Archive for the ‘Autumn-Winter’ Category

Healthy Winter Comfort Foods

Friday, September 4th, 2015

asautedpepperedlemon-mar_65075The winter months can be a challenging time for anyone seeking fat loss success since you’re far more likely to find yourself turning to comfort foods that are high in calories as well as high in fat or sugar.  If you opt for these foods a little too often, you will definitely be looking at some serious weight gain come spring.

Fortunately, if you make a few smarter swaps with your diet, you can still indulge in some healthy winter comfort foods, satisfying those cravings and still keeping your diet in place.

Let’s have a look at a few that will help you eat well and maintain optimal nutrition.

Apple Pie Oatmeal

apple pie oatmeal The first winter comfort food to prepare for yourself is apple pie oatmeal. For this one, simply slice up an apple and sprinkle with some cinnamon and a small amount of brown sugar or sugar substitute.  Bake for 5-10 minutes until soft and while that’s baking, prepare your standard bowl of oatmeal using skim milk to add more creaminess to the dish.

Add in the apple, sprinkle with cinnamon once again and then serve.

Toasted Walnuts

toasted-walnutsToasted walnuts are an excellent way to get in healthy omega fats and help curb hunger between meals. To toast walnuts, simply coat with one or two egg whites and then whatever spices or herbs you’d like and ten bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring a few times throughout the baking process.

Note that if you prefer not to flavor these, you can simply leave out the egg whites and spices and toast them as-is.

Chicken Noodle Soup

favorite-creamy-chicken-noodle-soup-05Chicken noodle soup is the next best winter comfort food to indulge in. Prepare this with grilled chicken breast cut up to keep the protein source as lean as possible and then an assortment of vegetables including broccoli, carrots, celery, green beans, peas, corn, and anything else you desire.

Add a few egg noodles towards the end of cooking and you’ll be all set with a well-balanced meal.  If you prefer, you can also use brown rice rather than noodles for an added fiber boost to this meal.

Pancakes With Maple Syrup

buttermilk-pancakes-with-fresh-raspberries-maple-syrupFinally, for those weekend mornings when you’re craving comfort, go for a healthier variation of pancakes.

Combine together three egg whites with half a scoop of whey protein powder and a quarter cup of raw oatmeal. Add some sweetener and cinnamon if desired and then cook as you would a normal pancake, flipping at halftime.

Once finished, drizzle with some sugar-free maple syrup and then serve with fresh sliced fruit on top.

So next time you’re feeling in the mood for a little comfort food during the cooler winter months, turn to these options rather than the standard fare of macaroni and cheese, pizza, pasta, perogies, or whatever other high calorie dishes you normally eat.

The less frequently you’re having those on your diet, the sooner you’ll reach your goal weight and feeling great about your progress. 

Group Fitness Options To Try This Fall Season

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

R1R15kxr_400If you’re gearing up to get started with your workouts again this fall season, it’s important that you take into account the different group fitness options that you can try out and include as part of your plan.

Far too many people think that they must go about their workouts solo if they are going to see success, but this just isn’t the case.

In some situations, group fitness classes can even be a better choice than solo fitness sessions because they can enhance the total motivation you have to carry on due to the support of the people in the class with you.

With so many different group fitness class offerings to choose from, it can be hard to decide which is the best one for you.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the top group fitness class choices so that you can choose your optimal class properly.

Boot Camp Classes

A group workout.The first type of class to consider is boot camp class. The great thing about boot camp classes is that they will have you doing so many different movements that you’ll never find you get bored.

Furthermore, these classes will challenge you from both an aerobic and anaerobic point of view, so will really enhance your overall level of fitness the best.

Boot camp classes are great for both men and women and those of all fitness levels, so wherever you’re at, they’re a perfect choice.

Step Aerobics

Step-aerobicsThe second type of class to consider is step aerobics. Now, you may have visions of ‘step aerobics’ in your mind as these quite hot back in the day, but they’ve come a long way since then. Now the classes are far more dynamic in nature and many have you incorporating some form of weight lifting in them as well.

All in all, this makes them more challenging and better for providing you with both a strength and cardio workout.  This is a good option for those who dislike cardio equipment and prefer to be in the group atmosphere.

Kickboxing

cardio-kickboxingMoving along, don’t overlook kickboxing in your quest to find the perfect group fitness class for yourself. Kickboxing is an excellent way to boost your cardiovascular shape and to also help build up lower body power as well.

Kickboxing will target all the main muscle groups in the legs and really provide an excellent core workout while you’re at it. Through the various kicking movements, you’ll target your agility and balance also, so this is an excellent activity to do that’s going to provide you with optimal carry over benefits to other sports.

Yoga

yogaFinally, last but not least, don’t overlook yoga. Yoga is perfect for those who want to release stress and focus on core strength and development.  There are a few different variations of yoga, so be sure that you consider that as you make your selection.

Choose power yoga if you’re more focused on muscle strength development and hatha yoga if you’re after the relaxation benefits that this exercise provides.

So keep these group fitness classes in mind and try a few sessions of each to learn which one peaks your interest the most. 

Fall Fitness Activities To Get Back Into Your Groove

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

fall-fitness-ideas-3-walmart-live-betterIf you’ve fallen off the fitness bandwagon over the summer as you choose to forgo your gym workouts with summer activities such as swimming, beach volleyball, golf, or simply lying on the beach, now is the time to get back on top of your game.

Don’t automatically think that this means you need to head straight back into the gym full time however. If you’ve found that you were far more motivated to keep active over the summer since you were stepping away from the gym and doing other activities instead, keep doing this.

The most important thing to seeing results from any workout program is actually getting those workouts in. If you are unable to stay committed to doing the sessions themselves, this will definitely hinder your progress and influence your results.

Fortunately, there are many great fall activity offerings to consider.

Let’s look at a few to get you started.

Rollerblading

Jennifer Nicole Lee rocks bikini roller blading in bikini in Miami BeachThe first fall activity to consider doing is rollerblading. Rollerblading is a great option at this time of the year because you won’t get so hot while you go about your workouts and therefore may push yourself harder than you otherwise would.

Rollerblading is excellent for giving a strong cardiovascular boost and for also strengthening the entire lower body.

Football

FootballWith football season underway, take part and play a few games yourself. The nice thing about football is that it mimics interval training very well due to its stop and go nature, making it ideal for those who want to boost their metabolism and enhance their overall fat burning results.

Football can be played with just a few people or is also great in teams, so consider getting a few people together for a recreational game once per week.

Or if you’re really ambitious, you can also join an outdoor recreational league instead.

Cycling

Sexy-Girls-Bikes-199Cycling is also really great at this time of year as it’s going to help boost your lower body strength and will increase your muscular endurance.

If you can find a hilly path somewhere to cycle, this will make the activity even more effective as then you’ll be challenging your lower body every step of the way.

Cycling is a great activity for anyone who plays other sports demanding lower body force generation capacity and is also good for those who can’t run due to knee pain.

Raking Leaves

Jonesville High School FFA NHS Community Service (7)While not considered a recreational activity per say, if you have leaves to rake up outside, this is a perfect way to get in your physical activity for the day.  Raking leaves will burn plenty of calories and work all the primary muscles in the upper back as well as the core and to some degree, the lower body region as well, so you really can’t go wrong with it.

So this fall, consider any one of these activities. Add these to a full body workout program performed twice per week and you’ll have a well-rounded fitness plan developed for yourself. 

Best Fall Foods To Boost Fat Loss

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

Best Fall Foods To Boost Fat LossLooking to shed that bit of extra weight you put on over the summer months? If you indulged in just a few too many adult beverages while out and about at gatherings and campfires, not to mention tasted almost all the summery treats you came across, as the fall sets in, you might be looking to undo the damage.

stephen-vinsonMaking some smart changes to your diet at this point is a great way to get the weight loss process kick-started and yourself back on track.

If you do like most people however and start feasting on the comfort foods of the season, you aren’t going to be seeing the results that you had hoped for.

Winter foods can be just as troublesome for weight gain if you aren’t careful, so it’s imperative you understand how to go about making your choices properly.

Let’s have a look at the best fall foods that will help you boost your fat loss results.

Spaghetti Squash

spaghetti-squash-with-tomato-sauceFirst up on our list is spaghetti squash. If you’re a pasta lover who can’t bare the thought of going more than one week or two without your beloved pasta dish, then this will be the perfect substitute.

Spaghetti squash has a very similar look and structure as angel hair pasta and can be used in exactly the same manner.

Best of all, it’s far lower in calories so will be ideal when you’re trying to curb your intake.

Broth Based Vegetable Soups

getty_rf_photo_of_minestrone_soupMoving along, a second terrific food to choose this fall is broth based vegetable soups. These are an excellent choice since they’re highly filling, highly nutrition, and very low in calories.

Prepare yours with some low-sodium chicken or beef broth, as many vegetables as you can get in, a small amount of barley for healthy carbs, and then a main protein source such as chicken or shrimp.

This will give you a very complete meal that’s ready in minutes. Make a big batch and freeze some in individual serving containers for the meal on the go.

Ground Turkey Meatballs

turkey-meatballs-tomato-basil-bGround turkey meatballs are the next item on the fall foods list that you should be eating on a regular basis. These are excellent since they’re lower in fat and high in protein, so will work well with just about any diet.

Prepare them as you would regular style meatballs with egg whites and oats.  Just do be sure that you are using a lower calorie sauce after cooking them to serve them up in a healthful manner.

Pumpkin

pumpkinFinally, the last of the fall foods that you should be eating to lighten your diet up is pumpkin. Pumpkin is great for adding into baked goods such as muffins, for adding to oatmeal with a little pumpkin spice for added flavor, or for adding into desserts as well. Canned pumpkin is very low in calories and will add more moisture to your dishes, so is the perfect selection when you need to shed fat fast.

So there you have some of the smartest foods to eat this coming fall. If you’re wise with your choices, you should have no problem shedding those few extra pounds gained during the summer season. 

 Keep Your Teens Healthy With These Tips

Monday, August 31st, 2015

teenager_healthy_choiceweb2If you have young teens at home living with you, it’s going to be important that you are teaching them healthy habits so that they don’t end up having to battle a serious weight problem down the road.

It’s a sad state right now as many teens are growing more and more overweight as time goes on and this is only going to set them up for serious health risks as they move into their adult years.

Fortunately, if you take steps to implement a few healthy strategies in your home and with their lifestyle, you can better re-enforce good habits that will serve them well for the years to come.

Let’s go over what a few of these tips are so that you can get started with your own teens as soon as possible.

Focus On Eating One Meal Together Each Day

Family Enjoying Meal At HomeThe very first thing that you should do with your teens is make sure that you focus on eating one meal together each and every day. While you may not be able to control what your teens eat when they’re dining at the cafeteria at school or the snacks they pick up afterwards, you can most certainly make sure that they get a good home cooked meal for dinner.

As much as you can, try and have a family dinner. Not only will it help you ensure they’re eating healthy, but it will also give you some time to come together as a family and strengthen that bond.

Get Them Involved In Extra-Curricular Activities

507c5e7e0953dNext, make sure that you encourage your teens to get involved with extra-curricular activities. While ideally these activities would be physical activity based, if they aren’t, that’s okay as well.

The important thing is that they’re going out and doing something other than sitting at home and watching TV or playing video games.

As long as they have something they are passionate about, they are going to be that much less likely to end up using drugs or alcohol because they’re bored.

Invite Them To The Gym

PN-the-gymWhen you’re going to the gym next time, consider inviting your teen to join you. They’re at the age now where they can start in on a good weight training workout program as long as they get help from a trainer and are supervised.

It’s important that you guide your teen along this path, especially if you have a male teen because most will start eventually training on their own if you don’t. Males, more often than females, get the desire to build muscle during their middle teen years and if they go about learning themselves, they may use improper technique.

This needs to be avoided so get them on the healthier path yourself.

Avoid Discussion About Their Body Appearance

Body IsFinally, last but not least, as you encourage teens to get healthy, avoid too much discussion of their body appearance. If your teen is overweight, don’t make a big deal of it. The more you stress that, the more self-conscious they’ll get and the less likely they will be to want to exercise in the first place.

Instead, focus on their health and really enforce how happy you are about any positive changes they are making.

Take a positive approach with this and you’ll fare far better than taking a negative one.

So keep these quick tips in mind for dealing with your teens. If you approach it with the right attitude, you can ensure that your children grow into healthy adults that want to lead the active lifestyle that will help keep their weight under control forever. 

Smart School Lunch Options For Energized Kids

Sunday, August 30th, 2015

biggggeeeerPreparing a lunch meal for your kids to take as they head off to school each day is one of the best things that you can do to not only make sure that they sustain high enough energy levels for the afternoon period, but to also reduce the chances that they pick up high-fat, high-calorie cafeteria food.

While there’s no saying for sure whether your kids will actually follow through and eat those lunches you send with them, at least if they are prepared, they have the option.

Let’s take a quick look at some smart school lunch options that you can prepare in just minutes so that you can still keep up with your busy schedule and get out of the door as fast as possible.

Salmon Salad Sandwiches

kittencals-simple-and-delicious-salmon-salad-sandwich-01The first great option for your kids is salmon salad. Many kids won’t eat salmon when cooked on the grill, but canned salmon they’ll eat fine. Mix together some canned salmon with some low-fat mayonnaise and place it over whole grain bread.

Serve with lettuce, onion, and tomato – or whatever vegetables they desire.

Egg Salad Pitas

Egg Salad PitasNext, egg salad pitas are also a great choice. Eggs are a high source of protein and as long as you’re only giving them one yolk on occasion, the cholesterol won’t be a concern.

Again, mix this with some low-fat mayonnaise rather than the high fat variety and place it in a whole wheat pita.

Fill the pita with some spinach leaves, sliced peppers, and mushrooms to help get their veggie intake higher.

Mini Pizzas

Mini PizzasMini pizzas are the next great lunch meal to consider. To prepare mini pizzas, simply smear an English muffin with some low sodium tomato sauce and then place over top some chicken deli meat. Add some sliced mushrooms, onions, and peppers, and then lay some low-fat mozzarella cheese on top.

Place under the broiler until cheese melts and then place in a Tupperware container. While they won’t be warm, they’ll still definitely provide the classic pizza taste.

Vegetables, Crackers, And Dip

SSWF-RoastedRedPepperDip1Finally, if you really need something fast on the go, consider some raw veggies with whole grain crackers and a protein packed dip.

Combine together some Greek yogurt with low-fat sour cream and some dip seasoning mix and then place in a small container to serve with the veggies and crackers.

This will provide them with protein, fiber, and complex carbs, so will be sure to keep them energized for the afternoon ahead.

Toss in some fruit for a few more calories and a packet of peanut butter for healthy fats to eat with the fruit and they’ll be all set.

So next time your kid is heading off to school, make sure they have a healthy lunch in hand. If you’re stuck for ideas on what to prepare them, consider any of these terrific options.

Healthy Habits To Make As Your Kids Head Back To School

Saturday, August 29th, 2015

mhh_healthy_girlIf you’re about to send your kids back to school for the start of a new year, one thing to think about is what you can do to ensure they go back with a healthy start.

Each day your kids are going to have to make choices – choices over what to eat, choices over what activities to do, and choices over who to hang around with.

While you cannot make these choices for them, you can take some actions that will help steer them in the right direction.

Let’s go over some of the healthiest habits that you can make as your kids head back to school.

Get A Morning Ritual In Place

breakfastThe first thing to do is to get a good morning ritual in place. This involves getting your kids up early enough so that they have time for a good sit-down breakfast, as well as time to help prepare their lunch.

If you just prepare it yourself (which is still better than having them fend for themselves), you aren’t teaching them how to choose healthfully. If you get them involved, not only is it more likely that they will actually eat the lunch they pack, but they’ll learn something in the process.

This is the greatest skill you can teach them.

Limit Your Purchases Of Video Games And TV Stations And Get Active As A Family

get_activeSecond, also be sure that you aren’t encouraging passive behavior in your kids by purchasing them all the video games they want along with hundreds of TV stations.

Limit it to the basics and keep video games out of your house. While they will likely play them at friends’ houses, as long as you don’t bring them into your home, you’ll still be taking a huge step to limit their usage.

Instead, get active together. You know you need more physical activity so choose something that your kids can take part in. Then you’ll receive the benefits for your own weight loss plan and you’ll be teaching your kids a healthier lifestyle at the same time.

Cook Meals Together

sarah-fragoso-and-family-cookingMany adults rarely take the time to cook a home prepared meal for themselves, but they definitely do want to take time to spend with their kids. So start bringing the two activities together.  Cook your meals together as a family activity and you’ll feel good about what you’re putting in your body, while encouraging your kids to eat healthier as well.

Start Planning An Active Holiday

active-holidaysIt’s never too early to start planning your winter holidays, so take this time to think up something that you can do as a family that will get you up and active. This could be a skiing trip to the mounts at Christmas.

Or, perhaps you want to get away, traveling somewhere warm where you can swim in the ocean and go on various on-land excursions. More and more active vacation ideas are popping up, so start doing your research now so that by the time holiday season rolls around, you have a great plan in place.

So there you have the primary points to keep in mind. Remember these and you can feel good about doing your part to keep your kids as healthy and happy as possible. 

Brown Bag-It The Low Calorie Way With These Options

Friday, August 28th, 2015

ossSuccess-RhondaIf you’re always eating out for lunch while at work, this could be one thing that’s really hindering you from seeing the weight loss success that you desire.  Eating out in restaurants is quite possibly the most devastating that you can do as far as your diet is concerned because it’s what will quickly cause you to consume far more calories than you should be.

Preparing your own healthy lunch doesn’t have to take hours and hours though as long as you know which foods to pick and have some great recipe ideas in mind.

Let’s get you started off on the right foot by outlining just a few smart ideas you should consider.

Egg Spinach Salad

SSWBEEgg spinach salad is a great option for those who are using a lower carb approach to their diet. For this salad, you’ll simply want to hard boil two eggs and then cut them up into bite sized pieces.

Next, toss together with some spinach leaves, some sliced apple, a tablespoon or so of walnut pieces, green onion, cherry tomatoes, and then drizzle with your favorite dressing. If using one that contains fats, make sure it’s olive oil based, not cream based otherwise select a low fat or fat free variety.

Place in a Tupperware contain and you’ll be all set.

Shrimp Skewers

Grilled-Roasted-Garlic-Shrimp-Skewers_s4x3Shrimp skewers are the next good lunchtime often to take with you and actually don’t take all that long to prepare either.

The night before while making dinner, chop up a few larger pieces of vegetables – peppers, onions, and mushrooms, and place them in a container to marinate in low-calorie dressing overnight along with your shrimp.

Then when you wake up in the morning, simply stab the skewers with the vegetables and place under the broiler, turning every few minutes as you prepare your child’s lunch or get your things ready to head off to work.

Once finished, place in a Tupperware container, either on the skewer or off depending on the size, and cover with a lid. You can easily reheat this when you get to work or eat it cold instead.

Chicken Pita

BBQ-Chicken-N-Bacon-PitaPitas are easily one of the smartest options to choose for your lunch meal because of the fact that they’ll hold so many vegetables, helping you boost up your intake. Stuff your chicken pita with spinach leaves or shredded cabbage for the most nutritional density and then add in some sliced sugar peas, carrots, bean sprouts or alfalfa sprouts.

Drizzle with some olive oil based Italian dressing for healthy fat and you’ll have a delicious meal that provides all three major macronutrients.

So there you have some great, highly nutritious and tasty, lunchtime options to prepare yourself on those busy mornings when you need to get out the door but don’t want to sacrifice your diet that day with a meal out.  Be as prepared as possible the night before and making a healthy lunch will take mere minutes during the morning.