Don’t turn into a pumpkin!

The title says it all. I’m pretty sure everyone goes into hibernation mode during the holidays. Who can say no to the salted carmel mochas or 7-layer bars? I know I can’t. However, as the new year approaches us, let’s make a change before 2013. I pledge to exercise more and resist those caloric treats that taunt me in candy stores. Hike after a heavy rainstorm, take a bikram yoga class when it’s cold, work on your core strength in the mornings; there’s so much you can do to stay in shape. And eating healthy helps you maintain that fabulous bod. Of course, don’t deprive yourself! Eat that piece of pie if you need to!

Find the ‘Healthy’ in Unhealthy

When you eat out, what is your go to menu item? The salad or the cheesy garlic bread? For me, I would go with the salad…but the whole time I’m chewing those leafy greens, I would be craving that cheesy, butter-soaked garlic bread. So how do you make your favorite comfort food a healthy choice? I will tell you.

Remove the “UN-necessaries”

If I were ordering an omelet, I would say, “Well, what could I remove from this to make it a healthier, more nutritious meal?” Look at the menu description and point out the “UN-necessaries.” Cheese? Don’t need it. Toast? Empty calories. Meat? Go veg for a day. Eggs? Well obviously it’s an omelet, but you could always make those eggs, egg WHITES. Add some veggies? Pile it on! Now look at your omelet and marvel at how much healthier it is. And you can apply this technique to any meal!

Dressing on the side please!

You never know what a restaurant puts in their dressings. Or if they even make them. Order the dressing on the side so you are only ingesting as much dressing as you want instead of eating unnecessary dressing. I’m pretty sure you can eat a salad with half the dressing they give you.

Read your options carefully!

All in all, you just have to go through a menu with a fine-tooth comb. There will be options that seem delicious but think how it will make you feel after you eat them? Too-full. Heavy. Kinda gross. Take those choice out. You obviously want to indulge sometimes; it is very healthy, just indulge intelligently.

The Healthiest Cookies

Hey Everyone! Sorry I haven’t posted anything in a week; finals and studying took up all my time. But now it is summer and I am excited to share with you the recipe for the healthiest cookies you’ll ever eat. Only 66 calories each, these spongy, nutritional treats are perfect if you need a little sweet pick-me-up.

Banana Oatmeal Cookies

Canola Oil Spray

3/4 cup wheat flour

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. ground cinanmon

1/4 tsp. ground allspice

1 cup quick-cooking oats

1/3 cup raisins

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1 large egg white

4-5 tbsp. sweetened applesauce

1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

2 small bananas, one cut into 1-inch pieces, the other puréed

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions

1. Set baking racks in top and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat 2 baking pans or cookie sheets with oil spray.

2. Whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and allspice in a mixing bowl. Mix in oats, raisins and nuts.

3. With a blender on medium speed, mix egg white, applesauce and sugar until smooth. Blend in pureéd and cut banana and vanilla until mixture is smooth. Pour banana mixture into bowl with dry ingredients, mixing with spatula until well combined. Batter will be fairly stiff.

4. Drop batter by walnut-size spoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets, spacing cookies at least 2 inches apart. Flatten them slightly with the back of a wet spoon, wetting spoon frequently between cookies, to make 2-inch cookies.

5. Bake 10 minutes, until cookies are golden brown and almost firm in the center when pressed with a finger. Transfer cookies to a baking rack and cool. Stored in airtight container, these cookies keep up to 1 week.

Enjoy!

MEAN ABS JUNE

While browsing some blogs on WordPress, I came upon the “Mean Abs June” calendar. I am so up for the challenge. Every day of the month, except for Sundays, the calendar has you increasing the number of crunches, sit-ups, and push ups you do every day. I am not one to be anal about my body image; media has heavily influenced girls to freak out about the smallest rolls on their body and I find it absolutely ridiculous. But I am one to want to stay fit and strong, especially for ballet, so why not? Who’s with me?

Snacking

Snacking can be dangerous. If you don’t monitor yourself, you can end up eating the WHOLE bag of chips. We use snacking to distract ourselves from tedious activities, giving ourselves an excuse to not continue with our work. Yet that is no way to solve your reluctancy to do something. You are only filling yourself with unnecessary calories that are usually stored as fat in the end. If you really need a break from a long project, go outside and take a walk up a hill or jog around your block. I promise you will feel much better and more motivated to carry on with your work. And if you are in need of a little something to hold you over until the next meal, make a snack that is small but filling enough to settle your stomach. I recommend apples and peanut butter. Cut up an apple, put some peanut butter and honey in a bowl, and dip the apples into the mixture. It is easy, healthy, and a great snack to settle your craving for food. Low-sodium mixed nuts is another fabulous snack to hold your stomach. The mono and poly unsaturated fats in nuts help lower your cholesterol and contain at least one double bond in the fatty acid chain, meaning that they are less-caloric than saturated fats. So the next time you are in need of a mini-meal, DON’T reach for the bag of chips.

My Monthly Favorites

I have decided to do a segment on my blog called “My Monthly Favorites.” I will post these at the end of each month, talking about the various obsessions I had during that time. All these obsessions also have to do with the overall theme of my blog: healthy lifestyle, so i will be talking about anything ranging from food and recipes to face washes to my exercise classes. Below I have listed a couple of health-related habits I had during the month of May. Enjoy!

1. Frozen Fruit

You may be thinking “Oh, frozen fruit as in making smoothies with frozen fruit!” Wrong. Although I did make many smoothies after school, I mostly ate frozen fruit straight from the bag. Call me crazy but i thought it was delicious! It was very similar to eating ice cream, yet in a much healthier way. I really enjoyed the frozen raspberries and bananas; they were sweet and just melted in your mouth. It was also a great way to incorporate your necessary servings of fruit in to your diet. 

2. Spearmint Tea Exfoliating Cleanser

I found this product in the cosmetics area of Whole Foods and I have absolutely fallen in love with this product. It is by Skin Organics and it helps fight breakouts, purifying, and exfoliate the skin. You may think that this product is a harsh, bead-filled cleanser since it is an “exfoliator” but it isn’t! It does not contain any gritty bits; it is gentle enough to use every night but strong enough to clear your skin! Check out their website; I highly recommend their products: http://skinorganics.com/

3. Yoga

I like going to the gym yet sometimes the monotonous running on a treadmill can bore me. This led me to find another source of exercise: yoga. Yoga is so good for the body and also for the mind. You become mentally stable in a yoga class, relaxed and ready to take on whatever lies a head of you. I really enjoy those classes and plan to continue with them throughout the month of June.