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Posts Tagged ‘healthy recipes’

By Joy Bauer, M.S., R.D., C.D.N.

Can you relate to this very typical diet story? You start off super-committed and the pounds fly off.  But a few weeks or months later, your enthusiasm and motivation start to peter out, as do the losses on the scale.

If you’re in this boat (or expect to be soon), these weight loss strategies promise to keep things fresh so you don’t lose steam.

Try journaling (not just your food!).  
Keep a special diary to record and process your feelings, challenges, and successes along your weight loss journey. Also jot down the reasons you committed to losing weight in the first place and some of the best “perks” that you’ve experienced so far (maybe it’s an array of complements, or a once-uncomfortable task you can now do with ease).  Re-read your entries often to keep your motivation from stalling.

Micromanage.
Set small goals (i.e., no eating after dinner for a week, or losing 2 pounds this week) and reward yourself after every achievement. Treat yourself to a manicure, a new book, clothes (in your new, smaller size!), a stylish haircut, or another special prize each time you pass another mini-milestone.

Spice up your food. 
If you’re sick to death of oatmeal, tossed salad, and grilled chicken, it’s time for a menu overhaul. Follow these three tips to reignite your taste buds.

  • Don’t repeat the same meal two days in a row.
    I can appreciate how easy—and convenient—it is to fall into the same food routine, but that can get old fast. Instead, go out of your way to vary up your breakfast, brown bag lunches, and at-home meals to break through the boredom.
  • Buy a healthy cookbook for creative inspiration.
    Work your way through the book one recipe at a time and try all sorts of new, interesting flavors. It’s just like the movie Julie and Julia!
  • Experience healthy ethnic cuisine.
    Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Mediterranean, and South American cuisines can be very light and refreshing, and they’re full of delicious flavors and fresh produce. Just choose wisely (no tempura or pasta alfredo, please).

Jazz up your fitness routine.
It may just take some new, high-energy music downloads to rekindle your relationship with exercise. If you belong to a gym but always hit up the same cardio machines, start sampling some of the group fitness classes offered at your club (I promise, you won’t be the only newbie there!).  Or, try taking your workout outside, where you can walk or jog a different route every day. The change of scenery will keep things from getting stale.

Here’s one of my absolute favorite strategies for helping people stick with their exercise routine: buy books on tape (or audiobooks for your iPod) and make a deal with yourself that you’re only allowed to listen to the books while moving (walking outdoors or on a treadmill, riding a stationary bike, etc.). As long as you pick interesting books, you’ll be so engaged in the storyline, you’ll actually look forward to working out so you can hear the next chapter unfold!

If all else fails, GO SHOPPING! 
Stand in one of those 180 degree mirrors and really study yourself wearing a smaller pair of jeans. Celebrate your new figure and all the hard work you’ve put into getting to this point.

No doubt about it, losing weight is a struggle at times, but almost every “big loser” will tell you it’s worth the effort. Stay strong and focused…your goal is within reach!

For more info on losing weight and healthy living, visit joybauer.com and follow Joy on Facebook and twitter.

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From Prevention.com

Surprise! Good ol’ crunches are one of the fastest ways to firm your midsection. (Hate crunches? Bear with us.) Thanks to 5 decades of research and nearly 90 studies, scientists have zeroed in on the best moves to flatten your belly. The secret is to really fatigue your abs–not an easy task, because they’re used to working all day to keep you standing tall. But we created a routine that, when combined with regular cardio, does it in just four moves.

“I couldn’t believe the difference a few days made,” says Gwen Hoover, 48, of Fogelsville, PA, who whittled more than 2 inches off her middle, lost 14% of her belly fat, and dropped nearly 4 pounds in just 1 week! Even our slimmest testers saw impressive results. At 5-foot-6 and 125 pounds, Rachelle Vander Schaaf, 49, of Macungie, PA, wasn’t expecting to see a big change, but she shaved more than 3 inches off her belly–without dieting. You can too! Start now and show off an all-around leaner belly for the rest of the summer season.

Program at a Glance

3 Days a Week: Do the SlimBelly Workout moves on 3 nonconsecutive days to tone your midsection.

5 Days a Week: Do 30 to 40 minutes of cardio, such as brisk walking, swimming, jogging, or bike riding, to burn off belly fat. You should be breathing hard but still able to talk in short sentences.

Every Day: Watch portions and fill up on whole grains, vegetables, fruits, lean protein, and healthy fats to maximize results. Aim for 1,600 to 1,800 calories spread evenly throughout the day.

Sample Workout Schedule
Day Activity
Monday Abs and Cardio
Tuesday Cardio
Wednesday Rest
Thursday Abs and Cardio
Friday Rest
Saturday Abs and Cardio
Sunday Cardio
Slim Belly Workout

Do 3 sets of each of the 4 moves, performing as many reps (1 second up, 1 second down) as possible until you feel a burning sensation in the muscles you’re working or you can no longer maintain proper form. Rest 15 seconds between sets. You’ll likely be able to do more reps during earlier sets and exercises — and that’s okay. After you can do 50 reps or hold a plank for 2 minutes for most sets, try the “Make it Harder” variations, change the order of the exercises, or do the moves after another type of workout.

1. Hipless Crunch
This variation better targets abs by preventing hips and upper body from helping you lift.

Lie on back with legs lifted and bent, calves parallel to floor, and feet relaxed. Cross arms over chest with hands on shoulders. Contract abdominal muscles and lift head, shoulders, and upper back about 30 degrees off floor. Lower without touching head to floor. Exhale as you lift; inhale as you lower. *Prevention Fitness Lab testers averaged 25 reps per set.

Make It Easier: Rest calves on a chair and extend arms down at sides.

Make It Harder: Extend legs straight up.

Tips:

  • Don’t pull chin toward chest.
  • Focus on abs doing the work; imagine sliding rib cage toward hips.

Stop When…

  • You start pulling or jerking up with head, neck, or shoulders.
  • You can’t keep neck or shoulders relaxed.

2. No-Hands Reverse Crunch
Instead of keeping arms at sides, where they can help abs, anchor them overhead to activate more belly muscles.

Lie faceup with arms overhead and hands grasping a heavy piece of furniture or railing. Raise feet into the air with legs bent. Contract abs, press back into floor, and lift hips off floor. Exhale as you lift; inhale as you lower. *Prevention Fitness Lab testers averaged 21 reps per set.

Make It Easier: Do the move with arms down at sides.

Make It Harder: Straighten legs.

Tips:

  • Feel the contraction in abs, not in back or legs.
  • Tilt pelvis.
  • Think of lifting up instead of pulling knees toward chest.

Stop When…

  • You can’t lift hips off the floor without jerking.
  • Neck and shoulders are tense.

3. V Crunch
This exercise gets your upper and lower body moving simultaneously to recruit the maximum number of muscle fibers in your midsection.

Balance on tailbone with legs bent, feet off floor, and arms bent at sides. Make sure back is straight and chest is lifted. Lean back and extend arms and legs, then pull back to start position. *Prevention Fitness Lab testers averaged 11 reps per set.

Make It Easier: Grasp sides of thighs with hands.

Make It Harder: Hold a 3- to 5-pound dumbbell in each hand.

Tips:

  • Eyes gaze straight forward; keep chin parallel to floor.
  • Don’t let back curve or shoulders rise toward ears.

Stop When…

  • You can’t keep arms or legs up.
  • You can’t keep chest lifted.
  • Back or neck starts to hurt.

4. Side Plank
Static balancing moves like this one are challenging because your deepest abs work really hard to hold your core in midair. Do them after crunches to ensure complete fatigue — and firm abs from every angle.

Lie on right side, elbow beneath shoulder, feet stacked, left hand on hip. Contract abs to lift hip and leg off floor. Hold until fatigued, noting your time. Do 3 sets before switching sides. *Prevention Fitness Lab testers averaged 19 seconds per side for each set.

Make It Easier: Bend legs and balance on bottom knee and side of lower leg.

Make It Harder: Straighten top arm toward sky.

Tips:

  • Keep head, neck, torso, hips, and legs all in one straight line.
  • Don’t sink into shoulder — press elbow into floor and lift torso.

Stop When…

  • Hip is sagging toward floor.
  • Neck, shoulder, or back hurts.
  • You can’t keep body in line.

Good luck, healthy girl!

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BY MARTHA ROSE SHULMAN

An apricot smoothie should be pure apricot, with no other fruits to dilute the intense flavor. This smoothie makes a great drinkable breakfast or mini-meal in the afternoon.

3 medium-size apricots (about 6 ounces), pitted

3/4 cup plain low-fat soy yogurt (try Whole Soy & Co. plain yogurt – available at Whole Foods)

1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1 teaspoon mild honey, like clover or acacia (you can also use maple syrup to stay 100% animal free)

1/8 teaspoon almond extract

1 or 2 ice cubes

1. Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend at high speed until smooth. Serve right away.

Yield: One serving.

Advance preparation: Drink this right after you make it.

Nutritional information per serving: 230 calories; 1 gram fat; 0 grams saturated fat; 4 milligrams cholesterol; 44 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams dietary fiber; 144 milligrams sodium; 13 grams protein

Good luck, healthy girl!

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By Liz Coughlin

If you need a hand whipping your body into shape quickly, there are few better people to turn to than Jillian Michaels, one half of the dynamic duo from “The Biggest Loser.”

[Check out the 5 things Jillian Michaels wants us to learn from “Losing It” on Shine.]

We recently spoke with the fitness trainer about a common struggle: managing belly fat (it is summer, after all). Here are her top five tips, in her own words:

  1. A big part of ab definition is managing water weight. This means that you should reduce your sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams a day and up your water intake to 80 ounces a day. The more water you drink, the less water you will hold.
  2. Eat foods that are high in potassium (like watermelon). This will help you reduce bloat, giving definition to your abs. Other things to try: cranberry juice mixed with water, dandelion tea, asparagus, and try taking a couple teaspoons a day of apple cider vinegar. This vinegar helps to maintain healthy levels of potassium in your body.
  3. You can spot-reduce belly fat, but you have to engage in a regimen that burns body fat. This means counting calories so that you are burning excess body fat.
  4. When you hit the gym, go hard. Work at 85 percent of your maximum heart rate for optimal fat-shedding results. Try workouts that are core-based and use multiple muscle groups, like mixed martial arts or Yoga flow.
  5. Avoid processed foods, alcohol, and lack of sleep. Those three things increase cortisol levels, which is one of the hormones believed responsible for storing belly fat.

    Jillian’s on her own this summer, starring in a new show, “Losing It With Jillian.” The premise is simple: Jillian travels across the United States, helping families who are desperately in need of health and wellness improvement. Sure, she is dominant and occasionally yells (it’s her signature method for motivation), but she is also kind, encouraging, and very insightful. Just like its sister show, this one is sure to inspire America.

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    By MARTHA ROSE SHULMAN

    Cook up a batch of rice on a Sunday and you can make fried rice dinners throughout the week. For a vegetarian version of this dish, leave out the chicken and substitute soy sauce for the fish sauce. If you do eat meat, this is a great way to make it stretch. Have all of your ingredients prepared and at arm’s length before you begin, as the cooking goes very quickly.

    2 heaped cups broccoli florets

    2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil

    3/4 pound chicken breast, sliced thin across the grain

    Salt and ground black pepper to taste

    1 bunch scallions, both white and green parts, chopped

    4 garlic cloves, minced

    1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger

    1 or 2 serrano chiles, minced (seeded for a milder dish)

    1 large carrot, peeled and diced small or cut in 2-inch matchsticks

    2 eggs, beaten and seasoned with salt and pepper

    6 cups cooked basmati brown rice (1 1/2 cups uncooked)

    1 to 2 tablespoons Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce (to taste)

    1/4 cup chopped cilantro

    Lime wedges and sliced cucumber for serving (optional)

    Soy sauce or fish sauce for serving

    1. Steam the broccoli florets for two to three minutes. Rinse with cold water, and set aside.

    2. Season the sliced chicken breast with salt and pepper. Heat a large wok or a large, heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until a drop of water evaporates upon contact. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil, swirl in the skillet and add the sliced chicken breast. Stir-fry until cooked through, three to four minutes. Add the carrot and broccoli. Stir-fry for two minutes. Add another tablespoon of the oil and the scallions, garlic, ginger and chiles. Stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour in the beaten eggs, stir for a few seconds until scrambled, and add the rice. Cook the rice: scoop it up, press it into the pan and then scoop it up again, repeating for about two minutes. Add the fish sauce, stir together for about a half minute and sprinkle the cilantro over the top. Serve, garnishing each plate with cucumbers and lime wedges if desired. Diners can squeeze lime juice onto their rice as they eat.

    Yield: Serves four to six.

    Advance preparation: Cooked rice will keep for three to four days in the refrigerator. The dish is a last-minute stir-fry, so have all of your ingredients prepared and within reach.

    Nutritional information per serving (based on four main dish servings): 477 calories; 13 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 155 milligrams cholesterol; 61 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams dietary fiber; 481 milligrams sodium (does not include salt added during cooking); 30 grams protein

    Good luck, healthy girl!

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    By MARTHA ROSE SHULMAN

    This recipe is inspired by a Spanish dish that’s made with the flat green beans that we call romanos. Those beans aren’t yet in season here, but the dish is just as delicious made with other varieties of green beans, like Blue Lake.

    3/4 pound green beans, trimmed and broken in half

    1 pound red waxy potatoes, scrubbed and cut in 2-inch wedges

    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

    2 to 3 large garlic cloves (to taste), minced

    Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

    2 hardboiled eggs, diced (optional)

    1. Steam the green beans above 1 inch of boiling water for four to five minutes until tender. Remove from the steamer, and rinse with cold water. Set aside. Add the potatoes, and steam for 10 to 15 minutes until tender.

    2. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, nonstick skillet. Add the garlic, and cook for a minute or so until the garlic is fragrant. Stir in the beans and cook, stirring, for three minutes until quite tender and coated with oil (but still bright green).

    3. Gently stir in the potatoes, and add salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until they begin to color lightly. Scatter the diced hard-boiled eggs over the top, cover and turn heat to low. Cook another three minutes. Serve hot or warm.

    Yield: Serves four.

    Advance preparation: Because this dish is good at room temperature or hot, you can make it several hours ahead. The color of the beans will fade. The steamed green beans and potatoes will keep for three or four days in the refrigerator.

    Nutritional information per serving: 168 calories; 7 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 0 milligrams cholesterol; 25 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams dietary fiber; 12 milligrams sodium (does not include salt added during cooking); 4 grams protein

    Good luck, healthy girl!

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    One-Pot Chicken
    Whip up this quick weeknight dish

    5 minute prep!

    This weeknight dinner comes together in no time–and leaves only one pan to clean. Just sit back while the chicken and veggies bake, filling your kitchen with the aroma of a healthy, home-cooked meal

    Bone-in, skinless chicken thighs meat case)
    Baby potatoes (red or Yukon Gold)
    Cherry or grape tomatoes (produce section)

    Jarred pesto sauce (we used Classico)

    Pesto Chicken Bake

    In a large roasting pan, mix 2 1/2 pounds chicken thighs (or drumsticks), 1 1/2 pounds baby potatoes, a pint of cherry tomatoes, 1/2 cup pesto, 2 tablespoons water, 2 teaspoons olive oil, and salt and pepper. Bake 45 minutes at 425°F. (Serves 4.)

    Good luck, healthy girl!

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