Written on October 17, 2013 at 1:29 pm , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern
Actress, television personality and writer Maria Menounos has a lot on her plate. From filming her reality TV show Chasing Maria Menounos, which debuts on the Oxygen Network early next year, to writing her new book, The Every Girl’s Guide to Diet and Fitness (out April 2014), this fit lady admits that her workouts have taken a backseat to her workload over the past couple of months. However, she looks as healthy and fit as ever! We met up with Menounos outside Ocean Spray’s cranberry bog in the middle of Rockefeller Center, where she let us in on her diet and fitness tricks for when a workout just won’t fit into her day.
Menounos’ early fitness journey involved losing 40 pounds slowly and steadily over the course of 11 months, but the best part is that she manages to keep it off with smart eating strategies. “When I was losing my weight, I did a lot of things that would spike my metabolism,” says Menounos. Hot peppers and spicy foods frequented her plate to keep that internal engine revving throughout the day.
She also swears by the power of hot water, which can be surprisingly useful, accessible and, you know, free. “It’s de-stressing, it’s detoxifying, it helps digest the food in your stomach, and it really helps you stay full so that you know when you actually are hungry,” she says. “A lot of times you’ll see something and think you’re hungry, but you’re thirsty and just think you’re hungry.”
Besides bringing the heat, Menounos suggests simply eating as clean as you can and abiding by a 75-25 rule. “I don’t deprive myself of anything, so I don’t necessarily crave things,” says Menounos. “Like, yesterday I was in the airport and I wanted some M&Ms, and I’m not going to feel guilty because it’s rare for me to eat that. If you stick to the 75-25 rule and eat 75 percent clean, then you have a little wiggle room.”
And don’t forget the cranberries! She loves tossing a handful of craisins into her salads and cooking with them around the holidays. “A lot of women know the obvious benefits of cranberries, but I actually used it on my dog once to cure bladder stones,” says Menounos. “I know it sounds weird, but it works!”
Since her hectic schedule does not allow time for daily sweat sessions, Menounos does what she calls “convenience conditioning.” “I keep a pedometer on me at all times and I make sure that I’m tracking my steps. So if I’m getting 10,000 steps a day, I know that I’m still going to be able to maintain my weight, be healthy and try to ride through those periods where I can’t work out,” she says. When she does find the time, however, she takes her workouts outdoors. From hiking to shooting hoops, Menounos sticks to activities best enjoyed in the fresh air. Now that’s something we can get on board with!
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Written on October 16, 2013 at 9:25 am , by Guest Blogger
Written by Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D. and Jamba Juice Healthy Living Council Member
As delicious and good-for-you as smoothies can be, it’s possible to make them even better with some interesting add-ins that intensify flavor and boost nutrition. Customize smoothies to suit your needs by mixing one or more of the following surprisingly nutritious ingredients with your favorite drink for meals and snacks.
Greek yogurt: With double the protein of regular yogurt, going Greek has some serious benefits. Add a half-cup of the fat-free plain variety to smoothies for 10 grams of protein, and more calcium, too.
Protein powders: Wondering whether it’s worth it to hop on the protein powder train? Whey and soy powders provide essential amino acids your body needs to repair and build lean tissue including muscle. It’s also an easy way to include the 20 to 30 grams of high-quality protein experts suggest at every meal.
Oats: Oats fill you up and can help give you the energy to stay active and take on the day. Add oats at home, or when you’re out, mix in a Quaker Whole Grains Boost at Jamba Juice for additional fiber and at least 16 grams of whole grains – one of the three to five suggested daily servings of whole grains.
Chia seeds: Tiny but mighty chia seeds supply alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which your body can’t produce and must get from food. A diet rich in ALA is linked to a lower risk for cardiovascular disease. Chia seeds also supply fiber to slightly thicken smoothies and also aid in digestion. Read more
Written on October 11, 2013 at 1:11 pm , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern
Get ready to twirl that fork—it’s National Pasta Month! One of our fave comfort foods has gotten a bad rap over the years due to its heavy carb count and fat-laden toppings, but a single half-cup serving of pasta actually comes in roughly 100 calories—not so bad. It’s naturally low in fat, contains no salt or cholesterol, and serves as a good source of folic acid and iron. In light of all that, we’re here to celebrate National Pasta Month with Top Chef New York’s Fabio Viviani. He dished on his favorite healthy ways to integrate this favorite comfort food into our meals all October long.
When it comes to cooking with pasta, simple is better, says Viviani, and everyone should try making it from scratch at least once—it’s surprisingly easy and tastes far better than its boxed counterpart. Homemade pasta’s simple ingredient list—egg, flour and water—transforms into a simple dinner within minutes. You can even steal Viviani’s own Perfect Pasta recipe here.
“Fettuccini is the easiest pasta to make,” he says. Pulse eggs, flour and water in a food processor with a blade attachment for 45 seconds. Take another two minutes to roll it, and that’s it! “Just spice it up with olive oil and Parmesan cheese. It’s one of the easiest meals and one of the most delicious.”
The real trick when it comes to pasta is portion control. We all know what happens when we sit down to a huge plate full of our favorite farfalle and just dig in. But Chef Viviani has two ways of measuring spaghetti and penne to prevent that oh-so-common carb overload: “The perfect portion of dry spaghetti for an adult is the diameter of a quarter, and for dry penne, a good portion is whatever you can hold in the palm of your hand.”
Here are some other helpful—and healthy—pasta cooking tips from Chef Viviani:
Cook pasta without water. Cook it straight in the sauce from start to finish because it will absorb much more flavor. Plus, you avoid overcooking it.
“Al dente” is easier to digest. Overcooked pasta absorbs way more water, which is why it feels heavy in your stomach and takes the body longer to process.
Adjust those ingredients. For more nutrient-dense pasta, trade one egg yolk for two additional egg whites, and replace white flour with a whole-wheat version. Add water as necessary.
When it comes to the sauce, lose the salt and grab the spices. Chef Viviani likes to use paprika, saffron, black pepper and chili flakes to really zest up the flavor without adding salt or calories.
Avoid oil until the end. Instead of using extra virgin olive oil in the cooking process, add a little drizzle on top of it at the end to reap its nutritional benefits without overdoing it.
Never eat leftover pasta as is. Traditional Italians refuse to reheat and eat leftover pasta the next day because it’s overcooked. Try tossing it into a soup or using it as an ingredient in a new recipe instead.
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Written on October 9, 2013 at 6:27 pm , by mohrresults
Here at Mohr Results, we get more questions about dietary supplements than anything else. Women often want to know about the “best” supplement for fat loss or skin health, while sometimes it’s about energy, bone health, or general wellness.
Since the question comes up so often, we thought we’d share some of our favorites. But remember that supplements aren’t in place of a poor diet, but instead a complement to veggies, fruits, lean proteins, healthy fats and grains. We actually refer to them as “complements” instead of supplements, since the intention is that they do just that. That being said, here are three complements/supplements we encourage adding to your own diet.
If we could take just one ‘complement’ this would be it. Most people do not get enough omega-3 fats. We certainly encourage increasing omega-3’s in the diet by eating more cold water fish — like wild salmon, anchovies and sardines — but also understand that these aren’t always the most popular. To complement our intake of fatty fish, we add Nordic Naturals fish oil to our daily regimen for us and our girls, who are 4 years-old and nearly 2 years-old. Omega-3 fats are important for heart health, brain health, recovery from workouts and so much more. A recent study even showed that up to 96,000 people die each year from not getting enough omega-3 fats.
When it comes to nutrition, the whole is better than the sum of the parts. In other words, ingredients and foods eaten together offer more benefit than a single nutrient. A quality multivitamin is an example of this in supplement form, providing a variety of essential vitamins and minerals important to the diet. We use, like, and trust Rainbow Light for Women and Rainbow Light for Men (for the guy in your life). The nutrients come from whole foods (versus just isolated nutrients) to complement what we eat in our diet.
Vitamin D is another common deficiency in the diet. It is challenging to get D from the diet; it comes from foods like sardines and anchovies, egg yolks, milk, and to an extent, mushrooms. But many people typically don’t usually eat enough of these foods, and relying on Vitamin D from the sun just exposes you to other health problems. (Using sunscreen is critical since it protects us from harmful UV rays, but it also blocks vitamin D conversion.) Most experts encourage a minimum of 1000 IU’s daily, which is easily found in a variety of ‘compliments.’
We both also use protein, regularly, but hardly consider that a supplement; it’s just a convenient source of nutrition.
Of course some women may have some other unique needs, like calcium or iron. But when considering the “basics” of what we believe all women would benefit from, it’s these 3 supplements. Daily.
Written on September 27, 2013 at 10:30 am , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern
Football season is in full force, and so is our tailgating practice. Who doesn’t like good friends, great food and tasty brews on a cool, autumn day before filing into those stadium seats? And while we’ve indulged in our fair share of the classic beer-and-brats pre-game fare, these football favorites can feel overplayed week after week. So why not mix it up a little? Add a gourmet twist to your tailgate this weekend with these snack swaps:
Swap: Stadium Peanuts. This cute mini keg is chock-full of mixed nuts. Roasted and seasoned with a praline coating, the sweet and savory Mixed Nut Keg from Harry & David will have everyone reaching for a handful!
Swap: Potato Chips. Lose the greasy bag and try these Bagel Chips and Cheese Spreads from Figi’s instead. Light and crispy, these baked snacks pack a fresh bagel flavor and pair perfectly with their accompanying spreads.
Swap: Cheddar Cheese and Crackers Plate. Your classier friends will love this elegant Antipasti Platter from Williams-Sonoma. The Alle-Pia Finnochiona salame, Pedrozo Dairy Northern Gold cheese, Guilio Bulloni Pane Carasatu crackers and olive assortment create a plate that looks almost as good as it tastes.
Swap: Nachos. Trade fat-laden chips and stringy cheese for fresh Bruschetta Toppings loaded with flavor! From roasted tomato, raisin and onion to sesame, cilantro and white bean, Dean & Deluca transforms slices of Italian baguette into indulgent appetizers with this artisanal set of toast toppings.
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Written on September 17, 2013 at 4:34 pm , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Kristen Haney, editorial intern
While most of us are guilty of digging into a decadent dessert from time to time, these caloric bombs aren’t the best way to maintain a svelte waistline. But at a recent dinner hosted by Shutterfly at New York’s SD-26, celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito gave an array of Italian favorites an image reboot, slashing calories, sugar and fat.
As we snapped away photos to create our own personalized recipe books with Shutterfly’s new Photo Story app, the host of the upcoming syndicated Now Eat This! TV show demonstrated how to make lightened up Italian eats. Our favorite was his insanely easy take on raspberry Italian ice. The dessert blends together in minutes and boasts a fifth of the calories you’d normally find in the icy treat. So next time you’re jonesing for a frozen treat, bust this healthy recipe out and consider your craving curbed.
Instant Italian Ice
- 6 packets Stevia
- ½ teaspoon xantham gum
- 2 tablespoons raw agave nectar
- 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 cups frozen unsweetened strawberries (do not thaw)
Mix the Stevia and xantham gum together in a small mixing bowl and set aside. Pour the agave nectar, lemon juice and water into a high-powered blender. Cover and blend until well combined.
Add the stevia and xantham mixture to the blender. Cover and blend on low until the mixture is well combined, about ten seconds. Add the still-frozen strawberries to the blender. Cover and blend on high while pushing the strawberries down into the blade with the wand, until the mixture is smooth but still frozen, about 5 to 10 seconds.
Spoon the strawberry ice into paper cups or chilled bowls and serve immediately. This ice will stay fresh and tasty, tightly covered, in the freezer up to a month. If it is too hard after freezing, simply temper in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving or put in the microwave on high for 5 to 10 seconds until just soft enough to scoop.
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Written on September 5, 2013 at 10:43 am , by Lauren Cardarelli
Need to stir up your go-to healthy eats? Robin over at Knead to Cook has what you crave—muffins, cookies, pies, you name it—without the guilt. And whoa, it shows! The fit mom who sticks to an impressive six-day workout regimen (three days running, the other three hitting the gym for cardio and lifting) cut down on sugar and recently lost over 30 pounds, making major PR strides. We’ll have what she’s having! From lightened-up, homestyle Italian dishes to perfect pre- and post-workout fuel (check out her addictive No-Bake Energy Balls below), this gal cozies you up to her table like you’re a part of the family and proves that nutritious cuisine can taste good, too.
My favorite way to workout: Running, especially in the fall and winter. I’m definitely a cold-weather runner.
My biggest motivators: My two daughters. I want them to look at me as an inspiration for what is possible. They shouldn’t use age as an excuse—ever!
My favorite fit snack: Non-fat Cabot cottage cheese. It’s packed with protein and I mix it with Justin’s almond butter; it’s such a treat! I cannot get enough of it.
Motivational mantra: “No one ever drowned in his own sweat,” by Ann Landers. I actually have it written on the chalkboard wall in my kitchen and I look at it every single day.
My “I did it” moment: Even after running a marathon, my biggest “I did it” moment was recently, at the Beach to Beacon 10K, when I ran it in 49:01. That’s my fastest race time yet, thanks to my recent 31-pound weight loss.
No-Bake Energy Balls
- 1 c old-fashioned oats
- 1 c toasted coconut flakes
- 1/2 c dark chocolate chips
- 1/2 c almond butter (or whatever nut butter you have in your pantry)
- 1/2 c flaxseed meal
- 1 Tbsp chia seeds
- 1/3 c + 1 /4 tsp raw honey
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch salt
Mix together in a bowl and refrigerate for 45 minutes. Remove and roll into balls. (Robin uses a small scooper!) Place in an airtight container to refrigerate for 5-7 days, although they will most likely be long gone before that!
Do you have a favorite fit blogger you want us to highlight? Leave a comment below or email email@example.com
Written on August 29, 2013 at 11:00 am , by Marla Horenbein
When you add tennis superstar Venus Williams and Flywheel Sports together, what do you get? A night filled with fun, fashion and Spinning, duh! I had the opportunity to join FlyWheel’s co-founder, Ruth Zuckerman, for a special ride with Venus to kick off the Fall 2013 collection from EleVen by Venus, sold at select FlyWheel locations (Chicago, Charlotte, Seattle and NYC, to be exact!). I was also lucky enough to sit down with Venus and pick her brain about fashion, food (apparently we both share a love for marshmallows!) and her life as a tennis star. Talk about a “pinch me” moment!
I work in the fashion department at FITNESS, so I’m super familiar with your line EleVen (we featured a tie dye version of this skirt in our July/Aug issue!), and think you and your team of designers are doing a great job. What inspires you when designing new looks? I really think that inspiration comes from within and that’s what makes the line a little bit different. I try to design pieces that are different, fun and bright – things that are really me – but not too different because you don’t want to step too far away from your roots, you know? We want the line to be relatable, so we’re always looking to find a happy medium. I want people to see my clothes and say, “Wow, that’s so exciting!”
And exciting it is! The new collection especially. I love the floral prints and electric color pallet. Are you going to wear any of these pieces to the U.S. Open?
I’ll be wearing the Rose Floral tennis dress.
Super cute! Definitely makes me want to get out on the tennis court and play!
Exactly! I want to inspire people to live a healthy life. Give them a little extra motivation to get out there and exercise.
Speaking of healthy, what’s your go-to snack, whether you’re on the go or heading into a big match?
To be honest, I’m not a big snacker. I’m into green juice and smoothies, so I usually reach for something like that.
Well that explains why you look so awesome! But seriously, any splurge snacks? There’s gotta be something…
Marshmallows! I love marshmallows. Those are a weakness, so I allow myself to splurge once in a while.
A girl after my own heart! So you’re about to go to a match, you’re dressed to the nines in your cute tennis clothes; you’ve drank a smoothie. What’s next? Any special rituals that we should know about?
I don’t have any crazy rituals. I’m the most relaxed person before a match. Probably too laid back. I’m always running late! People are pushing me to go and I’m like, “Wait, where’s my racquet?!”
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Written on August 13, 2013 at 3:44 pm , by Samantha Shelton
When comfort food is calling your name – especially Southern comfort food – there isn’t anything that fits the bill quite like a right-outta-the-oven homemade biscuit (paired with chicken and gravy, yes?). Unfortunately, those small circles of delicious can wreak havoc on your waistline in a big way, thanks to calorie-ridden ingredients like buttermilk and shortening. To keep our tastebuds and figures happy, we said yes to a fun night of healthy baking with Iron Chef Michael Symon and Dannon Oikos Greek Yogurt. While we can’t give you personal kitchen time with Symon, who’s whole-hearted laugh and boisterous personality is super infectious, we can give you his slim-downed solution to your comfort food cravings. Whip up this fluffy biscuit recipe, and maybe tune in to Symon so he’s practically there, too.
Dannon Oikos Plain Greek Nonfat Yogurt Biscuits
- 2 cups flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes and kept cold
- 1 cup Dannon Oikos Plain Greek Nonfat Yogurt, plus more for brushing
- 1/4 cup milk
- Zest of 1 lemon
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar and lemon zest. Add cubed butter and work it into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.
In a small bowl, whisk together Greek yogurt and milk. Add to butter and flour mixture. Stir until dough comes together, then knead the rest of the way, being careful not to overwork it. The dough will be slightly sticky when finished.
Turn dough out onto a floured surface and press out to 3/4-inch thickness. Using a cookie cutter or drinking glass, cut into rounds, pressing straight down and not twisting.
Lay biscuits onto a baking sheet and brush tops with extra Greek yogurt. Sprinkle with sugar, if desired. Bake 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.
Written on August 7, 2013 at 5:11 pm , by Karla Walsh
Did you know that August is National Picnic Month? As if we needed an excuse to eat al fresco in this gorgeous weather…
Too bad so many picnic favorites pack way more calories than we’d like to eat–especially considering this holiday falls right in the middle of bikini season! Luckily, some simple swaps can slim down your spread and FITNESS has plenty of recipes with all the flavors you love (but a fraction of the fat and calories).
Four we can’t wait to try this weekend:
- Cool Skewers (150 calories): This no-cook app couldn’t be easier. Just slice, stack and serve!
- Healthy Potato Salad (131 calories, 2 g fat): Low-fat mayo lightens up this cookout classic, plus, diced veggies amp up the nutrition.
- Greek Salad Pita Pocket (286 calories, 6 g fat): Think of this as a portable version of your favorite Mediterranean salad! Everything’s betta with feta, right?
- Double-Chocolate Brownies (111 calories, 4 g fat): Surprise! Cocoa powder can be a diet do when you opt for the unsweetened version. Try using white whole-wheat flour or whole-wheat pastry flour for even more fiber.
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