All Entries For holidays
St. Patrick's Day is just around the corner. If you're like most Americans looking for a reason to party, this means one of two (or…two of two) things: 1) You're going to down a pint of your favorite Irish beer in celebrate of St. Paddy, or 2) you're going to drink one of your favorite American beers tinted green.
But if you're trying to keep your weight in check—or even lose a few pounds—a beer or two can really throw things off. Alcohol can lead to weight gain, as the body processes it much differently than food. And burning off a few hundreds extra calories for a day or two of bar hopping is no small feat.
To help you decide which beer might make the best fit in your St. Patrick's Day diet (if any), I came up with this great visual guide to show exactly how many calories are in your favorite stouts, ales and draughts, along with how much exercise it'll take to burn off the beer of your choice. Read More ›
As a chef, I love to entertain in our home--especially around the holidays when the house is decorated and we want to spend time with our family and friends.
As part of my schooling, we were taught how to entertain as part of our hospitality training. We learned to plan and pull off magnificent events without a drop of sweat.
You don't need to go to culinary school to learn the same skills. Go ahead and set the date--you'll be prepared! Just follow my tips below for a well-planned event, and you'll still be smiling at the end of the night while saying (and believing), "Well, that was fun. Let's do it again next year."
Make a party plan!
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This holiday season was different from past years for me in that I actually finished all of my shopping early—almost two weeks ago actually. For once I'm relaxing and enjoying these last weeks of December without the holiday stress of finding and buying those last-minute gifts. But I know that others aren't quite as fortunate. Many of you are still part of the holiday rush, which is why I'm here to help with my own picks for the best fitness gifts for anyone on your list.
Don't panic: You still have a few days to shop before Christmas! The following fitness gifts are all available online and are ready to ship; most are readily available at national chains as well. But even if your shopping is done (lucky you!), you'll find plenty of fabulous ideas here for YOU. After all, you deserve a nice reward for everything you've achieved this year, right? Maybe you'll even get some holiday gift money or a year-end bonus that you can use to treat yourself to a fit gift (or two) to start the new year off right. Read More ›
Editor's note: Don't miss the video of Becky sharing holiday weight-maintenance tips at the end of this blog!
Sneaky holiday calories are everywhere this time of year. With travel, parties, big buffets, holiday baking, and extra snack foods at the office, a challenging environment is around every corner. These extra calories don’t always come in full-size servings or large-distorted portions. No, these extra calories tip-toe in amid the holiday hoopla. However, if you took the time to count all those "tiny tastes" each day, you would be surprised at how quickly they can sabotage your weight-maintenance efforts.
Check out a typical day of tiny tastes during the holidays Read More ›
For many of us, Christmas morning is a time to indulge in a big, leisurely breakfast that we normally wouldn't partake in on most other days of the year. But if you're not careful, a festive a.m. meal could cause you to blow through a day's worth of calories and fat before Christmas dinner! If you were to choose a special and indulgent holiday breakfast to keep you satisfied without stuffing you silly, which would you pick: One medium-size iced cinnamon roll, or a plate of two fried eggs and two strips of bacon? Read More ›
Many exercisers agree that uplifting music helps increase energy and motivation while working out. This is especially important during the holiday season, when ''to-do'' lists are long and the temptation to skip workouts is high.
Making fitness a priority is a key to holiday weight-loss success. Use these festive songs of the season to help you create a perfect holiday workout playlist that will keep you moving and in the holiday spirit at the same time!
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This time of year, there's always an occasion where you need to bring a dish to share. But between work, home, and school obligations, not to mention your workouts and healthy meal prep, however will you find time to come up with something delicious and creative to take to the neighborhood gathering?
I've compiled a list of appetizers that will take no more than five minutes of hands-on work!
Appetizer vs. Hors D'Oeuvres
These days, appetizers and hors d'oeuvres are often used interchangeably (though we tend to use the word appetizer more commonly, probably because it's easier to spell), there is a difference. Appetizers are the first course of a meal, while hors d'oeuvres are bite-size portions of food displayed on a buffet or passed on a tray by the host or, at my house, a teenager trying to make up for tossing baseballs near the Christmas tree. So really there's no big difference and who in the heck cares what they are called as long as they taste good. To get started let's look at what make a good single bite of party food.
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It's the most wonderful time of the year, unless you are trying to adhere to a weight-loss plan. Then the holidays can feel like a day-after-day deprivation. The 41 days between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day can be packed with festivities filled with fattening foods making you feel frantic and frustrated. But denying yourself of all the holiday treats is not the way to go.
The act of restricting your favorite foods can actually backfire and bring about unplanned overeating and binging. A 2007 study in the journal Appetite documented this vicious cycle which can result in feelings of guilt, anxiety and depression. Dieters who implemented strict food restrictions had an increased desire for those "forbidden foods," bringing about food cravings and greater temptation; when compared to dieters who included these type "forbidden foods" on occasion.
So keep this the most wonderful time of the year--relax, enjoy the holiday and include the foods you love--on occasion! Here are strategies and tips to help: Read More ›
Editor's Note: We know the holidays can be a busy time and that stress is a leading cause of emotional eating and other habits that can negatively impact your efforts to be healthy and happy. That's why SparkPeople is thrilled to share with you this blog post from the team at meQuilibrium.com, a site whose mission very closely aligns with our own. meQuilibrium helps you dial down the negative effects of stress by coaching you to take control of your thoughts, emotions and lifestyle habits with a unique online program.
Together SparkPeople and meQuilibrium are committed to making you healthier and happier, one step at a time. At the end of this post, you'll learn how to get a FREE 6-week unlimited access to meQuilibrium, including a special 30-day introductory stress-relief program, as a gift exclusively for SparkPeople members! Don't miss this limited-time offer!
You’re not a masochist, and yet, this time of year, you could possibly pass for one. You take on more than you could possibly do and aspire to even more. You raise your standards, your expectations, and your stress levels—all in the name of good cheer and a happy holiday.
What? Does it have to be like this? We don’t think so. You can change your experience of the holidays—but you have to aware of what you’re doing first. Let’s start with five things you’re doing to yourself that are making things way harder than they have to be. Read More ›
Gratitude can be a difficult thing to teach but a vital lesson for children to learn.
Psychologists have found that people who regularly say thank you and remember to be grateful for things in their life tend to be happier and more optimistic. They can't say there is definitely a cause-and-effect relationship between gratitude and happiness, but counting your blessings certainly doesn't hurt.
Teaching gratitude is something that should happen all year; however, the holiday season quickly can prove whether the lessons have been a success. The good cheer of the holidays can disappear in a whirl of greed and gluttony. That's true for all of us, young and old, but it's especially apparent when children, the prime gift recipients of the season, act ungratefully.
No one wants to have the kid refusing to thank Aunt Betty for the hand-made sweater – or even worse, declaring it ugly. Yes, we want children to be truly grateful in their hearts, but let's face it, we also want to avoid unpleasant scenes. Gratitude and politeness go hand-in-hand.
Here are easy some ways to teach and show gratitude all year, and especially at the holiday season. Read More ›
Do you have holidays on the brain? How about holiday shopping? You're not alone! I love thinking of new, personal and creative gifts to give to others. Usually it takes all the willpower I have to not give gifts early. I just get so excited! And OK, I won't lie…I don't mind receiving gifts from my own wish list either.
If you're looking for a small, but thoughtful gift for a friend or loved one (or even for yourself), I've rounded up a dozen of my favorite healthy products that won't break the bank (and will even fit into your stocking). Read More ›
Wondering what to make for your upcoming parties and special occasions? Need a new brunch dish, a sweet treat for a cookie exchange, or something special for the holiday meal? Look no further than "The SparkPeople Cookbook"! With more than 160 mouth-watering recipes and hundreds of additional meal ideas, tips, and tricks for adding flavor while cutting fat, this book is a healthy hostess' best friend.
Today we're sharing some of our favorite holiday recipes from "The SparkPeople Cookbook." You can take a sneak peek at a few of them, but the rest are available exclusively in the cookbook. But because 'tis the season of giving, we've also rounded up Chef Meg's favorite seasonal appetizers (including a brand-new one), plus a money-saving entertaining tip! Read More ›
Congratulations on making it through all of those Thanksgiving temptations! Now, it's time to face the upcoming barrage of holiday parties over the next month. Between the office buffets, neighborhood open houses, family gatherings, religious festivities, and community get-togethers, sticking to a healthy eating plan can become difficult, to say the least.
While there are a variety of excuses to overindulge during the holidays, the best defense against holiday eating disasters is a good plan of action. There is no better way to formulate a plan for holiday survival than to learn from how others stay healthy during this time of joy and celebration. Use these helpful SparkPeople member tips to stay on track into the New Year.
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Stress comes in infinite forms, and this time of year, it's hitting us on all sides. Be pro-active and take steps to reduce your stress level, integrating some of these products into your daily routine. Whether you give these to someone you love or treat yourself, we think you'll start to enjoy the holiday season a little more!
New Acupressure Roller Wood Foot Massager Stress Relief: We have thousands of nerve endings in the bottoms of the feet, so it's no wonder that a foot rub feels so good, especially at the end of a long day! When there's no one around (or no one willing around) to give your feet a rubdown, grab one of these and start rolling. Your feet thank you in advance.Read More ›
The holiday season has officially started, and you may have already noticed your fitness routine start to slip a little. To keep your motivation high in the crazy days ahead, we've created this fun, calorie-blasting cardio and strength circuit workout. The 12 moves in this routine don't require any sort of equipment, so you can do them anywhere. (No more excuses for skipping out on exercise during holiday travels!) Plus, did we mention that it's FUN? This workout constantly switches from one move to the next, so you never have time to get bored. Read More ›