Written by Carrie Stevens, editorial intern
Fruity margaritas, creamy guacamole, crunchy chips…there’s a reason Cinco de Mayo is such a popular holiday! We love Mexican fare (and plan to fully fiesta), but the high calorie content can be a real party pooper. To keep our waistlines and tastebuds happy, we consulted Rick Bayless’ new cookbook, Frontera, full of unique spins on classic Mexican recipes. Here are just a few delicious ways to slim down and spice up that classic chip dip.
Grilled Corn and Poblano Guacamole
Makes about 4 cups
- 1/2 medium white onion, sliced crosswise into 3 rounds
- A little olive or vegetable oil
- 1 small ear of fresh corn, husked and cleaned of silk
- 1 fresh poblano chile
- 3 ripe medium-large avocadoes
- 1/4 cup crumbled Mexican fresh cheese (queso fresco) or other fresh cheese, like salted pressed farmer’s cheese or goat cheese
- 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
- 1 to 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh epazote (or cilantro)
Heat a gas grill to medium. Lightly brush both sides of the onion slices with oil, sprinkle with salt and lay on the grill. Oil the corn and lay it beside the onion. Grill corn and onion 4 to 5 minutes per side,. Roast the poblano for 5 to 7 minutes, turning evenly until blackened.
Remove onion and chop into 1/4-inch pieces. Cut kernels off the cob.. Rub the blackened skin off the poblano, pull out and discard the stem and seed pod. Tear open and briefly rinse to remove stray seedss. Cut into 1/4-inch pieces.
Halve avocadoes and remove pit, scooping the flesh from one avocado into a large bowl. Scoop flesh from the other two onto a cutting board and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Mash the avocado that’s in the bowl.
Pour diced avocado into the mashed avocado bowl, along with the grilled onion, corn, poblano and 2 tablespoons of fresh cheese. Sprinkle with lime juice and epazote, then gently stir mixture. Taste and season with salt. Cover with plastic wrap pressed directly on the surface of the guacamole and refrigerate.
When ready to serve, sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Written by Jennifer Fiorentino, editorial intern
With everything going on this time of year, we can sometimes forget the most important part of the holidays–giving back. That’s what 30 Rock‘s Jane Krakowski is doing with the help of Bank of America, who will be donating this season to Feeding America, which supports hunger relief in the U.S. Jane made the first donation using the mobile transfer function on Bank of America’s mobile banking app, while chatting with us about her holiday plans and her post-baby fitness secrets!
How do you stay organized during the busy holiday season?
I’m still trying to figure that all out. I do a lot of multitasking and things at odd hours of the day and night. I’ll take a nap then wake up at midnight to write Christmas cards. It’s a lot but it’s also a fun time of the year and we’re looking forward to making Christmas special this year.
We heard that you’re hosting your first Christmas, what are you doing to prepare for it?
I haven’t gotten to the preparing part yet. My fiancé and I are going to be those people at the stores shopping on Christmas Eve because of the 30 Rock finale. We’re shooting around the clock right now. So there will be many last minute preparations, but that’s fine because it’s just family members. He’ll be doing most of the cooking so my relatives are in good hands, they won’t have to eat my cooking. Read more
Looking forward to indulging in some red wine, a few pigs in a blanket and your family’s famous Christmas morning spicy shrimp grits? Not if you are one of the fifty million Americans who suffer from heartburn, says Dr. Su Sachar, a gastroenterologist based in LA. These are just a few of the things that can trigger holiday heartburn, among others like chocolate (the horror!), alcohol, garlic and peppermint. So how exactly is one supposed to make it through the buffet without breathing fire into 2013? Try Dr. Sachar’s tips below:
- Know the triggers: Aside from foods that are tomato-based, fried, spicy, fatty and citrusy, stress can also be a trigger as it often makes someone turn to fatty foods or toss back a few glasses of wine to chill out. But the most surprising trigger is exercise. “Certain exercises put pressure on the abdomen and push the stomach into the esophagus, contributing to heartburn symptoms,” Dr. Sachar says. “For example, cyclists tend to get heartburn from hunching over handlebars. But that doesn’t mean you have to skip the gym! Exercising is good for stress levels and avoiding weight gain, both of which contribute to heartburn. Just go easy on the abs and try yoga or low impact cardio if you feel a flare up coming on.”
- Navigate the dinner table: “Stay away from the fried and cheesy appetizers and focus on protein,” Dr. Sachar says. “Chicken skewers and salads without raw onions or tomatoes are safe bets. Skip buttery mashed potatoes in favor of baked potatoes or sweet potatoes and light turkey meat over fatty beef or lamb.” As for dessert, Sachar says angel food cake, sugar and oatmeal cookies and apple pie will hit the spot without feeling the burn later. When it comes to wine, opt for white.
- Be proactive: If you suffer from heartburn symptoms two or more days a week, consider Prilosec OTC. One pill each morning can treat frequent heartburn for up to 24 hours, so you can enjoy your holiday feast.
More from FITNESS: A Heartburn-Proof Recipe from Top Chef Spike Mendelsohn
Yael Cohen, CEO of FCancer and proclaimed “Chief Cancer Effer,” is on a mission to educate about early detection—90 percent of cancers are curable in stage one. Part of her initiative, besides using humor to promote self exams (check out their hilarious video contest!), is to promote awareness that “everything you put into, onto and do with your body affects your health.” According to Yael, having a happy, healthy holiday season does exist by reverting back to the basics. “Eat clean, whole foods. Eat stuff that you know what it used to be. If you can’t tell what plant or animal it came from, try to avoid it. If it’s wrapped in tin foil or plastic, try to avoid it. If it doesn’t spoil, be scared,” she joked. Interested in baking lighter versions of your festive favorites? Try swapping out butter for coconut oil and use crushed dates or agave nectar over processed sugar. Chocolate lovers, embrace baking with carob for a low-fat, naturally sweet and caffeine-free alternative. Speaking of chocolate, we scored Yael’s famous brownie recipe sealed with a sweet tooth’s approval. Santa has nothing on this! Read more
Written by Lauren Cardarelli, editorial intern
Kick-start 2012 with a soundtrack that will celebrate the old and pump you up for all the new this year has to offer. After all of those holiday cookies and cocktails, who doesn’t need a little “fitspiration” to get started on the right foot? Here’s to another happy and healthy new year!
- “Cheers (Drink to That),” Rihanna
- “Tonight is the Night,” Outasight
- “This is the New Year,” Ian Axel
- “Party Rock Anthem,” LMFAO
- “The Edge of Glory,” Lady Gaga
- “Night of Your Life,” David Guetta, featuring Jennifer Hudson
- “This Will Be My Year,” Semisonic
- “2012 (It Ain’t the End),” Jay Sean, featuring Nicki Minaj
- “The New Year,” Death Cab for Cutie
- “My Dear Acquaintance (A Happy New Year),” Regina Spektor
Bonus track (just for fun!): “Kiss Me at Midnight,” *NSYNC
Now tell us: How are you celebrating the beginning of 2012?
This week’s fit links from around the web:
- Plan ahead and set a smarter resolution for 2012…one that will stick! — iVillage
- Don’t fall for these holiday health hoaxes. — CNN
- You’ve heard that the eyes are a window to the soul. Do they have the same powers with your heart? — The New York Times
- It is possible to stay healthy throughout the holidays! Star trainer Jackie Warner tells you how. — Fit Bottomed Girls
- The interesting link between brain size and your memory. — Huffington Post
- Getting to the gym can be as much of a challenge as the actual exercise. Here are six motivational musts to give you some get-up-and-go. — Fit Sugar
- Check out the surprising psychological reason why you should skip the stocking stuffer shopping. — TIME Healthland
This week’s fit links from around the web:
- Holidays stress making you angry? Try one (or a few) of these 30 simple ways to be happier. — iVillage
- It’s the perfect time of year to think about giving back. Get inspired to perform one of these six good deeds (which take about as long as two commercial breaks). — Divine Caroline
- Save some dough this season by making these gifts with items in your kitchen. — SparkPeople
- “What’s the problem officer?” Bad for your blood pressure, but better for your bank account: Drivers are being pulled over for good behavior. — Today Show
- How The Biggest Losers—and you—can keep the weight off for good. — L.A. Times
- Ouch! Follow these steps to make sure running doesn’t cramp your style. — Fit Bottomed Girls
Throwing a holiday bash can be a huge undertaking. From the cleaning to the food, the decorations to the guest list, a big celebration has enough details to keep you up at night. (Not good—especially during this time of year!)
“It’s about turning the holidays from hectic to happy,” says Debi Lilly, celebrity event planner and Safeway’s entertaining and design expert. “Sixty percent of women don’t even enjoy the holidays because they’re so busy.” So Lilly, who has designed parties for Oprah, Brooke Shields, Debra Messing, Cindy Crawford and more, passed along five tricks to turn your party prep from “Ahh!” to “Ooh!”
1. Plan ahead. “Preset the buffet before guests arrive so you can truly enjoy their company,” Lilly suggests.
2. Try Oprah’s flashy fave. Miss Winfrey loves the chic, corset details seen on the vases above. Here’s how to do it:
- Start with 36 inches of satin ribbon. Wrap the middle of the ribbon around the back of the vase and bring ends to front.
- When the ends meet in the front, twist them around each other and bring them to the back. Twist them again and bring back to front.
- Repeat the twists on the back and the front sides until you reach the top of the vase; knot the ends together and finish with a single loop.
3. Reuse. After the party has wrapped, don’t toss that ribbon! It’s perfectly good to use for other holidays with similar color schemes. And the branches from your tree that hang too low? Gather them up around the bases of the vases for an additional festive touch (and aroma).
4. Outsource when necessary. Shh…Your secret’s safe with us! “Buy snacks from the frozen food aisle and garnish with fresh herbs. It will look like find catering,” Lilly says.
5. Serve appropriate apps. And if you have a little more time, try assembling these no-oven-necessary treats from Safeway’s Executive Chef Jeff Anderson.
“Just like in store environments, the season is really busy for people,” says Dr. Josh Riff, Target’s chief medical director. So for that reason, he has cart loads of advice to share with shoppers and co-workers to stay healthy while still enjoying the fun that comes along only once a year. If you make smart choices during your everyday routine, you have more room to splurge when celebration time arrives, Riff adds.
Here are his three top prescriptions for everyday and party day, so when 2012 rolls around you’ll have little resolving to do!
- Rest up. “Get at least seven hours of sleep. It decreases levels of stress and cortisol, a stress hormone. You’ll feel so much better the next day if you make sleep a priority.”
- Practice stealth health. “‘Moving’ is more important that ‘exercise.’ Host a walking meeting at work rather than sitting, or find fun family activities that are active, such as dancing or throwing a ball.”
- Save your treats. “Pick one place, like at work or at the mall, and only eat food that you’ve made or brought. Pack snacks like apples, real fruit strips and granola bars to avoid grabbing a cookie every time you pass the platter at work or dessert shop at the mall. I also save calories by bringing my lunch to work Monday through Thursday, then treat myself to a cafeteria meal on Fridays.”
Party Day Rx…
- Sneak in nutritious treats. “I make simple substitutions to transform typically indulgent recipes to more diet-friendly versions. For example, I add blueberries to chocolate cookies or muffins to add antioxidants and swap in sweet potatoes for white.
- Share the gift of health. “The right gear can make fitness more fun. This year, I’m loving C9 athletic wear, Polar heart rate monitors and Gaiam yoga mats to motivate my loved ones. I also put together wellness-minded gift baskets, including freeze-dried fruit, a bottle of red wine and dark chocolate.”
- Pick your pleasure. “There are no bad foods; there’s moderation. One piece of cake is great—six pieces, not so good. Fill one plate with the foods you will really enjoy and nurse that throughout the party.”
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
Now tell us: When the ever-present cookies are calling your name for the fifth time today, how do you avoid temptation?
Guest post written by Kathy Kaehler, celebrity trainer and co-author of Mom Energy: A Simple Plan to Live Life Fully Charged
The holidays are here and I am hearing about and seeing the stress in everyone. From my kids, teachers, clients and even the random lady in the check out all have a strange look in their eyes. What can one do to lower the stress and stay on track?
Here are five tricks to stay healthy during the holidays, no matter how crazy your schedule:
- Keep your workout schedule at whatever cost. You never regret working out you only regret not doing it! Make it an appointment and stick to it. If you don’t regularly write it down on your calendar, write it down during the holidays. And if possible, bring a friend along for the sweat, as having a partner will add to the pressure of making sure you do it.
- Workout type makes a difference as well. It’s obvious that everyone’s time is limited, so kick it up by lifting weights. This blasts your heart rate and burns more calories. Plus, muscle cranks up your metabolism—meaning you burn more calories even when you’re not working out.
- Watch your beverages. The holiday seems to add liquid calories that many of us won’t consider until we see the numbers add up on the scale. Have glass of water before and after each cocktail to quench your thirst and keep you feeling full and hydrated. Try using extracts of almond or peppermint in your coffee instead of flavored creams or powders to help cut down on calories as well.
- Don’t make a New Year’s resolution to lose weight and get in shape—get started now! You don’t need to run a marathon by the time the ball drops, but you can be well on your way by fitting in exercise three times a week for 30 minutes. Walking, running, kickboxing, step aerobics class, and lifting weights are all great options.
- Throughout the holiday, pair carbs with protein when possible, to help you feel full and crush cravings. Some of my favorite combos: cheese with apple slices, peanut butter on whole-wheat toast and berries with Greek yogurt.
Be in the moment as much as possible, this holiday season of 2011 comes only once, so enjoy! Have a super holiday.
If you want to check out some easy work-outs that you can do at home (like right before you hit the parties), visit kathykaehler.net.
For a fun party-inspired move from Kaehler (she’s worked with Julia Roberts, J. Lo and Kim Kardashian!), click below.