Wednesday, June 14, 2017

5 Healthy Dessert Ideas for Summertime

Looking for those perfect healthy dessert ideas to keep the waste-line thin and the body feeling refreshed and healthy in the summertime can be a bit of a chore. Read on for five delicious, easy, and refreshing desserts to try that won't wreck your diet.

Healthy Summertime Dessert image courtesy of Pixabay

5 Healthy Summertime Dessert Ideas

Here are five ideas for hot weather dessert to keep your taste buds and your beach body happy and smiling.

Honey Lemon Gelatin

Take your desired powdered gelatin and add the zest of fresh lemon, squeeze in a bit of lemon juice and add a few drops of local honey, let it settle in the fridge and serve with a small dollop of homemade whipped topping. Also great with lime or tangerine.

Berry Parfait with Greek Yogurt and Golden Flax

Combine your choice of fresh picked summer berries, drizzle them with honey and layer them in a small glass dish with low-fat Greek yogurt and whole-grain oats. Sprinkle some golden flax seeds on top and you have yourself a perfect blend of protein and sweet to add to your summertime dessert idea book.

Angel Food Cake and Blueberries

Already a light and airy sponge cake, add zest of lemon or orange and serve with chilled berries. The fruit adds color and an amazing sweet-tanginess that makes this a great summertime treat.

Melon half with Strawberries and Mint

Carve and de-seed your melon of choice. Fill the center with diced strawberries, top it with fresh mint leaves and serve chilled.

Cherry- Mint Lemonade Slush

Take your frozen or fresh cherries, blend them with fresh squeezed, sugar-free lemonade and ice for a refreshing, sweet drink. Zest a lemon or add fresh mint to put this joyful summertime treat over the top!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Weight Loss Tips for People With Sedentary Jobs

I was recently researching a customer service job that requires eight hours a day - on the phone - at a desk - emailing - normal office stuff basically. My big concern about the job is that signing up to do an extremely sedentary job would make getting fit an even bigger challenge than it already is - and that's what inspired this article about weight loss tips for people with sedentary jobs.

Weight Loss Tips for People With Sedentary Jobs
Weight Loss Tips for People With Sedentary Jobs

Weight Loss Tips for People With Sedentary Jobs

Make it easy on yourself to fit fitness activities into your work day by putting a small set of dumbbells near your computer or under your desk. If you're allowed to decorate, put up a poster showing some basic dumbbell exercises and seated stretches. This is a great way to remind yourself to get in a few exercises or stretches when websites are loading and when break time rolls around. Stretching and using different muscles to do a few DB presses also helps reduce muscle strain and repetitive stress injuries, so it's an all around good thing.

Track what you eat and drink. At first, you might want to eat and drink normally because that gives you a baseline assessment of how many calories you're consuming each day, but if weight loss is your goal, you'll need to plan to reduce the calories you take in. If you feel like you need large portion to feel full and comfortable, one way to eat a bit more is to take advantage of the fresh vegetable section of your supermarket. For example, a couple hundred calories of potato chips only gives you a few chips to enjoy but you could crunch on a whole bunch of carrots or celery for less calories.

Drive Your Metabolism Up

To boost your metabolism, which is what you need to do if you want to lose weight when you have a sedentary lifestyle, you need to eat, you need to hydrate yourself, and you need to exercise - more specifically - you need to build muscle. The trick is, you need to eat smart (and I confess, I don't always do this, but I keep trying to improve) drink enough water, and pick up those dumbbells and take advantage of what they can do for your body and metabolism. As you get stronger and build muscle, your metabolism starts to climb.

Schedule in regular workouts, whether it's walking, a powerhouse bodybuilding program, or whatever activity you enjoy. Just don't underestimate the value of those mini DB and stretch sessions at your desk, because they give you a boost throughout the day and even short bursts of exercise add to your overall health and ramp up your metabolism.

Thanks for reading, comments are always welcome, and be sure to look for Fat and Cranky under the moniker F&C on Facebook.

By Laure Justice

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Features of the Best Fitness Tracker

This short list of features that make up the best fitness tracker is here to give you some ideas of features you might like when you are ready to shop for an activity tracker or a fitness armband to give yourself a bit of extra motivation in your workouts and fitness efforts.

Features of the Best Fitness Tracker
Features of the Best Fitness Tracker image courtesy of Pixabay

Features of the Best Fitness Tracker

By: Laure Justice

Fitness tracker style: First, these trackers come in a variety of styles, like big-faced watches, slim wristbands, and clip-ons you can hook on a belt or zipper pull. The one that's best, is the one that's most comfortable for you. One interesting feature with the Fitbit line is that you can have more than one device linked to your smartphone app, so you can choose from different styles to match different outfits with a Fitbit.

Heart rate monitor: A device that tracks your heart rate during workouts and also when you're at rest provides information you can use to make your workouts more effective, and also that you can share with your physician or personal trainer when you have questions or need professional advice.

GPS tracker: GPS tracking records how fast you walk, run, or bike and how much distance you have covered. You can then use this data to ramp up your workouts or reduce them as needed, and it's especially useful when you combine the data with info on your heart rate during your workout sessions.

Sleep tracker: Since lack of sleep has been linked to weight loss struggles, as well as many other ailments, sleep tracking can help you determine how well you are actually sleeping, and can help you pinpoint things that are keeping you awake. 

Syncs with smartphone: This feature adds value two different ways. First, it lets the activity tracker send data to an app in your smartphone to track all the data about your workout and sleep. Second, it lets your fitness watch display call and text alerts, so you know if you're getting a call or text you want to take or respond to, without stopping your workout to check your phone.

Floors climbed: If you're climbing the stairs on your lunch break instead of sitting in the break room, this feature is nice because it records your stair climbing efforts.

Time and activity statistics displayed on watch face: Even a really basic fitness tracker, like the Series E Action Tracker that I reviewed a few weeks ago should offer this feature, though the more basic bands only show the number of steps you've taken, because they're basically pedometer. This is an important feature, though, because it lets you glimpse at least some of your data without checking your phone or mobile device.

Interchangeable bands: This is a nice feature if you want to switch your tracker unit into different bands to match different outfits, instead of switching to an entirely different tracker with each outfit change.

Guided breathing sessions: As far as I know, this feature is unique to the newer Fitbits. In my opinion, it would be great for the warm-up period yoga postures, and the stretching period after a hard workout, though if you have other ideas how to use this feature, please ring in and share.

Waterproof for swimming or showering: If you're working out, you're most likely going to sweat at least when it's hot out, so this is a great feature for any fitness band or activity tracker.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Progresso Hearty Chicken Pot Pie Style Soup As Part of a Healthy Diet

Progresso Hearty Chicken Pot Pie Style Soup As Part of a Healthy Diet
Soup so creamy it's like comfort food
A thick, creamy soup, like Progresso Hearty Chicken Pot Pie Style Soup, might seem like an unlikely thing for someone talking about diet and weight loss to recommend, but there are some reasons, including the sheer convenience of heating a can of soup for a quick meal, that it can be a great part of your healthy diet.

Progresso Hearty Chicken Pot Pie Style Soup As Part of a Healthy Diet

By Laure J

I'll start with my opinion of the soup as far as flavor and texture: Good... and good...

The flavor was satisfying and pleasing = like a very satisfying potato soup. It's a touch salty - but I like that and so far anyway - I'm lucky enough I don't have to watch my sodium intake - if you do - I believe there's a low-sodium version of this.

The texture is a blend of hearty creaminess that is "pure comfort food" combined with chicken bites that have the texture of freshly roasted chicken and vegetables that are soft but still have that slight pop when you bite them that you would get from fresh veggies in homemade soups.

Progresso Chicken Pot Pie Soup Nutrition Info

First off, I don't believe in ruling out any food from a healthy diet, but that is not counting people who have allergies and dietary restrictions imposed by their doctors - because those of course have to be acknowledged.

Now, for why you can add this soup as part of a healthy diet:

Calories: Each can contains 2 servings at 150 calories each. So, even if you eat the whole can, you are only actually taking in 300 calories.

Fiber: While this soup isn't super high in fiber at 2 grams per serving (or 4 per can), it does at least have some, and you could feasibly add some ground up chia seed to it in order to up the fiber without changing its taste or texture.

Protein: This Progresso soup does a bit better on protein (compared to fiber) at 7 grams of protein per serving or 14 grams of protein per can.

(I put the image of the label so you can check the details of any other nutritional facts you are tracking for your healthy diet.)

I bought my Progresso Hearty Chicken Pot Pie Style Soup at my local Kroger's store - it was on sale and I thought it sounded interesting. It's actually MUCH better than I expected, and I'm pleased that it delivers both a satisfying meal option and the "comfort food experience" without being a 'diet-wrecker.'