Could there be a better holiday? There are tons of diets than ban all things cheesy, but here at FITNESS we believe in everything in moderation. So go ahead and dig in with this lightened up mac and cheese recipe from Laura Werlin, cheese expert and James Beard award-winning author of The All American Cheese and Wine Book. Werlin’s latest book, Mac & Cheese, Please! has an entire chapter dedicated to healthier versions of the comfort food staple. This one sounded so good, we had to share. Anyone know when National Chocolate Lover’s Day is so we have something to look forward to when today is over?
Fiery South of the Border Mac and Cheese
NOTE: This mac and cheese is not for the faint of heart, it’s definitely spicy. But it’s also easy to tone down if you wish. All you need to do is use a little less chili pepper, cut back on the amount of pickled jalapeño, and use a combination of pepper Jack and regular Monterey Jack. The salsa in this recipe is easy to make, but if it’s too hot to turn on the oven, or you can’t find tomatillos or don’t have the time to make it, then use purchased green salsa. Read more
Obstacle races are hot to trot for lately, and among one of the most popular is the Spartan Race, which will have you rolling, crawling and climbing your way to the finish line. Now, one of the trendiest races has teamed up with Reebok, one of the trendiest brands, announcing a multi-year partnership with Spartan Race yesterday in NYC.
The partnership will start with the January 26 Spartan Race at Vail Lake Resort in Temecula, CA. Reebok will be the official footwear, apparel and accessories supplier for the race series, including a line of products specifically for Spartan Race athletes to help them train better, faster and stronger.
To kick off the partnership, Reebok hosted the Reebok Spartan Race Times Square Challenge, a traffic-stopping race. Celebs like model Brooklyn Decker, former Giants football player Tiki Barber and 2012 winner of the obstacle course of the Reebok CrossFit Games Spencer Hendel climbed a 7 foot wall, mud crawled under barb wire and carried 75 pound sandbags through the heart of NYC to put their fitness limits to the test.
Look out for the obstacle race to be featured in Reebok’s next campaign, and set a date for your 2013 Spartan Race at www.spartanrace.com.
Now tell us: Have you ever done a Spartan Race?
For the gal who wants to look good at the gym (and let’s be honest, who doesn’t fall into this category?) there’s a new site in town to do just the trick. Meet Carbon38, an online social platform that curates the newest trends and styles much like your favorite shopping sites, but specifically for fitness, wellness and health.
Launching January 14, each week carbon38.com will have hand-picked fitness products from your favorite trainer pros and celebrities on everything you love including apparel, accessories, vitamins and even fitness classes. You can buy it all right on the site, and keep coming back for the latest and greatest gear for your next gym session.
Can’t wait until January 14? Register now and enter Carbon38′s pre-launch giveaway for a chance to win a pair of Jimmy Choo sneakers, plus be one of the first with exclusive access to the site. If that doesn’t kick your resolutions into high gear, we don’t know what will.
More from FITNESS: Sweaty Trend to Try: The Animal Flow Workout
By now you’ve had the statistics drilled into your head–a third of people who make resolutions will break them by the end of January. Make it a point to not fall into that group this year with the help of Lululemon. Throughout the month they’ll be promoting the campaign #readysetgoal, to help others experience the power of goal setting for themselves. Below, some tips to get started on your to-do list from Chloe Gow-Jarrett, program manager of self-development at Lululemon.
- Set goals in present tense. State them in terms such as I am, I have, I create, I own.
- Be specific with your goals. You’re placing an order to the universe, so make sure to ask for exactly what you want.
- Put a deadline on your goals, this will help spur you into action.
- Don’t be afraid to set goals that are audacious. Failing 50 percent of your goals means you are really challenging yourself.
For more goal-setting help, tune in to Lululemon’s live goal coaching event at livestream.com/lululemon on January 23 at 6pm PST for tips and strategies to reach your mile markers this year. If you’re still not totally into the whole buzz around goals and the New Year, check out this video below of Steph Corker, manager of recruitment, who nailed one very big personal goal last year. And make sure to follow @FitnessMagazine on Twitter, especially any tweets with the hashtag #goalgetter for ideas every day on new goals you can accomplish.
As we gear up for a week filled with family, food, catching up with old friends and celebrating the season, times will certainly be jolly but more than likely, they’ll get a little tense too. In fact, past studies done by the American Psychological Association have shown that women get more stressed than men during the holidays due to home responsibilities, and because of this are more likely to fall into bad health habits, like comfort eating.
So if your Aunt Ida has one too many and starts spouting off at the mouth about your silverware choices (yet again) or you don’t know how you’ll possibly be able to finish all of your shopping before Santa’s sleigh rolls into town, take this tip from davidji, apprentice to Deepak Chopra and author of Secrets of Meditation: A Practical Guide to Inner Peace and Personal Transformation to SODA. And no, we don’t mean the drink!
- S: Stop whatever you are doing.
- O: Observe the moment and take a deep breath to calm yourself down.
- D: Detach yourself from any drama taking place. Literally, take a step back!
- A: Awaken to your best self. Ask yourself, “How would the best version of me respond to this?”
Feel better yet? Happy holidays from the FITNESS team and here’s to a happy and healthy 2013!
More from FITNESS: The 10 Best Resolutions to Make
Looking forward to indulging in some red wine, a few pigs in a blanket and your family’s famous Christmas morning spicy shrimp grits? Not if you are one of the fifty million Americans who suffer from heartburn, says Dr. Su Sachar, a gastroenterologist based in LA. These are just a few of the things that can trigger holiday heartburn, among others like chocolate (the horror!), alcohol, garlic and peppermint. So how exactly is one supposed to make it through the buffet without breathing fire into 2013? Try Dr. Sachar’s tips below:
- Know the triggers: Aside from foods that are tomato-based, fried, spicy, fatty and citrusy, stress can also be a trigger as it often makes someone turn to fatty foods or toss back a few glasses of wine to chill out. But the most surprising trigger is exercise. “Certain exercises put pressure on the abdomen and push the stomach into the esophagus, contributing to heartburn symptoms,” Dr. Sachar says. “For example, cyclists tend to get heartburn from hunching over handlebars. But that doesn’t mean you have to skip the gym! Exercising is good for stress levels and avoiding weight gain, both of which contribute to heartburn. Just go easy on the abs and try yoga or low impact cardio if you feel a flare up coming on.”
- Navigate the dinner table: “Stay away from the fried and cheesy appetizers and focus on protein,” Dr. Sachar says. “Chicken skewers and salads without raw onions or tomatoes are safe bets. Skip buttery mashed potatoes in favor of baked potatoes or sweet potatoes and light turkey meat over fatty beef or lamb.” As for dessert, Sachar says angel food cake, sugar and oatmeal cookies and apple pie will hit the spot without feeling the burn later. When it comes to wine, opt for white.
- Be proactive: If you suffer from heartburn symptoms two or more days a week, consider Prilosec OTC. One pill each morning can treat frequent heartburn for up to 24 hours, so you can enjoy your holiday feast.
More from FITNESS: A Heartburn-Proof Recipe from Top Chef Spike Mendelsohn
If there is one takeaway from handling the swarm of dinner parties this time of year we’ve learned, it’s that nuts are your friends for keeping the weight off. That’s why Bethenny Frankel, busy mom, entrepreneur and now talk show host is teaming up with the Almond Board of California to share her favorite snack recipes during one of the busiest times of the year. So what’s Frankel’s top snacking tip? “Pay attention to when you’re hungry and what you’re hungry for (sweets, salty, crunchy, etc.) and figure out some go-to healthy choices to fit those cravings.” Check out the recipes below and remember, “Smart snacking doesn’t just mean it’s healthy, it means it is easy!”
Frozen Dark Chocolate Almond Banana Pops
- 4 medium sized bananas, cut in half widthwise
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate, melted
- 8 Popsicle sticks
- 1/3 cup almonds, chopped
In a small heavy saucepan, melt chocolate chips. Peel bananas and insert Popsicle sticks into one end. Spoon chocolate mixture over bananas to coat. Sprinkle with almonds. Place on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet. Freeze for at least 30 minutes. Serve frozen.
Nutrition info per serving: 168 calories, 8.5g total fat, 0.9mg cholesterol, 2.1mg sodium, 22.2g carbs, 3.4g dietary fiber, 2.8g protein
Read on for another one of Bethenny’s almond recipes!
If one of your resolutions is to get moving more, there’s a perfect way for you to kick off 2013 doing just that. Life Time Fitness is kicking off January 1, 2013 with a Commitment Day 5K, hosted in 30 major U.S. cities. The race’s mission is to bring focus to living a healthier lifestyle and beating those scary stats we see year after year– 2 in 3 American are considered obese and because of obesity, our children’s life expectancy is now less than our own.
See if there is a Commitment Day 5K in your city by visiting commitmentday.com. As an extra perk for being so motivated, FITNESS readers will get $5 off registration by using the code CORP0598. Entry is $40 per adult and free for kids 17 and under. Each runner will receive a Commitment Journal to help make healthy living a little easier and more organized this year. If that doesn’t make the first day of resolution season easier, we don’t know what will!
More from FITNESS: Find Other Races in Your Area
The holidays are a busy time for everyone, but when you have twin girls who are almost 6 years old and a son under one like retired soccer star Mia Hamm, busy takes on a whole new meaning. To help keep in mind the spirit of the season, Hamm still found the time to team up with Dick’s Sporting Goods Gifts That Matter campaign, to celebrate giving gifts that help inspire future athletes. We chatted with Hamm on her most memorable gifts, her go-to holiday workouts and how she plans to beat stress this month.
Do you have a gift that mattered most in shaping you as an athlete?
When I was 11 years old I got my first pair of real leather cleats, which in my mind made me a real soccer player. It inspired me to keep with the sport and work harder to get to that next level. That’s why I was so excited about this campaign, because sporting gifts like that can make a real difference. It seems like such a little thing, but to a kid something so simple like that makes their world. I also love the idea behind this campaign because in the spirit of giving, Dick’s Sporting Goods will also make a contribution to the Mia Hamm Foundation this month, so we can help out underprivileged children as well.
We just wrapped up our gift guides, and our readers told us the best gifts they’ve ever gotten. What’s a great gift you’ve received recently?
After the birth of our third child, my husband was working and traveling a lot. For two or three months he hired a woman to come in for three to four hours to cook our meals for the week. Everything was healthy and organic and it took a lot of pressure off of me and let me spend quality time with our kids. That was really great. Read more
Already thinking about your holiday dinner parties, at least the menu part? Here’s a fun idea–use nuts for a healthy, tasty twist. That’s what Alex Guaranschelli, Food Network host of Alex’s Day Off and executive chef of Butter and The Darby in NYC suggests. She’s teaming up with Fisher Nuts to show how nuts can add that little something you’ve been missing to your holiday recipes this year. “I hate when people say nuts have so many calories,” she says during a meeting in her super trendy restaurant Butter. “They give you the sensation of being full, and that’s what is important. I eat a handful and feel satisfied. With other foods I could eat 1,000 calories worth and still feel hungry.” To figure out which nuts work best with certain dishes, follow Guaranschelli’s guidelines:
- Try pecans with veggies that are meaty in texture, like beets, mushrooms, fennel or sautéed onions.
- For walnuts, go with one of two extremes. Use them with light and lean veggies (like the asparagus recipe below) or with a super heavy dish, like steak with lemon.
- If you’re choosing almonds, use them on berries or keep the skin on them and add them to your mashed potatoes (they’ll mimic the skin on potatoes!).
And a word to the wise for all party planners: “Write out your holiday menu and then cross half of it off,” Guaranschelli says. “Wasn’t it Coco Chanel who told us to look in the mirror and remove one thing before going out? The same goes with cooking. Give yourself a break and add more later if you need to. Also, pick one thing to make from scratch and be proud of. Cooking should be about enjoying the process, and you can’t do that if you are overworked. It’s perfectly fine to buy something store bought every once in awhile!”
Read on for two holiday recipes to try.