Blog Posts by SparkPeople.com

  • Jell-O Recipes that Won't Make You Jiggle

    By Denise Tausig, for SparkPeople

    Looking for some low calorie snacks/desserts? We've rounded up a variety of Jell-O recipes that are low calorie, easy to make, and tasty. Try one today for a fun treat!

    Yogurt Jell-O

    Grandma Luetta's Strawberry Jell-O Salad

    Strawberry Crunch Jell-O Salad

    Jell-O Yogurt Pie

    Cherie's Cranberry Jell-O Fruit Salad

    Strawberry 7-Up Jell-O Salad

    Jell-O Pinwheel


    Which of these recipes will you be trying? What is your favorite Jell-O recipe?


    Related links:

    10 Fast Food Frozen Treats Under 200 Calories

    Watermelon: Nature's Sweet Summer Treat

    12 Summer Desserts Under 150 Calories


    SparkPeople is the country's largest health and fitness website. Learn more--and get a free fitness and diet plan.


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  • Take Cucumbers Beyond Pickles

    By Chef Meg Galvin, Healthy Cooking Expert at SparkPeople.com

    Cucumbers should have a permanent slot on your shopping list. There are endless ways to use them in the kitchen. Grab a couple because one a week may not be enough.

    How to harvest or select from the store:
    Cucumbers are very easy to grow. The hard part is to getting out into the garden and harvesting every day once the plants start producing. Whether you are in a garden or in the produce section at your favorite market, choose firm and bright green cucumbers. Large cucumbers might seem like a bargain when sold at a unit price instead of by pound, but the large varieties tend to have tough skins and large watery seed cavities.

    Choose small cucumbers because they have small seed cavities, thin skins, and tender flesh. If the market only has large ones, you might want to peel them and scoop out the seeds.

    For peak freshness, choose cucumbers that are dark green, with no yellow spots or bruising on the flesh, which can be a

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  • Food Showdown: Which Shrimp Dish is the Better Catch?

    By Melinda Hershey, for SparkPeople

    If you're a health-conscious seafood lover, you probably know that shrimp makes a tasty, high-protein and low-fat dish-when prepared the right way, that is. Restaurants across the country incorporate the little crustaceans into hundreds of dishes, from popcorn shrimp to creamy shrimp fettuccine Alfredo. Applebee's includes shrimp in several of its dishes, but not all are created equal! The Signature Sirloin with Garlic Herb Shrimp from Applebee's includes a 7-oz. sirloin steak topped with shrimp in a light cream sauce, and comes with potatoes, veggies, and sliced almonds on the side. The Grilled Shrimp 'N Spinach Salad features grilled shrimp on a mound of fresh spinach, topped with bacon, peppers, onions, and bacon vinaigrette. Of these two shrimp dishes, which one contains the least calories and fat?

    The Winner: Signature Sirloin with Garlic Herb Shrimp!
    The Signature Sirloin is actually on the ''Under 550 Calories'' menu at Applebee's, and

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  • Why You Should Drag Your Reluctant Teen to the Dinner Table

    By Becky Hand, Licensed and Registered Dietitian for SparkPeople

    While it was easy to bring the family together when my children were young, it is much more difficult now that they've become teens. However, the simple act of eating together has so many benefits:

    • Family mealtime fosters family unity. Developing a sense of family identity and togetherness helps children and teens to feel safe and secure in a confusing world.
    • Family mealtime helps improve your child's nutrition since parents tend to pay more attention to what is served at home. There is an increase in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and dairy foods, with fewer fried foods and soft drinks. This also helps children to maintain a healthy weight.
    • Family mealtime helps prevent behavioral problems. The more often that a family eats together, the less likely teenagers are to become depressed, use illegal drugs, abuse alcohol, smoke cigarettes, or get pregnant.
    • Family mealtime helps children do well in
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  • 5 Yoga Poses to Strengthen and Stretch

    By Stepfanie Romine, Certified Yoga Instructor, for SparkPeople

    This series of yoga poses will help you open your hips, stretch your hamstrings and energize your body. Designed for someone with a basic knowledge of yoga, use these poses to strengthen and lengthen.

    You'll need a yoga mat for this practice, along with a block, if you use one. The photos here show the sequence on the left side of the body. Hold each pose for at least five breaths, and repeat on the other side.

    Be sure to warm up, either with some cardio or a few sun salutations.


    Before you begin, remember these precautions:

    • Do not start a yoga routine or any other workout without clearance from your doctor.

    • These poses are not suitable for pregnant women.

    • Each pose should be done in a slow and controlled manner, without bouncing or forcing, which can cause your muscles to tighten, increasing your risk of injury. Stretch in a slow, steady motion to the point of "mild discomfort." If you are stretching to
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  • How to Raise Natural Eaters--and End Dinner-Table Fights Forever

    By Sarah Haan, Registered Dietitian, and Becky Hand, Registered Dietitian, for BabyFit


    By teaching your child how to provide nourishment for the body and providing your child with nutritious foods and a healthy eating environment, your child will learn to take responsibility for his own healthy eating choices. Here are some tips to help.

    When to eat, Where to eat, What to serve:

    • Plan the timing of three meals and up to three snacks throughout the day. If your child does not eat one meal, keep in mind that those planned snacks will help ensure that your child is meeting nutrient needs. Do not allow grazing between these planned meals and planned snack times.

    • All meals and snacks should be eaten at the dining room or kitchen tables. Say so-long to eating on the couch, in front of the television or computer, in bed, or in the car. Insist that your child show up for all meals, even if he says, "I'm not hungry." Once in awhile, a special family meal or snack in front of the TV is
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  • Add More Veggies to Your Family Meals

    By Nicole Nichols, for SparkPeople

    "Eat your vegetables." We've heard it all of our lives, but if only it were so simple! Our bodies crave fruits and vegetables more than just about any other food because we tend to get far fewer of them than we need.

    With just a little thought and a tiny bit of effort in snack preparation, you can make these nutritious foods more convenient and accessible for the whole family:

    • Snack on raw vegetables or fruits instead of chips or pretzels. Keep sugar snap peas, raisins or carrot sticks in the car, your office, or your child's backpack.
    • Use chunky salsa instead of thick, creamy snack dips.
    • Take a trip to the grocery salad bar, and let each family member create-their-own healthy meal. Use lots of dark green leaves and other vegetables instead of piling on all of the extras like eggs, bacon and cheese. Top it off with a small container of low-fat or fat-free dressing.
    • Add frozen veggies to any pasta dish. It's an easy way to get in another
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  • 20 Recipes for Chocolate Lovers

    By Samantha Donohue, for SparkPeople

    Chocolate is heavenly, not just as a sweet treat, but also as an ingredient that adds flavor and richness to a variety of cuisines. It also contains a wide assortment of vitamins and minerals, including potassium, sodium, iron, fluorine and vitamins A, B1, C, D, and E. Be choosy about your chocolate, being careful about how the amount of calories, sugar, and fat. When kept it moderation, it's a great option on its own, or match it up with fruits, spices and nuts. For all you chocolate lovers, I've gathered SparkRecipes best healthy chocolate-paired recipes.


    Chocolate-Coconut

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  • 3 Ways to Prevent Food from Going to Waste

    By Sarah Haan, for SparkPeople

    Food spoils--and quickly! When thinking about your own kitchen, you may not view the food you toss or the leftovers you never eat as money down the drain, but food waste has a major impact on your bank account and the environment. University of Arizona researchers have estimated that the average family of four chucks $590 worth of food every year. Whether it happens in the field, in the factory, on the store shelves, or in a family kitchen, Americans collectively throw away $100 billion worth of food each year! The apple industry alone tosses about 12% of their annual yield, for example.

    Fortunately, you can start at home and do your part to help curb food waste. You'll be thinking green and stretching your dollars further at the same time. Some simple changes can have big effects! Here are a few ideas to get you started.

    Create a plan-and stick to it!
    Meal planning is a critical step to help you spend less and waste less. When you know what you're

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  • Recipes for the Great Outdoors

    By Samantha Donohue, for SparkPeople

    Each summer my family unplugs from our 21st century lifestyle by visiting the great outdoors, including a few camping trips. One of the highlights is eating a meal that we prepared and cooked over a campfire. Many campgrounds have fire pits with built-in grills, but we've also used small gas-powered units or cooked directly on the coals. The key is to have fun working, eating, and making memories together. We've gathered recipes that are healthy and simple to prepare below.

    Chef Meg's Chesy Grilled Banana Peppers

    Campfire Chicken Packets

    E-Z Campfire Salmon

    Campfire Chili

    Katie's Campfire Stew

    Campfire Jambalaya

    Campfire Potato Sacks

    Mountain Pie Chicken Wrap

    Mountain Pie Breakfast Wrap

    Campfire Quiche

    Mountain Pie Chocolate Peanut Butter in a Cloud

    Campfire Banana Boat

    BONUS SparkPeople Cookbook Recipe: Chef Meg's Campfire Crisp


    What tips and tricks can you share for cooking in the outdoors? What is your favorite camping recipe?


    Related links:

    A

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