Tag Archives: mardi gras

Red Beans and Rice with Shrimp and Sausage Will Jazz Up Weeknight Dinners


Now that the weather is turning cooler, I can’t stop thinking about big hearty dinners. You know, the kind that feel like they stick to your bones and make you feel satisfied from head to toe. I’m talking big pots of stew and chili – my favorite winter foods.

This year, I decided to kick off fall with something just as bold, but a little more fun. Why shouldn’t red beans and rice be part of this list of robust meals? It’s as big and bad as they are, and maybe even more delicious.


I, as usual, make a few adjustments to a traditional recipe to boost the nutrition, save the calories, and let myself enjoy a piping-hot bowl guilt free.

Cooking from scratch is a thrill for me; I don’t mind the extra steps. So I start with dry kidney beans and soak them overnight. I’m old school like that. (more…)

King Cake Gets a Calorie-Cutting Makeover this Mardi Gras

round king cake with purple and green sugarFor some, indulging in King Cake on Mardi Gras is well-worth the calories, particularly if sweets are something one is giving up for Lent. However, there are some creative ways to save on calories that are in keeping with the festive spirit of the holiday. Below are some ideas and lower-cal recipes to consider before you bake a cake with 250 to 500 calories per serving.

Calorie Saving Swaps

Former Biggest Loser contestant Heba Salama suggests having a healthier Fat Tuesday by making your King Cake with an angel food cake and frozen low-calorie whipped topping. “To make it a layered cake simply slice the cake in half, spread whipped topping down the middle, re-stack and keep cool until ready to serve,” she recommends. You can use food coloring to add the right colors without adding more sugar.

If King Cake just isn’t right to you without puff pastry and cream cheese, use these healthy swaps in any King Cake recipe. “You could replace nonfat Greek Yogurt for the sour cream and use four egg whites instead of the two eggs and use skim milk in the icing,” says Alison Lewis, cookbook author and president of Ingredients, Inc. “If a recipe calls for cream cheese, the light one-third less fat cream cheese is a great substitute.”


Celebrate Mardi Gras with a Lighter Muffaletta Wrap

February offers no down time between holidays. We swiftly eat our way through Super Bowl, Valentine’s and straight in to Mardi Gras (French for “Fat Tuesday”). It’s probably the most appropriately named holiday on the calendar, fully embracing its food focus. It’s a one-day feast and celebration before the 40-day fast that Catholics follow before Easter.

The hub of Mardi Gras celebrations in the US take place in New Orleans, which has an air of an on-going party anyway. But next week, on Tuesday, February 21, people will gather to throw one of the biggest parties of the year!

Traditional New Orleans foods, like jambalaya or a crawfish boil, will be the focal point of any proper Mardi Grad party. But few are as easy to make and easily adapted into a healthier version than the muffaletta sandwich, which is synonymous with Louisiana cuisine. (more…)

Mardi Gras and the Yogic Tradition of Tapas

The day before you start a cleanse, head out to a yoga ashram or decide to diet can feel much like a Mardi Gras celebration, as Mardi Gras is also the day before restrictions, deprivations and abstinences begin. The hours leading up to long stretches of time without participating in any guilty pleasures seem to be the hardest. Binging on alcohol, candy, and junk food, because we know we’re not going to have it, is what hurts us more than eating or drinking in moderation.

Some lively yogis who like to party believe in the ‘detox-retox’ cycle. It means you sweat the toxins out in your hot yoga class so you can party like a rock star later, and then go to yoga to detoxify again. If this were true, no one would suffer from the consequences of living an unhealthy lifestyle no matter how much we ate or drank. Unfortunately, the ‘detox-retox’ cycle contributes to health and well being about as much as binging on alcohol on Mardi Gras aids in the benefits we might gain from the following forty days of abstinence called Lent.


Empty Calories Comic: Fat Tuesday

See more Empty Calories right here in the blog each week, or receive one each month when you subscribe to our free newsletter. (more…)

Slim Down Your Cocktails for Fat Tuesday

One of the key components to any Mardi Gras celebration is a great cocktail. Whether you’re celebrating in the Big Easy or not, you can keep the beverages flowing like wine – and you don’t even have to spend a day’s calories to do so.

In order to slim down your cocktails, avoid using bottled or powdered mixes, which tend to pack artificial ingredients, excess sugar and calories. Also, use fruit as a garnish whenever possible to sneak a few nutrients into your cocktail.


Healthy Recipes for Your Mardi Gras Celebrations

New Orleans might be the hub for Mardi Gras parades and celebrations on Tuesday, March 8, but you can easily get into the spirit of  this holiday no matter where you are. Mardi Gras, also called Carnival in some countries, is celebrated the day before Ash Wednesday in the Christian faith.

The kickoff of Mardi Gras is known as “Fat Tuesday,” which for some, might imply that it’s hard to celebrate without loosening your belt or spending some extra hours at the gym. Instead of overindulging, recreate some of your favorite Cajun and Louisiana recipes for Mardi Gras this year — but with a healthier twist. (more…)

Health Buzz: The Best Yoga Vacations, the Bug Diet and Bariatric Surgery Counseling

The Best Yoga Vacations

Stretch your R&R dollars further with a yoga retreat. Many resorts offer a yoga-centric getaway, and we’ve rounded up a few choice locations, like Mexico, Costa Rica and Maine.

Counseling is an Essential Part of Bariatric Surgery

Our resident mental health expert, Brooke Randolph, discusses the necessity of therapy prior to undergoing a bariatric or weight loss surgery procedure.

Infographic: Starbucks Trenta Not the Worst Beverage Offender

At 31-ounces of iced coffee or tea, the Starbucks Trenta size is hardly anything to lose sleep over. However, at 64 ounces, almost the size of a 2-liter, the 7-Eleven Double Big Gulp is a calorie catastrophe. (more…)

Not-So-Fat-Tuesday: Healthy Mardi Gras Tips from Biggest Loser’s Heba

heba and edToday’s guest author is Heba Salama. You’ll remember Heba, and her husband Ed Brantley, from Biggest Loser season six, during which they lost a combined total of 277 pounds. Heba became the first woman to win the at-home prize for the highest percentage of weight lost amongst all contestants eliminated during the game; Ed finished in second place. In addition to continuing to lead as examples in the fitness realm, the couple has been busily working on a new healthy cookbook due to release spring 2010 and has embarked on a fitness campaign for 2010. Learn more at EdAndHeba.com.

Let’s face it: any celebration is cause to hit the “diet pause button.” The simple word “celebration” usually denotes lots of calories just by reading it. But a celebration with the actual title “Fat Tuesday” must mean double trouble, or double chin. If I have learned one thing since being in the real world after The Biggest Loser, it’s definitely that none of these things have to be the case. I started to think about healthier ways to eat a King Cake. I turned to my husband, the chef, and his suggestion: make sure you run for 18 hours, and then you have earned yourself a piece. Thanks, honey. But for those of us looking for more realistic options, here are my top five tips for turning this into a great holiday you won’t feel guilty about! (more…)

How to Survive the February Food Holidays on a Diet

women pizzaSeriously, can a dieter ever catch a break? Whether you define “diet” as a pre-packaged weight loss plan or simply an effort to create a healthy lifestyle, saboteurs are lurking around every corner. At the grocery store. In the office breakroom. Even on the calendar.

Following the holidays, February might be one of the biggest offenders, serving up a calorie-filled platter of Valentine’s Day, Super Bowl and Mardi Gras. What’s a girl, or guy, supposed to do? Push right through the pain!

Your will power is much stronger than any goo-filled heart could ever hope to be. Nevertheless, you’ll want to celebrate alongside everyone else. So, we’ve got some tips on how to do so, not fall off the wagon, and cruise right in to March lighter and more motivated to take on St. Patrick’s Day and Spring Break! (more…)