Healthy Versions Of Your Favorite Comfort Foods

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Oh How we love our comfort food! If you want to stay slim while indulging, here’s how!

PIZZA


 Homemade pizza is always a healthier alternative to eating out. Make it even better by substituting half of the flour with whole-wheat flour and use olive oil.

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The secret is in the sauce. Add oregano, basil, chopped tomatoes, garlic and other fresh spices.

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Choose your cheeses well. To add extra flavor, combine a few types of cheese. Part-skim mozzarella cheese with grated Parmesan and Ricotta cheese is a tasty option.

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Add vegetables: spinach, peppers and basil will bring color to your pizza and taste as well!

MACARONI AND CHEESE


 Never mind those sugar-packed, salty, store-bought mac and cheese boxes. Homemade is the way to go.

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Macaroni and cheese is the perfect dish to experiment with, have fun. To make it healthier, add half a head of cauliflower (pureed) to the cheese sauce. You can also switch some of the full fat cheese for part-skim.

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Get the kids to eat cauliflower without them ever knowing.

CHEESEBURGER


 We all love grilling a good burger. To start, get the best ground beef. It is important that your main ingredient be as lean as possible. To add extra taste, add chipotle peppers to your adobo sauce.

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Use whole grain buns to get all the fiber your digestive system needs to work properly. Add some lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, onions, peppers and other fresh crunchy vegetables to get all the nutrients you need. A slice of cheddar cheese and we are ready to enjoy this classic dish.

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LASAGNA


 A few simple swaps will change this guilty pleasure into a healthy one.

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Use whole grain lasagna noodles, add a lean ground sirloin and a low-fat cottage cheese and you’ll be adding fiber and ingesting far less fat and bad cholesterol. You can replace the noodles with zucchini or eggplant for an even healthier dish.

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Use olive oil instead of butter or other oils, if possible. Olive oil lowers your bad cholesterol while adding texture. Top it off with half-skim cheese.

SHEPHERD’S PIE


 Mashed potatoes. We all love mashed potatoes, but also know how fattening they are. Here’s a secret recipe to change things up.

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Once again, cauliflower will save the day. Replace half of the potatoes with cauliflower. It has great texture, doesn’t change the taste and it contains half the calories!

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Lean ground beef packed with vegetables and spices will make this the greatest Shepherd’s pie you and your family have ever tasted.

BAKED GARLIC FRIES


 The key to making a healthy dish is in knowing what to change to make the greatest impact.

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The idea is simple. Do not fry your fries: bake them. They are just as tasty and the difference for your health is huge.

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Add garlic, parsley and olive oil to give them a tasty twist.

ARTICHOKE-SPINACH DIP


 As with any dips, you can experiment to make it your own. Here is the general idea.

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Beans, cream cheese, garlic and chicken broth are pureed and mixed with cooked spinach, artichokes and whatever spices and sauces you wish to add.

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Cover it in low-fat or semi-skim cheese and bake until it is golden and bubbling. Great dip for our baked fries!

ONION RINGS


 There are many onion ring recipes. Here are some tricks to make them healthier.

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Use vegetable milk instead of whole milk. This will reduce the fat in your batter and can help you add flavor.

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Bake the rings: don’t deep-fry them. This makes a world of difference. You will feel much better after filling up with onion rings. No guilt.

PANCAKES


 The secret to healthier pancakes is easy: switch to Greek yogurt and add all the fruits you can think of. This will guarantee a variety of flavors and nutrients.

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Greek yogurt is the perfect ingredient to reduce the amount of flour in your pancakes without losing any of the texture. Try these and you will never use milk in your pancakes again.

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CHOCOLATE PUDDING


 Chocolate pudding is one of our favorite comfort foods. It is tasty, rich in texture and also in sugar and fat. Here is how to improve it.

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Use fat-free or skim milk. This lowers the fat intake. Buy unsweetened cocoa so you know exactly how much sugar you are adding to your dessert. There are a few variations you can try. Instead of sugar, use honey. Add cinnamon to lower the amount of sugar needed.

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What other healthy version of our favorite comfort foods do you know? We would love to hear about them!

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Top 5 Fruits For Weight Loss

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If you are looking to lose weight, you have come to the right place!

We all know that eating more fruit and vegetables and less flour (bread, pasta, pizza) is the first step to take in order to lose weight. It is easy to see why. Fruits are full of nutrients your body needs, specially if you are exercising to lose the weight rapidly and evenly. While pizzas and pasta are very tasty, the convert to sugars that need to be then burnt off.

With the great variety of fruits at our disposal nowadays it is hard to know which to eat when dieting. Here are the top 5 fruits that help you lose weight:

GRAPEFRUIT


Grapefruit is a great source of vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants. This translates to better skin and easier digestion. If you are exercising, this tasty fruit will help you replenish all the nutrients you have lost.

Studies show that it also helps lower bad cholesterol by up to 15%. What else could you ask for? Well, there is a lot more grapefruits will do for you!

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It has a low glycemic index that helps you burn fat fast. Combine this with its high fiber content and you have a perfect strategy to bur all that fat. It also helps stabilize blood-sugar and insulin levels AND will make you less hungry. It is best eaten for breakfast or as a snack, on its own.

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Originally from Barbados, it can interact with some prescription drugs, so check with your doctor if you are taking any.

APPLE


Apples are a wonderful ally to tackle your diet. They are low in sodium, so you retain less water.

Apples are known to help digestion along, helping you lose weight. We all know “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away”. Vitamin C, minerals and fiber are all present in apples, and should be present in your diet too.

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Apples are known to stimulate the body’s immunity system, making it stronger. This translates into a faster recovery and a higher threshold for disease prevention.

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Because apples are low in fat and calories but high in fiber, they make you feel full for longer while making you burn calories due to digestion.

WATERMELON


Watermelons can have red, white, orange or yellow flesh. Their size also varies and so do the amount of vitamins and minerals they contain. All watermelons contain vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C and potassium.

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With its high water content, it will hydrate your body and give you the fiber you need. It’s a tasty, fresh snack!

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KIWI


Kiwis are tasty and full of fiber. If you suffer constipation, this is the fruit you need! Kiwis will help you clean your digestive system and lose fat faster.

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They are also filled with vitamin C, vitamin K and vitamin E.

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If you suffer of high blood pressure, Kiwis can help you lower it. If you are taking blood-thinning medication or naturally have low blood pressure, check with your doctor to see how many you can eat every week.

FRESH STRAWBERRIES


Every diet needs a sweet treat! Strawberries are a great source of vitamin C, manganese, copper, potassium and magnesium.

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Manganese is essential for your metabolism and the antioxidant system to work at its best. Strawberries are packed with antioxidants and low in calories. What else could we ask for?

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Top ‘Health Foods’ That Aren’t Really Healthy

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Not all healthy labeled foods are what they seem. Here is a guide to the 7 top ‘health foods’ that aren’t really healthy.

FRUIT JUICES


Fruit juices are advertised as a healthy way to consume fruit while hydrating. Let’s look closer at their ingredients.

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Mostly made of water, with little or no fruit juice concentrate, they are full of artificial flavors and sugar. If you are looking to keep hydrated and healthy, skip the juice.

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If you make your own fruit juice, be careful! While introducing juices into your diet is not a bad idea, eating the whole fruit is always better. Natural fresh fruit juices lose around 50% of the fruit’s natural vitamins but none of the sugar.

SPORTS DRINKS


Since we are looking at unhealthy drinks, let’s see what sports drinks do to your body.

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Who are they designed for? Athletes. They were not meant to be for us to have any time. They were designed for athletes who take part in intense workouts.

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Sports drinks are made up of water, electrolytes (sodium, for example) and sugar. Most of us already are ingesting too much sugar. Electrolytes are only needed if you have had an intense training session. The rest is water.

Next time you think of buying a sports drink, add a few drops of lemon juice to your water and hydrate healthily.

VEGETABLE OILS


Seed and vegetable oils – soybean, corn or cottonseed oil – are obtained from seeds using a high heat, bleaching and toxic solvents.

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If you consume a lot of see or vegetable oils, you’ll be ingesting omega-6 fatty acids. These are linked to inflammation and chronic disease.

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They also contain trans fats. What should we do? Switch over to olive oil.

LOW-FAT OR FAT-FREE FOODS


These foods avoid using saturated fats because they were believed to be bad for our bodies. We now know that saturated fats are harmless.

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In order to have food taste as good, food manufacturers turned to using artificial sweeteners and sugar. Why would you choose to eat more sugar and chemicals instead of a little fat?

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Next time you are at the supermarket and need to decide which yogurt to buy, natural is best!

MARGARINE AND FAKE BUTTERS


The food industry went a little crazy against fat before we knew all the facts. Along came substitute and margarine consumption has been on the rise ever since.

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Margarines used to be filled with trans fat but are now made with processed vegetable oils. We’ve already seen why we should avoid those.

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Let’s face it, if you are on a diet to lose weight you should avoid both, butter and margarine. If you are not dieting but want the healthier option, have some butter. Don’t go overboard and enjoy how great it tastes!

ENERGY BARS


These bars were designed for athletes who eat every 2 or 3 hours and climbers who are in such harsh conditions they need to maximize their calorie intake. Are you either of those?

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If you are not, you should avoid them. Again, avoid any intake of unnecessary processed, sugar-filled and artificial flavors.

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Yes, energy bars are convenient and tasty. So if you still want to enjoy one, check the label and choose the healthier option.

‘HEALTHY’ BREAKFAST CEREALS


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Check the label! When buying anything, especially if they are branded as ‘healthy’, check the label.

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Breakfast cereals are mostly refined carbohydrates with sugar, synthetic vitamins and some whole grains. We don’t want to add anymore of those into our diet. If you want to include cereal into your breakfast, make sure you are getting the natural, nutrient-filled ones.

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10 Foods You Should Be Eating

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Tackling healthy eating isn’t easy. There is so much information and misinformation. If you want to get it right, here are 10 foods you should be eating.

GREEN TEA


Green tea has been part of the Chinese and Japanese cultures for millennia.

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It is a great way to hydrate while ingesting a significant amount of antioxidants and other compounds that help you prevent illness.

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ALMONDS


Almonds are a great complement to your diet. They are full of healthy fats that protect your heart by lowering you LDL cholesterol.

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They are an important source of vitamin E, a potent antioxidant and activity regulator. Almonds also contain B vitamins, fiber and essential minerals.

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BLUEBERRIES


Filled with micronutrients, blueberries are a clear source of manganese, vitamin C, vitamin K and fiber.

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Vitamin K is essential to absorb calcium and for blood coagulation.

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They are also help with inflammation and studies are starting to show some relation between eating blueberries and lower risk of certain cancers.

BELL PEPPERS


All bell peppers are a rich source of antioxidants and vitamin C. Red peppers, however, have the most amount. For example, red peppers have twice the amount of vitamin C that green peppers do.

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Some of these antioxidants have been linked to stomach cancer prevention. Lycopene, present in red peppers, early studies are showing a link between its consumption and a lowered prostate cancer risk.

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YOGURT


Yogurt is an important source of calcium. It can also help inflamed digestive tracts while boosting your immune system.

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Some yogurts, like Greek yogurt, have less sugar and more protein. Check the labels to choose the best one for you.

AVOCADO


There is good fat and bad fat. Some oils you should avoid and others are essential. Avocado has the best of both worlds.

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It gives you the good fat, which helps lower your bad cholesterol levels, while giving you essential oils that help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

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They are filling and add an original twist to any salad.

QUINOA


Quinoa is essential in any vegetarian or vegan diet and an important part of an omnivore diet.

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Quinoa is made up of plant-based protein. It contains more fiber and double the amount of protein that brown rice does.

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The United Nations declared the year 2013, International Year of the Quinoa and it is considered a ‘superfood’.

APPLES


Apples are a known source of antioxidants. Most of these, however, are on the peel. If you want to take advantage of this tasty fruit, don’t waste your time peeling it!

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They stimulate your immunity system and the fiber they contain helps your digestion along.

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They also help you feel full for longer, so if you are looking to lose weight, apples are a great snack.

SPINACH


Dark greens need to be a part of your diet. Spinach, like most of them, is an important source of beta-carotene. It protects your heart and helps your immune system fight some cancers.

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It gives you vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, magnesium, manganese, folate and iron. They prevent age-related macular degeneration and help you regenerate, while regulating blood sugar levels.

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EGGS


Eggs are high in protein, keeping your blood sugar levels in check. Protein is essential in the building of muscle tissue.

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They are also a great substitute for carbohydrates (especially for breakfast). Some studies have shown that those who are on a diet and replace carbohydrates for eggs lose more weight.

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The yalk, the yellow part of the egg, can contain bad cholesterol. If you have high cholesterol, check with your doctor to see how many you can eat per week.

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Five Exercises You Need To Do To Get That Butt!

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Whether you are going on a cruise to a sunny beach this Christmas holiday or trying to keep your slim summer shape throughout the winter, you absolutely need to include these exercises in your routine!

Just three sets twice a week will get you there. For even better results, combine them with some cardio: 30 seconds of intense cardio and up to 60 seconds of rest at least 5 times per session. Take it slowly at first, as your body gets used to the routine increase the intensity of the workout.

It’s important to concentrate on every movement so you can get the most out of your session and avoid any injuries.

THE SET


STEP LUNGE


This exercise is specifically designed to work out your buttock, thighs and knees.

Know your muscles
Know your muscles

Place one foot on a step and the other a couple of feet behind you. The height difference will increase the intensity of the workout.

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Step lunge

Keeping your back comfortably straight, bend both knees. Drop as low as you can and hold. Remember not to move forwards, but downwards.

Move back up and repeat 15 times with each leg.


SINGLE-LEG GLUTE BRIDGE


Lie on your back. Stretch your arms to the sides and bend your knees placing your feet flat on the ground. Now straighten one leg and keeping it raised, lift your hips evenly.

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Single-leg glute bridge

Do not try to hold before lowering your hips. Remember to point your raised foot towards the ceiling. 15 to 20 reps with each leg should be plenty!


ALTERNATING SUPERMAN


This time, we are lying face down on the floor. Your arms are extended as if you were about to fly off beside Superman.

Contract your glutes. This is very important! Do not force your back, concentrate on your rear and lift your chest off the ground.

Alternating Superman
Alternating Superman

Now we need some coordination: lift your left leg and your right arm, hold the position for three seconds and lower them. Now raise your right leg and left arm.
Do 15 reps for each arm-leg combination.


LOW LATERAL BAND WALK


Yes, we do need a resistance band for this one. Place it around your legs, this can be around both ankles or below the knees. Whatever position is more comfortable for you.

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Low lateral band walk

Keeping your back straight and looking forward, hold your hands in front of your chest to keep balanced and take a step to one side. The resistance band should tense. Take 10 steps to one side and then return taking 10 steps in the other direction.


LOW SQUATS


We can try to avoid them, but squats are absolutely necessary for a great rear! Here’s how to get the most out of them.

Your feet should be shoulder-width apart and your hands behind your head. Intertwine your fingers if you feel more comfortable.

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Low squat

Keeping your back straight (Don’t force it!) and your chest out, lower your hips downwards. Your knees should keep in line with your toes. Ideally your hips should be as low as your knees. If you cannot manage that far without arching your back, don’t worry! You will get there eventually.
Concentrate on your heels to push back up. 15 reps should be more than enough!

 

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