Many people set the goal to exercise more regularly, especially at this time of year with New Year’s resolutions. We all know that exercise is good for us. It can help us manage our weight, prevent disease, sleep better, and feel less stressed.

When you are setting goals for exercise, start small and be realistic. Here are some tips for success:

  • Plan time for exercise into your schedule.
  • At first, your goal might be to take a brisk walk for 15 minutes, 3 days a week.
  • After a month, increase your workouts by 5 minutes.
  • Work gradually toward the goal of 30-60 minutes of exercise 5 days a week, with strength training twice a week.
  • Mix things up. Try an aerobic dance class, join a group workout at a nearby park, or look for workout videos online.

Don’t have time to exercise? You can still benefit from incorporating physical activity into your lifestyle. Do this by finding ways to increase your physical activity throughout the day:

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Park at the far end of the parking lot.
  • Pace around while you’re on the phone.
  • Walk laps around the field or court while you watch your child’s game.

Get creative! Look for ways to be active throughout your day. You will find that ten minutes of activity here and there throughout the day quickly add up to 30 minutes or more.

 

Need help finding motivation? Ask a friend to be your workout partner, go for a family hike or bike ride on weekends, or hire a personal trainer to guide your workouts. Have fun with it!

For more information on aerobic and muscle strengthening exercise, and more ideas for adding physical activity to your lifestyle, follow the link below:

https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/index.htm

Now, get moving! Afterward, enjoy this post-workout smoothie packed with muscle-repairing protein and replenishing potassium.

Post-Workout PB Banana Smoothie

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 scoop protein powder, flavor of your choice
  • 1 Tbsp peanut butter
  • ½ banana, frozen
  • 1 large handful of spinach, or mixed greens
  • 1 cup unsweetened almondmilk, or cold water

Directions: Blend all ingredients together until smooth, and enjoy!

Tips: For a thinner consistency, add more liquid. To make it colder, add a few ice cubes at a time.

Nutrition Information:

255 Calories      19g Protein       11.5g Fat      22g Carbs      3g Fiber

 

The crisp weather and beautiful foliage this time of year just begs us to get outside and be active.

There are a lot of options during the fall season to stay busy and enjoy the beautiful weather.  Here are a list of things you can find in your area to do this autumn:

  1.  Walk through a pumpkin patch or corn maze
  2. Go apple picking
  3. Have fun a fall festival or haunted house
  4. Take a hike or walk through your favorite park
  5. Collect colorful leaves or pine cones to do arts and craft or just display
  6. Participate in or cheer at a marathon or 5K.  Here is a link to find one in your area:  http://www.runningintheusa.com/Race/Default.aspx
  7. Fly a kite
  8. Yard work – plant bulbs for spring or rake and jump in a leaf pile!

A good goal is to work towards 30-45 minutes of cardiovascular exercise 3-5 days a week.

Motivation can be a struggle for some. A fitness group can help motivate, as well as keep you focused. Groups can be found at fitness studios, local running stores (groups of all abilities are usually there from a avid runner to walk/run groups), workplace groups, and swim centers.

Try this fun & festive pumpkin workout

 

Easy Delicious Baked Apples      

Ingredients

2 large apples

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/3 cup water

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350F degrees

Cut the apples in half.  Remove the core and seeds with a small spoon or knife.  Place the apples in an ovenproof baking dish.

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, butter, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Spoon this mixture into the centers of your apple halves.  Pour water into the baking dish.

Bake apples for 40-45 minutes, or until apples are tender.

Serve warm.  May serve with plain or vanilla yogurt and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Nutrition Information:
116 Calories     23g Carbohydrates
3g Fiber      1g Protein

 

holiday-pic‘Tis the season to overindulge!  Let’s break the cycle this year.  Enjoying the holidays doesn’t mean all rules go out the window for the month of December.  One day of indulgence is fine, just not a whole month.  Here are some tips to help you avoid the common holiday weight gain:

  1. Keep holiday candy and cookies in a cupboard or pantry.  Out of site, out of mind (hopefully).  Leaving goodies on the counter makes it tempting to eat a little every time you walk by, before you know it the bowl is empty.
  2. Focus on protein foods.  Protein will help you feel full and satisfied longer.
  3. Don’t save up your calories by skipping meals.  This never works.  Eat a high protein, lower carb breakfast and lunch before the holiday party.  This will help you from overindulging.
  4. Share.  Give away or share holiday treats given to you.  Also, give away leftovers to family and friends or freeze them for a  later time.
  5. Bring a high protein, healthy appetizer to the party.  This way you know you have at least one healthy alternative to all the high calorie, high carb foods.  Here are some appetizer ideas to bring to the party:
    • Deviled Eggsdeviled-eggs
    • Shrimp Cocktail
    • Mini Meatballs with Marinara
    • Hummus with vegetables
    • Prosciutto wrapped asparagus or cantaloupe
    • Dips made with plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream or mayonnaise
    • Crispy Chickpeas (recipe below)

crispy-chickpeasCrispy Chickpeas

Rinse and drain 2 cans of chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans). Spread on a sheet pan lined with paper towels.  Dry well, remove towels and let sit out for about an hour to thoroughly dry.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat evenly with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt and seasonings of choice (ex: garlic powder, cayenne pepper,  paprika, curry powder, rosemary). Bake for 30 minutes, stirring  occasionally.  Turn oven off and leave chickpeas in oven for an hour to get crispy.  Store in airtight container for 3-4 days.  4 servings.      236 calories, 9g protein, 20g carbs, 8g fiber.

Wishing a happy and healthy holiday season to all!

 

Pumpkin is delicious and healthy. I know the most popular uses for pumpkin is in pumpkin pie or carved into interesting faces, but this delicious and nutritious fall food can be used for so much more.

If you are trying to watch your waistline or just get a little healthier foods in your diet, pumpkin should be at the top of the list.  Pumpkin is full of vitamins, like vitamin A, C and E, it is loaded with antioxidants, as well as a good source of fiber.  Don’t throw away those pumpkin seeds either!  Clean and bake them for a healthy snack that gives you protein, fiber, iron, zinc and mono-unsaturated fats (the healthy fats).

Try this hearty soup recipe adapted from ibreathimhungry.com. It’s low carb, gluten and dairy-free. It’s a healthy-kind of comfort food!

Happy Fall!

Turkey Sausage, Kale and Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb sweet Italian turkey sausage
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 3 cups chopped pumpkin or butternut squash (fresh or frozen)
  • 4 cups chopped kale (fresh or frozen)
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 cups water

Instructions:

  1.  Cook sausage in a medium sized saucepan.  Add onions and saute until translucent.  Pour the broth and water into the saucepan and bring to a boil – reduce heat.
  2. Add the kale and pumpkin and simmer until the pumpkin is soft, about 20 minutes
  3. Serve hot, garnished with grated parmesan and crushed red pepper flakes.

Nutrition Information
Calories: 118    Carbohydrates: 7g     Protein: 11g  Fiber: 1g  Sodium: 558mg

 

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