The SparkPeople Blog

Smoothies: Skip Them or Sip Them?

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
5/24/2016  12:00:00 AM   :  0 comments   :  536 views

Blend up some fruits, veggies, maybe a dash of yogurt, some honey and you're in healthy heaven, right? Not exactly. Like energy bars and other "health" foods, not all smoothies are created equal, either, and hidden sugar is the culprit ruining this drink's potential. 

The truth is that while a homemade smoothie made with the right ingredients and the correct proportions packs a powerful punch, many store-bought smoothies or those available at restaurants are simply masquerading as "healthy" without actually offering any nutritional benefit. Pull the mask off, and you'll discover smoothies such as the 20-ounce The Hulk Strawberry from Smoothie King, which clocks in at 964 calories with a whopping 125 grams of sugar. By comparison, a Snickers bar contains a seemingly tiny 27 grams of sugar.

Experts agree that, when done right, smoothies are a great meal alternative for those constantly on the go, and stress the importance of focusing on your greens, rather than sweet fruits. Our friends at Angeles Health International thought it was high time to unveil the secret to healthier, low-sugar smoothies. Their handy graphic breaks down the ingredients and portions you should consider for your next smoothie, plus five of their favorite recipes.

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Big News: SparkPeople App Now Connects With Google Fit (blog)

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
5/23/2016  3:00:00 PM   :  3 comments   :  1,650 views

You work hard every day to fit in your exercise, and to make it count. It doesn't matter if you enjoy running, walking, biking, hopping, skipping or jumping--you want your hard work to be reflected in the final tally of your day, whether you're tracking your exercise in an app or a fitness tracker. 
If you use an Android device, Google Fit can automatically track your fitness as you work, and automatic tracking is great. But wouldn’t it be nice if you could bring that information on over to your SparkPeople app? Wouldn't it just be the best if you could pair your fitness data with the nutrition data you track with us? We think so too, which is why we're happy to announce that we've integrated Google Fit right within the SparkPeople app you know and love.
Android phone and device users running version 4.0 or higher can automatically log their exercise with Google Fit. If you already have Google Fit on your phone, you only need to join your Fit account to your SparkPeople account one time and everything will work magically. (If you don't have Google Fit yet, you can download it here. Once you've downloaded it, take a minute to go through their setup process & you'll start tracking your fitness, automatically!)

To take advantage of this awesome opportunity, you will need to have the SparkPeople app on your Android device. You can download it now by clicking the link below: 
Did that work? Great! You're well on your way to even more fun and success! 
How to Connect
Ready to get started? Connect your SparkPeople account to a Google Fit account the same way you connect to your FitBit and other devices. Click here and click the "Connect" button next to the Google Fit icon. You only have to do it once and you're good to go!
All your data should sync seamlessly, but sometimes there are hiccups. If you find your information hasn’t yet synced up for the day using the new integration with Google Fit, simply hit the "Sync" button, which will notify SparkPeople that you want your data pulled in. We process the requests every minute, so you won't have to wait long to view your data.  

In addition to all your daily steps, the app now automatically imports any other activities-based data for minutes logged, calories burned and distances achieved. Your “Exercise” page in the SparkPeople app will display an entry for each activity type completed as a summary of that activity for the day. So, if you run one mile in the morning and then two miles in the evening, the tracker will display three miles of running for the day.
We hope this change makes you as happy as it makes us! We can't wait to hear how the Google Fit integration impacts your goals and helps you lead a healthier, happier life! And remember, Google Fit is just one of the apps and devices you can connect to your SparkPeople app. We offer direct data syncing with FitBit, Jawbone, Misfit, and more; we do what we can to make tracking your exercise quicker, so you can reach your goals more quickly. :)
As always, we're interested in any ideas you might have that would make the app better. Please leave your thoughts, comments or suggestion in the Comments section below.

A 30-Minute Barre Workout That Is Easy on the Knees

By: , – Jessica Smith, Certified Personal Trainer
5/23/2016  12:00:00 AM   :  2 comments   :  2,508 views

Barre is an amazing way to strengthen all the muscles in your body, but all those plies can be a killer on the knees. Not anymore. With this knee-friendly routine, you can enjoy the ballet-inspired exercise without the pain. Target your entire body with dynamic moves that will make your muscles shake as you get stronger and stronger.

Grab a set of three to five pound dumbbells, a sturdy chair and maybe even a furry friend for some encouragement, and get to work with this low-impact routine.

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FDA Reveals Changes to Nutrition Facts Label, Coming in 2018

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
5/23/2016  12:00:00 AM   :  5 comments   :  14,130 views

On Friday, the FDA released a new version of the nutrition facts label, which will enable consumers to make more informed dietary choices. Most manufacturers are required to place the new label on packaged foods by July of 2018.

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Sun, Sand & Snacks: The 9 Best Foods to Take to the Beach

By: , – Sun, Sand & Snacks: The 9 Best Foods to Take to the Beach
5/23/2016  12:00:00 AM   :  0 comments   :  2,717 views

Swimming and sunbathing can work up a ravenous appetite, but what with the wind, waves, heat and just a few trillion grains of sand, sometimes the best of culinary intentions can go awry when they're brought to the beach. Cheese melts, most fruit wilts and anything egg-based won't smell too great after any length of time in the hot sun.

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10 Frozen Dinner Finds You Won't Believe Are Healthy

By: , – Elizabeth Lowry, Staff Writer
5/20/2016  12:00:00 AM   :  7 comments   :  25,883 views

When you think of "frozen meals," what comes to mind? Do you conjure up memories of eating off the metal TV trays that conveniently folded up and tucked away nicely between the couch and the armchair?

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