SPAGHETTI SQUASH – THE MIGHTY WINTER SQUASH!

I recently read an article in bon appetite where the author clearly did not like spaghetti squash – his article entitled “5 Creative Ways to Cook with Spaghetti Squash” involved deep fat frying it and frittering it (also in deep fat fryer).  He even stated that spaghetti squash had a “blah” flavor and that his favorite was acorn squash.  So why did he write the article?

I find spaghetti squash to be a super food that most people seldom, if ever eat!

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Spaghetti squash, a type of winter squash, gets its name from the pale-yellow flesh that can be fluffed into stringy, pasta-like threads. It has a very mild flavor and, unlike other winter squash, does not have much sweetness. So you can use spaghetti squash in both savory and sweet dishes. Consider eating it warm, topped with pasta sauce or tossed with a small amount of olive oil and fresh herbs, or serve it chilled with sun-dried red peppers, olives and feta cheese.

Calories and Fat

Most varieties of winter squash contain almost twice the calories per serving of spaghetti squash, which has only 42 calories per cup.  It’s also very low in fat, with less than 0.5 grams of fat per cup. (So why would you deep fat fry it?)  Spaghetti squash contains about 92 percent water by weight, which may account for its lack of calories. These qualities make spaghetti squash a good choice for weight-loss or weight-management plans. It will fill you up without adding a lot of calories or fat to your daily total.

Carbohydrates

Spaghetti squash also fits well into a low-carb or diabetes meal plan. It contains only 10 grams of total carbohydrates per cup, whereas most types of winter squash have at least 18 grams. Of the total, 4 grams come from natural sugar in the squash, and 2 grams come from dietary fiber. Eating a diet rich in fiber may regulate digestion, reduce constipation, lower your cholesterol and help you manage your weight.

Vitamins

You’ll get small amounts of almost every essential vitamin from eating spaghetti squash. Vitamin C and vitamin B-6 are the vitamins found in highest concentration in the squash. Vitamin C plays a role in the growth and repair of body proteins, aids in wound healing and supports your immune system. It’s also an antioxidant that helps defend your body against harmful free radicals. Vitamin B-6 is involved in over 100 enzyme reactions in your body, including energy metabolism and hemoglobin production.  The fruit can range either from ivory to yellow or orange in color. The orange varieties have a higher carotene content.

Minerals

Every essential mineral is found in trace amounts in the flesh of spaghetti squash. The mineral potassium plays a part in building muscle, metabolizing carbohydrates and maintaining proper muscle function in your body. It also functions as an electrolyte, helping to regulate fluid balance and the acidity, or pH, of your blood. Replacing electrolytes is essential any time you sweat heavily or lose body fluids. Without enough potassium you may experience weak muscles, an abnormal heart rhythm or an elevated blood pressure. Spaghetti squash also contains the minerals calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and sodium.

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Ingredients

Servings: 4

I think I would add some black beans that have been drained and well rinsed!

  • Pierce squash all over with a knife to vent. Place on microwavable plate and cover with waxed paper.  Microwave on high 5 minutes.  Turn squash over and microwave on high about another 5 minutes until the squash is tender enough to pierce easily with a knife.
  • Let cool slightly. Halve lengthwise and scoop out seeds; discard. Scrape flesh with a fork to remove in long strands. Spread out on paper towels to drain, then transfer to a bowl and chill until cold.
  • Just before serving, whisk lime juice and ranch dressing in a large bowl. Add chilled squash, avocado, cucumber, and chicken and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve topped with basil or parsley leaves.
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WHAT’S TRENDING IN FOOD AND NUTRITION

As a Registered Dietitian I like to keep abreast of what is trending in the field.  I love to experience new foods and try out new ideas.  My husband often needs some coaxing in trying new things though as is true with much of the public – it’s kind of like a toddler who is going through the stages of “picky eating” and “food jags”.  I use the same principles – offer a new food with other favorite foods, ask for a “no thank you” bite and don’t make an issue of food choices – just offer a variety of healthy foods to choose from!

Ancient grains are “in” again. They’re back and nutritionally superior than many modern-day, refined grains. Some to check out this year include quinoa, kaniwa, wheat berries, and millet

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Kale and chia seeds are the craze. Kale and chia seeds are unarguably two of the hottest superfoods as of late.  Just look at these health benefits of chia seeds!

Belief in the “wheat belly”Regardless of the conflicting evidence to support wheat-free and gluten-free diets for weight loss, Paleo and gluten-free diets will remain the most popular among those looking to control their weight. Gluten-free diets also help those suffering from inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.

We’re using MyPlate to fill your plate. Thank goodness the Food Pyramid finally crumbled because quite honestly it was confusing even for us dietitians. This year we’re all about using the USDA’s MyPlate to help teach you how to fill your plate with more nutritious foods.

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Local & sustainable foods are favorable. These were the two most trendy terms among consumers shopping for groceries.

Being more comfortable the weigh you are. The number of consumers who are comfortable with being an “unhealthy” weight seems to be on the rise this year.  Many people remain healthy even while carrying extra body weight – maybe the “big bone” theory has some credence!

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The low-fat trend is finally fading. Consumers are adding more fat back to their diets since recent studies have shown that “low fat” doesn’t necessarily lead to less body fat.

Breastfeeding is on the rise – YES!!  Women are overcoming the mass media of huge formula companies pushing their product and going with the natural and best way to feed their babies.

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Fruits and veggies first. Eating more servings of fruits and veggies was ranked the most important diet tweak to improve overall health this year.

Using low carbohydrate squash in place of pasta.  Spaghetti squash and zucchini make wonderful “noodles”.

Adapted from 14 Food & Nutrition Trends for 2014 at http://blog.myfitnesspal.com

ULTIMATE LUNCH WORKOUT

For a 20-minute routine, do these moves in order, using weights heavy enough to challenge you without compromising your form (try five pounds to start). Rest for 15 to 30 seconds between moves if needed, and rest for one minute at the end of the set; do two more sets, using heavier weights in each round (e.g., eight pounds, then 10 pounds).

NO SWEAT 1

 

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a dumbbell in your right hand; push your hips back until the weight is just below your knees (a). Push your hips forward and pull the weight to your chest, then quickly rotate your palm away from you and press the weight directly overhead (b). Slowly reverse the movement to return to start. That’s one rep. Do six, then repeat on the other side.

NO SWEAT 2

Holding a dumbbell in each hand, stand on your right leg, bend forward, and raise your left leg behind you, arms straight, palms facing your leg (a). Row the weights to your chest, elbows out (b), then lower. Do six reps, then switch legs and repeat.

NO SWEAT3

Start In a pushup position, with your body in a straight line from head to heels (a). keeping your back flat, bend your elbows and lower your body as slowly as possible (b). Return to start. That’s one rep. Do 12.

NO SWEAT4

Hold a pair of dumbbells above shoulder height, elbows bent and palms facing you; step your right foot forward about two feet and bend both knees. Hold this position (a). Press the weights overhead, rotating your palms away from your body (b). That’s one rep. Do six, then switch sides and repeat.

NO SWEAT5

Lie on your left side, legs and hips stacked, arms straight out at shoulder level; hold a dumbbell with both hands (a). keeping your upper body steady, slowly lift both feet four to six inches off the floor (b). Pause, then lower. That’s one rep. Do 10, then repeat on the other side.

Adapted from http://www.womenshealthmag.com

SPRING CLEANING – IDEAL WORKOUT REGIMEN!

SPRING CLEANING

The calories burned while you’re doing household chores can really add up. In fact, many household chores burn just as many calories as workouts do. Here’s how some of your household chores stack up in terms of calories burned.

Indoor Chores

Chores you do inside the house also help to burn calories. Here’s how many calories are burned in the course of performing your daily tasks:

  • Scrubbing the bath for 30 minutes burns 200 calories. Removing that stubborn soap scum from your tiles is a great way  to tone the muscles of your arms and shoulders.
  • Carrying shopping bags for 30 minutes burns 190 calories, and maybe more if the bags are particularly heavy. Distribute the weight evenly on each hand, or swap back and forth at regular intervals. Carrying too much weight on one side won’t just overdevelop those muscles, it could injure your spine.
  • Making beds for 30 minutes burns 130 calories, the same number you’d use if you jogged on a treadmill or on flat terrain for 15 minutes.
  • Cleaning windows for 30 minutes burns 125 calories, the same number used in 20 minutes of power yoga (about one-third the length of a typical power yoga class).
  • Loading the dishwasher for 30 minutes burns 105 calories, which is less than the 160 calories burned when washing them by hand.
  • Vacuuming for 30 minutes burns about 90 calories, the same amount you’d burn in 15 minutes of kick boxing.
  • Dusting for 30 minutes burns about 50 calories.
  • Ironing for 30 minutes burns about 70 calories and tones the muscles of the upper body. Stand up straight at the ironing board and press down firmly. Switch hands periodically so you don’t overdevelop one arm.

Yard Work

Yard work offers some of the most labor intensive household chores. Tasks like digging and raking the leaves not only burn a lot of calories but can help tone muscles in your arms and legs. Here are some statistics:

  • 30 minutes of digging in your yard will burn about 315 calories, the same amount burned by 45 minutes of bicycling on flat terrain. Digging tones the muscles of your calves, thighs, arms and shoulders. If you do it vigorously enough and continue the activity for 20 minutes or more, you can raise your heart rate and strengthen your cardiovascular system.
  • Washing your car works your arms and abdominals. For every 30 minutes of car washing, you’ll burn 143 calories.
  • Weeding for 30 minutes burns 115 calories, the same amount you’d burn in 15 minutes of weight training. Weeding tones your thighs and buttocks. Just be careful to bend with your legs while keeping your spine straight, or you could hurt your back.
  • Raking leaves for 30 minutes burns 225 calories. The resistance offered by the leaves makes this chore a type of weight training. Raking leaves tones all the major muscle groups in your body.

Other Calorie Burners

Here are some other activities that burn surprising amounts of calories:

  • Climbing stairs for 30 minutes burns about 285 calories.
  • Painting and decorating your home burns about 160 calories.
  • Showering and toweling off for 30 minutes burns about 70 calories.  (WOW, that’s a long shower!)

REMEMBER EVERYONE BURNS CALORIES AT A DIFFERENT RATE BASED UPON BODY SIZE.  YOU MAY WANT TO TRY THIS CLEANING HOUSE CALORIES BURNED CALCULATOR FOR MORE ACCURATE MEASURES!

NOT ONLY WILL YOU FEEL ACCOMPLISHED WITH YOUR CLEANING EFFORTS YOU’LL GET MORE FIT ON TOP OF IT – WHAT I CALL A TWOFER!!

BREAKFAST – THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX!

Breakfast Basics

Eating breakfast can improve children’s behavior and school performance, as well as help them maintain a healthy weight. But a survey by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation reveals that breakfast isn’t eaten all of the time by 42 percent of Caucasian and Hispanic children, and 59 percent of African American children.This news is startling; when children skip breakfast, research shows us that their brains and bodies suffer all day long.While breakfast might seem like a hurdle in your busy morning, a healthy diet doesn’t need to take extra time to prepare.

  • Get Organized the Night Before: Get out a pan for pancakes or a blender for smoothies. Prepare muffin or waffle mix so it’s ready to cook in the morning.
  • Keep Breakfast Simple: On busy days, get the family going with something as quick as a bowl of whole-grain cereal with a banana.
  • Pack Your Breakfast to Go: If there’s no time to eat at home, plan a nutritious option to eat in the car or bus. Busy teens can grab a banana, a bag of trail mix and a carton of milk.

Protein, a missing component in many morning meals, helps children go strong and stay focused until lunch. Go lean with protein choices: a slice or two of Canadian bacon, an egg or egg whites, a slice of lean deli meat or low-fat cheese, a container of low-fat or Greek yogurt or peanut butter on whole grain toast.

Add in nutrient-rich whole grains to energize both kids’ bodies and brains along with an extra nutrition punch. Plus, whole grains provide a longer lasting source of energy and curb hunger as they tend to digest more slowly. Serve kids whole-grain cereals like oatmeal or whole-grain breads, muffins, waffles or pancakes.

Breakfast is a perfect time to enjoy fruits and vegetables children need for optimal health. Try fresh seasonal fruit alone or in cereal, add frozen fruits to yogurt, or toss chopped vegetables into an omelet.

Whatever your morning routine, remember that breakfast is an important meal for the family, and doesn’t have to be time consuming!

THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX!  I FREEZE THESE BAKED MOZZARELLA STICKS AND REHEAT ONE OR TWO IN THE TOASTER OVEN FOR AN EASY PROTEIN PACKED BREAKFAST!  ABOUT 50% OF THE CALORIES ARE FROM FAT SO CUT DOWN ON FAT AT YOUR OTHER MEALS AND SNACKS THAT DAY!  REMEMBER PROTEIN AND FAT HELP KEEP YOU FEELING FULL LONGER TOO WHILE YOU BURN THOSE CARBS UP QUICKLY FOR ENERGY.

BAKED MOZZARELLA STICKS

BAKED MOZZARELLA STICKS

1 pkg Frieda’s Egg Roll Wrappers
20 Mozzarella Cheese Sticks
1 pkg Pepperoni slices (need 100 slices)
marinara or pizza sauce for dipping

Take 1 egg roll wrapper, place 5 slices of pepperoni from tip to tip as pictured above. Add mozzarella stick and fold over tips and roll up. Use a little water on your fingers to seal edges. Repeat.

PREHEAT oven 375 degrees F. Bake 20 minutes or until desired browness Serve with sauce.

1 MOZZARELLA STICK = 183 Calories, 14 gm Carbohydrate, 14 gm Protein, 10 gm Fat

WHY CAN’T I LOSE WEIGHT?

THIS COULD BE THE REASON!

EXERCISE BLOCK

SERIOUSLY, I KNOW YOU’RE REALLY TRYING WITH CUTTING BACK ON CALORIES, REDUCING FAT INTAKE, AND EXERCISING MORE.  BUT YOU MAY BE DEFEATING THE PURPOSE BY MAKING A FEW COMMON MISTAKES – SOME INGRAINED HABITS THAT ARE DIFFICULT TO BREAK.  IF YOU FIND ONE OR MORE OF THESE FITS YOUR LIFESTYLE, FOCUS ON OVERCOMING THEM AS YOUR NEW YEARS RESOLUTION AND YOU SHOULD SEE A SLOW (1/2 TO 1# PER WEEK) WEIGHT LOSS.

1. You “Fall off the Wagon” with one small slip and  decide to binge the rest of the day!

CAKE

Sometimes this happens at work because there are loads of goodies around the water cooler or the staff is celebrating a birthday.  Sometimes it’s on the weekend and there is a football party where everyone brings something loaded with fat! Or you just have a craving.  Then after you have had that one taste, you say to yourself, well, I’ve blown it for the day so I’ll have a little more…This might only happen once a week but it can sabotage the rest of your weekly efforts quickly. You haven’t blown your diet by having a portion-controlled “treat” occasionally,  just don’t guilt yourself into eating more!

2. You Drink Your Calories

eggnog

We just went through the Blizzard of 2014 in Lake View, NY!  We shoveled several hours for days on end.  We cross-country skied at least an hour every day.  We ate healthy, home-cooked meals.  My husband stepped on the scale and found he had gained a few pounds!  I could argue that he built muscle from all the work he did, but more likely it was from the calories consumed from all the cappuccinos he drank throughout the day.  Granted we had 30 below wind chills but 3 or 4 cappuccinos a day at 300 calories a piece (900-1200 calories) is enough to gain 1-2 pounds a week!  Think about what you’re drinking!

3. You Don’t Eat Enough Protein

Adequate protein intake is especially important if you are cutting calories to keep your muscle while you lose fat.  The RDA for protein is about .4 grams per pound of body weight (ex: 150 lb x .4 g/lb = 60 gram) . You may want to add 10-20 grams and cut your calories from fat first, then carbs (since you need carbs for energy).

4. You Skip Breakfast

When you skip breakfast your metabolism slows down so that when you do eat, you don’t burn those foods off as efficiently.  Your slower metabolism also leads to a sluggish day where you have little energy for that workout you really need so you may do it with less enthusiasm and reap less of a reward.

5. You make excuses why you simply cannot work out

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There are so many excuses and I have made them myself:  there isn’t enough time in the day; it’s too cold, rainy, icy outside; I don’t want to go back out and drive to the gym….The key is to make sure to do something everyday (not just walking around the block as above!).  It can be something different every day and it must be at a time that works for you that day.  For example, I might grab a quick lunch and take a walk on my lunch break because I have a meeting after dinner and know I won’t be able to do my usual routine.  I might use the elliptical inside during the blizzard because there truly is life threatening wind chills outside.  I might pack my toning band since I’m traveling and won’t have any weights to work out with.

THE LIFESTYLE CHOICES YOU MAKE EACH DAY WILL MAKE OR BREAK YOUR WEIGHT CONTROL EFFORTS SO CHOOSE WISELY!

ADAPTED FORM THE BEAUTY AND FITNESS BLOG

“IF MD STANDS FOR MENTALLY DEFICIENT, RD MUST STAND FOR REALLY DUMB!”

What Prompted This Post?

I was on an elevator with a doctor (not an intern) in one of the hospitals I worked in (I won’t mention the name), and he looked at my badge and asked me what the RD stood for!  While shocked, somehow I came up with this witty reply: “If MD stands for Mentally Deficient, then RD must stand for Really Dumb!”  Thankfully, the elevator doors opened for my timely escape.  Needless to say, I did NOT stay at that hospital for long!

What Is a Registered Dietitian?

RD

Registered dietitians, or RDs, are THE food and nutrition experts, translating the science of nutrition into practical solutions for healthy living. The expertise, training and credentials that back a registered dietitian are vital for promoting positive lifestyle choices.

When you need food and nutrition information based on fact or need to know how a healthy diet improves health and fights disease—rely on qualified professionals in the field.

Registered dietitians draw on their experience to develop a personalized nutrition plan for individuals of all ages. They are able to separate facts from fads and translate nutritional science into information you can use. A registered dietitian can put you on the path to a healthy weight, eating healthfully and reducing your risk of chronic disease.

RDs work in hospitals, schools, public health clinics, nursing homes, fitness centers, food industry, research, private practice and more. Many RDs have certifications in specialized fields such as diabetes, sports, pediatric, renal, oncology or gerontological nutrition.

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An RD can provide sound, easy-to-follow nutrition advice. Here are a few of the benefits of working with an expert.

  • Between what you hear on TV and read in the news, eating right can seem like a real challenge. But it doesn’t have to be. A registered dietitian can help you weed through nutrition misinformation and provide sound, easy-to-follow nutrition advice.
  • Maintaining a healthy blood sugar level is essential to managing diabetes, and choosing nutritious foods and monitoring portion sizes help keep blood sugar levels as stable as possible. If you have diabetes, a registered dietitian (RD) or registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) can help manage the disease while ensuring you get the nutrients you need.  A CDE (Certified Diabetes Educator) can also be an RD with specialized training.
  • Individuals with kidney disease likely need to follow a diet with specific daily amounts of certain nutrients to help prevent progression of the disease. A registered dietitian nutritionist can teach patients how to eat well and manage this vital part of their health plan.
  • WEIGHT CONTROL is always a huge concern.  No powdered meal replacement or pill is going to help you control your weight effectively.  A registered dietitian will work with you one-on-one to look at your current diet and fitness routine and help you develop a personalized plan that will work for you!
  • Dietitian’s can help with sound nutrition advice through all stages of life:  Pregnancy & Lactation; Breastfeeding, Picky Toddler & Food Jags,  Teen Athlete Needs, Nutrition  as we Age, Geriatric Nutrition and Palliative Nutrition.

Some RDs may call themselves “nutritionists,” but not all nutritionists are registered dietitians. The RD credential can only be used by practitioners who have met specific educational and professional requirements.

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The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (previously the American Dietetic Association) recently changed the credential to Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist (RDN).  So when looking for sound nutrition advice, whether from a “Dietitian” or “Nutritionist”, always make sure to look at their credentials.  If they are Registered with the Commission on Dietetic Registration in the US,then they can call themselves an RD or RDN.  They will have a card to prove it!

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What Are My Credentials?

I HAVE BEEN A REGISTERED DIETITIAN FOR OVER 25 YEARS – NOW, I GUESS, I AM A REGISTERED DIETITIAN-NUTRITIONIST IN THE USA!  I AM ALSO A CERTIFIED DIETITIAN-NUTRITIONIST WITH THE NEW YORK STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT.  THIS IS WHAT OTHER STATES MIGHT CALL A LICENSE TO PRACTICE AS A DIETITIAN-NUTRITIONIST IN NYS.  I WAS ALSO A CERTIFIED DIABETES EDUCATOR FOR 10 YEARS.

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I HOPE YOU FIND MY BLOG USEFUL AND INFORMATIVE!

Adapted from the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics web page.

HOLIDAY ROUNDS WITHOUT GAINING THE POUNDS!

Healthy Holiday Eating

Food is everywhere during the holiday season, making it tough to stick to your healthful eating and exercise habits. However, with a little attention, you can make it through the holidays without losing track of your healthy lifestyle.

Is it true that the average person gains 5 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day?
People often do gain weight during the holidays, but how much weight? In 2000, a study of 195 adults showed an average holiday weight gain of between .75 pounds (lb) and 1 lb. However, 14% of those studied gained 5 lb or more. In this study, those who were overweight or obese gained more holiday pounds than those who were normal weight. According to the study, while most people gain less than 1 lb during the holidays, the holiday weight gain is one reason that your weight creeps up from year to year.

Woman Standing on Scale

What can I do to prevent gaining weight over the holidays?
Are you dreading the holiday season because you think you will gain back all of the weight you have lost in the last 6 months? The best advice is to change your mind-set. Do not expect to lose weight between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Instead, focus on not gaining weight. For success, keep a regular exercise pattern and healthy diet during this time. After all, the fine food of the holiday is one of the pleasures of the season.

Allow yourself to splurge on foods that make your holiday season meaningful. Enjoy your favorites in small amounts. Try to cut back in other ways, and keep your exercise schedule on track.

What can I do to stay active when I am traveling and cannot get to my gym?
Exercising during the hectic and sometimes stressful holiday season can help you maintain your weight and sanity. If you are a true “gym rat,” most gyms will allow you to visit as a guest, although sometimes at a hefty fee! Walking, running, or stair-climbing are easy when you are traveling—you can do these activities almost anywhere. For resistance training, check your sporting goods store or online for rubber resistance bands (They are only about $10 and work really well.  I also posted several tips for quick work outs you can do anywhere – look for them!). They slip easily into a travel bag and are lightweight—use them to strengthen and tone almost any body part.

Danskin Toning Band (2) (570x428)

You may need to adjust your expectations for holiday exercising. Try to stay flexible. Know that you might miss out on some workouts. Sneak in exercise whenever you can by taking a walk after a large meal, for example. Make sure to get back to your regular exercise routine when you return home.

How can I stay on track and not overeat at holiday functions?
You can keep your calorie intake under control in many ways. Try these tips and see which ones work best for you:

  • Survey the entire table before you take any food. Decide what foods are worth eating and which you can ignore, and then stick to that decision. Why waste calories on foods that do not bring you pleasure?
  • Eat a snack before you leave home. If you arrive at a party starving, you are more likely to eat too much.
  • Eat your calories instead of drinking them. Stick to lower calorie or calorie-free drinks (diet sodas, water, lite beer, or a wine spritzer), instead of punches, eggnog, and mixed drinks that can have up to 500 calories/cup.
  • Sip a large glass of water between every alcoholic drink, nonalcoholic punch, or eggnog. This will help keep you hydrated, and you will drink fewer calories by the end of the night.

Woman Drinking Glass of Water

  • When you are hosting, make sure the menu includes lower-calorie foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. When you are a guest, bring along a lower-calorie dish to share.
grinch kabobs

GRINCH KABOBS

GRINCH KABOBS:

Layer mini marshmallow, strawberry, banana slice, and a grape on a small stick and you get Grinch Kabobs!

  • Try not to hang out near the food. Find a comfortable spot across the room, and focus on people instead of eating.
  • Watch your portion sizes. Do not cover your plate completely with food. When it comes to holiday sweets and alcoholic beverages, less is better.
  • Drop out of the “clean plate club.” Leave a few bites behind every time you eat, especially if you are eating something you do not really care for.
  • Enjoy your favorite holiday treats, but take a small portion, eat slowly, and savor the taste and texture of the wonderful foods of the season.
  • Visit these Web sites for free reduced-calorie and reduced-fat recipes:

12 QUICK HOLIDAY NUTRITION TIPS!

CELEBRATE THE HOLIDAYS A LITTLE HEALTHIER AND AVOID THE UP TO 15 POUND WEIGHT GAIN!

  • Focus on weight management rather than weight loss.

Standing on Scale

  • Plan time for exercise. Exercise helps relieve holiday stress and prevent weight gain.

FLAT ABS 5

  • Do not skip meals. Skipping breakfast or lunch before a big holiday dinner actually may cause you to overeat.
  • If you know that you will not find any healthy choices, offer to bring something along, such as a salad, vegetable dish, chicken, or fish.

Fresh vegetables falling

  • Pace yourself and become more aware of what you are eating and drinking. Eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed.
  • Select small portions. This will allow you to enjoy all the different foods offered, while still controlling your calorie intake.
  • If you drink, select lite wines and beers, rather than mixed drinks. Alcohol is high in calories.  Use diet mixers if available.
  • Stand away from buffet tables and food trays to avoid the urge to nibble constantly. My husband’s problem!
  • Talk more, eat less. Make the holiday season about enjoying company, rather than all about the food.
  • Fill your plate with a rainbow of colors. Choose different varieties of fruits and vegetables often.

vegetables

  • Learn to say “no” politely. You can say: “No thank you. I have had enough. Everything was delicious.” This works even with someone who will not take “no” for an answer.
  • If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!

BLAST 500+ CALORIES DOING YOGA

I LOVE THIS WORKOUT AND DO IT FOR ABOUT AN HOUR EACH DAY – POSES ARE “DOABLE” This calorie-zapping yoga routine will melt away pounds while sculpting every major muscle in your body. Remember cutting out or burning 500 calories a day leads to 1 pound of weight loss each week!!  It is also nice that this workout can really be done anywhere so if you’re traveling for work or vacationing and stuck inside, throw a towel on the carpet and work it!

Adapted from Alyssa Shaffer; Photographs by Dorit Thies

Lose Weight with Yoga

How much can yoga really do for you? A lot. This is a  total-body routine that is a mind and body booster. The workout is built around the classic sun salutation series, with challenging core and upper- and lower-body variations added for a fat-blasting twist. Do the entire sequence four to five times through (keep at it for an hour) and you’ll burn off the calorie equivalent of a banana split while sculpting your arms, chest, abs, butt, and legs and improving your flexibility.

YOGA 500-1

How it works: Start and finish each circuit with a sun salutation, a four-move series done forward and in reverse that is the foundation of the workout. Every time you do this main series, you’ll add a challenging variation to keep your heart rate elevated while toning your whole body. Each sun salutation, plus all of our variations, should take about 15 minutes.

Sun Salutation (Main Series)

1.

YOGA 500MOUNTAIN

Mountain Pose Stand tall with feet together, shoulders relaxed, weight evenly distributed through your soles, arms at sides. Take a deep breath and raise your hands overhead, palms facing each other with arms straight. Reach up toward the sky with your fingertips.

2.

YOGA 500 standingforward

Standing Forward Bend From mountain pose, exhale, sweeping your arms sideways as you swan dive forward, bending at hips, until fingertips or palms reach the ground on either side of your feet; keep fingers in line with toes. (If your hamstrings or back are tight, bend your knees.) Think about drawing the crown of your head down and the backs of your legs toward the sky.

3.

YOGA 500 forwardflatback

Forward Bend, Flat Back From standing forward bend, keep feet together and place fingertips on ground near outer edges of your feet, in line with your toes. Inhale as you lift your torso halfway up, keeping your back flat. Look forward, reaching your tailbone away from the top of your head. If you feel tight in your hamstrings or lower back or can’t reach the ground, bend your knees and place your hands on your shins.

4.

YOGA 500- DOWNWARD DOG

Downward Dog From forward bend with flat back, bend knees, place palms flat on ground shoulder-width apart, and jump both feet back, landing softly in downward dog. Spread your fingers and make sure your feet are hip-width apart and parallel. Reach your tailbone up and away from hands and your heels toward the ground.

5. Reverse this series back to the start Bring your legs toward your hands and straighten legs, returning to forward bend with flat back. Drop your head and return to standing forward bend, then to mountain pose, sweeping arms out to the sides and overhead to complete the main series.

Build Your Workout Each time you complete the sunsalutation, add on a new challenge series until you’ve incorporated all the moves. Each full sequence will take about 15 minutes; do 4 to 5 times.

Add On: Half Push-Up Series

Part 1.

YOGA 500 tabletoptohalf

Tabletop to Half Push-Up From downward dog, get on all fours, aligning your knees on the ground under hips and your hands directly below shoulders (not shown). Keeping abs pulled in and head aligned with your spine, bend elbows about 45 degrees in a half push-up, arms close to sides. Straighten arms; repeat push-up 4 to 6 times.

Part 2.

YOGA 500 extendedchilds

Extended Child’s Pose From half push-up, straighten arms and bring your tailbone back toward heels, resting the backs of your thighs on your calves. Hold for a few breaths, feeling the stretch through your back and shoulders. Return from child’s pose to tabletop, then back to downward dog; do the remainder of the main series in reverse.

Add On: Lunge Jump

Do the half push-up series, returning to downward dog. Step left leg forward between hands, bending left knee 90 degrees while keeping right leg straight. Hold for a few breaths, then switch legs, jumping left leg back and right leg forward. Repeat 4 to 6 times. Return to downward dog and reverse the main series back to the start.

Add On: Warrior Series

YOGA 500 warrior

Warrior 1 with High Lunge Do the main series, adding on both half push-up and lunge jump, ending in downward dog. From here, step left foot forward between hands, bending left knee 90 degrees with toes facing forward; keep right leg straight and lift upper body. Raise arms overhead next to ears; hold for 3 to 5 breaths.

Straighten left leg while lowering arms; keep palms in and right heel lifted. Repeat 4 to 6 times. Return to warrior 1, then to downward dog; repeat on opposite side, ending in downward dog. Reverse the main series back to start.

Add On: Chair with Twist

Chair Pose

YOGA 500 chairpose

Do the main series plus each of the previous add-ons one time through, ending in mountain pose with arms raised. From here, bend your knees, pushing your butt back.

Bring palms together in front of chest and bend forward, pressing right upper arm against outside of left thigh as you twist your upper body to the left. Hold for 1 to 2 breaths, then come back to center and twist to the right. Continue alternating sides, 4 to 6 times in each direction, then return to a standing position.

YEAH!! YOU DID IT!!