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Nutrition

The First Lady Wants You to Drink Up

Written on September 23, 2013 at 10:34 am , by

Drink more water for your skin, your health and your waist. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

Not to be pessimistic, but when it comes to Americans, our glasses are half-empty these days–literally. According to the Center for Disease Control, an estimated 43 percent of adults drink less than four cups of water a day and 7 percent drink no water at all. That’s why earlier this month FLOTUS Michelle Obama launched her Drink Up initiative to get people drinking more water and less of the sugary stuff. To get some tips on how to increase your water intake we chatted with Dr. Jenna Bell, RD. Follow her tips below and follow in the FLOTUS’ adequately hydrated footsteps:

  • Jazz it up: Not one to drink boring old tap water? Try a water enhancer like Stur, sweetened with stevia, so there’s no added calories or sugar. The coloring from each flavor comes from vegetable juice and you can control how much want in your glass with a simple squeeze.
  • Do as Diane Sawyer does: “She puts a glass of water by her bed and drinks it every morning when she wakes up, so now I do too,” says Bell. “If you’re going to take advice from anyone, take it from her because it’s clearly working!”
  • Carry a water bottle: This isn’t exactly breaking news, but it is the easiest way to keep drinking as the day goes on. Buy a reusable bottle like S’well, who is partnering with Drink Up with a limited edition bottle that gives 10 percent of proceeds back to the foundation.
  • Start meals with water: “A study in 2010 out of Virginia Tech looked at whether or not drinking water before a meal effects what we eat and weight loss. They found that two glasses of water before a meal helped shed weight and made participants eat less because water fills up your stomach,” says Bell.
  • Order water every time you order a beverage: Coffee? Get water. Wine? Get water. Not only will you stay hydrated, you’ll probably fend off a hangover in the process.

Now tell us: What tricks do you use to drink more water?

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

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

Written on August 7, 2013 at 5:11 pm , by

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.

More from FITNESS:

Probiotics 101

Written on July 19, 2013 at 3:19 pm , by

A friend of FITNESS for several years, Dr. Chris Mohr is always up for doling out helpful nutrition advice. When he recently swung by the office, he was even telling us about a new probiotic for cholesterol. Still a little confused on what probiotics are and why you should care? Listen in as Chris explains.

Want more? Read up on probiotics here:

 

100 Million Pounds Lost by MyFitnessPal Users

Written on July 18, 2013 at 10:52 am , by

Whenever we ask you about your favorite apps, MyFitnessPal is always a popular response. The company has been helping people get and/or stay in shape since 2005, and they hit a huge milestone this week: The MyFitnessPal users have lost a total of 100 million pounds over the years! That’s amazing! Check out the awesome infographic from MyFitnessPal for more fun stats.

BONUS: Scroll down to the bottom of this post to hear Mike Lee, the Co-Founder, tell his story about why he created the app. (Spoiler: It’s a cute love story!)

MyFItnessPal App Infographic

Infographic courtesy of MyFitnessPal.

 

BONUS: How MyFitnessPal Got Started Video:

 

 

All-American, Bikini-Friendly Spirits (4 Cocktails for the Fourth!)

Written on July 3, 2013 at 2:20 pm , by

The Fourth of July is full of fireworks, food, friends and patriotic festivities—all best accompanied by a cold alcoholic beverage in hand, right? That’s if we can drink without the guilt. We want the fun frills of a cocktail, not a cheeseburger’s-worth of calories! That’s why we compiled four of our favorite recipes to sip in the sun (fingers crossed!) this Thursday and toast to the good ol’ U.S. of A.

This flavorful red, white and blue accessory pairs nicely with any patriotic ensemble. Mmm—berry refreshing and packed with antioxidants! (Photo courtesy of Milagro Tequila)

Independence Day Pucker

  • 1 lemon
  • ⅓ ounce orange liqueur
  • 1 ½ ounces gin
  • 1 ⅓ ounces ZICO natural
  • ½ teaspoon sugar substitute
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Add 1 tbsp blue caracao and garnish with maraschino cherries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Halve the lemons, dip them in the sugar and roast in the oven for approximately 20 minutes or until the lemon’s edges begin to take on a caramel color. Remove the lemons and allow to cool. Run the liquid from the roasting pan through a strainer. Roughly chop the lemons and strain, as well. In a separate pan heat your ZICO Natural and sugar substitute until melted and allow to cool. Combine the roasted lemon juice, orange liqueur, gin and ZICO “simple syrup” in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds. Strain into martini glass.

Recipe courtesy of ZICO
Calories: 220

Berry Explosive Raspado

  • 4 ounces Milagro Silver Tequila
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 2 ounces agave nectar
  • 8 raspberries
  • 12 blueberries
  • 4 fresh mint leaves
  • 6 dashes peach bitters

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Fill two glasses with crushed or shaved ice and pour over. Garnish with fresh raspberries and blueberries. 

Recipe courtesy of Milagro Tequila
Calories per serving: 250


Skinnygirl® The Firecracker

  • 2 parts Skinnygirl™ Cucumber Vodka
  • 2 parts low-sodium tomato juice
  • Splash of fresh lemon juice
  • Squeeze of fresh lime juice
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce (to taste)
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • Sprinkle of celery salt

Mix ingredients together and pour over ice. Garnish with lime, cucumber, celery salt and serve.

Recipe courtesy of Skinnygirl®
Calories: 134


Berry Peach Lemonade

  • 1 bottle Van Gogh Cool Peach Vodka
  • 1 ⅓ cups chilled, unsweetened iced tea
  • 20 blackberries or raspberries
  • 1 ⅓ cups lemonade

In a large pitcher, muddle the berries. Add remaining ingredients with ice and stir a bit to dilute and chill. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve. Serve over ice into rocks glass and garnish with a lemon wheel. Serves 15-20.

Recipe courtesy of Van Gogh Vodka
Calories per serving: 131

Now You Tell Us:  What’s your must-have (and healthy!) summer cocktail?

LUNA Wants to Feed Your Strength—And Your Office!

Written on June 13, 2013 at 11:13 am , by

3pm snack time never looked so sweet. (Photo courtesy of LUNA)

Written by Chloe Metzger, editorial intern

Let’s face it—breakroom vending machines are notorious fat traps. Between the sugar-laden granola bars and bags of not-so-innocent trail mix, seemingly healthy snacks can derail your diet before noon. But LUNA, the makers of some of our fave nutrition bars, wants to revamp mid-day munchies with their new “Feed Your Strength…at Work!” contest.

For the past year, LUNA has been striving to debunk common diet misconceptions and those crazy health fads we’ve all seen floating around Facebook. Now they’re tackling workplace wellness—which, we’ll admit, can get pretty inconsistent as schedules get more hectic—through healthy eating campaigns, FAQ webisodes, and, of course, contests!

The “Feed Your Strength…at Work!” prize is pretty sweet—a vending machine stocked with six-months worth of LUNA bars for your office, and six consultations with expert dieticians. (Truth: we’re kind of jealous we can’t partake.) To enter, head over to LUNA’s Facebook page and post a photo of you and your coworkers making healthy changes in your workplace. (Our FITNESS staffers recently rocked a 10k together!) The contest ends June30th, so bust out those get-fit photos stat!

Now You Tell Us: What healthy snacks do you have on hand in the office?

Get Heart Healthy with Subway’s Savvy Dietician

Written on June 11, 2013 at 1:57 pm , by

Heart-healthy options are poppin’ up all over the Subway menu. (Photo courtesy of Subway.com)

Written by Chloe Metzger, editorial intern

It’s no secret that Subway is known for being one of the healthiest fast-food options in the industry (who could forget Jared’s larger-than-life weight loss?). But as of last year, it’s also the first of its kind to receive the stamp of approval by the American Heart Association. So what does that mean for you? More nutritious (and tasty!) bang for your buck.

In fact, Subway recently got 16 AHA-approved meals on its menu. To bring you expert nutritional know-how for your crazy-busy summer, we chatted with Subway’s Corporate Dietician of 13 years, Lanette Kovachi, RD. She knows it can get difficult to stay on track while on-the-go, and facing a variety of fast-food choices is no joke. “When it comes to eating out, people get overly hungry and end up choosing a restaurant where they’re not going to get good options,” Kovachi explains. “They’re in dire-hunger mode, and they just go for that indulgent sandwich or meal, or they eat too many portions.” The trick, she says, is not letting yourself become too ravenous. When that happens, “your body takes over and craves more calories and fat.”

But when you’re on the brink of an I’ll-eat-absolutely-anything-right-now-level of hunger, limiting portions and staying satisfied is easier said than done. To keep from succumbing to the pitfalls of dining out, curb your cravings by eating fresh fruit right before chowing down. Kovachi recommends snacking on apples: “They fill you up and take off the edge.” It’s no surprise, then, that apple slices are a staple item on Subway’s menu. “It’s not exciting,” she admits, “but they’re quick to grab and cost-friendly.”

Of course, we can’t always find a Subway when we’re on the road and hunger pangs strike. Then, it’s all about moderation: “When you order out, just try to think about what’s a sensible portion,” Kovachi suggests. “Even if you’re feeling really hungry, know that ordering half of what you really want is still going to satisfy your cravings.”

More From FITNESS:

Size Matters: Your Guide to Healthy Portions

Healthy Travel Diet: The Best Food to Eat on the Road

The Flat-Belly Foods Diet

Salads That Boost Your Energy

Written on May 27, 2013 at 12:30 pm , by

Photo by Dole Salads

Sherry vinaigrette over arugla with red peppers. Photo courtesy of Dole Salads.

By Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD

You’ve just eaten lunch and BAM—the desire to take a nap hits you like a ton of bricks. If your mid-day meals are dragging you down, swap in one of these energizing salads instead of your usual fare.

With the help of The Dole Taste of Spain Salads,  I have posted 31 salad recipes throughout May. Below are the final 5 delicious salads, each focused on giving you a shot of natural energy to get the most out of your day.

Sherry Vinaigrette Salad w/ Serrano Ham Breadsticks & Roasted Red Peppers

ENERGY BOOST: Red Peppers. The vitamin C in red peppers helps absorb iron in greens for healthy red blood cells – which carry energizing oxygen throughout the body.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pkg. (5 oz.) DOLE® Spring Mix
  • 8 pieces roasted red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 8 paper thin slices Serrano ham or Prosciutto
  • 8 thin breadsticks

Sherry Vinaigrette Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 6 tablespoons of olive oil
  • salt and pepper (optional)

DIRECTIONS 

  1. Make dressing: Whisk together sherry vinegar, shallot and Dijon mustard. Slowly whisk in olive oil until blended. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. (Makes about 3/4 cup.)
  2. Toss spring mix with sherry vinaigrette to taste; add roasted red peppers.
  3. Place piece of ham on a flat work surface, such as a cutting board. Wrap tightly around a breadstick. Repeat with remaining breadsticks.
  4. Divide salad evenly among plates; place 2 ham breadsticks on each plate. Drizzle with additional dressing, if desired. Serve immediately.
Serves 4. Serving size: 1/4 recipe. 290 calories and 23g fat per serving.

Here are more Energizing Salad recipes:

1. Romaine Salad with Orange, Feta & Beans
ENERGY BOOST: Beans. Their high fiber & protein content work to regulate blood sugar to prevent energy spikes & crashes.

2. Nouveau Nicoise
ENERGY BOOST: Potatoes. Their unprocessed, smart carb content gives a dose of time-released energy.

3. Arugula & Avocado Salad with Grapefruit Vinaigrette
ENERGY BOOST: Grapefruit. Its high water content hydrates and its fresh, invigorating flavor acts as a natural perk-me-up.

4. Grilled Shrimp Salad with Green Tea Citrus Dressing
ENERGY BOOST: Green Tea. The caffeine in green tea provides a subtle, gentle energy without a jittery side effect.

About the Author: Dawn Jackson Blatner, RDN, CSSD is a registered dietitian nutritionist and certified specialist in sports nutrition based in Chicago. She is the author of The Flexitarian Diet. Dawn is working with Dole throughout the month of May to inspire more salad eating.