Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Healthy Halloween! (Part 2)

The Calories in Disguise
Beyond the fun-size (and therefore calorie-controlled) candies, several Halloween treats are big calorie bombs. Be on the lookout for these surprisingly high-cal Halloween treats, which can add up fast if you let your guard down, especially if you are on a calorie-controlled plan!

TRICK: Pumpkin Flavoured Baked Goodies
Pumpkin itself is a healthful food. Plain pumpkin puree contains vitamin A and fiber and a small amount of calories. But, pair it with sugar, cream cheese frosting and butter and you’ve got a high-cal treat dressed up  in a healthy-looking orange outfit!!  Restaurants and coffee shops are devils in disguise...promoting their pumpkin scones, muffins, donuts and breads, which can contain up to 630 calories per serving. Don't let "low-fat" versions trick your either; low-fat is not the same thing as low-calorie. Your best bet is to avoid all of these pumpkin treats, unless you look up the nutrition facts before you bite and decide that it can fit into your day. Homemade treats, frequents at parties and offices, aren't necessarily better either, so be careful!
TREAT: You can bake your own pumpkin treats using less sugar and fat, plus whole-grain goodness. Use a mini muffin tin to help with keep your portions in check and steer clear of these seasonal baked goods!

TRICK: Hot Beverages
Sometimes there is nothing more enjoyable than sipping a hot drink on a crisp fall day. Many coffee spots offer special seasonal beverages during the holidays. While plain coffee is low-cal, seasonal lattes and drinks contain a lot of sugar, and most boast a heavy dose of cream, too. A medium pumpkin spice latte with whole milk is 410 calories at Starbucks, and its competitors don't do much better. As liquid calories do not aid in fullness or satiety, these calories probably are not worth it!
TREAT:  Order a smaller drink and lighten the load by requesting fat free milk and holding any whipped topping. Like the spicy taste??  Freshly brewed chai tea can be a great alternative that is virtually calorie-free, but look out for blended drinks that are ready to serve; they often contain cream, syrups and lots of added sugar. Or, ask for hot water and a teabag of chai tea (black tea with spices) with some low-fat milk on the side!

The most important thing to remember during the Halloween season is to "peak under the mask", and think before you bite! Think about what these seasonal treats are doing for your body and put your label reading skills to work so you can stay in control of your choices.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Healthy Halloween! (Part 1)

I don't know about you, but having all that candy on hand to give to all the Trick-or-Treaters, can just be a wee bit too much temptation!  Sure, it's fine to indulge a little, but how many of us find it hard to stop at the "little".  One fun size chocolate bar becomes two and so on.  Fine if you have worked that into your menu for the day or planned for a little indulgence, but more often than not, they just kind of disappear down your throat!

To help keep temptation out of your way, here are a few suggestions for all the ghosts, princesses, pirates and goblins that come knocking at your door:

• Individual packets of dried fruit, raisins, nuts, peanuts

• Peanut-butter crackers, cheese crackers, pretzels

• Fruit juice boxes

• Individual pudding packs

• Sugarless bubblegum or chewing gum

• Buttons, pins, spider rings, trinket jewelry, bracelets, friendship rings, hair barrettes, ponytail holders, shoelaces

• Home-baked goods (labeled with your name and address)

• Money

• Tiny plastic animals, figurines, finger puppets, whistles, balloons

• Halloween stickers, coloring books, puzzle books, pencils, erasers, note pads, etc (there are so many novelties available these days)

So what do you do with all the "loot" that makes it home???

 In terms of dental health, nibbling on a piece of candy here and there will continually bathe the teeth in sugar and acid. This repeated exposure is likely to cause tooth decay. The best idea is to let your children eat as much candy as they want at one time and then make sure that their teeth are thoroughly brushed and flossed.

Set a limit on how long the candy stays around. For example, any leftovers get thrown away after 5 days, or whatever you decide. This not only will get them back on a healthy schedule but will remove the tempting goodies from you, too! (hint, hint!!)

Tomorrow we will look at the expense of all the "adult treats" available at this time of year...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Gift of Fitness (Part 3)

Okay...if you really want to splash out a bit more, here is a list of some pricier fitness gifts!

 $25 - $50
  • Higher quality Stability Ball
  • Online Personal Training Program (custom designed for the gift recipient)
  • Home Exercise DVD Package
  • Pilates or Yoga Kit (DVD, mat and some accessories)
  • EZ Lock Dumbbells
  • Dumbbell Rack with lighter weights
  • Basic Heart Rate Monitor
  • Kettlebells
  • Medicine Balls
  • A Personal Training Session
  • Gym Punch Pass
  • Athletic/Exercise Apparel
  • as in the lower range, there are a number of sport related items to choose from
Over $50
  • Gym Membership
  • Personal Training Pkg
  • Complete Dumbell or Barbell sets
  • Fitness clothing and shoes
  • Treadmills
  • Stationary or real "get out on the road" bikes
  • Elliptical Trainers
  • more expensive versions of the under $50 items or more of them! (I think you're getting the idea here!)
A gift that supports health and wellness will be appreciated for years to come and may even turn someone's life around. The gift of fitness will make the recipient feel special - they'll know that someone cared enough to give them the opportunity to improve their health. And, giving a gift that will help someone lead a healthier life is also one of the most rewarding gifts you can give. So why spend another holiday season searching for the perfect gift only to end up picking up another gift certificate or calendar?

Surprise everyone this year and give the gift that comes from the heart and truly keeps on giving throughout the New Year and beyond. And don't forget yourself - you deserve the gift of fitness too!

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Gift of Fitness (Part 2)

Believe it or not, there are countless gifts (besides Gift Certificates) to not only give current Fitness Buffs but beginners.  Besides fitness apparel and shoes, there are several gadgets and gizmos that can make anyone from a Technophobe to a Grandmother happy!

Under $20
  • Resistance Band/Tube ( makes a great stocking stuffers and an especially valuable gift for a frequent traveler)
  • Dumbbells (depending upon the size, as DB are usually priced according to weight)
  • Jump Rope (makes a great stocking stuffer)
  • Exercise Mat (prices can vary greatly on these - some are more expensive than others!)
  • Home Exercise DVD
  • Sweat Bands, Head Bands, Running Gloves, Weight Lifting Gloves
  • Pilates Balls
  • Exercise Clothing
  • Pedometers (an inexpensive gift and great for walkers and beginners)
  • Sport specific items such as golf balls and tees, golf club covers, golf gloves,  hand wraps for boxers, bike helmets, bike bells, biking gloves, skate guards, mouth guards, elbow pads, etc. etc.  (I think you are getting the idea here...)
  • Healthy Cook Books
Loads of great gifts without spending a lot of money!  Tomorrow we will look at some more expensive options...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Gift of Fitness (Part 1)

Well, it's that time of year again - the holiday shopping season will soon be upon us. Have you thought about what you are going to give those people on your "hard to shop for" list? Instead of another tie for your dad or music CD for your sister, why don't you give them a truly unique and invaluable gift? Give them the gift of improved health and fitness.

The gift of fitness is something that you can give to virtually everybody on your shopping list -- from your parents, to your spouse, a friend, your siblings, an employee or co-worker, even your children. And it's a gift that is invaluable. After all, who doesn't want to look better, feel better, and be healthier?

And, it's a gift that you can truly feel proud to give. When you give someone the gift of fitness, you are helping him/her open a door to better health (both physically and mentally). It's a gift that genuinely shows the recipient how much you care about their well-being. By giving the gift of fitness you are providing them with unlimited health benefits.

Of course, we all know that exercise can help people stay slim and fit. But, do you also know about all the other great benefits of exercising? Daily physical activity reduces stress and can help you sleep better. Fitness has been linked to reducing the risk of many diseases and to warding off depression. Researchers believe that strength training can help prevent osteoporosis. Not to mention that exercise also improves self-esteem and increases stamina.

Certainly many people on your shopping list would find these fitness benefits incredibly invaluable. If the people on your list are like most of us, they've probably even mentioned how they want to drop a few pounds or just get in better shape. In fact, experts say that about 62% of North Americans are currently on a diet. By giving the gift of fitness you are helping provide them with extra motivation (which is one of the biggest obstacles in getting fit). They'll be more motivated to start an exercise program when given a gift that helps them immediately take action to kick-start their workouts (personal training gift certificates and gym memberships are especially good for helping with motivation).

Even if they are already fit and healthy, there are still lots of options for new and exciting gifts to add variety to their workouts or exercise regime!  And of course, these are gifts you can give all year round too!

While fitness gifts are incredibly valuable, they don't have to be expensive. Gifts can cost as little as $5 or range into the $100s of dollars.  Tomorrow I will show you some examples of what you can purchase!

Friday, October 16, 2009

3 Shortcuts for Fat Loss

Did your eyes light up???  Here are 3 shortcuts for cutting unncessary and fat-producing calories from your diet:
  1. Keep track of all the calories you take in by way of liquids/drinks (you may be quite surprised) - these are calories just the same as food calories - they can turn into fat just as easily as eating fries if you are over you daily caloric needs!
  2. Cooking too much, putting too much on your plate & eating too much - ALL WITHOUT EVEN REALIZING IT !!  Most people eat subconsciously - that is, without really paying attention to what they are doing. Hence, overeating becomes easy and regular. Start eating consciously - be aware of WHAT and HOW MUCH you are eating!
  3. Eating when you are not hungry... HELLO !! - If you are not hungry - your body is telling you something "I don't need the calories, right now."  Really make the effort not to eat out of boredom or  eat just because 'everybody else is'! 
Take control of these little things and there is no stopping you if you truly want to be foxy and fit!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Turkey-Belly Busting Workout! even if you didn't eat too much turkey or just too much in general, here is a workout that you can do anywhere and as many times through as you have time for!  No excuses that you don't have equipment either...the only piece of equipment you need is the one you walk around in every day.  Yep, a complete equipment-free, bodyweight workout that takes less than 20 min to do!

Bodyweight Circuit
-10 reps of each exercise
- rest 30 seconds at the end of the circuit
- go through it 3-5 times

1) Prisoner Squat (bodyweight squat with hands clasped behind head- pull your elbows back!)
2) Pushups (from toes or knees)
3) Lunges (hands on hips or across chest)
4) Plank - 20 second hold  (start from your toes and drop to knees if need be)

That's it!  Pretty simple, really.  But, effective nonetheless.  Why not get the family involved and see who can get through it the fastest??

Post your time to get through the circuit and you'll go into the draw to win the new "FitnFoxy 4 Week Fat Incinerator Program"! 

Friday, October 9, 2009

Low Fat Low Cal Pumpkin Pie

Fall and Thanksgiving bring Pumpkin Pie...I don't know about you, but I would definitely cross a bed of nails to get to it!!  I am always telling myself "just one piece" and then proceed to slice slivers off until eventually I consume about 3 or 4 pieces.  Pumpkin Pie is absolutely loaded with calories (anything that tastes that good has to be).  BUT!!!  I have a recipe here for a Crustless Pumpkin Pie,  less calories and lighter with that same great pumpkin pie taste!  Believe won't miss the crust!

Crustless Pumpkin Pie (serves 8)
     Nonstick cooking spray
     1 x 15oz can 100% Pure Pumpkin
     1 x 12oz can evaporated Skim Milk
     3/4 c egg substitute
     1/2- 3/4 c sugar or sugar substitute, or half and half
     1/4 tsp salt (I don't use it, but some think it is better with it)
     1 tsp cinnamon
     1/2 tsp ground ginger
     1/8 - 1/4 tsp ground cloves
     1/4 tsp nutmeg
Beat together all the ingredients.  Pour into an 8" pie dish sprayed with cooking oil.
Bake at 400F for 15min, reduce the temp to 325F and bake for 45min longer, or until knife inserted in centre comes out clean.  Cool for 2 hr.
Nutrition Info (per serving):  120 Calories (150, if using sugar), 1g Fat, 21g Carbs (29g if using sugar), 7g Protein
The best part???  The fat and calories are low enough that you can have 2 pieces instead of the usual 1...just not all at once...of course!  :)                                               

Friday, October 2, 2009

Stop! Look! and Listen...

Those words mean anything to you? For me, those 3 words are indelibly etched upon my brain…beginning about the time I was 5 years old and learning to cross the road. “Okayyyy...." you are saying..."and the point is???"

 My point is...when it comes to the state of your health, remember those 3 words!  Just like when you were a child, they were imprinted upon your grey matter through constant repetition with the end goal of keeping you safe. In the same way, they can also protect you from “harm” today.

STOP!and appreciate your body for the amazing piece of work it is! Therefore, when you are about to eat…STOP

LOOK!…at what you are about to subject that body to. Is what you are going to do going to benefit you or not? Will it assist that amazing piece of work in doing its’ job? Is there enough on your plate/in your bowl to satisfy you, or is there too much? Is it a snack or a meal? When was the last time you ate? Are you going to sit on the couch or walk the dog?

LISTEN…to the messages your body is sending you. Are you eating because you are hungry and/or it is your mealtime? Are you hungry because you ate nothing all day and suddenly emptying the contents of the fridge is #1 priority? Or, did someone really wind you up, tick you off, or made you want to cry and all you want is to crawl into a little hole and gorf down some comfort food? Have you had enough fluid today?…because, just maybe your body is really saying “I’m thirsty” and you misread the cues and eat instead!

Get the idea? I like to call it “conscious eating”. How often have you sat, or, even worse, stood in the kitchen, and eaten without really thinking about what you were eating, how much and, most importantly…WHY?!!!

Try it next time you go to eat something…the answers may surprise you!