Tag Archives: holidays

5 Ways to Say No to Food This Holiday Season

We all have that one person in our life who refuses to take no for an answer. Perhaps it’s the office baker who simply can’t understand why you turn down her famous chocolate peanut butter pie. Or maybe it’s Great Aunt Helen who ends every visit with a care package of cinnamon rolls, somehow still warm yet you never saw her turn on the oven.

We all have a food pusher in our lives. They love us but don’t understand us. For them, food is the ultimate expression of love. For us it’s fuel, nothing more and nothing less.

This conflict is never as pronounced as it is during this festive time of year. Not only is food love, it’s tradition. It’s a gift. And it’s not easy to say no to a gift.

But to stay true to who we are and to keep our hard-earned fitness we have to learn to say no. You need to have a holiday defense strategy that includes ways to say no politely but firmly. Here are my top 5 ways to say no to food:

No, thank you. Simple and quick. No need for a detailed reason on why you refuse cake, just move on to the next topic of conversation. (more…)

4 Ways to Beat the Resolution Rush!

By Chrissa Hardy for HelloGiggles.com

It’s strange that a day filled with giving thanks can end in regret, isn’t it? Yet every year, that’s the feeling I experience before I go to bed. And Thanksgiving is a mandatory day to over-indulge, so why do I torture myself with this annual guilt? It’s because I know that the over-indulging won’t end on Black Friday. Really, that’s just the beginning. From Thanksgiving until New Year’s Eve, we’re shopping, snacking, cooking, baking, noshing, drinking, dessert-ing and then digesting. We’re plagued with decorating, gift-buying, hosting parties, mingling at the parties of others and we’re trying to juggle all of these additional tasks on top of our normal hectic schedules.

We don’t even have time to ease out of our extra holiday “padding” before we need to squeeze into our snazziest cocktail attire and set goals to better our lives as the ball descends into the new year.

That is some serious pressure.

Wouldn’t you like to ring in the new year without the padding AND the guilt? I know I would. Here are four ways for you (and for me!) to stay on track through the holiday season and make your resolution list that much shorter and more manageable.

1. Get organized with to-do lists.

I make to-do lists for everything and I find that in times of chaos, creating these lists not only makes it possible for me to complete all of the necessary tasks, but it also calms me down. Seeing the big picture broken down into smaller, more manageable chunks is a stress-reliever. That goes for shopping lists down to dinner menus, and we’ve got 3 free meal planner worksheets you can download now. (more…)

3 Yoga Poses to Beat the Holiday Blues

The holidays are undoubtedly a stressful time of year and many folks become highly vulnerable to anxiety and depression when the sleigh bells start to ring.

Instead of reaching for food, try rolling out your yoga mat. Studies have shown that a regular yoga and meditation practice can reduce stress and help fight depression.

The following is a short list of three must-do yoga poses that beat the holiday blues. Practice them at least once a day or as needed. This short series will help tame your tension and get you back in to a cheerful holiday spirit.

Child’s Pose

When you are ready to take a mental vacation from the mayhem, begin your yoga practice with child’s pose.

Come down on to your hands and knees, reach your hips back over your heels, and rest your forehead on the mat, your stacked forearms, or on a pillow. Close your eyes and stay in the pose for up to ten long, slow, deep breaths.

Child’s pose will instantly induce a state of calm and help get you feeling centered and ready to face any challenges that may lie ahead. When you are ready to exit the pose, do so slowly. Coming up too fast will negate the benefits of the pose and could be agitating to your state of mind. (more…)

The Worst Holiday-Inspired Flavors from Pringles, Burger King, and Baskin Robbins

It seems like the holidays bring out some more unique flavors in our food. If you roam the aisles in the store right now you’ll easily find a pumpkin spice flavored version of many things, while others have released their limited edition peppermint or gingerbread flavors, too. While cookies and coffees make sense, we’re seeing these holiday flavors in some extraordinary places.

Perhaps one of the biggest surprises of the holiday flavor rage is coming from Pringles, the potato chip company. For the 2012 holiday season you can find the tubes of chips in a Cinnamon and Sugar, White Chocolate Peppermint, or a Pumpkin Pie Spice flavor. Once you pop we hope you’ll be able to stop – a serving of 16 chips in the cinnamon and sugar or white chocolate flavors match the nutrition facts for their original with 150 calories, 9 grams of fat, and 2 grams of sugar.

Since those chips will probably leave you thirsty, why not wash them down with a Jones Soda? Every year the soda company releases the wildest holiday flavors. While nothing may ever top their Turkey and Gravy flavor that was first released in 1994, the annual sodas are typically a huge hit. This year the sodas are Gingerbread, Pear Tree, Candy Cane, and Sugar Plum. While we couldn’t find nutritionals for these seasonal flavors, we imagine it can’t be too far off the traditional options. A Jones Soda cream soda has 190 very empty calories and a shocking 48 grams of sugar! (more…)

Get Jolly in the Gym with Our Holiday Workout Playlist

I’m so excited that the holiday season is finally here that I’m just about to burst at the seams, literally. I’m one of those people who gushes holiday cheer starting November 1, and there’s no stopping it. For this reason I am the perfect person to drum up a holiday playlist to help you get jolly in the gym this December.

The holiday season is like sensory overload with all of my favorite things: Comfort food, cheery music, chilly weather, hot drinks, gift giving, family visiting, cookie cutting, Santa Claus stories and Christmas movies – there’s just too much excitement to take in! Good thing we have almost five weeks to go before Christmas actually arrives, otherwise I don’t think I could stand it coming or going any sooner than it already does.

To get you in the holiday spirit whether you’re a runner, yogi, cyclist, walker or weights enthusiast, check out our handpicked holiday playlist. It features upbeat songs to help you heat things up, and even includes three songs at the end to help you cool things down. Just click on the links below to download the track directly from Amazon and take them with you wherever you go.  (more…)

5 Largest Turkey Trot Races on Thanksgiving Morning

While Thanksgiving morning means wafts of turkey aroma and the Macy’s parade for most Americans, for a smaller crowd of runners it means Turkey Trot. It’s interesting if you research all the Turkey Trots in the nation because most have a very long standing tradition. I’m guessing the pending feasts motivate so many to get some calorie burning in every year. This year is no exception as the race calendars are loaded with many events.

Some trots were last weekend, but many land right here on Thanksgiving Day. This is probably best as the American Council on Exercise reported that the average Thanksgiving meal contains about 3,000 calories. They estimated the average person would have to run for four hours to burn off that much turkey; we calculated you’d have to run a half marathon to burn Thanksgiving dinner.

Whether you’re a competitive runner or more of a mall walker, there’s no reason not to search for an event in your area and take a preemptive strike approach to these bountiful holiday. Make it a family affair and have fun with it. Last year, Capital One YMCA Turkey Trot in Dallas encouraged everyone to dress like a turkey as they attempted to set a Guinness World Record, and they did with 661 turkey costumes on the course.

Not only are turkey trots long standing, fun traditions, they are drawing serious crowds that are dedicated to doing good for others in addition to their own waistline. Here are five of the country’s largest Turkey Trots.

117th Annual YMCA Turkey Trot Buffalo, NY

This Turkey Trot can boast that it’s the oldest road race in America, even older than the Boston Marathon. The rare distance of 8 kilometers brings out more than 14,000 runners on Thanksgiving morning. Runners are asked to bring non-perishable foods to the race. Last year they collected enough to make 2,200 meals. This year, the race organizers are going big as they attempt to collect enough food for 6,000 meals. Follow along with this famous race by following the hashtag #buffaloytrot on Twitter. (more…)

3,000 Calories Await Americans on Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving is the number one food holiday in America and the day our calorie counts are the highest during the year. It’s not easy to control your portion sizes of your family’s favorite recipes, but one step to doing so is remembering that this holiday is not only about the food, it’s about giving thanks.

We thought you’d enjoy this infographic with fun Thanksgiving food facts to recognize the massive amount of calories we take in on this day so you can be mindful of what you’re eating. Slow down, enjoy the company you keep, and have a happy and healthy holiday!

Introduce some healthier Thanksgiving sides to your meal this year:

Turkey Sausage and Cranberry Stuffing

Roasted Candied Sweet Potato Casserole

Roasted Pear Gravy

Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese

Running a Half Marathon Required to Burn off Thanksgiving Day Calories

So just how much running are you going to need to burn off your favorite Thanksgiving food? Generally, a 150-pound person running at an average pace will burn about 100 calories a mile. Here’s a breakdown of typical foods found on holiday menus and how long you’d have to run to burn them off.

Turkey – 6oz for 350 calories = 3.5 miles
Mashed Potatoes – ½ cup for 150 calories = 1.5 miles
Stuffing – ½ cup for 180 calories = 1.8 miles
Gravy – ½ cup for 180 calories = 1.8 miles
Cranberry Sauce – ½ cup for 190 calories = 1.9 miles
Rolls – 1 roll for 155 calories = 1.55 miles
Pumpkin Pie – 1 slice for 180 calories = 1.8 miles

You’ll need to run slightly more than a half marathon after Thanksgiving to burn off a standard meal, or 13.8 miles! In other words… yes, the workout is that important. If the stats are true that the average meal has us eating well above 3,000 calories, you’ll have to run further than a marathon to eat guilt free on Thursday.

This holiday is the biggest calorie bomb of the year, as Thanksgiving meals are known to be anywhere from 3,000 to 4,500 calories. While eating that much at one time is not recommended, it’s pretty much a given that there will be some over indulgence this Thursday. But, you don’t have to take these facts lying down, you could put on your running shoes and burn some serious calories and maybe some guilt, too. (more…)

The Best Healthy Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes

Time to gather around the table with your family for Thanksgiving this week. Thanksgiving is the official start to the holiday season, which can leave you with extra pounds on your waistline by the time New Year rolls around. We want you to enjoy every part of Thursday, especially the food. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite side dishes that focus on whole, fresh ingredients that are satisfying but won’t weigh you down.

Italian Turkey Sausage and Cranberry Stuffing

Forget stuffing from a box. One of our reader’s sent us her stuffing recipe for a healthy makeover. The stuffing recipe is now lighter and fresher, swapping ingredients like Craisins for real cranberries. You, too, can enjoy our Italian Turkey Sausage and Cranberry Stuffing with reduced calories, fat, and sugar.

Pumpkin Hummus

Need a delicious and healthy holiday appetizer? Stay away from the cheese dips and try our Pumpkin Hummus! People usually have pumpkin in a dessert after dinner, but our pumpkin appetizer is healthier and delicious enough to kick off the day! (more…)

3 New Mashed Potato Recipes Get Pimped for Thanksgiving

By Abra Pappa for Nutritious America

There is one serious food rule in my family: if my Grandpa asks you to pass the mashed potatoes do not serve yourself on the way over to him. He called that a “mashed potato short stop” and proclaimed if you “short stopped” in the Army the penalty was a scoop of mashed potatoes in your face.

My family takes mashed potatoes very seriously, and even though my Grandpa passed years ago we still uphold his “no mashed potato short stop” rule and have a deep respect for the honorable dish at our Thanksgiving table.

I made a dedication to embark on this makeover with an equally serious devotion. You can remake a mash, but you better be sure it is delicious and worthy of its own set of beloved table rules.

As far as I’m concerned if you start a vegetable mash with extremely fresh ingredients you will end up with something delicious. It seemed only logical then to begin this makeover with a trip to my local farmers market.

Off I went without specific recipes in mind. I allowed the seasonal bounty to inspire. I came home with veggie loot to brag about and knew I was well on my way to a delicious party of mashes.

What resulted were three thanksgiving table-worthy mashes: a twist on the traditional, a Paleo mash, and a whizz-bang-boom masterpiece! (more…)