5 Drinks That Can Help You Lose Weight

Food & Nutrition, recipes
5 Drinks That Can Help You Lose Weight

Is what you drink affecting your ability to lose weight? The short answer is yes. Liquid calories play a huge part in our health, and the amount you consume is directly related to your ability to control the number on that scale.

Beverages go down quicker and easier than food. But that’s also the definition of “mindless” consumption: not paying attention while we’re doing other things like driving, working, watching television or sports, mingling, catching up with friends, etc.

Sodas, as most of the MyFitnessPal community knows, are liquid sugar. They do little to satiate hunger. But that’s also true of many other beverages, including energy drinks, iced lattes, bottled green teas, smoothies, sports drinks, alcoholic beverages, sweetened teas and, yes, even those fresh-pressed organic juices from your local juice bar. Most of these contain a lot of sugar and very little fiber to help keep you full. A few hundred calories per day can add up quickly, as many people fail to factor liquid calories into their daily intake.

Most sodas, bottled teas, energy drinks and sports drinks have sugar and calories listed on the container. Always read labels, and choose beverages with little- to no-added sugar and calories.

Alcohol is where things can get tricky, as calories, fat, sugar and carbohydrates aren’t required to be listed on labels. With 7 calories per gram of alcohol — it’s the second most concentrated source of calories, more than both carbohydrates and fat. It’s also absorbed directly into the bloodstream, meaning your body doesn’t burn extra calories in order to process and break it down.


Many of today’s trending craft beers have as much as 200–250 calories per pint, and that’s just for one. Wine has around 120 calories per 5-ounce pour, if you can limit it to just a glass. Cocktails mixed with sodas, simple syrups and tonic waters add up quickly, too — and come in much smaller portions that “vanish” rapidly. Limiting alcoholic beverages is one of the first steps you can take for successful weight loss.

But wait: The good news is there are a few things (other than water) that you can start sipping that may aid your efforts to shed some pounds. Drinking to promote better hydration, sleep and digestion can also help with weight-loss efforts. Here are five quaffs to consider.

We all know how important it is to drink enough water — it restores fluids lost through breathing, exercising and metabolism. It’s the number 1 thirst quencher … and cheap! But the timing could make a difference, too. When you start to feel hungry, drink some water. A 2015 study in the journal Obesity found that participants who drank about 2 glasses of water before meals were more likely to lose weight than those who skipped the glasses of water and went straight to eating.

Drinking green tea regularly may not only boost your fat fighting metabolism, but may also play a key role in weight maintenance and hunger suppression. One study from the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that in just two months, green tea drinkers lost an average of six pounds more than those who drank plain water. Green tea is also brimming with antioxidants and flavonoids that are good for overall health. Drink freshly brewed tea with no added sugar or cream — bottled store-bought varieties have fewer antioxidants (the  concentration decreases the longer tea sits after brewing) and are often pumped full of honey or sugar.

The morning java boost is a necessity for many of us, but there’s proof that the jolt may spur a better workout (translation: burn more calories). A 2015 study in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness found that participants could do almost 20% more leg presses and 12% more bench presses when they drank 2–3 cups of coffee before their workout. A similar 2011 study found an (albeit small) increase in energy expenditure both before and after exercise in the group that drank coffee before exercise.

In addition, coffee positively affects the hormones that help improve blood-sugar regulation. Maintaining stable blood sugar is essential to your well-being, overall fitness, regulating your hormones and plays a role in how much fat your body is able to store and burn.

But before you get too excited, we recommend you skip the sugar and heavy cream. The benefits noted above are singular to black coffee — not the mostly sugar and milk-based lattes, frappes, and mochas from Starbucks, McDonald’s and Dunkin Donuts, which sell drinks that may contain more than 1/4 cup (50 grams) of sugar!

This fizzy, pleasantly puckery fermented beverage is made by adding a probiotic-rich bacteria to lightly sweetened tea. More and more research is looking into gut health and how it relates to obesity and weight, finding that the millions of bacteria that live in our guts may play a large role by altering the way we store fat, how we balance blood sugar and how we respond to the hormones that make us feel hungry and full. Fueling our gut with beverages and foods that stimulate good bacteria may make losing weight easier than we ever thought possible. Kombucha is readily available in most supermarkets and comes loaded with probiotics — just be sure to look for brands with less than 5 grams sugar per serving.

We’ve said it here before: Sleep is essential for more efficient weight loss. Drinking turmeric-steeped warm milk before bed may help you catch more zzz’s. The brain uses calcium and tryptophan (both of which are found in dairy products) to make sleep-inducing melatonin.

Turmeric contains a component called curcumin, which may shrink the size of adipose cells and limit fat accumulation. Curcumin also stimulates antioxidant effects, reduces inflammation and may help relieve anxiety. Research on turmeric is still young, but it certainly can’t hurt to add this warming spice to your nightly routine.

Motivation Monday: 8 Foods That Are Surprisingly Good for Weight Loss

Motivation, Inspiration and Encouragement, Uncategorized

Losing weight doesn’t always have to be about deprivation and denial. In fact, it shouldn’t be. Successful, sustainable weight loss is far more attainable when you focus on the quality of food rather than the quantity. Eat wholesome, nutritious, (and even calorie-filled) foods and you’ll be far more satisfied and content on less. Many of the foods people think are off-limits when it comes to losing weight are the very foods that have the ability to actually help us reach our goal. Here are eight foods that cannot only help you reach your weight-loss goal, but help you keep it off for good.

Drink skim and stay slim? Not always so when it comes to dairy. A recent study published in the American Journal of Nutrition found that more than 18,000 women who consumed more higher-fat and whole-milk dairy products had a lower risk of being overweight.

How can this be? Some essential fatty acids are stripped when milk is skimmed — the very component that may help you feel fuller sooner and stay full longer with full fat products. Several studies have found that when people reduce the amount of fat in their diet, they tend to replace it with sugar and refined carbohydrates, which can have a worse effect on overall health.

Bottom line: Eat a variety of dairy and worry less about how much fat it contains. Limit high-sugar ice cream treats, and buy plain yogurt with no added sugars, which tend to pile up in the flavored and fruited varieties.

In addition to healthy fats, nut butters contain an impressive amount of protein and fiber, too. Peanut butter boasts a plentiful 8 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons along with 2 grams of fiber.

A study from Harvard School of Public Health found that regular nut consumption among a group of more than 51,000 women was associated with a lower risk of weight gain and obesity. A similar study in the Journal of Nutrition found that weight changed very little among people who consumed a normal versus nut-enhanced diet. In other words: Nuts and nut butters can be a healthy addition to your diet, even when trying to lose weight. Try snacking on nut butters in between meals to sustain your appetite. A 200-calorie cashew or peanut butter snack is far more satisfying and filling than say, 200 calories of crackers or pretzels.


Shopping tip: Skip the reduced-fat versions, which ironically tend to have more calories, sugar, sodium and preservatives than regular nut butter. Buy those that list nuts — and maybe a bit of salt — in the ingredient list, and use them as a way to eat more whole grains, fruits, and veggies. What’s not to love about an apple smeared in almond butter?

Pasta is surprisingly low on the glycemic index — a ranking of carbohydrates on a scale of 0 to 100, based on how quickly they raise blood-sugar levels. The lower the number, the longer it takes to digest, leaving you with a steadier source of fuel to support energy levels. Whole-grain pasta falls in the 32–37 range (about half that of white bread), while white pasta averages in the mid-40 range — still much lower than that slice of white bread. And because pasta is traditionally tossed with other wholesome foods like seafood, vegetables and olive oil, a healthy pasta meal is far from off-limits for those concerned about their weight.

Pro tip: Stick to whole-grain varieties, double up on veggies and skip the super cheesy, cream-based sauces.

Rich in high-quality protein, healthy fats and essential vitamins and minerals, eggs are a low-calorie, nutrient-dense choice when it comes to snacks and meals. At just 70 calories per egg, there’s no reason not to enjoy the entire egg, yolk and white combined. Yes, egg yolks are a source of dietary cholesterol, but recent studies now prove that dietary cholesterol has less of an effect on blood cholesterol than we once thought. The evidence says eating whole eggs in moderation is safe, and some studies even show they may aid in weight loss when eaten in place of refined carbs.



Bonus: Eggs are super cheap and cook quickly — a perfect solution for busy, time-crunched mornings. Cook your eggs in olive oil and use them as a vessel for sautéed greens and vegetables, then serve them over whole-grain toast for a complete, well-balanced, weight-conscious meal.

What most people fail to realize is that per ounce, dark meat chicken or turkey (from the leg and thigh) only has about 5 extra calories and 1g of fat more than white breast meat. The skin is where most of the fat lies — skip that on any part of the bird for a far more calorie-conscious choice. Dark meat poultry tends to be more tender, juicy and rich in flavor than white meat — requiring not only less butter and oil to cook with, but also less sauce or creamy condiments to make it palatable than breast meat. It’s a great source of lean protein that may leave you more satisfied at meal time, and less likely to overeat later.

Dark meat contains more myoglobin, an oxygen-carrying protein that gives it a gray-reddish color, as well as more iron and zinc — two immune-boosting minerals.

When it comes to weight loss, limiting liquid calories can be the key to success. Alcohol carries 7 calories per gram, which not only adds up quickly, but goes down quickly, too. But giving up our occasional cocktail at the end of a long day is non-negotiable for some.

Red wine may be more beneficial than white, according to one study from Washington State University, which found the polyphenols in red wine (including resveratrol) may even prevent obesity by aiding in metabolism. The heftiest boost of polyphenols comes from whole grapes, but wine certainly carries a portion of those benefits.


Bottom line: Alcoholic beverages won’t necessarily aid in weight loss, but they do help us relax and wind down from stressful days. In moderation, alcohol is good for the heart, too. Drink responsibly (not on an empty stomach), limit your intake and choose a 120-calorie glass of wine over sugar-loaded cocktails and carbohydrate-dense beer for better weight-loss success.

Your daily cup of joe may do more than just help you roll out of bed each morning. It stimulates the brain and nervous system, and contains antioxidants that may help improve glucose metabolism — which not only helps suppress the appetite, but also lowers the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Caffeinated coffee may also stimulate thermogenesis, and the body’s ability to burn more fat stores, improving performance in endurance exercises like running and biking.

While the effects of coffee on weight loss are likely minimal, the overall health benefits are reason enough to enjoy a cup or two each morning as part of your daily routine. A 2014 systematic review and meta-analysis of 36 studies found those who drank their morning cups of coffee were actually at the lowest risk for heart problems.

A cup of advice: Not all coffee is created equal — most of the benefits associated with coffee are singular to black coffee — not the cream and sugar-filled coffee beverages from drive-thrus and coffee boutiques. Limit the flavored (and over-priced) lattes to a rare treat.

Just one or two bites of rich, satisfying chocolate can not only reduce stress levels, but help curb cravings for other sugar-loaded treats, too. High stress levels can lead to cortisol hormone spikes, which increase the appetite and emotional eating behaviors.

The benefits of chocolate are specific to the concentration of cocoa flavonoids, which have been shown in studies to have multiple health benefits, such as improving blood flow to the brain and reducing the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels, blood sugar and blood pressure. The higher the percentage of cacao, the greater the benefits.

Buying tip: Skip the convenience store and check-out lane chocolate bars, which contain a lot of added fats and sugars — which can counteract some of cocoa’s health benefits. Look for bars with at least 70% cacao or higher, with a short, simple ingredient list … and indulge in just an ounce or two. Eating too much will work against you.

Portion tip: Thighs are about half the size of the breast, making them a far more portion-savvy option than today’s 9- and 10-ounce breast halves. Double bonus: They’re cheaper, too.

 

Source:

BY: SIDNEY FRY, MS, RD

The Most Dangerous Fat Is the Easiest to Lose

Food & Nutrition, Motivation, Inspiration and Encouragement, Uncategorized
The Most Dangerous Fat Is the Easiest to Lose

It’s every weight loss enthusiast’s dream to zap belly fat but, far from pure vanity, there’s actually a reason why having a lot of fat in the abdominal region can be dangerous. Fat is stored all over our body, but how does an expanding waistline grow your risk for chronic illness?

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

Your body’s fat impacts your health differently depending on where it’s stored. While most fat found on other parts of our bodies (think arms, legs, buttocks) are considered “subcutaneous fat,” belly fat is more likely to be “visceral.”

PINCHABLE VERSUS PRESSABLE

“Subcutaneous fat” is the pinchable, squishy fat right between your skin and muscle that helps keep you warm, cushions you against shock, and stores extra calories. “Visceral fat” stores calories too, but isn’t as pinchable because it is located in and around your organs. It’s hidden deep within the belly region, which is what makes it firm (rather than squishy) when you press it.

PROXIMITY

Fat doesn’t just store calories—it’s a living tissue capable of producing and releasing hormones that affect your other organs. Because visceral fat sits near our organs, its release of these chemicals is poorly situated. Having more visceral fat can raise your LDL (a.k.a. “bad” cholesterol) and blood pressure. Visceral fat can also make you less sensitive to insulin, which increases your risk for Type 2 Diabetes.

TELLING BAD BELLY FAT APART

Even if you’re thin, you can still have visceral fat around the abdominal region—being “skinny” doesn’t necessarily mean you’re healthy. There’s no sure-fire way to tell visceral from subcutaneous fat short of an expensive CT scan, but it’s important for you to get a rough idea of what your visceral stores are. Here are a few tricks to figure out where your belly stands:

APPLES AND PEARS

You’re probably wondering, “What does fruit have to do with it?” These two fruits give a quick visual of where most of your fat is stored on the body. Pears tend to store fat in the lower extremities (hips, thighs, buttocks) as subcutaneous fat while apples tend to store fat in the upper region (belly, chest) as visceral fat. It takes a quick inspection, but this is an imperfect way to tell these two fats apart.

WAIST CIRCUMFERENCE (WC)

Feel for the top of your hip bone (it’s at the same level as the top of your belly button) and circle a tape measure around this point. Remember to relax and don’t suck in your gut (be honest!). Take 2-3 measurements and figure out the average. Men should have a WC of less than 40 inches (102 cm) and women should have a WC of less than 35 inches (89 cm).

WAIST-TO-HIP RATIO

The waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) takes the circumference of your waist (see above) and divides it by the circumference of your hips. To measure your hips, stand in front of a mirror then figure out the widest part of your butt and measure that circumference. Then use this formula:
WHR = (Waist circumference) / (Hip circumference).
Men should have a WHR of less than 1 while women should have a WHR of less than 0.8.

KNOW YOUR FAMILY HEALTHY HISTORY

If your parents or siblings have insulin resistance, heart disease or non-alcoholic fatty liver, you may be at a greater risk for storing visceral fat. Keeping an eye on your visceral fat may be beneficial, but know that the causes of these chronic diseases are complex. If you’re in doubt, it’s best to speak with your healthcare provider.


READ MORE > ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO FAT


BANISHING VISCERAL FAT

If you fall in the normal range for WC and WHR, that’s great! Keep working at your weight goals as you see fit. If you’re not there, don’t despair. Because of its proximity to the liver, visceral fat is usually the easier fat to burn. It’s the less risky subcutaneous fat that likes to stick around.

Unfortunately, you can’t forcefully spot reduce fat around your belly no matter how many crunches you do. The next best thing is to live a healthy lifestyle:

  • Go beyond weight tracking. You can track your waist, hip and even neck circumference in the app. Use this feature to see how your measurements change over time as you lose weight.
  • Sweat for 30-60 minutes each day. Visceral fat responds well to regular endurance exercises, such as running, biking, rowing, swimming, that elevate your heart rate. As your body uses fat to fuel exercise, it’ll start using up your visceral stores.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet. Eat a diet high in whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and lean protein with calories set for gradual weight loss (e.g. about 1-2 pounds per week). Cut way back on added sugars and alcohol since these nutrients will more likely end up as visceral fat.
  • Sleep more, stress less. It’s easier said than done, but in order to take care of your physical body, you have to take care of your mental state. Sleep loss and stress can sabotage your health and fitness goals, so learn more about getting a quality night’s rest and use meditation or yoga to calm your mind. Remember, it’s not just about your health; it’s about your happiness, too.
BY TRINH LE, MPH, RD

MUST READ: 7 Easy Ways To Lose Fat

fitness, Fitness on a Budget, Food & Nutrition, Uncategorized

There’s no secret, as much as some would like you to believe, to losing fat and there’scertainly no quick fixes (that work long-term and that are good for you). There is however, little things you can be doing that are super easy and that will help you tone up and sculpt your whole body.

We’ve put together 10 of the easiest tips to start adding into your day, starting now!

1. Eat A Protein Rich Breakfast.

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High protein diets can reduce obsessive thoughts about food by 60%, reduce desire for late-night snacking by half, and make you so full that you automatically eat 441 fewer calories per day… just by adding protein to your diet. Start your day as you mean to go.

Protein Sources:

  • Meat – Beef, chicken, pork, lamb, bacon, etc.
  • Fish and Seafood – Salmon, trout, shrimps, lobsters, etc.
  • Eggs – Omega-3 enriched or pastured eggs are best.

2. Cut Back On Sugars And Starches.

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The most important part is to cut back on sugars and starches (carbs). These are the foods that stimulate secretion of insulin the most. If you didn’t know already, insulin is the main fat storage hormone in the body.

When insulin goes down, fat has an easier time getting out of the fat stores and the body starts burning fats instead of carbs. Another benefit of lowering insulin is that your kidneys shed excess sodium and water out of your body, which reduces bloat and unnecessary water weight

3. Eat Plenty Of Vegetables.

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Don’t be afraid to load your plate with these low-carb vegetables. You can eat massive amounts of them without going over 20-50 net carbs per day. A diet based on meat and vegetables contains all the fiber, vitamins and minerals you need to be healthy.

Low-Carb Vegetables:

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Swiss Chard
  • Lettuce
  • Cucumber
  • Celery

4. Workout At Least 3 Times Per Week.

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You don’t need to exercise to lose weight but it is recommended. The best option is to workout 3-4 times a week.

If you’re new to exercise check this article our for help. Alternatively you can contact us for help.

By lifting weights, you will burn a few calories and prevent your metabolism from slowing down, which is a common side effect of losing weight. Studies on low-carb diets show that you can even gain a bit of muscle while losing significant amounts of body fat.

5. Get Plenty Of Fiber.

Some studies have shown that consuming enough fiber (20g-30g per day) can significantly reduce fat, especially in the belly area. Seek out fiber rich foods and get plenty of them! It also keeps you regular!

High-Fiber Foods:

  • Peas
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Broccoli
  • Sprouts
  • Raspberries
  • Bran Flakes
  • Oats

6. Walk More.

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Like exercising, walking will help burn more calories. The more calories you are burning, the greater your chance of burning fat. Instead of driving- walk! Instead of taking the lift- walk the stairs. Get yourself a step counter or use your phone (some phones have them built-in), to keep an eye on how many steps you take each day.

7. Drink Coffee.

Start your day with a cup of coffee. Caffeine is a natural diuretic and an excellent source of antioxidants, which protect your cells from damage. You can have up to 400mg — about a Venti Starbucks coffee.

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Not much of a coffee drinker? Tea is also a natural diuretic, and types of herbal tea such as dandelion or fennel root can also lend a hand. In fact: When a recent study compared the metabolic effect of green tea (in extract) with that of a placebo, researchers found that the green-tea drinkers burned about 70 additional calories in a 24-hour period.

GET 10 MORE TIPS HERE

Each on of these tips can be added into your daily routine starting now. Let us know what you think and if you’ll be adding any of these into your life.

Source: Complete PT Solutions

6 Ways to Blast Belly Fat in 14 Days — Complete PT Solutions

Fitness on a Budget, Food & Nutrition, Uncategorized

Start with these simple day-by-day changes to your daily routine to lose belly fat in just 2 weeks!

via 6 Ways to Blast Belly Fat in 14 Days — Complete PT Solutions

4 Healthy Swaps to Help You Lose Weight

fitness, Motivation, Inspiration and Encouragement, Uncategorized, Weekly Workout Meet Up!, Workout Wednesday
4 Healthy Swaps to Help You Lose Weight

Although you work out and stay physically fit, you can always boost your efforts to make healthy choices and stave off extra pounds. To start, try healthy lifestyle swaps like these four below, which can impact your overall well-being.

AFTERNOON SWAP

Why: Research published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicinesuggests ingesting caffeine hours before nightfall causes a disturbance in sleep. In this study, participants who consumed caffeine up to six hours before bed lost more than an hour of sleep.

The Swap: To avoid the 4 p.m. slump, hit the stairs. A new study published inPhysiology & Behavior found that 10 minutes of walking up and down stairs at a regular pace was more likely to make participants feel energized than ingesting 50 milligrams of caffeine. (This is the equivalent to about a cup of green tea (59 mg), two cans of soda (58 mg) or just less than a shot of espresso (63 mg)).

WORK SWAP

Why: The American Heart Association released a science advisory on the dangers of sedentary behavior. It states that Americans, on average, sit 6–8 hours per day, which leads to all types of health issues, ranging from diabetes to death. Even those who stay active in their personal time don’t have the same problematic health reductions as those who move more.

The Swap: To improve your daily mobility, try switching your smaller work meetings, such as one-on-ones, to walking meetings. “The goal with walking meetings isn’t to sweat up a storm. The goal is just to integrate a little more natural movement into daily life,” says Dani Singer, fitness director of Fit2Go Personal Training in Baltimore, Maryland. “The boost you receive in mood and energy will pay off much higher than the calories you burn.” As added bonuses: research published in the Journal of Experimental Psychologysuggests that walking leads to increased creative thinking, and an exploratory study from the Harvard Business Review proposes that walking meetings support better cognitive engagement on the job.

VACATION SWAPS

Why: A vacation may not only leave you with extra weight, but it can hang around for six weeks post vacation. In a study published in Physiology & Behavior, participants who took a one- to three-week vacation gained an average of almost 1 pound. To put this amount in perspective, the average American gains 1–2 pounds per year.

The Swap: Skip the depressing hotel gym and build exercise into your vacation by doing what the locals do. “Different places often have different cultures when it comes to exercise, and trying working out their way can add a fantastic experience to your trip. In India, try yoga; in China, try tai chi,” says Julia Buckley, a trainer in the U.K. and author of “The Fat Burn Revolution.” “Change your mindset from seeing exercise as a chore which you shouldn’t have to do on vacation to thinking of it as something that will enhance your vacation by energizing your body and calming your mind.”

SHOPPING SWAP

Why: Although the percentage of online shoppers continues to outpace in-person buyers, the statistics show people still prefer brick-and-mortar stores.Retail TouchPoints, an online publishing network for retail executives, conducted a survey of consumers and found that 85% prefer to shop in person because they like to touch and feel products before they purchase; 36% don’t like waiting for items to be delivered and 30% like to receive advice on what products they should purchase.

The Swap: Park your car far from the front and enjoy the time spent strolling around — you’re burning calories. Use a basket instead of a shopping cart if you’re only picking up a few items. To find out how many calories you’ll burn, use the MapMyRun calorie calculator.

 

🍰 8 No-Bake Desserts Under 300 Calories

Food & Nutrition, recipes, Uncategorized
8 No-Bake Desserts Under 300 Calories

As the weather cools down, that comfort food craving will start to slowly creep up — even for dessert. Stay within your goals with these no-bake treats and frozen desserts that are quick, easy-to-make and crowd pleasing — no oven necessary.

1. MANGO GREEN TEA POPS | MINIMALIST BAKER

Cool down with an antioxidant-packed sweet treat. Creamy and naturally sweetened, these two-toned popsicles are made with just five ingredients — mango, matcha powder, coconut milk, agave (or preferred sweetener) and lemon juice. Recipe makes 6 popsicles.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 93; Total Fat: 5g; Saturated Fat: 3.5g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 16mg; Carbohydrate: 11g; Dietary Fiber: 1g; Sugar: 9g; Protein: 1g

2. STRAWBERRY CHEESECAKE PARFAITS | IVY MANNING

Creamy, yet light, these individual parfaits use the natural sweetness in strawberries to carry this dessert to deliciousness. It’s perfect for experimenting, too: use blueberries and vanilla yogurt or whatever combination strikes your fancy. Recipe makes 4 servings at 4 tablespoons yogurt mixture, 1/3 cup strawberries and 2 tablespoons cracker crumbs each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 185; Total Fat: 8g; Saturated Fat: 4g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 24mg; Sodium: 148mg; Carbohydrate: 23g; Dietary Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 14g; Protein: 6g

3. DARK CHOCOLATE AVOCADO MOUSSE | HELLO GLOW

This decadent-tasting dessert satisfies even the most hard-core chocoholic. Creamy avocado and rich dark chocolate make this vegan mousse luscious but still healthy. Cocoa powder contains antioxidants while avocados are a good source of healthy monounsaturated fats. Recipe makes 4 servings.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 80; Total Fat: 6g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 4g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 13mg; Carbohydrate: 7g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Sugar: 2g; Protein: 1g

4. NO-BAKE STRAWBERRIES & CREAM CRÊPE CAKE | SKINNYTASTE

Impress family and friends with an elegant cake made of crepes. This fancy-looking cake is made by layering delicate crepes with a Greek yogurt cream filling and fresh strawberries. The crepes can be made ahead and assembled before serving. Recipe makes 12 servings at 1 slice each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 182; Total Fat: 9g; Saturated Fat: 5g; Monounsaturated Fat: 3g; Cholesterol: 44mg; Sodium: 47mg; Carbohydrate: 22g; Dietary Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 13g; Protein: 5g

5. HEALTHY OATMEAL RAISIN COOKIE DOUGH “ICE CREAM” | EATING BIRD FOOD

For a healthy spin on cookie dough ice cream, whip up this tasty frozen treat. This vegan, gluten-free, five-ingredient recipe blends frozen bananas with oats, raisins, almond milk and cinnamon. Recipe makes 2 servings.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 213; Total Fat: 2g; Saturated Fat: 0g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 20mg; Carbohydrate: 51g; Dietary Fiber: 5g; Sugar: 26g; Protein: 4g

6. NO-BAKE LEMON PISTACHIO SHORTBREAD COOKIE BITES | COTTER CRUNCH

Bright and lemony, these cookie bites are vegan friendly and taste like shortbread cookies. Each bite is filled with pistachios, almond butter and a hint of honey. Recipe makes 25 servings at 1 cookie bite each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 77; Total Fat: 5g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 18mg; Carbohydrate: 8g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Sugar: 4g; Protein: 2g

7. AVOCADO MINT FUDGE BARS | IFOODREAL

Get an extra dose of greens with these minty, sweet fudge bars. Made of creamy avocados, bananas, honey and crunchy cacao nibs, these naturally sweetened treats are full of healthy fats. Recipe makes 16 servings at 1 bar each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 136; Total Fat: 12g; Saturated Fat: 8g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 11mg; Carbohydrate: 7g; Dietary Fiber: 1g; Sugar: 5g; Protein: 0g

8. MINI COCONUT-BANANA CREAM PIES | 24 CARROT LIFE

These mini pies feature a quick, made-from-scratch crust filled with creamy bananas. These frozen pie bites have no added sugar and and even pack some protein. If you’re craving something sweet, these treats are perfect for any occasion. Recipe makes 4 servings at 1 mini pie each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 258; Total Fat: 16g; Saturated Fat: 12g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 1mg; Sodium: 42mg; Carbohydrate: 21g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Sugar: 12g; Protein: 9g

Source: MYFITNESSPAL’S RECIPES

5 Tips to Hack Your Meal Prep

fitness, Food & Nutrition, Motivation, Inspiration and Encouragement, Uncategorized, Workout Wednesday
5 Tips to Hack Your Meal Prep

When you’re loading up the calendar with workouts, family time, friend events and work projects, it’s likely that “make delicious, healthy meals” tumbles too easily down the to-do list. While there are some good grab-and-go options, let’s face it: There are only so many prepared salads and protein bars you can eat before they get boring.

“When you get tired of what you’re eating, that’s when you usually begin to make food choices that you’re not happy about later,” says Melissa Joulwan, author of the popular “Well Fed” cookbook series. “Taking some time every week for meal prep can help keep it interesting.”

By setting aside time for preparing meals and ingredients in advance, you’ll not only zap food boredom, but also have greater control over putting more vegetables, lean protein and healthy fats into your rotation. Best of all, you don’t have to sacrifice a whole day for the effort. Here are some shortcuts Joulwan uses for her own weekly cookup:

1. SCHEDULE THE TIME

Count on about 2–3 hours for the prep, but it doesn’t need to be done all at once. For example, you can do 90 minutes on Sunday morning and 90 more on Wednesday night. The most important aspect is to put it on the schedule and stick to it, so it becomes a habit. For those who have a weekend farmers market nearby, scheduling meal prep for just after shopping can be an easy way to incorporate more veggies into your meals.

2. PREP YOUR EQUIPMENT FIRST

Before she does any chopping or cooking, Joulwan takes out all the utensils and equipment she needs for the effort. For example, she puts several cutting boards on the counter, locates measuring cups, sharpens knives, gets out large mixing bowls and sets up the food processor. Think of it as the “kitchen stadium” approach, where everything you need to use is handy. That 10 minutes of finding everything first saves plenty of time compared to taking out equipment as you need it.

3. THINK INGREDIENTS INSTEAD OF MEALS

There are two main ways to do meal prep — either you create whole meals and put them in containers, or you focus on ingredients that can be thrown together quickly. Joulwan prefers the latter approach, because it allows her to be more creative, and to eat according to her mood. She focuses on “convenience foods” that can be transformed into a variety of meals. These include roasted chicken, hard-boiled eggs, homemade mayo, zucchini noodles, cauliflower rice, chopped lettuce and roasted vegetables. When these components are stored in the fridge, meals usually take only 5–10 minutes to prepare, she says.

4. GET SAUCY

Roasted chicken and cauliflower rice with an Indian vindaloo sauce is a very different meal than the same basic ingredients with a Jamaican jerk sauce. To keep tastes interesting, consider spending some prep time creating sauce blends or simply purchase some to have on hand. As with any prepared food, check the ingredients to make sure the sauces aren’t high in sugar or preservatives.


5. PUT THE TUNES ON

When she does meal prep, Joulwan listens to either ‘80s, new wave or Broadway musical soundtracks, so she’s singing and dancing the entire time. If you’re more the movie type, put on one you’ve already seen (since you’ll be looking down while you work) and will love hearing again, or play some podcasts on interesting topics.

“Your time in the kitchen should be productive, but also fun,” says Joulwan. “The more you can make meal prep time enjoyable, the more you’ll look forward to doing it. Rather than see prep as a chore, think of it as a way to make amazing, healthy food for the week ahead, in a way that feels like a fun break from your busy schedule.”

by: ELIZABETH MILLARD

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