Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Strawberry Shortcake

Another Summer time favorite!!!

Was POINTS® Value: 9
Now POINTS® Value: 6
Servings: 6
Preparation Time: 30 min
Cooking Time: 25 min

24 medium strawberries, about 10 oz, hulled and quartered (reserve 6 whole berries for garnish)
2 Tbsp orange juice
2 cup(s) all-purpose flour
6 Tbsp sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp table salt
4 Tbsp reduced-calorie margarine, chilled and cut into pieces
2/3 cup(s) fat-free skim milk
2 tsp fat-free skim milk
1 tsp sugar
3/4 cup(s) fat-free whipped topping

1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
2. Combine quartered strawberries and orange juice; toss to combine. Set aside.
3. In a separate large bowl, whisk together flour, 6 tablespoons of sugar, baking powder and salt. Add margarine; mix together with a fork until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 2/3 cup of milk; mix until a manageable dough forms.
4. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and roll out to 1-inch thickness. Using a 3 1/2-inch round cookie cutter (or round glass), cut dough into six circles. Transfer rounds to baking sheet. Brush tops with 2 teaspoons milk and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sugar.
5. Bake until puffed up and golden, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and, while still warm, split in half crosswise (like an English muffin).
6. Spoon 1/3 cup of strawberries onto bottom half of each shortcake round. Top with sugar-coated second half. Spoon 2 tablespoons of whipped topping on top and garnish each with a whole strawberry.

WW renovated Strawberry Shortcake by:
Using reduced-calorie margarine instead of butter in the dough.
Swapping fat-free milk for whole milk.
Coating the dough with fat-free milk instead of beaten egg.
Reducing the amount of sugar in the dough and using orange juice to replace sugar in the berry filling.

*recipe and picture from WW*

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

25 Little Tips for Big Weight Loss

Another good one from WW!

Feel like you need a boost? Perhaps you've hit a plateau? Now is the perfect time to take stock of your life and to make some long-overdue changes. But adjusting eating and exercise habits can seem so daunting, it's no wonder that some of us never make it beyond the first day! So what's the best way to get started?

The surest way to succeed is making small changes. Think in terms of manageable baby steps, like swapping the half-and-half in your morning coffee for fat-free or low-fat milk. There are lots of little changes you can make — in your food plan and daily routine — that will add up to a lot of weight loss over the long haul.

Take a look at our 25 tips below for eating healthfully, fitting exercise into your busy day and revamping your daily routine. Start by picking five changes that you're sure you can tackle and practice them this week. Then try another five next week (click the 'print' link above to print this out for easy reference).

Not every idea is right for everyone, so experiment and see what works for you. Lots of little changes can yield big weight-loss results—and a healthier new you!

1. Good things come in small packages
Here's a trick for staying satisfied without consuming large portions: Chop high-calorie foods like cheese and chocolate into smaller pieces. It will seem like you're getting more than you actually are.

2. Get "water-wise"
Make a habit of reaching for a glass of water instead of a high-fat snack. It will help your overall health as well as your waistline. So drink up! Add some zest to your six to eight glasses a day with a twist of lemon or lime.

3. Herb it up
Stock up your spice rack, and start growing a small herb garden in your kitchen window. Spices and herbs add fantastic flavor to foods without adding fat or calories.

4. Slim down your soup
Make a big batch of soup and refrigerate it before you eat it. As it cools, the fat will rise to the top and can be skimmed off the surface.

5. Doggie-bag that dinner
At restaurants that you know serve large portions, ask the waiter to put half of your main course in a take-home box before bringing it to your table. Putting the food away before you start your meal will help you practice portion control.

6. Listen to your cravings
If you're craving something sweet, eat something sweet — just opt for a healthier nosh (like fruit) instead of a high-calorie one like ice cream. The same goes for crunchy cravings—for example, try air-popped popcorn instead of high-fat chips. It's just smart substitution!

7. Ease your way into produce
If you're new to eating lots of fruits and vegetables, start slowly. Just add them to the foods you already enjoy. Pile salad veggies into your sandwiches, or add fruit to your cereal.

8. Look for high-fat hints
Want an easy way to identify high-calorie meals? Keep an eye out for these words: au gratin, parmigiana, tempura, alfredo, creamy and carbonara, and enjoy them in moderation.

9. Don't multi-task while you eat
If you're working, reading or watching TV while you eat, you won't be paying attention to what's going into your mouth—and you won't be enjoying every bite. Today, every time you have a meal, sit down. Chew slowly and pay attention to flavors and textures. You'll enjoy your food more and eat less.

10. Taste something new
Broaden your food repertoire — you may find you like more healthy foods than you knew. Try a new fruit or vegetable (ever had plantain, bak choy, starfruit or papaya?).

11. Leave something on your plate at every meal
One bite of bagel, half your sandwich, the bun from your burger. See if you still feel satisfied eating just a bit less.

12. Get to know your portion sizes
It's easy to underestimate how much you're eating. Today, don't just estimate things — make sure. Ask how much is in a serving, read the fine print on labels, measure your food. And learn portion equivalents: One serving of pasta, for instance, should be around the size of a tennis ball.

13. Don't give up dips
If you love creamy dips and sauces, don't cut them out of your food plan completely. Just use low-fat soft cheese and mayo instead of the full fat stuff.

14. Make a healthy substitution
Learn to swap healthier foods for their less-healthy counterparts. Today, find a substitution that works for you: Use skim or low-fat milk instead of whole milk; try whole-wheat bread instead of white.

15. Bring lunch to work tomorrow
Packing lunch will help you control your portion sizes. It also provides a good alternative to restaurants and takeaways, where making healthy choices every day can be challenging (not to mention expensive).

16. Have some dessert
You don't have to deny yourself all the time. Have a treat that brings you pleasure, but this time enjoy it guilt-free be — sure you're practicing portion control, and compensate for your indulgence by exercising a little more or by skipping your afternoon snack.

17. Ask for what you need
Tell your mother-in-law you don't want seconds. Ask your other half to stop bringing you chocolates. Speak up for the place with great salads when your co-workers are picking a restaurant for lunch. Whatever you need to do to succeed at weight loss, ask for it — make yourself a priority and assert yourself.

18. Improve your treadmill technique
When walking on a treadmill, don't grip the rails. It's fine to touch them for balance, but you shouldn't have to hold on. If you do, that might be a signal you should lower the intensity level.

19. Simon says... get fit
Here's an easy way to fit in exercise with your kids: Buy a set of 1 lb weights and play a round of Simon Says—you do it with the weights, they do it without. They'll love it!

20. Make the most of your walks
If your walking routine has become too easy, increase your effort by finding hills. Just be sure to tackle them at the beginning of your walk, when you have energy to spare.

21. Shop 'til you drop...pounds!
Add a workout to your shopping sessions by walking around the mall before your start spending. And try walking up the escalator — getting to your destination faster will be an added bonus.

22. Walk an extra 100 steps at work
Adding even a little extra exercise to your daily routine can boost your weight loss. Today, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or stroll down the hall to talk to a co-worker instead of sending an email or calling.

23. Brush your teeth after every meal and snack
This will be a signal to your mouth — and your mind — that it's time to stop eating. Brushing will also give your mouth a nice fresh taste that you'll be disinclined to ruin with a random chip. At work, keep a toothbrush with a cover and toothpaste in your desk drawer.

24. Clean your closet
First, it's great exercise. Second, it's an important step in changing your attitude. Get rid of all the clothes that make you look or feel bad. Throw out anything that's too big — don't give yourself the option of ever fitting into those clothes again. Move the smaller clothes up to the front to help motivate you. Soon, you'll be fitting into those too-tight jeans you couldn't bear to part with.

25. Take your measurements
You might not like your stats now, but you'll be glad you wrote them down when you see how many inches you've lost. It's also another way to measure your success, instead of just looking at the scale. Sometimes even when the numbers on the scale aren't going down, the measurements on your body are.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Whittle Your Middle

I've been posting a lot of Jillian Michaels post lately, however I've been trying to educate myself more on the benefits of weight loss... plus I'm way behind in my Inbox and thought I would do some catching up and share them with you!

More Reasons to Whittle Your Middle

I think we can all agree that "muffin tops" — the fat hanging over the waist of a too tight pair of pants — and beer bellies aren't attractive. Still, when it comes to excess belly fat, the situation is more serious than how you look. Excess belly fat has been linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, some cancers and stress.

When you have stress, your body releases certain "fight-or-flight" stress hormones that are produced in the adrenal glands: cortisol, norepinephrine and epinephrine. When you first get stressed, these hormones kick into gear. Norepinephrine tells your body to stop producing insulin so that you can have plenty of fast-acting blood glucose ready. Epinephrine will relax the muscles in your stomach and intestines and decrease blood flow to these organs. Once the stressor has passed, cortisol tells the body to stop producing these hormones and to go back to digesting regularly. It's normal for your cortisol levels to go up and down throughout the day, but when you are chronically stressed your cortisol level goes up — and stays there.

When your stress and cortisol levels are high, the body actually resists weight loss. Your body thinks times are hard and you might starve, so it hoards the fat you eat or have present on your body. Cortisol tends to take fat from healthier areas, like your butt and hips, and move it to your abdomen which has more cortisol receptors. Hello ab flab! In the process, it turns once–healthy peripheral fat into unhealthy visceral fat (the fat in your abdomen that surrounds your organs) that increases inflammation and insulin resistance in the body. This belly fat then leads to more cortisol because it has higher concentrations of an enzyme that converts inactive cortisone to active cortisol. The more belly fat you have, the more active cortisol will be converted by these enzymes — yet another vicious cycle created by visceral fat.

So what if you have belly fat? Lose weight by following the best nutrition and lifestyle strategies that support you in times of stress, like the ones in my program. When you limit your caffeine to 200 milligrams a day, avoid simple carbs, processed foods, and refined grains, and get plenty of high-quality protein, in addition to de-stressing yourself, you'll automatically help your body keep your stress hormones, especially cortisol, lower. It's a day by day choice you'll have to make, but the results will be worth. Think how good it will be when you are as healthy on the inside as you look on the outside.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Fresh Strawberry Crepes

During the hot summer months, my husband and I like to eat foods that are light on the stomach.  I coudln't resist sharing this recipe I found on Weight Watchers.  You don't have to be a member of WW's online community to be able to get a sample of their recipies.  In my old blog, I wrote how I haven't had much success with WW (but love the articles and recipes!).  I think it's becuase I never really tried.  It was always to easy for me to cheat.  I know it works, my cousins Barbara and Stephanie are having excellent success on WW.  

Back to the recipe...  Fresh Strawberry Crepes!

Fresh Strawberry Crepes

POINTS® Value: 3
Servings: 8
Preparation Time: 10 min
Cooking Time: 32 min

5 large egg white(s)
1/8 tsp table salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 cup(s) fat-free skim milk
1 cup(s) all-purpose flour
8 spray(s) cooking spray
1 pound(s) strawberries, hulled and sliced very thin (about 3 cups)
1/4 cup(s) powdered sugar

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg whites, salt, vanilla extract, melted butter, milk and flour until just combined.
2. Coat an 8- or 9-inch skillet with cooking spray; set over medium heat. When pan is hot, add 1/4 cup of batter and tilt skillet to cover entire bottom of pan with a thin layer of batter. Cook for 2 minutes; flip over. Top with about 1/3 cup strawberries; cook for 2 minutes more. Fold crepe over and slide onto a serving plate; cover to keep warm. Repeat with remaining ingredients; sprinkle with sugar. Yields 1 crepe per serving.

To see if the pan is hot, add a few droplets of water – if they sizzle, the pan is ready.
These crepes can be filled with any berries you have on hand – or spread them with fruit preserves.

*recipe and picture from weightwatchers.*