Monday, October 27, 2014

Keep your kids healthy (aka out of a sugar coma) this Halloween

Even though I didn't give my own child any candy until he was about three, it's like he knew what it was and that he would love it more than any other food out there...and let the sugar addiction fight begin. So if you have a little sugar-monster in your house (or several in your neighborhood), check out these ways to ease the sugar high, and subsequent drop this Halloween:
  • Feed your kids a high protein and vitamin rich meal so that they are full and satisfied before trick or treating. Think grilled chicken breast with steamed broccoli and roasted sweet potatoes.
  • Race from house to house or trunk to trunk to get the body moving
  • At your own house, consider ditching the candy and giving out mini-bottles of water, fruit strips, no sugar added apple sauce pouches, cuties, etc. 
  • If your little ones come home with bags of candy, limit the intake to one piece a day for a week and then toss/donate/give it away
  • Instead of trick or treating, throw a Halloween party. Serve healthy snacks, carve pumpkins, roast some delicious and nutritious pumpkin seeds and forget the candy all together!

Don't let Halloween massacre your health and fitness goals!

Halloween is this week and one of the scariest things about the holiday is how many empty calories you can consume in the days surrounding October 31st (not to mention the day of) because of all the darn candy. So what is a person to do when candy is EVERYWHERE? Well, just don’t eat it (or buy it)! Easier said than done, right? Well here are a few tricks and tips to keep the candy out of your tummy and off of your waist.
·         Buy candy to hand out to trick or treaters  that you don’t like. Don’t be your own undoing. Pretty simple, eh?
·         At the office, make sure you have cut up fruit, veggies and nuts on hand so that you have something to munch on other than handfuls of candy corn and “fun sized” chocolate.
·         If your kids bring home candy that you can’t resist, do something like the “Halloween Fairy” and have them pick out their favorite 10 pieces and put the rest on the front doorstep for the “Halloween Fairy” to trade for a non-edible present on Halloween night and then get rid of the bag. (Healthy kid tip too!) 
·         Extra Halloween candy? Throw it away! OR better yet, donate it to our troops overseas. Click here for where you can drop your candy.
·         If you just have to have a piece of candy, keep it at just that: one piece. Or check out this awesome chart of what 100 calories of your favorite candy looks like.
If you’re interested in the best and worst candy picks, choose Three Musketeers for chocolate (avoid Butter Finger and peanut butter cups), Dum Dum Pops for fruity candy (avoid Air Heads and Skittles) and tootsie rolls for a chewy fix (stay clear of Twix).  Click here for a little quiz to test your knowledge of the best and worst candy for your waistline. 
Happy and Healthy Halloween!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The 10 calorie pumpkin spice latte

Did you know that your typical pumpkin spice latte can upwards of 300 a SMALL?! That's an entire breakfast, people! I just made my own delicious one at home and saved myself 290 calories with my super tasty 10 calorie version:
  • Coffee
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • several dashes of pumpkin pie spice

Viola! Your waistline (and wallet) will thank you! (If you want it to be a bit sweet, you can totally use sweetened almond adds about 20 calories...still a good deal in my book!)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A quick energy boosting workout

It's beautiful outside, so skip that second (third or fourth) cup of coffee and give your body a long-lasting energy boost while burning calories, building lean muscle and taking time to enjoy the autumn weather.

What you need:

Nothing (but your body)

How much time:

7-28 minutes (you choose how many circuits you do)

What do do:

  • Take a fast walk for 3 minutes. It should be fast enough that you are out of breath (you don't need to be an Olympic speed walker, although impressive, but get your butt moving fast).
  • Drop and do 20 push ups (on your knees, feet, one leg, one arm, whatever, just do 20)
  • 2 minutes of walking lunges
  • 1 minute bicycle crunches

Repeat for up to 4 times. Be sure to stretch out afterwards :)

A perfect autumn pasta substitute

We love making pasta dishes in our house (my boys could eat them every night), but if you, like me, are trying to steer clear of gluten or carbs or calories in pasta, this is the perfect time of year to try out an in season pasta substitute. Try it under my chunky, tons of veggie spaghetti tonight, sneak it into your family's normal pasta or even do half spaghetti/half spaghetti squash for a slash in calories and boost in vitamins and minerals. Spaghetti squash even has the word "spaghetti" in it, so I think it's the perfect substitute. Plus, spaghetti squash is loaded with every essential mineral that your body needs including potassium for your tough workout recovery, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus. 

How to make it in the microwave...super easy!
1. Put whole squash in the microwave for about 5 minutes to soften it before you cut it (unless you have super human strength, and then just be really careful)
2. Cut the squash longways and place cut side down down in a microwave safe dish.
3. Pour 1/4 cup water in the dish and cover with plastic wrap or a loose fitting lid
4. Microwave on high for 8-10 minutes, let rest for 10 minutes.
5. Use a fork to loosen the "noodles"
6. Top with your favorite pasta sauce


Spaghetti Squash has 42 calories and 10 carbs  per 1 cup serving. One cup of whole wheat spaghetti has 174 calories, 38 carbs. Nice switch, right? :)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Pumpkin Muffins...for under 80 calories!

I fed these muffins to my husband, who loves calories, fat, wheat and dairy, and he was shocked that they were low-calorie, low-fat, gluten-free, and dairy-free. Ha, I totally got him! Taste for yourself; they are crazy addictive. My pre-schooler ate six of them behind my back (I guess it's fair since he helped me make them). I know that it's pumpkin mania right now, but these are a must try. Plus, you can make these in 30 minutes flat.


Yields 18 regular muffins, 36 mini muffins
(10 min prep, 18 min bake time)

What you need:

  • non-stick cooking spray (or muffin tin liners)
  • 1 cup old fashion oats made into flour (don’t freak out…just put them in your blender/food processor/magic bullet/etc. for like 10 seconds. Congrats, you just made your own oat flour)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup old fashion oats
  • 1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened, original flavor almond milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup 100% pure maple syrup

What to do: 

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine all dry ingredients (oat flour that you made, sugar, salt, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, old fashion oats), then mix in all wet ingredients. Tough, right? Fill your muffin tins ½ full (like ¼ cup for regular sized muffins and about 2 TBSP for mini muffins).  Bake normal sized muffins for 15-18 minutes and mini-muffins for 10-12 minutes. They are done when a toothpick comes out goop-free. Cool before diving in.

Here are the crazy-unbelievable nutrition facts…but don’t get carried away; the entire batch will still set you back over 1,300 calories. But for one normal sized muffin: 76 calories, 15 carbs, 1 gram fiber, 1 gram fat and 2 grams protein. For the mini ones: 38 calories, 7 carbs, 0.5 grams fiber, 0.5 grams fat and 1 gram protein.