High Antioxidant Superfoods Salad

Since I have been doing a lot of nutrition seminars and speaking engagements lately on superfoods and healthy eating habits, it has been so fun to experiment with various combinations of super healthy ingredients. Last week, I thew together this with this High Antioxidant Superfoods Salad. My newest favorite ingredient is broccoli sprouts, and my kids and I are infatuated with them. They are so healthy and are said to help prevent cancer, reduce inflammation and even help protect against ulcers. This salad is also filled with some of my other super food favorites including berries, pumpkin seeds and colorful greens. If you want a refresher on the health benefits of blackberries, read my post on “Top 10 Health Benefits of Blackberries.”  Feel free to add grilled chicken or shrimp along with your favorite salad dressing, or just simply use balsamic vinegar and oil.

Speaking Event Friday at Women’s Work-Life Symposium

I am so excited and honored to be speaking at this year’s 3rd Annual Women’s Work-Life Seminar Symposium in Panama City Beach, Florida. I will be accompanies by five other wonderful motivational speakers such as Lorna Owens, International Motivational Speaker and Author, Jill Nichols, Chief Operating Officer of  Vera Bradley, Jennifer Webb, Author, Speaker and Coach, Charlotte Steill, Certified Professional Organizer, and Martha Lanier, Author, triathlete and cancer and heart attack survivor. When it’s over, I am off to the beach! Have a great weekend, Alison

No-Bake Date Nut Energy Bars

I am always looking for new, healthy snack ideas for the kids, and if I can come up with a no-bake recipe idea, then even better. My two boys love dried dates, so I thought this combination of dates, nuts and flaxseed would make a great healthy snack, dessert or breakfast idea. You’ll love these too. No-Bake Date Energy Bars are not only “no-bake”, they are also gluten-free and perfect for all of my friends following the Paleo Diet. They also make a great pre or post workout snack so enjoy!

This recipe was adapted from “The Dramatic Pancake”.

Fitness Friday: Top 10 Get-Fit Shortcuts

Looking for new, fresh advice on getting fit? I have 10 awesome fitness shortcuts that will help you get fit and lean even faster.

1. Jump to it

Rather than plod through a slow warm-up jog, kick off your routine with 20 jumping jacks, says trainer Larysa DiDio, founder of PFX Fitness in Pleasantville, New York. In less than a minute, these simple but explosive old-school moves activate your upper-and lower-body muscles and quickly raise your heart rate and body temperature to prime you for your workout. Another reason to keep it short: A study in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that lengthy warm-ups can fatigue you, compromising your true workout.

2. Start Strong
People who pushed themselves in the first half of a workout and eased up during the second half burned 23 percent more fat than those who did the opposite, according to a study from the College of New Jersey. The study also found that a period of moderate-intensity exercise prior to a milder one can elicit greater fat oxidation while making the overall workout feel less stressful. One more reason to get the hard part out of the way.

3. Hit the Right Notes
Music moves you to burn more calories in less time by spurring you to crank up—and keep up—the effort. But not just any playlist will do (sorry, Adele). To increase workout intensity, listen to songs with a tempo of 125 to 140 beats per minute and lively lyrics, says Costas Karageorghis, Ph.D., author of Inside Sport Psychology, who has studied music’s impact on exercise for 20 years. His picks: “Moves Like Jagger,” by Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera (128 bpm), “The Time (Dirty Bit),” by The Black Eyed Peas (128 bpm), and “Jai Ho (You Are My Destiny),” by A. R. Rahman & The Pussycat Dolls featuring Nicole Scherzinger (137 bpm).

4. Defy Gravity

Sculpting a perkier posterior may be as simple as hoisting heavier weights. The challenge to your muscles builds lean muscle faster, which is the secret to a tighter, lifted backside, says trainer Rachel Cosgrove, WH fitness contributor and author of The Female Body Breakthrough. Plus, it’s a stellar metabolism booster: Research shows you can burn nearly twice as many calories in the two hours after lifting heavier weights.

5. Join the Workout of the Month Club
When you stop seeing results, your first instinct may be to stay on the treadmill or elliptical longer. But tacking on extra minutes won’t rescue you from a plateau. What will: switching up your routine every 28 days—before you have a chance to stagnate. “It takes four to six weeks for your body to adapt to a workout,” says Cosgrove. “Once it becomes efficient at it, you use less energy and burn fewer calories and fat.” The good news is, you don’t need to completely overhaul your fitness routine every month, says Cosgrove. Even simple tweaks—say, adding a few hills to your daily run—can make the difference.

6. Lose your Balance
Multitasking is a useful skill at work—and during a workout. “Do upper-body strength training—biceps curls, overhead presses—on an unstable surface, such as a BOSU, a balance board, or even a couch cushion at home,” says DiDio. “You’ll use your core to stabilize yourself and keep from falling, so you’ll strengthen and tone your midsection while you work other muscle groups.”

7. Intensity Your Cardio

Slow and steady doesn’t win the race to hotness. Women who did 20 minutes of cycling sprint intervals lost three times as much fat in 15 weeks as those who cycled for twice as long at an even pace, according to research from the University of New South Wales in Sydney. High-intensity interval training (HIIT), in which you alternate between short bursts of intense exercise and recovery breaks, is one of the best—and most time-saving—ways to turn your body into a fat-burning machine, says Cosgrove.

8. Speed Lift

Do reps to a count of one second up, one second down. Researchers at Anderson and Ball State universities found that exercisers who performed a weight-lifting workout at a quick, explosive pace expended 70 more calories, on average, than those who did the workout at a normal pace.

9. Inch Up Your Incline
All it takes to torch 15 percent more calories on the treadmill? Adding a little incline, about 6 percent, to your usually flat run or walk, says DiDio. The higher the ramp, the more calories burned at any speed—without tacking a single minute on to your workout.

10. Make a Smartswap
Trade one of your weekly cardio workouts for a strength-training session to see more waist-whittling results. In a study at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, one group of dieters lifted three times a week and another did aerobic exercise for the same amount of time. Both groups consumed the same number of calories, and both shed the same amount of weight (26 pounds). But those who pumped iron dropped 100 percent fat, whereas the cardio group lost 92 percent fat and 8 percent muscle. Why this matters: Muscle incinerates calories even when you’re not working out. If you replace 10 pounds of fat with 10 pounds of lean muscle, you’ll burn an extra 25 to 50 calories a day even when you don’t break a sweat.

Want more? See this link at Women’s Health Magazine

Photo credit by Munetaka Tokuyama

 

Broccolini with Pumpkin Seeds Recipe & Health Benefits

Broccolini is a cross between broccoli and kai-lan, a chinese broccoli. It is slightly sweeter than broccoli, and its stalks are thinner so it cooks quicker. I love it when I need to prepare a healthy, fast side dish. Broccolini has great health benefits such as having anti-inflammatory properties, cancer fighting benefits, high antioxidants and more (below). This recipe for Broccolini with Pumpkin Seeds is one of my new family favorites. My kids ate this with no complaints. This recipe is also gluten-free on the paleo diet, and is a super healthy side to add to your weeknight dinner table.

5 Health Benefits of Broccolini:

1. It has beta carotene which helps boost your immune system.

2. It has high levels of vitamin K and Calcium which is great for bone health.

3. It is high in fiber so it aids in digestion, curbs overeating and maintains blood sugar levels.

4. Broccolini is high in Vitamin A and C which help boost immune system, contribute to better vision and helps boost metabolism.

5. Broccolini is high in potassium which is good for the nervous system, promoting brain function and muscle growth.

For more recipes and great information and recipes on metabolism, health and wellness see my FoodLife Project. My first coaching class starts the week of March 26th.

Big Announcement: The FoodLife Project

I have been hinting for a few months that I have been working on a very big, exciting new project at Ingredients, Inc. I am ecstatic to announce my new healthy living consulting business, The FoodLife Project: The art of Eating and Living Well for Life. This venture will be done in conjunction with my 11 year old company, Ingredients, Inc, and has come about by so many requests from friends, colleagues, physicians and readers asking me to consult with them individually and in small groups on maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

I am delighted to be partnering with a large OBGYN Group in Birmingham, Alabama to offer my services, but The FoodLife Project is open to anyone interested in the art to eating and living well for life. My first Small Group Series will start Tuesday, March 27th, and I’m offering a day and night group to fit everyone’s schedules. There will be 4 sessions for 4 weeks. See more information here. One lucky person who signs up for each group series will win a $100 Lululemon Gift Card. I will be giving away a few other prizes to others attending the group as well. Spaces are limited and going fast, so act as soon as possible. Click FoodLife Project for more information.

Easy Trail Mix Recipe

It was great to have a Leap day last week for Leap year. It was like having an extra day (although I worked), but I was so excited to be a part of the “Delightful Discoveries for Leap Year Campaign” for Quaker. I had the chance to giveaway a $75 Visa gift card to a great blogger, Marnely Rodriguez, who won it from my blog a week ago. For my Leap Day discovery, I used my time to create a new Easy Trail Mix Recipe with the new Honey Nut Oatmeal Squares from Quaker. This is a wonderful Easy Trail Mix to eat for a great afternoon snack for the kids and adults. It also makes a great topping to stir in nonfat Greek yogurt, and it’s perfect to make to take on trips (I think I’ll be making some before spring break). My kids and neighbors went wild over it, and before I could get my hands on it, it was all gone.

Chicken Couscous Salad

If you’re looking for a light, healthy and delicious salad, this Chicken Couscous Salad is the answer. Start with a rotisserie or leftover grilled chicken and combine with cooked couscous, cherry tomatoes, basil and either sherry or balsamic vinegar. Top it off with goat cheese or even feta, and you have a super wholesome main dish salad. I loved serving this over arugula leaves, but my kids just ate it straight out of this bowl. This makes a great lunch recipe or easy dinnertime entree.

Top 10 Heart Healthy Tips

February is heart health month, so I thought I would share some of my healthy heart tips. A few of my favorite heart healthy foods are salmon, nuts, oatmeal, dark chocolate, tomatoes, berries and even red wine (in moderation). Read on for some easy tips to better heart health.

1. Limit unhealthy fats and cholesterol-If you reduce trans and saturated fats, you can reduce your cholesterol.

Choose: canola oil and olive oil

Avoid: butter, lard, bacon, fat

2. Choose Low Fat Protein Sources-Choose lean meats, eat less red meat and choose heart healthy fish (such as wild salmon and mackerel). These are filled with omega 3-fatty acids. Other good options include lean meats and poultry, low-fat daily products and egg whites. Avoid full fat milk and dairy products, egg yolks, bacon and fried foods.

3. Eat more vegetables and fruits-Eat raw fruits and veggies, and if you cook your vegetables, steam, grill or sauté them.

Avoid: frying vegetables, vegetables in cream sauces and fruit in heavy syrup.

4. Eat Whole Grains and Seeds-Choose whole grains and add seeds such as ground flaxseed and chia seeds to your diet. Flaxseeds are small brown seeds that are high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower your total blood cholesterol. You can grind the seeds in a coffee grinder or food processor and stir a teaspoon of them into yogurt, applesauce or hot cereal.

Avoid: white bread, cakes, and pies

5. Reduce sodium intake-Sodium can lead to high blood pressure. Choose fresh or dried herbs and spices instead of salt.

Avoid: table salt, full sodium canned soup, soy sauce, and tomato juice

6. Control portions-Watch your portions. A serving of pasta is ½ cup and the size of a hockey puck. 3 to 4 ounces of lean meat is the size of deck of cards.

7. Plan your daily meals ahead of time – Eat out less and cook healthy meals more.

8. Eat more Power-Foods-Power foods are those foods packed with antioxidants such as cherries, strawberries, berries, chia and flaxseeds, lentils, pomegranates, quinoa and more.

9. Exercise that heart-Try to exercise 5 to 6 times a week. Walk, run, dance, bike, swim or do what you love to get that heart pumping.

10. Replace junk food with fruits and vegetables– Start by replacing one junk food a week, and increase this every week  until you have a cleaner diet.

Photo above via pinterest  

photo above from Pinterest

4 Healthy Super Bowl Recipes: Rosemary Infused Nuts

Super Bowl XLVI is coming up this weekend with the New York Giants and the New England Patriots, and most of us are having or going to Super Bowl parties. I have had so many email requests for easy, healthy ideas for game, so I wanted to share one of our favorite lightened-up football snack recipes. Rosemary Infused Nuts are a tremendous hit! This simple, 20 minute recipe is filled with cashews, almonds and pumpkin seeds. Nuts are a great source of healthy fat, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and protein. By consuming this type of fat, you’ll feel less hungry, and your sugar cravings will diminish. They are filled with the following power food nuts:

Pumpkin Seeds: I love using pumpkin seeds in this nut mix because they are high in zinc and have been linked to so many benefits including great looking skin and boosting your immunity.

Almonds: Almonds are a power nut high in Vitamin E and potassium and one of the most nutritious nuts.

Cashews: Cashews are also a rich source of iron and zinc, and they have been linked to hair, skin and bone health.

Other Lightened Up Super Bowl Snack Ideas

Chicken Chipotle Dip   

Spinach Dip with Greek Yogurt

Panko Roasted Drumsticks