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  • Fighting Holiday Fatigue

    By Becky Hand, Licensed and Registered Dietitian for SparkPeople

    From Goblins, to Gobblers, to Gifts and Goodies…this time of the year can be draining! Some days you can be so low on energy that you are drowsy by lunchtime and in need of a nap by mid-afternoon. Think about all the extras you have been adding to your already hectic lifestyle-office parties, gatherings with the relatives, costume shopping, trick-or-treating, holiday shopping, extra cooking, entertaining guests and visitors from out of town, school parties, religious celebrations…

    The list seems endless. If just thinking about it is already wearing you down, then it's time to make some drastic…okay, small but helpful…changes this year. Take a quick inventory of the things that might be responsible for your exhaustion. Whatever the cause, once you discover what's draining your energy, you can take these steps to put the vitality back in your life and survive the holiday blitz.

    Time to downsize? If you are running from

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  • The Healthiest Leafy Green--And How to Eat It

    By Melinda Hershey, for SparkPeople

    We all know it's a good idea to eat leafy green veggies. They're chock-full of nutritious vitamins and minerals, and they're low in calories to boot. But if you can only stomach so much green in your life, which leafy green should you choose for the maximum nutritional benefits: Spinach, kale, mustard greens, Swiss chard, or collard greens?

    The Winner: Kale!
    Dietitians and other health professionals have been telling us to eat more kale for years-and for good reason! Although the other leafy greens we mentioned still boast impressive nutritional profiles, kale clearly takes the cake. Check out how kale stacks up against the other greens on the list when comparing several key nutrients. (All nutritional information is for one cup of raw greens. The percentages are for the recommended daily value (% DV) of each nutrient.)

    Type of Green Calories Vitamin A Vitamin C Vitamin K
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  • 6 New Uses for Protein Powder

    By Stepfanie Romine, co-author of "The SparkPeople Cookbook: Love Your Food, Lose the Weight"

    Looking for a new way to use protein powder? We've got you covered!

    1. Muffins: Try my High-Protein, Low-Sugar Blueberry Muffins! These muffins have 10 grams of protein--and less than a teaspoon of sugar and oil--in each one. Sweet, moist, and delicious, pack one of these tasty treats in your gym bag for a post-workout snack!

    2. Pancakes: This sweet breakfast just got a bit healthier, thanks to these protein pancake recipes!

    3. Pudding: From scratch or from a mix, pudding and protein powder are a perfect pair!

    4. Smoothies: Give yours staying power with one of these recipes.

    5. Cakes: Swap up to half the flour in your cake recipe with protein powder. Add an additional 1/2 cup water. Portion control your sweets by making cupcakes!

    6. Protein Fudge: Enough said!

    What's your favorite way to use protein powder?

    Related links:
    Protein Powder Dough Balls
    How to Meet Your Protein Needs withoutRead More »from 6 New Uses for Protein Powder
  • Herb-Roasted Garlic

    By Chef Meg Galvin, Healthy Cooking Expert at

    Garlic is good for more than keeping away vampires. It's also quite good for you and full of flavor. Roasting garlic mellows its flavor and gives it a creamy texture. This recipe is a staple in my house. I throw a couple of heads in the oven when I'm cooking other dishes, and I use it on bread, in soups and in stews. You'll love this recipe--it's low in fat and free of salt!

    Minutes to Prepare: 5
    Minutes to Cook: 30
    Number of Servings: 6

    2 heads garlic
    2 teaspoons olive oil
    1 teaspoon thyme, dried
    1/2 teaspoon sage, dried
    1/4 teaspoon rosemary, dried and chopped
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper

    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice the tops off two heads of garlic, exposing the tips of the cloves. Place each bulb on a square of aluminum foil. Use a butter knife to gently loosen the cloves within the head, being careful not to completely separate them.

    Combine all remaining ingredients

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  • It's OK: All Moms Are Learning as They Go Along

    By Hillary Copsey, for BabyFit

    When my mother said birth and parenthood were not something I could learn from a book, I bristled.

    "I know," I told her. "I'm not stupid. I know it's something I have to go through to really understand. But that doesn't mean I can't be as prepared as possible."

    I hung up the phone and went over the pain management section of "Birthing from Within" again.

    And then The Boy was born. And I realized exactly what Mom meant.

    The trick to motherhood is trusting yourself, even when you have no idea what you're doing. Especially then. Every child is different; no method from a book is a perfect fit for every baby. And even doing your best, you're probably going to screw up a little. But it's OK. You're the expert for your baby. All that child wants is to be fed, sheltered and loved. You can do that.

    For me, the illusion that information could fix everything disappeared about a week in when breastfeeding just wasn't working for The Boy and me. We'd had the

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  • Battle of the Leftover Halloween Treats!

    By Melinda Hershey, for SparkPeople

    All that leftover Halloween candy can be downright scary. Those colorful ''fun-sized'' bars may tempt you to have just one piece, but beware-those tiny, innocent-looking treats can add up if you're not careful! Some people forgo the chocolate candies altogether in favor of low-fat choices, such as Starbursts and Twizzlers, thinking that they are doing their waistlines a favor. But does low-fat always mean low-sugar? If you were to choose between a chocolaty fun-sized bag of peanut M&Ms and a serving of Twizzlers, which one would be the least sugary choice?

    The Winner: Peanut M&Ms!

    One fun-sized pack of peanut M&Ms clocks in at 90 calories, 5 grams of fat, and 9 grams of sugar. In comparison, one serving of Twizzlers (3 Twizzlers) has 120 calories, 1 gram of fat, and 15 grams of sugar. (As a bonus, you'll get 1.5 grams of filling protein from the M&Ms, whereas Twizzlers contain zero protein.) It just goes to show that low-fat doesn't always mean

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  • The 3 Most Fattening Fall Foods

    By Sarah Haan, for SparkPeople

    Halloween marks the beginning of a two-month season packed with parties and desserts-now that's scary for anyone who is trying to manage his or her weight. Beyond the fun-size (and therefore calorie-controlled) candies of Halloween, several fall treats are big calorie bombs. Be on the lookout for these surprisingly high-cal foods, which can add up fast if you let your guard down.

    Pumpkin Flavored Baked Goods
    Pumpkin itself is a healthful food. Plain pumpkin puree contains a dose of vitamin A and fiber for a small amount of calories. But pair it with sugar, cream cheese frosting, shortening and butter and you've got a high-cal treat dressed in a healthy-looking orange outfit. Restaurants and coffee shops are the biggest villains, promoting their pumpkin scones, muffins, donuts and breads, which can contain up to 630 calories per serving. Don't let "low-fat" versions trick your either; low-fat is not the same thing as low-calorie. Your best bet is to

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  • Welcome November with Apple Tarts

    By Chef Meg Galvin, Healthy Cooking Expert at

    Instead of a whole pie, try making bite-size tarts. The diminutive desserts cook quicker and are automatically portion controlled. Plus, they're easier to make for a crowd, and there's no need for a fork and plate.

    Instead of a whole pie, try making bite-size tarts. The diminutive desserts cook quicker and are automatically portion controlled. Plus, they're easier to make for a crowd, and there's no need for a fork and plate.

    Minutes to Prepare: 10

    Minutes to Cook: 7

    Number of Servings: 12


    24 phyllo dough tart shells
    4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced
    1 lemon, juiced
    2 T butter, unsalted
    4 T brown sugar
    1/2 c caramel ice cream topping
    1/2 c whipped cream (optional--nutrition info NOT included)


    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place tart shells on a baking tray. Combine lemon juice and apples in a mixing bowl. In a cast iron or heavy skillet, heat the butter until frothy. Add brown Read More »from Welcome November with Apple Tarts
  • 3 Perfect Pumpkin Recipes

    By Chef Meg Galvin, Healthy Cooking Expert at

    The pumpkin celebration shouldn't end with Halloween! Instead of just displaying those gourds, let's eat them! Here are some of my favorite pumpkin recipes to get you in the spirit.

    Chef Meg's 'Seedy' Pumpkin Pie
    This pie crust has a crunchy addition: pepitas, or shelled pumpkin seeds. They add a nice nutty flavor.

    Calories: 168.4
    Total Fat: 7.2 g
    Cholesterol: 38.4 mg
    Sodium: 141.1 mg
    Total Carbs: 24.6 g
    Dietary Fiber: 2.2 g
    Protein: 4.9 g

    Chef Meg's Pumpkin Dip

    Try this dip on a toasted whole-wheat bagel at breakfast or with apple slices or whole-grain crackers for a snack. It's even good with carrots.

    Calories: 31.7
    Total Fat: 1.7 g
    Cholesterol: 5.8 mg
    Sodium: 88.3 mg
    Total Carbs: 1.6 g
    Dietary Fiber: 0.2 g
    Protein: 2.4 g

    Chef Meg's Pumpkin Soup with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

    After one sip of this savory pumpkin soup, you will be surprised to find it packs a little heat. Your taste buds will do a
    Read More »from 3 Perfect Pumpkin Recipes
  • 5 Surprisingly High-Cal Halloween Treats

    By Sarah Haan, for SparkPeople

    Fall is as good a time of year as any to re-evaluate your weight-loss goals and plans. But before you know it, Halloween brings the focus to candy and treats that may be tempting you to fall off the health wagon. One indulgent day of Halloween treats won't hurt most people's progress, but considering that Halloween is just the beginning of a two-month season packed with party foods and desserts, try not to get carried away.

    As you're looking for ways to enjoy the season without losing sight of your health and fitness goals, pick the smartest treats, but say "Boo!" to the biggest calorie monsters.

    Here are five Halloween treats that should scare you!

    1. Fun-Size Candy Bars
    At an average of about 100 calories a pop, these popular trick-or-treat goodies may seem innocent-but that's only the case if you stop at one. It's pretty easier to eat four or five mini-bars as you take your kids trick-or-treating, and if they're eyeing you from the reception desk

    Read More »from 5 Surprisingly High-Cal Halloween Treats


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