Scared to Eat Some Halloween Treats?

This weekend is Halloween, definitely one of my favorite holidays! One of the best things about this spooky holiday is the candy, all the delicious chocolate and fruit flavored pieces that taste so great after a day of work! But the only down fall to eating some of my favorite treats are the calories and grams of fat that in a full size candy bar. So I found a bunch of fun sized treats that are not as many calories but will still satisfy your sweet tooth!

 

Dum Dums 25 Calories, 0g fat (per pop)
These tiny lollipops have been around since 1924 and their size keeps the calorie count low, with just 26 per pop. Keep in mind that these little treats are basically just sugar, corn syrup and artificial flavoring, so there’s no nutritional value. But they are a virtually guilt-free way to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Smarties 25 Calories 0g fat (per roll)
If one piece is never enough for you, a roll of Smarties is a great option. And at just 25 calories per roll, they also won’t blow your weight loss efforts. Another plus, they are gluten-free and vegan — so they’re a great choice if you have dietary restrictions.

Hershey Kisses 21-23 Calories 1.3g fat (per kiss)
Get your chocolate fix with this classic candy. There are 25 calories in each kiss, so as long as you keep the portions under control these are a sensible, chocolate-y option.

Tootsie Roll 60 Calories 0g fat (per roll)
Bite-sized, chewy and not-to-sweet, Tootsie Rolls are just 23 calories per piece. Bonus: They last a long time, so you won’t be reaching for seconds right away.

3 Musketeers Mini 24 Calories 0.7g fat (per piece)
If you’re a fan of this light and fluffy candy bar, the mini size is the perfect treat. At just 24 calories per piece, you can even afford to go for a few pieces.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Miniatures 44 Calories 2.6g fat (per cup)
 Love the combo of peanut butter and chocolate? This is the guilt-free treat for you. With just 36 calories in each little cup you can get your PB & C fix, without all the damage of a full-sized version, which packs a whopping 210 calories per serving.

Snickers Miniatures 42-45 Calories 2g fat (per piece)
Another candy bar favorite gets diet-friendly after a mini makeover. These little guys have just 42 calories per piece, but all the flavor of the original.

Mounds Miniatures 63 Calories 3.7g fat (per piece)
Dark chocolate lovers rejoice! Mounds smallest version has 63 calories per piece and gets a fun twist with its coconut filling

Skittles Fun Fun-Sized Pack 80 Calories (per pack)
Get a low-calorie taste of the rainbow with the Skittles fun-sized packs. There are about 80 calories per serving and lots of fruity little bites to enjoy.

M&M Fun-Sized Packs 108 Calories (per pack)
Combine portion control with a classic favorite and you can’t go wrong. One fun-sized pack of chocolate M&Ms has about 108 calories.

Tootsie Caramel Apple Pop – 60 calories, 0.5g fat

Charms Blow Pop – 60 calories, 0g fat

Lik-m-aid Fun Dip 0.5-oz. Pouch – 50 calories, 0g fat

Jolly Rancher Hard Candy (3 Pieces), Original – 70 calories, 0g fat

Laffy Taffy Miniature – 30 calories, 0.4g fat

Peeps Ghosts & Pumpkins (2 Pumpkins or 1 Ghost) – 28 – 37 calories, 0g fat

Pixy Stix (7 Straws) – 60 calories, 0g fat

Tootsie Pop – 60 calories, 0g fat

Twizzlers Strawberry Individually Wrapped Twist – 40 – 47 calories, 0.3g fat

Butterfinger Miniature – 45 calories, 2g fat

Hershey’s Miniature Bar, Any Flavor – 42 calories, 2.5g fat

Kit Kat Mini – 42 calories, 2.2g fat

Milky Way Mini – 38 calories, 1.5g fat

Nestle Crunch Mini/Miniature – 30 – 50 calories, 1.5 – 2.5g fat

Twix Mini Caramel Cookie Bar – 50 calories, 2.6g fat

So when your kids are finished trick or treating and you pick through the candy bowl don’t go after the biggest pieces. Stick with the fun size pieces and keep this list in mind!

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Dinner in 20: Pasta Rosa Verde

So apparently today is World Pasta Day.. So I am giving you all a recipe I found on Fitness.com that is a healthy pasta dish!

Dinner in 20: Pasta Rosa Verde

Makes: 4 servings
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces whole wheat penne pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4-6 medium tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 3 cups arugula, watercress and/or spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled
  • Gorgonzola or other blue cheese

Directions

  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and keep warm.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic until the onion is tender. Stir in the tomatoes, salt, pepper, and red pepper, if using. Cook, stirring, about 2 minutes, until the tomatoes are warm. Mix in the arugula, watercress, or spinach and heat until just wilted.
  3. Spoon the pasta into bowls and top with the tomato mixture. Sprinkle with the toasted pine nuts and cheese.

Nutrition facts per serving: 362 calories, 12g protein, 55g carbohydrate, 12g fat (2g saturated), 5g fiber

 

Seared Scallops with Pumpkin Soup

Seared Scallops with Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients

  • 12 oz fresh sea scallops
  • 1 can (15 oz) unflavored pumpkin puree
  • 2 Tbsp roughly chopped hazelnuts
  • 8 to 10 chives, chopped
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:

  • Toast chopped hazelnuts, either in the oven (10 minutes at 400°F) or on the stove in a stainless-steel saute pan (5 to 7 minutes over medium heat, shaking often so they don’t burn). Set aside.
  • Combine pumpkin, honey, butter, and broth in a medium saucepan, and heat the mixture on low until it’s warmed through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep the mixture warm.
  • Preheat a cast-iron skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat. Pat scallops dry with a paper towel and season them with salt and pepper to taste. Add oil to the pan, and then add scallops. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side until they’re firm, browned, and caramelized.
  • Pour soup into wide-rimmed serving bowls. Add scallops and hazelnuts, and garnish with chopped chives.

Nutrition

Per serving: 430 cal, 17 g fat (5 g sat), 35 g carbs, 460 mg sodium, 7 g fiber, 35 g protein

Take a Breath

Breathing fully and deeply is important in helping you reach your fitness goals. It will have an effect on your workout and how you feel during exercise. If you aren’t focusing on proper breathing technique, exercise may seem more difficult than it needs to. And you may not be taking in enough air to help ignite the burning of fat. Here are some commonly asked questions about how to breathe during exercise:

1.   During the “effort”/exertion phase, what’s better: breathing in or breathing out?

Most professionals will tell you to breatheout on the effort phase of an exercise. That means if you’re doing an abdominal crunch, you would breathe out when lifting the trunk. However, this isn’t an absolute must. If you feel more comfortable breathing out during the effort, go for it. The most important thing is that you breathe.

2.   What will happen if I don’t breathe enough?

You could find yourself with side stitches. The more rigorous the activity, the more you should breathe and in a steady pattern. Get into a regular rhythm and keep the pace constant. It will help you supply your body with the right amount of oxygen and give you something to focus on. And, your brain will function better too.

3.   Is it possible to breath too much or too often?

Well, you could hyperventilate…but it’s pretty unlikely during exercise. When walking or running, get into a steady pattern of breathing out on every fourth step (or any number that feels comfortable for you). For each activity you do, there will be a pattern that feels right. Find that pattern and stick to it.

4.   Should I hold my breath during weight work?

No. Holding your breath while bearing down can push blood pressure up significantly. You can also reduce blood flow to your brain and increase pressure in your chest – both of which could be dangerous while exercising.

Pay attention to your body: be aware of your breathing during exercise

The best advice is to become aware of your breathing during your exercise sessions. Think about pushing air out forcefully more than on sucking it in. Breathe in through the nose but realize that when you start working harder you may not be able to bring in enough air that way. If needed, breathe through your mouth. The more serious you are about working out, the more important proper breathing is. Deep breathing can result in a 1-2% competitive edge increase among athletes. That may just mean the difference between winning and losing. So, get into a rhythm, stick to it each time you exercise and you’ll enjoy your workouts more!


 

Discover New Ways to Portion Control

Today is Columbus Day and he discovered America so lets discover some things of our own! Everyone knows that the best way to lose weight is to control what you eat. The hardest time to think of portions is when you are eating out at a restaurant. I mean who could blame you? The food is usually good and you’re paying a good amount of money for what you ordered so you have to eat it all, right? Wrong! There are many things you can do to help keep your portions in check when going out to eat and when you stay in and make dinner!

Lets start with when you go out to eat. The average serving that restaurants give you is at least double what it should be. Say you eat out a couple times a week that’s a whole lot of food that you are eating! I mean don’t get me wrong I love a good burger and fries but I rarely can finish the whole thing! (Unless I haven’t eaten all day and I’m basically starving.) But I swear that the burgers you get when you go out to eat are a half of a cow and the amount of fries they serve must equal a whole field of potatoes! There are ways to resist and control the portions you eat though, even when going to a restaurant!

  • When you are dining at a restaurant, ask the waiter for a take-out container as soon as he gets your order. Put half of your meal in the box as soon as it arrives. Try to eat slowly and enjoy the conversation and the restaurant’s ambiance. Remember, it takes about 20 minutes to start to feel full, so eating at a slower pace will prevent you from overeating. You can always take some of the food back out of the carton at the restaurant if you’re still truly hungry, but chances are you won’t want to.
  • If heating up leftovers the next day isn’t your cup of tea, find out if your eatery offers lunch-sized portions of their dishes. These are almost always significantly smaller than full-sized dinner entrees, so don’t be afraid to ask if you can purchase the lunch entree at dinner time. If that’s not an option, ask to order from the children’s menu … practicing this portion control pointer will save your waistline some inches and your wallet some bucks.
  • As we all know, fast food portions are already oversized, so there’s no need to add insult to injury by upgrading your meal. No matter how much of a “better deal” it may seem, don’t be tempted. In fact, steering clear of “meal deals” altogether is very wise. You’re much better off ordering a grilled chicken sandwich, or even a regular hamburger (hold the mayo on both), along with a side salad, than ordering a combo that comes with a silo-sized soda, too. Kids meals are a good alternative at fast food restaurants; they contain what wereconsidered normal-sized portions for us grown-ups a few decades ago.

Now what about when you make dinner at home and you can’t help but want to eat more than you need? Downsize what you serve the food in!

  • Plates:  Keep them saucer-size (about six inches in diameter). Yes, it might feel a little Alice in Wonderland, but in a Cornell University study, people who ate hamburgers off of saucers believed they were eating an average of 18 percent more calories than they really were. People who ate off of 12-inch-diameter dishes, on the other hand, had no such delusion.
  • Bowls: Research shows that the bigger the bowl, the more you’ll stuff into it. So stick with small ones, or use a teacup or a mug for foods you tend to gulp down, like cereal and ice cream. Save the giant bowls for salad and broth-based soups so you can fill up on fewer calories.
  • Glasses: According to a study in the Journal of Consumer Research, adults pour about 19 percent more liquid into short, wide glasses than they do into tall tumblers. This may be because our brains tend to focus more on an object’s height than its width, so short glasses don’t appear quite as full.
  • Spoons: Stick with teaspoons, even to load up your plate. Another Cornell study found that people who used three-ounce serving spoons shoveled out nearly 15 percent more food than those who scooped using smaller two-ounce spoons.
  • Serving Dishes: In studies, people ate as much as 56 percent more when they served themselves from a one-gallon bowl than they did from a half-gallon one. You can also hedge your bets by choosing ceramic over glass: One study in the International Journal of Obesity found that women ate 71 percent more out of transparent containers than they did out of dishes they couldn’t see through.
  • Don’t Serve at the Table: If you keep all of the food away from the table and only bring over pre served dishes you are less likely to eat more. With the food dishes sitting on the table you are continually looking at the food and will serve yourself more because it is there.

So next time you go out to eat or you are making dinner think about portions and how you can eat better by taking some of these suggestions!

Happy National Pierogi Day!

Today is National Pierogi Day! So in honor of that I am going to tell you a little bit about the origin of pierogies and share with you a healthy pierogi recipe I found!

For those of you completely unfamiliar with pierogies (though since we’re in western PA I couldn’t understand why!) but they can best be described as dumplings composed of dough and a filling, often served with butter or sour cream. The so-called standard pierogi filling is potato, cheese, and onion (sometimes called the Ruthenian pierogi), but there are many other popular fillings, including cabbage, prunes, and meat! Pierogi can resemble the shape and size of pot stickers you might order at a Chinese restaurant, though the dough for pierogi is usually thicker. Pierogi also resemble Italian ravioli in their basic form. Most pierogi are puffed-out half circles or triangles, resulting from the folding-over of circles and squares of dough, respectively.

Pierogi are a food of “virtually untraceable Central or Eastern European origin,” though they are perhaps most closely associated with the Polish people. Poland as a country has been conquered and re-conquered throughout history, resulting in waves of settlers that influenced the cuisine. This resulted in a variety of pierogi recipes and types throughout the years. Since pierogi are basically dumplings, there is some evidence to suggest that pierogi ancestors, made their way across Central Asia where they were more veggie-filled and then into Eastern Europe. The dumplings evolved, developing fillings appropriate to the local area. Somewhere on this pierogi continuum, the food took on its familiar form, the vaguely consistent and over-generalized Eastern European pierogi. Within Poland, cabbage came into popularity in the 1500s while potatoes were rooted as a staple food by the mid 1700s. Those remain perhaps the two most popular main fillings in most pierogi-loving countries.

As for the pierogi dough, Russian, Latvian, and Ukrainian varieties tend to have a more bread-like quality and are more likely to contain meat almost like a miniature sandwich. Polish, Slovak, and Czech varieties tend toward a sort of hybrid pasta-pastry dough and are more likely to contain potatoes or cabbage. Lithuanian pierogi are like a bridge between the two, usually with the meet type filling and pasta like dough.

Pierogies came to America in the late 1800s and early 1900s, by way of Eastern Europeans. Polish variety (potato-cheese or cabbage pierogi) seemed to catch on with other Americans. Of course, most of these immigrants settled in the Mid-Atlantic states or in urban industrial centers like Chicago, accounting for the popularity of pierogi in those areas.

I have always had the typical basic potato and cheese Mrs. T’s Pierogies, boiled with butter. But what I didn’t realize is that there are other ways to cook them. Not only can you boil them but you can also pan fry, bake or deep fry these delicious filled pasta pockets! Alright enough about the history of pierogies! Here is a recipe for you to try!

Pierogies

  • DOUGH:
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup warm water
  • POTATO FILLING:
  • 3 medium potatoes, cooked, drained and mashed, about 1 pound
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • CHEESE FILLING:
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) 4% small curd cottage cheese, drained and patted dry
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • SAUCE:
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup butter

Directions

  • To make dough, mix flour, eggs, sour cream, salt and water (a little at a time). Knead dough until firm and elastic; cover with a bowl and let rest 10 minutes. For potato filling, prepare potatoes; set aside. For cheese filling, combine ingredients and mix. Divide dough into three parts. On floured surface, roll dough to 1/8-in. thick; cut into 3-in. rounds with cutter. Place a small spoonful of filling in center of each round; fold and press edges together firmly to seal. Drop pierogi in simmering chicken bouillon with 1 teaspoon oil. Do not crowd. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring gently with wooden spoon to prevent sticking. Remove with slotted spoon; drain well. Saute onion and butter until golden. Place drained pierogi in casserole and pour onion/butter mixture over all. Garnish with brown mushrooms. Yield: 7 dozen.

Nutrition Facts: 1 serving (3 each) equals 175 calories, 9 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 54 mg cholesterol, 262 mg sodium, 18 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 5 g protein.

 

I am definitely having pierogies tonight for dinner! Anyone else?

Myths and Facts About Regular Exercise

Here are some myths and facts about regular exercise!!

Myth: No pain, no gain

Fact: Many people think if their muscles don’t hurt, they’re not having a quality workout. This is way off base. While resistance training can be intense, and some level of discomfort may occur, pain is not required for a successful workout. It’s also important to note that pain can be a warning sign of an exhausted muscle or torn ligament.

Myth: Stretching before a workout will reduce the risk of injury.

Fact: The British Medical Journal published an article in 2002 in which researchers determined that available evidence does not support the role of stretching in preventing muscle soreness after exercise or in reducing risk of injury. It’s a controversial finding, but a theory Pasternak subscribes to; he rarely, if ever, stretches with his clients. 

On the other hand, exercises that develop flexibility have been long pursued to enhance performance, fitness and peace of mind. Stretching is a vital component of yoga, martial arts, gymnastics and ballet. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that a basic stretching program be followed at least two to three days a week.

So what’s the bottom line? Despite lack of scientific evidence that stretching before exercising will prevent injury, the majority of sports medicine specialists still support flexibility training.

Myth: The best time to work out is early in the morning.

Fact:  The truth is, it doesn’t matter when you work out, it’s just important that you do work out at some point during the day.

Myth: If you’re not going to exercise intensely and frequently, exercise is a waste of time.

Fact: We don’t have to run our absolute fastest or train our absolute hardest to achieve results. In fact, the human body burns fat most efficiently at our target heart rate (which is 80 percent of maximum heart rate). Even 25 minutes 5 times a week can get you major results and change your entire status of health. The downside to exercising sporadically is that your body adapts to the workouts, becoming more efficient and conditioned, only to become deconditioned when exercise ceases. Although progress may be made initially while exercising at a low intensity, the body must be regularly challenged for further change and adaptation.

Myth: Exercising the same body part every day is the best way to increase strength.

Fact: Like your mind, your muscles need a challenge. If you do the same math equation every day, you know the answer before you even put the pencil to paper. It’s the same for muscles; you need to mix it up to keep them working and evolving.

Example: Many people think they need to exercise just their lower abs to reduce a potbelly.  Actually, while ab exercises define muscle, cardio exercises burn fat. A cardio workout on an elliptical machine will do more to tighten the waistline than a round of crunches.

Myth: Running is the best way to get in shape.

Fact: Running and jogging are great ways to exercise, but they can be hard on joints. The point here is, there is no “best” way to get fit. Whichever way you choose to exercise, be it walking, swimming, cycling, etc., if you burn more calories than you consume, you will lose weight.

Myth: Heavy weights make big muscles and small weights make lean muscles.

Fact: If you’re using free weights, there are many different variables — sets, reps, tempo, intensity, rest, exercise selection, duration and frequency — that can all be adjusted to achieve optimal results without looking too muscular. Choosing various core stabilization exercises, including stability ball push-ups or single-leg squats, will burn more calories, have a smaller likelihood of increasing muscle mass and be much more likely to lead to a lean and toned physique.