloween knocking at our door, at the beginning of the holiday season – now is the time to start practicing this change.


    Here’s a graphic way to understand change. Picture a hill of damp sand with a marble on top. If you give the marble a nudge in one direction, it will roll down the hill, forming a slight groove in the sand. Each time the marble gets nudged in the same direction, it will slide into the groove and the groove will deepen until you only have to place the marble on top of the hill for it to plop right into the groove and plunge downward.

    Now suppose you decide that you want the marble to roll down the other side of the sand hill. You’ll have to place the marble on top of the hill and push it in the other direction
    because if you don’t, it will slip automatically into its old groove. If you push it only once or twice in the new direction, its inclination will still be to return to its old groove. So initially, you’ll need to push the marble in the new direction over and over until a new groove is carved out. Eventually when your old groove and the new groove are about even, the marble will have the potential to roll either way. To ensure that it will always go in the new direction, you’ll have to keep gently nudging it until the old groove fills up with sand and the new groove is deeply carved. Then the marble will naturally fall into the new groove every time (Koenig 28-29).



    (Koenig, Karen. The Rules of Normal Eating: A Commonsense Approach for Dieters, Overeaters, Undereaters, Emotional Eaters, and Everyone in Between! Carlsbad, CA: Gurze Books, 2005. Print.)

  • 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