Written on December 9, 2011 at 4:06 pm , by Karla Walsh
This week’s fit links from around the web:
- Try one (or many!) of these 40 tasty recipes for your next holiday party. — SparkPeople
- Send some good cheer to your fittest buds with these wellness-minded cards. — Fit Sugar
- Confused about what gift to get the “green” gal in your life? Check out these eco-friendly picks. — Ladies’ Lounge
- When tidying up becomes an obsession…Will your guests really notice if your place is spotless? — The New York Times
- Follow these four simple rules to make any cookie more diet-friendly. — Yahoo! Shine
- This airline food cheat sheet is a must-read if you’ll be on the fly. Hint: Most times it’s better to pack a snack. — CBS News
Written on December 9, 2011 at 12:05 pm , by Diets in Review
By Kati Mora, RD for DietsInReview.com
Whether you’re hosting a holiday party or bringing a dish to share, you can keep yourself and fellow party goers from overdoing it by building a party platter that not only tastes delicious, but is full of healthy choices. How to make it happen:
Load up on veggies. Use fresh veggies to complement party dips instead of crackers or chips, or consider incorporating your favorite vegetables into the dips themselves. Carrots, celery, broccoli, tomatoes, and even asparagus spears can make great dipping options. Meanwhile, avocado, onion, bell peppers, and mushrooms are great additions to any dip. Give this Sweet Potato and Sage Dip a whirl.
Think Lean Protein. Foods rich in protein can help you and your guests feel more satisfied, but you’ll want to consider leaner fare to keep calories low and the fat content within reason. White meats like chicken and turkey are often lower in fat than their red meat counterparts, and many seafood options are also relatively low in fat. Remember to remove the skin and avoid frying them or smothering them with calorie-ridden sauces. Instead, stick with baking, broiling, roasting, or grilling and flavor with your favorite herbs and spices.
Incorporate Beans. You can serve them in soups, salads, dips, quesadillas, or even by themselves. Beans are tiny nutrient powerhouses with one half cup of them providing as much protein as a one-ounce broiled steak. They are also a great source of fiber which can help keep your guests feeling satisfied without the extra calories. White Bean Bruschetta, anyone?
Get Nutty. Although mixed nuts are no stranger to many holiday parties, these aren’t necessarily the best choice. Instead, think unsalted almonds and walnuts. They are loaded with nutrients and, although they are a source of fat, it is the kind associated with improved heart health. Serve these nutty delights with your favorite fresh fruit for a colorful and complementary display.
Mind Your Portions. No matter what you decide to serve at your party, make sure to watch your portions. Consider putting out smaller plates…tapas feel chic, anyway! Another idea: Keep the platters in a separate room away from the best place to congregate. This will help take the emphasis off the food and put it back onto what really matters – the people you are choosing to spend your holiday time with.
Eating healthy over the holidays doesn’t have to be a challenge. In fact, there are many ways to offer nutritious options to your friends and family. What are some additional ways you like to healthify your party menu?
More from Diets in Review: Healthy Holiday Gift Guides Featuring $1,800 in Prizes and Gear
Written on December 8, 2011 at 1:10 pm , by Karla Walsh
John DiScala, or Johnny Jet as road warriors know him, is no amateur when it comes to hitting the road. The Travel Channel expert has flown 127,467 miles this year alone! Since a day at the airport can be more exhausting than a day at the gym, we screened Johnny Jet for his secrets to book, fly and sleep—minus the stress—just like an expert jet-setter.
- Be flexible! “I just bought a ticket to Florida a couple days ago and only paid $168 because I left a few days earlier than planned (the 21st). You can sign up for airfare alerts to be notified when the best deals are available.”
- Go postal. “Ship bags and gifts ahead of time via FedEx or UPS ground five to seven days before your trip to make it affordable. If you do pack presents, don’t wrap them, because there’s a good chance the TSA will unwrap them.”
- But do come bearing goodies. “Bring a box of chocolates for the gate agents and flight attendants! You will get the best service and possibly even an upgrade.”
- Come early, come prepared. “You might have to sit around at the airport longer if you leave extra early, but it’s so much better than getting stuck in traffic or long lines and rushing. Bring something to keep you busy after you make it through security, like a computer, book, magazine or knitting project.”
- Try self check-in. “Always print your boarding pass at home so you are already checked in. You won’t miss the cutoff point, but I still recommend arriving two hours before domestic flights at large airports or 75 minutes at smaller airports.”
- Eat well on-the-go. “Your best bet is to go to a supermarket before you leave and bring non-liquid eats. But you can find some healthy options at major airports. I always get a shot of wheatgrass from Jamba Juice.”
- Mix it up. “When booking a hotel, try doing so with loyalty points and cash. For example, Hilton HHonors members can book a standard rooms with the a Points and Money reward. It’s a great option for those looking to save on a room who haven’t accumulated enough points for a free stay or prefer to save their points for future use.”
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
Written on December 5, 2011 at 3:52 pm , by Karla Walsh
In our November/December issue, four game readers each tried out different popular diets (see page 132 for the full story!). A Paleo diet—which promotes eating a whole-foods diet like our early ancestors—was one of the more successful options, but our tester was bummed that she couldn’t find desserts to fit her eating plan.
Enter Make It Paleo, a book we just stumbled upon that offers Paleo twists on traditional dishes. Bloggers Bill Staley and Hayley Mason of The Food Lover’s Primal Palate share recipes like huevos rancheros, portobello turkey burgers and chocolate mocha cupcakes with their Paleo spin.
Since our tester had trouble satisfying her sweet tooth, we were instantly drawn to the dessert section. Interested in giving a caveman-style cookie a try yourself? Here’s the Make It Paleo version of the traditional holiday favorite: gingerbread!
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons palm shortening
- 1 tablespoon coconut milk
- 3 cups blanched almond flour
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda’
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a sauce pan, heat molasses to a boil. Add maple syrup, palm shortening and coconut milk to sauce pan. Stir ingredients until combined, then remove from heat.
- In a small bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Pour dry ingredients into wet, and stir until batter is fully blended.
- Refrigerate dough for 20 minutes.
- Roll out dough between two sheets of parchment paper, until about 1/4 inch thick. Cut batter with cookie cutters of choice.
- Bake for 10 minutes on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Let cool, decorate as desired, and enjoy.
Now tell us: Have you or would you be willing to try a primal diet?
Written on December 2, 2011 at 1:34 pm , by Karla Walsh
We’ve made our (shopping) lists, checked them twice, but now we’re searching for some items to add that will do more than just look nice. How about some gifts that give back? That’s why we were pumped as soon as we heard about Eve Echo!
The beauty company is teaming up with the Foundation for International Community Assistance (FINCA), a non-profit Natalie Portman loves, and 100 percent of company net profits will be used for micro-loans for women in economic need. Whether you’re a fan of liquid hand soap or hand sanitizers, Eve Echo has options—with scents like lavender vanilla, pomegranate peppermint and coconut butter. But what we love more than the aroma is the fact that the $10 to $14 we spend on these items goes directly to provide low-interest loans to women who can then start their own businesses and provide for their families. After one year, the woman repays the loan, which will be distributed to another female in need (they call this the “Echo Effect.”)
To learn more about the loans and to buy products that can make an impact on another woman’s life, visit eveecho.com.
More from FITNESS: These soaps would make great presents. But these, our picks for worst fitness gifts? Not so much.
Written on December 2, 2011 at 10:03 am , by Marla Horenbein
‘Tis the season to be blingy! What girl doesn’t need a little sparkle in her life? And what better time of year to flaunt it than the holiday season?
This year almost everything is blinged out, from iPhone cases to boat shoes, sporty watches and even nails! So when making that wish list for Santa this year, add some sparkle to the mix for a little glammed up look. Just make sure not to go too overboard though. There is such thing as too much sparkle, you know!
- I love these arm warmers by Juicy Couture because they’re soft and cozy, and add just the right amount of bling to your outerwear look.
- A fun party shoe, like this one from Kate Spade, always makes a holiday outfit shine, so strap those puppies on and get your dance on!
- Keep warm with this glittery gold scarf from Piperlime. It’ll add some pizazz to an everyday work outfit during the holiday season.
- Belts are one of my favorite accessories because they are subtle, but still substantial. This glitter belt from J.Crew is one of my favorites—I own it and love it! Looks great with a skirt, a dress or even with jeans and a tee!
- Want to make heads turn (in a good way!) at the company holiday party? Throw on this shimmery little skirt from TopShop, and you’ll do just that.
- Sparkle accessories are all the rage this season, so why not make your technology bling? I love how fun yet sophisticated this Michael Kors iPad case is. It’s the perfect gift for your techy friend!
- If wearing a sparkly dress freaks you out, try something a little less overpowering like adding some sparkles to your nails. Deborah Lippmann’s glitter nail polish is definitely on my wish list this year!
- Everyone always has the same old boring white headphones, so to change it up we found these amazing shiny gold Skullcandy earbuds. Pop these in and you’ll look like a rockstar.
Written on December 1, 2011 at 3:47 pm , by Karla Walsh
All year long, Gina from SkinnyTaste creates and shares low-fat recipes for the whole family. But we really turn to her blog for inspiration as the holidays approach, since she is a pro at designing festive dishes that make us wish we could reach through the screen and set them on our party tables (skinny eggnog or vanilla snowman cupcakes, anyone?).
Here are some quick facts about this kitchen all-star and one of her favorite recipes for any holiday table!
My favorite way to work out: With a friend.
My fave fit snack: Fresh fruit and nuts.
5 things I can’t live without: Friends, family, coffee, camera and my laptop.
My biggest indulgence: Coffee!
I’m happiest when I’m: Enjoying a home cooked meal with family and friends.
- 9 lasagna noodles
- 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and completely drained
- 15 ounces fat-free cottage cheese (Gina prefers Polly-O)
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 egg
- salt and fresh pepper
- 32 ounces tomato sauce
- 9 tablespoons (about 3 ounces) part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine spinach, ricotta, Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Ladle about 1 cup sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 12-inch baking dish.
- Place a piece of wax paper on the counter and lay out lasagna noodles. Make sure noodles are dry. Take 1/3 cup of ricotta mixture and spread evenly over noodle. Roll carefully and place seam side down onto the baking dish. Repeat with remaining noodles.
- Ladle sauce over the noodles in the baking dish and top each one with 1 tablespoon mozzarella cheese. Put foil over baking dish and bake for 40 minutes, or until cheese melts.
- To serve, ladle a little sauce on the plate and top with lasagna roll.
Nutrition information per serving: 225 calories, 5 g fat
Do you have a favorite fit blogger you want us to highlight? Leave a comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Written on December 1, 2011 at 12:05 pm , by Karla Walsh
She has two kids, two jobs, one lofty fitness goal and a crazy holiday schedule ahead…how does Alison Sweeney do it? The host of The Biggest Loser and star of Days of Our Lives, who is currently training for the L.A. Marathon in March has a few tricks to keep her life organized, manageable and healthy all at the same time. We recently spoke with Sweeney to snag some secrets and learn more about her relationship with Bob, Jillian, and this season’s two new trainers, Dolvett Quince and Anna Kournikova.
How do you stay fit during the holidays?
It’s really important to find a workout that you can do with no excuses. [See below for Sweeney's at-home exercise routine!] And I keep track of my nutrition. With so many treats around, it’s really easy to just pop brownies without thinking about it! You may not even be hungry. I also eat before going to parties so I’m less tempted when I get there and am satisfied with a smaller amount of the treats.
Do you and your family have any seasonal traditions?
We shop for gifts and pick out a tree together. When I was young, my parents always took me skiing in the winter, which was really festive since I grew up in L.A. It was so fun and exhausting—you’re basically burning calories all day long! Now, when I’m skiing with my family, I take a picture at the top of the mountain and email it to my dad. I thank him daily for instilling this love of activity at an early age.
So you mentioned that you shop and travel—as a busy working mom of two, how do you stay connected and keep track of your to-buy lists and events this month?
There are so many distractions during the holidays, so I try to use technology to keep my family together. I use my Windows phone, which syncs with my computer, to keep track of my calendar and get photos texted to me. It’s really family-oriented and you don’t need a manual to understand it!
To learn about Sweeney’s 2012 resolutions and get the scoop about the future of The Biggest Loser, keep reading.
Written on November 28, 2011 at 11:50 am , by Karla Walsh
Sharing presents is one of the best parts of the holidays, but our bank accounts don’t always agree! (Especially today after that Black Friday shopping and the Cyber Monday spending sure to come this evening.)
That’s why we were pumped to hear about a delicious deal going on now at Jamba Juice. Now through January 3, the shop is offering a coupon for one free smoothie when you purchase $25 of gift cards. One of our current favorites: the Apple Cinnamon Cheer smoothie, which packs 20 percent of your daily value of vitamin C. It’s made with juice, soymilk, frozen yogurt, fruit and cinnamon, and is reminiscent of a tasty holiday dessert!
And grab that smoothie to go: as reported in our November/December issue, walking at a pace of 3 miles per hour for 15 minutes per day—like while shopping—can extend your life up to three years more than those who are sedentary! Bonus: Walking to and from the store can save transportation money as well.
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Now tell us: What’s your favorite way to save during the gift-giving season?
Written on November 23, 2011 at 10:06 am , by Karla Walsh
The Butterball Turkey Talk-Line is open and ready to help with any cooking catastrophes, but what about the fitness ones that might occur when indulgent foods like green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and pecan pie move to the front burner (and your party scheduled pushes your exercise routine off the priority list)?
New York Sports Clubs are launching their first-ever “Don’t Be a Butterball” hotline, which will be open from 3 p.m. today through 11:59 p.m. on Friday. All are welcome to call the toll-free hotline at 1-855-IAM-FULL to ask live trainers their most pressing wellness-related questions! Bonus: Callers will receive a free one-week pass to the My Sports Club of their choice to stay fit all holiday season long.
Here are three pointers from the pros that will be staffing the hotline:
- Don’t think all-or-nothing. Try just 10 minutes of exercise if you’re feeling tired. The energy boost will help you make it through the busy day, and any activity is better than none!
- When you do find time, make it count. Burn more calories during the workout time you can carve out with High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)—quick, intense bursts alternated with short recovery periods. Also remember to pump your arms during cardio. Doing so can boost your calorie burn by about 15 percent!
- Give yourself options. Visiting family for Thanksgiving dinner? Offer to bring a healthy dish so you’ll be sure there will be at least one nutritious choice for you and others.
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