Desperately searching for a way to keep your diet in check through the New Year?
The holiday season is a battlefield fraught with ceaseless assaults on the waistline, with festivities threatening to wipe out hard-won workout results in one fell swoop.
We've prepared a few recommendations of healthy alternatives to holiday favorites to empower you to chart a more nutritive course through the caloric onslaught.
Skip the Cream
Cream can be found hidden in a litany of holiday dishes – soups, dips, casseroles, desserts and more. It’s best to avoid it as much as possible, as heavy cream contains substantial amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat.
Start your festivities off on the light side by dipping chips and vegetable crudités in hummus, salsa, guacamole or bean dip. Another option is to replace cream in soup recipes with evaporated milk and to use low-fat yogurt or fat-free sour cream as a replacement in dips.
Reach for the Right Veggies
Not all vegetable dishes are created equally nutritious.
Try filling up on roasted sweet potatoes instead of mashed potatoes and gravy, or tuning out the calorie-laden green bean casserole in favor of sautéed green beans.
Choose White Meat Over Dark Meat
Overall, turkey meat is an excellent source of protein loaded with vitamins and minerals including iron, selenium, and zinc. You'll want to opt for the white meat - the dark meat may have a higher mineral content, but it also contains an additional 20 calories and 2 grams of fat. Skip the turkey skin to shave off additional calories.
Forget the Cheesecake
Everyone deserves a little indulgence during the holidays! Forgo the gut-busting cheesecake for a few whole wheat sugar or gingerbread cookies. If you find yourself dead set on eating a slice of a dessert, a small piece of pumpkin pie (300 calories) is a more wise choice than pecan pie (500 calories) and will also give you a healthy dose of vitamin A, calcium and iron.
Cheers to Champagne (and Light Beer)
Holiday festivities are rarely dry occasions, and empty liquid calories can sneak up on you quickly.
Avoid mixed drinks and sugary cocktails by sticking to champagne (91 calories) and light beer (103 calories). If you’re looking for a more seasonal fix, swapping the traditional eggnog (250+ calories) for a glass of warm apple cider will save you between 100-150 calories and countless grams of fat.
Let’s talk about lifting heavy weights. Many women are fearful that lifting heavy weights leads to “big” and “bulky” muscles. This misconception has lead many women to focus on intense cardio workouts and “light” lifting.
However, it’s time to set the record straight. Lifting weights do not lead to bulky muscles simply because women do not produce enough testosterone to produce the kind of muscles men do. Instead, lifting heavy weights helps women build lean muscle. Building lean muscle has some benefits for women including increased calorie burn, fat loss, stronger bones, slimmer figure and injury prevention. Here are five reasons to start incorporating heavyweights into your workout regime:
Increase Calorie Burn
Studies show that women that lift weights regularly burn more calories both during and after their workout.
A pound of lean muscle can burn 35 to 50 more calories per hour than a pound of fat. This means the more muscle you have, the more energy your body dissipates and the more you’ll burn calories throughout the day.
Burn More Fat
Aerobic exercises burn fat and muscle whereas weightlifting exclusively burns fat. After a heavy session of strength training, your body continues to consume additional oxygen in the hours and days that follow, ultimately increasing metabolic rate.
Build Stronger Bones
Not only does weightlifting target your muscles but it also strengthens your bones. This is especially important as you age because postmenopausal women are at a greater risk for osteoporosis. Adding in resistance training is a great way to combat loss of bone mass. For example, when you perform a bicep curl, your muscles tug on your arm’s bones. The cells within those bones react by creating new bones cells resulting in stronger and denser bones.
Want to drop pounds in the most efficient way possible? It’s a common misconception that strength training leads to bulky muscles. However, the opposite is true. Yes, body weight often goes up because muscles weigh more than fat, but typically dress size will go down as your muscles become more defined. Women produce about 5 to 10 percent of the testosterone men do, which limits their muscle-building potential.
Ease Joint Pain
If running is your favorite workout, may have experienced knee or joint pain from the constant impact from running on pavement. Strength training can help combat this joint pain. Stronger muscles hold joints in place, so you can run without your knees flaring up. Additionally, if you have arthritis, lifting weights can improve motion, flexibility and ease the pain.
Lifting heavy is the key to building metabolism-revving muscle, leaning out and looking and feeling stronger. Adding in strength training to your cardio exercises will increase your work output as you’ll be able to support more power.
Strong is the new skinny, so ditch those light weights and feel awesome after every workout.
Happy National Tequila Day!
Don't want to ruin your Monday workout by taking place in the celebration?
Besides hydrating all day, you can make this skinny margarita recipe with just a few ingredients.
- Kosher salt or coarsely ground sea salt.
- 2 ounces silver tequila.
- 2 Limes and squeeze into fresh lime juice.
- Splash of soda water.
- 1 teaspoon light agave nectar.
- 1 lime wedge or round, for garnish. OR top with jalapeño slices for a kick!