4 Tips for Enhancing Your Treadmill Workout for Weight Loss

4 Tips for Enhancing Your Treadmill Workout for Weight Loss

Even if you”;re someone who prefers to walk or run outside, you know that treadmills can serve a valuable purpose. Sometimes it”;s just easier to hop on the treadmill if the weather is questionable or if you need a simple and easy workout. Whether you own one yourself or use one at the gym, you want to know that you”;re getting the most out of the time you put in on this machine.

We”;ve rounded up some of our best tips for enhancing your treadmill workout for weight loss. With these four ideas, you can get maximum value out of your treadmill exercise.

1. Turn up the tunes.

a woman listening to music while working out at the gym

If you”;re someone who likes to run or walk with music, then it might be nearly impossible to do it without your tunes. The truth is, there are a lot of benefits to working out with music. One study, published in the Journal of Exercise Physiology Online, found that people exercising with fast tempo music had a higher heart rate and increased their respiratory rate. This is because they were moving more.1 Running or walking just a little bit faster on the treadmill means equates to more calories burned!

Another study, published in Psychology of Sport and Exercise, indicates that music makes exercise more enjoyable which could help you work out longer.2 Make sure to choose music that you love and maybe even create a playlist that fits your routine. A little bit of planning ahead could mean that you truly maximize your time working out.

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2. Use incline training for your treadmill workouts.

a woman changing the settings of a treadmill

All it takes is a few pushes of a button to tilt your treadmill upward and you”;ll get a much better workout! A variety of different research points towards the benefits of incline training. According to MercyOne Iowa Heart Vein Center, walking at an incline helps to increase muscle, boost stamina and burn fat.3 They explain that adding some incline to your treadmill workout is a great way to make your workout a little more intense without using up extra time in your busy day.

There”;s no question that treadmill incline training can give you a better workout, but it”;s easier on your body, too. Research, published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, explains that the risk of injury increases with walking speed. In their study, they found that “walking at a relatively slow speed up a moderate incline is a potential exercise strategy that may reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injury/pathological disease while providing proper cardiovascular stimulus in obese adults.”4

If you’re new to working out, Plant Fitness suggests limiting the time you run on an incline to no more than five minutes at a time. They explain that your incline height should correlate with the amount of time that you do it: The steeper it is, the shorter the time.5

3. Try interval training.

elderly man working out on a treadmill at home

There”;s a lot of research that points to the benefits of interval training. According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), “high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is ideal for fat loss while also preserving precious muscle tissue.” It boosts the amount of calories you burn and is said to increase your metabolism. Interval training is all about varying the intensity throughout your treadmill workout. There are a variety of ways to do interval training, but you should begin with a five-minute walk or jog for a warm-up, says ACE. They also suggest getting a heart-rate monitor to reference throughout your exercise. You can do interval training by varying speed or incline.6

4. Don”;t forget the warm-up and cool-down.

a woman working out on a treadmill

It”;s so easy to jump right into a workout routine and skip over the warm up or cool down period. However, these are both important when it comes to getting the most out of your workout.

ACE recommends starting your exercise with a “dynamic warm-up” to prep your body for your workout. “Dynamic stretching, which involves active range of motion movements that tend to resemble sport or movement-specific actions, lengthens the fascia (the connective tissue around the muscles), increases core body temperature and functionally prepares the body for the activity to come,” says ACE.7 As we mentioned earlier, ACE also suggests beginning with a five-minute walk or jog to warm-up before you increase intensity.6

Stretching is critical when it comes to keeping up with your routine. According to ACE, stretching decreases the risk of injury, promotes good posture and circulation, preps your body for exercise and may help relieve post-exercise soreness.8 However, static stretching before your workout–;holding the stretch without moving–;has been shown to harm physical performance, says ACE. Static stretching should be reserved for your post-exercise cool down once the muscles are already warm and “more pliable.”7

*Always speak with your doctor before starting an exercise routine to ensure it’s safe for you.

Pair your treadmill workout routine with a convenient meal delivery service designed to help you lose weight! Learn more about Nutrisystem >

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Sources:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/286826093
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1469029217301425
https://www.veincenteratiowaheart.com/blog/5-benefits-to-incline-walking/
https://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Fulltext/2011/07000/Energetics_and_Biomechanics_of_Inclined_Treadmill.16.aspx
https://www.planetfitness.com/community/articles/6-tips-effective-beginner-treadmill-workout
https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/blog/4822/treadmill-interval-workout-try-this-fat-blasting-workout/
https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/blog/749/is-it-better-to-stretch-before-or-after-my-workout/
https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/blog/5107/top-10-benefits-of-stretching/

The post 4 Tips for Enhancing Your Treadmill Workout for Weight Loss appeared first on The Leaf.

Read more: leaf.nutrisystem.com

5 Ways a Meal Delivery Service Can Improve Your Life

5 Ways a Meal Delivery Service Can Improve Your Life

Are you considering signing up for a meal delivery service? Read on to find out how they can improve your life with five amazing benefits.

Meal delivery services are exactly what they sound like–;companies that deliver prepared meals and snacks directly to your door (not to be confused with meal delivery kits that send ingredients with a recipe and require you to cook your own meals). Meal delivery services remove the prep work by sending prepared entrees and snacks that are ready-to-eat. Some might require a quick reheat but they ultimately make life easier!

The appeal of meal delivery services is their convenience. They make eating effortless by taking one massive to-do off your ever-growing list. There are many benefits to these services that make them worth considering.

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Here are five ways a meal delivery service can make your life (way!) better:
1. It Saves You Time

meal delivery

While it”;s a great way to ensure you”;re eating well, making meals from scratch can be time-consuming. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that Americans spend an average of 37 minutes a day preparing and cleaning up meals. That alone is over four hours per week. According to Statista.com, the average person also goes to the grocery store 1.6 times each week. This doesn”;t even factor in the time it takes to plan your weekly menu, create a shopping list and drive to and from the supermarket.

If you don”;t have those extra hours or you”;d just prefer to spend them doing something else, a meal delivery service could be your solution. Most of the meals provided are pretty much ready to eat. You just pop them in the oven or microwave for a few minutes and you have a complete meal. Imagine if you had more than four hours back in your week!

2. It Can Save You Money

meal delivery

We”;ve all been there: We head to the grocery store with the best of intentions, piling the produce and other healthy foods into our shopping cart to eat better and make more homemade meals. Then life gets in the way and before we know it, days have gone by, leaving our leafy greens wilted and our fresh fruit over ripened.

According to researchers at the USDA, Americans waste about a pound of food per person every day. Research suggests that those with diets rich in fruits and veggies are the most wasteful. Whether we buy too much or we don”;t get around to actually cooking them, the truth remains that we are wasting a lot of food and money.

Meal delivery services can end this money-wasting cycle. They send exactly the right amount of food for each meal and snack. This means no spoiled food and no money in the trash. When you also consider the cost of takeout or delivery, meal delivery services can save you some serious coin!

3. Some Help You Lose Weight

lose weight

If you”;re looking to shed a few extra pounds, some meal delivery services can help with that! Nutrisystem, for example, offers all the perks of traditional meal delivery companies but with the added benefit of helping members achieve their weight loss goals. The Nutrisystem menu is carefully designed by dietitians and all the meals and snacks are perfectly portioned for weight loss. You get the convenience of having delicious, ready-to-eat food delivered to your door while also dropping some pounds.

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4. You Get Exactly What You Want

meal delivery

In the mood for Mexican? Pining for some pasta? Most meal delivery services offer extensive menus, allowing you to put together a meal plan full of entrees and snacks you love.

Nutrisystem offers all the staples, such as Margherita Pizza, Chicken Alfredo and our Classic Hamburger. We also have something for those feeling a little more adventurous, including our Mango Verde Veggie and Grain Blend, Mediterranean Flatbread and Spinach and Cheese Pretzel Melt. We have many delicious desserts for the sweet lovers and plenty of salty snacks for those who prefer savory treats.

The good news? Many Nutrisystem programs allow customization so that you can switch up your menu and try new foods each month.

Explore our menu and stock up on your favorites here! >

5. You Can Choose How Much Food to Get

Nutrisystem meal delivery service

Most meal delivery companies offer tiered packages that differ in how many meals are provided. Some might cover every meal for an entire week, while others might just provide one meal per day.

Nutrisystem offers many different options including our popular four-week programs. We also offer Success plans that let you enjoy the convenience of Nutrisystem food when you need it most, while exercising your culinary muscles when it works for you. For those who are even less scheduled, we have our full menu available to be ordered a la carte! This will allow you to order meals and snacks from our menu as you need them.

Choosing an option that suits your lifestyle ensures that you will enjoy all the benefits of a meal delivery service without wasting food or money.

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The post 5 Ways a Meal Delivery Service Can Improve Your Life appeared first on The Leaf.

Read more: leaf.nutrisystem.com

24 Simple and Easy Quinoa Recipes

24 Simple and Easy Quinoa Recipes

Quinoa is often called a “;superfood,”; but you can think of it as a hard-working everyday staple for your healthy recipes.

Quinoa (say it “;keen-wah”;) is considered a whole grain, although it’s technically a seed. Like other SmartCarbs, it”;s high in fiber and low in calories. According to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, a half-cup serving also fuels you up with four grams of protein–;in fact, it”;s one of the few plant foods that’s a “complete” protein, including all nine essential amino acids.1

Quinoa has a chewy texture and a lightly nutty flavor that blends well with many other ingredients. It comes in different colors, including red, white, yellow and even black.

Quinoa is the perfect swap for rice in your recipes. However, it”;s so versatile that we keep discovering new ways to enjoy it! We”;ve gathered this list of two dozen fresh recipes for putting quinoa to work for you, from breakfast to dinner and everything in between.

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1. One-Pan Vegetarian Mexican Quinoa >

One-Pan Vegetarian Mexican Quinoa

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 PowerFuel, 1 SmartCarb, 3 Extras and ½ Vegetable

Mexican flavors light up all of our taste buds, turning any meal into a fiesta. This simple dish features zesty onions, spicy jalapenos, tangy tomatoes and creamy avocado, blended with fiber-rich beans, chunks of veggie burger and a filling serving of quinoa. Bonus: When you”;re done making the meal, you have just one pan to clean!

2. Roasted Jalapeno Quinoa and Chickpea Salad >

Roasted Jalapeno Quinoa and Chickpea Salad

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 SmartCarb, 2 Extras and ½ Vegetable

Roasting seasoned chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) crisps them up and infuses them with flavor. Mix them with chopped peppers–;both sweet and spicy–;cubes of avocado, onions, spices and a cup of quinoa to make a satisfying salad. Each batch is four servings–;you can keep the extras in your fridge and bring one along wherever your day takes you.

3. Blueberry Quinoa Salad >

Blueberry Quinoa Salad

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 SmartCarb and 2 Extras

If you”;re tired of the same old salad, try this flavorful combo. It blends the flavors of juicy berries, zesty arugula, tangy goat cheese, sweet corn and sunny lemon vinaigrette dressing with a filling base of hearty quinoa. This dish is a taste of summer you”;ll enjoy any time of year.

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4. 4-Ingredient Quinoa Chocolate Bars >

4-Ingredient Quinoa Chocolate Bars

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 SmartCarb

Who knew this list of quinoa recipes would feature chocolate bars? You can have a chewy chocolate bar and stay on track with your healthy eating plan when you make this super-simple version. After lightly “;popping”; the quinoa to bring out its toasty flavor (yes, you can pop quinoa!), you stir it into a warm blend of real cocoa powder, natural sweetener and coconut oil. Pour it all into a pan and refrigerate, then cut into bars and dig in.

5. Black Bean Pumpkin Quinoa Soup >

Black Bean Pumpkin Quinoa Soup

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 SmartCarb, 1 PowerFuel

Creamy pumpkin soup, fragrant with spices, warms you up from the inside out. With hearty beans, plenty of quinoa and a dollop of cheese, this version will keep you feeling full for hours.

6. Fig Salad with Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette >

Fig Salad with Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 PowerFuel, 1 SmartCarb, 3 Extras and 3 Vegetables

Figs are naturally sweet, loaded with nutrients and packed with fiber. They perfectly complement the diverse tastes and textures of kale and arugula, red onion and quinoa. Add creamy cheese and our flavorful vinaigrette to create a salad that satisfies like a whole meal.

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7. Italian Chicken Casserole >

Italian Chicken Casserole

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 PowerFuel, 1 SmartCarb and 1 Vegetable

Here”;s a Flex meal that”;s sure to please everyone around the table. It comes with chunks of high-protein chicken breast, tangy tomatoes, zesty onions, tender cauliflower florets and fiber-rich quinoa. Melt mozzarella cheese on top and dinner is ready to serve.

8. Watermelon Summer Salad with Quinoa >

Watermelon Summer Salad with Quinoa

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 SmartCarb and 1 PowerFuel

Sweltering days call for light dishes that fill you up but don”;t weigh you down. This refreshing salad features juicy, sweet watermelon and strawberries, crunchy almonds, crumbly feta cheese and quinoa that holds it all together. The recipe makes two servings, so you have one to share or to save for another day.

9. Hawaiian Honey Ham and Quinoa Salad >

Hawaiian Honey Ham and Quinoa Salad

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 2 PowerFuels, 1 SmartCarb and 3 Extras

Treat yourself and your family to a taste of the tropics with a meal that”;s flavored with real pineapple. Meat lovers will be pleased with the slices of cooked ham and everyone will enjoy digging into the sweet grain salad that includes raisins and carrots, along with the nutty quinoa.

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10. Instant Pot Breakfast Cereal >

Instant Pot Breakfast Cereal

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 PowerFuel, 1 SmartCarb and 1 Extra

Take your everyday oatmeal to the next level by adding quinoa and seasoning it all with cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and naturally sweet maple syrup. Mix in apple pieces and crunchy chia seeds to add more flavor and texture. Best of all, this hot breakfast recipe cooks in minutes in the Instant Pot, so you can enjoy it on even the busiest of mornings.

11. Sweet and Salty Quinoa Granola Bars >

Sweet and Salty Quinoa Granola Bars

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 SmartCarb, 1 PowerFuel

When you”;re ready for a snack that fuels you up and tempts your taste buds, whip up a batch of these simple granola bars. They”;re made with just six basic ingredients, including creamy peanut butter, roasted peanut pieces and sweet honey. The recipe makes 10 bars, so you can keep them on hand to enjoy whenever hunger strikes.

12. Quinoa Cucumber Salad >

Quinoa Cucumber Salad

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 SmartCarb, 1½ Vegetables, 2½ Extras

The best quinoa salad recipes offer you a delightful blend of complementary tastes and textures. In this easy dish, we combined chewy quinoa with juicy cucumbers, along with red onion and fresh herbs such as mint and parsley. It”;s filling enough to be a whole lunch but also works as a side to your favorite PowerFuel at dinner.

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13. PB&J Quinoa Cups >

PB&J Quinoa Cups

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 SmartCarb, 1 PowerFuel and 1 Extra

Here”;s a treat that will satisfy a craving for sweets and nourish you with real food ingredients at the same time. Popped quinoa is the light and fluffy base to which you add rich peanut butter, vanilla, natural sweetener and your favorite berries. Chill the cups in the freezer and they”;re ready to eat.

14. Quinoa Crusted Chicken >

Quinoa Crusted Chicken

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 2 PowerFuels and ½ SmartCarb

If you”;re a fan of fried chicken, try this healthier option that”;s just as satisfying. The coating is made with high-fiber quinoa instead of breadcrumbs, but the chicken still comes out crispy on the outside yet juicy and tender on the inside. Plus, it bakes in the oven so there”;s none of the greasy mess or excessive fat you get when frying chicken.

15. Salmon Tahini Power Bowl >

Salmon Tahini Power Bowl

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 SmartCarb, 2 PowerFuels, 1 Vegetable and 2 Extras

Power bowl recipes are all the rage because they bring together all the elements of a healthy meal into one simple dish. This version starts with a base of quinoa and includes super-nutritious kale, fiber-rich chickpeas and tender baked salmon, a PowerFuel that will keep you energized for hours. The simple tahini dressing provides the flavorful finish.

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16. Veggie Quinoa Breakfast Bake >

Veggie Quinoa Breakfast Bake

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 PowerFuel, 1 SmartCarb and 1 Vegetable

Break up your breakfast routine with this hearty bake. It”;s made with cottage cheese and egg whites, tomatoes, onions, spinach and mushrooms, so every forkful comes with a variety of tastes and textures. It”;s so filling you won”;t think about eating again until lunchtime.

17. Teriyaki Chicken Sushi Burrito >

Teriyaki Chicken Sushi Burrito

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 SmartCarb, 1 PowerFuel and 2 Extras

This mash-up of cuisines features several favorite ingredients in one satisfying meal. In place of the plain old white flour tortilla, you start with nori, the classic sushi-roll wrapper. It”;s filled with shredded chicken, quinoa (instead of white rice), avocado slices and asparagus pieces, all seasoned with sweet-and-tangy teriyaki sauce.

18. Italian Vegetable Quinoa Bake >

Italian Vegetable Quinoa Bake

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 SmartCarb and 1 PowerFuel

If you think all Italian food is heavy and loaded with excess calories, this dish is sure to change your mind. It has everything you love, like mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce and fresh basil, but it also includes veggies like cauliflower and zucchini, and quinoa to fill you up without weighing you down. Each serving has less than 200 calories.

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19. Slow Cooker Quinoa Carrot Breakfast Bowl >

Slow Cooker Quinoa Carrot Breakfast Bowl

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 Smart Carb and 1 PowerFuel

On those days when you need a hearty breakfast to fuel a hectic morning, put the slow cooker to work by making this belly-filling dish. Just add the ingredients, including quinoa, shredded carrots and zucchini, coconut, almond milk and sweet spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg. You get six servings, so you can store the extra in your fridge or freezer for other busy days.

20. Beetroot and Quinoa Superfood Salad >

Beetroot and Quinoa Superfood Salad

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 SmartCarb, 1 PowerFuel, 2 Vegetables and 1 Extra

Want to turbocharge your daily diet with quinoa recipes? This super-nutritious dish powers you up with three potent ingredients–;beets, kale and quinoa. But the best part is the taste, with the naturally sweet beets contrasting with the earthy flavor of crunchy kale and the nuttiness of quinoa. Creamy feta cheese and a simple but tasty dressing tie it all together.

21. Healthy Edamame Quinoa Burgers >

Healthy Edamame Quinoa Burgers

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 SmartCarb and 1 PowerFuel

Veggie burgers are a great alternative to fatty meat patties, but many store-bought varieties can come with unwelcome fillers and empty calories. With this recipe and cooked quinoa, it”;s easy to make your own burgers. We added edamame, the high-protein soybean variety, and savory seasonings, so they”;re sure to hit the spot.

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22. Veggie Power Bowl >

Veggie Power Bowl

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 PowerFuel, 1 SmartCarb, 2 Vegetables and 2 Extras

Whether you”;re trying to eat more meatless meals or just want to get more non-starchy veggies into your daily diet, this dish will satisfy your hunger and your taste buds. Along with quinoa, it has slices of zesty red onions, sweet peppers, butternut squash and crunchy pumpkin seeds.

23. Green Goddess Salad >

Green Goddess Salad

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 PowerFuel, 1 Vegetable and 2 Extras

Greens like Brussels sprouts and kale are some of the most nutrient-dense foods, meaning they”;re loaded with essential vitamins and minerals, but low in calories. We paired them with protein-rich quinoa and edamame, along with sliced almonds and shaved Parmesan cheese, to build a salad that”;s as delicious as it is nutritious.

24. 4-Step Chicken Parm Soup >

4-Step Chicken Parm Soup

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 2 PowerFuel, 1 SmartCarb and 1 Vegetable

When you”;re craving the flavors of classic Chicken Parm and the warming power of soup, you”;re ready for one of our favorite meals. You get everything you love, including chunks of tender chicken breast, tomatoes, garlic, onions and plenty of melted mozzarella cheese. It all comes together in four easy steps and one pot.

No time to make one of these easy quinoa recipes?

No problem! Nutrisystem delivers delicious meals and snacks that feature this superfood seed. Check them out below!:

Black Bean Quinoa Bowl >
Red Beans and Rice With Quinoa >
Roasted Red Pepper Pesto & Chicken Flatbread >
Sweet Ginger Veggie and Grain Blend >
Mediterranean Flatbread >
Mango Verde Veggie and Grain Blend >
BBQ Caramelized Onion and Bacon Flatbread >
Harvest Grain Bowl >
Smoky BBQ Crisps >

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Sources:

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/quinoa/

The post 24 Simple and Easy Quinoa Recipes appeared first on The Leaf.

Read more: leaf.nutrisystem.com

Feeling Stressed? 9 Foods That Make You Happy

Feeling Stressed? 9 Foods That Make You Happy

There are just some foods that make us happy. Whether we love their taste or because they remind of us of good times, it’s no secret that food can bring comfort. However, those comfort foods are oftentimes unhealthy snacks and sweets that crush your weight loss goals. They give us a quick blip of joy that”;s gone moments after we”;re done eating. When you’re feeling stressed, you need foods with powerful nutrients that lift your mood and energize your day.

Our wellness and nutrition experts at The Leaf have reviewed the research and put together this list of nine foods that have been shown to boost mood and prevent stress, so you’re ready to deal with whatever comes your way. We”;ve also included fresh and healthy meal prep ideas for you to enjoy these stress relieving foods with family and friends! Another reason to be happy? Each of these foods that reduce stress can also help you stay on track with your weight loss and wellness goals!

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If you’re feeling stressed, add these nine happy foods to your shopping list ASAP:
1. Eggs

stressed The Leaf foods to help

Why: Eggs yolks are one of the few food sources of vitamin D, says Healthline. According to nutritional research, published in Nutrients, studies show that vitamin D deficiency is correlated with an eight to 14 percent increase in depression. However, eggs come with more than just a healthy supply of vitamin D. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that one large egg provides you with about six grams of protein that fuels you up for a productive day.

Try: Skinny Avocado Egg Salad Sandwich is rich and creamy yet low in calories. It”;s easy to whip up in minutes so you can have a satisfying Flex lunch that doesn”;t weigh you down.

2. Fish

healthy fish

Why: Salmon, albacore tuna and other fatty fish are rich in two types of omega-3 fatty acids–;docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). These nutrients can “;travel through the brain cell membrane and interact with mood-related molecules inside the brain,”; says Harvard Health Publishing. “;They also have anti-inflammatory actions that may help relieve depression.”;

Try: 3-Step Tuna Patties are an amazing healthy recipe and meal prep option that’s loaded with protein. These Tuna Patties act as the perfect hearty entrée or sandwich filler for your weight loss menu.

Check out the Diet and Nutrition section on The Leaf to learn about five seafood staples you should be eating along your weight loss journey! >

3. Yogurt

stressed The Leaf foods to help

Why: Nutrients often work together in our bodies. For instance, calcium helps us process vitamin D. That may help explain why women who eat a diet high in calcium are less likely to be depressed than those who don”;t, according to a study, published in Nutrition Research and Practices. Calcium is also essential for regulating metabolism, which affects our energy levels throughout the day. Plain nonfat Greek yogurt–;a PowerFuel that”;s high in protein and low in calories–;gives you 250 milligrams of calcium in a one eight-ounce serving, says the USDA.

Try: Chunky Monkey Yogurt Parfait brings together high-fiber banana slices, peanut butter, nuts and low-sugar cacao nibs to create a dessert that satisfies your cravings without hindering your weight loss progress.

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4. Beans

stressed The Leaf foods to help

Why: People who eat foods rich in magnesium may have a decreased risk of depression when compared to people who don’t eat enough of this essential mineral, conclude the authors of a study, published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. They theorize that magnesium helps to regulate certain systems within the brain that control stress response. So, if you’re feeling stressed, enjoy one cup of cooked black beans with your healthy meal. According to the USDA, this contains 120 milligrams of magnesium, about 30 percent of your daily requirement (depending on your age range). Beans of all kinds are also great for a high fiber diet, so you feel full for hours after eating them.

Try: You get plenty of magnesium and a sweet treat when you make a batch of our Four-Step Black Bean Brownies. Don”;t mention the beans and these rich, chocolaty bites are sure to bring a smile to just about every face in your household.

5. Beets

beets

Why: Beets are a natural source of betaine, a micronutrient that supports your brain”;s production of serotonin, says a report, published in the Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare. According to Healthline, beets also supply you with folic acid or Folate. “In addition to anemia and other health problems, folate deficiency may lead to the development of major depressive disorder (MDD),” says Psychology Today. These reasons alone make this root vegetable a perfect stress relieving food option!

Try: Roasted Rosemary Beets and Carrots marry the earthy sweet flavors (and appetizing colors) of two fiber-rich root vegetables into one filling side dish.

6. Mushrooms

stressed The Leaf foods to help

Why: All varieties of mushrooms are rich in tryptophan, says Mycoscience. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that your body needs to make a sufficient supply of serotonin. “;Low brain serotonin levels are associated with poor memory and depressed mood,”; according to an article, published in the journal Nutrients. Mushrooms are also a high fiber food and are low in calories. Plus, they”;re a non-starchy vegetable so you can eat as much of them as you want while staying on track to your weight loss goal.

Try: Check out our quick video on making Simple Stuffed Mushrooms, a snack that can turn any stressful day into a party.

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7. Asparagus

asparagus

Why: The tender green spears are another great vegetable source of tryptophan, says Health.com. According to Healthline, asparagus also provides you with plenty of folic acid. “Many studies, going back to the 1960s, show an elevated incidence of folate deficiency in patients with depression,” says the Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience.

Try: Grilled Asparagus Caesar Salad features the zesty flavors of Parmesan cheese, Dijon mustard and garlic on top of the smoky grilled spears, giving those familiar flavors a tasty new setting.

8. Blueberries

stressed The Leaf foods to help

Why: Flavonoids are phytonutrients (meaning they are found only in plants) that give blueberries their deep color. People who drank blueberry juice as part of a study reported more positive changes in their mood than those who drank a placebo, says the journal Nutrients. The researchers theorize, “;flavonoid consumption enhances cerebral blood flow, boosting executive functioning, and thus helping to inhibit cognitive features (i.e., rumination) that maintain depression.”

Try: Blueberry Green Tea Smoothie makes a filling breakfast or snack that”;s loaded with valuable nutrients and naturally sweet flavor.

9. Dark Chocolate

stressed The Leaf foods to help

Why: Science has confirmed what you probably already know: chocolate improves your mood. “;Cocoa polyphenols (micronutrients) enhance positive mood states,”; says researchers in the Journal of Psychopharmacology. Researchers believe that the polyphenols stimulate activity in the brain regions associated with pleasure and reward and boost serotonin. Of course, dark chocolate often comes with fats and sugar, so you need to limit your consumption while stressed to keep from derailing your weight loss journey.

Try: The Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt Nut Bar from Nutrisystem hits all the high notes for a snack–;salty, sweet and crunchy–;while keeping the calories and fat content to a minimum. Our healthy snacks can help you with your meal prepping and planning, eliminating another reason to be stressed. Plus, it has eight grams of fiber and six grams of protein, so it takes down hunger pangs while filling you up with rich, dark chocolate.

These seven healthy chocolate snack hacks will help you stay focused and on track with your weight loss goals if you”;re craving this sweet treat!

*Always speak with your doctor if you’re feeling overly stressed, sad or anxious.

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It’s National Pancake Day! 11 Healthy Pancake Recipes You’ll Skip “Snooze” For

It’s National Pancake Day! 11 Healthy Pancake Recipes You’ll Skip “Snooze” For

Who says pancakes have to be off limits when you’re trying to lose weight? Fluffy, sweet and warm pancakes topped with maple syrup are a menu item that might seem like a no no for those trying to lose weight. But we have great news for fans of this classic comfort food: You don’t have to swear off pancakes! You just have to find healthy pancake recipes, make smart ingredient swaps and be mindful of your portions.

Many traditional flapjack recipes call for large amounts of all-purpose flour, sugar, milk and butter, which aren’t exactly conducive to weight loss. That’s why we gave pancakes a nutritional flip with lighter, healthier recipes that are delicious and easy to whip up, providing the perfect reason to jump right out of bed.

Healthy Hacks: If you love the flavor of maple syrup, try to find a low-calorie or sugar-free syrup instead! Butter lover? Use a zero-calorie butter spray for the buttery flavor your craving.

Here are the healthy pancake recipes you’ll skip “snooze” for:

1. Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes >

Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes

Wake up with these cheery, lemony pancakes to brighten your morning and help to get you moving. Poppy seeds add a fun and fancy touch that will make you feel like you are dining at your favorite brunch spot!

2. Spinach Banana Pancakes >

Spinach Banana Pancakes

Our lean, green spinach are packed nutritious and delicious, featuring fiber-rich ingredients like whole wheat flour, banana and fresh spinach. Get creative with the toppings! We love them with blueberries but other fruits, nuts or even Greek yogurt would be super tasty.

3. Mini Pancake Bites >

Take your pancakes with you on the go with these mini pancake bites! Made in a muffin tin, they are a creative take on a classic that allows you to bring your flapjacks on the road. Sprinkle them with blueberries, strawberries or chocolate chips for a unique taste in every bite.

4. Coconut Mango Pancakes >

Coconut Mango Pancakes

Bring the taste of the tropics to your morning meal with a sweet, vegan pancake recipe that’s filled with the flavors of fresh mangoes and coconut milk. Topped with unsweetened shredded coconut, it’s the perfect plant-based pancake!

5. Pancake Breakfast Sandwich >

Pancake Breakfast Sandwich

Turn your flapjacks into a hearty and healthy sandwich! Stuffed between two homemade pancakes is a delicious layer of cheese eggs. It’s another unique twist on your favorite breakfast flavors!

6. 3-Ingredient Banana Pancakes >

If you wake up in the morning thinking about pancakes but don”;t want to go to too much fuss, keep this simple, yet mouthwatering, recipe on hand. Stir eggs, banana and cinnamon together for an easy, healthy batter that is ready to cook on a griddle in no time.

7. Easy Sweet Potato Pancakes >

Easy Sweet Potato Pancakes

Savor these delicious pancakes and enjoy the holiday feel of eating sweet potato pie all year. Made with nutritious sweet potatoes, egg whites, cinnamon and nutmeg, then served with sugar-free maple syrup, these indulgent-tasting pancakes are kind to your waistline and thoroughly enjoyable.

8. Red, White & Blueberry Pancakes >

Red, White and Blueberry Pancakes

Celebrate your independence from unhealthy breakfasts! Our protein-packed Red, White & Blueberry Pancakes feature Nutrisystem Vanilla Nutrisystem Shake. We top them with blueberries, strawberries and bananas for a patriotic pancake that’s filled with fresh flavor.

9. Mashed Potato Pancakes >

Mashed Potato Pancakes

Nutrisystem’s Loaded Mashed Potatoes are the base of these savory and simple pancakes. Combined with egg whites, baby spinach, chives, garlic and black pepper, they’re perfect topped with low-fat sour cream or plain Greek yogurt.

10. Easy Oatmeal Pancakes >

Easy Oatmeal Pancakes

Keep this staple pancake recipe on hand for mornings when you are seeking a little a.m. comfort food. Using a few basic ingredients, such as Nutrisystem”;s Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal, vanilla, baking soda, egg white and water, you can enjoy the coziness of fluffy pancakes and taste of warm, hearty oats in no time.

11. Irish “;Potato”; Pancakes >

Another unique potato pancake recipe that’s Nutrisystem-approved! Featuring vanilla, cinnamon, shredded coconut and topped with a cream cheese drizzle, the family will be asking for these perfect pancakes every morning.

Too busy to cook these healthy pancake recipes? We’ve got you covered with Nutrisystem’s own Homestyle Pancakes. They’re one of our customer’s favorite morning meals because they go heavy on flavor, not on guilt.

Do you have your own delicious pancake recipe that’s too good to share? Submit your creative creations on our Recipe Submission page! Your recipe could be featured right here on The Leaf Weight Loss Blog for others to enjoy. Click here to submit your recipes! >

The post It’s National Pancake Day! 11 Healthy Pancake Recipes You’ll Skip “Snooze” For appeared first on The Leaf.

Read more: leaf.nutrisystem.com