Smoothie Community, Recent Article Posts

Can a Daily Commute Add Inches to Your Waistline?

Many Americans commute to work every day. A drive from the suburbs to downtown is simply a part of the daily grind. Drives between 30 and 60 minutes are not uncommon - that means you may be sitting for two hours or more in your car. Are those two hours adding inches to your waistline?

Commuting distance is associated with higher weight, larger waist circumference, lower fitness levels and higher blood pressure, according to a study published in the June 2012 issue of the American Journal of Preventative Medicine.

Because you're unlikely to quit your job due to your commute, what can you do about it? A little planning can go a long way. Try these healthy ideas:


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The Healthiest Sports

Did you know… The Centers for Disease Control has listed that 70% of Americans don’t engage in regular physical activity. This number is very high, but not entirely surprising. Being active helps you lose weight, strengthen bones, and reduces the risk of high blood pressure, colon cancer, diabetes, and premature death. Many people get tired or bored after ten minutes of working out on the treadmill or a similar machine. Exercising shouldn’t be dull! Working out has its benefits, especially if you are being active with friends and family.

The summer has pretty much come to a close for most of us and school has started up. Organized sports will begin soon and families will plunge into busy mode.

Playing sports is fun, it’s a way to stay fit without labeling it a workout. Forbes.com has listed ten sports that are the healthiest for people to participate in. It’s surprising to find out that the top 5 are not your typical sports like basketball and baseball. Would you have guess that in the number one spot is the game of squash? Squash is a type of racquet game that is focused on cardiorespiratory endurance. It involves constant running while building muscular strength and endurance in the lower body.


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Healthy Labor Day Plans

After a memory-making summer of family fun, Labor Day is finally here. I welcome it with anticipation and sadness. I am sad the long, sunny days of summer will soon be gone. I am excited to get the kids back in school and on a regular schedule though.

Before I send the kids off to the bus and bust out the fall jackets, I get to celebrate Labor Day with my friends and family, and I'm determined to bid adieu to summer in a healthy and fun way.

After many years of being designated the Labor Day planner I have finally have the Recipe for a fun and healthy day:

Step one: Decide on your favorite outdoor setting and a meeting time. A park, garden, playground, beach or even your own backyard works well. The fresh air does everyone good and is the perfect way to end the summer. Keep is casual!


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Recipe for Stress Relief at Work

We all get a little stressed and overwhelmed at work sometimes. For others, it may always be crazy and stressful at work. I know I have those days when it feels like I’m sinking and my to-do list keeps growing. How I’ve learned to deal with this stress is to just step back and prioritize each to-do by importance. When you are stressed, it’s important to stand up and take charge. Don’t let the to-do list win! Below are a few tips for relieving your stress at work.

  1. Save Your Energy. Accept what you can and cannot change. Don’t fixate on things you can’t change because that’s how stress builds.
  2. Use Effective Communication. Make sure you understand your duties and if you don’t, ask for help or clarification. Always discuss a problem or question you have with your supervisor or another co-worker instead of keeping thoughts inside.

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Easy Ways to Put a Little More Exercise Into Your Busy Day

A few weeks ago we posted a helpful tips article for those who are looking for ways to workout without equipment. We are adding to the article with some additional helpful hints. If your life is anything like mine, then you can never find the time to fit in a workout. I always plan to go to the gym or even try to fit in a few crunches, but I can never find the time! So instead of feeling guilty about not working out, I came up with a few tricks to help me burn some extra calories… and it doesn’t really interfere with my busy schedule.

  • Always take the stairs- Even though the escalator and elevators are more convenient and a lot more intriguing, taking the stairs will allow you to burn more calories throughout the day.
  • Don’t park near the entrance- If at work or at the store, try parking in the farthest spot from the door. Not only will it add a little workout to your day, but it may also reduce your fear of your car being scratched by another car door or a shopping cart!

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Foods That Feed Your Brain

We all know the feeling; it’s 2 p.m. and we feel our powers of concentration fading fast. Does it ever seem like your snack and meal choices are making you feel lethargic and foggy? Well, I have good news! I’ve compiled a short list of foods and nutrients that can help you power through the afternoon and power your brain in the process.

  • Berries. Especially my favorites, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries! These delicious fruits are packed with powerful antioxidants that boost memory and attention span. The science is still new, but they may even help prevent the loss of brain function that can occur with aging.
  • Flavonoids. This is great news for anyone who loves dark chocolate (I may or may not be slightly addicted to the stuff). Certain types of tea, apples, and red wine also contain flavonoids, which can help your nervous system relay messages from the brain and may lead to a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease.

It looks like our hunter/gatherer ancestors had great instincts when they decided to go for wild berries! Nowadays, we can mix these flavorful foods together, and even enjoy them in delicious treats like raspberry dark chocolate.

Another snack idea is mixing these berries into a smoothie for some protein to keep you full. The combination of fiber, protein, and antioxidants is a good way to feed your entire body! Try this great tasting smoothie below! The Berry Man-i-Low

Ways to Work Out Without Equipment

Purchasing exercise equipment or a gym membership can be very expensive! I’m the type of person who is always looking for ways to find a bargain. Working out is no exception. Instead of going out and dropping hundreds of dollars on machines that intimidate me, I found ways to have a productive workout without the expensive equipment! Plus, finding the time to go to the gym can be stressful. You sometimes end up feeling guilty if you don’t go because you spent all this money on a membership.

  • Walking- With the weather being so nice, try going for a walk. Whether it’s before you start your day or after dinner, walking is a great workout that can be done by yourself or with friends and family.
  • Jumping jacks/ jump roping- These two activities are great cardio workouts and can be done just about anywhere. It will also bring back fun memories from your childhood!

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What are the Benefits of Eating Fresh Fruit?

There is no question that eating fresh fruits is important to any healthy diet. But there is some helpful information to note about fruits. They contain a variety of vitamins and minerals such as fiber, potassium, vitamin C, among others. Taking vitamin supplements will give you the nutrients you need, but they’re not as effective as when you consume whole fresh fruit, which provides you with many additional health-boosting benefits.

Fresh fruits can help you avoid kinds of deficiencies. Many mineral and vitamin deficiencies can be avoided if you consume the recommended 2 cups of fresh fruit a day. Consuming fruit may also help in preventing some kinds of cancer and chronic disease. Studies have shown that the risk of cancer is low in a person with a diet consisting of a variety of fresh fruits. Who knew that there were so many benefits to eating fruit other than keeping you strong and healthy?


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Fulfilling Chickpeas Salad

Looking for a healthy lunch or a quick dinner idea? Give this Chickpeas Salad a try. It’s packed full of protein and fiber to keep you feeling satisfied. Plus chickpeas also known as garbanzo beans are a great source of iron, they are a significant source of calcium, have a low Glycemic index and a handful of other great benefits.
You can also pair this salad with our Easy Salmon recipe, and double your protein intake! 15g of protein per serving, salad only.


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Good Carbs vs. Bad Carbs: What’s the Difference?

Carbohydrates might be the most feared food in recent diet fads. So much so, that some even suggest eliminating them entirely from your diet. But such an extreme measure should be instantly questioned (and discussed with your doctor). I set out to learn more about carbs and what they really do for my diet.

It seems as though carbohydrates in general are getting a bad reputation. Rather than avoiding them altogether, I've learned that some are better than others. That's where good versus bad carbs comes in.

Good carbohydrates:
Some carbs are naturally found in foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes. These types of carbs are also typically high in fiber, too. These unprocessed carbohydrate sources are good and should be included in your daily diet. Fiber-rich carbs are also slow to be digested, so they help you feel fuller for longer. Eating good carbs can help provide you with energy, protect you from disease and keep your weight under control.


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Why a Support Team is Important for Weight-Loss Success

Losing weight is no easy task. Whether you're trying to shed a few pounds or many, it's not only tough physically, but mentally as well. That's why it's so important to have a support network in place.

Support can mean many things to many people. Ultimately you want to surround yourself with positive, encouraging friends who you can trust through the ups and downs of your weight-loss journey. There's no reason to do it alone, and studies show that having support can increase success rates.

So why does it make a difference if you go it alone or do it with support? Whether you have a loving spouse, a dear best friend or a group you connect with, a support system provides encouragement during the good times and an ear to vent to during the not-so-good. It's someone who can give you advice and help you celebrate your successes.

A support person can also keep you on track to reaching your goals because he or she holds you accountable, helping you stay focused. Supporters can provide the jump start you need if you're feeling down and might even join you for workout classes or walks in the park.

Who do you turn to for support? I'd love to hear about who plays this important role in your life.

Eliminate Your Snack Cravings

I am the first to admit that I love junk food. I always have and always will. Junk food has always been the kryptonite to my diet. I realized that if I wanted to get in shape, I needed to cut it out of my life. After some research and many trial and errors, I have found a few great tips to help reduce my snack cravings. They may sound a bit ridiculous, but they work and give you a positive outlook on healthy eating.

1. Find meaningful motivators
Daily journal- Keeping a daily journal will allow you to see exactly what you are consuming each day. This will make you conscious of what you are eating and will lead to you putting fewer snack items on your list.

Daily pictures of problem areas- When dieting, it is often easy to get discouraged because you don’t see results. But you don’t see results because you see yourself every day. Taking daily pictures will allow you to track your progress from day to day. You will see a difference and this will encourage you to keep going.


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Easy Salmon

The perfect sensible meal for summer time. Seafood lovers this one is for you, the RightSize low-cal salmon and asparagus. With only 200 calories per serving and 23 g of protein, this recipe makes for a healthy family meal.

Yields: 3 portion
Cook Time: 10-12 minutes
Per Portion: Calories 200 / Protein 23g / Fiber 1g / Fat 12g / Carbs 2 / Sugar 0

Tools: Aluminum foil
            Baking sheet


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Swimsuit Season: Secrets for Making a 'Beach Babe' Transformation

Summer is here! We can rejoice in the warm weather, the blooming flowers and all the fun activities we can now do with our family. One of the classic summer activities is, of course, swimming, and that means putting on a swimsuit.

If the thought of swimsuit season comes with a bit of apprehension, don't worry. There are a couple easy steps I take every year to prep myself for taking the swimsuit plunge. Because, after all, swimming is a blast and I love spending a lazy afternoon at the pool or lake with my family.


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To Detox or Not to Detox?

Detox diets sound appealing on paper—after all, who wouldn’t want to drop a few pounds and clean out one’s insides in the process? We all seen actresses do it for film rolls and now even Dr. Oz has his own particular detox plan. But what exactly does “detoxing” help your body do? As it turns out, despite claims of providing more energy, clearing out toxins and free radicals, and speeding up weight loss, detox plans may be more risky than they are beneficial.


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Why Drinking Water is So Important.

Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight according to MayoClinic.com. So it makes sense that we need to drink plenty of water each day. But what does water do and why is it important for our bodies?

Every system in the body depends on water to function properly. Water carries nutrients to cells, flushes out toxins, moisturizes the lungs and throat and can help your metabolism. If you don't drink an adequate amount of water, you'll get dehydrated quickly, which can zap you of energy fast and cause painful headaches, among other things.

Drinking water can also help you lose weight. Water is the classic no calorie thirst quencher, plus by drinking it throughout the day or before meals, you're less likely to overeat. I keep a refillable water bottle by my side at all times - it's easy to slip into my purse or keep in the car. That way it's always accessible.

How much water should you drink daily? Let your thirst be your guide. If you are very active or exposed to high temperatures, you'll likely need to drink more water than a sedentary person in a climate-controlled environment. In general, the Institute of Medicine recommends women drink approximately 2.7 liters (91 ounces) of total water - from all beverages and foods - each day, and men an average of about 3.7 liters (125 ounces daily) of total water.

So remember, for your general health and to help in your diet efforts, keep yourself hydrated. You'll feel great and help your body function at its best.

Tempted By Memorial Day Cookouts?

Memorial Day is almost here and that means summer will soon be in full swing. On this day many people plan outdoor activities with their friends and family, and that likely includes a wonderful cookout featuring salads, desserts and, everyone's favorite, barbecue.

I love a good cookout, especially when surrounded by good company. But it's no secret that while these types of foods are wonderfully delicious, they aren't necessarily the healthiest. If you're like me and trying to stick with your diet plans, you might be tempted to skip the Memorial Day cookout altogether. But remember, smart eating choices should help you no matter where life takes you, so rather than skip, simply come up with a plan ahead of time.


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Cucumber & Herbs Mousse

Feeling the urge to snack or need to bring an appetizer to a party but want to keep it healthy? We’ll lend you our Light Cucumber and Herbs Mousse recipe. Only 80 calories per portion.

Yields: 8+ portions
PrepTime: 30-45 minutes
Per Portion: Calories 80 / Protein 3g / Fiber 2g / Fat 6g / Carbs 5 / Sugar 2g


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Mother's Day 2013: How Will You Express Your Love for Mom?

What are your plans for this Mother's Day? Throughout the years I have found that it's not at all about the gifts, but the special things you get to do with your family. The time I spend with my family is truly priceless - we are always having fun adventures that keep me moving and grooving. If you're looking for some fun and healthy ways to celebrate the moms in your life, consider these activities:

1. Cook breakfast - Cooking breakfast for Mom is a classic way to celebrate this special day. Why not take it a step further and invite Grandma over to celebrate multiple generations of maternal love? Incorporate a favorite healthy item of each Mom, such as a favorite fruit or muffin.

2. Plan a hike - Pack a picnic and plan a hike at your nearest park. Enjoy the good things in your life as your entire family explores nature while catching up with each other, without the distractions of TV or the computer.

3. Share memories - A favorite activity of mine on Mother's Day is to simply have everyone share a beloved memory. Nothing beats laughing while reminiscing. Sometimes we even flip through old photo albums - plus the kids get a kick out of looking at all the old clothing styles.

4. Plant the family garden - Planting a healthy vegetable garden can be the start of a fun new tradition.  It gets the family together and promotes good eating habits throughout the summer. It’s fun to pick your favorite veggies and herbs before dinner and plan meals around what you have planted. Plus the kids can learn a little something along the way.

Keeping Your Diet on Track During Family Outings

I love this time of year because my family starts making plans for our next family vacation. Whether we decide to jump on a plane or stay home and enjoy the many amenities in our own community, it's sure to be a good time. Like many families, we enjoy visiting zoos, museums and of course, theme parks.

While these types of activities offer plenty of opportunity for fun, one area they are often lacking is in the healthy food department. Fair-type foods seem to be the most popular - like funnel cakes, corn dogs, French fries, hamburgers and plenty of ice cream treats.


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