Monday May 20, 2013
Why not celebrate the start of summer with a trip to the park and a healthy picnic? For many people, the outdoor meal is an excuse to indulge in packaged foods and high calorie food. These foods are usually easier to pack. But with a little bit of planning you can pack a healthy picnic that is indulgent, enjoyable and doesn't ruin your diet.
Foods to Include, Foods to Skip
Vegetables and dip are a great snack to pack and they are certainly more healthy than bringing a bag of chips. Instead of the sour cream based dip, however, make a lower calorie guacamole. This tasty swap is full of healthy fat, but you should still eat it in moderation. And if you like to have a pre-meal snack, skip the granola bars and package a few hummus-filled hard boiled eggs. They are full of protein and the hummus adds a healthy dose of fiber.
Use these other resources to stock your picnic basket with diet-friendly foods:
And don't forget to pack a Frisbee, a badminton set or a pair of hiking shoes. Every healthy picnic should include physical activity.
Thursday May 16, 2013
You might go to the Better Business Bureau if you've had a bad experience with a local retailer, but would you think of going to them for weight loss advice? They weren't on my list of top resources until I can across a blog post on their website this morning. In The 'Skinny' on Weight Loss Advertising, author Melanie Alakkam, provides helpful tips and usable advice about sifting through weight loss claims.
How to Spot Diet Scams
Alakkam, A business standards analyst, explains that weight loss companies are expected to back up any claims that they make about their program's results. She says that business owners should be prepared to provide evidence from "recent and scientific data." Alakkam suggests that consumers ask for the same verification before they invest any money into a diet pill, program or product. Dieters can also investigate the company at www.bbb.org.
Be a Smarter Shopper
Even if you're not on a diet, it pays to question the claims you see on food packages, exercise products and even on diet and health books. It's not uncommon for authors to use scare tactics to sell a book or to slap on a healthy-looking label to sell a processed food. I questioned one book in a review recently because the claims made by the author didn't make sense to me. It probably made me unpopular with the author's fans, but I wouldn't waste my time on a program that doesn't make sense, nor would I recommend it to my readers. Remember that it's your money and your health on the line. If a claim sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Thanks for visiting my blog. Did you know that I also write full length articles? Check out my latest articles and resources here. You can also friend me on Facebook to get daily tips and advice.
(photo source: Tara Moore/Getty Images)
Wednesday May 15, 2013
May 13-17th is Bike to Work week around the country. Have you dusted off your cycle yet? It's not too late to take part in the national celebration. National Bike to Work Day, the day when most bike commuters will be out on the roads, is this Friday, May 17th.
Burn More Calories When You Bike
You'll enjoy a wide range of benefits when you bike to work. Riding on two wheels is certainly more relaxing than being stuck in bumper to bumper traffic on the freeway. And you'll join a supportive community of bike commuters while enjoying fresh air and scenery. But one of the greatest benefits of cycling is the calorie burn. Biking requires that you use large muscles in the lower body and if you structure your ride properly you can complete a full workout before you even sit down at your desk for the day. How many calories will you burn? Depending on your weight and the intensity level of your ride, you can burn between 200 and 500 calories in just 30 minutes.
Proper Equipment and Safety Guidelines
Your ride will be safer and more enjoyable if you follow a few safety guidelines. The League of American Bicyclists provides a downloadable brochure to remind bikers about basic safety rules of the road. Check it out before you plan your ride. And be sure that you are properly equipped, especially if you are a new rider. Review my list of must-have equipment to be sure that you stay safe and healthy.
Tuesday May 14, 2013
Are you ready for the start of summer? In some parts of the country, it was still snowing last week, so I wouldn't be surprised if many of you are still bundled up in parkas and eating comfort food on the couch. I would be if I wasn't in a warmer part of the country. But now it's time to get moving. With just two weeks left until Memorial Day, here are three things you can do to look and feel better by the start of summer.
3 Quick Steps to Slim Down
- Drink water. Get rid of the seven drinks that are most likely to make your body feel puffy and bloated. Drink healthy, flavored water instead. In many cases, drinking a savory, flavored water or a water flavored with fresh fruit can satisfy your cravings so you don't fill up on high calorie snacks and treats.
- Do one long workout per week. Challenge your body to do at least one longer workout during the next 2-3 weeks. This is especially important if you are used to working out for the same amount of time every day. An extended session will challenge your body, burn more calories and help to kick start your metabolism.
- Reduce your salt intake. Put the salt shaker away for the next two weeks. Too much sodium makes your face puffy and your clothes fit tighter. Many packaged foods already contain more than enough salt so adding more isn't necessary. You'll look and feel better quickly by making this simple change.
Of course this isn't a long-term plan for weight loss. But if you're looking for a quick fix for summer, start with these three changes. Then, take the time to invest in a long-term approach to getting healthy and getting fit.