5 Tips to Plan a Diet-Friendly Backyard Summer Picnic

5 Tips to Plan a Diet-Friendly Backyard Summer Picnic

Planning on a staycation this year because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic? Join the crowd in not joining the crowd. Not going to the beach, the lake, the mountain or the water park puts a lot of pressure on your backyard to be the place you want to be, especially for fun summertime activities. Now is the time to plan for a summer picnic… and to have a plan to keep it healthy and diet-friendly!

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Here are five fun ways to enjoy backyard summer picnic food and still lose weight:
1. Load some veggies on that grill.

grilled vegetables

Even veggie haters find grilled vegetables to be irresistible. That’s probably because this particular cooking method brings out their inherent sweetness. Slice up some onions, zucchini, eggplant, carrots and even cabbage “steaks,” then grill them up as a healthy side.

To keep your meal diet-friendly, load up half of your plate with veggies. Trending now: the carrot “hot dog.” Cook whole carrots on the grill and serve them on a whole wheat frankfurter bun with all the fixings. You can also use veggies in another way: in some grilled vegetable recipes, vegetables are layered between cubes of chicken, a firm fish like tuna or swordfish, shellfish such as shrimp or even lean beef. Vegetable kebabs can help you keep your meal balanced between higher calorie protein and lower calorie veggies with a fiber-friendly twist.

Check out these seven foods that taste better on the grill! >

2. Make sides that are the star of the meal.

The Leaf healthy summer picnic tips

Forget the mayonnaise-laden potato salad, pasta salad and coleslaw that crowd every summer picnic table across the land. They’re as ho-hum as they are fattening. Instead, focus on some of the farm fresh produce that’s readily available this time of year.

Consider replacing slaw with a Zesty Cucumber and Dill Salad that takes minutes to prepare and can sit in the fridge for hours, just getting more and more savory the longer it marinates! You also don’t have to nix slaw completely from the menu—just liven up a cabbage-carrot mix with a dressing of low-sodium soy sauce, rice vinegar and peanut butter. This Spicy Peanut Slaw recipe supplies one PowerFuel and two Vegetables to your daily count.

Love pasta salad? Broccoli, bell pepper strips and cherry tomatoes turn a simple Creamy Pasta Salad (mixed with nonfat Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise) into a work of art. Plus, it clocks in at only 228 calories per serving, even with the chopped turkey bacon added for crunch and protein. One serving counts as one SmartCarb, one PowerFuel and one Vegetable. Click here for the recipe! >

You also don’t have to banish potato salad if you make it the Nutrisystem way, using reduced fat mayo, nonfat Greek yogurt or even a piquant vinaigrette. Think outside the summer picnic basket too: Eliminate half of the potatoes from the recipe and mix in turnips, cauliflower or parsnips. Add fun and flavorful ingredients like dill, green onions, chives or capers. Then throw in some of your favorite vegetables, like fresh peas, bell peppers or radishes for a flavorful bite. Make a healthier potato salad for your summer picnic with these five tips. > 

3. Add Nutrisystem foods to the mix.

The Leaf healthy summer picnic tips

How good would your Nutrisystem Hamburger or Grilled Chicken Sandwich taste if you made it on the grill? What about the Chicken and BBQ Beans? Yes. THAT good. End your picnic meal with a Nutrisystem Ice Cream Sandwich or, as just about everyone does, with s’mores. Well, with our own S’mores Pie made with a graham cracker crust, ooey gooey marshmallow and real melted chocolate tucked inside. Mmmmm—and it’s only 140 calories!

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4. Plan active backyard fun and games.

The Leaf healthy summer picnic tips

Exercise off any excess calories from your summer picnic by planning outdoor activities for young and old. If you have enough yard, set up a volleyball or badminton net. Kids aren’t the only ones who can enjoy backyard games like tag, freeze tag or dodge ball, particularly if you incorporate water balloons into the fun. You can even do a riff on the egg-and-spoon relay race with filled water balloons and a wooden spoon. Throw Frisbees back and forth or set up a game of cornhole or horseshoes. Organize a post-picnic walk around the neighborhood or a nearby park.

5. Hydrate wisely.

The Leaf healthy summer picnic tips

While you can always turn to light beer and wine coolers to save some calories, don’t forget that studies have shown that alcohol can stimulate the appetite center of your brain and make you eat more, says the United Kingdom National Health Service.

Both wine and beer come in non-alcoholic versions. You can also whip up some delicious and satisfying “mocktails” that will wow your guests. Try a non-alcoholic Strawberry Daiquiri that combines fresh and frozen strawberries with water and lime juice in the blender. It’s only 55 calories per serving and counts as one SmartCarb on Nutrisystem. Find this mouthwatering non-alcoholic drink recipe and four more mocktails right here! >

Avoiding alcohol at your backyard picnic can help you avoid unnecessary calories. However, you can still enjoy alcohol in moderation on your Nutrisystem program. If you’d like to have a drink, check out this article on 10 Low Calorie Beers That Actually Taste Good! > You can also brush up on your Nutrisystem knowledge and learn more about alcohol on our program right here. >

Be sure to explore The Leaf for more tips to enjoy this summer season with family and friends, including expert fitness and nutrition tips as well as delicious seasonal recipes for your weight loss journey!

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The post 5 Tips to Plan a Diet-Friendly Backyard Summer Picnic appeared first on The Leaf.

Read more: leaf.nutrisystem.com

10 Summer Pie Recipes for a Satisfying Sweet Treat

10 Summer Pie Recipes for a Satisfying Sweet Treat

Pies are among America”;s favorite desserts and a classic indulgence in the summer season. There”;s nothing quite like a nice slice of pie to finish off a delicious BBQ dinner. Unfortunately, these summertime favorites and epic Labor Day desserts are traditionally packed with fat and sugar that can easily derail your healthy intentions and weight loss journey.

But don”;t get discouraged! While store-bought pies and traditional summer dessert recipes will have you loaded up on white flour, butter and sugar, our recipe developers at Nutrisystem and The Leaf Weight Loss Blog have created some diet-friendly options. Our healthy recipes will provide you with your fill of pie while keeping your healthy eating plans on track. These 10 summer pies use simple swaps and healthy ingredients to lighten up some of your favorite summer desserts.

Here are 10 summer fruit pies for a seasonal and satisfying sweet treat:
1. Fresh Peach Pie >

peach recipe

Nothing screams “;summer”; like a big slice of peach pie. Summer is peach season and that means lots of tempting peach desserts will be popping up–;including some not-so-healthy ones. Fortunately, our healthy summertime version of peach pie uses a whole wheat crust and a diet friendly fruit filling with five cups of fresh peaches. No added sugar needed in this sweet treat! Peaches are rich in vitamin C, potassium and fiber, making them a great addition to your healthy diet during beach season. One slice of this peach pie is 170 calories and counts as one SmartCarb and two Extras on the Nutrisystem plan.

2. Healthy Apple Pie >

The Leaf Summer Desserts & Pie Recipes

As they say, an apple a day keeps the doctor away–;an old adage that just may ring true considering the fact that apples have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease. But when apples are used in traditional pie recipes, their health value tends to get lost. Instead of burying apples in a load of sugar, this summer dessert recipe gets its sweet flavor directly from the source–;whole, delicious apples. It”;s a yummy indulgence you can feel good about. One slice of this healthy apple pie is just 147 calories and counts as one SmartCarb and two Extras on the Nutrisystem plan.

3. Must-Try Strawberry Pie >

The Leaf Summer Desserts & Pie Recipes

Where fruit pies tend to go awry is in the crust. Pie crusts (and tarts) are usually packed with lots of butter. On top of that, many fruit pie fillings contain added sugar. However, this lighter version of strawberry pie uses a simple pie crust made from graham crackers and just two tablespoons of butter plus an egg. It also features a simple yet delicious strawberry filling that’s made from whole strawberries and a sugar-free gelatin mix. You”;ll get a healthy dose of superfood strawberries–;known to be a great source of fiber and vitamins–;while indulging in a sweet treat. A slice of this summer pie is 132 calories and on Nutrisystem counts as one SmartCarb and one Extra.

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4. Blueberry Pie Crumble >

The Leaf Summer Desserts & Pie Recipes

Add this beautiful blue baked good to your seasonal summer menu! This berrylicious crumble looks like a gourmet dessert from your local bakery. However, don’t be fooled because it’s extremely easy to make. The secret ingredients that make this recipe unique are chia seeds and oats, which create a satisfying yet smart slice of pie. One serving contains 138 calories and counts as one SmartCarb and one Extra on the Nutrisystem program.

5. No-Bake Strawberry Pie Parfait >

The Leaf Summer Desserts & Pie Recipes

No-bake pie recipes that are quick to whip up are absolutely welcomed in the summer when nobody feels like heating up the house with their oven or spending a lot of time in the kitchen. This simple-to-make no-bake recipe will give you the taste of strawberry pie in a delicious parfait. It”;s a matter of mixing up a few ingredients and then layering those yummy mixes. In addition to healthy whole strawberries, this summer dessert recipe also uses nonfat Greek yogurt, which contains probiotics to support good gut health and boost your health and wellness goals! One parfait is 252 calories and counts as one SmartCarb, one PowerFuel and one Extra on the Nutrisystem plan.

6. Skinny Peach Cobbler >

The Leaf Summer Desserts & Pie Recipes

With summer being peach season, here is another wonderfully peachy dessert recipe to try! Though a light alternative, it tastes so much like traditional cobbler that it just may transport you to a front porch in the South. This version is made healthy by ditching the highly refined ingredients like white flour, white sugar and butter for whole wheat flour, brown sugar and only a smidge of light butter. It”;s a delightful and guilt-free summer dessert staple, coming in at only 135 calories per serving. On the Nutrisystem plan, this Skinny Peach Cobbler counts as one SmartCarb and two Extras.

7. Raspberry Chocolate Mousse Pie >

chocolate dessert recipe

When it comes to decadent, indulgent and healthy summer desserts, anything with the words “;chocolate”; or “;mousse”; easily tops the list. But most chocolaty summer pies are also packed with fat and calories. Fortunately, this light version has all of the decadence without the guilt. The secret ingredient for the creamy, silky goodness of a typical mousse pie is none other than tofu in this recipe! But if you weren”;t the one to be whipping up this dessert, you”;d honestly never know. Top it off with a cup of fresh raspberries to get your antioxidant power, too. A serving of this summer raspberry treat is just 157 calories and counts as one SmartCarb and one PowerFuel.

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8. Skinny Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble >

strawberry rhubarb

If you’re looking for the perfect dessert to bring to a picnic, this is it! Sweet strawberries shine in this Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble that screams summertime and sunshine. You can forget about kneading and rolling out pie dough with this easy dish. Simply make the filling and top it with the stevia-sweetened and gluten free crumble that’s easy as… pie! One serving contains 185.9 calories and counts as one SmartCarb and two Extras.

9. No-Bake Apple Pie Yogurt Parfait >

The Leaf Summer Desserts & Pie Recipes

Don’t feel like turning on the oven to make our Healthy Apple Pie recipe? Not to worry! We’re cooking up a no-bake sweet treat that will keep you cool during the warm summer season. Fresh apples and warm spices are layered with creamy, chilled Greek yogurt for a parfait that’s reminiscent of a fresh-baked slice of pie. A sprinkle of chopped walnuts adds a crunchy texture that’s the cherry on top. At just 186 calories per serving, you can log it into your NuMi journal as one SmartCarb and one PowerFuel.

10. Sweet Potato Pie Nice Cream >

nice cream

While this last recipe isn’t technically a pie, it’s inspired by the flavors of a classic. Plus, when it’s hot outside and the temperatures are soaring, who wants to turn on the oven? A frozen dessert is just what you need on those hot summer days. A Thanksgiving staple unites with a summertime frozen favorite. Imagine your mom’s famous sweet potato pie blended into a creamy, dreamy ice cream. Enjoy pie season even on the hottest of days with this Sweet Potato Pie Nice Cream. Cool down and stay hydrated while digging into fruity, fall flavors! One serving contains 170 calories and counts as one SmartCarb and two Extras on Nutrisystem.

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The post 10 Summer Pie Recipes for a Satisfying Sweet Treat appeared first on The Leaf.

Read more: leaf.nutrisystem.com

7 Sneaky Ingredients to Avoid for Weight Loss

7 Sneaky Ingredients to Avoid for Weight Loss

Sometimes, it can feel like you”;re doing everything right on your weight loss plan–;you’re eating your four servings of non-starchy vegetables each day, calming junk food cravings the right way and practicing your weekly meal prep and planning. However, you still aren”;t seeing the scale budge! You”;re eating foods you think are healthy but you”;re not getting the diet results you want. It’s possible that some of those “;healthy”; foods could be not so healthy after all–;either because you”;re preparing larger portions of them than you think you are, or there”;s a secret, sneaky, calorie-heavy component hiding inside. Either way, the result is the same: Your weight loss is sabotaged!

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Don”;t let sneaky foods fool you any longer! Watch out for these seven ingredients that could be adding unwanted calories to your day:
1. Nuts and Nut Butters

Sneaky ingredients to avoid during weight loss

Adding more nuts to your diet can help your heart and reduce belly fat, according to research, conducted by Penn State University. They”;re part of the “;Mediterranean Diet,”; and scientists have found that the healthy fats in this diet can help you slim down and live longer. (Click here to learn more about the potential health benefits of nuts! >) Despite having healthy qualities, both nuts and nut butters can sneak up on you if you eyeball your portion sizes instead of measuring. By guessing, you run the risk of overestimating the portions you are having and adding sneaky calories to your snack or meal.

The solution: First, count out your nut servings: For example, you can eat 25 pistachios in a single PowerFuel serving. For nut butters, you can”;t exactly count but you can use your thumb: A one tablespoon serving of nut butters–;the amount equal to one PowerFuel–;is about as big as your thumb or a poker chip. Keep the portions in check to keep these creamy, chunky, smooth or crunchy friends from becoming sneaky diet-detonating ingredients! Click here to learn how many nuts are in a PowerFuel serving. >

2. Avocado

avocado

Here”;s another “;healthy”; food that we love that can add up quick: One cup of avocado has polyunsaturated fats that your body needs, but it also packs in 384 calories–;almost 20 percent of what many Americans need in their daily diets, says the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). If you smear that much on a slice of toast, you”;re getting nutrients you need but it”;s also a “;healthy”; snack that”;s turned into a meal. Too much of a good thing is possible, especially when it comes to avocado! Even if the source is a healthy whole food, every calorie you eat is one your body has to burn or store.

The solution: Use your kitchen”;s ultimate tool for weight loss: A measuring spoon! One tablespoon of mashed avocado is equal to one Extra–;Nutrisystem members are limited to three Extras per day. Don”;t let extra Extras sneak up on you and sabotage your progress! Click here to learn more about harnessing the power and perks of avocados without losing control of portion sizes!

3. Coffee “;Pumps”;

Sneaky ingredients to avoid during weight loss

According to Reuters.com, Americans have been drinking less soda over the last decade. However, we”;re still consuming almost half of our daily added sugars from beverages, says Health.gov. Some dietitians blame our sweet morning pick-me-ups: One pump of flavored syrup from a popular chain coffee shop can add about five grams of sugar and 20 calories to your day. That might not seem like much, but do this everyday for a whole year and you”;ve added 7,300 sneaky calories to your annual intake.

The solution: If your pumps are a must-have, track them! Using the NuMi app can make sure this sneaky ingredient doesn”;t sneak up on you. If you”;d rather save those 7,300 calories for the year, try using powdered stevia, a teaspoon of unsweetened cocoa powder for a chocolatey kick or some cinnamon for a warming flavor. Be sure to check out these helpful diet tips from our experts at The Leaf and keep your calories on track when you visit your local coffee shop!

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4. Salad Toppers and Dressings

salad

It doesn”;t get more healthy-sounding than a salad. It also doesn”;t get much fancier than crowning that heaping bowl of veggies with some tasty toppers: Slivered almonds, dried cranberries, crunchy chia seeds and glops of creamy dressing.

What harm can some dried fruit and almonds do? We”;ve already seen how quickly nuts add up. However, those dried cranberries aren”;t just cranberries–;they”;re pumped up with added sugar! A quarter-cup of dried cranberries from a popular brand contains almost 30 grams of sugar, adding about 130 calories to your salad. Chia seeds also add up quickly: According to the USDA, an eighth of a cup will add 90 calories to your veggies. Creamy salad dressings can present a problem, too: Forget to measure your favorite ranch dressing and an extra two tablespoons will top your salad with 120 extra calories, says the USDA.

The solution: As with almost all the ingredients on this list, measuring and serving size control makes a major impact–;just sprinkle a spoonful of those crunchy seeds instead of pouring from the bag. But there”;s more you can do: Try swapping store-bought dressing for one of these simple, homemade versions that you”;ll love. Use fresh berries instead of dried: According to the USDA, a half-cup of fresh blueberries has just 35 calories, compared to 260 for the dried kind.

5. “;Nectar”; and “;Syrup”;

Sneaky ingredients to avoid during weight loss

Added sugars are literally killing us: According to research, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, study subjects who consumed 17 to 21 percent of calories from added sugar experienced a 38% increase in risk of death from heart disease. This was in comparison to participants who consumed about eight percent of calories from added sugar. And with added sugar in more than 75 percent of packaged foods, it”;s not hard to top that killer number, says the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

In 2021, nutrition labels will be required by law to list “;Added Sugars”; on their own line. But until then, these ingredients and their extra calories can sneak into our diets… because they aren”;t just called “;sugar”; on the label. They”;re all those words ending in “;ose”;–;glucose, dextrose, sucrose–;but also sneakier, healthier-sounding ingredients like “;nectars”; and “;syrups.”; An ingredient like “;agave nectar”; might sound natural and healthy, but make no mistake: It”;s just sugar trying to sneak its way into your waistline.

The solution: Flip your food over. Words like “;natural”; and “;healthy”; on the front of a label are unregulated terms–;they”;re meaningless marketing! Check the ingredients list for nectars and syrups. They could be adding sneaky calories to your foods that you don”;t need. Choose unsweetened products and add your own sweetness with a little stevia or monk fruit.

Take a peek at these four ingredients you should never eat again! >

6. Mayonnaise

Sneaky ingredients to avoid during weight loss

This sandwich recipe staple is easy enough to measure and still enjoy on your healthy diet. But when adding mayonnaise to chicken, potato, egg or tuna salads, things can easily get out of hand. If you”;re like most people, you forget about measuring and keep adding mayo until you”;ve achieved the consistency you like. Going overboard by just two tablespoons can add 180 extra sneaky calories to that bowl. But if you don”;t add enough, the salad won”;t be creamy enough!

The solution: Supplement with Greek yogurt. One teaspoon of mayo is equal to one Extra on Nutrisystem. Use up your three Extras in your favorite chicken or tuna salad recipe, then fill in the rest with high-protein, nonfat Greek yogurt. It won”;t change the flavor but will add filling protein that your body needs. Plus, it”;s a PowerFuel, not an Extra–;so you can stay on track with your daily meal prep and weight loss goals while enjoying a sandwich or salad that”;s as creamy as you want.

7. Shredded Cheese

Sneaky ingredients to avoid during weight loss

Since you”;re just sprinkling some on the top of a taco or a bowl of salad, measuring out your shredded cheese is probably the last thing on your mind–;it”;s finally time to chow down! But an over-serve on the cheesy goodness is all-too-easy, and can turn your portion-controlled taco into a sneaky weight loss saboteur. An extra eighth-cup of shredded cheese from a popular brand–;basically an extra heavy sprinkle–;can add over 50 calories to your dish if you’re not careful. Repeat that heavy hand a few times and the sneaky calories can really add up.

The solution: First, start with reduced fat versions of your favorite shredded cheese –; they”;re also lower in calories. Then, think of other low calorie ways to give your tacos and meals what you”;re getting from the cheese: Maybe you can accomplish some of the creaminess with a dollop of light sour cream, instead. At just 20 calories per tablespoon, according to the USDA, it”;s a calorie-saving miracle addition to your next burrito bowl.

Take your pick at an unlimited list of healthy recipes with nutritious and wellness-promoting ingredients! Visit our recipe portal on The Leaf here! >

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The post 7 Sneaky Ingredients to Avoid for Weight Loss appeared first on The Leaf.

Read more: leaf.nutrisystem.com

Carrots: Top 9 Benefits, Healthy Recipes, and More

Carrots: Top 9 Benefits, Healthy Recipes, and More

Carrots: Top 9 Benefits, Healthy Recipes, and More HealthifyMe Blog HealthifyMe Blog – The definitive guide to weight loss, fitness and living a healthier life.

There are many reasons why you should root for carrots! Carrots are loaded with nutrients and lend themselves to a wide range of delicious dishes. Although the vegetable is popularly associated with improving eyesight, their benefits go much beyond.

Historical records show carrots were cultivated in Persia and Afghanistan in the 10th century. However, in those days, this root vegetable had little resemblance to what we eat now and came in different colors, like purple yellow, red, and white. While it cannot be confirmed, it is said that the Dutch developed the carrots that we eat today. There are many types of carrots with varying sizes, flavors, and tastes. However, when it comes to health benefits, all varieties of carrots are equally healthy and full of essential nutrients.

Table of Contents

Nutritional value of carrotsTop 9 benefits of consuming carrots3 healthy recipes to consume carrotsCarrot Lettuce WrapCarrot Sprouts ParathaCarrot Sunshine DrinkSummary

Nutritional value of carrots

Raw carrots (1 medium-sized carrot) – 29 calories

Protein – 0.6gCarbohydrates – 5.8gDietary fiber – 1.7gFat – 0.1g

Carrots are the richest plant-based source of a type of carotenoid called beta-carotene with 8285 micrograms of beta-carotene per100 grams.

An interesting fact about carrots is that their nutritional value changes – for the better – when cooked. Most other vegetables tend to lose their nutrient value after they are cooked. Studies show more of beta-carotene is absorbed by the body when carrots are eaten cooked rather than the raw form.

Top 9 benefits of consuming carrots

Here”;s a complete lowdown on all the amazing benefits that carrots bring:

#1 Boosts the immune system

Carrots boost the immune system

Our immune system is made up of many organs and specialized cells, such as white blood cells. One type of WBCs called lymphocytes (T and B lymphocytes) recognize harmful invaders and produce antibodies to destroy them. Other types of WBCs, called phagocytes, protect the body by ingesting harmful bacteria and viruses. Many studies show beta-carotene, which comes from carrots, protects phagocytic cells from getting damaged and boosts the response of T and B lymphocytes.

#2 Promotes eye health

carrots promote eye health

Vitamin A, in recommended quantities, is essential for good vision, and carrots offer this nutrient in abundance. When a person is deprived of vitamin A for too long, the outer segment of the eye”;s photoreceptors begin to deteriorate, thereby leading to night blindness and other eye-related problems. Therefore, including it in your diet will not only keep you healthy but also facilitate healthy vision.

#3 Aids weight loss

carrots aid weight loss

Looking to lose weight?! Carrots are a great addition to your diet as they are low in calories and high in fiber content. Carrot sticks will keep you full until lunch and thus will stop you from bingeing. Moreover, carrots help in bile secretion which helps to burn fat and thus aid weight loss.

#4 Nourishes and keeps hair healthy

Nourish and keeps hair healthy

Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is an important nutrient that is linked to the health of many tissues, including hair, skin, and sebaceous glands (oil glands in the skin). An animal model study showed that dietary vitamin A accelerates hair growth by activating the stem cells in hair follicles.

#5 Creates glowing skin

Some common skin problems are dullness, dryness, scars, and wrinkles. Beta-carotene present in carrots is converted to vitamin A in the liver. Vitamin A and it’s derivative called retinoids are known to play a key role in many cellular processes, including growth and differentiation of cells. Studies show that retinoids stimulate the growth of new cells thereby promoting firmer, healthier, and younger-looking skin

#6 Protects your teeth

 Helps protect your teeth

Low levels of vitamin A impacts oral health and is linked to periodontitis (gum infection) and gingivitis (gum inflammation), which can lead to tooth decay and cavities. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene that provides adequate vitamin A. Chewing carrots can also help fight plaque by generating saliva that exerts an anti-bacterial effect.

#7 Can help lower blood pressure

Carrots are rich in potassium, which helps in controlling blood pressure. Potassium helps your kidneys work more efficiently and neutralizes the effect of high salt intake that is linked to blood pressure.

#8 Promotes digestion

Carrots are a fair source of dietary fiber providing about five grams in each. Fiber encourages the growth of beneficial gut bacteria that promote digestion, apart from preventing constipation.

#9 Promotes overall health

carrots promote overall good health

Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant. Many chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, cancers, and heart disease, are linked to “;free radical damage.”; Free radicals are produced in the body during metabolism, but also have external sources such as cigarette smoke and air pollution. Antioxidants in carrots neutralize these free radicals to promote health.

3 Healthy recipes to consume carrots

Carrots”; sweet and earthy taste is a wonderful flavor to feature. There are many ways you can include them in your everyday diet. Here are some delicious carrot recipes that give your bag of forgotten carrots the attention it deserves. Each one of them takes advantage of the vegetable’s unique sweet and earthy flavor in sugary, savory, and spicy ways you probably haven’t seen or experienced before.

#1 Carrot lettuce wrap

carrot lettuce wrap

Serves 2Preparation time: 10 minutesCooking time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

Fresh iceberg lettuce: 2 leavesGinger grated: ½ teaspoonGarlic – 2 cloves finely choppedGreen chili – 2Onions sliced – 1 Carrot julienned – 1 smallSweet corn – 3 tablespoonLime juice – 1 tablespoonSoy and chili sauce: 1 teaspoon each or to tasteOil – 1 tablespoon

Method:

For the filling:

Heat oil in a pan and add ginger, garlic, green chilies, onions, and stir fry for a minute.Add sweet corn and carrots. Add lime juice, soy, and chili sauce and sauté for one minute.Remove from heat and add salt to taste.

For the roll:

Wash and separate lettuce leaves. Spoon in 1 to 2 tablespoon of the filling in each leaf. Roll and serve.

#2 Carrot sprouts paratha

carrot and sprouts paratha

Serves 2Preparation time: 10 minutesCooking time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

Carrot – 1 medium choppedPotato – 1 smallGreen gram sprouts – 2 tablespoonsWhole wheat or multigrain flour -; 3 cupsGinger chopped – ¼ teaspoonDry mango powder and black pepper powder – ¼ teaspoon eachOil for shallow fryingCoriander leaves chopped – 1 tablespoonRed chili powder -; ¼ teaspoonSalt to taste

Method:

Pressure cook carrots and potatoes.Lightly steam sprouts.Grind carrots in a mixer to make a puree and mash potatoes.Mix all ingredients to make a smooth dough. Cover and keep for 30 minutes.Pinch small size balls of dough. Sprinkle some flour and roll the paratha to about the same size as that of a roti.Heat a pan over medium heat and place the rolled paratha. Once the base is partially cooked, flip the paratha. Brush little oil and cook. Once brown spots appear, flip on the other side, cook well and serve.

#3 Carrot sunshine drink

carrot sunshine drink

Serves 4Preparation time 10 minutes

Ingredients:

Carrots peeled and chopped – ¾ cupTomatoes chopped -; 1.5 cupsOranges -; 2 medium separated into segmentsLemon juice -; few dropsSalt and pepper to tasteCrushed ice -; 1 cup (optional)Organic Honey -; 1 teaspoon (optional)

Method:

Combine all ingredients and blend in the juicer by adding half-cup of waterPut crushed ice in four glasses and pour the juice and serve immediately

Summary

Carrots are super rich sources of fiber, beta-carotene, and minerals; while being low in calories and sugar. From boosting eye health to promoting immunity, carrots offer wide-ranging health benefits. While they are commercially available year-round, these versatile root vegetables are simple to add to meals whether raw or cooked.

The post Carrots: Top 9 Benefits, Healthy Recipes, and More appeared first on HealthifyMe Blog.

Read more: healthifyme.com

Cardio vs. Strength Training: What’s Better?

Cardio vs. Strength Training: What’s Better?

If you could only choose one, should you strength train or do cardio? Trick question! You don”;t have to choose, and you shouldn”;t. Both types of exercise are important not just for maintaining a healthy weight, but for your overall health. That”;s why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio each week, plus two strength-training sessions.

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Here”;s a rundown of why both strength training and cardio work benefit your health and your weight loss goals, with easy ways to fit both into your busy life.
Why you need cardio:

cardioAlmost 80 percent of Americans don”;t achieve the CDC”;s 150 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per week, meaning they miss out on a ton of benefits: Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, of course, but also decreased risks for diabetes, osetoporosis and premature death.

If you vary the pace of your cardio work, it can be supercharged: Interval training, where short bursts of harder work are alternated with easier work or total rest have been found in multiple studies, according to Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, to burn more fat and increase cardiovascular function better than steady-state, medium-paced work.

Why cardio alone isn”;t good enough:

Some studies seem to suggest that cardiovascular exercise, by itself, is better for weight loss than combining it with strength training. In an eight-month study of 234 overweight people conducted by Duke University Medical Center, researchers found that those who did cardio alone lost 1.76 kilograms, while those who did a combination of cardio and strength lost slightly less, 1.63 kilograms. Members of a third group, who did just strength training, actually gained about 2 pounds during the study.

strength trainingBut if you look a little deeper, the cardio-only group lost weight, but they didn”;t lose lean body mass–;meaning they lost muscle, not fat. The combo group gained .81 kilograms of muscle, and the strength-only group tacked on more than two pounds of muscle–;meaning they lost fat overall. And a body with less fat and more muscle not only looks good, but burns more calories at rest and can help protect against disease, reduce fall risk and lower your overall risk of death.

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An easy way to do it:

Walk! You may think you have to sprint or jog to get all these benefits, but walking does a lot of good. While your watch may be telling you that 10,000 steps is somehow magical, you don”;t need that many to get benefits: For every 1,000 steps you take each day, you can reduce your risk of “;functional limitation”; in the future due to arthritis by 16 to 18 percent (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140612085120.htm).

And walking can help keep weight off: One study conducted by Hopkins Medicine found that “;moderately active”; people lowered their levels of dangerous visceral fat by 7.4 percent compared with inactive subjects . And you can even get the fat-burning benefits of interval training while walking: Try changing your pace by as little as five inches per second for bursts of one minute, followed by one minute of slower walking. According to Biology Letters, when study participants did this, they burned 20 percent more calories than when they walked the same pace throughout their walk.

Why you need strength:

Having muscular strength means you can do more than just pick up a barbell. The American Heart Association recommends strength training because it improves cardiovascular function, lowers your heart disease risk, Walkingincreases resting metabolism and improves your “;psychosocial well-being.”; But that”;s not all! Strength training improves cognitive function, according to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and even works productivity.

And, of course, it can help stave off weight gain: In a Harvard study, researchers found that men who did 20 minutes of daily weight training had less age-related belly fat gains than those who did the same amount of cardio work.

Why strength training alone isn”;t enough:

It”;s possible to increase your heart rate while performing strength work so that you”;re “;doing cardio”; while lifting weights, but for many of us, it”;s unlikely that we”;ll elevate our heart rate enough during strength training to match the 150 cumulative weekly minutes needed to realize the cardio benefits described above. And if you do, it”;s possible you”;re sacrificing strength work–;that is, your strength training isn”;t challenging your strength enough, and has “;turned into”; cardio. You need both!

An easy way to do it:

People using dumbbellsIf you”;re going to the gym, lift light weights. Studies have found that lifting weights to failure–;continuing the movement until you can”;t do another repetition–;is the most important factor in building muscle strength and size, whether the load is heavy or light. One study of this kind showed that men who lifted 30 to 50 percent of their maximum weight for sets of 20 to 25 repetitions gained as much strength and size as others who lifted 75 to 80 percent of their maximum for eight repetitions per set. So if big, heavy weights make you nervous, stick to the smaller stuff. And if training to failure, be safe: Consider using a machine or a really light dumbbell so that if you truly fail, the weight isn”;t putting you in danger.

No gym membership? No problem! Your body weight provides plenty of resistance. The act of getting in and out of a chair without using your hands for assistance is a strength training exercise–;and it helps build muscle power, which can increase your ability to avoid a fall as you age. Try these five simple power-building exercises to start.

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OK, which should I do first?:

If you”;re going to perform cardio and strength work in the same day, studies vary on which you should do first. One study published by Ace Fitness found that if you perform weight training first, your cardio workout can be harder than it would normally–;resulting in an increase in pulse of 12 beats per minute compared to when the cardio”;s done first. In that case, it would seem that the answer is cardio first is better.

But other studies have shown the opposite: Performing cardio first can use up the fuel you”;ll need for strength training so you won”;t get the same benefits. Doing weight training first can also mean you burn more fat while doing cardio, since weight training can use up the carbohydrates in your body in advance of your aerobic work.

So the real answer is: It depends on your goals, and more importantly, your preferences. If you find you prefer cardio work first and it”;s the only way you have enough energy to also do your strength work–;stick with that. If when you do strength traninig first, you feel like you have more zip to finish your aerobic session, do that. If all things are equal and weight loss is your goal, do your strength work first.

The post Cardio vs. Strength Training: What”;s Better? appeared first on The Leaf.

Read more: leaf.nutrisystem.com

Get Back on Track Before Summer: How Nutrisystem Can Help

Get Back on Track Before Summer: How Nutrisystem Can Help

While we were all distracted with new daily routines during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic—working from home, Zoom calls, home schooling, binge-watching the shows everyone is talking about and keeping an eye on the news—we picked up a few extra pounds without even being aware of it. It’s no surprise that when we are housebound and stressed out, we are tempted to overeat and indulge in unhealthy foods. But here’s what you might not expect: Nutrisystem makes it easy for you to drop the unwanted weight before summer. Even better, we do it without taking away the small pleasures of eating that have made this time inside more bearable. Let us explain how we can help you clean up your quarantine diet!

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Here are six ways Nutrisystem can help you get back on track before summer:
1. Get a Head Start

before summer weight loss

Just seven days after you begin your Nutrisystem plan, you may start to see a difference. Our first week on the program is a One-Week Reboot to jumpstart your weight loss. In a study, average weight loss was 5.4 pounds during this first week.* It’s a lower calorie week that includes delicious, filling Nutrisystem meals, healthy snacks and unlimited non-starchy vegetables to keep you satisfied. Get a head start on your weight loss goals with a little help from Nutrisystem.

2. Fun and Fresh

before summer weight loss

When there’s no place to go and little to do while social distancing, meals are often the highlight of our days. So you aren’t likely to stick to any weight loss plan that expects you to skimp on the joy of sitting down to eat three times a day. With the diverse and delicious Nutrisystem menu filled with healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner choices, you’ll look forward to treating your taste buds to your favorite cuisines every day. Plus, we’re always in the kitchen cooking up new ideas and products! From classic American and Italian to Asian-inspired and Tex-Mex, every meal satisfies real appetites while providing the nutrients you need to feel your best.

3. Regular Snacks

healthy snacks

If you have to identify one cause of weight gain, it’s likely that you’ll point to “frequent snacking.” Many of us of have loaded our pantries with snack foods to keep our families happy and occupied, and we are dipping into those packages ourselves when we are bored, worried, hungry or pre-occupied.

Now for the good news: you don’t have to give up snack time to lose the weight before summer! In fact, daily snacks are an essential part of your Nutrisystem weight loss plan. The difference is that with Nutrisystem, you eat snacks that are nutritionally balanced and in the right portions for you. Plus, you get to choose from a wide range of options, including savory treats like Honey Mustard Pretzel Bits and White Cheddar Popcorn. We also offer delightful sweets, such as our Chewy Chocolate Fudge Bar and Red Velvet Cupcake, so snack time is still a fun part of your day.

Be sure to check out some more of the healthy snack ideas and treats from our wellness and nutrition experts at The Leaf! Here, you’ll be able to learn more amazing inspiration for healthy meal prep to shed those unwanted pounds from the Coronavirus quarantine.

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4. Comfort Cuisine

before summer weight loss

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the resulting lockdown have many of us in a constant state of stress. This can cause our bodies to produce a hormone known as “cortisol.” It increases our appetite, especially for foods that are high in sugar, fat and calories, according to the experts at Harvard Health Publishing.

To help us deal with stress, we tend to crave “comfort foods”—those meals that remind us of home cooking and the feeling of safety we enjoyed as children. With the Nutrisystem’s menu, you’ll be able to enjoy featured homestyle dishes that are sure to carry you back to those more relaxed times, including Chicken Pot Pie, Lasagna with Meat Sauce and Salisbury Steak with Mac and Cheese. Dig into these diet-friendly dishes filled with comfort and look forward to better days ahead.

5. Immunity Support

immune system

While you’re eating delicious food that satisfies your appetite, you also want to make sure you supply your immune system with the nutrients it needs to ward off illnesses. With Nutrisystem, you eat four servings of non-starchy vegetables each day, which load you up with fiber, antioxidants like vitamin C and other key nutrients for your immune system. Vitamin C is said to prevent colds and has been shown to help shorten the duration of cold symptoms, says Harvard Health.

The probiotics in Nutrisystem NutriCrush Protein Shakes can also help support your immunity with beneficial, disease-fighting microbes. Probiotics have been shown to support a healthy immune system and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria in the gut, says Healthline. There’s lots of fun ways to enjoy our rich, creamy shakes at home during the current quarantine and times of social distancing. We compiled eight simple recipes that punch up the flavor of the shakes that you can enjoy as you lose weight. Try them out here! >

6. Contactless Delivery

before summer weight loss

Nutrisystem can also help guard your health as you are shedding the weight by bringing good food right to your door through our renowned meal delivery service. All of your healthy meal prep is done for you and shipped directly to your home, keeping you safe and headache-free from dealing with grocery stores! You can stock up your pantry and freezer with a selection of your favorite foods, while also cutting down on trips out of the house. You stay safe without giving up on the variety of meals and snacks you love as you are losing those extra pounds before summer. Best of all, when we’re all ready to go outside again, you’ll be leaner and happier than you were before the lockdown.

Be sure to read more fitness and healthy recipe tips from our experts at The Leaf to keep you and your family healthy and happy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Get back on track before summer! Try out the Nutrisystem meal delivery service today. >

*In a study, avg weight loss was 5.4 lbs in the first week. The avg weight for the study participants was 207.3 lbs. Results vary based on starting weight and program adherence.

*Usage of this kit for more than one week in any consecutive 4-week period may lead to health complications and is not recommended.  Please be sure to eat all of the food recommended for this program. Failure to follow the program protocol and eat all of the food recommended may involve developing serious health complications. If you have diabetes, are under 18 years of age, are pregnant or a nursing mother, or following a specialized diet for health issues, you may not use this kit. Please consult your physician before purchasing (or beginning) this kit.

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The post Get Back on Track Before Summer: How Nutrisystem Can Help appeared first on The Leaf.

Read more: leaf.nutrisystem.com