How to Keep the Weight Off During the Holidays

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Do you hear that?

The holiday season is officially upon us, and with the holidays come the sugar and fat!

This time of year brings so many good things: time with family and friends, fun events, and time off from work and school.

Unfortunately, this time of year can bring some less pleasant things, such as a few unwanted pounds.

With so much food temptation surrounding us this time of year, it can be difficult not to indulge and pack on weight as a result.

In this post, we’re sharing a few tips to help you keep the weight off this holiday season, despite the temptations that lurk around the corner.

Eat before you go to parties

Fill up on healthy snacks before you head to holiday parties, and vow to skip the calorie-ridden appetizers. When your stomach is growling, it’s more difficult to keep yourself from making poor food choices.

Bring a dish

If it’s a potluck holiday meal, bring a healthy option that you can enjoy minus the guilt. This way, you know there will be at least be one thing you can enjoy—and we bet the other guests will be happy about being offered a healthy alternative as well!

Be the host

If you’re really trying to prevent holiday weight gain, the best way to take control of the food options is to host the party.

There are so many healthy twists to your favorite holiday recipes. Just a few substitutions can make a huge difference! The dishes are still so delicious, but won’t set you back a few pounds.

Fill up on protein and veggies

When it comes to filling up your plate with delicious holiday food, opt to first fill up the majority of your plate with protein and vegetables. Next, you can add small portions of other less-healthy dishes.

Indulge a little

It’s the holidays! Some of these amazing foods only come around once a year. Figure out which food choice you would be disappointed not to enjoy, and allow yourself to enjoy it at your holiday feast.

Send home the leftovers

Especially at Thanksgiving, the majority of the weight-gain damage doesn’t happen the day of—it’s eating all of the leftovers the following week! Send those leftovers home with family and friends to avoid the temptation.

Have more ideas for keeping the weight off during the holidays?

We’d love to hear in the comments below!

5 Super Easy Ways to Cut Carbs

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Photo credit: Scott Veg

When you love all things bread and pasta, cutting carbs from your diet can seem nearly impossible.

However, restricting your intake of carbohydrates–especially the kind that come in the form of a large box of pizza—is an important factor to losing weight and living a healthy lifestyle.

Fear not, carb lovers, we’re providing 5 alternatives to some of your favorite recipes that are sans carbs. And they’re delicious.

Spaghetti Squash

Someone from up above took pity on those of us who love pasta by creating the most amazing vegetable, spaghetti squash. As its name implies, it’s a squash that you bake and then scrape out the contents with a fork, and it comes out in strings resembling pasta. The even better part is that it tastes like whatever sauce you put on it!

We recommend this marinara and turkey meatball spaghetti squash recipe as a great alternative to pasta.

Pizza bites

There is a lot of buzz about cauliflower crust pizza floating around in the PinterestSphere, but it can be incredibly time consuming to make (not to mention the smell alone can put off your appetite). These no-crust pizza bites only require a muffin tin, Canadian bacon, shredded mozzarella cheese, pizza sauce, and any additional pizza toppings of your choice.

The best part of this recipe (minus being super duper healthy) is that it allows everyone to create his or her own mini pizza—minus the carbs!

Eggplant pizza

Replace the high-calorie crust with eggplant! Slice the eggplant, salt both sides and let sit to draw out the moisture, sprinkle some herbs, and bake for about 25 minutes. Next, add your pizza toppings, and place back in the oven for a few more minutes. Only downside is this eggplant pizza recipe is a little tricky to eat with your hands—you may have to opt for a fork and knife.

Pepper nachos

This pepper nacho recipe is perfect for the chip lover! Using mini peppers (sliced in half and hallowed-out), stuff full of corn, black beans, pico de gallo, avocado, and low-fat cheese. Pop in the oven until the cheese gets nice and melty, and then snack away!

Roasted chickpeas

Roasted chickpeas are an absolute lifesaver when you need that salty and crunchy fix. Just add olive oil, salt, pepper, and any herbs or spices you’d like and bake for about 15 minutes—so easy and delicious!

Have a favorite carbless recipe you’d like to share? Comment below!

What to Eat for All-Day Energy

Calories fuel your body’s machinery. But should you find yourself in a midday slump before it’s even lunchtime, it may be time to reevaluate the kind of calories you’re feeding your body. Some foods naturally boost your energy, while others sap your stamina stores.

The ideal meal consists of complex carbs, healthy fats,and lean protein. Carbs provide instant energy, fats give longer-lasting energy, and protein helps your body build tissue and muscle mass. A good rule of thumb for energy-conscious eaters is to get 45 to 60 percent of calories from carbs, 20 to 35 percent from fat,and 15 to 30 percent from protein.

Here are some of the foods you can eat to help fight fatigue so you can stay energized and focused throughout the day:

Healthy treats such as half of a whole-wheat English muffin with fruit spread are rich in carbohydrates, which can boost your levels of serotonin, a calming brain chemical. For an optimal, energy-infused breakfast, pair it with 2 eggs and 1/3 of an avocado to get the most oomph from your calories.

Eat like a fuel-efficient machine when you opt for a healthy spinach salad topped with a ½ cup of lentils, 3 oz of grilled salmon, and drizzled with 2 Tbsp of olive oil vinaigrette. Round out your calories with a whole-wheat roll for your dose of complex carbs.

Nibbling on a few squares of dark chocolate will pull you out of an energy rut, thanks to its caffeine and theobromine, mild mood- and energy-boosting stimulants.Or keep your energy full throttle by eating1 cup of berries, 6 oz of Greek yogurt, and 2 Tbsp chopped walnuts.

Just because it’s the evening doesn’t mean your energy levels should plummet. Have a cup of butternut squash mixed with a cup of quinoa prepared with 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Pair it with a 3 oz serving of grilled chicken breast for a perfect combination and all around healthy meal.

Drink Water
Staying well hydrated is one of the quickest and easiest ways to improve memory, focus, and alertness. If you find yourself feeling sluggish even after eating a well-balanced meal, the culprit of your fatigue may be dehydration. Be sure to keep a water bottle handy at all times to combat an energy slump.

What are you favorite energy-boosting foods to eat?


9 Health Benefits of Avocados


Avocados, also lovingly called “alligator pears,” are a magical green fruit considered to be one of the healthiest foods in the planet. Every avocado contains over 25 essential nutrients, including vitamin A, B, C, E, & K, copper, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium.

Avocados are also an excellent source of fiber, protein, and several beneficial phytochemicals, such as beta-sitosterol, glutathione, and lutein, which may protect against various disease and illness.Although avocado is high in fat content, it is mostly the monounsaturated fat, which is a healthy fat.

Looking for reasons to enjoy more avocados in your diet? Check out the 8ways your body benefits from this little green super-fruit:

 Maintain a healthy heart. Avocado contains vitamin B6 and folic acid, which help regulate homocysteine levels. High levels of homocysteine are associated with an increased risk of heart disease. Avocado also contains vitamin E, glutathione, and monounsaturated fat—the essentials for maintaining your heart’s health.

Protect against cancer. Many studies have shown that avocado can inhibit the growth of prostate cancer. The oleic acid in avocado is also effective in naturally preventing breast cancer.

Lower cholesterol levels. Avocados are rich in a compound called beta-sitosterol, which can help lower blood cholesterol levels. According to a study, patients with mild hypercholesterolemia who included avocados in their diet for 7 days had 17 percent decrease in total blood cholesterol levels, a 22 percent decrease in both LDL (bad cholesterol) and triglyceride levels, and a 11 percent increase in HDL (good cholesterol) levels.

Control blood pressure. Avocados are also a great source of potassium, which helps control blood pressure levels.

Regulate the blood sugar levels. The good fats in avocados can reverse insulin resistance and help regulate blood sugar levels. Avocados also contain soluble fiber,which also contributes to steady blood sugar levels.

Defy your age. Being rich in antioxidants, avocado helps prevent signs of aging. The glutathione in avocado boosts immune systems, slows the aging process, and encourages a healthy nervous system.

Increase nutrient absorption. Avocado intake is linked with increased nutrient absorption. A study showed when participants ate salad that included avocados, they absorbed five times the amount of carotenoids (a group of nutrients that includes beta carotene and lycopene) than those who did not include avocados.

Skin Care. Many cosmetic companiesadd a little avocado oil to their products because of its ability to nourish the skin and make your skin glow. It also aids in treating psoriasis, a skin disease that causes skin redness and irritation.

What is your favorite way to enjoy an avocado?


Why Food Labels Can Be Deceiving

Food labels can be tricky. Nutrition labels are a slippery slope. While most packaged foods contain multiple servings, the single serving nutrition facts on the label lull many health-conscious eaters into a false sense of security.

And before we know it, we’ve already consumed 2.5 servings of our “healthy” snack…just like that.

According to a new study commissioned by the FDA, this is a pretty common scenario.

In order to determine which design conveyed health information the most clearly, researchers redesigned food labels and tested them against standard ones. In one revamp, nutritional information was separated into two columns when a package contained multiple servings. The first column indicated stats for a single serving, while the second offered nutritional details on the entire package. In another revision, packages were only labeled with the latter info.

Researchers then assigned these labels to a bag of chips and a frozen mealand tested them on a group of consumers. The result? Participants were more inclined to consider a food “healthy” if they only saw nutritional info on a single serving, which is what’s currently on labels.

Don’t let the nutrition labels fool you. Next time you reach for a smart snack, check out these three most important nutritional details:

Ingredients. Read the ingredients in every packaged food you eat, and you’re bound to find some surprises. (There are at least 10 covert names for sugar.) Ingredients are listed from the biggest component of the product to the smallest.

Conversion.Download a handy conversion app on your smartphone and measure out servings.Pro-tip: 28 grams equals one ounce equals 1/8 cup, which is the average serving of cheese. If you don’t have a measuring cup handy, know that would be a piece of cheese roughlyequivalent to the end of your pointer finger.

Units. Pay attention to the units on your food label. Know roughly how much a gram, milliliter, or milligram is to avoid overdoing it on ingredients (such as salt or saturated fat) or portions.

Share your portioning tips below!


How to Eat Out without Blowing Your Healthy Eating Plan

Eating out doesn’t have to mean watching every morsel you put in your mouth for fear of blowing your eating plan. With just a few tweaks, you can enjoy eating out and still stick to your program.

Say no to the bread, or have just one slice with your meal.

Many restaurants bring out a big basket of bread the moment you sit down, and this bread can wreck your healthy eating plans. If you can’t say no, at least have the bread with your entrée to minimize the damage. Spread real butter on it or dip it in olive oil. If you love bread, ask for darker breads like rye instead of the typical white bread.

Ask for low-starch veggies in place of potatoes or rice.

If your meal comes with potatoes or rice, ask to substitute something else. Low-starch veggies such as green beans, spinach, or broccoli are good choices.

Enjoy plenty of salad with healthy dressing.

Ask the server about your dressing choices. Chances are you can enjoy a healthy, homemade vinaigrette or oil and vinegar. If you have access to a salad bar, don’t be afraid to load up on the greens and veggies, but go easy on the cheese, croutons, and creamy dressing.

If you must have creamy dressing, have it on the side, dip your fork in it, and then take a bite of salad. If you want creamy dressing on a house salad, ask for it on the side.

Put half in a to-go box.

Ask for a to-go box when you order, and put half your meal in it before you start eating. That way you don’t blow your diet, and you can enjoy the rest of the meal the next day. If you’d rather not take anything home, split a meal with your dining companion, or give the leftovers to a friend.

When it comes to dessert, have anything you wish—just take a few bites.

You’ve probably noticed that when you eat a rich, luscious dessert, there comes a point at which it’s too much and you’ve had enough. Why not order any dessert you want and then savor only two or three bites? Again, you can share or take the rest home.

What’s your favorite tip for healthy eating out?

How to Enjoy Halloween without Gaining Candy Weight

halloween candyHalloween tests everyone’s resolve to stay on track with his or her healthy eating programs. Even if you’ve been good all year, you may be tempted to snack on a few too many candy bars. Following are a few tips to enjoy some candy without regretting it later.

Eat dinner right before you take the kids trick-or-treating.

You and the kids will all be less tempted to sneak a few treats from goodie bags if you’re still full from dinner. If you’re the one giving the treats, remembering that you just ate may help you stay out of the treat bowl.

Offer higher quality treats to those who come to your door.

Instead of the typical chocolaty, sugar-heavy treats, think outside the box. Offer dark chocolate, fruit roll-ups, and snack-sized boxes of raisins and dried fruit. You may be less tempted to snack, and even if you do, you won’t be doing much damage.

Eat a healthy treat and drink a glass of water before eating candy.

If you’ve decided you want one of those Snickers bars, eat a handful of baby carrots or an apple and drink a glass of water before opening the candy wrapper. You’ll be less likely to eat too much candy because the healthy snack and water will help fill you up.

To make this step even more effective, distract yourself by doing something else for 20–30 minutes before eating the candy. Your stomach will have time to signal your brain that you’re not hungry, and that distraction might last longer than 30 minutes. If it does, and you decide you still want the Snickers, start over with the healthy snack and water.

Keep candy out of sight.

If the kids want to enjoy their candy longer than one night, ration the amount that they can keep and have them put it out of your sight. You can remove the excess from the house the next morning.

Give it away.

If candy is out of the house completely, you can’t eat it. Take it to work, drop it off at a food bank or church, or give it to a neighbor. If possible, gather it up and get rid of it the next morning. The sooner it’s gone, the sooner you won’t have to deal with the temptation.

The holidays coming up are hard enough to manage weight wise without adding an extra few days of eating candy at Halloween. What tips for avoiding Halloween weight gain can you add?