Saturday, June 16, 2012

Tips for Keeping Snacks Light

Hunger pangs between breakfast, lunch and dinner can strike even those with the most nutritious meal regimens. In fact, snacking has increased in popularity; 97 percent of Americans snack daily, up from 71 percent four decades ago, according to a recent study from the Journal of Nutrition. That makes for a lot of snacking!

For those who believe snacks are off-limits, here's a pleasant surprise - snacking can actually benefit a diet. In addition to curbing hunger, The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics notes that healthy snacks help keep your metabolism on track, stabilize blood sugar and provide the opportunity for supplementary nutrient intake. The Academy recommends consuming snacks with less than 200 calories.

Try these tips below for guidance on how to snack smart, while not sacrificing great taste.

* Mix 'n match. Choose versatile snack options to keep up your new snacking habit. Wasa's new Crisp 'N Light Wholesome Wheat Crackerbread offers fewer calories and portion control. Its versatility allows it to be enjoyed by itself, with a variety of toppings or as a bread substitute. One slice of bread is about 100 calories while three Crackerbread slices total only 70 calories.

When a savory craving kicks in, pair two slices of Wasa Crisp 'N Light Wholesome Wheat with a thin layer of low-fat cream cheese, a slice of smoked salmon and sprinkle capers and chives on top. The salmon provides omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to heart health, and the crunch of the Crackerbread offers a feeling of satiety.

If you have a sweet tooth, try this delicious recipe that boasts approximately 110 calories, three grams of protein and only two grams of fat.

Wasa Crisp 'N Light Wholesome Wheat with Fresh Fruit and Yogurt

1/2 orange, segmented       
1/2 kiwi, thinly sliced
1 strawberry, thinly sliced
1/2 lime, zested and juiced
1/2 teaspoon mint, chopped
2 tablespoons Greek yogurt       
2 slices Wasa Crisp 'N Light Wholesome Wheat Crackerbread

Mix together all fruit and lime zest with lime juice and mint. Spread 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt on each Crackerbead slice. Top with a few tablespoons of the fruit mixture.

* Prepare. Instead of grabbing calorie-laden chips or candy, think of snacks as mini-meals and integrate them into your overall meal plan. By planning ahead and only eating when you are hungry, you will also avoid eating out of boredom or stress, according to The Academy.

The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend two to three cups of vegetables daily, so as you purchase vegetables for the week, set aside some for snack time. Try spicing up your normal veggie routine of broccoli and carrots by considering bell peppers or jicama, a root vegetable low in calories and high in vitamin C and potassium. Pair your veggies with a hummus dip for a fiber-packed snack.

* Go (a little) nuts. The Academy highlights that, in addition to providing protein, folic acid and zinc, nuts have been linked to a reduced risk for heart disease, diabetes and even some forms of cancer. Two tablespoons of raw or dry roasted slivered almonds, walnuts or pecans offers less than 200 calories and can be a great portable option.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


When you think vacation, visions of warm sun, a good book and a frosty drink probably come to mind- and then you remember how challenging it is to maintain your exercise routine when you go on vacation. The good news is you don't have to choose between total indulgence and dedicated fitness on your next vacation.

Life Fitness shares tips on ways to be active no matter where you go!

Take a staycation. Sometimes enjoying a vacation at home can be just as enjoyable as a destination vacation. Staycations can be excellent opportunities to start new routines and seek out healthy activities near your home that you don't usually have time to do.

Try out a new fitness class at your gym, get the whole family together for a rollerblading adventure or explore a new bike path for a peaceful ride with the family or by yourself.

Plan an adventure vacation. If you need to get away, plan a cruise that makes stops at exotic locations where you can rock climb, snorkel, hike, bike or swim. Many cruises have tracks where you can power walk or jog, and often offer top-notch gyms on board. If ships and open water isn't your thing, plan a trip to a tropical destination where you can trek through the rainforest or a mountain adventure, which will guarantee a good calorie burn.

Visit a spa. If life has been crazy and stressful, you can plan a fitness-focused vacation to a spa that specializes in wellness. Partake in yoga or meditation, and eat healthy foods all in one location. Recharge your mind and body, and you'll feel refreshed without the guilt of fatty foods and calorie-ridden drinks.

Stay active at your traditional vacation spot. If you like going to the same beach or vacation spot each year, you can find ways to fit more fitness into your days there. Always look for opportunities to walk rather than taking a cab or bus. Schedule activities for the day that involve being active like paddle boarding or wind-surfing. Find some walking trails, swim laps, play a game of tennis or golf - and skip the golf cart!

Vacations can include the right amount of rest, relaxation and fitness with just a little bit of planning.

This Fit Tip was provided by Life Fitness, June 2012

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Traveling this Summer? Make the most of your hotel gym!

Make the most of your hotel space for fitness.If summer travel has you staying in hotels throughout the next few months, there are ways to maintain your regular workout routine when you're away from home. Whether your hotel has a huge fancy gym or a small facility with just a few machines, Life Fitness outlines how to make the most of your hotel gym this summer.

Keep fitness in mind when booking: When it's possible, try to book a hotel that has a complete gym. You can give the concierge a call or go online to check out hotel gyms before you make a reservation. If you are traveling on vacation, some resort gyms come complete with a full range of exercise machines, weights and even classes.

Hotels with a robust gym: It's easier to keep your normal routine if your hotel gym is outfitted with familiar equipment. If you have access to a full gym, schedule your hotel workout like you schedule your meetings. Workouts that include quick intervals or high-intensity bursts of cardio can offer increased calorie burn for travelers who are tight on time or consuming more calories than usual.

Hotels with a minimalist gym: Use the equipment that is available to create the best workout possible. If your hotel gym is the size of a closet with a few old treadmills, make sure to bring your iPod for music or iPad for entertainment and use those tools to help you focus on your cardio movement rather than the machines.

If there are no weights available, use your body weight as resistance to complete intervals of lunges, squats, push-ups and planks.

Hotels with no gym: You can use your hotel room for all sorts of exercises - if you get creative, you'll be able to churn out a quality workout by doing jumping jacks, sit-ups, squats and tricep dips using a sturdy chair. Use a bath towel as a mat and do a few yoga poses next to your bed to stretch out.

Before you head out the door for your next hotel stay, make sure you pack workout-friendly clothing. When it comes to keeping fit while traveling, a little planning and creativity can go a long way.

This Fit Tip was provided by Life Fitness June 12th, 2012

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Surviving swimsuit season: Tips for simplifying your summer nutrition plan

Swimsuit season is upon us, but that doesn't mean adopting yet another fad diet to shed those lingering winter pounds. In fact, according to a recent study, "Successful Weight Loss Among Obese U.S. Adults," which was released on April 10, 2012 by the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, popular diets showed no association with weight loss.

Instead, consider simplifying your nutrition plan. No counting calories, no elimination of whole food groups, just simple wellness. Navigate the path of numerous temptations by sticking to the basics and trying these easy tips.

Know what you are eating

Be aware of what is entering your body. Read labels and watch portion sizes. Fill your body with fresh vegetables, fruits and protein packed foods to keep you fueled throughout the day.

Need something convenient to grab as you run out the door? Keep your pantry stocked with wholesome, portion-controlled snacks like new Perfectly Simple nutrition bars by ZonePerfect. With 10 or fewer ingredients, these gluten-free bars provide 10 grams of protein, 200 calories or less and make simple eating, simple.

It's all in the planning

Running late is a common excuse for a derailed nutrition plan. Stay on track by preparing meals in advance. Make a healthy meal calendar and only purchase those items needed to follow it. Prepare fruits and vegetables in single serving bags so that snacking and packing meals is convenient and won't take a lot of time each day.

Surviving summer events

Summer ushers in cookouts, company picnics and wedding buffets. While you can't always control the food offerings, you can prepare before heading out the door. Empty stomachs cause bad choices, so try eating a healthy, high-protein snack such as a hard-boiled egg before leaving. When you arrive, stick to nutritious options like lean meats, veggies and fruits instead of the higher calorie items.

Stay hydrated

Summer events are typically held outside, which means it is especially important to stay hydrated. Invest in a well-insulated water bottle and take it with you everywhere you go. In addition, steer clear of empty-calorie, sugar-filled beverages.

Simple fitness choices

Determine a few simple exercises that you can do anywhere. Dragging at work? Try some jumping jacks for a boost. Why not do stomach crunches while you watch your favorite evening television show? Many exercises can be done in your own home and still make a big impact.