All Entries For healthy eating
On SparkPeople.com, members log thousands of food items daily on our Nutrition Tracker. SparkRecipes now has more than 485,000 recipes. That's a lot of info on what people like you are really eating when they're working to get healthy and stay that way. We looked back at the top cooking trends of the year, based on what members like you are searching for on the site. Keep reading for a wealth of recipes and meal ideas that will help you reach your healthy cooking and eating goals in 2014.
High-Protein Foods: Protein is huge right now. You know that it's crucial to weight loss, thanks to its ability to fill you up, ward off hunger, and rebuild muscles after your workouts, and you're looking for creative and delectable ways to get enough of it each day. Beyond the usual recipes, try homemade protein bars, protein pancakes & protein powder pancakes.
No Bake Protein Bars
Peanut Butter Fudge Protein Bars
Drinking Your Vegetables: Getting in your five servings of fruits and veggies daily can be tough when you're busy. One of the easiest ways to load up on fruit is with a smoothie. Toss in a banana and some berries or melon, and you're easily halfway to your goal. But a lot of you are catching on that vegetables can be sneaked into a smoothie, too. you're trying spinach smoothie and vegetable smoothie recipes. (trust us, you can't taste the veggies.) Read More ›
Whipped cream-laden Thanksgiving pie notwithstanding, pumpkin has a healthy nutritional profile, with more than 200% of our RDA of Vitamin A, plus about one-third of our daily Vitamin C and nearly one-quarter of our fiber requirements. And it has just 40 calories per serving. (Without that whipped cream, of course.)
Canned pumpkin is widely available in grocery stores during the fall/winter holiday season. (Note: Be sure to grab plain pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie mix in a can, which includes sweeteners, spices and other ingredients to make a pie.) One can of pumpkin contains about 1 3/4 cup. Some canned pumpkin can have a slightly bitter taste, so it’s best suited for sweet recipes. For pumpkin-based dips or sauces, try making your own pumpkin puree; it’s super easy. Read More ›
Your winter woes answered, with tips on how to treat--and weather--cold symptoms, body changes, injuries and more.
Q. I've had a cold for what seems like weeks. Should I see a doctor?
A. Yes. The typical cold lasts just seven to nine days, with people usually feeling the worst on days two to four, says Priya Wagle, M.D., an ear, nose and throat specialist in private practice in Linwood, New Jersey. "If you experience symptoms for a longer period of time, check with your doctor to be sure you don't have something more serious, like a sinus infection. A cold is a virus, so antibiotics won't help, but sinusitis can be bacterial and is treated with a prescription." Read More ›
Which flavors come to mind when you think about fall? Apple, caramel, cinnamon, ginger? Probably no flavor is more popular or ubiquitous right now than pumpkin. While Starbucks is celebrating 10 years since they first offered their famous Pumpkin Spice Latte, it seems like every food company and restaurant under the sun is offers limited edition pumpkin delights these days—everything from yogurt to granola bars to tea.
But just like the aforementioned sugary latte, many pumpkin-flavored treats are high in calories, fat and sugar (or all three). (Check out our list of fall's most fattening foods here.) In many cases, you'd be better off having a slice of pumpkin pie, than that "innocent" impulse item tempting you from the checkout line!
So which pumpkin treats are worth trying this fall? We scoured supermarket shelves to discover seasonal offerings that will let you indulge—without breaking the calorie bank.
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The days are shorter, the weather is colder, and the couch is looking a whole lot comfier. This time of year, attendance at the gym drops and our desires to exercise and eat right fall lower on our priority list. Between back to school, tailgating, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, the year-end frenzy at work, Christmas, New Year's and everything in between, it's no wonder we need to "restart" again on January 1.
As fall morphs into the busy holiday season, let's choose to make this year different. Let's commit ourselves to just one simple goal to stay on track. You might not be able to do everything perfectly between Halloween and New Year's Eve, but you can do something.
SparkPeople has a lot of fun, simple and effective challenges that are the perfect pick-me-up for your program. I would recommend choosing ONE program listed below to focus your efforts. These are all great ways to re-commit this fall and hit the ground running this holiday season! Read More ›
"When I get stressed out, I can polish off a dozen Munchkins in no time flat," admits Jennifer, 37, a New Jersey mom of four. Pressure is at its worst when her husband travels for business. The housework piles up, the kids want more attention, she's exhausted and suddenly the sweet stuff becomes irresistible. "I eat things I don't even like," she confesses. "That's how bad it gets."
When we use food to dull our anger, sadness or anxiety, most of us reach for calorie bombs loaded with sugar, carbs, fat and salt. Not only do they remind us of good times (think: birthday cake, movie theater popcorn) but they also stimulate our brain's reward system. At that very moment it feels so good. Then our bad mood returns—with a side of guilt. And over time you need to consume even bigger amounts of those junk foods to get the same pleasurable feeling, just like chasing a high with other addictions, says recent research. But there's a way to break the cycle. Read More ›
We love fall. With kids going back to school, the changing leaves and the chilly dip in the weather, there's just something about the season that carries a promise of change and new beginnings. And who doesn't like the feeling of starting over on a fresh, clean slate?
Now is the perfect time to kick off a brand new challenge to help you get on your way to your healthiest, fittest self yet: 30 Days of Fit Food. It's a great way to kick the season and head into the holidays (just around the corner!) feeling your best.
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The latest nutrition buzzword: probiotics, the live bacteria that maintain the balance of microorganisms (or "bugs") in your gut. And that’s proving to be vital for your health. Probiotics support digestion and strong immune function says New York City–based registered dietitian Rochelle Sirota. According to studies, they may also prevent obesity and improve your mood. You’ve no doubt heard that you can find probiotics in yogurt, but where else are the good bugs hiding? While there isn’t an official recommendation about how much probiotics you should eat, incorporating more of these 10 foods and drinks into your diet is a good start. Read More ›
What if there was a pill you could take daily to help prevent multiple diseases and health conditions? Not just minor issues like acne or stiff joints, but the big ones, too: cancer, Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, diabetes. Not only would this pill prevent these and other conditions, but it could also help increase your energy, tone your body and reverse aging—with zero side effects. People would line up around the block to get their hands on the miracle drug!
While there isn’t currently a drug that can do all these things, there is something that can help: nutrient-dense food—specifically a large selection of vegetables, fruits, herbs and spices. Countless degenerative diseases and health conditions are tied to chronic inflammation, which damages organs, cells—even DNA—and accelerates the aging process. However, the foods mentioned below, and many others, have been shown to subdue chronic inflammation and support numerous areas of health in the process. How many of these health-promoting foods are you eating?
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Who doesn't like a game of hide-and-seek? The usual burger-and-fries dinner is hiding loads of fat. Seek out ours instead, which has secrets of its own. Extra lean beef can be dry, so we stuff it with onion and herbs for a juicy, tasty burger.
Compare a typical home-cooked burger meal to our lightened-up version. Read More ›
Summertime is here and the snacking is easy. This is the season when the fruits and vegetables are just rolling into markets so healthy choices are both cost effective and delicious.
The best snacks for summer are simple: watermelon, peaches, strawberries, blueberries, tomatoes, etc. -- just munch on them!
The 10 recipes below are for those of you who want to dress your summer fruits and vegetables up a bit. A few added ingredients, maybe a little heat, and you have healthy food that is tasty. Read More ›
Protein is an important part of any healthy diet and has been shown to help you feel full longer. But some of the best sources of protein like eggs, chicken and milk aren't easy to carry with you on the go. And having a healthy, protein-packed snack on hand for emergencies will prevent you from making bad food decisions out of hunger. I know that I've made some less-than-stellar snack choices when I've found myself at the gym a little longer than I planned and I start to feel shaky because it's been too long since my last meal.
Now, I always make sure I have a protein bar, nuts or beef jerky with me at all times. I just toss something in my purse every morning before I head out for the day and I never have to worry about getting caught without a great snack. So I was super excited when Pure Protein offered to send us some samples of their bars and powders to try. I've tasted many different types of protein products over the years and I admit that I'm a little picky. But I approached each of the Pure Protein products with an open mind and I'll share my thoughts about each one below.
Pure Protein Soft Baked Protein Bar—Double Chocolate Vanilla Crunch
This bar has a satisfying crunch when you bite into it and a balanced chocolate and vanilla flavor like cookies and cream. The texture is less chewy than a typical protein bar. This would be a great choice for a first-time protein bar user or someone who thinks they don't like protein bars. I'm planning to add this bar into my regular rotation! With its balanced ratio of protein to carbs, this is a great bar to eat either pre- or post-workout. If you eat it pre-workout, give yourself about an hour to digest the bar before you begin. (Find them on Amazon.com and other fine retailers.)
Nutrition Facts: 190 calories, 17 grams of protein, 8 grams of fat, 14 grams of carbohydrate (5 grams of sugar, 4 grams of sugar alcohol)
Pure Protein Protein Bar—Chocolate Peanut Butter
If you're expecting a chocolate peanut butter cup, you'll be out of luck. But the flavor is a light blend of chocolate and peanut butter that most people who are fans of protein bars will really enjoy. The texture is chewy and smooth, which forces you to slow down when noshing this snack (that's a good thing in my book). With it's extra protein content, this bar would be great after a strength-training workout to aid in muscle repair. (Find them on Amazon.com and at Target, Walmart.)
Nutrition Facts: 200 calories, 20 grams of protein, 6 grams of fat, 16 grams of carbohydrate (2 grams of sugar, 6 grams of sugar alcohol)
Pure Protein Whey Protein Powder—Vanilla Cream
The best thing about whey protein powder is how versatile it is. There are tons of great protein powder recipes that use vanilla protein powder to add a nutritional boost to things like pudding, yogurt and oatmeal. You can also mix it with water, milk, almond milk, coconut milk or soy milk to make a tasty protein drink. Add fruit to make a perfect pre-workout snack. Since I usually do a combination of strength training and cardio in my workouts, I prefer to fuel with a protein shake before each workout because it's easy to digest and doesn't upset my stomach, no matter how hard I exercise. (Find them on Amazon.com and at Target, Walmart.)
The ultimate test for protein powder is to mix it with only ice and water. If it's drinkable in that form, then it will work well in just about any recipe. Blended with 8 ounces of water and two ice ice cubes, the Pure Protein Vanilla Cream was totally drinkable, if a little plain. The texture is smooth, not at all chalky.
Blended with two ice cubes and 8 ounces of unsweetened coconut milk, the Pure Protein Vanilla Cream starts to shine. It's much thicker, more like a milkshake but not overly sweet. For a more dessert-like option that really takes it into milkshake territory, blend the powder with two ice cubes and 8 ounces of vanilla almond milk.
For my final test, I tried the powder in my regular pre-workout fruit protein shake. The Pure Protein Vanilla Cream paired nicely with the tart berries. The vanilla flavor gave the whole thing the taste of a fresh berry cupcake.
Nutrition Facts: 150 calories, 25 grams of protein, 2.5 grams of fat, 8 grams of carbohydrate (2 grams of sugar)
Megan's Pre-Workout Berry Protein Shake Recipe
8 ounces of unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup of frozen mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries)
1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
Mix in a blender with one or two ice cubes. You'll need a straw for this super-thick shake!
Do you have a favorite protein shake recipe? Share it with us. Read More ›
As temperatures continue to climb this summer, sitting out on the porch with a tall glass of iced tea might sound like the perfect way to relax and refresh. Iced tea certainly isn't new on the beverage scene, but we have been slowly increasing our consumption of the warm-weather staple; last year, a national consumer survey reported that 10% of U.S. consumers are purchasing more iced tea than they did in 2009. The survey also revealed that 73% of tea drinkers prefer green tea for its antioxidants and health benefits. Drink companies have taken note of America's love of green tea and have produced dozens of flavored varieties over the past few years; however, many of those varieties pack a mean sugar punch that rivals the most sugary soft drinks on the market.
Between two popular flavored green tea varieties, Arizona Georgia Peach Green Tea and Snapple Peach Green Tea, which one should you choose if you're watching your sugar intake?
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If you're an avid cook and foodie, you've probably discovered the wonderful (and addictive!) world of Pinterest. This website gives you access to literally millions of recipes, cooking tips and inspiring food ideas, which is great! But we know that you don't always have the time to sift through the countless recipes floating around out there to find the very best ones. Which recipes are going to impress your guests, cause your mouth to water, and make you want to make them again and again? Well, we've taken the time to sift through our most popular SparkRecipes from our Pinterest page. These are the best recipes from our site that keep getting shared and re-pinned time and time again—because they're just that good. And now you can have them all in one handy list! All of these recipes are relatively fast, healthy and easy to make—and are guaranteed to make you want to make them for years to come. Bon appetit! Read More ›
I’ll admit it up front: I am a snacker. In fact, I have a snack twice a day. My body screams for food around three p.m. every day, even though I make a point to eat breakfast and lunch. If I ignore the hunger, I end up grabbing and devouring handfuls of chips or cookies as soon as I get home around five p.m. Therefore, I plan ahead and have a non-perishable snack stashed in my desk drawer at all times, usually homemade trail mix.
My second snack attack hits in the evening, and is not related to true belly hunger at all. In the evening, I want to eat food for comfort. You know what I’m talking about. At the end of a long day, all I seem to want is chocolate ice cream along with my favorite TV show, book or magazine.
There is nothing inherently wrong with snacking. In fact, snacking can help with weight loss by warding off afternoon and evening binge eating. However, the snack should be factored into your total calorie intake for the day, and should contain about 150 calories. A balanced snack should have about 15-30 grams of carbohydrates and three to five grams of protein.
Unfortunately, this type of healthy snacking is NOT happening in America, for children or adults. While I know you are probably not really surprised by this statement, you may be surprised at the numbers. Read More ›