3 Supplements That May Work For You

You want to meet your nutrition needs by eating real foods that come from the earth. I’m talking about unprocessed, whole foods. They’re the kind that we don’t change much from the farm to the table. But, life is busy! You have your job, household, kids, projects . . . even for the most healthful eaters, it is hard to get all the essential vitamins and nutrients you need daily. Supplements may help you achieve your nutritional needs without all of the pots and pans. Today I’m sharing 3 supplements that get my seal of approval to include as “insurance”, alongside the good choices you attach to the end of your fork: omega 3’s, ubiquinol, and probiotics.

Omega 3 in Your Diet

You hear a lot about omega-3 fatty acids and heart disease, but we all need to get them in. Over the last ten years many Americans have turned to fish oil to meet their needs. Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial for your heart’s health. They help to manage symptoms of hypertension and are useful in lowering cholesterol. Some studies suggest they slow plaque buildup in the heart and may even reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Salmon and walnuts are two of the richest natural sources of omega-3s. This may not be a choice if you have a fish or nut allergy. While there is some research to support taking higher doses of fish oil supplement, The American Heart Association suggests that you dig into 3.5 oz fatty fish twice a week, and supplementation with heart disease should be customized to the condition and under a the care of your doc.

Ubiquinol – the Anti-aging Antioxidant

As we age our body progressively produces less CoQ10 and struggles to convert it into ubiquinol, which is the usable form of CoQ10. This leaves us with less than ideal levels of this energy-producing nutrient that naturally helps your system rock and roll. Research has shown that ubiquinol circulating in your bod improves the health of your ticker and can alleviate many of the side effects associated with statin medications you may take to lower your cholesterol. Ubiquinol is found in foods you may already eat like peanuts, spinach, lean meats, and sardines. However, you would need to consume 50 cups of spinach or 120 cans of sardines to reach the recommended 100 mg of ubiquinol each day! Ubiquinol not only works as an antioxidant but is crucial in the body’s energy production. It is the very fuel that makes your heart beat. To learn more, visit http://ubiquinol.org.

Probiotics – the Bacteria that’s Good for You

Your gut has over 400 types of probiotic bacteria (good guy bugs in your belly) that help fight bad bacteria found in your intestines; they also promote good digestion, which we all need! Most people use probiotics to prevent diarrhea, gas, and cramping caused by medications or antibiotics.  It may not make sense to you to take an antibiotic and a probiotic at the same time — wouldn’t it seem they’d cancel each other out? Not the case. Antibiotics kill good bacteria along with the bad bacteria, so supplementing with a probiotic puts those happy microorganisms back in action in your tummy. Probiotics may also help with infections of the digestive tract, enhance immune function, and control inflammatory bowel disease.

You’ll find these friendly bugs naturally in most fermented dairy foods like yogurt and kefir. Don’t be tricked by labeling: live active cultures may not be probiotics, so read the label carefully! A supplement can help make sure you are getting enough probiotics to maintain a healthy digestive tract.

As with all supplements, remember not to be fooled by the fancy packaging at the health food store or pharmacy. You want a standardized supplement that comes from a reputable company. Do you think you’re getting enough omega-3, ubiquinol and probiotics on your plate? Share your thoughts and experiences below.

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POSTED ON September 16, 2013 // TAGS: aging heart-health omega-3 probiotics supplements ubiquinol

Why drinking calories make us fat faster

There is unbelievable hype over caloric drinks these days. We know that drinking sweetened beverages is linked to a heavier weight. Bloomberg is trying to limit serving sizes in NYC, the vending machines in schools are under fire yet beverage sales are through the roof at coffee shops all over the country. You see a cup in every hand on your commute to work. We’re all on something – juice, coffee, soda, sweet tea – so let’s take a minute to think about it.

Critical thinking 101: If you are chugging something (other than water) ask yourself ‘is it reasonable to me to be drinking _____________ x ____________ times per day?’ I recently asked a client, “Is it acceptable to you to be drinking 4 Diet Cokes in the morning?” Her reply was that she hadn’t thought much about it. She was drinking them for the caffeine and it had just become a habit. It seems that this is common for many of us.

Calories aside (yes, I know there are no calories in a Diet Coke), if you really push yourself, you’ll think that it is probably not human nature to drink Diet Coke (or whatever is in your blank) at all. In fact, humans are the only animals that drink anything other than water or nursing milk in the food chain. Our biology agrees with that line of thinking: in nature, calories are designed to be metabolized through foods we chew. The process of digesting and processing those calories starts in the mouth but most of the food molecules are broken down in our stomach and small intestine. When you drink your calories, the molecules are already mostly broken down and so they shoot right into your blood and don’t sit in your stomach very long at all. We now know that these calories get stored in fat cells more rapidly than the calories from food. If you are thinking that your beverage does not have calories in it, because it is artificially sweetened, you are not off the hook. Is it human nature to be drinking chemicals? Those artificial sweeteners are contributing to an increased appetite and cravings, and they are also messing with your palate by keeping you from being satisfied from naturally sweet foods.

We can keep up to date on the current science of beverages, and I try to always stay on top of the research to share it with you. Critical thinking always brings me back to human nature and biology — the only thing we should drink like water IS water. Still, we are at the top of the food chain for a reason, and so we should make the most of our critical thinking and large brain capacity. There is still room for delicious drinks in your Nutritious Life. Choose water, seltzer and tea the majority of the time. Incorporate greens juices and a glass of wine into your healthy eating plan in moderation. Leave the juice, sports drinks, novelty drinks and the rest in the rarely to never category. Break your beverage habit. I promise that if you go back to your natural drinking nature, you’ll shed some extra weight and feel like king of the jungle.

 

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POSTED ON August 16, 2013 // TAGS: calories drinks fat

There’s a Farm in your ‘Hood

You know that salad you just ate at the trendy hot spot on the corner? All of the ingredients were grown on a rooftop in Queens. And remember the amazing gazpacho soup you had at your friend’s house last week? The tomatoes and herbs were grown hydroponically on the counter of her kitchen. The box your neighbors had you sign for while they were out? It is a delivery of organic produce that gets shipped to them from a little farm in New Jersey every Wednesday. Know what I’m getting at? We aren’t just talking a little farm stand on the road anymore. There is amazing progress going on in the world of growing organic foods and getting it to urbanites. There is one system that is the gold standard in the minds of farmers, foodies and registered dietitians alike: Community Supported Agriculture (CSA).

Here’s the deal: if you are interested in joining a CSA, it is kind of like joining a club. Unlike a farmer’s market where you drop in and pick and choose what you want and pay for it as you go, when you join a CSA, you are part of a movement, which supports local farming, and healthful foods for those who don’t have their own farm or garden.

Before you join, you need to know a few important things:

1. You buy a “share.” Before the growing season begins, you purchase a (crop) “share” directly from the farmer. Because you give the farmer money up front for the season, they have funds to buy seeds and equipment to grow and deliver your produce (and often dairy, eggs, meats and sometimes baked goods or wine). The farmer tells you what you can look forward to in each weekly delivery. You are not guaranteed an exact list because crops vary based on weather and other factors. Shares vary depending upon the farm, and many offer half shares or opportunities to split a share.

2. You’re part of the community. Generally once a week, you pick up your share from the CSA location — often the produce is set up on tables and you are told how many onions to take or how many pounds of summer squash to grab. This gives you an opportunity to interact with other members, share recipes, swap cucumbers or simply have a familiar face to nod hello to. Many CSA’s ask you to help set up or break down the site once or twice as part of your membership, which helps connect you further to your food.

3. You must be flexible and adventurous in the kitchen. More likely than not, you’ll get something in your share that you are inexperienced with once in awhile. Pok choi, kholrabi and garlic scapes are delicious, but you need to know what to do with them. Use the community (and the weekly newsletter) to learn more how to store, clean and cook your exotic bounty. There are some great sites to help you make the most of your share.

Do some research and visit a CSA local to you, so you can prepare to join one. Speak to the farmer and some members so that you can really see the mutual benefits of participating. And, at your next dinner party, be sure to say that the smashed pink potato with garlic scape and sauteed ramp side dish came from “your farm!”

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POSTED ON July 26, 2013 // TAGS: CSA Farm Produce delivery

Rockin’ Rules for Strapless Arms

Without batting an eye, most women can tell you where they feel their “problem area” is. Who needs all that negativity? Let’s stop being frustrated with that one area for a while and focus on a body part that will respond beautifully to your hard work and shift your perspective in a more positive direction. An entirely on the radar item of note these days are rockin’ arms. Michelle Obama, Jessica Biel, even grandmother Goldie Hawn have coveted arms for good reason. Even though it may seem subtle, there is a huge difference between a nice body and a body that exudes strength. The difference is most noticeable in the arms and shoulders. Women don’t build upper body strength as readily as men do, so defined biceps, triceps and deltoids require more than 30 minutes of daily cardio. You got to put some muscle into your workout. I challenge you to put the effort in to see how buff you can get your guns . . . then flex the arms you love down the red carpet of your life.

Most of us can sport a few regular bicep curls, but you need to do more than just the standard curl — you want more than standard results! For masterful biceps, try a strongman curl. Start with 5 or 8 pound weights. Stand with your feet hip width apart, core tight and arms out to the side so that your upper arms are parallel to the ground and your elbows are bent at 90 degree angles. Slowly bring your fists and dumbbells to your head and return to starting position. Start with 3 sets of 10.

Your deltoids are the muscles that cover your shoulder and they are responsible for giving you that curvy shape that accents the outside of your arm by your armpit. To really make the most of this trio of muscles, start with 5 or 8 pound weights. Stand with your feet hip width apart, core tight and arms straight down at your sides. Keeping your elbows straight with just a little give (not completely extended) make a flying motion by bringing your arms up and down. Repeat this work with your arms in front of your body and raising your hands in front of your body like a zombie. Start with 3 sets of 10 for both side and forward motions.

While the triceps are just tiny little muscles that run down the back of your arms, they need a lot of love so that you’ll love your strapless look. I know you have been working on your push-ups, so go ahead and get into push-up or plank position, but this time place your pointer fingers and thumbs together to form a little diamond with your hands. Bend your elbows to do a push-up and return to plank position. Start with 3 sets of 5 and build as you can!

Do this work. Trust me, you’ll feel great and we will all be checking you out with the utmost admiration. I’ll see you and your stunning and fit upper body on the catwalk (or sidewalk)!

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POSTED ON July 17, 2013 // TAGS: arms bicep deltoid strapless tricep

Four Meals You Can Make in Minutes

It happens all the time. You have to get to a PTA meeting, your book club, a girl’s night out — you race home from work with 30 minutes to shower, change and get yourself out the door. It’s tight, but you can do it. Almost. Only problem is you need to squeeze in dinner for yourself and the kids.  We all need a repertoire of meals that take only a few minutes to make that feel satisfying, healthful, and of course, delicious. In an ideal world, we would have thought about this situation a few days earlier, so we could have been better prepared, but that is not always reality, so today I’m offering my super quick life-saving meals that take only moments to make. For the record, I’m not above using paper plates (look for the ones that are biodegradable), to make the clean up a non-issue as well.

 

Lettuce Cups: Simple ingredients make this recipe easy and waiting to help you go, go, go!

Time: 5 minutes

Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS

  • Whole Rotisserie chicken
  • 2 heads Romaine, Boston or Bibb Lettuce
  • 1 cup shredded carrots and pre-sliced peppers or other vegetables of your choice
  • 1 Avocado, sliced
  • 2 cups prepared tabouleh salad

DIRECTIONS

  1. Pull the skin off of the chicken and discard. Shred the chicken with your fingers, or cut it into cubes.
  2. Fill the lettuce leaves with all of the ingredients — you can serve the tabouleh salad in the lettuce wrap or on the side.

 

Souper Supper: You have these ingredients on hand all the time . . . use them!

Time: 7 minutes

Serves: 2

 INGREDIENTS

  • 1 can Amy’s bean soup of choice (lentil, black bean, pea, etc.)
  • 4 slices canadian bacon, diced (I like Trader Joe’s or other nitrate free versions)
  • ¼ red onion, diced
  • 2 Tbsp shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 Tbsp low fat Greek yogurt

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat soup over stove.
  2. In a small skillet coated in cooking spray, heat canadian bacon over medium heat.
  3. Pour soup into bowls and top with remaining ingredients.

 

Cocktail Supper: This will get you ready for your PM meeting and keep you energized all night!

Time: 5 minutes

Serves: 4 – 6

 INGREDIENTS

  • 1 bag of large frozen cooked and peeled shrimp, thawed
  • Assorted crudites such as carrots, celery, baby tomatoes, jicima
  • 1 bottle cocktail sauce
  • High fiber crackers such as GG, Wasa, Ryvita
  • ½ cup Hummus or black bean dip

DIRECTIONS

  1. Before you leave for work in the morning, toss the shrimp from the freezer into the refrigerator, or (if you forget to do that) toss frozen shrimp into a colander and run room temperature water over the shrimp for a few minutes until they thaw.
  2. Serve shrimp and vegetables with cocktail sauce and hummus or black bean dip on the side.

 

Nut Butter Pantry Party: You did this dinner all the time in your 20’s. Revive it!

Time: 5 minutes

Serves: Many!

 INGREDIENTS

  • Jar of no sugar added nut butter
  • Sliced bread or high fiber crackers
  • No sugar added preserves or honey
  • Sliced apples
  • Berries, raisins or applesauce
  • Dehydrated fruit
  • Carrot sticks

DIRECTIONS

  1. Choose your favorite ingredients from the list above and mix and match to your heart’s delight.

 

There you have it: 4 meals that you can pull off in minutes. Enjoy and dig in!

 

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POSTED ON July 8, 2013 // TAGS: dinner lettuce cups nut butter quick meals shrimp

Feel Great for July 4th

Fireworks: inspiring, exciting, powerful, unusual. We all love the feeling that comes from the sky exploding in celebration. Firework feelings should not be saved for one precious day each year when we celebrate our country’s independence. We all want to feel a bit more excitement and magic these days. Let’s use this July 4th to focus on feeling the fireworks as we wait for the train, go through the to-do list of our lives and work and play in our communities. I’m offering a few words of wisdom to get you started. Try them out this week and reflect as you watch the sky burst with lights this July 4th.

Sleep Deep: poorly rested bodies experience delayed responses, dulled energy, metabolic inefficiency and worsened decision making. Want to feel energized and explosive? Tuck yourself in. Aim for a minimum of 7 hours between the sheets, treat yourself to a 20 minute nap if you expect a late night and lie down for a quick siesta when the stimulant from your morning coffee wears off.

Love More: while I have you thinking about your time between the sheets, go ahead and up your feel good hormones with a little bit of touching. Sex related activities flood the body with oxytocin, which is the hormone responsible for that warm and fuzzy feeling you get when the big sky-rockets go off under the covers. Most of us could benefit from making a little more time for intimate activities, so turn the tube off sooner and have some fun!

Nurture Yourself: if you want to feel more fireworks in your life, you have to feel firework worthy. There are amazing benefits to feeling your best: your posture straightens, your attitude and outlook brighten, you put a better version of yourself out into the world. Think about what makes you feel pampered. Do you feel good when you take a few extra minutes to use a delicious moisturizer? Spend a few extra minutes on your hair? Go for a manicure or massage? What does it for you? It is not selfish to spend these few extra minutes on your self care. You deserve to both look and feel your best.

I hope you have a wonderful 4th of July and the feelings of awe, inspiration and wonder find you more often than just once a year. Try these tips. You’re Independence feeling can shine anytime!

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POSTED ON July 2, 2013 // TAGS: feel good fireworks fourth sleep

Hungry Camper Turned Happy Camper: Lunchbox Ideas

Summer has barely started and already I am hearing stress from parents about summer plans for their kids. Consistently, I hear grumbling about packing lunch boxes for day campers. I get it. Camp lunches are harder than school lunches because sometimes they sit out in the heat if the program has no refrigerator or cooler. The kids are much hungrier than usual because they have been racing from one activity to the next. Of course there is hydration to cause worry. There are allergy rules that need to be respected. One of your kids is a vegetarian and the other only eats steak. One kid has a snack time and the other doesn’t. Really, it is a blur of baggies, water bottles and smashed sandwiches. Allow me to help! I hope this sets you up for success as you set your camper up for the summer.

Boy Scout Motto: The first rule is for you to BE PREPARED. Set yourself up for success by calling the camp and finding out if there is a refrigerator or cooler to put your child’s lunchbox in. This is important, because you may be able to send your picky eater off with his favorite yogurt for lunch, or you may need to be more creative. Also, ask if there is a snack time and where the snack is stored. If you know the rules (ask about allergy protocols) you are more likely to have a successful camper.

Set yourself up with:

  • Labeled water bottles. While disposable water bottles are tempting, a reusable water bottle that keeps the water cold and can serve as a cold pack is a great tool. Consider freezing a water bottle to use as an ice pack as well, but know that it may or may not defrost if your child actually wants to use the melted ice to drink.

  • Insulated lunch box. There are amazing advances in lunch boxes out there – some come with cooler packs that perfectly fit in to keep contents cool. Absolutely buy an extra set of the cold packs if possible, so you always have a spare on hand.

  • Labels. Lots of kids gear looks alike. Buy dishwasher safe stickers with your child’s last name or a family logo so it can be easily identified. Worst case, invest in a sharpie and hand write on disposables.

You need a full supply of:

  • Ziploc bags in sandwich and snack sizes (my personal fav for disposable are the “if you care” line, available at many markets.

  • Lunchboxes (2 per kid)

  • Water bottles

  • Tupperware in 4 ounce size, sandwich size and 8 ounce size (2 per kid)

  • Napkins

  • Forks and spoons

  • Hand sanitizer or antibacterial wipes (send in lunchbox daily) — Check here or here.

  • A sense of humor

What to pack:

If you have a routine, I won’t judge you for doing whatever works best for you. Figure out, based on what you know about yourself and your child, what should go in that lunchbox. Do you want your kid to have a fruit or vegetables, a snack, a sandwich and a beverage? Is it important to you that there is always something that feels like a ‘treat’ to your son? Does your daughter get a granola bar and fruit every day for snack? If you have a personal philosophy and treats and daily granola bars work for you and your philosophy, then it makes it easier to establish a routine. The more routine your lunchbox, the easier it is to pack. Do not put foods and goodies in that lunchbox if they are not what you want your child to eat; lots of parents fall into a trap of packing a lunchbox that they know their child will eat, even if they are not the foods the parent wants them to be eating. No matter what you’re packing, be sure to add a water bottle or two, fruit and/or vegetables (optional snack addition, see below).

Consider these options:

  • Conventional Sandwich: deli meat such as turkey, ham, roast beef, cheese, tuna, egg salad, etc. on whole wheat very thin bread with favorite toppings.

  • Mini Bagel: choose a whole wheat and high fiber (3 grams or more) mini bagel or bagel thin. Top with cream cheese or hummus and load up with tomato or cucumber slices, or peanut/almond butter and jam.

  • Leftovers: grill some extra chicken, steak, fish or garden burger and pack in a Tupperware with favorite raw vegetables. You can wrap this up in a tortilla (I like Damascus) and re-invent it with a little mild salsa.

  • Deconstructed Yogurt Parfait: choose a 6 oz Greek yogurt, such as Oikos and pack a little Tupperware or baggie with 2 Tbsp granola/pumpkin seeds/chia seed/raisins. They can assemble and eat at lunchtime so the granola doesn’t get soggy.

  • Spread and Serve: there are these amazing little inventions out there, such as nut butter tubes (Justin’s Nut Butter or Barney Butter), hummus cups (Tribe hummus snackers are everywhere!) and super spreadable cheeses like Laughing Cow cheeses. Pair any of these with carrot or celery sticks, cucumber slices, and high fiber crackers.

  • Pasta Perfection: If you make whole grain pasta during the week, make a little extra to turn into a cold pasta salad. You know your child best – toss with tuna canned in water and diced carrots with a vinaigrette, or add some diced ham and broccoli. Be creative but make sure to put some lean protein and vegetables in there to boost the nutrition and keep your kid satisfied.

To add the snack, or not? You should meet your child’s nutritional needs, but may not meet their calorie needs without a snack. If you feel your child needs more than a main dish, fruits or vegetables and water, choose snacks that you feel good about. To make your life easier, pre-portion them over the weekend, so you can grab and go when packing Sonny’s lunch.

Favorite snacks:

  • In lieu of overly processed chips and pretzels, I love Mary’s Gone Crackers products. Kids love them and they are more healthful alternatives so you will feel better about serving them.

  • Nuts are delicious and a tablespoon or two goes a long way. Kids love to shell pistachios and peanuts, so consider them as good “extras” that are friendly to your kids’ health. Note: call camp ahead to find out nut protocols/practices.

  • Olives pack easily, are delicious, satisfying, and fun. They even come in individual packs now!

  • Dehydrated and dried fruit. Fruit leather and dehydrated berries are easy to find, don’t spoil easily and rate strongly among little ones, so consider them better choices than cookies and candy.

  • Granola bars can be really sugary and over processed. I recommend Kind bars, Lara, BumbleBar and 22 Days bars; really, there are so many out there, but you’ll know it is a good one if you recognize all of the ingredients on the ingredient list as food!

  • Dried seaweed is all the rage. Better than chips, these novel slips of seaweed satisfy even the strongest preferences for salty and crunchy. They have perfectly portioned servings that are no worries to toss into a lunchbox.

Happy camping, friends. I am sure your children will be well prepared for a summer of fun, fueled on the healthful contents that you prepared with love, in their lunchboxes.

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POSTED ON June 25, 2013 // TAGS: camp kids lunchbox summer

Foods for Better Skin

Don’t you want to be one of those people who never shows their age? I do. And we all know, it starts with the skin. I know everyone wants the gorgeous skin of our youth, but it often feels like chasing a dream. The truth of the matter is that a lot of your skin’s appearance comes from genetics — whether you have a fair complexion, freckles, uneven skin tone or are prone to blemishes — you can’t choose to have a porcelain complexion or a lovely olive skin tone, you get what you get. Thanks mom and dad. You can, however, take what you got and make the most of it. There are lots of products that help you from the outside, but why not support that work with what you are putting inside? Whether you are troubled by aging skin that is losing elasticity, dry skin that appears dull or fine lines and wrinkles, these quick food tips are sure to enhance your look and feel good skin routine.

Avocados are hydrating and help to promote collagen production, which makes for younger, firmer skin. Eat them and reap the benefits of the B vitamins and vitamin E. . .  Like you needed another reason to have a little guacamole?

Salmon is as good for your skin as it is delicious. The brilliant omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and dryness. Yes, eating salmon can take some of the redness out of your complexion and make your skin appear more plump and healthy. You now have an excuse to eat salmon tartare more often!

Turmeric is a traditional spice that is newly trendy with good scientific reason. It is full of curcuminoids, which are antioxidant phytochemicals. Besides serving as a super transport for these antioxidants, turmeric is great at nourishing skin and promoting skin elasticity — preventing wrinkles and age spots. Feeling like a little Indian flavor tonight?

Organic Eggs are something everyone needs in their regular diet because eggs are healthful for so many reasons. You need the zinc in them to maintain great looking skin. Zinc is important in controlling oil content of the skin and minimizing breakouts. It is also essential in the formation of collagen, which forms connective tissue and skin. Scrambled or sunny side up?

Eat your avocados, salmon, turmeric and organic eggs and pull out some of those processed foods that may be clogging your skin’s inner glow. Try combinations of these foods and let me know if you have a favorite combination . . . and how your skin is looking!

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POSTED ON June 17, 2013 // TAGS: beauty blemish skin

5 Ways to Get a Full Body Workout at the Playground

Parents can spend a good 10 – 12 years of their lives supervising their kiddos at the park, playground, on a backyard swing set and at various sports fields across the ‘hood. You can choose to spend that time yapping with your friends and eating your kids’ cheez doodles, or you can use it wisely. For many of us, that is time we used to spend on our own physical activity. Here I am, to give you a full body workout while you are waiting on the sidelines or near a park bench. These are often the only way I get in workouts on the weekends with my kids. Happy kids. Fit parents. It’s a win-win.

 1. Pull up shoulder shrugs: Build your back and lats by hanging from the monkey bars with your thumbs under the bar and the back of your fingers facing you. Holding your core tight, gently roll your shoulders back to bring your scapulae down towards your waist. Slowly release and repeat 5 times. Build upon this and get used to the position so you can progress into a pull up.

2. Jump rope: Depending on your fitness, skip or jump rope for 20 seconds. Do this between each strengthening exercise. The goal is to build on this 10 seconds at a time, so you can progress to 60 second cardio breaks between exercises. Or, if you are already a jump rope pro, watch your kids games as you jump from the sidelines.

3. Lunge: Stand with your feet parallel, hip width apart. Take a big step and bend your knees so the front knee is at a 90 degree angle over your front foot. Remember to keep your core tight and your shoulders in line with your hips. Return to starting position and repeat with the other leg. Do sets of 10 with each leg and add more reps as they get easier.

4. Push and dip: Use a park bench to do 10 push ups, start with the backrest of the bench. If that is too easy, use the seat, which is lower. When you master that, move to the ground. Use the seat of the bench to do modified chair dips.

5. Copycat: Did you ever notice that from the time they were born, your kids were never still unless they were asleep? All of that energy and movement slows down as we age. Play with your kids. Do exactly what they do. It will be the best workout of your life and more fun than you can imagine.

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POSTED ON June 7, 2013 // TAGS: family jump rope pull up sideline

Sweet Sweets for your Waistline

I have tons of clients who are self sabotaged by their own sweet tooth. Some bemoan the vending machine that calls their name at 3PM every day. Others dread the monthly dinner with friends, knowing the two forks presented with the molten lava cake may as well be shovels because they will not practice the three bite rule. And finally there are those who feel like failures because they feel they cannot resist a weekly trip to the fancy frozen yogurt shop where they can top their creation with everything from malted milk balls to Captain Crunch. If your wild sweet tooth is a part of your identity that you accept, I have some suggestions for you to keep it tamed– treats that will not derail your healthful eating but will fulfill your desire for something decadent.  I even have one on this list that you can indulge in daily, because it feels legitimately decadent, but it’s really healthful. If you like something sweet, here are some top choices (I’ll bring my own spoon if you invite me to join you):

1. Matt’s Munchies are dried fruit treats, you will love! At 35 – 80 calories per pack, these dried fruit puree snacks offer long enjoyment. It is a bonus that they are portable and perfectly portioned for you. There is even one for you chocoholics out there!

2. Frozen Bananas — wrap a peeled banana in wax paper. Drizzle with chocolate and nuts. Freeze and enjoy!

3. Perhaps one of the best inventions ever is Trader Joe’s Sugar, Coffee Bean and Chocolate Grinder. This little trio is conveniently packed in a salt grinder and you can grind away for tons of flavor and itty bitty calories. I use it to top low fat ricotta, yogurt, coffee and . . . just about anything!

4. Frozen fruit bar — look for whole ingredients and no added corn syrup, dyes or chemicals. I recommend: Edy’s, Whole Fruit, 365.

5. 70% or higher dark chocolate helps you to indulge your sweet tooth and get a dose of antioxidants, so enjoy it on occasion in a 1 oz portion. There are a ton of brands out there on the market, readily portioned for you and you’ll find them at checkout lines across the land.

6. Angel food cake is mostly sugar and egg whites. For less than 100 calories, it is OK that this indulgence isn’t very nutrient dense because it is a great vehicle for berries, which are!

7. The Good Bean makes roasted chickpeas in a cinnamon flavor that is perfect for a sweet snack. High in fiber and protein, your waistline will not budge over this indulgence, even if it is frequent.

8. You don’t have to bake to turn yourself into a nutrition scientist: place 2 teaspoons natural peanut butter, 1 teaspoon cocoa powder in the microwave on high for 20 seconds. Mix and top with 1 teaspoon unsweetened coconut flakes. Eat with a spoon!

9. Grilled peaches — brush a little honey or agave over peach halves and sprinkle with nutmeg. Toss on a hot grill for 1 – 2 minutes per side so the sugars caramelize.

This brings me to number ten…the treat I mentioned before that gets the green light as a daily taste:

10. Caramel Tea by Yogi is a sweet treat for your waistline that you can have anytime you feel the need for sweetness. It feels indulgent, but it is really a healthful choice, as it has no calories, is full of antioxidants and contributes to your hydration efforts!

There you have it. Sweets for my sweets. Remember: go slowly and savor your mouthfuls so your relationship with your sweet tooth is at peace with your relationship with your health mindedness!

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POSTED ON June 4, 2013 // TAGS: dessert healthy treats indulgence sweet tooth