Written by Carrie Stevens, editorial intern
Have you scooped out your first dish of ice cream this season? If warmer temps have you jonesing for this cold and creamy dessert—hey, we’re right there with you—then check out Yonanas, an appliance that turns frozen bananas into better-for-you “ice cream.”
Here’s how it works: Pop a frozen banana into the chute, along with any mixings for your desired flavor (think strawberries, mint or dark chocolate), use the plunger to push down and let it do its thing. High-torque blades cream the fruit, so it’s ready in less than a minute and tastes like the real deal. But instead of the fat and calories often laden with the standard frozen treat, you get nutritional boosts from the fruit’s natural flavor. Talk about a tasty trade up.
Oh, and don’t forget about sprinkles—or better yet, Frinkles: freeze-dried fruit, like strawberries, raspberries and blackberries, that add a bite of crunch. These all-natural toppings come in four flavors, so you can indulge your inner child wishes without worrying about your waistline.
For a bright pop of red to your kitchen appliances, opt for the Elite version ($119.99, available this summer), which boasts a quieter motor and the ability to cream every type of fruit, regardless of how frozen. For a lower price tag, you can get the original Yonanas ($49.99)—just make sure you let the fruit thaw for a few minutes before tossing in the machine.
Now you tell us: Would you make at-home ice cream?
Written by Carrie Stevens, editorial intern
Listen up, ladies: Triscuit’s new brown rice crackers aren’t your mother’s snack. The brand has developed delicious spins on its classic namesake snack—like sweet potato and sea salt and black pepper—that get two nutritional thumbs up from celeb chef and FITNESS advisory board member Rocco DiSpirito. The bestselling author developed three healthy, easy-to-make recipes centered around the cracker, and after sampling his culinary creations in Times Square (the turkey chili recipe below is OMG good), we chatted with DiSpirito about his cooking inspiration, eating for the season and saving calories with simple ingredient swaps.
Your Triscuit-inspired recipes were delicious! Why did you partner with the brand?
When an established food company like Triscuit/Nabisco decides they’re going to put a lot of money, time and effort to make something better for you, I’m a big fan of that decision. It’s brave because most food companies are like, “Why change it? It’s perfect, we sell a ton of food, we make a gazillion dollars, we have big homes in the Hamptons, we don’t need to do anything.” But this shows recognition that America needs healthier choices, including their snacks, and I’m proud to associate with a company that feels that way because that’s what I do every day: I try to convince Americans to make healthier choices.
What’s your main goal when developing a recipe?
My priority is to make a recipe that people can reproduce at home very easily. So I work backward from what I find in grocery stores. Every time I start a book, I go to the grocery stores and research what’s available, and that changes all the time. From the time I wrote Now Eat This to now, a lot has changed. There are a lot more healthy ingredients available, so that makes my job a little easier and more exciting. The point is to get people to try it and understand that when they cook, they’re in control, and cooking is better than buying from a restaurant. So those are my priorities: to make it super easy for people to make it at home.
How do you “healthify” a recipe?
You want to swap fats, dairy and sugar: those are the ones that are the most calorically dense. One ounce of any of those has more calories than one ounce of vegetables, for example. For dairy, fat-free Greek yogurt is a great swap. For fats, using something like xanthan gum. So let’s say you want to make an ice-cream smoothie, but you don’t want to use any ice cream. Skim milk and xanthan gum is a great way to create that texture that you’d get from cream. And for sugar, my favorite new sweetener is monk fruit extract. It’s an amazing calorie- and sugar-free sweetener.
What are some of your go-to spring produce?
It’s ridiculous what happens in spring! I start with asparagus, which is fresh in early spring. White asparagus is one of my favorite things on the planet. I plant a garden, so I grow several kinds of tomatoes, zucchini, squash, watermelon, cucumbers—I look forward to all of those things. If you’re one of those people who doesn’t like cucumbers, you’ve never had a home-grown one. Sometimes I pick off the leaves of squash blossoms and fry the blossoms, or make a squash blossom omelet. There are so many wonderful fruits and vegetables that are in season.
Click for the mouthwatering chili recipe we sampled, then recreate at home – it’s perfect for a party!
Tom Colicchio, renowned James Beard “Outstanding Chef” and Top Chef judge, takes a simple, produce-packed approach to cuisine, telling us that the one culinary skill everyone should know is how to properly season your dish. Don’t overcomplicate it! “Simple salt and pepper go a long way,” he said. We asked Tom about his kitchen must-haves, sandwich suggestions and how he keeps his kitchen safe from cross-contamination. Here’s what Bounty’s partner dished. (His salad recipe below is out of this world!)
What are five of your kitchen staples?
Beyond the right cleaning supplies—keeping the kitchen clean as you go is a must—my staples are pretty basic. All I really need are sharp knives, a cutting board, a couple of decent pots and pans and salt and pepper to season, and I’m ready to go.
How can we add healthy variety to break a monotonous diet funk?
Produce is the answer. I always start with produce whenever I’m developing a dish because seasonal ingredients allow you to add different flavors to a meal and give whatever protein you’re working with an entirely new spin. Proteins tend to remain the same, season to season, but vegetables change. Visit your local farmer’s market or supermarket and see what fruits and vegetables are in season. Once you figure out what’s in season, you can choose what protein you want to work with. You can create so many different, healthy meals by combining seasonal produce and protein and varying the base flavors with spices and cooking methods.
How can our readers lighten up their lunchboxes? Do you have a healthy sandwich suggestion?
I’ve noticed that people are becoming more aware of their diets as they adopt healthier lifestyles. I think people can lighten up lunch by eating less protein and turning to more vegetable-based diets. I like to take fresh salads and turn them into quick, portable lunches. For instance, if you make my fennel salad with yogurt vinaigrette, you could put it into a toasted whole wheat pita and grab it to go for a tasty and nutritious version of fast food.
If you could cook for any person—living or dead—who would it be?
I’d love to cook for—or with—Teddy Roosevelt. He was a big outdoorsman and had a huge appreciation for the natural beauty of America.
How do you keep your kitchen clean and safe from contamination?
I’m obsessive about keeping everything clean in the kitchen, both at home and on the job. Paper towels are a must—I use them to tidy up as I go instead of a dishcloth. You can actually cross-contaminate kitchen surfaces if you wipe up with a used, germy dishcloth. It can harbor and spread germs, so using a durable paper towel like new Bounty DuraTowel is a much more effective way to clean. And one sheet really goes a long way – I can mop up everything from sticky sauce spills on the counter top to cleaning spatters off the fridge which helps me keep my momentum going.
Fennel Salad with Yogurt Vinaigrette
1 bulb of fennel, trimmed and cored
1 head endive
1 apple, cored
½ cup of sheeps milk yogurt (plain or Greek yogurt can be used as substitutes)
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (mint, chive, cilantro, basil, parsley, etc.)
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Juice of one lemon
With a mandolin, thinly slice the fennel, cucumber and radishes and add the watercress and endive. For the vinaigrette, whisk together the yogurt, lemon, vinegar, soy sauce and cayenne and slowly add the olive oil. Add chopped fresh herbs. Toss the vegetables with the vinaigrette and serve.
Now tell us: How do you keep your culinary haven safe from germs?
This time of the year, we’re seeing eggs with different colors, patterns and fillings (we’re looking at you, chocolate and peanut butter treats!). Swap the store-bought sweets for the real thing and get health benefits to boot. Here’s why the breakfast staple is an egg-cellent ingredient:
- One egg has only 72 calories but 6g of protein to keep you satisfied.
- They contain lutein to boost your eyesight and choline to keep your memory sharp.
- Eggs contain vitamin D, which most of us don’t get enough of and need to boost immunity.
Get your fill with these slimmed-down recipes, courtesy of Whole Foods Market:
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 3/4 pound red potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 1/2 packed cups (about 4 ounces) baby spinach
- 1 cup thinly sliced roasted red peppers, drained well
- 8 eggs, lightly beaten
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick (or well-seasoned cast iron) skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onions, and cook about 2 minutes. Add potatoes, salt and pepper, stir well, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are just tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl, add spinach and toss well. Let cool 10 minutes. Wipe skillet clean. Stir peppers and eggs into potato mixture.
Heat another 1/2 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Transfer mixture to skillet and cook, running spatula around edges and gently shaking occasionally to prevent sticking, until eggs are set and bottom is brown, 12 to 14 minutes. Carefully invert onto a large plate. Heat remaining oil in skillet and slide tortilla back in, cooked side up. Cook about 5 minutes to golden brown. Transfer back to plate and let cool at least 10 minutes. Slice into wedges and serve.
We’re right in the middle of National Nutrition Month—the perfect time for a pantry raid! We asked Allison Enke, R.D., a dietitian with Whole Foods Market, to help us examine our kitchen shelves and shopping lists to see if we’re picking the proper fueling foods. Keep reading for her picks for the 10 essential items active women need in their pantries, refrigerators and freezers. “These foods that are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients,” says Enke.
1. Oatmeal. Soluble fiber from oatmeal, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease. Click here for 11 fun ways our readers jazz up a usual bowl of oats!
2. Berries. A handful of frozen berries adds antioxidants and fiber to your morning smoothie or oatmeal. Blueberries are only 80 calories per cup, Enke notes, and they pack a powerful nutrition punch by supporting brain, eye and heart health.
3. Fish. Fatty fish are one of the best foods sources of essential omega-3 fatty acids and also provide vitamin D, a critical nutrient that many women lack (it works with calcium to preserve bone strength). Enke keeps cans of ready-to-serve 365 Everyday Value Wild Alaskan Red Sockeye Salmon in her pantry to add to salads or to make salmon patties for a quick, healthy dinner.
4. Flaxseed. Not a seafood fan? Flaxseeds are also rich in omega-3 fats, and they’re also filled with fiber. Mix a spoonful into oatmeal, Greek yogurt or smoothies to add flavor, texture and nutrition.
5. Quinoa. It contains all 9 essential amino acids as well as bone-boosting minerals like copper, phosphorous, iron and magnesium. Try it in one of these FITNESS fan-favorite meals.
To see the other five foods you should always have on-hand for quick, nutritious meals and snacks, click below.
Who doesn’t love a good deal on fitness classes and spa treatments, right? Which is why we’re pretty psyched it’s Wellness Week over at SpaFinder Wellness *right now.* What this means: Well, what’s most enticing is that if you buy a $25 gift card, you get an extra one to use this week. (Sounds like a good girls’ date to us!)
But it also means that throughout the week, leading wellness experts, chefs, and celeb trainers from the nation’s top gyms, spas, and wellness providers have been sharing their tips, tricks, recipes, and tools. If you check out the SpaFinder Wellness site, you can find some of the free events, open houses, workshops, consultations, and more.
FITNESS is headed to a special event in NYC tonight to check out product demos from some of the nation’s top beauty, skin-care, and wellness companies. Click on over to @FITNESSColleen’s Twitter feed later tonight or tomorrow to see how it went!
Last week, the Season 16 Dancing With The Stars cast was revealed and to our excitement, two-time champ Cheryl Burke will be back March 18 for another year of gracefully stiff competition—this time with comedian D. L. Hughley. We cha-chatted with Cheryl before the big announcement about leading a FITNESS-approved lifestyle. Read on to find out how she stays fueled and fit every quickstep of the way—plus why she’s thanking all the haters out there.
You’re a force to be reckoned with as DWTS’ only professional to appear in the finals four times…plus you’ve taken home the Mirror Ball trophy twice, back-to-back! Spill your tactics.
During the show, it’s all about showcasing my partner. I feel like sometimes people think their partner’s going to be a professional dancer at the end of the day and for me, it’s just about making my partner look comfortable and not awkward and really developing a great chemistry with whoever I dance with. Dancing is a hard sport to do, especially when you have no experience coming into a show like ours. It’s just important that I showcase my partner and not showcase myself. I feel like the people at home want to see the progress of these celebrities and how they progress each and every week.
So how will you bring that experience to Season 16?
Every celebrity I dance with always brings something new to the table. Everyone has their own personality and their own way of learning so I feel like every season is a challenge for me regardless. It’s even more challenging now that I’ve done it for so long because I put pressure on myself to make sure that every season that I do is better than the last one I did. Read more
Written by Carrie Stevens, editorial intern
Did you eat breakfast this morning? Of course you did. So here’s a better question: what exactly did you eat? Thanks to low-carb crazes and high-cholesterol concerns, it can be difficult to make a morning meal decision that leaves you not only feeling full, but energized and ready for the day. To debunk some of the most popular myths, we turned to nutritionist Heidi Skolnik, owner of Nutrition Conditioning, Inc. Can you separate fact from fiction?
Why are there so many misconceptions about healthy breakfast options?
I think we’re just bombarded with information. Nutrition is such a popular topic, and everyone is interested in it. But we get information from all different kinds of places; it’s hard to sift through it and figure out what’s credible and solid and what isn’t.
What’s one of the biggest myths you continually set straight?
“I’m going to save my calories for later. I don’t like to eat breakfast because I can control myself in the morning, and then I can save those calories and eat them at dinner.” That really sabotages anyone who’s trying to lose weight. We know breakfast skippers have higher BMIs (body mass index) than breakfast eaters. When you skip breakfast, you’re way more likely to overeat later. Of course you get hungry later, but you can eat and be satisfied as opposed to eat dinner and raid the refrigerator for the rest of the evening. It’s hard for people to put together that what they eat in the morning affects their appetite at night, but that connection exists.
With that being said, what are some of the healthiest breakfast options?
The very most basic guideline is to include a whole grain, a protein, and a whole fruit or 100 percent fruit juice. An example of that would be a breakfast sandwich: go ahead and get an English muffin with egg and eight ounces of 100 percent Florida Orange Juice, which will give you vitamin C, potassium, folate, phytonutrients – all of those wonderfully occurring nutrients in oranges. Or you can make yourself a yogurt parfait. I happen to like Greek yogurt because it’s high in protein. Add some fruit, granola and some healthy nuts on top.
What are the best on-the-go choices?
If you’re commuting, a whole-wheat pita with some peanut butter and sliced banana is really easy to take and go. You can eat it in the subway, on a train, in a taxi, on a bus – however you commute. Or, if you’re one of those who can’t get it together until work, then keep instant oatmeal at your desk and pair that with some yogurt and juice for a more balanced meal.
You know by now that February is American Heart Month…but since heart disease is the #1 killer in America and this month is a shorty, it’s worth reminding you about some healthy foods that can lower your risk:
1. “Good” Fat. The low fat craze in the early 90‘s had it all wrong. Our favorite healthy fats are olive, canola and fish oil. The last you can’t cook with, but the first two are great to use in place of less healthy options like soybean oil, shortening, or margarine.
As for fish oil, there are a lot of data suggesting adding fish oil — AKA omega 3 fat — can drastically improve health, including the health of your heart. In our house we use, like, and trust Nordic Naturals — our children (a 3 ½ and 1 year-old) both take it daily.
2. Dark Chocolate. The key is picking a quality dark chocolate; we use 100% raw cacao if baking or making hot chocolate. (Aim for 70%+ cacao if eating it by itself, which it usually tells you on bar). Dark chocolate can help improve cholesterol, circulation, and insulin resistance, while reducing blood pressure.
3. Eggs. Say what? The “high in cholesterol” whole eggs? Absolutely. Here’s the sunny side of eggs—we love the data on how eating eggs can help you lose weight. One study compared subjects eating a bagel breakfast vs. an equal amount of calories from eggs. The result? The egg group lost almost twice as much weight and had an 83 percent greater decrease in their waistlines.
-Chris and Kara Mohr, mohrresults.com
When it comes to food cravings, an ooey gooey slice of pizza is at the top of almost 50% of Americans’ list, according to a study done by Sbarro and Kelton Research. But you don’t have to forgo your favorite food just because you’re trying to slim down. Sbarro recently launched a new menu option, the Skinny Slice, for a diet-friendly way to get your fix. We talked to celebrity nutritionists, Tammy and Lyssie Lakatos, aka the Nutrition Twins, about the new item and how to indulge your cravings and enjoy your favorite foods while still sticking to your weight loss goals.
What makes the Skinny Slice a better option?
It’s loaded with vegetables, like roasted peppers, mushrooms and onions, to fill you up with fewer calories. There’s 270 calories per slice. The pizza is also made with whole milk and real cheese. We use a little less, but the fresh ingredients pack on flavor so you don’t miss anything.
What’s a recipe for healthy pizza you can make at home?
Use a whole wheat pita or tortilla to make it lower in calories. Spread a layer of tomato sauce and use a little cheese and fill up on vegetables. You’ll be satiated that way. A lot of store-bought crusts are thick, so using an open-faced pita or muffin keeps the portion smaller.
When ordering food, what are easy rules to follow?
Rule #1: Stay away from anything fried. It almost doubles the calories. Look for vegetables. High fiber foods will fill you up for fewer calories. Look for what’s grilled, baked or broiled.
How can someone still enjoy their favorite foods while staying healthy? What substitutions can they make?
It’s all about balance and moderation. It’s fine to have a treat. We wouldn’t want to deprive ourselves. If you have a sweet tooth, satisfy chocolate cravings by rolling a date in cocoa powder. You can also take an overripe banana, slice and freeze. It’ll be like chips but super sweet because it’s ripe. Or blend it and make it into a smoothie instead of having ice cream. For something crunchy and salty, celery sticks with all-natural peanut butter is always a hit.
It’s all about portion control. If you have trouble moderating how much you eat, eat something hot or cold so you’re forced to slow down.