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Healthy Eating

Need-to-Know Nutrition Advice from The Biggest Loser’s RD

Written on January 28, 2013 at 10:00 am , by

Forberg meets with the contestants every week during filming to make sure they are on the right diet track. (Photo courtesy of Subway)

FITNESS staffers are generally pretty active people, but come Monday nights you find us glued to our couch getting our weekly dose of Bob, Jillian, Dolvett and January cover girl Alison Sweeney on The Biggest Loser. So when we got the chance to chat with the show’s nutritionist, Cheryl Forberg, RD, on behalf of Subway, we jumped at the chance to steal her healthy eating tips that she gives to the contestants. Get some of them below, including ways to live healthy all year long, not just during resolution season.

What are some of the top tips you tell The Biggest Loser contestants when they get to the ranch?

For most of the contestants we are pretty drastically increasing their fruit and vegetable consumption (especially the vegetables), so that’s the first order of business. Next is having a budget of calories that is appropriate to what their body needs and getting quality calories, which is where the exercise part comes in as well. Aside from that I focus on eating their calories and ditching the caloric beverages, drinking more water, not skipping any meals and adding snacks to their diet.

What are some guidelines to keep in mind to keep a healthy diet past the resolution craze of January?

It’s all about planning ahead, because we are all so busy. When you’re not prepared you wind up pulling through a drive-thru or going to a vending machine. Exercise should be written in your date book just like a conference call would be. As for your diet, whether you do weekly menu planning, or get into a routine of what you’ll eat on the way to work, it’s all key. If you’re trying to lose weight, keeping a food journal is really important and something that is mandatory on the ranch. You don’t see it on the show every week but the contestants share their food journals with me every single day. This helps me see the number of calories they are getting and that they are getting enough calcium, protein and healthy fats and carbohydrates. The first week is hard, but we’re creatures of habit so we typically eat the same things every day. Once you look up something once, you won’t have to do it again. Read more

Happy National Cheese Lover’s Day! Celebrate with This Recipe

Written on January 20, 2013 at 11:00 am , by

This recipe is only half the calories a standard bowl of mac and cheese typically clocks in at. (Photo courtesy Maren Caruso)

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

Serves 6

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

Bethenny Frankel’s Tips to Snack Out of It

Written on December 18, 2012 at 1:00 pm , by

Frankel sticks to nutrient-packed snacks under 200 calories to stay energized. (Photo courtesy of Almond Board of California)

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

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 4 medium sized bananas, cut in half widthwise
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate, melted
  • 8  Popsicle sticks
  • 1/3 cup almonds, chopped

Directions

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!

Read more

Celebrity Chef Alex Guarnaschelli’s Secret Holiday Cooking Weapons (Plus a Very Useful Tip!)

Written on December 4, 2012 at 11:14 am , by

If you’re going to take holiday cooking tips from anyone, take them from her! (Photo courtesy Fisher Nuts)

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.

Read more

Thanksgiving Myths–Busted!

Written on November 19, 2012 at 9:28 am , by

Opt for oven roasted turkey without the skin for a slimmer holiday dinner this year. (Photo courtesy Blaine Moats)

Think Thanksgiving is the ultimate lazy holiday, filled with fatty fried turkeys and sweet treats galore? Think again! Wayfair.com, the largest online home goods retailer, recently conducted a survey of 1,200 people nationwide on their Turkey Day habits and we found a few that may surprise you:

Myth: Couch is king on Thanksgiving Day.

Truth: Whether families are mingling with the in-laws or gearing up for Black Friday, Wayfair.com found that the majority of people surveyed spend less than two hours on the couch. About 30 percent of people will not spend any time lounging at all, and will be in the kitchen instead. And for those couch potatoes, 15 percent admitted to spending more than four hours there.

Myth: When it comes to food, fry, baby, fry.

Truth: One third of this year’s Thanksgiving dinners will include more than 10 people around the table with more than 80 percent of dinners having oven roasted turkey as the main entree. For side dishes, stuffing and mashed potatoes are the perennial favorites with both dishes running out first on most tables. And thankfully, only 5 percent of people plan to deep-fry their turkeys this year.

So there you have it, most of us aren’t so lazy during Thanksgiving. Not cooking? Then hop off the couch and get a workout in before dinner!

More from FITNESS: Burn Off That Stuffing! America’s Best Thanksgiving Day Runs

 

Why You Should Shop a Little Smarter This Month

Written on October 10, 2012 at 10:34 am , by

Look for this seal when you shop for the Fair Trade stamp of approval. (Photo courtesy Fair Trade USA)

Written by Ashley Koff, R.D. FITNESS advisory board member and founder of Ashley Koff Approved

October is a unique time of year.  As summer ends and winter approaches, we make changes to adjust our bodies and minds.  The changing of seasons is a great time to think about our health and power – individually and globally. It’s an important time to learn about women’s empowerment and health issues (such as breast cancer awareness), but also another issue that affects women and sustainable food production directly–Fair Trade Month. It’s a time to think about how everyday purchases affect the lives of millions of families who produce the food that feeds us.

You may think of Fair Trade as a label for your daily cup of coffee, but do you know what’s behind it? Fair Trade certification helps to improve the lives of women and their families across the globe, as well as protect the environment. This really hit home for me when I heard is the story of Maria Filha de Jesus, a coffee farm worker in Brazil who has needed eyeglasses for many years but could not afford them (she is 60!); it was getting harder and harder to do her job and see at home. Now that Maria works on a Fair Trade farm, she receives a wealth of benefits and finally got her long overdue pair of glasses that will allow her to continue working with the ability to pick the best beans possible.

Everyone can help women like Maria with the power of their dollar. Buying Fair Trade Certified products like tea, coffee, chocolate and produce (among others) not only guarantees that you are getting quality products, it means mothers, children and communities worldwide get paid fairly which translates into better healthcare, social care, environmental care and so much more.

That’s why this month is the perfect time to celebrate women’s health and empowerment through your everyday choices. Creating big impact is easy. For example, simply swap one of your staple grocery items with a Fair Trade Certified product. Why not upgrade your morning caffeine routine by switching your typical brew for a cup of Fair Trade Certified coffee paired with a Fair Trade Certified banana? It’s that simple, and makes a bigger difference than you think.

Read on for a Fair Trade recipe perfect for fall from Koff. Read more

Sheryl Crow’s Nutrition Mission to Help Feed America

Written on September 19, 2012 at 2:29 pm , by

Sheryl Crow kicks off the Nutrition Mission with One A Day® Women’s in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Bayer)

It’s not something that gets splashed all over the tabloids, but when she’s not working or taking care of her kids, singer-songwriter, producer, and mom Sheryl Crow has been volunteering at food banks. “It was eye opening,” she says. “It’s not just homeless people going there. It’s moms who need to feed their kids. But people don’t talk about it. They’re embarrassed.” It was this realization that motivated Crow to work with Feeding America and One A Day’s Nutrition Mission for Hunger Action Month. We got to talk to the star in Union Square in New York City, where Crow kicked off the charitable initiative, encouraging others to donate cans of food for the Food Bank for New York City.

More than 50 million people in America today need help getting food on the table, and like you said, it’s not something we talk about everyday. How can other people across the country help?
You can go to NutritionMission.com to make a donation to Feeding America. Just one dollar can equal eight meals. You can donate a can of food to your food shelter. A can of beans or corn costs less than a dollar but it goes a long way. You can also volunteer your time at a food bank.

You and your kids must have a busy schedule. How do you make sure they eat healthy?
I’m like every other mom who has kids who’d rather eat mac and cheese and chicken fingers everyday. I try to feed them clean  foods that don’t have additives, and foods that are in season. I rely on Jessica Seinfeld’s method of hiding healthy food in dishes they like and I try to get them to try new things. Our rule is that you have to try everything on your plate. Read more

How Nia Vardalos Keeps It Healthy On-the-Go

Written on September 11, 2012 at 10:35 am , by

Nia's weight loss journey all started with a walk around the block. (Photo courtesy of Life...supplemented)

When My Big Fat Greek Wedding star Nia Vardalos decided to shed 40 pounds back in 2009, she did it for her health, not to squeeze into a smaller dress size. “I never felt well, I was constantly getting dizzy and because I already had thyroid disease I had a serious blood sugar issue. My choices were to lose weight or go on medication,” she told us when chatting earlier this week about her partnership the new health app from Life…supplemented called WannaBeWell app. Read on to see what simple steps led to Vardalos’ transformation and the tricks she uses everyday to maintain her weight and health.

Losing weight can be a daunting task. How did you get started?

After that visit with my doctor, I knew medication wasn’t an option for me. I’m not a pop a pill person, but I really wanted to find a way to start feeling better. So I started simple, just by walking. After that I cut out food high in starches and sugar and went from there. It was a slow process, but once I started it I looked better, felt better and even slept better!

What made you want to get involved with the WannaBeWell app?

For me it was a natural fit. I started taking supplements when I first started to lose weight, and I’ve kept up with it. My family makes fun of me because I take so many! So to have something to remind you when to take what, it’s really a no brainer for me.

What kind of supplements do you take?

First, every woman is different and we don’t all need the same things. So you should talk to your doctor before starting any type of supplement plan. I take fish oil, biotin and vitamins E, C and D (since I’m a writer and holed up in the dark all day!). If you don’t have time to get to a doctor but want to take something, start with a multivitamin and then discuss a plan at your next office visit. Read more

Savor Summer with This Weekend Smoothie Recipe

Written on August 31, 2012 at 4:11 pm , by

As long as this glass is full, summer's not going anywhere. (Photo courtesy of Quaker Oats)

Written by Deanna Cioppa, editorial intern

Summer is coming to a close (sniff, sniff!) but that doesn’t mean you can’t still relish the sunny days. The slow-burning carbs and 8 grams of protein in this sweet smoothie from Quaker Oats will keep you full and fueled up so you can make the most of these precious last days. Blend one up this weekend and hit the great outdoors.

Strawberry Orange Smoothie

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1 cup frozen, unsweetened strawberries (5 ounces is about 10 berries)
  • 3/4 cup light vanilla yogurt (reduced fat, sweetened with aspartame)
  • 1 cup calcium-fortified Tropicana or Dole orange juice
  • 2/3 cup Quaker Oats (Quick or Old Fashioned, uncooked)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger or 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Directions

Combine all ingredients in blender container or food processor work bowl; blend until smooth, stopping blender once and stirring.

Nutrition info per serving: Calories 230, total fat 2.5 g, saturated fat 0.5 g, trans fat 0g, cholesterol 0 mg, sodium 60 mg, carbohydrates 45 g, dietary fiber 4 g, sugar 16 g, protein 8 g

More from FITNESS: More Healthy and Refreshing Smoothie Recipes to Try

How Actress and Mom Ali Landry Loses the Baby Weight Without Going Crazy

Written on August 17, 2012 at 11:00 am , by

Ali treats herself at the end of the night with a sweet bite. (Photo courtesy Hershey's Simple Pleasures)

Ali Landry has been kicking it up a notch at the gym. As a mother of two (daughter Estela was born in 2007 and her son Marcelo 10 months ago), she and hubby Alejandro Monteverde are planning a little getaway to Hawaii. “I have 7 pounds of baby weight left, and I’m on a mission to get them off!” she told us when chatting recently about her latest partnership with Hershey’s Simple Pleasures. Read on to see Landry’s baby weight plan of attack, her diet and why she’d never give up her chocolate. (That’s out kind of gal!)

As a mom of two, you must have a routine you use to lose the baby weight. What is it?

While I was pregnant both times, I worked out through the pregnancy. It really helped not only physically but mentally as well. But once I had the kids, I made sure to not feel pressured to drop the baby weight immediately. Our society is a little crazy with that, with all the magazine covers of celebrities getting back into a bikini three weeks after giving birth–I am just not one of those people! It’s a little unrealistic, and the average person does not bounce back that quickly. People also claim you lose weight nursing, but I nursed both of my kids and felt like a linebacker! I just made sure to eat healthy and drink water constantly. Even with that, once I finished nursing Estela, I had 10 pounds left to lose. With Marcelo, I have 7. I think that’s just the way my body is built.

What kind of exercises did you do while pregnant?

I did mostly the same workouts I normally do, just less intense. I ran in the beginning and then switched to the elliptical for cardio. For strength training I did a lot on the BOSU ball which was great because it worked more than one muscle at a time. Read more