Written on April 19, 2012 at 9:18 am , by FITNESS Intern
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
Written on September 12, 2011 at 2:37 pm , by Karla Walsh
As host of TLC’s Freaky Eaters, a personal trainer, author and certified nutrition specialist (not to mention mom to two teenage boys!), JJ Virgin has become a star at fitting in a healthy lifestyle to a hectic schedule. With her sons—and the rest of the nation’s kids—heading back to school, Virgin stopped by to share her top tips to help your youngsters build a better plate:
- Aim for a B. “If your family diet is too perfect, there will be a revolution in your home. Don’t strive for an ‘A’ diet when a ‘B’ is more reasonable and more fun. On most days, we have grilled chicken, salad and fruit for dinner, but it’s OK to have pizza or mac and cheese once a week.”
- Try, try again. “Vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower have really strong tastes raw and many kids don’t like them. But if you expose them again and again, and try preparing them in different ways—like roasted with sea salt—kids will eventually find veggies they enjoy.”
- Mix it up. “Breakfast doesn’t have to just be conventional ‘breakfast’ foods like cereal, toast or yogurt. My sons and I love chicken sausages, protein shakes or even leftovers from last night’s dinner.”
- Stock smart. “One good thing about younger teens and kids? They don’t have cars or money, so the parents can control all of the food that comes into the home. I put easy foods I know they will like near their eyeline since I know they’re almost always hungry! They’ll grab what they see.”
- Team up. “Your kids might not like to clean dishes or grocery shop, but since it’s fun, they’ll probably be willing to at least try their hands as chefs! It really helps to involve them in meals so they feel invested.”
- Know when to tell (and keep quiet). “One of my sons is really into eating well—he recently even started a green smoothie habit!—so I tell him about all the nutritious qualities of our meals. But the other prefers a more traditional American menu. He doesn’t have to know (and won’t be able to tell if) a food is healthy or organic, or that we made the meatballs with ground turkey breast instead of beef.”
- Keep treats special. “Go out for indulgent foods, like ice cream, instead of keeping it in your house—then get a small. That way no one will constantly be tempted.”
Now tell us: How do you help your kids try new, nutritious foods?