Imagine eating an entire pizza and then going for a 3-mile jog. You’d feel pretty gross, right? Though that’s a drastic example, it’s no secret that what we eat is directly related to how our bodies feel, especially when exercising. To help you get the most out of your next sweat session FITNESS advisory board member and author of The Flexitarian Diet Dawn Jackson Blatner, R.D. shared the best snacks to eat before, during and after your workouts on behalf of Vita Coco Coconut Water to keep your energy levels high and recovery time low.
- Raisins: Blatner says that studies show raisins works just as well as sports gels at providing pre-exercise muscle fuel. Aim for two tablespoons right before you head out.
- Green Tea: Research suggests that the compounds in green tea called catechins may help burn more fat while you exercise. Plus, the caffeine in green tea will help you shake your sluggishness and is much healthier than chugging a soda.
- Vita Coco Coconut Water: Perfect for casual fitness buffs or hardcore exercisers, coconut water hydrates just as well as a sports drink. It contains all the good stuff, like carbohydrates, electrolytes and potassium that your body needs when you exercise and none of the bad stuff, like loads of sugar and artificial sweeteners.
- Water: On days you work out 30 minutes or less water should be your main hydrator. Blatner suggests doing the weight test to make sure you’re drinking enough fluids during your workouts. Weigh yourself before and after you exercise, the goal is to not have any change, since weight loss is a sign that you’re not drinking enough. If you do see your weight drop, drink an extra 16 to 24 ounces for each pound lost.
- Tart Cherries: Studies show cherries may decrease muscle soreness and inflammation. Eat a cup of unsweetened frozen fruit or 100 percent juice.
- Green Smoothie: Latest research shows a healthy compound called nitrate in leafy green veggies helps muscles work more efficiently. In a blender, puree a cup of leafy greens, like spinach, 8 ounces of low-fat milk and 1/2 cup frozen berries to recover faster.
More from FITNESS: The Top 7 Foods for Runners
This month celebrates National Celiac Awareness Month; a condition that due to the reaction of eating gluten damages the lining of the small intestine, preventing it from absorbing certain parts of foods the body needs to stay healthy. As the disease is more and more talked about more and more people are wondering if gluten-free eating is a healthier option for everyone. To help debunk some common myths, we asked Tricia Thompson, MS, RD on behalf of Kellogg’s to give us the scoop on gluten-free diets and how to manage your meals if you can eat gluten, but your kids can’t.
Myths of a gluten-free diet:
- The gluten-free diet is a low carbohydrate diet. Fortunately or unfortunately (depending upon how you look at it), there is a gluten-free version of practically every wheat-based carbohydrate-rich food. Examples include cookies, cakes, donuts, pizza, pasta, muffins, rolls, etc. The list literally goes on and on.
- All gluten-free food is healthy. Just because a food label says “gluten-free” does not mean it is healthy. Many gluten-free foods are made using white rice, milled corn and various starches. These refined grains are not very nutritious. You want to look for gluten-free cereals, breads, and pastas that are made with gluten-free whole grains or have been fortified or enriched—meaning vitamins and minerals have been added to the food.
- The gluten-free diet is a weight-loss plan. The gluten-free diet is a medically prescribed diet for people who have celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, and dermatitis herpetiformis (the skin form of celiac disease). Anyone can lose weight by eating fewer calories than their body needs but you do not need to follow a gluten-free diet to do this.
As the reporter of ESPN’s College GameDay for football and basketball Jenn Brown travels almost 70 percent of the year. That might sound like a dream job, but when your dream wedding is coming up, all those late night drive-thru dinners and wonky work hours can take a toll on your shape! We caught up with Brown just days before her wedding, where she gave us her secrets to how she stayed slim on the road and prepped for her big day.
What have you been doing differently to get ready for your wedding?
I took a different approach to working out than I usually do. I am typically a cardio junkie; I’m always running on the treadmill and follow it with 45 minutes of lifting. For my wedding, I really wanted to focus on looking lean and tone. I had just come off of covering football, where I gained my usual footfall five [pounds] from eating on the road in all these towns with delicious food, so I had three months to get into shape. I started doing Pilates three to four times a week. It was weird to me that you could go and work out for an hour and not be dripping in sweat, but I’ve seen an amazing transformation because of it.
I also started taking vitamins. I had a physical last year and realized that I wasn’t taking any supplements. Since then, I became a GNC ambassador and started taking GNC WELLbeing be-WholesomeHealth and Beauty Vitapacks. I’ve been taking them for about five months and have seen the biggest difference with my hair–it grows so fast! Last, I finally went to a dermatologist for my adult acne. It’s been such a massively frustrating issue for me, especially since I am always on camera, so I started a routine to get that in order.
Written by Brittany Vickers, editorial intern
Feeling a little lackluster in the kitchen lately? How about the bedroom? The two could be related. Food can be a very sensual prop that helps keep things spicy behind closed doors, but which ones should you be welcoming with open arms and which should you close your taste buds to? JJ Virgin, co-host of TLC’s Freaky Eaters, gave us some food for thought on how to kick things up a notch for super-sizzling results!
The three main things to look for in an arousing appetite are a rise in blood flow, circulation and dopamine levels, Virgin explains. Try adding these to your next candlelit dinner for a big bite of romance!
- Oysters and avocados both have a big dose of healthy fats, which are full of dopamine, a neurotransmitter triggering the part of our brain that recognizes reward and pleasure.
- Walnuts (or any nut except a peanut) have high levels of arginine, a natural amino acid that boosts blood flow.
- Fish not only have arginine, but an added bonus of omega-3 fatty acids, which can improve your cardiovascular health and increase dopamine. A triple threat!
- Spicy dishes, like this Roast Salmon with Thai Red Curry Sauce, stimulate your tongue and kick-start the nervous system—great for post-dinner activities!
And if you don’t want to send your sweetheart flying out the door (OK, maybe that’s a little extreme), stay away from:
- Grains, which can leave you feeling tired and bloated, rather than svelte and raring to go.
- Gaseous foods, like broccoli and beans—no further explanation needed. If you still want to sneak veggies into your meal, try spinach or green beans.
For a complete sensual scene, set the meal in a dimly lit room with the aroma of pumpkins (a guy favorite!) in the air, Virgin says. Just make sure the smells don’t compete with the food aromas. “Try a lightly scented pumpkin pie candle in a nearby room, so it slowly drifts through the house,” she recommends. “Or light it when you head to the bedroom, after you’ve enjoyed your meal.”
More from FITNESS:
- Sex Positions that Double as Exercise
- 10 Health Benefits of Having Sex
- How the Scale Sabotages Your Sex Life
Springtime is the perfect time to bust out the lawn furniture and host an outdoor gathering. But with warm weather come humidity, bugs and some unpredictable elements. We tapped back into the hostess with the mostess Katie Lee to get some rules on how to handle seasonal surprises when throwing an outdoor party.
1. Keep it simple! You want to be able to enjoy your guests rather than get stuck in the kitchen and miss all the action. If your outdoor area is partially covered set the table and decorate the night before, so it’s never a rush the day of the party. The day of, give yourself an hour to get ready before guests arrive.
2. Get creative with decor. I’m a girl who loves a theme. Pick a country and go from there, it will give you direction when deciding on a menu, wine, decor and even music. Lighting is also incredibly important for anything outside. I like to hang paper lanterns from a tree, and a well-placed string of white Christmas tree lights goes a long way to set the ambiance.
3. Be prepared for unwanted guests. I avoid decorating with scented candles, which attract bugs and can overpower the smell of your delicious food. If you have some lingering critters, protect your dishes by covering plates with an overturned wire mesh colander before serving.
4. Serve lighter bites. An array of finger foods means your guests can mingle without trying to balance a big plate. Sliders, chicken skewers and mini sandwiches are always great options.
Read on for the recipe to one of Katie Lee’s favorite finger foods.
Ever since we were in kindergarten, snack time has been something to look forward to. After all, the options are pretty endless. (Sweet! Salty! Crunchy!) That’s why for this week’s #140Wednesdays we want know what your DIY go-to nibble is when hunger strikes. Read some of the responses below to get some healthy noshing inspiration.
@Shazsc06: Ants on a Log: Put peanut butter in the crease of a celery stalk, then place the raisins on top of the peanut butter.
@jrs14usa: I dip grapes in Greek yogurt and freeze them! Awesome when you want a guilt-free frozen treat!
@lcarolinec: Multigrain Cheerios and unsweetened almond milk!
@15Sunshyne: A banana protein shake.
Now tell us: What is your favorite healthy snack?
More from FITNESS: Healthy, Homemade Snacks Under 100 Calories
You can stuff yourself with salad until you’re blue (err, green?) in the face, but everyone has one food they just can’t resist. We’re right there with you! At any given day at the FITNESS offices we are faced with some pretty sweet temptations. Birthday cupcakes, treats from PR gals and leftover bagels in the kitchen are just a few that haunt our floor. But even cupcakes lose their luster after a while, so we had to know—if you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Read below for what our Twitter followers said, we were pretty surprised by your picks!
@36laps: Healthy: Spinach. Not Healthy: Cookie ice cream sandwiches.
@StacyLazar: Cucumbers. I think I’d get sick of everything else, even gummies. (Wait, does wine count?)
@Half_The_Girl: Cherries, or mangoes!
@Balanced_Life_: Cereal! I could eat it forever. If only it was more wholesome.
March is such a weird month. It is kind of spring, but the temperature outside tells you it is kind of not. Though we might be in weather limbo, bikini season will be here before you know it. To celebrate National Nutrition Month and help ease into the transition of shedding our winter layers, we chatted with Keri Gans, a New York registered dietician and author of The Small Change Diet on behalf of Thomas English Muffins and Bagels on how to make tiny changes to your diet for big results. Check out her tips below and tweak your eating habits today.
- Don’t skip meals. “You shouldn’t be thinking of what you should eliminate from your diet, you should be asking yourself, ‘What should I include?’” Gans says. For breakfast, she recommends almond butter on a Thomas 100% Whole Wheat Bagel Thin (only 110 calories per serving!), low-fat Greek yogurt (it doesn’t have to be fat-free), or cereal with fresh berries for fiber. Lunch should include some protein like chicken, shrimp or beans to keep you satisfied through the end of the day. For dinner, Gans says to learn to make sacrifices. “Fish is a great option for dinner, but if you want something fried, skip something else. Get the burger but don’t eat the bun or pass on the fries.”
As American Heart Health Month wraps up. you already know that in moderation red wine is key for your ticker, but did you know that grape juice could have a similar effect? It makes sense of course, as wine is made from grapes, but in a recent Welch’s study of 4,000 people more than twice as many consumers were aware of the heart-healthy benefits of red wine, but not grape juice.
Another interesting stat? According to the study, 2/3 of Americans recognize that red wine, salmon, and olive oil are all heart-healthy foods, but only a fraction actually buy these foods on a monthly basis. Yet people who buy and drink grape juice were twice as likely to add other heart-healthy foods to their shopping carts than non-drinkers. Maybe it’s a coincidence or maybe it’s true that one healthy habit leads to a chain reaction of others, but for those looking for the health perks of wine without the hangover, grape juice might just be your best bet!
For more heart-healthy resources, recipes and more visit welchs.com/rewardyourheart
More from FITNESS: How to Eat for a Healthy Heart
If you are a frequent gym goer, you may have noticed the after work crowd has been a little sparse lately. The same goes with that veggie-packed market down the block from your house. That’s because by mid-February most resolution setters have given up on their diet and fitness goals. In fact, in a recent Silk survey, 71 percent of women said eating healthier is one of the most difficult resolutions to keep, meaning that’s the first thing to go when life gets a little crazy.
To make sure you don’t get lumped into the statistic of those throwing in the towel, healthy living expert Kathy Freston shared her tips to stick to your diet resolutions. Keep these three easy tricks in mind and make it through 2012 with your diet in tact:
1. Switch out milk for Silk soymilk, almond, or coconut milk in your cereal. These are great alternatives ease into a more plant-based diet.
2. Eat an apple a day. Apples are rich in dietary fiber and a lower calorie snack that will leave you feeling full.
3. Stay hydrated by drinking eight ounces of water a day, eight times a day. H2O too boring for you? Add an orange or cucumber to your glass to give it some extra flavor.
Now tell us: Have you stuck with your resolutions so far? How do you do it?