Friday, August 20, 2010

5 Diet-Friendly Frozen Treats

These simple, "homemade" frozen treats will cool you off without killing your diet.

You can find plenty of diet-wise frozen fruit pops and other frozen desserts at the supermarket that contain no more than 100 calories per serving. With few exceptions, however, these goodies get their low-cal count from artificial sweeteners and fats. So, while commercial brands are good in a pinch, there's really nothing like the taste of frozen treats you make yourself, starting with fresh ingredients, especially when they're this easy to prepare.

Frozen Iced Tea Cubes. Take refreshment a step further by freezing iced black, green or herbal tea in ice cube trays. Tea itself contains no calories and neither does any lemon juice you add for flavoring. The less sugar or honey you add to sweeten, the fewer calories you'll have in your iced treat and the more you can enjoy on a hot day. Once they are partially frozen, you can insert a popsicle stick or lollipop stick into the center of the cube (both types of sticks are available in cook shops and in the cooking/baking department of many large supermarkets). Or simply pop the frozen cubes out into a cup.

Watermelon Slushie. Freeze chunks of seedless watermelon in a covered, freezable food storage container. Whenever you want a frosty treat, throw a few chunks in a blender or food processor and whirl with an on/off motion until you have a frozen slush. If you like, add a squeeze of fresh lime or lemon juice. Be careful not to over-blend, or you'll end up with cold watermelon soup (also a tasty treat but probably not what you were expecting)!

Frozen Bananas. When it comes to homemade, it doesn't get any easier than this. Peel a small, ripe banana and sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent browing. Wrap it in plastic wrap, aluminum foil or freezer wrap, and pop in the freezer for several hours or until solid. Once frozen, or at least semi-frozen, bananas have the consistency of ice cream. If you like nuts, roll and press your banana in just a dusting of very finely chopped almonds or walnuts before wrapping and freezing. For an easy-grab pop, pop, insert a flat popsicle stick into one end before freezing.

Frozen Grapes. Freeze individual grapes on a tray. When frozen, pour the grapes into a freezer-safe food storage bag or container. Frozen grapes make great diet food because they are small treats that you won't gobble up as quickly as fresh grapes. They also seem like more of a treat than fresh grapes because, like bananas, they take on a creamier consistency when frozen.

Raspberry Semifreddo. In Italian, semifreddo means "half cold," and is used to describe a variety of partially frozen (or partially thawed) desserts that include ice creams, cakes, custards and fruit mixtures. You can make a Line a (9 x 5-inch) loaf pan with aluminum foil so that the foil hangs over the long sides of the pan. In a mixing bowl, combine a large container (32 ounces) vanilla or honey flavored yogurt with 1 cup fresh raspberries (or any fresh cut-up fruit or berries). Spoon the mixture into the lined pan. Freeze at least overnight. To serve, transfer the semifreddo from the freezer to the refrigerator for 1 hour to thaw slightly, just until it is easy to slice but not yet thawed. Use the foil to remove the frozen loaf from the pan. Cut into thin slices to serve. You can cut the entire loaf and refreeze slices individually. Let the slices thaw for at least 20 minutes in the refrigerator to enjoy them semifreddo. Top with additional fresh fruit, if you like. A great variation: In a blender or food processer, combine the yogurt with a ripe banana until almost pureed, before mixing with berries and freezing.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Banana Split Pie YUM YUM!

PER SERVING (1 slice): 161 calories, 1.25g fat, 81mg sodium, 36g carbs, 3g fiber, 17g sugars, 3g protein -- POINTS® value 3*

People will FLIP when you slice into this crazy multi-serving dessert...

One 60-calorie sugar-free chocolate pudding snack (like the kind by Jell-O)
2 cups Cool Whip Free, thawed
3 cups fat-free vanilla ice cream (like Breyers Smooth & Dreamy Fat Free)
1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
2 bananas, sliced
2 tbsp. Hershey's Lite Chocolate Syrup
1 tbsp. crushed dry-roasted peanuts
8 maraschino cherries

Set out all your ingredients so your ice cream doesn't melt too much once you start assembling.

Combine pudding snack with Cool Whip in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Set aside.

Once slightly softened, scoop ice cream into a large pie pan and spread into an even layer along the bottom. Evenly place strawberry slices flat over the ice cream, pressing down lightly so they adhere.

Spread pudding/Cool Whip mixture into a smooth layer over the strawberries. Evenly place banana slices flat over this layer, and drizzle with chocolate syrup. Sprinkle with nuts and evenly place the cherries on top of the pie. Freeze for about 4 hours (or overnight), until completely firm.

Allow pie to sit at room temperature for 5 minutes before slicing. Cut into 8 slices and enjoy!


HG Alternative! Prepare this pie with light ice cream in place of the fat-free stuff, and each slice will have 170 calories, 3.25g fat, and 2g fiber (POINTS® value 3*).

Thursday, August 12, 2010

To Maintain A Healthy Level Of Insanity ;o)

Just a little HUMOR to make you smile this week!

1.. At Lunch Time, Sit In Your Parked Car With Sunglasses on and point a Hair Dryer At Passing Cars. See If They Slow Down.
2. Page Yourself Over The Intercom. Don't Disguise Your Voice !
3.. Every Time Someone Asks You To Do Something, ask If They Want Fries with that.
4. Put Decaf In The Coffee Maker For 3 Weeks . Once Everyone has Gotten Over Their Caffeine Addictions, Switch to Espresso.
5. In the Memo Field Of All Your Checks, Write ' For Marijuana.
6. Skip down the hall Rather Than Walk and see how many looks you get.
7. Order a Diet Water whenever you go out to eat, with a serious face.
8. Specify That Your Drive-through Order Is 'To Go'.
9. Sing Along At The Opera.
10. Five Days In Advance, Tell Your Friends You Can't Attend Their Party Because You have a headache.
11. When The Money Comes Out The ATM, Scream 'I Won! I Won!'
12. When Leaving the Zoo, Start Running towards the Parking lot, Yelling 'Run For Your Lives! They're Loose!'
13 . Tell Your Children Over Dinner, 'Due To The Economy, We Are Going To Have To Let One Of You Go.'

And The Final Way To Keep A Healthy Level Of Insanity



Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Have you had a GOOD cry lately??

Is Crying Healthy?
When emotions overtake you, crying can be a healthy emotional release. But not all environments are conducive to alleviating sadness or expressing relief.
By Dennis Thompson Jr.
Medically reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH

The notion that big boys or big girls don't cry is a persistent idea fed by popular sayings, but psychologists and researchers say that it's just not so. Shedding tears can be a huge and very healthy emotional release, particularly if you are experiencing deep pain, sadness, anger, or stress.

One study analyzed 140 years of popular articles about crying and found that more than 9 in 10 found tears to be a good way to release pent-up feelings. An international sample of men and women from 30 countries found that most reported feeling relief after a good cry. And about 70 percent of therapists say they believe crying is good for their patients.

Crying as Catharsis

The main benefit of crying is catharsis, or a purging or purification of your feelings through emotional release. When you cry, you can let go of the tension and sadness and other emotions that have been causing you pain. In many ways, crying serves as a safety valve that allows you to blow off emotions that have built up too much pressure inside you.

It's been difficult for researchers to figure out how this works. When tears are induced in a laboratory setting — for example, having subjects watch a sad movie — more often than not the participants report that they feel worse rather than better.

Despite this, people consistently report that a good cry makes them feel better. One recent study reviewing more than 3,000 detailed reports of recent crying episodes found that most people reported an improvement in their mood afterward. Another study of 196 Dutch women found that nearly 9 in 10 said they felt better after

Another benefit of crying is that it can bring people closer. An Israeli researcher studying the evolutionary aspects of crying has speculated that shedding tears communicates vulnerability to others, since the tears blur your vision and leaves you defenseless. A person who cares for you while you are in this weakened state can grow closer to you, and the bond between the two of you may grow stronger.

Have a Healthy Cry

Research has found that for crying to improve emotional health, certain conditions need to be met:

* You should have a shoulder to cry on. People who receive social support while crying report more cathartic release than people who cry alone. Find a friend or loved one you trust.
* You should cry after you've solved the problem. People feel better when they cry about a problem that's already been resolved. If you cry before you've dealt with the situation that's making you feel like crying, you are likely to receive no benefit or actually make yourself feel worse rather than better.
* You need to make sure you're crying in an appropriate place. People who experience shame or embarrassment while they cry are less likely to report an improvement of their mood. If you're going to feel bad about crying in a public place or in front of certain people, you need to hold back your tears and go somewhere else.
* Crying likely won't help you if you are living with a mood disorder. People who live with clinical depression or anxiety disorders are less likely to feel better after they have a good cry. If you find yourself feeling worse after crying, you should see a doctor or therapist to see if you have a mood disorder.

But if you can't stop the tears from falling, go ahead and let it all out — the odds are you'll feel better afterward.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Short & Long-Term Benefits of Exercise

By Jeanne Faulkner
Reviewed by QualityHealth's Medical Advisory Board

Exercise does a body good. Not only is it the key to losing weight, it's also the key to healthy, happy golden years. That's because exercise provides lifelong benefits for our health, well-being and appearance.

According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, more than 60 percent of adults don't get enough exercise and 25 percent don't exercise at all. As people age, they become more and more inactive too. The good news is that no matter when you start, what shape you're in or what your health challenges are, exercise will always provide benefits. So, what is exercise good for?

Short-term Benefits of Exercise

What will exercise do for you right now?

* Reduce stress in as fast as 25 minutes by lowering blood pressure and stress hormones and increasing endorphins (feel good hormones).

* Increases self-esteem and self-confidence because you know you're taking care of yourself

* Gives you a break in your day and a change of activity

Medium-Term Benefits of Exercise

What will exercise do for you in the near future?

* Help you lose weight and maintain a healthy body weight
* Strengthen your muscles and bones.
* Improve cardiovascular fitness and lower your blood pressure
* Improve muscle and joint flexibility
* Keep your blood sugar stable
* Contribute to your sense of well-being and reduce anxiety, stress and depression
* Keep your hair and skin healthy and glowing by increasing oxygen and nutrients reaching the skin surface.
* Rev up your metabolism by increasing muscle mass.
* Improve your sex life - people who exercise have sex more often and enjoy it more.
* Improve your immune system - you'll get fewer colds and flues
* Improve your digestive system and prevent constipation.

Long-Term Benefits of Exercise

What will exercise do for you over the course of your life?

* Reduce your chances for developing heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke, anxiety and depression.
* Reduce your chances of dying early.
* Keep you on your feet and out of a nursing home. Seniors who exercise have better balance and flexibility and stronger bones. They have fewer falls and breaks and less disability.
* Sharpen your thinking skills and maximize circulation to the brain.
* Improve your overall outlook on life because you're healthier, happier and looking good - Exercise is the real fountain of youth.

How much exercise do you need to reap all these benefits? Adults need:

* 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (like brisk walking, biking or swimming) every week plus strength training two days per week using all major muscle groups.


* 1 hour and 15 minutes (75) of vigorous-intensity aerobics (like jogging or running) plus strength training two days per week.

If that sounds like a lot, it's only about 30 minutes per day and small increments add up. If you can't find time for 30 minutes in one session - try for three 10-minute sessions. It's all good.