Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Year Ahead

Happy New Year!

I am looking forward to offering fitness tips, low fat and low calories recipes, the latest health and fitness news, fitness routines and lots of idea on how to make 2010 the year you achieve your fitness and nutrition goals and look and feel your best!

Make 2010 the year you do it!  Remember...I WILL....and YOU WILL!!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Will or Want in 2010?

With a matter of days to go until the start of 2010 and a new decade, you've probably started thinking about your New Years Resolutions and what it is YOU want to change next year...

Most people want to make some kind of change or difference to themselves or their lives, but very few actually achieve their goals. Why is this? Well, it's simple... Because they 'want'...
'Wanting' is like 'hoping' - the chances are slim that it will materialise.

How many times do you hear people saying;
'I want to lose weight'
'I want to be rich'
'I want to be fitter'
'I want to be famous'
'I want to change careers'

Remove the 'want', replace it with 'hope' and what do you have?  A half-hearted idea that more than likely will amount to NOTHING!  ZERO change!

To make something HAPPEN you have to WILL it to.
Pick a goal you want to achieve in 2010.
Say out loud 'I want to -------- in 2010'

Doesn't carry much weight or conviction does it?

Now say out loud 'I WILL ------------ in 2010!'

There you go, a positive, determined statement that will get you noticed by others.

If you say to your family and friends 'I want to lose 10 pounds in January' they'll more than likely listen for a second and then move on to another topic of conversation, treating your statement as a passing comment.
Say 'I WILL lose 10 pounds in January!' and suddenly you have their attention. Rather than brush it aside they're more likely to question your comment:  "How? Doing what? Really? That's great!"

You see, WANTING is not enough I'm afraid.
Yes, wanting SOMETIMES gets, but only if you're lucky.
By WILLING something you make your own luck HAPPEN.

STOP making a list of 'WANTS' and instead go for the 'WILLS'.
With all the doom and gloom around this year, bring change and make 2010 a positive, uplifting experience.

Write your own list of WILLS and forget the short-lived New Year Resolutions!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Happy and Healthy Christmas!

Christmas Eve....the days seem to fly past in the last week before Christmas!

Still got Christmas Day, big dinners and lots of delicious food on hand??  Allow yourself to enjoy the day and the season for what it is...don't go overboard and you'll get through the Christmas period without being a statistic - another member of the "Seasonal Seven" Club!  Seven pounds is the average that most people gain from the beginning of December to January.  So, get a head start on your New Years resolution (improving eating habits is one of the top resolutions!) and start eating better and smarter...TODAY!!!

Best wishes to you all!!!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

How to Have a Low Cal Christmas - Part 3

So perhaps you are somewhere where you didn't bring anything or you have "no control" per se, of what you see in front of you?  Below is a list of things to help you make wise decisions when a buffet is loaded with food.  Sure having one or two of those decadent mini-quiche is ok and so are a few nuts...but keep that up all night and the next night and those jeans you love may just start to get a bit tight!
  1. Bruschetta - This is usuually pretty inocuous.  Tomatoes, herbs, garlic and a spot of olive oil on some lightly toasted bread...a much better choice than some cheesy appetizer!
  2. Angel Food Cake - If this features anywhere it is the fat-free version of cake.  It still contains sugar, but the bad fat guy is absent.  Be mindful if it is iced though.  Try topping it with fruit and eliminating the icing.
  3. Shrimp/Seafood - There's a whole platter of yummy shrimp sitting there??  Go for it! (Unless you have cholesterol issues, then you need to monitor your amount) Even with the cocktail sauce, it is high in protein and a great low-cal alternative to fried wings, sausage rolls or fatty pastrami!
  4. Vegetables - We know you aren't a rabbit, but the raw vegetables or green salads are good fillers.  Fill up on some vegetables and you won't have as much room for all the fatty fare!  Just be mindful of the dip if you don't know who what's in it!
  5. Spritzer - Halve your drinking calories by mixing equal parts soda water and your favourite wine.  Not only do you have a "sparkling" beverage, but you saved yourself a whole lot of calories!
  6. Lean Meats - Cold or hot chicken or turkey is often served up with the skin on.  Get rid of the skin and you eliminate most of the fat and whole lot of calories.  Go for the leaner cuts of rost beef and if there is fat-free ham, dig in! (you may need to ask the hostess or servers if it is, of course).
  7. Fruit - Many holiday tables include fruit salad or slices of fruit.  It makes a refreshing alternative to a lot of heavy desserts.  Can't go past the dessert menu?  Have a tiny piece of something you like and add the fruit to top it or on the side to satisfy that sweet tooth.
  8. Pretzels - If you arrive at a function hungry and all you see is potato chips, nuts and pretzels, go for a handful of pretzels.  20 skinny pretzels or mini-twists are only about 100 calories.  Throw a few nuts in there and wait a bit and you will find you have taken the edge off your hunger!
  9. Salsa - Like bruschetta topping, it is mostly tomatoes.  Be mindful of what you are dunking in it though.  Stay away from the tortilla chips...try dipping your vegetables in it.  I love the little carrots and peppers dunked in salsa. 
  10. Water - You knew that was going to come in here somewhere, didn't you???  Throughout the party make sure you drink plenty of water.  It not only helps fill you up, but dilutes both the alcohol and the salt that features highly in a lot of snack food.
Hope these tips help you get through the parties and the celebrations unscathed!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

How to Have a Low Cal Christmas - Part 2

Can't find anything to eat other than those cute little mini-quiche, sausage rolls, cheese and cheese balls? Why not bring a plate of raw (or lightly steamed - enough so they are still crunchy but a bit easier on the digestive system!) vegetables - I like carrots, celery, cuccumber, snow peas (used a lot in Asian cooking), mung bean sprouts, peppers and the cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauli, etc). Want a real festive touch? Try cauliflower, broccoli, snow peas, and red and green peppers! Then add the Creamy Dip or some delicious Festive Hummus....sure to be a party favourite!

Vegetables with Creamy Dip
This simple recipe makes a fast, healthy snack that's a good source of protein and calcium.  The yummy dip makes you feel full and eliminates that hollow-bellied feeling after eating all those veggies! 

Here's what you need...
• Assorted vegetables (as above)
• 1 cup non-fat cottage cheese
• 1 tablespoon non-fat yogurt
• 1-2 tablespoon Knorr-Swiss Leek Soup Mix (or other flavour, depending on your taste)

1. Put all the ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth.  Best left in refrigerator for a couple hours for flavours to blend.
2. Arrange the vegetables on a plate or platter or make veggie kebabs...they make a great display and can be colour co-ordinated depending on the occasion!

Nutritional Analysis per whole recipe: 163 calories, 0g fat, 8g carbohydrate, 1g fibre, 31g protein.

Festive Hummus
While the red and green speckles give this homemade hummus a jolly look, it's the taste that makes it unforgettable. This dip makes the perfect party take-along. Serve it up with whole grain pita bread or fresh cut veggie sticks. Yield: 12 servings  
 Here's what you need...
  • 1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans (or prepared at home in advance)
  • 1 Tablespoon tahini or peanut butter, if you prefer or can't find tahini
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • 2 garlic cloves, mashed
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 4 sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves or cilantro leaves (my personal favourite!)
    Throw all the ingredients in a blender and combine until smooth.
Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 55 calories, 2g fat, 6g carbohydrate, 2g fibre, 2g protein

Who says eating healthy has to be boring!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

How to Have a Low Cal Christmas - Part 1

FOOD!!!  If there is nothing that signifies the holiday season more than the delicious assortment of food available, well, I'll eat my hat!  How do you manage to eat "low cal" when there is so much good food and temptation put in front of you?

Today we will look at a few sweet alternatives.  For me, either offering to bring a suitable snack or dessert helps.  For example, use the Pumpkin Pie recipe (from October's recipe blog) and bring a bowl of Banana Whip to add the finishing touch.  Or bring a big plate or bowl of fruit and bring the Creamy Dip or some low-fat chocolate syrup to dip the fruit in.  Can't pass up the Rum Balls or Chocolate? Bring some of the Heart Happy Truffles and even the sweetest tooth will be satisfied!

Fruit with Creamy Dip
This simple recipe makes a fast, healthy snack that's a good source of protein and calcium. The fresh fruit, non-fat cottage cheese, yogurt and natural honey blend with great flavour and texture. Here's what you need...
• Pears, apples or other sliced fresh fruit (you may need to squeeze a bit of lemon juice over to prevent browning, especially if the fruit is going to sit for any length of time)
• 1 cup non-fat cottage cheese
• 1 tablespoon non-fat yogurt
• 1 tablespoon runny honey  (depending on your taste)
1. Put all the ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth. Can be served immediately, but best left in refrigerator for a couple hours for flavours to blend.
2. Arrange the fruit slices on a plate and spoon the cheese mixture over the pears. Garnish with runny honey or cinnamon, if desired.  Or arrange fruit on a platter with a bowl of dip in the middle with a spoon so guests can serve themselves.  Or, make fruit kebabs...they make a great display as well as a healthy dessert!
Nutritional Analysis per whole recipe: 212 calories, 0g fat, 25g carbohydrate, negligible fibre, 30g protein.

Banana Whip
 Like Cream? Try topping your dessert with Banana Whip: Beat 1 egg white until foamy. Add in 1 mashed banana, 1 tbsp icing sugar and 1 tsp lemon juice until stiff peaks form. Use like whipped cream. Makes 4 servings of 39 calories each.

Heart Happy Truffles
Truffles are the simplest of candy to make; cream, chocolate, and time is all it takes to create something blissfully elegant, decadent, and delicious. However, besides chocolate (which, as we know, the darker the better) they also contain various other high calorie and low nutritional items. So this year, make your loved ones some healthier, lower fat, but still pretty tasty truffles...only about 30min from start to finish, with no ‘special’ ingredients required! Servings: 20 Balls
Here's what you need...
• ½ c mashed potatoes (just plain old potatoes, mashed...yes, you read that right!)
• ¼ c natural peanut butter (works fine with almond or cashew butter)
• 1/8 c honey
• 3 tbsp cocoa
• ½ c raisins or craisins, chopped
• 1 tsp flavouring (vanilla, brandy, rum, or any flavour you like – can even substitute 1-2 Tbsp liquor such as Amaretto, Brandy etc)
• ¾ c of combination of or one of the following: ground almonds, finely ground oats, coconut, flaxseed, ground peanuts...use your imagination and flavour preferences
• 2/3 to 1 c icing sugar (enough to make it a stiff dough)
1. Combine it all and roll into walnut-size balls. ( If the dough feels sticky, you can put it in the fridge to harden up before shaping). You can roll them in extra cocoa, chocolate hail, coconut or chopped nuts before or after shaping and refrigerating. Makes 20.
Depending upon the add-ins, the nutritional analysis may vary. I have based the nutrition content on my version: I use ¼ c ground almonds, ½ finely ground oats and 2 tbsp ground flaxseed and roll them in cocoa.
Nutritional Analysis (per ball): 88 Cal, 3g Fat, 14g Carb, 3g Protein, 14mg Sodium, 2g Fibre

Healthy eating doesn't have to be just has to be planned!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Nuts about Nuts??

Before you go dipping your hand into the Christmas Nut bowl, it may pay to know the nutritional content of this holiday staple.  Sure nuts are nutritious and tasty, but they are also high in fat (albeit good fat) and calories.  So, if you are using it as a pre-meal snack, you may want to think twice about how many you plan on eating.

For 1 oz (28g):
Almonds (24 nuts/oz)160 cal, 6g protein, 14g Fat (1g Saturated, 9g Monounsaturated, 3g Polyunsaturated), 4g Fibre
Brazils (6 nuts/oz)- 190 cal, 4g protein, 19g Fat (4g Saturated, 7g Monounsaturated, 6g Polyunsaturated), 2g Fibre
Cashews (18 nuts/oz) - 160 cal, 4g protein, 13g Fat (3g Saturated, 8g Monounsaturated, 2g Polyunsaturated), 1g Fibre
Hazelnuts (20 nuts/oz) - 180 cal, 4g protein, 17g Fat (1.5g Saturated, 13g Monounsaturated, 2g Polyunsaturated), 3g Fibre
Macadamia (12 nuts/oz) - 205 cal, 2g protein, 21g Fat (3g Saturated, 16g Monounsaturated, >1g Polyunsaturated), 2g Fibre
Peanuts (28 nuts/oz) - 170 cal, 7g protein, 14g Fat (2g Saturated, 7g Monounsaturated, 5g Polyunsaturated), 2.5g Fibre
Pecans (19 halves/oz) - 200 cal, 3g protein, 20g Fat (2g Saturated, 12g Monounsaturated, 6g Polyunsaturated), 3g Fibre
Pistachios (49 nuts/oz) - 160 cal, 6g protein, 13g Fat (1.5g Saturated, 7g Monounsaturated, 4g Polyunsaturated), 3g Fibre
Walnuts (14 halves/oz) - 190 cal, 4g protein, 18g Fat (1.5g Saturated, 2.5g Monounsaturated, 13g Polyunsaturated), 2g Fibre

Obviously, the closer to the natural state you eat your nuts the better - no salt, oil or flavouring.   Eating the nuts in the shell are a wee bit messy, but they require more work and so you are inclined to eat less.  You can't just toss a handful of those in your mouth!