Keeping Thanksgiving Dinner Healthy

With the changing seasons, and the fall colors starting to appear, thoughts naturally begin to turn toward Thanksgiving.  This one meal often packs thousands of calories, and adds a number of pounds to the waist lines of millions of people each year.  Even though the holiday is one of the most fattening, so many people really love it.  So, is it possible to enjoy Thanksgiving, but keep it healthy at the same time?  The simple answer is yes!

Believe it or not, turkey is actually one of the healthiest meats around.  It is packed with lean protein, and is high in vitamin B6, phosphorus, zinc, niacin, and selenium.  Best of all, turkey is extremely low in carbs.  A three ounce serving of white meat contains just three grams of carbs, fifteen grams of protein, and only eighty seven calories.

Another key to keeping Thanksgiving dinner healthy is to watch the amount of sides you consume.  For example, go easy on the stuffing.  Stuffing is stuffed with calories and carbs, as it is nothing more than butter and broth drenched bread.  In many cases people add extras such as sausage or shellfish which only compounds the calories and fat.  If you simply cannot skip this tasty side, make sure you keep your serving small and reasonable, to about a half cup.

Finally, make Thanksgiving healthier by beginning a new tradition.  After dinner is over, suggest a fun activity that everyone can take part in.  A simple walk around the neighborhood or a game of touch football out in the yard can get your blood pumping, and help burn off some of those delicious dinner calories.

Ways to Keep Active When It’s Cold Outside

The cold weather often keeps people inside.  When people are kept inside they tend to become a bit lazy, snack a bit more, and spend more time lounging on the couch, starring at the television.  After all, heading out into the frigid air, and the snow drifts does not appeal to everyone, and not everyone enjoys colder temperatures.  So, how do you stay active when you just cannot bear to head outside?

One great way to stay active is to simply move your exercise routine indoors.  Buy some light weights to lift, a few workout DVDs, or a piece of exercise equipment.  Workout just as you would outside, at least a few times a week for best results.  You can even make use of common household items such as canned goods, bags of rice, and your stairs to create a complete exercise circuit.

Winter is also a great time to tackle those household projects you have been putting off.  If you have been meaning

Finally, some of the new video games actually provide a great workout.  Be sure to choose games that are completely interactive, and if possible, ones that track your personal results.  What will seem like a few hours of afternoon fun can turn out to be a wonderful, fat burning session that yields tremendous rearrange your closets, organize your kitchen, or redecorate a room, do it now.  Not only will be thrilled to have your projects done, you will also get a great workout at the same time.

Preparing for the Holiday Season Weight Gain

The weather has turned colder.  The decorations are starting to appear.  The hustle and bustle of shoppers begins to pick up.  There are wonderful smells starting to emanate from the kitchen.  That’s right!  It’s the holiday season once again.  What does all of this mean?  While it often brings feelings of togetherness and excitement, for many, it also means weight gain.

Even though no one wants to be “that person” who is constantly harping on how bad all of the food at the holiday party is it is still possible to avoid the unwanted holiday weight gain.  One way to go about this process is to prepare in advance.  When heading out to a large holiday dinner, consider the food possibilities that will be served before you leave, and make a game plan.  Fill your plate with healthy options such as salad, vegetables, and lean protein.  Try to stay away from empty fillers such as rolls, stuffing, gravy, and mashed potatoes.

Next, just because you see a ton of food in front of you, does not mean that you have to eat more than normal.  Consider the amount of food you would normally eat, and make your plate to resemble that amount.  Skip the seconds, and refrain from extra nibbling while conversing with others at the table, or while packing up leftovers.

Then, conquer the dessert table in a way that is practical.  Have one small piece of fruit pie, one or two cookies, or a sliver of cake.  Do not feel as though you have to sample every delicious treat that is on display.

Finally, try to avoid alcohol as much as possible.  Alcohol adds a ton of calories to your diet and can completely derail your plans.  If you must have a drink, choose a glass of wine or beer which you can sip to last longer, without reaching for another.  Steer clear of drinks such as eggnog, which are loaded with sugar and fat, and can pack more calories than your entire holiday meal.

Healthy Halloween Alternatives

With the weather turning a bit chillier, and the days getting a bit shorter, it is once again time to start thinking about Halloween.  This time of year causes many parents (and dentists) to shudder a bit at the mere thought of all of those sweets children will be eating.  This does not have to be the case.  There are some great healthy Halloween alternatives that allow for great fun, without all of the unwanted sugar.

One great alternative to the candy bar is the granola bar.  These treats are still sweet, and still satisfy a child’s need for something tasty and fun, but actually provide a plenty of nutrition.  Choose bars that contain good amounts of oats, nuts, and natural sweeteners such as honey, and you have a beneficial snack to drop into trick or treater bags.

Another good option is juice boxes.  Children love juice, and choosing an option that is one hundred percent real juice with no added sugar provides nutrition and vitamins, while keeping kids happy!

Finally, consider handing out mini bags of pretzels.  Pretzels are tasty, crunchy, and offer a great respite from the gobs of other types of sweet treats.  Today, there are a wide variety of shapes, and flavors, which are sure to please every little ghoul that rings your bell this season.


Breast Cancer Awareness – the Best Way to Protect Yourself

Breast cancer is a devastating disease that affects thousands of women on an annual basis.  While just the thought of this can be extremely scary and just about every woman has been somehow affected by the disease, it is important to understand that awareness is key, and you can protect yourself.

One of the best ways to protect yourself from breast cancer is to perform regular, routine, self breast exams.  These exams are simple to do, and should be done once per month, preferably following your regular menstrual cycle.  Even though physical examinations by a doctor are extremely important and play a large role in preventative care, there is no substitute for self exams.  In fact, a high number of cases of breast cancer were first detected by the patient through a self breast exam.

Mammograms also play a critical role in the early detection of breast cancer.  For women who are over the age of forty, and for those who are younger with a family history of the disease, an annual mammogram is a valuable tool in this fight.

Finally, maintaining a healthy diet with plenty of regular exercise can be quite beneficial to maintaining overall health and well being, and even fighting off cancer.  Consuming a diet that is rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, low fat dairy, and whole grains has been shown to provide many benefits.  Exercising at least three times per week for about thirty minutes per session also keeps body fat levels in check, weight under control, and the body overall fit and healthy.


Staying Healthy as the Weather Turns Cold

If you are one of the many people who dread the weather turning colder because you always seem to catch a cold or the flu, fear not!  You can still enjoy everything the winter season has to offer, while staying healthy.

The first thing you need to do to stay healthy this winter may sound overly simple, but it really does work:  wash your hands!  Be sure to wash your hands frequently, for at least twenty seconds at a time, with warm soapy water.  This is especially important to do before eating.

Next, you should be sure to stay well hydrated.  This means drinking eight, eight ounce glasses of fluid per day.  Water is a great option, as is tea, milk, and one hundred percent fruit juice.

Then, make sure you eat a healthy well balanced diet.  This should include eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, low fat dairy products, and whole grains.  You may also want to incorporate foods that help to keep your immune system strong such as ginger, garlic, and warm and cozy soups.

Finally, make sure you are well rested.  In order to fight of illnesses, your body will need to be strong and well rested.  This means getting plenty of sleep at night, and making time for regular bouts of daily exercise.  When your body is in top condition, so is your immune system, which will do wonders to keep you strong, fit, and healthy all year long.

The Best Lunches to Make For Your Kids

More than ever before, children need to be careful about what they put into their bodies, and the first place to make changes is lunch.  School lunches can be high in fat, calories, and sodium, so packing a lunch is a better option.  Here are some tips to make the best lunches for your kids.

Let’s begin with drinks.  Bottled drinks and juice boxes can be expensive, and may not be the healthiest options.  Instead, buy a leak proof thermos and fill it with one hundred percent juices, water, milk, or homemade lemonade.

Next are sandwiches; perhaps the most popular lunch box item, but also the most boring.  No more peanut butter and jelly.  Try using leftover chicken to make homemade chicken salad, and leftover ham or roast beef for fresh sandwiches.  Adding fresh veggies such as lettuce, tomatoes, sprouts, and cucumbers make them tastier and healthier.  Also, stay away from plain white bread.  Opt for whole grain breads, pitas, bagels, and even wraps.

Fresh fruits and vegetables make great healthy snacking options.  Carrot sticks, celery sticks, cucumber slices, broccoli florets, and grape tomatoes packed with a small cup of dip or dressing is a great choice.  Fresh fruit such as apples, oranges, blueberries, and bananas are easy to eat, and easily stay fresh until lunch time.

Finally, try to stay away from prepackaged snacks of greasy chips and sugary cookies.  Instead, choose leaner options such as pretzels, dried fruit, popcorn, and trail mix.  These snacks are easily packed into lunch boxes, and still give the sweet or salty satisfaction kids need.


Great Fall Season Foods for Dieting

Fall is a great time to get serious about dieting.  With the cooler temperatures, come a variety of fresh fruits, nuts, and veggies that you should most definitely take advantage of.  These foods are easy to get during the fall season, and can help you stick to your plan, while providing a great deal of nutrition.  Here are some of the top fall foods for dieting.

Apples:  Not only do apples taste great in the fall, they make a perfect food for dieting.  Apples provide an excellent source of fiber, vitamin C, and flavonoids.  This tasty fruit is also linked to warding off high cholesterol, cancer, and even Alzheimer’s disease.

Grapefruit:  Citrus fruit comes into season in the fall and is packed with tons of vitamin C, fiber, and potassium.  They are also low in sodium and calories.  Some studies suggest that eating grapefruit regularly can even help your body to burn more fat.

Cranberries:  While often associated with turkey and Thanksgiving dinner, cranberries are a great source of vitamin C and proanthocyandidin, which helps to keep your urinary tract in tip top condition.

Walnuts:  You may not be aware of it, but fall is nut season.  Walnuts are perhaps the perfect nut for dieting because they provide a good amount of omega 3 fatty acids, protein, fiber, magnesium, vitamin E, and B vitamins.  Walnuts have also been linked to reducing the risk of heart disease and provide vascular benefits, by lowering LDL cholesterol levels.

Broccoli:  Well known as a super food, broccoli contains fiber, calcium, iron, potassium, vitamin C, B vitamins, and many other important nutrients.  This veggie is also linked to lowering the risk of diabetes, heart disease, certain types of cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.