Zumba Dance: Pros and Cons You Can Expect

Zumba Dance: Pros and Cons You Can Expect

Zumba Dance: Pros and Cons You Can Expect HealthifyMe Blog HealthifyMe Blog – The definitive guide to weight loss, fitness and living a healthier life.

Zumba is the latest addition to fitness and dance; it is an aerobic dance program inspired by several Latin and American style dance forms such as hip-hop and salsa. Currently, there are 200,000 Zumba dance class locations in 180 countries globally. Unlike the traditional fitness classes where you hear grunts, you will hear Latin music in Zumba dance classes. Zumba is a Spanish word meaning to move fast and briskly. Alberto Beto Perez, a Colombian dancer, came up with the idea of Zumba dance. He started classes in the 90s in his home country. However, he officially founded the dance classes in 2001 in the USA. Since its release in 2001, Zumba dance classes have grown exponentially in terms of the fitness programs they offer. Let’s take a look below:

Types of Zumba Dance Classes

There is a wide range of Zumba dance fitness programs that you can choose from. Some of the most popular programs are:

Zumba Step: It is similar to standard Zumba dance but with a few more aerobic steps for quick leg movements. If you want to tone your legs into shape, Zumba step is the one for you.Zumba Toning: Adds some part of traditional strength training using toning (lightweight) sticks.ZumbaKids: These are Zumba classes specifically designed for kids. The ZumbaKids classes have added flavor of games and activities so that kids can enjoy Zumba dance classes.Zumba Gold: These classes are dedicated to older people. It is similar to traditional Zumba but with low intensity.Aqua Zumba: Brings the crazy Zumba fun to the pool. Aqua Zumba is more intense as you need to make your moves inside water.Strong by Zumba: Zumba does not provide much strength benefits, but the new program Strong by Zumba is a high-intensity hybrid workout that brings together dancing with strength workouts. It involves routines like push-ups, squats, and lunges choreographed on the tune of beats.

What are the Pros of Zumba Dance?

The Zumba dance fitness program starts with slow music and gradually increases intensity over time. This helps you to burn calories, enhance cardiovascular health, and improve coordination and balance. Below mentioned are some of the health benefits of Zumba dance classes.

#1 Burn Calories and Fat

Burns calories and fat

Zumba involves the entire body’s movement. You will move everything right from your hands to feet. Also, the dance routine is pretty quick and simple. Hence, Zumba can help you burn calories and reduce fat. You can expect to burn anywhere between 500 to 800 calories in an hour. The entire body routine eliminates the stress on muscles and improves your fitness.

#2 Improve Cardiovascular Fitness

Improves cardiovascular fitness

It is essential to keep your heart in good shape, and Zumba dance helps you with just that. Dance moves in Zumba makes your heart pump faster. The quick movements from the Zumba routine forces you to breathe hard; this, in turn, makes your lungs to add more oxygen into the blood, which gets circulated throughout your body. The more you breathe, the higher your energy level goes and keeps you fit.

#3 Enhance Core Endurance

improves core endurance

Your core endurance will increase if you continue to do Zumba dance regularly, as almost every muscle of your body moves during the dance workout and your core has to work continuously to stabilize the body.

#4 Control/Decrease Blood Pressure

Regulates blood pressure

Obesity makes one, more vulnerable to high blood pressure. The more your body weight increases, the more you will likely catch hypertension (high blood pressure). Even a small amount of weight loss can make a significant difference in the risk of getting hypertension. Since Zumba dance helps reduce weight, they are among the best ways to control/decrease blood pressure.

#5 Psychological Benefits

Psychological benefits

Zumba also has psychological benefits. It is a fun workout. Since you will be focusing on music and your steps during the Zumba dance workout, you will most likely forget all your tension. This will reduce mental pressure and help relieve stress. While working out, the body releases endorphins, and endorphins make one happy! Zumba will also make you more active socially. All the workouts are performed in groups. Hence, you can easily interact with other people around you.

#6 Workout Entire Body

While people do take the help of a routine choreography, there is no right or wrong way to do Zumba. The prime focus for anyone who participates is to move their body as quickly and swiftly as possible. This requires movement throughout the body. Put simply, Zumba dance gives a workout to your entire body.

#7 Improves Metabolism

Digestive Health

The entire body workout and general health benefits of Zumba help improve your metabolism. The workout enhances your blood circulation, thereby improving your metabolism and immunity.

#8 Long-term Engagement

Harder than starting any form of exercise is to continue doing it. The results you get out of any workout routine is how much dedication and consistency you show. Traditional workouts can become a bore if you are not a fitness freak. However, Zumba, on the other hand, is a fun exercise to do. This helps you keep engaged for a more extended period for better results.

Zumba dance classes during this pandemic? Well, it’s possible only with Healthify Studio! Click here to know more.

What are the Cons of Zumba Dance?

Zumba dance offers several benefits, but it’s not all pluses. Along with the advantages, you also need to be aware of the disadvantages of Zumba. Here are some of the cons of Zumba dance.

#1 May Suffer Dehydration

Zumba has a quick routine to follow. You will move almost every muscle in your body while performing the Zumba dance. This will cause a lot of sweating, and a lot of movement with little breaks, leading to dehydration if you don’t drink enough water while dancing.

#2 Hard to Learn and Remember

Zumba dance is inspired by Latin dance styles that need coordination and rhythm. Hence, it can be challenging to perform. Also, the routine is fast and makes remembering the steps a challenge for you. This can lead to wrong movements that can be risky for your bones and muscles.

#3 Does not Improve Muscle Strength

Zumba dance is undoubtedly one of the best ways to improve your aerobic endurance, but it does not provide much benefit in terms of muscle strength. You need weighted exercises to gain strength.

Summary

An effective Zumba dance routine will help you to tone your body efficiently. But, it is imperative to understand that Zumba alone will not get you in shape. Hence, you should opt for a routine that involves both Zumba dance and traditional strength exercises. A combined routine will help improve your overall fitness, which in turn will help you to lead a long and healthy life. So, if you love dancing and are looking to get back into shape, join a Zumba fitness program. Keep dancing and keep enjoying it!x

The post Zumba Dance: Pros and Cons You Can Expect appeared first on HealthifyMe Blog.

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Home for the Holidays? 6 Activities for a Healthy Holiday at Home

Home for the Holidays? 6 Activities for a Healthy Holiday at Home

The holidays sure do look a little different this year. However, you can still have some old fashioned family fun! If you’re home for the holidays, try some of these fun activities for a healthy holiday at home.

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1. Bake some homemade goodies.

mom and daughter baking cookies. holiday activities

It just isn’t the holiday season without some homemade holiday treats! Grab your apron and whip up some healthy baked goods that fit into your Nutrisystem plan. Got a sweet tooth? Try these 16 healthy and easy holiday cookie recipes! > Looking for something a little more savory? Check out these 11 healthy bread recipes! > They’re so delicious, the whole family will want some.

2. Have a Christmas movie marathon and game night.

couple watching Christmas movie

If you’re staying in with your family, you can celebrate the holiday with some classic holiday movies and board games. They are the perfect activities for family bonding! Looking for some healthy snacks to enjoy during your movie marathon? The Leaf Weight Loss Blog has plenty of healthy ideas! Check out these nine festive treats that are healthy and easy to make. >

3. Build a gingerbread house.

family building gingerbread house.

Gingerbread is a holiday classic that we all love. If you’re staying home this holiday season, consider building a homemade gingerbread house with the family. Many stores even sell gingerbread house kits that are easy to assemble! Make it your own unique creation by adding in some sugar-free candies or holiday sprinkles. Looking for more gingerbread goodness? Try the healthy recipes below!:

Instant Pot Gingerbread Cheesecake >
Healthy Gingerbread Freezer Fudge >
Coconut-Covered Gingerbread Bites >
Whole Wheat Gingerbread Bundt Cake >

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4. Play in the snow.

family building snowman. holiday activities

If you’re lucky enough to enjoy a white Christmas where you live, get outside and enjoy some fun winter activities this holiday! Get the kiddos out of the house and build a snowman, make snow angels or even have a snowball fight. Just don’t forget to bundle up!

5. Try some holiday crafts.

kid making holiday crafts. family reading a book at Christmas. holiday activities

The internet is filled with creative holiday crafts that you can make with the family. A quick online search will provide loads of inspiration! From homemade Christmas tree ornaments and decorations to holiday gifts and cards, there is no shortage of ideas to try. As your kids get older, you’re sure to treasure them for years to come!

6. Sing Christmas carols or read a book by the fire.

family reading a book at Christmas. holiday activities

Ahh, Christmas music. It just isn’t the holidays without the classic songs we all know and love. Get your family together and sing your favorite songs by the fire! You could even put on a virtual performance for the family and friends you aren’t able to see. Not into singing? Read some books or have a holiday family dance party instead!

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The post Home for the Holidays? 6 Activities for a Healthy Holiday at Home appeared first on The Leaf.

Read more: leaf.nutrisystem.com

10 Foods High in Vitamin C

10 Foods High in Vitamin C

Vitamin C is one of the most talked-about nutrients. Most of us are aware that it is essential for our health and immune system, but do you know why or how much of it you need each day? How can you be sure that you are getting enough? These days, it”;s more important than ever to maintain a healthy supply of vitamin C, so we”;ve put together this quick guide to everything you need to know about it and how you can get it from your daily diet.

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Why is Vitamin C Important?

Healing wounds. According to the National Institutes of Health, your body uses vitamin C to produce collagen, proteins that form the primary structure of skin, cartilage and other soft tissues. When you suffer from a wound or bruise, your body replenishes the damaged area with fresh collagen.

Cancer protection. Vitamin C is an antioxidant. This means that it helps to neutralize “;free radical”; cells that damage healthy cells, blocking the first step in a chain reaction that may lead to cancer. “Epidemiologic evidence suggests that higher consumption of fruits and vegetables is associated with lower risk of most types of cancer, perhaps, in part, due to their high vitamin C content,” says the National Institutes of Health.

Heart disease reduction. People who don”;t consume enough vitamin C are more likely to suffer from cardiovascular diseases, such as atherosclerosis, the condition in which arteries are clogged with excess cholesterol, according to a report from the National Institutes of Health.

Immune system support. We all are looking to give our bodies extra protection from infectious diseases. According to research, published in the journal Nutrients, “Vitamin C contributes to immune defense by supporting various cellular functions of both the innate and adaptive immune system.”

Weight loss. Leptin is a hormone that lets your body know when you”;ve eaten enough food to satisfy its needs. According to the Journal of Molecular Endocrinology, vitamin C helps to regulate leptin levels in your body, ensuring that you don”;t overeat. A steady supply of vitamin C helps you stay on track with your weight loss plan.

How Much Vitamin C Do You Need?

Your body cannot produce its own vitamin C, so you need to get it from the food you eat. The National Institutes of Health has recommended these daily consumption levels:

90 mg for adult males
75 mg for females
85 mg for pregnant women
120 mg for breastfeeding women
An additional 35 mg for people who smoke

Always speak to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about your vitamin C status, needs or supplements.

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10 Foods High in Vitamin C:

The best sources for vitamin C are real foods. Supplements are available, but food comes with other essential nutrients, says Harvard Health Publishing. The National Institutes of Health provides a list of vitamin C-rich foods that can be incorporated into a healthy diet. We chose our top 10 favorite picks for your Nutrisystem plan and provided some delicious and fresh ideas for enjoying them.

1. Red Peppers

Sliced red bell peppers

You get the highest concentration of vitamin C per serving in these colorful sweet red bell peppers. Orange, yellow and green peppers are also rich sources of the nutrient.

Try this: Roasted Red Pepper & Turkey Pinwheel Wraps make a quick and satisfying Flex lunch you can take on the go.

2. Oranges

Slices oranges and grapefruits

Citrus fruits, including oranges, grapefruit and lemons, are another vitamin C-rich food source. While you get plenty of vitamin c from fresh-squeezed juice, eating the whole fruit also provides fiber that helps you feel full long after you”;re finished.

Try this: Cacao Citrus Salad is a colorful breakfast or light lunch that brings together a mix of vitamin-C rich fruit flavored with maple, vanilla, and cacao nibs.

3. Strawberries

Strawberries in a bowl vitamin C

These bite-sized treats are high in fiber as well as vitamin C and other key nutrients. You can eat the strawberries whole, add them to smoothies or in other dishes.

Try this: When you”;re looking for a cool and creamy snack that fits your weight loss plan and gives you just about a whole day”;s supply of vitamin C, whip up a batch of our 2-Ingredient Strawberry Froyo.

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4. Broccoli

Broccoli florets ready to cook in a pot vitamin C

You probably already know that non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli are a critical part of your daily diet because they are high in fiber and nutrients yet low in calories. Enjoy broccoli raw or lightly steamed. You can even add it to many of your favorite Nutrisystem meals!

Try this: Broccoli and Cheese Breakfast Muffins are a tasty way to start your day with a healthy serving of vegetables.

5. Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts served in a bowl.

These bite-sized members of the cabbage family are one of most nutrient-dense foods, meaning they are packed with a wide range of nutrients but are very low in calories. They taste their best in fall, after a light chill has sweetened their flavor.

Try this: The whole family will love the gooey goodness of our 4-Step Cheesy Brussels Sprouts Bake.

6. Cantaloupe

Sliced cantaloupe on a plate vitamin C

The orange-fleshed melon is so sweet and juicy you don”;t need another reason to eat it often, but you”;ll also be glad that it loads you up with vitamin C and fiber. For a refreshing drink, freeze cantaloupe cubes and add them to low-sodium seltzer.

Try this: Grilling adds another layer of flavor to cantaloupe. Cut the flesh into cubes (with rind removed) and slide them on to skewers. Cook them over medium heat for four to six minutes, turning frequently. Check out our other ideas for grilled fruit! >

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7. Cauliflower

Multi-colored cauliflower florets

It”;s easier than ever to get your daily vitamin C from cauliflower because there are so many delicious ways to eat it–;raw with dip, steamed or roasted, ground into rice-like grains, whipped with potatoes, and even rolled into pizza crust.

Try this: 5-Ingredient Buffalo Cauliflower Bread Sticks are a festive snack that you can serve for a celebration or enjoy any day of the week.

8. Kiwi

Sliced and whole kiwis on a table vitamin C

These fuzzy fruits are perfectly portable. They are great for throwing in your lunch bag for a quick and easy snack. Just slice them in half, grab a spoon and scoop out the sweet, green flesh. Add them to plain, non-fat Greek yogurt for a slightly sweet and sour twist.

Try this: You get two vitamin-C rich foods in the Kiwi Strawberry Slushie, yet it counts as only one SmartCarb on the Nutrisystem weight loss plan.

9. Tomatoes

Farm fresh whole cherry tomatoes vitamin C

As a sandwich topping, in a salad or in marinara sauce, tomatoes come with plenty of vitamin C, along with a powerful antioxidant known as lycopene, says Healthline. Be sure to eat the skin, where many of the nutrients are found.

Try this: With an instant pot, you can enjoy a warm and delicious Tomato Basil Frittata in under 30 minutes.

10. Pineapple

Woman slicing pineapple vitamin C

If you love tropical flavors, pineapple is a delicious source for your daily vitamin C, says Healthline. Many grocery stores now sell it already sliced and ready to eat, so you don”;t have to deal with figuring out when it”;s perfectly ripe and juicy.

Try this: Cinnamon Sugar Air Fryer Grilled Pineapple is crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, and sweet and cinnamon-y in every bite.

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The post 10 Foods High in Vitamin C appeared first on The Leaf.

Read more: leaf.nutrisystem.com

20 Healthy Recipes You Can Make for the Whole Family

20 Healthy Recipes You Can Make for the Whole Family

Cooking up delicious, nourishing meals for your family is one of the best ways to keep everybody at home healthy and happy. It”;s surprisingly easy to make dishes that every member of the family will enjoy while you stay on track to your weight loss goal. To inspire you, we”;ve gathered 20 of our favorite healthy family recipes that are Nutrisystem-approved. They”;re made with ingredients you can find in any grocery store and they don”;t require hours in the kitchen to prepare. Some of them are sure to become new favorites for your family.

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Here are 20 healthy recipes the whole family will enjoy:
1. Cauliflower Breakfast Hash Skillet >

Cauliflower breakfast hash healthy family recipe

Calories per Serving: 164

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

A warm and hearty family breakfast is the perfect start to a busy day. However, it can be hard to find the time in the morning to cook for your family. When you are all home, you can treat everyone (and yourself) to a skillet full of savory flavors that features everybody”;s favorites, bacon and eggs. We made ours with turkey bacon (no one will notice it”;s lower in fat than the usual kind) and fragrant peppers and onions. The base is fiber-rich cauliflower rice–;now found in the produce and frozen food sections at many supermarkets. It absorbs the rich flavors of the other ingredients and leaves you all feeling full for hours after breakfast time ends.

Bonus: You begin the day with one of your daily four servings of vegetables already done.

2. Three-Step Chicken Zucchini Nuggets >

Healthy Chicken Zucchini Nuggets Snack Ideas family recipes

Calories per Serving: 138

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 PowerFuel, ½ Vegetable and ½ Extra

The tempting aroma of fresh-from-the-oven chicken nuggets is sure to bring the whole family into the kitchen. With just six healthy ingredients and three easy steps, you can whip up a batch of these nuggets as a delicious meal idea or quick snack recipe your gang will love. The tasty little bites are crispy on the outside and, thanks to the grated zucchini, they stay tender and moist on the inside. You can make them on your stovetop or in the oven.

Bonus: You get to enjoy a serving of six, which has just 138 calories.

3. Bell Pepper Nachos >

The Leaf Healthy Nachos with bell pepper

Calories per Serving: 141

On Nutrisystem, Count As: ½ PowerFuel, 1 Extra and 1 Vegetable

Crunchy peppers, creamy cheese and zesty salsa come together to create this fresh take on classic nachos. Each colorful mini pepper is stuffed with avocado, salsa and beans, then topped with cheese. Pop this healthy nacho recipe in the oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese and you”;ve got a bite-sized snack for the whole family. These nachos could even be an appetizer before making a low calorie Cinco de Mayo dinner! The kids won”;t mind this serving of vegetables and its immune-boosting nutrients.

Bonus: Spice up these nachos with a dash of chili powder to pump up the flavor and boost your metabolism. Learn more about the benefits of spicy food. >

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4. Creamy Clam Chowder >

Low Calorie Homemade Clam Chowder

Calories per Serving: 240

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

Even when you”;re not at the beach, you can bring a little bit of the seashore to your table when you make a batch of this homemade clam chowder. Look near the canned tuna in your supermarket to find minced clams that will give your soup that authentic flavor. For even fewer calories and fat, you can make the soup with unsweetened almond, soy or coconut milk instead of the usual dairy milk.

Bonus: Double up on the recipe and freeze half of the soup to enjoy on a day when you don”;t have time to cook.

5. Sweet and Sour Chicken >

The Leaf healthy family recipes sweet and sour chicken

Calories per Serving: 440

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

No need to call for takeout to enjoy this popular Asian-style dish. Make some homemade sweet and sour chicken with tender chunks of lean chicken breast, sweet bell peppers and a tangy sauce that”;s simple to whip up. We kept all of the flavor you love but cut out all the excess calories and fats. That way your family will ask for more and you”;ll stay on track with your Nutrisystem weight loss plan.

Bonus: Serve this dish over brown instead of white rice for a healthy dose of belly-filling fiber.

6. Five-Ingredient Buffalo Cauliflower Breadsticks >

The Leaf Cauliflower Breadsticks Recipe

Calories per Serving: 116

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 PowerFuel and 1 Vegetable

Once your family tries this savory cauliflower breadsticks recipe, they”;ll ask for it again and again. The base is a perfectly chewy foundation for gooey melted cheese and zesty buffalo sauce. Only you need to know the dish starts with fiber-full cauliflower rice, which you can make yourself or find in the produce or frozen food sections of many grocery stores. The preparation takes a few minutes and these cauliflower breadsticks come out of the oven warm and fragrant in less than 30 minutes.

Bonus: For a different flavor, season these breadsticks with olive oil, garlic and oregano instead of the buffalo sauce and cheese.

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7. Air Fryer Honey Mustard Bites >

Air Fryer Chicken and Honey Mustard Bites

Calories per Serving: 144

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 PowerFuel and 2 Extras

An air fryer is a powerful tool for cooking homemade dishes that everyone will be happy to dig into. For instance, you can use it to make these crispy chicken bites paired with the sweet and tangy flavors of honey mustard. The air fryer cooks them quickly and easily but doesn”;t load you up with the extra calories and fats you get from deep-fried foods. Each batch makes six delicious servings.

Bonus: With the air fryer, there”;s no messy oil to splatter in your kitchen.

8. Eggplant Margherita Pizza >

Healthy Pizza Recipe with Eggplant

Calories per Serving: 120

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 PowerFuel and 1 Vegetable

Yes, you can enjoy family pizza night and stay on track to your weight loss goal. With this healthy pizza recipe, firm slices of eggplant are the substitute for the carb-heavy dough. They”;re topped with zesty marinara sauce and melted cheese and come bubbling out of the oven with just 120 calories per serving. Best of all, you get four (yes four!) slices per serving of this pizza.

Bonus: Eggplant is rich in polyphenols, phytochemicals that can help reduce your risk of diabetes, according to the International Journal of Molecular Sciences.

9. Buffalo Blue Cauliflower Mac and Cheese >

Healthy Cauliflower Mac and Cheese Family Recipes

Calories per Serving: 169

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

Vegetables can be a hard sell at many dinner tables. However, we all need the immune-boosting vitamins that you can only get from foods like cauliflower. So, here”;s the plan: heat cauliflower florets until they”;re as tender as cooked macaroni, then mix them in a cheesy sauce spiked with that spicy Buffalo wing flavor. Wait for the vegetable-haters to ask for seconds.

Bonus: You can use fresh or frozen cauliflower to reduce the carbohydrates in many family recipes.

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10. Zoodle Mac and Cheese with Roasted Veggies >

The Leaf healthy family recipes zucchini noodles

Calories per Serving: 156

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

Zoodles are spiralized zucchini and they”;re as much fun to slurp as your family”;s favorite spaghetti. You can find zoodles in the produce or frozen foods sections at many supermarkets, or you can make them yourself with a simple tool known as a spiralizer. In this recipe, we tossed zucchini noodles or “zoodles” with melted cheese and sweet and savory vegetables like onions, broccoli and peppers to make a filling dish for hungry families.

Bonus: Make your family recipes even more colorful with noodles made from spiralized carrots or beets.

11. Roasted Chicken with Rainbow Carrots and Potatoes >

The Leaf healthy family recipes roasted chicken

Calories per Serving: 253

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

Is there any place cozier than a home filled with the aroma of chicken slowly roasting in the oven? Maybe that”;s because everybody loves tender, juicy chicken, whether it”;s the drumsticks and wings or the lean breast meat (AKA the healthiest choice for you). Add carrots and potatoes and you”;ve got a meal that will satisfy the hungriest of appetites while leaving plenty of delicious soup options for leftovers!

Bonus: Prepping the whole meal takes minutes, then you get to relax while it all cooks at once.

12. Instant Pot Smoked Brisket >

The Leaf Instant Pot Brisket

Calories per Serving: 139

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 PowerFuel and 1 Extra

Brisket is the meat lovers”; choice because it is so flavorful and tender. Plus, it”;s loaded with protein, so everyone leaves the table feeling well-fed. A conventional version takes just about all day to cook. But with a handy instant pot and this epic dinner recipe, you get the deep, smoky flavor that meat lovers want in just over an hour. When buying the meat, ask for the leanest option available to keep the saturated fat to a minimum.

Bonus: Leftover brisket is delicious on sandwiches, salads and other family recipes.

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13. Sweet and Savory Spaghetti Squash Bowl >

The Leaf healthy family recipes spaghetti squash

Calories per Serving: 288

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

When everyone is craving a big, filling bowl of spaghetti, cook up the squash that looks like pasta but comes with less than 25 percent of the calories and carbs you get from conventional noodles, says the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The squash blends in with any flavors you add to it, whether it”;s classic tomato sauce or this version served with melt-in-your mouth roasted sweet potato chunks and creamy goat cheese.

Bonus: Make extra spaghetti squash and freeze it for the next time spaghetti is on the dinner menu.

14. Sweet Potato Hash Power Bowl >

The Leaf Family Breakfast Recipes

Calories per Serving: 242

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

Potato hash makes a filling breakfast to start your day. We took it up a notch by starting with super-nutritious sweet potatoes, along with savory peppers and onions. For a topping, add slices of creamy avocado and an egg made any way you’d like–;poached, scrambled or sunny-side up. Season to your family”;s taste with chili powder and gather the gang for a sit-down breakfast in the morning.

Bonus: There are no rules against eating breakfast favorites at dinner time.

15. Chicken Lettuce Wraps >

Chicken Lettuce Wraps Recipe for Families

Calories per Serving: 198

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

If your family likes Asian flavors, they”;ll wolf down this tasty chicken lettuce wraps recipe. Inside the crunchy lettuce leaves they”;ll get bites full of tender chicken, crispy water chestnuts and spunky green onions, all bathed in a tangy dressing made with fresh garlic and ginger. The lean chicken breast keeps the calorie count low without skimping on the satisfaction.

Bonus: For those in the family who don”;t care for lettuce wraps, just spoon the filling into any tortilla or wrap.

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16. Three-Step Tuna Patties >

The Leaf healthy family recipes tuna patty

Calories per Serving: 125

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 PowerFuel and 1 Extra

Fresh seafood can be costly when you”;re feeding the whole family. Consider using tuna packed in water, which can create these tasty tuna patties that are crispy on the outside, flaky on the inside and delicious from the first bite to the last. Just mix the tuna with zingy mustard, creamy mayonnaise, an egg, a few herbs and spices and breadcrumbs, then form it into patties. Sauté them for a few minutes and they”;re ready to eat on a sandwich, salad or as a dinner entrée like a crab cake!

Bonus: You can make these with canned salmon instead of tuna, if that”;s your family”;s preference.

17. Avocado Tuna Melt Panini >

The Leaf healthy family recipes Homemade Tuna Melt

Calories per Serving: 344

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 SmartCarb, 1 PowerFuel, 3 Extras and 1/2 a Vegetable

When your gang is wishing they could go out to the local bistro for a hot lunch, treat them to this grilled sandwich packed with flavorful tuna, melted cheese and juicy tomato. Instead of high-carb bread, use sandwich thins that get perfectly crispy on the griddle. Look for tuna that”;s packed in water and low in sodium to avoid extra oil and salt.

Bonus: If you don”;t have a panini maker, you can make this epic tuna melt on your stovetop or grill.

18. Broccoli and Cheese Breakfast Muffins >

The Leaf healthy family recipes

Calories per Serving: 247

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

Tired of the same old family recipes for breakfast? These cheese-laden muffins just might become a new go-to breakfast for your family. Made with high-fiber whole wheat flour, they are as filling as they are delicious. Using reduced fat cheese and fat-free milk keeps the calorie count down, so you get to eat two muffins per serving.

Bonus: Bake these muffins when you have the time and store them in the refrigerator (for up to a week) or in the freezer to heat up when you”;re ready to eat them.

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19. Cashew Cream Veggie Pasta >

The Leaf healthy vegan family recipes

Calories per Serving: 272

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

Many families today include a vegan or two around the table (maybe it”;s you), so you need good meal ideas that will please everyone. This pasta dish is made with cashew cream that”;s easy to prepare and high in healthy fats from the nuts. Add a few herbs and spices, toss with whole wheat fettuccini, fresh cherry tomatoes and spinach, then get ready to listen to the sound of lips smacking.

Bonus: Add a PowerFuel such as chicken or shrimp for those that crave animal protein.

20. French Onion Stuffed Chicken >

The Leaf healthy family recipes

Calories per Serving: 225

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 2 PowerFuels, 1 Vegetable and 1 Extra

Sophisticated family recipes don”;t have to take hours to prepare or require expert chef skills. You can transform ordinary chicken breasts into an entrée with the robust flavor of French onion soup in less than 45 minutes. You probably even have the required ingredients in your kitchen! Just slice open chicken breasts, fill them with mozzarella cheese and onions, sear them quickly and bake until the chicken is done.

Bonus: Chicken breast is a family-favorite protein, making this a dish that everyone will enjoy.

21 Breakfast Recipes for a Flex-Approved Start to Your Day

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The post 20 Healthy Recipes You Can Make for the Whole Family appeared first on The Leaf.

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Does Coffee Boost Metabolism? The Benefits of Coffee for Weight loss

Does Coffee Boost Metabolism? The Benefits of Coffee for Weight loss

“;Don”;t let anyone tell you that fairy tales aren”;t real,”; goes a popular internet meme. “;I drink a potion made of magic beans every day and it brings me back to life!”;

Of course, that magic potion is coffee. But its ability to perk you up isn”;t magic–;nor are the other health benefits of coffee. According to John Hopkins Medicine, “Recent studies found that coffee drinkers are less likely to die from some of the leading causes of death in women: coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease.” Research also shows that drinking coffee may stave off colon cancer, Parkinson’s disease, heart failure, Alzheimer’s disease and stroke.

Though you may associate coffee”;s health advantages with caffeine, science has identified hundreds of other substances–;anti-inflammatory flavonoids, vitamins and minerals–;that protect against disease, says FoodInsight.org, a website created by nutrition and food safety experts at the International Food Information Council.

From Frapps to Capps: 8 Coffee Types & How They Fit with Your Diet

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Does coffee boost metabolism and help you lose weight?

Coffee contains caffeine that may help you lose body fat. Yes, you heard that right. According to research from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, consuming four cups of coffee per day has been shown to decrease body fat by about four percent. The study was originally conducted to determine if coffee could decrease the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Researchers explain, “coffee did not affect the study participants”; sensitivity to insulin -; the hormone that regulates sugar levels in the blood. The study did yield an unexpected result: Drinking coffee was associated with a modest loss of body fat.” Scientists believe that the fat loss was caused by the caffeine in coffee increasing the study participants’ metabolism, causing them to burn more calories.

According to ScienceDaily, “Women who drink two or three cups of coffee a day have been found to have lower total body and abdominal fat than those who drink less, according to a new study published in The Journal of Nutrition.”

Healthline explains that caffeine has been shown to increase resting metabolic rate by increasing the breakdown of fat. “One study showed that caffeine increased fat burning by as much as 29% in lean people, while the increase was only about 10% in obese individuals,” says Healthline. Furthermore, an expert at Mayo Clinic credits coffee with potentially decreasing hunger and appetite for a short amount of time.

So, does coffee boost metabolism? From the research, it definitely seems possible. While it’s not going to magically help you drop pounds, coffee can still be incorporated in moderation into your healthy diet. (How much is too much? Click here! >) Just be sure to speak to your doctor before adding coffee and other caffeinated beverages into your routine to ensure it’s safe for you.

Black coffee is a Free Food on the Nutrisystem program and fat-free creamer is an Extra. If you like your coffee sweet, stick to a natural zero-calorie sweetener like Stevia for your cup of joe. You can also try these delicious coffee recipes to get a little more of this metabolism-boosting beverage into your diet:

1. Caramel Coffee Protein Shake >

caramel coffee protein shake. does coffee boost metabolism?

Our members and followers love to get creative with coffee! This user-generated recipe submitted by Leaf visitor, Judy, is one of our favorites. Get the best of your favorite coffee shop drink (with far fewer calories) with this scrumptious beverage. It combines cold coffee with Nutrisystem Vanilla Protein and Probiotic Shake mix, sugar-free caramel syrup and ice. Blitz it together in your blender for a perfect start to your day! This morning protein shake is only 142 calories and counts as one PowerFuel and one Extra on the Nutrisystem plan.

Hitting the Local Coffee Shop? What to Order to Stay on Track

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2. Coffee Balsamic Marinade >

coffee balsamic marinade. does coffee boost metabolism?

Did you know that coffee acts as a meat tenderizer? It”;s great for lean cuts of meat like flank steak which can be tough. Combined with balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, whole grain mustard and minced garlic, it imparts a unique, rich, savory flavor to the meat. The recipe makes four servings and each is only 48 calories. It counts as two Extras on Nutrisystem.

3. Morning Coffee Cacao Power Smoothie >

morning coffee cacao power smoothie

We’ve got another delicious morning beverage to start your day! Our Morning Coffee Cacao Power Smoothie can be enjoyed as a tasty breakfast or morning snack. This delicious smoothie has some surprises: a medium-sized frozen banana, frozen cauliflower and whey protein. A garnish of cacao nibs goes on top for extra chocolaty flavor. This great morning breakfast is only 199 calories and counts as one SmartCarb, one PowerFuel, one Extra and half of a Vegetable on Nutrisystem.

4. Mocha Coffee Overnight Oatmeal >

mocha coffee overnight oatmeal. does coffee boost metabolism?

The best part of this stimulating and comforting breakfast is that you make it the night before and leave it in the fridge in a Mason jar. Have it cold or warm it up in the morning for a quick and easy breakfast. It”;s a delicious blend of dry oats, brewed coffee, plain nonfat Greek yogurt, unsweetened cocoa, sliced almonds and chocolate chips. It will give you the motivation you need to jump out of bed. One serving is only 217 calories and counts as one SmartCarb, one PowerFuel and one Extra on Nutrisystem.

7 Healthy Reasons to Enjoy Your Morning Coffee

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5. Iced Coffee Popsicles >

iced coffee popsicles

This is the sweetest, easiest pick-me-up you”;ve ever had. Just three ingredients–;coffee, plain fat-free yogurt and sweetener–;are popped into a popsicle tray with a popsicle stick. Throw it into the freezer overnight and in the morning, you’ll have a sweet treat waiting for you! The recipe makes four popsicles that contain 33 calories each. They count as one Extra on Nutrisystem.

Get a personalized weight loss plan tailored to your unique metabolism! Click here to learn more about the all-new Nutrisystem >

The post Does Coffee Boost Metabolism? The Benefits of Coffee for Weight loss appeared first on The Leaf.

Read more: leaf.nutrisystem.com

11 Healthy Gift Ideas for Your Holiday Wish List

11 Healthy Gift Ideas for Your Holiday Wish List

The holidays are upon us, which means loved ones are probably starting to ask what’s on your gift wish list. Whether you’re a full-on foodie or you’d just like some help in the kitchen, consider asking for one of these 11 healthy holiday gift ideas. They’re perfect for putting together your Nutrisystem flex meals! Shopping for friends and family? These creative ideas are ideal for all of the home cooks in your life.

Here are 11 healthy gift ideas that are perfect for your healthy holiday wish list or any foodie in your life!:
1. Measuring Cups

If you don’t own a good set of measuring cups, you should add them to your healthy holiday wish list this year—especially since incorrectly estimating portion sizes is a quick way to sabotage your slim-down. Already own a set? Consider adding a second set to your list. That way you can leave them in your desk drawer at work and beat portion distortion wherever you are. Just make sure you ask for dishwasher-safe options so cleaning them is a breeze.

2. iPad Fridge Mount

No more dripping ingredients on your iPad while cooking. Play music, watch a movie or read through a recipe while you cook with this handy device that lets you mount your iPad directly on your fridge. Tools like this will help make your kitchen a pleasant place to spend time—so you’ll want to keep up on your healthy cooking habits.

3. Dehydrator

Although you can create dried fruits and veggies in your oven, it can tie it up for several hours and you will have to keep checking on your treats. Dehydrators are great ways to have some fun with your fruits and veggies. From dried strawberries, apples and pineapples, to healthy fruit roll ups and sun-dried tomatoes, you can create all kinds of snacks and add-ons. And the best part is, you can just load it up and let it go, just like you would a crock-pot. No babysitting needed.

5 Awesome Dehydrator Recipes to Add to Your Menu

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4. Herb Garden Starter Kit

There’s nothing better than having fresh herbs on hand—especially in the colder months. With an indoor herb garden, you’ll be able to help yourself to all your favorites whenever you’d like to spice things up.

5. Popcorn Maker

Skip the microwave in favor of a good old-fashioned popcorn maker. The little ones in your life will love watching the kernels pop, plus you’ll be able to top your treat with healthier extras you choose (think cinnamon, sugar-free chocolate syrup, hot sauce or black pepper).

How to Pump Up Your Popcorn 4 Ways

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6. A Good Blender

There’s no better way to squeeze fruits and veggies into your day than to pile produce into smoothies. Look for options powerful enough to crush ice and harder fruits like apples.

7. Julienne Peeler or Spiralizer

If you love pasta, than this one is a no-brainer. Both of these tools help you make delicious noodles out of your favorite veggies like zucchini, sweet potato, carrots and more. Some spiralizers even come with additional blades so you can create a variety of “noodles.”

8. A Self-Timing Slow Cooker

Whether you’re extremely busy or just feeling a little lazy, this convenient kitchen tool makes meal prep a breeze. Just toss a bunch of veggies and some chicken or veggie stock in the slow cooker in the morning along with some seasonings, and let it cook all day while you’re at work or running around. You’ll love the way your house smells when you return. The best part? You’ll have leftovers for days!

5 Awesome Dehydrator Recipes to Add to Your Menu

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9. A High-Quality Knife Set

Although perhaps a bit expensive, a good set of knives will last you a very long time, and will help you stay healthy, slicing, dicing and mincing your own foods. Tip: Before you buy a knife, always hold it in your hand—it should feel natural.

10. Cutting Boards

To prevent cross-contamination, you should have one cutting board for raw protein and one for produce and cooked foods. Request two different colors for yours so that you can distinguish between them. You can choose extremely affordable plastic cutting boards made of polyethylene plastic. Polyethylene plastic is non-porous, meaning potential bacteria can’t penetrate the surface. Just be sure your boards are dishwasher safe.

11. A Salad Spinner

To stay healthy and lose weight, you’ll want to add in all kinds of greens to your menu. The salad spinner makes cleaning greens like lettuce easy and quick. After washing lettuce from the garden, farmers market or grocery store, just place it in the salad spinner to quickly and efficiently dry the lettuce and serve up a fresh salad for lunch or dinner. This is a one of our favorite holiday gift ideas that most people don’t have in their kitchen!

Get back on track after the holiday season with a little help from Nutrisystem. Click here to learn more about our programs! >

10 Ways to Prepare for a Healthy and Happy Holiday Season

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The post 11 Healthy Gift Ideas for Your Holiday Wish List appeared first on The Leaf.

Read more: leaf.nutrisystem.com