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It’s summertime, which means it’s time to fire up the grill and enjoy the great outdoors. It all sounds pretty healthy, until somebody shows up with a bowl of mayonnaise and potatoes, which, without a trace of irony, will be announced as a salad. It’s like calling a stick of butter a nutrition bar. A few side dishes like this, combined with some fatty hot dogs, hamburgers, potato chips, and ice cream, and bathing-suit season can become caftan season before you know it. But if you only invite the neighbors over for celery sticks and tofu kabobs, you can count on getting the stink-eye from everyone next time you’re out mowing the lawn. The secret to throwing a great barbecue is to find ways to eat healthily without making it seem like last call at fat camp. Fortunately, with so many great foods available during the summer months, it’s easy to plan a menu that will include great-tasting food and let you keep your P90X®, Slim in 6®, or ChaLEAN Extreme® figure. Here are some tips to keep in mind when planning your outdoor culinary excursions, so you can picnic without the pounds, still enjoy good food, and keep yourself and your family and friends healthy.
1. Veg out
The cookout doesn’t need to be a celebration of the weather being so good that the unhealthy foods we used to eat in front of the TV can now be eaten in the backyard. It’s summer! The time of year when all the best fruits and vegetables are at their peak. And grilling vegetables is a great way to get tons of flavor without tons of calories. Delicious on their own or as a complement to another dish, grilled veggies are a must-have for a healthy cookout. Use them in salads, on burgers, or by themselves. Check out what’s fresh at your local farmers’ market. Good veggies for grilling include peppers, asparagus, artichokes, eggplant, zucchini, squash, scallions, and onions. Just brush them with a little olive oil, some fresh herbs, and a pinch of salt and pepper, and you’re serving something healthy that you and your guests can load up on guilt free.
2. Herbal remedies
Only the worst chefs need to rely on fat and salt for seasoning. Now’s the time to stock up on fresh basil, oregano, tarragon, dill, rosemary, thyme, cilantro, etc. Or even better, grow your own. Oftentimes, a pot of living basil from the nursery costs less than a handful of leaves from your produce section. Use fresh herbs liberally in all of your recipes, and you’ll be replacing fat with flavor.
3. Hold the mayo
Nothing lays waste to the best-laid plans for a healthy barbecue like mayonnaise. A main ingredient in picnic staples like potato salad, macaroni salad, and coleslaw, mayo loads up enough fat and calories that your only hope of weight loss is that the dishes stay out in the sun long enough to cause salmonella poisoning. Try using healthier ingredients, like yogurt or low-fat ricotta cheese, and adding fresh herbs. Instead of mayonnaise, use yogurt and fresh dill in your potato salad. Make a whole-grain pasta salad with cherry or grape tomatoes, fresh basil, and a balsamic vinaigrette.
4. Don’t be so starchy!
There’s no law that says every picnic “salad” needs to begin with potatoes or pasta. There are plenty of salad recipes out there that are so delicious, no one will miss their starchy, fatty counterparts. How about making that old-time favorite, three-bean salad! Or if you want something a little heartier, lentils mixed with a light vinaigrette, a little onion or garlic, some fresh herbs, and a sprinkling of feta cheese will fill you up and give you enough energy to play more than horseshoes and lawn darts later. Make some simple, fresh vegetable salads. Slice up some tomatoes or cucumbers, and toss them with a bit of vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, fresh herbs, and onions or garlic, and you have a refreshing side dish that will fill you up without filling you out.
5. Know your cuts of meat
It’s not just a game on Letterman. While of course substituting skinless chicken or fish for your rib eye would be the BEST nutritional decision, we know you’re not made of stone. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like a barbecue without the scent of grilled steak or pork in the air. But not all cuts are created equal. For beef, the best rule is to look for cuts with the word loin or round. Other great lean cuts are flank steak, skirt steak, tri-tip, and London broil. With pork, the leanest cuts are the tenderloin and loin chops. With both pork and beef, try to avoid anything involving the ribs (including rib eyes), which have the fattiest cuts of meat. And those baby back ribs will make you look like you’re having the baby. Because of their low fat content, most of the lean cuts will need to be marinated for a couple of hours before grilling. Read on for marinade ideas.
6. Lay off the (store-bought) sauce
One of the main ingredients in most store-bought barbecue and teriyaki sauces is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Even the most casual Beachbody reader knows how we feel about HFCS. Instead, bust out those herbs you bought or grew (see tip #2), and make some gourmet marinades and sauces that won’t send your blood sugar into a tailspin. Using ingredients like fresh herbs; citrus juices; olive, sesame, and canola oils; wine; low-sodium soy sauce; and various vinegars, you can liven up your meat dishes and save the sugar for dessert. And when you’re planning your marinades . . .
7. Go global
Since the U.S. is one of the most obese nations in the world, maybe it’s worth checking out what those in slimmer nations are grilling. How about a Cuban marinade for your chicken, or pork with citrus juice and garlic? Or Indian tandoori-style skinless chicken thighs marinated in yogurt and spices like turmeric, curry, or cardamom? Try making your own Japanese teriyaki with sesame oil, ginger, soy sauce, and honey, and skip the corn syrup from the store brands. Try out Greek kabobs, Korean barbecue, or Jamaican jerk-rubbed meat—whatever catches your eye or your taste buds. And throwing a barbecue with an international theme sounds a lot more appetizing than a barbecue where “we’re watching our weight.”
8. Good dogs
Of course, not everyone is going to be keen on vegetables and treats from foreign lands. Kids, for example. So you’re probably going to need some kind of hot dog for these less adventurous eaters. Pretty much anything can end up in a hot dog, but in most cases, hot dogs are tubes full of fatty meat and carcinogenic nitrates—yum! This is where it really pays to read the label. A regular hot dog runs over 200 calories and 18 grams of fat. A turkey frank has half of that. The fat, calorie, and sodium contents of various brands and types of dogs vary wildly, so choose carefully. For the less fussy, there are also several varieties of chicken and turkey sausages with gourmet ingredients that are delicious and low in fat and calories.
9. Better burgers
A friend of mine who is highly phobic of meat-borne illnesses like E. Coli and mad cow disease had the great idea of asking the butcher to grind up a piece of sirloin or top round that she selected from the meat case for hamburgers. This limits your exposure to contaminants, as there’s only one cow involved in the making of a steak, where there could be hundreds involved in a package of ground beef. This also allows you to control the fat content that’s in your hamburger. If you have a decent food processor, you could even grind your meat at home and blend in spices, garlic, or onion to enhance the flavor. If all this talk of cows and contaminants has put you off beef, you might give a turkey burger a try. But again, read the label. Many packages of ground turkey contain ground-up skin and other fatty pieces, resulting in a fat and calorie content not much better than ground beef. Try looking for extra-lean or ground turkey breast. And if you’re worried about the bird flu, it might be worth giving veggie burgers another try. If you haven’t had one in a few years, you may remember them as I do—some sort of reconstituted cardboard patty that smelled like feet. But there have been great strides in veggie burger technology. In fact, there are a couple of brands a vegan friend of mine refuses to eat, because they taste too much like meat. Try a couple of different brands. You may be surprised.
10. Topping it off
When you’re putting together the topping trays for your grilled delights, you can also save a few calories. The traditional lettuce, tomatoes, and onions are great, but skip the cheese, mayonnaise, and corn-syrup–laden ketchup. Instead, try putting some of those grilled veggies you made on your burger or chicken breast. Or add a slice of avocado if you miss the creaminess of melted cheese. Put out a variety of mustards, hot sauces, and salsas, which are low in calories and fat, and don’t usually contain corn syrup. Don’t forget to look for whole-grain buns for your dogs or burgers, or try eating them open-faced or bunless, if you’re trying to cut carbs.
11. Just desserts
Well, you’ve behaved admirably during the rest of the barbecue, so you deserve a little summer treat. Have a little bit of ice cream (although frozen yogurt would be even better, and plain yogurt better yet!), but heap a bunch of fruit on it, instead of a dollop of fudge or a side of pie. After all, what we said about vegetables goes for fruit too. This is the time of year where you can get your hands on the best fruit, at the lowest prices. Indulge in berries, peaches, oranges, melons, and all your favorite seasonal fruits. Make a huge fruit salad, or blend fruit with yogurt and ice for a smoothie. Or for those with ambition and an ice cream maker, try making your own fruit sorbet. You may decide to skip the ice cream after all!
Hopefully, these suggestions will help make your summer barbecue a huge success. And in the worst-case scenario that you end up being forced to partake in your neighbor’s annual Salute to Mayonnaise, you can always use Beachbody’s 3-Day Refresh® to minimize the damage before the next pool party! so you don’t absentmindedly munch a thousand or so calories from a big bag.
P90X vs INSANITY – Which program is best for you?
I receive this question quite often from friends, family and patients. The key to any successful workout routine is consistency. In order to be consistent with any exercise program you have to like you workout program. In this post we will compare P90X vs INSANITY, 2 of the hottest at home workout programs so you can make the best decision for you. This is about getting results so let’s take a closer look at P90X vs INSANITY!
P90X vs INSANITY – Basic difference
When people ask me the question, “What is the difference between P90X vs INSANITY?” I give them this simple answer: P90X is a strength based program with some cardio mixed in, and INSANITY is a cardio based program with some strength elements. But to stop there with the comparison would do both programs an injustice, so let’s look deep into P90X vs INSANITY.
P90X vs INSANITY – The Results
I always say the greatest motivator for continuing any workout program is the results. Without question, both of the programs have a proven record of getting good results, but seeing is believing.
Now those are some impressive results! But how does that compare to the results people are achieving with INSANITY?
Equally impressive results! Does that make your decision any easier? Let me ask a simple question: as you watched the 2 different videos, did you find yourself identifying with one vs. the other? Did one of the videos get you a little more excited than the other? If so, I think you have your answer to which program you should start. However, if you are still unsettled in your decision about P90X vs INSANITY then continue reading below.
P90X vs INSANITY – My Experience
Having done both programs I can honestly say that they are both tremendous workouts and well worth the money I spent on them. They are great additions to my home exercise library. But let’s go back to the beginning.
P90X vs INSANITY: P90X is Where I Started
As a physical therapist people always ask me about different exercise programs, and I was hearing a lot from patients about P90X (including a patient who hurt his shoulder doing pull-ups). I decided to look into it. I purchased the program and was pleasantly surprised by what I found. I still believe that P90X is the most complete exercise program of any on the market today because it incorporates all parts of fitness: strength, explosiveness, cardio, flexibility, and core control. The P90X program incorporates what Tony Horton calls “muscle confusion”. This philosophy isn’t new but P90X is organized in such a way that people continue to get results over the 90 days. In working with patients I know that unless I challenge them, I can’t expect their bodies to change and respond. P90X is an all out assault on the entire body broken down into 3 different phases, each phase building on the previous phase to produce the kind of results that make people want to continue. The kind of results that make people ask, “How have you changed your body?”
P90X vs INSANTIY: INSANITY The Workout Evolution Continues
Once I completed a few rounds of P90X, P90X + and a few triathlons, I was looking for something new, a different challenge. I remember asking a fellow Beachbody Coach about this new workout program that had just come out INSANITY. My question to him was, “how does INSANITY compare to Interval X Plus?” His response, “INSANITY is ten times as hard as Interval X Plus, get ready to sweat!” Well, that is all the encouragement I needed. I purchased the program and jumped in with both feet, to find myself swimming in a pool of my own sweat. I quickly learned that INSANITY is properly named. I worked my way through the first month and started to feel my cardio improving. Then the second month started and I realized I still had a long ways to go – I never thought an additional 15 minutes added onto a workout could make that much of a difference. I was wrong! It makes all the difference and my greatest results with INSANITY came in the second month of the program.
P90X Vs INSANITY – A Comparison Chart
P90X Vs INSANITY – My Final Thoughts
The truth is that P90X vs INSANITY is a question that you can’t answer wrong. Both of these programs will help you get amazing results as long as you push play and pay attention to your nutrition. Poor nutrition has sabotaged my results in previous rounds of these programs, so don’t think you can out exercise a poor nutrition plan.
Both programs offer modifications for different fitness levels, but I believe that in order to avoid injury you need to have a better baseline level of fitness to start INSANITY than is required for P90X. They both come with a Fit Test to perform at the beginning so you can determine if you are truly ready (don’t skip the Fit Test!).
If you travel consistently for your work, it may be easier to do INSANITY in your hotel room than it is to do P90X. The P90X App now makes it easier to take on the road if you are staying at hotels with good gym facilites, but since INSANITY requires no equipment, it may be the best choice for frequent flyers.
Consistency over time is what brings true change, so choose a program that excites you and stick with it! Then when you finish, pick up the other program to add to your exercise library to keep your workouts fun and exciting. Grab a friend or family member and keep pushin’ play – your body will thank you for years to come!!
P90X vs INSANITY – Now it is YOUR Turn to Decide!
Now let’s get to work!
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As hard as it is to fight your junk food urges, if you have kids, you probably know that getting Junior to make smart food choices is triple the challenge. It’d be excellent if you could just yell, “Hey, you! Eat your spinach!” But you can’t. As is the case when dealing with most aspects of a child’s life, it takes commitment, patience, and some serious cunning to steer them down the right path. If you’ve watched the “Healthy Eats” disc of the ChaLEAN Extreme® program, you know that Chalene and her husband Brett made a commitment to teach their son Brock and daughter Sierra the benefits of a solid diet. Here, in Chalene’s words, is a little insight on how they did it.
1. Portion control
Digging into the entire box of goldfish crackers, or any other kid’s snack, is a bad idea. So it’s a good idea to empty out that box into smaller ziplock bags, for better portion control. Do this the moment the treats are pulled from the grocery store bags! This helps children understand what a healthy portion looks like. Meals and portion sizes have increased nearly 40 percent over the last decade. As parents, we have to teach our children that it’s not deprivation—it’s proper nutrition.
2. Sneak in the whole grains
Use whole-grain pasta and brown rice, but don’t tell your kids. They’ll never know the difference. No one, especially children, likes change when it comes to food. I like to use the “stealth” approach, i.e., fly low under the radar! When I switched my kids from regular pasta to whole-grain, whole wheat pasta, I did it in stages. First, I added just a 1/4 cup of the healthier noodles. Each time I added more, until eventually they were eating the whole-grain stuff and had no idea! They still have no idea! We had spaghetti at a restaurant the other night (the enriched-flour kind), and the kids said the restaurant pasta was “weird . . . kinda slimy!” How fantastic is that? The key is making the changes gradually and not making a big deal about them.
3. Lead by example
If you’re giving your kids apples but you’re eating Snickers, it’s never going to work. Following a healthy diet needs to be part of the commitment of good parenting. Never use the “D” [“Diet”] word in front of children. When you do, and they see you eating healthily, they assume that healthy food is something you’re forced to eat as a punishment. Lead by example. Say, “Mommy is eating this for more energy and to be stronger.” Make negative comments about food without nutritional value. For example, when I do have the occasional “treat,” I will often say, “Wow, that piece of cake gave me a sugar crash and a headache. Now I feel so sluggish!” Use positive comments about healthy food without reference to weight. Try, “I feel so much stronger when I eat fruit for a snack!”
4. Make food fun
Taste is something that changes over time. Our taste buds actually change as we age; this explains why some children will eat broccoli and green beans and others find the smell and taste worse than starvation! Continually introduce healthy food and find unique ways to introduce the food in stages. For example, your children might try a small amount of broccoli mixed in with their mac and cheese. Once you’ve gotten them to accept that as a regular staple, transition to broccoli with a creamy cheese soup. Eventually, your children may acquire a taste for steamed broccoli! Can you imagine the day? But starting right out of the gates with a big plate of steamed broccoli in front of a child who doesn’t eat green things is asking for a battle! Baby steps!
5. Don’t pressure kids to eat
Present the food, but don’t force kids to eat it. Making demands will just polarize your kids, while letting them eat healthy foods on their own terms leads to healthy habits. If your first attempt doesn’t work, don’t take it personally or assume that this is a life-or-death situation. Take a deep breath, let it go, and try it again another day—try serving those healthy foods prepared in new ways. It often takes several times before your child will decide to try something new. Oh, and I don’t know if this works for everyone, but I find that my children will often try new food with their grandparents and at their friends’ houses, foods that they won’t try with me! Ask what new foods they tried and then offer to prepare them, and get excited about their willingness to try new foods.
6. Be careful what you say
Everything a woman says about her body is like writing on the slate of her female child’s self-esteem. I volunteer to teach exercise to children of all ages in the public school system. I have personally heard children as young as 6 say, “I’m fat!” Or, “I have a big belly like my mommy.” Or, “My mommy doesn’t want you to see her because she got fat.” Seriously! Not only do kids hear what you’re saying on the phone to your girlfriend, but they are projecting those negative images on themselves. It’s unhealthy for you and your young children to be thinking anything other than positive thoughts about this amazing body that God gave you! Do your best to serve as a positive role model by speaking lovingly about your body and your journey to health!
Food shouldn’t be a source of angst for your family. Try to get your kids to eat healthier, but be creative, consistent, and calm. The bigger you make the issue of eating healthy foods, the more resistance you may feel. Play it cool. There are many studies proving that you can place salad on the table 10 to 15 times before a child will decide to try it. Remember that “insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result.” If it didn’t work the first time, try a different approach, a new way to prepare and disguise the food, and, again, remember the importance of doing this in slow, small steps.
8. Get kids involved
Let them help cook meals and learn to read food labels. Teach them what’s too much sugar and what’s an appropriate amount of fat. Teach your children what purpose carbohydrates serve in moderation and what they turn into when we eat them in excess. Pick one item and just find that on your labels. For example, this week my children have been looking at the sodium content on labels. They get a kick out of trying to find the canned soup with the lowest sodium content or shocking each other by reading a label with an off-the-chart level of sodium. Food shouldn’t be a mystery. I meet adults every day who have no idea how much sodium, carbs, or protein they should be consuming, let alone how many calories. Let’s create a more educated generation when it comes to food!
9. Think daily
Young children have shifts when they are hungry. A child will not starve himself or herself. We are so focused on eating huge portions three times a day, but naturally, most children will eat one full meal and graze at other meals. Avoid the bad habit of saying, “One more bite,” or, “Clean your plate.” These phrases teach our children that they are good if they eat more, when what we want to teach our children is to respond to their bodies when they feel full. Young children eat to provide themselves with energy. Eating to soothe sadness, eating to stuff ourselves, or eating because it’s simply that time of the day are all bad habits we pass along to our children.
10. Read up on nutrition
Read books about food. Explain where it comes from. I highly recommend Eat This Not That! for Kids!: Be the Leanest, Fittest Family on the Block! It has giant pictures of common kid foods. It’s fun to make a game out of learning which foods are best! Also, check out CalorieKing.com, which lists the calories for most every food you can imagine, not to mention the nutritional information for nearly every restaurant in America!
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Active Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch asparagus (about 1 pound)
1/2 cup snipped fresh chives (from 1 bunch), divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 pound whole-wheat pizza dough
1 cup shredded fontina or mozzarella cheese
Position rack in lower third of oven, place a pizza stone or large pizza pan on the rack and preheat oven to 450°F for at least 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine 2 tablespoons oil and garlic in a small bowl; set aside. Trim asparagus spears to about 6 inches long; slice any thicker stalks in half lengthwise. Toss in a bowl with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, 1/4 cup chives, salt and pepper.
Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to about a 14-inch circle.
Carefully remove the pizza stone or pan from the oven and set on a heatproof surface, such as your stovetop. Place the dough on the stone or pan and brush with the reserved garlic-oil mixture. Arrange the asparagus in a circular pattern on the dough with the tips facing out. Top with cheese and the remaining chives.
Carefully return the stone or pan to the oven and bake the pizza on the lower rack until crispy and golden and the cheese is melted, about 15 minutes.
Per serving: 368 calories; 20 g fat ( 5 g sat , 8 g mono ); 25 mg cholesterol; 39 g carbohydrates; 1 g added sugars; 14 g protein; 3 g fiber; 536 mg sodium; 167 mg potassium.
3 small zucchini about 1/2 pound each, cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices (use a mandoline)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/8 tsp salt, plus more to taste
pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 ounces fresh goat cheese
1 tbsp minced fresh parsley
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 ounces baby spinach leaves (I used microgreens because I had them and didn’t have spinach)
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium heat.
Discard the outermost slices of zucchini and brush the rest with the oil on both sides. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Grill until tender, about 4 minutes per side. You can make the grilled zucchini a day ahead and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
In a small bowl, combine the goat cheese, parsley, and lemon juice, mashing them together with a fork.
Put 1/2 tsp of the cheese mixture about 1/2 inch from the end of the zucchini slice. Top with a few spinach leaves (or micro greens) and one small or half of a large basil leaf. Roll up and place seam side down on a platter. Repeat with the rest of the zucchini slices. You can make these up to a day before you are read to serve and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.