The SparkPeople Blog

5 Weeks to a 5K and a Healthier You!

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
2/10/2016  12:00:00 AM   :  2 comments   :  7,566 views

Spring is just around the corner, a time when 5K races are a popular weekend activity. Perhaps you’ve thought it might be fun to try one, but fear you’d never be able to finish. Maybe you’ve walked a 5K in the past, but you’re ready to take things up a notch. Whatever you goal or experience level, we have the perfect training plan for you!
 
SparkPeople developed three unique “5K Your Way” training plans to get you ready to complete a 5K race in less than five weeks. Join a challenge and you'll get daily workouts and tips on how to stay motivated, what to wear for your workouts, how to cross-train properly and more!

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Shop, Prep, Freeze—Your Dinners Will Be a Breeze!

By: , – Elizabeth Lowry, Staff Writer
2/10/2016  12:00:00 AM   :  3 comments   :  9,262 views

Unsure what to make for dinner tonight? Open the freezer. Have a sick friend who could use a meal to lift his or her spirits? Head to the freezer. Sick of eating the same 10 meals you have in heavy rotation? Check in your freezer. Is your freezer empty? It’s probably time to plan a freezer meal party. Parties such as these, in which you spend several hours with a group prepping and freezing many meals at once, are gaining popularity.

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The Top 6 Healthy Super Bowl Commercials

By: , – Melissa Rudy, Health & Fitness Journalist
2/8/2016  8:00:00 AM   :  4 comments   :  8,084 views

Most Super Bowl gatherings are more focused on food than football—and from chicken wings to cheese sticks, it's an event not likely to score many points in the healthy category. But not all of the big game's moments focused on overindulgence: There was a handful of advertisers who bucked the unhealthy trend and featured fitness-focused commercials. 

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16 Staple Ingredients for Every Paleo Household

By: , – Thrive Market
2/8/2016  12:00:00 AM   :  7,015 views

Converting to a Paleo or primal lifestyle means, among other things, you'll be spending a lot more time cooking. To really be sure you're getting the best, wholesome meals, it's best to make them yourself.

We've put together this list of the top Paleo staples you'll need in your cupboards to cook the tastiest meals and keep your body healthy. Once you stock up on these items, we guarantee you won't be tempted to eat out as often!

1. Coconut oil

This versatile oil tastes great in everything from a stir-fry to a protein shake. It's thick consistency and tropical flavor makes coconut oil a great ingredient in desserts like mousse and fudge, too!

2. Ghee

Ghee, a clarified butter without the milk solids, has been used in Ayurvedic medicine and Indian cuisine for thousands of years. It's very high smoke point, concentration of vitamins like A and E and buttery taste make it a healthy and delicious cooking fat.

3. Almond Meal Flour

A grain-free lifestyle doesn't mean you have to say goodbye to baked goods. Just choose a nut-based flour like almond meal, and start experimenting with your favorite recipes.

4.  Fermented cod liver oil

Like many kinds of fish and fish oil, cod liver oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids.  It's also rich in vitamins A and D, which has made it so popular in the Paleo community.

5. BPA-free coconut cream

This thick, dreamy cream makes an excellent substitute for whipped cream or half and half in traditional recipes.

6. Yacon syrup

This all-natural sweetener has a very low-glycemic index—making it a great choice for the health-conscious who still want a little sweetness.

7. Raw honey

Raw honey is another excellent way to satisfy a sweet tooth—and because its raw, it has the added health benefit of helping fight allergies.

8. Probiotics

Think of probiotics as your digestion's little helper. These microorganisms live in your gut, helping your body bolster its digestion and immune system.

9. Cacao powder

Packed with antioxidants, calcium, magnesium and more, cacao powder is a nutritional powerhouse that also happens to be delicious. What's not to love?

10. Sea salt

Kick up your flavors a notch with a high quality sea salt. With sea salt, you get more flavor per gram, meaning you don't need as much salt in your food.

11. Maple syrup (Grade B)

This dark, rich maple syrup is another tasty option for adding some sweetness to your cooking.

12. Green powder

Make sure you're getting plenty of vitamins and minerals by adding a green powder to your smoothies or juices. It's a simple way to kick your nutrition up a notch.

13. Avocado oil

An up-and-coming oil, avocado oil's high smoke point makes it perfect for frying or cooking on high heat. Like the avocado, this oil is high in healthy fatty acids.

14. Yerba mate

The caffeinated mate tea made from yerba mate leaves is an excellent energy drink. Some prefer yerba mate to coffee or black tea, as yerba mate doesn't cause the same jitters or stomach upset as coffee.

15. Almond butter

Nut butters should be a staple in all households, in our humble opinion. Almond butters are a safer choice, as almond allergies are much less common than peanut allergies.

16. Bone stock

Bone stock, a broth made from animal bones, contains a wide variety of nutrients such as  calcium and magnesium. Keep the canned variety on hand for those times when you don't have time to simmer a homemade batch.

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Spark It or Scrap It: Do Standing Desks Improve Your Health?

By: , – Alicia Capetillo, Staff Writer
2/8/2016  12:00:00 AM   :  25 comments   :  10,334 views

In his book "Get Up! Why Your Chair is Killing You and What You Can Do About It," health expert and inventor of the treadmill desk Dr. James Levine calls out the dangers of sitting in no uncertain terms, writing, "We all have a capacity of happiness. Sitting somehow suppresses it. Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death." Article after study after article agree that the average American sits too much and needs to incorporate more movement into their day-to-day tasks. But what's a nine-to-fiver supposed to do?

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Not-So-Fat Tuesday: Slimming Down Mardi Gras Recipes

By: , – Melissa Rudy, Health & Fitness Journalist
2/5/2016  12:00:00 AM   :  8 comments   :  13,595 views

When you think of Mardi Gras, you probably imagine streets filled with costumed revelers and Creole music, with plenty of drinking and bead throwing—but another main player in this delightfully decadent holiday is the food.

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