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  • Healthy Makeovers for Your Favorite Holiday Cookie Recipes

    Make the sweetest season a little bit healthier.Make the sweetest season a little bit healthier.It's no secret that the holidays are notorious for expanding your waistline. One of the biggest culprits: all of those delicious sweets! But the truth is, your weight doesn't have to succumb to the sugar-filled and calorie-laden treats. Making smart ingredient swaps can help you still enjoy your holiday favorites-minus the morning-after guilt.

    MORE: 11 Guilty Pleasures to Keep You Healthy in 2014

    We gave three favorite baked goods a healthy makeover just in time for the holidays:

    Oatmeal Cookies
    You don't need butter and white sugar to make soft and delicious cookies. Instead, use ripened fruit (such as bananas) and oil for a healthy, sweet baking combination, suggests YouBeauty Culinary Expert and chef Jim Perko.

    Better-for-you recipe (makes 36 cookies)

    3 ripe bananas
    ½ cup canola oil
    2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    ¼ cup walnuts-toasted, chopped
    ¼ cup pecans-toasted, chopped
    ¼ cup prunes-dried, pitted, no sugar added, chopped
    1 cup

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  • 11 Guilty Pleasures that Are Surprisingly Healthy for You

    Why not make 2014 your best year yet?Sometimes doing things for your health feels like a chore. But what if you could make yourself feel better and look younger while pampering your body and indulging in seemingly sinful treats? You can! These healthy tips for the year ahead feel a little naughty. Who said nothing good for you was fun?

    1. Have more sex. Sex increases blood flow, which gives you a glowing complexion, brings oxygen and nutrients to the skin to fight wrinkles, feeds your hair for thick, healthy hair, and relieves stress for hours (or even days!) at a time. As far as your arteries are concerned, sex is as good as a Zumba class, decreasing your chances of heart disease, cancer and depression. Women with an average sex life are 2 to 8 RealAge years younger.

    2. Have a drink each night. One glass of wine or a low to no-sugar cocktail each night increases your chances of living into old age without cancer or lung or heart disease. Keeping it to one alcoholic drink daily is heart healthy, increasing good

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  • 3 Crunch-Free Ways to Tone Your Abs

    Skip the sit-ups. Instead, try these toning exercises, which engage the abdominals while providing other muscle-toning benefits as well.

    Standing Forward Push

    Standing Forward Push

    When performing a standing forward push, or chest press, the abdominal muscles work to keep your upper body from shifting or leaning backwards. There are two-arm and one-arm versions of this move-try both. Use resistance tubing at home or a cable/pulley at the gym.

    MORE: Best Performance Socks & Shoes

    With the one-arm version, rotate your torso toward the resistance tube as you bring the arm back, and then rotate it away, toward the front leg, as you push the arm forward. The lower body, core and upper body all work together in this exercise. You can increase the challenge by adding a lunge as the arm comes back and pressing up to standing as the arm pushes forward.

    Side and Forward Lunge With Arm Raise

    Side and Forward Lunge with Arm Raise

    Your abdominals are heavily used here in both the lower-body lunge work and in the single-side arm raise.

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  • What to Do when You're Sad—Advice from a Second Grader

    Could you use a buddy bench?Could you use a buddy bench?Earlier this month, a second grader in Pennsylvania convinced his school to install a Buddy Bench on the playground. It's a cheerfully decorated, designated place for children to sit when they are lonely or upset and need companionship. Taking a seat on the Buddy Bench is a way for kids to say they would like some support, and a way for other children to provide that camaraderie.

    What about us adults? Wouldn't it be great if we could learn to openly ask for help when we feel unhappy and alone?

    MORE: Take the Happiness Quiz

    Stephanie is going on a Caribbean cruise this month. So, she went to the store to stock up on swimsuits, sundresses, shorts, and other things that she doesn't usually wear in the winter in Connecticut. She brought an armful of clothes into the fitting room, peeled off her pants, top, sweater, socks and boots, and looked up to see herself in the mirror in a bikini. Eeeeeeekkkk!!! Unaccustomed to coming in from the snow and seeing herself practically naked in

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  • Top 10 Healthy Holiday Eating Tips

    Let these tricks guide you as you navigate party after party.

    The holidays are coming and for many, that can mean challenging situations that pose great risk on even the best healthy eating plan. On average, Americans gain about a pound at holiday time which may not seem like a lot but we usually don't lose this pound. Long term, after ten years, you've put on a lot of extra weight. Short term, all the sugar, calories, sodium and fat that you've consumed during the holidays may make for an extra wrinkle and dull skin for the New Year. You CAN survive the holidays though with a few simple tactics. Here's my top 10 list.

    QUIZ: Are You Getting Your Beauty Nutrients?

    1. Party at home beforehand
    Enjoying a small snack of nuts, string cheese and a few whole grain crackers will mean you're arriving at the party satisfied already, not starving. The holiday buffet has so many food and drink options that if you go in hungry, you're doomed.

    2. Be the last in line
    Never underestimate the visual power of food and how if effects appetite. The

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  • Drinks That'll Keep You Warm and Boost Your Health

    Get the most health benefits from these hot drinks.As winter sets in and the chill of air creates a need for warmth, we often turn to hot beverages. Coffee is a great option since it provides such abundant amounts of antioxidants but many coffee specialty drinks can be loaded with aging sugars and saturated fats. How can you still hold a warm mug and still get plenty of beautifying properties? Choose tea!

    When a consumer is looking for a tea, they have a wide range of choices and all of these choices have healing benefits to the body. These benefits are derived from polyphenols (chemical substances that help fight disease) that are contained in the leaves and buds of the tea.

    MORE: 5 Festive Low-Calorie Cocktails

    White Tea
    A recent study reviewing the antioxidant activity of 21 plant and herb extracts found that white tea had more beneficial polyphenols that other substances analyzed. This high polyphenol count may have something to do with the processing of white tea compared to other teas. White tea is made from the first

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  • 3 Ways to Instantly Reduce Stress

    Feel immediately calmer and more relaxed in seconds.'Tis the season to be jolly, right? Long lines in your favorite store, difficulty finding parking at the mall, cold weather. Jolly indeed. If you find yourself in the middle of your holiday errands and feeling less than in the spirit, try these simple, subtle strategies to relieve tension in seconds flat.

    MORE: 5 Holiday Stressors to Avoid

    1. Breathe.
    I know what you're thinking. I'm breathing all the time-what is she talking about? Well, yes, of course you're breathing, but you're probably not breathing as deeply or effectively as you can, and that can make a ton of difference when you're under pressure.

    Researchers at Harvard have documented what has long been known anecdotally: that deep breathing has a positive impact on stress*. To get the benefits of a good, deep breath, breathe in slowly through your nose, then breathe out (even more slowly) through your mouth. At first, try to do this for just a minute several times a day. Then, if you can (without stressing

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  • 5 Ways to Put an End to Holiday Stress

    Prepare yourself to handle these stressors with care.Silent night? Yeah right. With parties to attend, family members to shop for, and endless to-do lists that never seem to get done, it's all too easy to feel more frazzled than festive. Stressing out over the same things each year is basically a holiday tradition. This year, stop the madness before it takes over. We reached out to experts for brilliantly simple ways to prevent your annual meltdown moments.

    MORE: 3 Instant Stress Busters

    Holiday Card Confusion
    If you want to go the old-fashioned route and send holiday greetings via snail mail, but don't have everyone's current address, you can use e-card technology to your advantage. Paperless Post has an address card option that allows you to email your contact list a tasteful request for their mailing addresses. They fill in their info and the website automatically updates your address book.

    Blowing Your Budget on Gifts
    If you can't afford to get everyone Christmas presents this year, then don't get everyone Christmas

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  • What's Causing Your Sugar Cravings?

    Find out what's fueling your cravings.There are three main kinds of sugar cravings. When you learn what's causing yours, you can better moderate how to deal with them when you feel one coming on. You can take on even the worst sugar attack, and come out feeling stronger! Check them out...

    QUIZ: What's Your Eating Style?

    A: Feed me now or I'll hurt you. If this sounds like you, it's usually a sign of low blood sugar from an exhausted "stress handler" gland. In the first few minutes, eating sugar will help, but it will make things worse in the long run.

    Sucking on a Tic Tac or two may be enough sugar to break the attack. Then, eat more protein and fewer sweets to keep your blood sugar stable. If you need a treat, try a small amount of dark chocolate (over 70 percent cocoa, no milk fats). The flavonoids can boost energy and immunity. Another good tactic to decrease cravings? Have multiple, small meals throughout the day, rather than three large ones.

    DISCUSS: Is there a healthier way to satisfy my sweet tooth?

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  • The Single Ladies' Holiday Survival Guide

    It's tough to be jolly when everyone around you seems to be coupled up.'Tis the season for mistletoe, cute couples clambering aboard horse-drawn carriages for a ride in a snow-dusted park, and fridges covered with holiday pictures of gleeful families. Picture perfect if you're part of a twosome, but when you're single, any one of these cues is all it takes to start crying into your eggnog.

    Recognizing that the season can set off the single-girl blues is actually the first step in making everything better, points out Jill Weber, Ph.D., a psychotherapist and author of "Having Sex, Wanting Intimacy." "Being aware of emotional triggers, like, say, seeing your sister with her perfect family, can help you pre-emptively combat them," she says.

    Here, some other on-point ways to make the most of the holiday season-and we donot mean making out with your co-worker in the copy room at the holiday office party.

    Switch it up. Who says you have to go to Aunt Linda's for the entire Thanksgiving weekend? Are you sure your parents would be devastated if you didn't

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