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Healthy Eating

Vamp Up Your Halloween Party with Four Spooky, Low-Cal Cocktails

Written on October 25, 2013 at 12:03 pm , by

Spooky cocktails can still be waistline-friendly. (Photo courtesy of Chambord)

Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern

Halloween is the one night of the year when we can wear outrageous costumes and embrace silly fears without shame. But candy overloads, junk food binges and high-calorie adult beverages can follow us well into November, threatening the holiday party body we all work so hard to achieve. Luckily, we found these four creepy cocktail recipes: all are under 250 calories, so you can party on guilt-free. Do you dare?

Vampire Kiss Martini

Calories: 225

  • 1 ½ ounces Finlandia Vodka, chilled
  • 1 ½ ounces Korbel Champagne
  • ¾ ounce Chambord Black Raspberry Liqueur

Rim the glass with red sugar (use food coloring) or drop in a set of wax vampire teeth for a real surprise. Pour vodka and half of the Chambord in a martini glass, top with Champagne and pour the remaining Chambord over the back of a spoon to make it float.

Recipe courtesy of Chambord

Piña Ghoul-ada

Calories: 100

  • Skinnygirl Piña Colada
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • ¼ teaspoons red food coloring

Pour the corn syrup in a shallow bowl and add a few drops of red food coloring. Stir with a toothpick to combine. Holding a glass by the stem, dip the rim into syrup mixture and turn the glass, coating the entire rim. Flip glass upright, allowing mixture to drip down the sides. Repeat for desired number of glasses. Pour chilled Skinnygirl Piña Colada into prepared glasses and serve.

Recipe courtesy of Skinnygirl Cocktails

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From the Patch to Your Kitchen Counter: The Best Ways to Cook with Pumpkin

Written on October 21, 2013 at 2:06 pm , by

 

The orange veggie is full of good-for-you nutrients. Time to go pick one! (Photo courtesy of Juice Images/Veer)

Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern

With Halloween just a few weeks away, it’s time to head over to the local pumpkin patch. But this time, when you’re searching for the perfectly shaped pumping for your carved creation, snag another one for the kitchen counter. You’ll be amazed by all of the different ways you can cook with this nutrient-rich vegetable. Amie Valpone, HHC, AADP, is just as excited about pumpkin season as we are, and gave us the scoop on everything there is to know about getting the most out of that orange gourd.

“For being so sweet, pumpkin is a great food to add to your pantry and diet,” says Valpone. “It’s low in saturated fat and carbohydrates, and very low in cholesterol and sodium.” As far as vitamins and minerals go, there are very few the veggie doesn’t have. Pumpkin is a solid source of vitamins A, C, E, B6, thiamin, niacin, folate, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, riboflavin, potassium, copper and manganese.

While one of the easiest ways to prep pumpkin and reap the nutritional benefits is to roast it in chunks with a little salt and olive oil, it doesn’t hurt to get a little creative—especially around the holidays. “Try adding mashed pumpkin when you’re sautéing onions and garlic in a Dutch oven,” suggests Valpone. “Add a little cinnamon, cardamom, cumin and sugar, then stick the covered pot in a preheated oven until the flavors are combined (about 30 to 40 minutes)—really, the longer you cook it, the better. Add water if it seems to be getting dry. Top with a dollop of Greek yogurt, salt and pepper for an Afghani-inspired dish that is too good for there to be any leftovers.”

When clearing out the pumpkin’s “guts,” be sure to save those seeds. “Toast the washed seeds with salt or get fancy with your spice cabinet for a protein, magnesium and zinc-rich snack that is low in cholesterol and sodium (just go easy with the salt shaker),” recommends Valpone. And thanks to your local grocery store, you can enjoy pumpkin seeds even when they’re not in season. Try tossing them into a salad for extra crunch.

If you’re looking for a quick way to enjoy pumpkin on the go all year round, try a pumpkin-based snack, like KIND’s new Maple Pumpkin Seeds with Sea Salt bar . “All natural, Non-GMO, gluten-free and boasting a blend of 100 percent whole grains, these bars make a great snack for anytime of the day,” says Valpone.

Craving pumpkin’s sweeter side? Give Valpone’s pumpkin “cheese” cake recipe a try for a healthy, yet decadent, dessert that simply screams fall!

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How Maria Menounos Stays Healthy with Basically No Workout Time

Written on October 17, 2013 at 1:29 pm , by

 

Maria loves cooking with cranberries during the holidays. (Photo courtesy of Jon Simon/Feature Photo Service)

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!

More from FITNESS:

3 Ways to Enjoy Cranberries

Maria Menounos’ Krav Maga Workout

Harley Pasternak’s No-Gym Workout Tips  

9 Add-Ins for Super Smoothies

Written on October 16, 2013 at 9:25 am , by

Toss in one of these add-ins to supercharge your smoothie. (Photo courtesy Lisa Shin)

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

Twirl On: Celebrate National Pasta Month with Chef Fabio Viviani

Written on October 11, 2013 at 1:11 pm , by

Dig in! (Photo by Kate Sears)

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.

More from FITNESS:

Easy, Healthy Pasta Recipes

8 Healthy Pasta Sauce Choices

Low-Calorie Pasta Recipes

3 Top Supplements for Women

Written on October 9, 2013 at 6:27 pm , by

Photo by Flickr user stevendepolo.

Photo by Flickr user stevendepolo.

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.

Fish Oil

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.

Multivitamin

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

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.

RELATED: Get more nutrition and women’s health advice from Chris and Kara Mohr.

Four Gourmet Snacks That Transform Your Typical Tailgate

Written on September 27, 2013 at 10:30 am , by

Fancy up your tailgate. (Photo courtesy of Harry & David)

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.

More from FITNESS:

The FITNESS Guide to Healthy Tailgating

Get Tailgate Ready with Celeb Trainer Mike Ryan

Ditch the Parking Lot: How to Bring Tailgating Into Your Home!

Rocco DiSpirito’s Healthy Tweaks on a Classic Italian Dessert (Recipe Included!)

Written on September 17, 2013 at 4:34 pm , by

Want to cook like Rocco? Check out the best-selling author’s Now Eat This! Italian cookbook for more of his waist-friendly cuisine and tips. (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images)

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.

Dig in! No guilt here with Rocco’s healthy spin on an Italian classic. (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images)

 

Instant Italian Ice
(55 calories/serving)


Ingredients

  • 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)

Directions
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.

More from FITNESS:

Iron Chef Michael Symon Teaches Us How to Bake Healthy Biscuits

 How to Pack a Low-Calorie Picnic: 4 Healthy Recipes

Celebrate National Grilled Cheese Day with a Healthy Comfort Food Twist

Fit Blogger We Love: Knead to Cook

Written on September 5, 2013 at 10:43 am , by

Robin and her hubby after the speedster pounded the Maine pavement for the Beach to Beacon 10K in August.

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.

These little protein-packed nuggets are highly sought after at Robin’s daughter’s swim meets—and for good reason. Sweet, tasty and filling!

 

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 blog@fitnessmagazine.com

Tennis Pro Venus Williams Talks Fashion, Food and Living a Healthy Life

Written on August 29, 2013 at 11:00 am , by

Ruth Zukerman and Venus Williams both wearing tops from EleVen by Venus’ new collection. (Photo courtesy of Marion Curtis/StarPix)

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?!”

More from FITNESS:

Tennis Gear We Love

Tennis Star Sloane Stephens Shares Her Fit Favorites

We Dare You: Rock Serena Williams’ Style