Tag Archives: healthy eating

Dining out on a Diet: Our Guide to Atlanta’s Healthiest Hot Spots

Everyone loves to go out to eat; a statement made evident by the fact that Americans eat out an average of 4-5 times a week. And why not? It’s quick, easy, clean-up free, and a great way to get out and socialize with family and friends. However, studies have shown that the average restaurant meal contains over 1000 calories, which can make dining out on a diet nearly impossible. It’s unrealistic to expect yourself to stay in and cook every single night, so what’s the solution to this calorie conundrum? We’ve put together a review of Atlanta-area restaurants that offer up healthier alternatives to the calorie bombs you’d encounter elsewhere. So go ahead and treat yourself to a fun night out, minus the guilt!

Seasons 52

If you’re looking for the perfect Friday night date spot, but want to avoid the rich and hearty fare often offered at romantic restaurants, Seasons 52 is the perfect choice. The atmosphere is casually sophisticated, and the menu offers a wide variety of healthy dishes prepared with fresh, local ingredients. The theme at Seasons 52 is “healthy indulgence,” and it delivers just that; delicious fare that you can enjoy without feeling guilty afterward. The menu features everything from baked flatbreads to grilled seafood to wood-fired steaks, lamb and pork chops, along with an extensive wine list. Even better? Nothing on the menu is over 500 calories, and the nutritional information on each dish is readily available to help you make the right choice for you. The best part? You can even enjoy a guilt-free dessert! All of the dessert offerings at Seasons 52 are served in a shot glass, so you get just enough to satisfy a sweet tooth without feeling like you’ve demolished your diet, and with flavors like key lime pie, rocky road, and chocolate peanut butter mousse, who could resist a little post-meal indulgence?

Seasons 52 is located in Buckhead at 3050 Peachtree Rd. NW and in Dunwoody at 90 Perimeter Center West.

Cafe Sunflower

For all of the vegetarian/vegans out there, Cafe Sunflower is a must-stop spot in Atlanta. A small, cafe-like feel with simple decor, reasonable prices, and a casual vibe, Cafe Sunflower is the perfect place to enjoy a light lunch with friends or a weeknight dinner date without breaking your wallet or your waistline. If your strictly vegan, it’s difficult if not almost impossible to find a dish let alone a whole menu that caters to your dietary restrictions, but Cafe Sunflower does just that. Everything on the menu is meat-free, and the few dishes that include dairy products such as real cheese are labeled as such so that any level of vegan can easily navigate the menu and find something they can eat. And with menu items such as Berry Barbecue Tempeh, Baked Stuffed Acorn Squash, and Orzo Eggplant Lasagna, who wouldn’t find something to please their palate?

Sunflower Cafe is located in Buckhead at 2140 Peachtree Rd. NW and in Sandy Springs at 5975 Roswell Rd.

R. Thomas Deluxe Grill

No article on healthy restaurants in Atlanta would be complete without R. Thomas, a family-owned eatery that has become a landmark in the Brookwood Hills neighborhood since it’s opening back in 1985. Self-described as an “oasis in the city,” R. Thomas’ eclectic decor and trademark patio surrounded by various plants and caged tropical birds, it certainly lives up to that description. The menu is based on the philosophy that food is medicine, and that a diet free of preservatives and pesticides will ultimately lead to better health. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and menu items include everything from quinoa stir-frys to pastas to grilled chicken and fish to Southwestern entrees such as tacos, burritos and wraps. They are also known for their fresh, made to order juices and smoothies, making it the perfect stop for a pre-workout fuel-up or post-workout snack. Also, R. Thomas is open 24/7, so Atlantans can enjoy fresh, healthy fare any time of day, any day of the week.

R. Thomas is located in Brookwood Hills at 1812 Peachtree st. NW.

True Food Kitchen

True Food Kitchen is a growing restaurant chain which recently expanded into Atlanta with their newest location at Lenox Mall in Buckhead. The basis of the cuisine at True Food Kitchen comes from the anti-inflammatory diet, an eating plan designed to reduce chronic inflammation which can cause a number of health issues and diseases. Inflammatory foods are those that are high in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, and are prepared without the use of added fats, oils, butter, and salt. True Food Kitchen aims to popularize these healthy foods by preparing them in a way that looks good and tastes good too, and serving them in a trendy restaurant environment that will bring people in whether they’re grabbing a quick bite during the workday or enjoying a Friday night out with friends. The menu offers a wide variety of dishes including salads, pizzas, appetizers, entrees, sandwiches and burgers using lean meats such as turkey and bison instead of beef. They also have a selection of natural refreshments using antioxidant-rich fruits, veggies, spices and teas as ingredients. Even the restaurant itself is sustainable, using recycled wood and materials in their floors and furnishings. With it’s fresh, tasty cuisine and bright, fun atmosphere True Food Kitchen is one chain that’s definitely worth a try; just order the edamame dumpling appetizer and you’ll see what I mean!

True Food Kitchen is located in the Lenox Square Mall at 3393 Peachtree Rd. NE

Carbohydrates: Friend or Foe?

How many times have you heard a friend, family member or coworker say “I’m going on a low-carb diet”? Chances are, you probably know someone (maybe even you) that has tried this method for weight loss. And why not? The Atkins diet, the Paleo diet, and countless others advise that going low-carb is the key to achieving the body of your dreams. But is this really the answer to healthy, sustainable weight loss? Could it be that carbohydrates get a bad rap not because we don’t need them but because most of us don’t know how to use them to our advantage, which begs the question; carbs: friend or foe?

When food is digested, it leaves the stomach and enters the intestines where it is absorbed into the blood stream in the form of blood glucose, which is then stored in the muscle cells as “glycogen” or fuel for our bodies.  This process is known as “gastric emptying time.” Gastric emptying time varies based on what you eat, and when the process is complete your blood glucose levels drop, signaling that it’s time to eat again. Proteins have a gastric emptying time of around 2 hours, while fats take 3-5 hours. Carbohydrates however, take between 20 and 40 minutes. This is why we often feel an energy crash shortly after eating a carb-heavy meal. This is also why carbohydrates have gotten such a bad reputation. However, studies conducted on gastric emptying time have found that when you add a protein in with a carbohydrate, gastric emptying time is slowed considerably (remember; it takes 2 hours for proteins to be digested). This allows for blood glucose levels to rise slowly and drop slowly, releasing steady energy for the body to use effectively and preventing that dreaded energy crash. For this reason, proteins should always be present in a meal that includes carbohydrates. The only time it is acceptable to have carbohydrates alone is immediately after exercising because glycogen synthase levels are high, so the body will take all that glycogen and store it in the cells for later use. If you eat a high-carb meal and then engage in a sedentary activity like sitting at a desk or in front of the TV, the glycogen will instead be stored as fat because the body can’t use it right away. So, instead of swearing off all carbs, we just need to know how to eat them so our bodies can use them properly.

Now that we’ve established that carbohydrates are vital for providing energy to our cells, how do we know how much and what types we should eat? The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that 58% of our diet should consist of carbohydrates, the RDA recommends 130 grams per day, and the Institute of Medicine recommends anywhere from 45-65% or more depending on the individual and their level of activity. Runners, for example, probably need closer to 70%. Why? Carbohydrates are our fuel. They are the body’s greatest source of energy. You wouldn’t get in the car for a cross-country road trip without putting gas in the tank first, right? However, you wouldn’t need as much gas if you were only going for a drive down the road. This is the mentality that one should use when determining how many grams of carbohydrates they should be eating daily. So, how do you know the amount of carbohydrates that is right for you? First of all, you need to know how many total calories you should be taking in daily. It is beneficial to enlist the help of a nutritionist or dietician when determining this, but you can get a good idea using this simple formula:

1. Calculate your BMR (basal metabolic rate). This is the amount of food your body requires just to maintain it’s most basic functions (breathing, digestion, etc.). You can figure this out by taking your weight in kilograms (lbs./2.2) and multiplying it by 1 if you are a male and 0.9 if you are female (this represents the calories burned per kilogram per hour). Multiply that number by 24 (hours in a day) and you have your BMR.

2. Add in your activity factor. If you are sedentary (you do not exercise at all and have a job that requires little to no physical activity), give yourself a 1.1. If you are on your feet at least half of the day, give yourself a 1.2 for light activity. If you are on your feet most of the day, give yourself a 1.3. If your job requires a lot of physical activity (manual labor), give yourself a 1.4.

3. Calculate your daily exercise expenditure, or the amount of calories you burn during exercise per day. This can be a little tricky, which is why it may be helpful to have a nutritionist or dietician assist in getting the most accurate calculation possible. You will need to consider how many days a week you work out and what kinds of workouts you do to get approximate number of calories burned per workout (be careful not to overestimate). 

4. Take your BMR and multiply it by your activity factor, then add your daily exercise expenditure. Now you have a good idea of how many calories you should be eating daily.

5. Now, calculate 58% of that number and you have a general idea of how many calories per day need to come from carbohydrates. Carbs have 4 calories per gram, so take that number and divide by 4 to figure out how many grams of carbs that equals.

Now that you have a general idea of how many grams of carbohydrates your body requires to keep you going, it is equally as important to know which kinds of carbohydrates are best. There are two types of carbohydrates; simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates consist of sugars (fruit juices, white breads and pastas, corn syrups, etc.), while complex carbohydrates consist of starches (whole grains, beans, legumes, etc.). You should never eat a food with more than 20% of it’s carbs coming from sugar. In general, this means that we should stick with the complex carbohydrates as they are more filling and slower to digest. While fruit does include sugar and simple carbohydrates, they also have essential vitamins and nutrients that your body needs, so you don’t need to neglect these foods entirely. Just remember to limit your intake and combine your fruit with a protein to keep those blood glucose levels in check.

Carbs don’t need to seem like the enemy; following these simple rules will help you to turn them into a useful tool toward reaching your weight loss goals in a healthy and effective way.

 

It’s Superbowl Sunday! Sip smart with our Cocktail Calorie Guide!

Snacking is as big of an addition to Superbowl Sunday as catching the commercials, and no matter what your plans are for the big game, you’ve probably got a medley of munchies to enjoy during the football festivities. We all know that nothing goes as well with a big pile of nachos and hot wings like a couple of ice cold beers, but your game day drinks can add hundreds of calories to an already fattening feast. And while it’s perfectly okay to relax on your diet a little bit this evening, there are some simple swaps you can make to lighten the calorie load a little and still enjoy yourself. The following guide to cocktail calories will help you navigate the beer aisle and make the best choices so you can have fun this Superbowl Sunday without feeling too much guilt come Monday.

*The numbers listed on this chart are an estimate and are subject to change based on changes in the brewers’ recipes. Calories and carbs are based on 12 oz. servings.

Beer                                     Classification                          Alcohol Percentage         Calories         Carbohydrates

Amstel    Light Amstel Light
3.5
95
5

 

 

Alaskan Brewing Alaskan Amber
5
 
 
Alaskan    Brewing Alaskan Pale Ale
4.6
 
 
Alaskan    Brewing Alaskan Stout
5.7
 
 
Alaskan    Brewing Alaskan ESB
5
 
 
Alaskan    Brewing Alaskan Smoked Porter
6.1
 
 
Alaskan    Brewing Alaskan Winter Ale
6.2
 
 
Anchor Anchor Steam
4.9
152
 
Anchor Liberty Ale
6
188
 
Anchor Anchor Porter
5.6
205
 
Anchor Old Foghorn
 
 
 
Anchor Anchor Small
3.3
 
 
Anderson    Valley Boont Amber
5.8
 
 
Anderson    Valley Hop Ottin’
7
 
 
Anderson    Valley Poleeko Gold
5.5
 
 
Anderson    Valley Belk’s ESB
6.8
 
 
Anderson    Valley Barney Flats Oatmeal
5.7
 
 
Anderson    Valley Winter Solstice
6.9
 
 
Anderson    Valley High Rollers Wheat
5.3
 
 
Anderson    Valley Deep Enders Porter
5.5
 
 
Beamish Beamish Stout
3.8
131
 
Beck’s Beck’s
5
143
 
Bell’s/Kalamazoo Two Hearted Ale
7
 
 
Bell’s/Kalamazoo Amber Ale
5.5
 
 
Bell’s/Kalamazoo Pale Ale
5
 
 
Bell’s/Kalamazoo Kalamazoo Stout
6.5
 
 
Bell’s/Kalamazoo Oberon
6
 
 
Bell’s/Kalamazoo Double Cream Stout
7.5
 
 
Bell’s/Kalamazoo Third Coast Old Ale
10.2
 
 
Bell’s/Kalamazoo Expedition Stout
10
 
 
Bell’s/Kalamazoo Best Brown Ale
5.8
 
 
Bell’s/Kalamazoo Cherry Stout
8
 
 
Blue Moon Blue Moon White
5.4
171
12.9
Breckenridge Avalanche Amber
5.4
 
 
Breckenridge Autumn Ale
6.7
 
 
Breckenridge Pale Ale
5.7
 
 
Breckenridge Christmas Ale
7.4
 
 
Breckenridge Oatmeal Stout
5
 
 
Breckenridge Pandora’s Bock
5.8
 
 
BridgePort IPA
5.5
 
 
BridgePort Porter
5.5
 
 
BridgePort ESB
6.1
 
 
BridgePort Black Strap Stout
6
 
 
BridgePort Blue Heron
4.9
 
 
BridgePort Pintail Ale
5.2
 
 
BridgePort Ebenezer Ale
6.4
 
 
BridgePort Old Knucklehead
8.9
 
 
Budweiser    (U.S) Budweiser
5
143
10.6
Budweiser Bud Light
4.2
95
6.6
Budweiser Bud Ice
5.5
148
8.9
Budweiser Bud Ice Light
4.1
110
6.5
Budweiser Budvar Budvar
5
 
 
Busch Busch
4.6
133
10.2
Busch    Light Busch Light
4.2
110
6.7
Busch Ice Busch Ice
5.9
173
13
Clausthaler Clausthaler
0.4
96
5.8
Colt 45 Colt 45 Malt Liquor
6
172
 
Coors Coors Original
5
148
11.3
Coors Coors Light
4.2
102
5
Coors Coors Extra Gold
5
147
10.7
Coors Coors NA
<0.5
73
14.2
Corona Corona Light
4.5
109
5
Corona Corona Extra
4.6
148
 
Czechvar Czechvar
5
 
 
Deschutes Cascade Ale
4.5
140
 
Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale
5.3
175
 
Deschutes Bachelor ESB
5.4
180
 
Deschutes Black Butte Porter
5.5
185
 
Deschutes Quail Springs IPA
5.8
200
 
Deschutes Obsidian Stout
6.7
220
 
Deschutes Jubelale
6.7
 
 
Deschutes Broken Top Bock
7
233
 
Deschutes Pine Mountain Pils
5.1
154
 
Deschutes Cinder Cone Red
5.8
180
 
Dos Equis Dos Equis XX
4.8
145
 
Dragon    Stout Dragon Stout
6.8
220
 
Edison    Light Edison Light
 
109
6.5
Foster’s Foster’s Lager
5.1
156
 
Fuller’s Fuller’s ESB
5.9
 
 
Fuller’s Fuller’s London Pride
4.7
156
 
Genessee/High    Falls Genessee 12 Horse
4.8
152
14
Genessee/High    Falls Genny Light
3.6
96
5.5
Genessee/High    Falls Kipling Light Lager
3.4
99
8
Grolsch Grolsch
5
156
 
Gordon    Biersch Märzen
5.7
 
 
Gordon    Biersch Blonde Bock
7
 
 
Gordon    Biersch Pilsner
5.3
 
 
Guinness Guinness    Draught
4
125
10
Guinness Foreign Extra Stout
7.5
176
14
Hamm’s Hamm’s
4.7
144
12.1
Hamm’s Hamm’s Light
4.1
110
7.3
Heineken Heineken
5.4
166
9.8
Henry    Weinhard’s Weinhard’s Ale
4.6
147
13
Henry    Weinhard’s Weinhard’s Amber Ale
5.3
169
14
Henry    Weinhard’s Weinhard’s Dark
4.8
150
13.1
Henry    Weinhard’s Weinhard’s Hefeweizen
4.9
128
9.2
Henry    Weinhard’s Private Reserve
4.5
128
9.2
Hoegaarden Hoegaarden
5
 
 
I.C.    Light I.C. Light
 
96
2.9
Icehouse Icehouse 5.0
5
132
8.7
Icehouse Icehouse 5.5
5.5
149
9.8
J.W.    Dundee Honey Brown
4.5
150
13.5
Keystone Keystone Light
4.2
100
5
Kilarney’s Kilarney’s Red Lager
5
197
22.8
Killian’s Killian’s
4.9
163
13.8
Labatt Labatt Blue
5
153
 
Lowenbräu Lowenbräu
5.2
160
 
Marin    Brewing Mt. Tam Pale Ale
5
 
 
Marin    Brewing Bluebeery Ale
5
 
 
Marin    Brewing Albion Amber
5
 
 
Marin    Brewing Marin Weiss
5
 
 
Marin    Brewing Point Reyes Porter
6
 
 
Marin    Brewing Breakout Stout
6
 
 
Marin    Brewing Old Dipsea Barleywine
9
 
 
Marin    Brewing India Pale Ale
6
 
 
McMenamins Hammerhead
5.8
 
 
McMenamins Terminator
6.4
 
 
McMenamins Ruby
4.1
 
 
McMenamins Black Rabbit Porter
5.5
 
 
McMenamins Dry Irish Stout
4.6
 
 
Michelob Michelob
5
155
13.3
Michelob Michelob    Light
4.3
134
11.7
Michelob Michelob    Amber Bock
5.2
166
15
Michelob Michelob    Hefeweizen
5
152
11.8
Michelob Michelob    Honey Lager
4.9
175
17.4
Michelob Michelob    Black & Tan
5
168
15.8
Michelob Michelob    Ultra
4.2
95
2.6
Mickey’s Mickey’s
5.6
157
11.2
Mickey’s Mickey’s Ice
5.9
165
11.8
Miller Miller Genuine Draft
5
143
13.1
Miller Miller Genuine Draft Lite
4.2
110
7
Miller Miller High Life
5.5
156
11
Miller Miller Lite
4.2
96
3.2
Moosehead Moosehead
5
153
 
Murphy’s Murphy’s Irish Red
5
171
 
Murphy’s Murphy’s Stout
4
150
 
O’Douls O’Douls
0.4
70
13.3
O’Douls O’Douls Amber
0.4
90
18
Odell’s 90    Shilling
5.3
 
 
Odell’s Easy Street Wheat
4.7
 
 
Odell’s Cutthroat Porter
4.5
 
 
Odell’s Cutthroat Pale Ale
5.1
 
 
Odell’s Levity
5
 
 
Odell’s Isolation
6
 
 
Odell’s Bobby
4.6
 
 
Olde    English 800 Olde English 800
5.9
160
10.5
Olde    English 800 Olde English 800 Ice
7.9
216
14.3
Old    Milwaukee Old Milwaukee
5
156
 
Pabst Pabst
5
152
 
Paulaner Paulaner Original Munich
5.5
 
 
Paulaner Salvator
7.5
 
 
Paulaner Paulaner Hefe-Weizen
5.5
 
 
Pete’s    Brewing Pete’s Wicked Ale
5.3
174
17.7
Pete’s    Brewing Pete’s Oktoberfest
5.8
189
16.9
Pete’s    Brewing Pete’s Summer Brew
4.7
163
15.6
Pete’s    Brewing Pete’s Winter Brew
5.2
170
15.2
Pete’s    Brewing Pete’s Helles Lager
5
163
14.6
Pete’s    Brewing Pete’s Red Rush
5.3
170
14.8
Pete’s    Brewing Pete’s Strawberry Blonde
5
160
13.6
Pilsner    Urquell Pilsner Uruqell
4.3
160
 
Pittsburgh    Brewing I.C. Light
4.1
95
2.8
Pittsburgh    Brewing Iron City Lager
4.5
140
10
Pyramid Hefeweizen
5.2
 
 
Pyramid Coastline Pilsner
5
 
 
Pyramid Apricot Ale
5.1
 
 
Pyramid India Pale Ale
6.7
 
 
Pyramid Pale Ale
5.1
 
 
Pyramid Curve Ball Kölsch
4.8
 
 
Pyramid Broken Rake
6.4
 
 
Pyramid Tilted Kilt
6.3
 
 
Pyramid Snow Cap Ale
7
 
 
Red Dog Red Dog
5
147
14.1
Redhook Redhook    ESB
5.8
179
14.2
Redhook Redhook    IPA
6.5
188
12.7
Redhook Redhook    Blonde Ale
5.4
166
13.1
Redhook Redhook    Hefe-weizen
5.2
155
10.9
Redhook Redhook    Nut Brown
5.6
181
16
Rhinebecker Rhinebecker
5
106
2.5
St.    Pauli Girl St.    Pauli Girl
4.9
148
 
St.    Pauli Girl St.    Pauli Girl Dark
4.8
150
 
St.    Pauli Girl St.    Pauli Girl N.A.
<0.5
96
23
Sam    Adams Sam    Adams Light
4.05
124
9.7
Sam    Adams Sam    Adams Boston Lager
4.8
160
 
Sam    Adams Sam    Adams Golden Pilsner
4.6
145
 
Sam    Adams Sam    Adams Cream Stout
4.7
195
 
Sam    Adams Sam    Adams Boston Ale
4.9
160
 
Sam    Adams Sam    Adams Cherry Wheat
5.2
166
 
Sam    Adams Sam    Adams Spring Ale
5.2
170
 
Sam    Adams Sam    Adams Summer Ale
5.2
150
 
Sam    Adams Sam    Adams Pale Ale
5.3
145
 
Sam    Adams Sam    Adams Octoberfest
5.7
165
 
Sam    Adams Sam    Adams IPA
5.9
175
 
Sam    Adams Sam    Adams Winter Lager
6.9
190
 
Sam    Adams Sam    Adams Double Bock
8.5
240
 
Sam    Adams Sam    Adams Triple Bock
17.5
340
 
Sapporo Sapporo    Reserve
5.2
 
 
Shiner Shiner    Bock
4.4
143
12.5
Shiner Shiner    Light
3.9
120
9
Sierra    Nevada Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
5.6
200
12.3
Sierra    Nevada Sierra Nevada Porter
5.6
200
15.7
Sierra    Nevada Sierra Nevada Stout
5.8
210
19.4
Sierra    Nevada Sierra Nevada Wheat
4.4
150
11.8
Sierra    Nevada Sierra Nevada Summerfest
5
 
 
Sierra    Nevada Sierra Nevada Celebration
6.8
215
 
Sierra    Nevada Sierra Nevada Bigfoot
9.6
295
24.6
Stone    Brewing Arrogant    Bastard Ale
7.2
 
 
Stone    Brewing Stone Pale Ale
5.4
 
 
Stone    Brewing Stone Smoked Porter
5.9
 
 
Stone    Brewing Stone IPA
6.9
 
 
Stone    Brewing Ruination IPA
7.7
 
 
Stone    Brewing Double Bastard Ale
10
 
 
Stone    Brewing Stone Old Guardian
9.9
 
 
Tsingtao Tsingtao
4.7
152
 
Widmer Widmer    Hefeweizen
4.7
159
 
Widmer Widmer    Pale Ale
5
 
 
Widmer Widmer    Blonde Ale
4.3
 
 
Widmer Widmer Widberry
4.6
 
 
Widmer Widmer    Sommerbrä
4.8
 
 
Widmer Widmer    Oktoberfest
5
 
 
Widmer Widmer    Winternacht
7
 
 
Widmer Spring Run IPA
6
 
 
Widmer Drop Top Amber Ale
 
 
 
Yuengling Premium
4.4
135-140
12
Yuengling Light
3.8
98
6.6
Yuengling Ale
5
145-150
10
Yuengling Porter
4.5
150-155
14
Yuengling Lager
4.4
135-140
12
Yuengling Black & Tan
4.5
150-155
14
Yuengling Light Lager
3.6
96
8.5

 

             

 

Your favorite brew not on the list? Calculate the calories with this simple formula:

There are two reasons for beer’s caloric content: alcohol and carbohydrates. There are 7 calories per gram of alcohol, so the higher the alcohol volume, the more calories in the beer. An easy way to estimate how many calories are in your favorite beer is to multiply the ABV by 2.5 to get an estimate of calories per ounce. Multiply that number by the number of ounces and you have an estimate of how many calories are in each can or bottle of your favorite brew.

Now, lets get ready for some football!!

Back to School and Back on Schedule: 7 Tips to Stay Fit this Fall

Like it or not, summer is starting to wind down, and with the return of fall comes the return of our hectic schedules. Kids are going back to school, summer office hours are coming to an end, and it becomes more and more difficult make room in our daily routine for healthy habits. Studies show that people consume an average of 200 calories more per day during the fall season than they do in the summer months. Perhaps this is due to less outdoor activities, more on-the-go snacking, or simply that we no longer have the need to be bikini-ready when the weather cools down. Whatever the reason may be, keep that fall flab at bay with these 7 tips to keeping that bikini body all year long. It may not be autumn just yet, but these tips will help you to be prepared when fall is in full swing.

1. Plan healthy weekday meals ahead of time.

Between work, school, and extra-curricular activities, there’s not always time to prepare a healthy dinner every night. Avoid the diet-derailing drive-thru by planning quick and healthy meals at the beginning of each week. Do your grocery shopping over the weekend, and make a list of everything you will need for dinner that week. Meals don’t need to be complicated to be healthy. Pre-cut, frozen vegetables can be a great time-saving alternative to chopping up fresh veggies, and they retain just as many nutrients. There are also some great recipes online that require five or less ingredients and only 15-30 minutes of prep and cook time. Check out www.allrecipes.com for some quick and easy ideas. The crockpot is another great way to prepare meals that require little work and cleanup. Also, consider doubling up on each recipe so that you can save leftovers for later.

2. Reinstate Routines

During the summer, we tend to allow ourselves more time to relax, sleep, and participate in activities that we often feel we don’t have time for come fall, but these things are essential to good health. The key to keeping up these healthy habits is to schedule them into your day. Adequate sleep is a vital part of staying healthy, so set a nightly bedtime and stick to it. Power down your laptop and turn off your TV when bedtime hits, so you won’t be tempted to stay up late flipping channels or surfing the Internet. Do the same for your workout routine. Pick a specific time during the day, whether it’s in the morning, during your lunch hour, or after work to hit the gym, and schedule other priorities around it so that you always have time for a little exercise. Even if you only have fifteen or twenty minutes to spare, remember that every little bit counts. The trick to having time is to make time, so planning ahead will help to keep you on track.

3. Pack a Healthy Lunch

Instead of hitting up the nearest fast food joint on your lunch break, try packing yourself a healthy lunch to bring with you to work. Pack it the night before so you can grab it and go in the morning. Not only will you be saving calories, but you’ll save some cash as well.

4. Manage your Stress

It’s no secret that schedules can be stressful, especially at the end of summer when trying to re-adjust to a regular routine. Stress can do damage to your health, however, and can contribute to weight gain as well as heart problems in the long term. Keep your stress levels in check by finding something to help you cope when things get hectic. Check out a yoga class, meditate, or take a short five to ten minute break whenever you feel stressed. Not only will doing so clear your head and help you feel more focused, but you’ll likely avoid other unhealthy habits such as stress-eating to help yourself cope.

5. Do Something Physical Every Weekend

When the pools close and the weather cools down, it’s easy to start spending more time indoors in front the TV, especially after a long week. But instead of vegging out all weekend, plan to do at least one active thing. The weather is beautiful this time of year with fall colors and milder temperatures, so head to the park for a walk and a picnic, check out your local farmer’s market, go hiking, or take your bike out for an afternoon ride.

6. Don’t Go Long Periods Without Eating

When running around between work, errands, and kids’ school and sports practices, it can be easy to go long periods during the day without food. This can have a negative effect on your diet if you end up eating the first thing in sight or over-eating at the end of the day. Avoid running on E by bringing healthy snacks with you on the go. Choose light but filling foods such as almonds, fruit, whole wheat crackers with hummus or cheese, or low-fat, high fiber granola bars that can be easily tucked into a purse or briefcase, but will keep you from feeling famished during a busy day.

7. Eat Breakfast Everyday

No matter what your day entails, you should always make time to eat something before heading out. Not only will eating breakfast jump-start your metabolism and give you energy to power through your morning, but eating breakfast has been proven to boost brain function and prevent weight gain. Choose a healthy breakfast with a combination of protein and whole grains, such as a cup of whole grain cereal with almond milk, a whole wheat English muffin with egg whites and low-fat cheese, or a slice of whole wheat toast with almond butter and banana slices.

Now, get outside and enjoy the last few days of summer! 🙂

 

Have a Diet-Friendly Fourth: 10 Healthy Travel Tips to Keep You on Track!

The Fourth of July is finally here, and it is estimated that 40 million Americans have travel plans this weekend. If you’re among the many Americans getting away this holiday, you’re likely looking forward to kicking back, relaxing with a drink or two, and indulging a little more than you typically do (as you should!). But while relaxing on your diet and enjoying some Fourth of July fare is perfectly ok, you don’t want to overdo it and end up having to pack away that bikini long before Labor Day. To avoid overindulging on vacation this week, here are 10 helpful hints to keep you healthy while away from home.

1. Just One Treat a Day Will Help Keep the Fat Away.

Everyone deserves to treat themselves while on vacation. After all; how do you pass up an ice cream cone on a hot day, a fruity drink while on the beach, or a juicy burger at a July Fourth barbecue? The answer? You don’t! Just limit yourself to one treat per day, and opt for healthier choices the rest of the time.

What’s summer vacation without a little ice cream?

2. Walk the Weight Off.

People underestimate the effectiveness of walking for weight loss. While walking won’t burn the calories that an intense gym session will, it will still help to counteract some of those extra calories consumed on vacation. So while out of town this week, remind yourself to walk. Go for a hike, go shopping or sightseeing on foot, or just walk along the beach. Every little bit of physical activity counts, so make sure you’re getting in a little exercise each day.

A moderate walk can burn up to 300 calories per hour!

3. Hydrate for Health

It’s easy to forget to drink enough water while away on vacation, but it’s extra important to stay hydrated when spending time under the sun. Be sure to keep a bottle of water with you while engaging in outdoor activities, and have a glass of water for every alcoholic beverage you consume.

Don’t forget to toss a couple of these into the cooler!

4. Sip Smart

If you plan on kicking back with a few drinks this weekend, choosing what you drink can have a major impact on the number of calories you consume. If the specialty cocktail at the swim-up bar sounds just too good to pass up, go ahead and order one, but just one. Opt for a lower calorie option such as a light beer or a liquor and diet soda for your second round. And as always, remember that all alcohol has calories, so the more you drink, the more calories you’re clocking in.

It may look harmless, but this can pack a meals’ worth of calories!!!

5. Beware the Buffet!

No matter where you’re vacationing this summer, the one thing you can count on running into is an “all you can eat” buffet. While it makes mealtime easier on restaurant and resort staffs during peak travel times, it can do major damage to your diet. The key to eating smart when dining at a buffet is to choose mainly healthy options, and not take the term “all you can eat” literally. Consider starting your meal with a salad to help fill you up a bit before hitting the main courses. Then, stick to one dinner plate and load up on healthier items that are grilled, steamed, or baked rather than breaded or fried, along with plenty of veggies. If you’re craving a menu item that’s less than figure-friendly, let yourself have it, but have just a small taste.

Decisions, decisions…

6. Be Snack Savvy on the Road.

Road trips can be exhausting, and gas/food stops become much-needed breaks from a long, dull drive. Unfortunately, they can also become a danger-zone for dieters. Between the fast food joints and the endless supply of chips and candy at the gas station, it’s easy to let healthy habits go before you even reach your destination. Avoid this calorie conundrum by packing healthy snacks before you hit the road. Choose snacks with fiber and protein that will fill you up without filling you out, such as mixed nuts, whole wheat crackers with low-fat cheddar, or whole wheat wraps with almond butter and banana slices.

Stay outta here!

7. Choose One Active Activity.

Sure, the idea behind a break is rest and relaxation, but being active at least one day while on vacation can boost your metabolism, burn some extra calories, as well as open you up to a new experience. So whether it be a nature walk, kayaking, zip-lining, or surf lessons, book at least one active excursion to get you up and moving.

Sure beats just sitting on the beach!

8. Don’t Forget Your Fruits and Veggies!

While on vacation, remind yourself to aim for five servings of fruit and veggies per day. Not only will this help you to maintain proper nutrition while away from home, but it will make you more aware of what you’re eating throughout the day. When dining out, order meals that include veggies and/or fruit, and bring portable snacks such as apples, bananas, or carrot sticks and hummus with you while on the go.

Don’t forget to pack these in your beach bag!

9. Split Your Servings

We already know that restaurant portions are grossly oversized, so instead of devouring a giant dinner and dessert, then washing it down with a side of guilt, consider sharing meals with whomever is traveling with you. You’ll still get to have what you want, just less of it. Also, restaurant appetizers are usually much smaller than entrees, so consider ordering an appetizer as your meal, or splitting two appetizers between you and a friend. You’ll get to sample more than one food without destroying your diet.

1/2 the plate=1/2 the calories

10. Go Local

Instead of dining out at large chain restaurants, seek out local spots that use local products in their menu items. Restaurants that pride themselves on providing fresh, local foods will likely provide healthier options and use less fatty food additions such as butter and heavy sauces that will cover up the natural flavors in the food. The less distance your food travels before it hits your plate, the more nutrients it retains, so you can also reap the benefit of healthy vitamins and minerals in your meal.

Who says fresh and healthy can’t be tasty too?!

*Whatever your plans this weekend, the Firefighter Fitness team wishes you a safe and happy Fourth of July holiday!!!!!

A Better Body starts with a Better Breakfast: 10 Quick and Easy Morning Meals

The old saying, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” isn’t just a saying; breakfast really is a key component to a healthy diet and lifestyle. People will often skip breakfast in order to cut calories or because they simply don’t have the time to whip up a meal before heading to work, but doing this actually causes more harm than good. After a night of rest, our bodies need fuel in order to jumpstart our metabolism and energize us for the day. It’s understandable, however, that fixing breakfast is not always convenient on those busy weekday mornings. Firefighters face a similar issue at the firehouse. They have to be ready to answer a call at a moments notice, but need to be properly fueled for whatever physical activity the job may require. That being said, their breakfasts need to be quick and easy, but provide proper nutrition to keep them going for whatever may come their way. Whether or not your day involves the kinds of physical activity required of a fireman, everyone can benefit from starting each day with a healthy meal. Here are 10 easy, healthy breakfast ideas fit for a fireman, and perfect for you too!

1. Sixty Second Cereal “Sundae”

Combine 1 cup whole wheat or bran cereal flakes with 1 cup of vanilla lowfat or Greek yogurt. Top with 1/4 cup crushed nuts such as pecans or almonds, and 1/4 cup blueberries or raspberries.

2. Nutritious Nut Butter Waffle

Toast a frozen whole-wheat waffle (we like Van’s Organic Power Grains Waffles) and top with 2 tbs almond or peanut butter. Sprinkle on a tablespoon of raisins or top with fresh banana slices.

3. One Minute Mushroom Scramble

Crack 3 eggs into a bowl. Whisk eggs to break yolks. Add 1/2 cup fresh, pre-sliced mushrooms and 1 oz. 2% shredded mozzarella cheese. Spray pan with cooking spray, add egg/cheese mixture. Scramble until eggs are firm.

4. Easy Egg and Cheese Sandwich

Coat a nonstick skillet with cooking spray and add 1 egg. While egg is frying, toast 2 slices whole wheat bread. Top one bread slice with 2 slices low-sodium deli ham, 1 slice low-fat cheddar cheese, 1 slice tomato, and 2 Romaine lettuce leaves. Add egg and top with remaining slice of bread.

5. Two Minute Tex Mex Muffin

Coat skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Stir in 1/4 cup egg substitute and 2 tbs shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese. Cook 2 minutes per side. Place eggs on bottom half of a whole-wheat English muffin. Top with 2 thin avocado slices and 4 tsp salsa, then top with other half of the muffin.

6. Speedy Smoothie

Combine 1/4 cup orange juice, 1/2 banana, 1/4 cup frozen berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries), 1/4 cup low-fat plain yogurt, 1 tsp Splenda or other sugar substitute in a blender. Cover and blend until creamy.

7. Last Minute Mexi-Melt

Spread 2 tbs canned, drained black beans over a slice of whole wheat toast. Top with 1 tbs salsa and 1 tbs shredded low-fat cheddar cheese. Microwave until cheese is melted and beans are hot; 30-45 seconds.

8. Breakfast Pizza in a Pinch

Coat skillet with cooking spray, heat over medium-high heat. Add 1 egg and cook, stirring often, until firm (1-2 min). Spread 2 tbs marinara sauce on each half of a toasted English muffin. Top with egg, 2 tbs shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese, and 2 pepperoni slices. Microwave until cheese is melted (about 30 seconds).

9. Chocolate Cherry Snappy Smoothie

Blend 1 cup low-fat milk with 1/2 cup frozen, unsweetened cherries and 1 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder. Serve with a slice of whole wheat toast.

10. Rise n Shine Ricotta-Pistachio Toast

Ricotta-Pistachio Toast

Spread 2 tbs light ricotta cheese on toasted whole grain bread. Drizzle 1 tsp olive oil over ricotta. Sprinkle with 1 tbs crushed dry-roasted pistachios.

Diet Derailers: Why that Weight Just Won’t Go!

You’ve been eating healthy, hitting the gym on a regular basis, and yet still can’t seem to get rid of those last few pounds. So, what gives? While the formula for weight loss is simple: eat better, eat less, move more, there are a few common mistakes that people make that can end up standing between them and their goals. Becoming aware of these things can help you to make smarter decisions in the future and finally shed those extra pounds. Check out our list of common diet dilemmas and exercise errors and our solutions to help fix the problem, and put the pudge away for good!

1. You’re not eating as healthy as you think you are.

Sure, you’re avoiding the “bad” foods: chips, cookies, candy, etc., but how do you know just how healthy you’re actually eating? If you go out to eat often, there are likely some extra calories hiding in that seemingly nutritious dish. For example, you decide to go with a side of veggies instead of your usual order of fries. Sounds pretty good, right? Sure, it’s better than the fries, but those veggies may be grilled up in a vat of butter, adding unwanted calories and fat to an unknowing you. Be specific when ordering so that you know what’s going into your food. Remember that the word “drizzled” means “dunked,” and “sprinkled” means “smothered.” Restaurants use a lot more of an ingredient than you may think. Also, check yourself when cooking at home to make sure you’re not guilty of adding unwanted calories to your healthy meals. Get rid of the butter, vegetable oils, and heavy dressings, and lighten up with margarine, olive oil, and spices. Check out our spice article for more info on healthy seasonings you can use to spare the fat without sacrificing flavor.

 Your salad’s no good if you smother these on top!

2. Your portions are super-sized.

One thing a lot of people don’t realize is how small portion sizes actually are. Restaurant servings are often two or three times larger than what a portion should really look like, and it’s easy to use similar serving sizes when cooking at home. A good rule of thumb is to visually divide your plate into thirds. Protein and carbs should each make up 1/4 of the plate, and veggies should take up the other half. Another good idea is to use a smaller plate. It may sound silly, but I often use my salad plates rather than my dinner plates at home so I won’t accidentally overdo it when serving myself. Also, be sure to read the nutrition labels on food packages, so you can see what a serving of each food item is. Take cereal, for example. The calorie content may be 100 calories per serving, but the serving size is 2/3 of a cup. If you’re dumping half the box into your bowl each morning, you could be adding a couple hundred calories to your daily intake without even realizing it. Read those labels!

um…eating for two?

3. You’re over-fueling post-workout.

I actually hear this one a lot: “I don’t want to work out because I’ll be hungrier during the day and I’ll eat more, so then I won’t end up losing weight.” I apologize if you’ve used this excuse, but that’s really all it is…an excuse. Sure, you need to fuel your body properly before and after exercising in order to reap the benefits. However, unless you’re training for the Olympics, your body really doesn’t need much more than it did before you started hitting the gym. There are calorie calculators online that will help you to determine how many calories you need daily based on your activity level and weight loss goals. Check out: http://www.cancer.org/healthy/toolsandcalculators/calculators/app/calorie-counter-calculator to see how much you really need to eat each day.

It’s ok, she worked out today.

4. You succumb to the “snack attack.”

So, you eat three healthy meals a day, and that’s great! But what about that handful of M&Ms you snagged from the office candy jar this morning? What about that trip to the soda machine for that afternoon pick-me-up? What about the extra bites of food you tasted while fixing dinner for your family? Though you may not realize it, these things add up. Even if you eat healthy, mindless snacking can derail your diet and put the pause button on your weight loss. So check yourself. Do you find yourself casually snacking on whatever goodie that’s been left in the office break room? Do you end up grazing the fridge for a snack while watching TV? If so, try to be more cautious of the times you are most at risk for mindless snacking. Try chewing a piece of gum to distract you, and stay away from areas such as the snack machines where you may be tempted to sneak a snack. Also, you may want to just remove unhealthy snack items from your house or desk, or at least buy them in individually wrapped portions to prevent you from overeating.

Back away from the snack foods!

5. You watch what you eat, but not what you drink.

This rule is no one’s favorite, but what you drink definitely has an effect on your weight loss. Obviously, alcohol can be a major diet deterrent, depending on what and how much you drink. I’m not saying you have to sacrifice your social life, but be aware of how many drinks you are having, and opt for beer, wine, or calorie-free mixers instead of the sugary stuff. Alcohol isn’t the only culprit, however. If you’re a coffee drinker, be mindful of what you’re adding to that morning cup of java. Sugar and creamer can pack on the calories, especially if you have more than one cup a day. Also, limit (or better, eliminate) juices, energy and sports drinks, as they contain added sugars and calories that can really add up.

6. You avoid the weight room like the plague.

A common misconception about women and weight lifting is that if they do it, they’ll bulk up, so they should stick to cardio if they want to lose weight. Wrong. Sure, cardio burns calories and is thus an important part of a fitness regimen, but you need a combo of both cardio and weight training to slim down and tone up. Weight training is important for women in particular, because it increases bone density and can help prevent osteoporosis later in life. So instead of piddling around on the elliptical for an hour, try incorporating some basic weight training into your routine.

He’ll be losing weight in no time!

7. You diet, but don’t exercise, or vice-versa.

This one seems obvious, but it’s one I encounter on a pretty regular basis. You want to lose weight, so you just go on a diet. Or you hire a trainer or purchase a gym membership, but you fail to change your eating habits. This will stop weight loss dead in its tracks. While you may lose weight to a point, you cannot reach your goals without both diet and exercise. If you find yourself doing one and not the other, try incorporating both into your routine, and you will start seeing results.

Ya gotta have both!