The choices we make, and why do we make them?

Join Me On My Journey

This is my Journey on how I lost 50+ lbs of weight loss and found my True self in the process. I’ll tell you what worked for me, and maybe it might be helpful to your Diet or Health plan, that you might already have in place, or if not I have a few suggestions that can get you started on your healthcare regimen. I started when I’d just been sick of having complication due to my weight, and restrictions I’d never had before growing up being very pro-active, playing different sports and then chasing after my kids once I became an older adult.

I didn’t really put the weight on until I had my third Daughter, Five years after I had my Twins. Then I went back and forth struggling to loose it just to put the weight back on with some extra. I was unhappy and disappointed in myself telling myself I had no control over it because that was the “Easy” way out, rather than face the “real” Truth, that I was just avoiding what was basically the main cause of most of my health issues. So I finally faced my fear of failure and told myself, You GOT This!

  1. Slowly but surely it started to become a daily routine, NO SUGAR Is The most Important thing. Then NO Bread (unless it’s whole wheat grain), & last NO Pasta, and of coarse a regular workout exercise routine (Nothing CRAZY) that you can actually stick to a few times a week, That you can fit reasonably into your weekly schedule every week. Don’t set unreal expectations for yourself, you have to take Baby-steps or your just setting yourself up for failure if you don’t, so start out Small with your weight limit goals and then build from there slowly.
  2. Your gonna feel sore for the first couple of days after your fitness workout weather it be at a Gym with a trainer helping you one on one, or an at home workout on a laptop/iPad or mobile device, or home gyms/Fitness equipment, It doesn’t matter, Rest & some Alieve/Motrin will help alleviate some of that discomfort, it’s from using muscles you haven’t used in years, some people might not have the money for a gym membership which is ok they have tons of apps out there now for at home workouts.
    I suggest a good cardio, just type Workouts into your search in the App/play Store and download it to your device.

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Plan Your Plate to Lose Weight: Thanksgiving Edition

Handling the temptations of Thanksgiving? No sweat. You got this. You have your plan and your recipes—nothing is going to send you off the rails this season.

Except for one thing.

You’re not in charge of the Thanksgiving meal this year. You’re going to someone else’s feast, someone who is probably not going to be giving a thought to the fat, sugar and calorie content of the meal except to think “more is better.”

On the plus side, you won’t be nibbling and tasting while you’re cooking. That may save you some sneaky calories. But there’s no getting around it: Thanksgiving dinner is almost always a calorie bomb. Without drinks and dessert, the average Thanksgiving meal is about 3,000 calories, according to the Calorie Control Council. That’s about 500 calories shy of what you have to consume to gain a pound.

So how are you going to lose weight when just one meal of the day seems designed to go directly to your thighs? Have another plan. This one will involve Nutrisystem’s Flex meal guidelines, plus some science-tested techniques for successfully navigating any kind of dining out. You will not only prevent weight gain over a holiday that is all about eating, but you can also continue losing weight. And for that you can be thankful.

Here are some tips for Flexing and planning your Thanksgiving plate this holiday:

1. Review the Flex meal guidelines.

 

a healthy Thanksgiving plate Flex meal with turkey, mashed potatoes, brussels sprouts and carrots.

The Nutrisystem Flex meal guidelines are designed to help you easily prepare a perfectly portioned meal that fits into your weight loss plan. Flex meals consist of five building blocks: SmartCarbs, PowerFuels, Vegetables, Extras and Free Foods. The Flex meal guidelines will vary depending on your specific Nutrisystem program, so be sure to check the NuMi app and the pamphlet that came with your order for the number of PowerFuels and SmartCarbs you need for each Flex meal occasion.

Most Flex dinners will consist of two to three PowerFuels and one SmartCarb, plus the Vegetables, Free Foods and Extras of your choice. So for example, you could enjoy four ounces of turkey breast (two PowerFuels), a half-cup of mashed potatoes or stuffing (one SmartCarb) and one cup of cooked carrots and Brussels sprouts (two Vegetables). You could reserve your Extras for appetizers and desserts, or use them for some extra decadence on your Thanksgiving dinner plate with butter, cranberry sauce or gravy. Add Free Foods like garlic powder or black pepper to your heart’s content!

Knowing your specific Flex meal guidelines ahead of time will give you a better idea on how you’re going to plate up your food when it comes time for the Thanksgiving feast. This will help you stress less and enjoy the holiday!

2. Bring a healthy app.

 

Raw vegetables and everything bagel dip

Temptations can arise even before you sit down at the dinner table. Avoid picking at a classic charcuterie board loaded with meats and cheeses or dunking chips into gooey cheesy dips. Instead, bring a tray of crudités with a healthy, low-calorie dip (Find 20 healthy dip recipes here! >).

Non-starchy vegetables are unlimited on Nutrisystem, so fill up a tray with baby carrots, sliced cucumbers, broccoli florets, mini bell peppers, zucchini sticks and cherry tomatoes. Then whip up our quick and easy recipe for Everything Bagel Dip, which counts as one Extra per serving. You could also cut up some fresh fruit for a light and refreshing treat if you’d like to use this as a SmartCarb. Don’t be surprised if you find that the other guests enjoy these options, too!

Pro Tip: If you do want to bring an impressive, diet-friendly charcuterie board, check out our healthy guide below:

3. Be picky.

 

Thanksgiving table with roasted turkey, sliced ham and side dishes

Think about your Thanksgiving favorites and what you’re most excited about eating. If you have to stick only to the foods you love the best, what are you going to give up? Are you going to indulge in bread stuffing? Then skip the rolls. Love pumpkin pie? If you’re having dessert, avoid other sugary foods such as cranberry sauce and sweet potato casserole (the kind with brown sugar and tiny marshmallows). Having a plan for what you’re actually going to put on your Thanksgiving plate—and what you’re not—will help you maintain control.

4. Offer to bring a veg.

 

passing a bowl of green beans on thanksgiving

If you’re vegetarian or low-carb dieter, tell your host and hostess that you’ll bring a plant-based dish that everyone can enjoy, such as cauliflower “mashed potatoes” or vegetable lasagna bake (low-carb fans can use zucchini “noodles” in place of pasta). Spend some time finding recipes that sound scrumptious to you and that you know everyone else will love. If you have a big appetite, consider making one of the unlimited veggie recipes below! You can enjoy as much of them as you’d like.

5. Take less.

 

Whole Homemade Thanksgiving Turkey

If you’re used to piling on the sides, use a Tablespoon rather than a serving spoon to scoop up your favorites onto your plate. The Calorie Council suggests that you think of it as taking “free samples” so you don’t go overboard. Learn how to become a Nutrisystem portion pro here! >

6. Choose the white meat, no skin.

 

Homemade Sliced Turkey Breast on a Thanksgiving plate

Turkey is really diet-friendly. Three and a half ounces of turkey breast is only 161 calories. But eat it with skin and suddenly it’s 194 calories and double the fat—about the same number of calories as 3.5 ounces of dark meat without the skin. Save calories and stick to two-ounces of white meat turkey for each PowerFuel serving that you plan to have at your Thanksgiving meal.

7. Eat the turkey and veggies first.

 

thanksgiving plate full of turkey, carrots and mashed potatoes

Turkey is protein and protein helps you feel fuller faster and longer than carbohydrates, which will likely make up the rest of your Thanksgiving plate. Some studies have shown that people eat less if they’ve had some protein. Best of all, digesting protein takes more of an effort for your body so it boosts your metabolism, helping you burn off calories.

Non-starchy vegetables are also satiating while being low in calories yet high fiber. That’s why they are unlimited on the Nutrisystem plan, so load up your Thanksgiving plate and enjoy them with your turkey first!

8. Go light on the alcohol.

 

thanksgiving wine

Among other things, alcohol eases some of your inhibitions, including the one that keeps you from going for seconds on everything. One study found that drinking can lead you to consume and extra 384 calories a day! Stick to one drink and make it light: one four-ounce glass of prosecco, for example, is only 85 calories. Adding seltzer to a glass of white wine cuts its 120 calories in half. Feeling festive? Whip up one of these healthy Thanksgiving cocktails! >

9. Drink water. Then drink some more water.

 

pouring water for guests

Don’t let a Thanksgiving cocktail be your only source of fluids. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day, too! Water has been shown to work as natural appetite suppressant and may also increase calorie burning. On Nutrisystem, we recommend drinking 64 ounces of water each day.

Now that you’ve planned your Thanksgiving plate, check out these other simple tips for a healthy holiday:

10. Don’t skip a meal beforehand.

 

Nutrisystem buttermilk waffles with fruit and coffee

In fact, eating before you face the groaning table can help you exercise restraint when faced with all the delectable food choices before you. Eat a sensible breakfast and a light lunch so you won’t be ravenously hungry and tempted to overindulge when dinner is finally served. Nutrisystem Buttermilk Waffles can help you fill up and satisfy your sweet tooth early, so you’ll be less tempted when it’s time to eat.

11. Make conversation.

 

Family sitting at the table and celebrating holiday.

Obviously, if you’re talking you can’t be eating. But the other thing that happens when you keep up some friendly chatter during dinner is that you eat more slowly. Research shows that people who eat slower tend to eat less (and weigh less!). Doing so can give your brain time to register those fullness messages sent by your gut (it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to catch up).

12. Plan a physical activity.

 

Family enjoying beautiful autumn day in the park

Whether it’s a touch football game, Frisbee toss, brisk walk or line dancing, exercising will help you burn calories and keep you away from the app or buffet table. If that’s not possible, offer to help clear the table and clean up in the kitchen. Even housework burns calories—from 148 to 233 an hour, depending on your weight and how vigorous you are about cleaning.

20 Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes to Try This Holiday

When it comes time to gather around the table for the Thanksgiving feast, what are you most excited about? Is it the turkey, the scrumptious sides or perhaps the delicious desserts that come after the meal?

If it’s Thanksgiving desserts that you crave, then you might be wondering how you can indulge on Nutrisystem without going completely off track from your healthy weight loss goals.

It’s no secret that we’ve made it our mission to transform your favorite meals, snacks and desserts into perfectly-portioned, healthier versions that you love. Thanksgiving is no exception! We’ve rounded up a list of 20 Thanksgiving dessert recipes that are much healthier than your traditional pies, rolls and cakes. Read on to choose the best dessert recipes for your Thanksgiving spread.

 

Cream Cheese Pumpkin Roll

Pumpkin roll is a Thanksgiving classic—perhaps just a step below pumpkin pie in fame. But this version is made lighter and healthier by using ingredients like coconut sugar, low-fat cream cheese and whole wheat pastry flour. Thanks to these healthy swaps, a slice of this delicious roll is just 101 calories—but will still satisfy your sweet tooth. Get the full recipe! >

 

Easy Apple Pie Bars

Besides pumpkins, apples are another fall staple that makes for a delicious dessert base. This recipe has the flavors of apple pie infused with a blondie bar and will give that baked good indulgence you’ve been looking for. Made using both applesauce and sliced apples, it’s got all the apple goodness that you love. Plus, you can enjoy an entire bar for just 153 calories. Get the full recipe! >

 

Pumpkin Banana Bread

For banana bread and pumpkin lovers, we’ve found your perfect fall treat. This fall-inspired version of classic banana bread features pumpkin puree, maple syrup, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice to make it the perfect fit for your Thanksgiving spread. It’s also a great breakfast to start the holiday on the right track! A serving of our Pumpkin Banana Bread is 143 calories. Get the full recipe! >

 

Instant Pot Maple Walnut Cheesecake

The Instant Pot is a saving grace for the busy chef—and you can even use it for dessert! It works especially great for moist desserts like this Maple Walnut Cheesecake. The crust is made from healthful ingredients like walnuts and medjool dates. The filling comes from classic ingredients like Neufchatel cheese, nonfat plain Greek yogurt, maple syrup and maple extract. Brimming with maple flavor, it has all the fall feels and is 232 calories per slice. Get the full recipe! >

 

Healthy Apple Pie

Pies are often a fixture on the Thanksgiving dessert table—and they’re often loaded with sugar! But this Thanksgiving dessert recipe is proof that you don’t need added sugar to make a delicious treat. Our Healthy Apple Pie lets the natural sweetness of the apples shine. As a result, it has a mere 147 calories per slice. Plus, it’s a bonus that this recipe is easy to make. It uses just eight simple ingredients. Get the full recipe! >

 

Homemade Carrot Cake

While carrot cake might sound like more of a springtime dessert, the flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg and maple—including dreamy maple-flavored icing—makes this recipe right at home on the Thanksgiving table. Plus, carrots are a seasonal fall root veggie, so there’s no better time to enjoy them then now! While cakes like this one are usually loaded with sugar, ours finds sweetness from other ingredients like maple syrup and applesauce. You can help yourself to a 147-calorie slice with no guilt. Get the full recipe! >

 

Air Fryer Cranberry Pecan Pie

Another handy appliance for the busy chef, your air fryer can also help you whip up some healthy and delicious Thanksgiving dessert recipes. This one starts with a five-ingredient homemade crust which is filled with a delicious cranberry and pecan filling. It’s then “baked” in the wonder-of-appliances: the air fryer! One slice is just 141 calories of yumminess. Get the full recipe! >

 

Crustless Pumpkin Pie

Here’s an easy way to make pumpkin pie healthier while still being able to enjoy your favorite part—remove the crust! This recipe makes some healthy substitutions in the filling (such as swapping sugar for stevia and using nonfat milk instead of heavy cream)—and then ditches the crust entirely. You’ll be able to feel like you’re indulging when you’ve really made a healthy choice. Get the full recipe! >

 

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites

These mini cheesecake bites are an adorable display for your Thanksgiving dessert table. Made using a mini muffin tin, they come together with easy ingredients like gingersnap cookies, low-fat cream cheese and canned pumpkin. Pop a bite for a mere 64 calories and satisfy your sweet tooth for all the pumpkin goodies. Get the full recipe! >

 

3-Step Pumpkin Mousse

Here’s a fun way to get your pumpkin fix—pumpkin mousse! Grab a blender and simply combine ingredients like cottage cheese, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice and sugar. The result is a dreamy, whipped dessert that tastes heavenly but packs only 203 calories. You can also feel good about the fact that cottage cheese is high in many nutrients. Get the full recipe! >

 

3-Step Cinnamon Pecan Cookies

Nothing beats both easy and delicious—and this recipe is both. With the flavors of cinnamon, pecans and brown sugar, it’s sure to become one of your favorite fall cookies. They’re packed with protein and fiber, making for a wholesome treat that is just 114 calories. Get the full recipe! >

 

Maple Chocolate Pecan Pies

Pecan pie is another Thanksgiving favorite—and this recipe takes it up a notch by also adding the flavors of maple and chocolate. While it’s lightened up from a traditional pecan pie, we swear you won’t be able to tell the difference. It’s just 90 calories per serving but still wholly delicious. Get the full recipe! >

 

Instant Pot Apple Cake

Grab the Instant Pot to whip together this easy-to-make cake that features ripe and juicy Granny Smith apples as the star ingredient. Combined with favorite fall spices like ground cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, it’s a warm and cozy cake that won’t leave you feeling overstuffed—or spiking with sugar. A slice is just 128 calories. Get the full recipe! >

 

Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Maple syrup, cinnamon and pumpkin puree come together in this diet-friendly cookie that boasts just 76 calories per serving. You’ll get your pumpkin fix and only use two Extras on your Nutrisystem plan. Get the full recipe! >

 

Maple Walnut Cookies

This protein-packed cookie has the flavors of maple syrup, walnuts and cinnamon for a rich cookie that won’t wreck your weight loss goals. One cookie is 122 calories and counts as one SmartCarb and one Extra on the Nutrisystem plan. Consider putting together a whole cookie spread for a fun Thanksgiving dessert table. Get the full recipe! >

 

Pear Ginger Squares

The combination of pear and ginger is great pairing and truly makes this a Thanksgiving dessert standout. These dessert bars use healthful ingredients like whole wheat pastry flour, cinnamon, unsweetened applesauce and, of course, pears and ginger. This is one that will definitely have your dinner guests impressed. Each bar is a mere 112 calories. Get the full recipe! >

 

Pumpkin Icebox Cake

Icebox cakes remain a dessert favorite of the busy chef because they don’t take up precious oven space. You know how coveted the oven is during Thanksgiving prep! This cake can be prepared a day ahead of time, so that dessert is simply ready-to-go. A delightful slice of this dreamy, whipped cake is just 127 calories. Get the full recipe! >

 

Mini Pumpkin Cream Cheese Pies

Here’s another mini dessert option that’s fun to make, display and eat! Using a mini muffin pan, these little pies have a crust made from rolled oats and medjool dates that is topped with both a cream cheese and a pumpkin filling. The result is an adorable—and delicious—treat. Get the full recipe! >

 

Easy Air Fryer Baked Apple

Baked apples are perfect for those warm and cozy fall nights. As a bonus, you’ll love the aromas which fill your home as this dish cooks in the air fryer. It uses whole ingredients like apples, walnuts and raisins, plus seasonings like cinnamon and nutmeg. This filling and delicious dessert clocks in at just 139 calories per serving. Get the full recipe! >

 

Gluten Free Cranberry Scones

If you have gluten-free diners coming to your Thanksgiving table, you may not be sure what to feed them. This recipe simplifies the process with some easy-to-make but oh-so-delicious scones. One scone is around 102 calories and makes the perfect treat to enjoy after a filling Thanksgiving meal. Get the full recipe! >

The 25 Best Fall Baking Recipes

Fall brings with it a chilly nip in the air, a crackling fire and the taste of a sweet and spicy baked treat to pair with your pumpkin spice latte.

On Nutrisystem, that’s not out of the question. Yes, you can have your cake (cookies, muffins and pie) and lose weight, too. Here are 25 ways to do it!

 

100-Calorie Pumpkin Muffins

No need to buy oat flour for these 100-calorie muffins. Make your own by whirring two cups of old-fashioned rolled oats in a food processor. These honey-sweetened muffins get their fall flavor from pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice. And they only take three steps to make! One muffin counts as one Smart Carb and one Extra. Get the full recipe here! >

 

Whole Wheat Cranberry Orange Bread

Yummy enough to give as a holiday gift, you’ll want to keep this easy-to-make loaf around to satisfy your sweet tooth. Whole wheat pastry flour adds fiber while unsweetened applesauce and orange juice add sweetness. Each delicious slice is only 137 calories. A serving counts as one SmartCarb and one Extra. Get the full recipe here! >

 

Pumpkin Spice Cookies

This one-bowl recipe will satisfy your pumpkin spice yearnings in fall (or anytime) without adding loads of calories. One cookie is only 76 calories, thanks to whole wheat flour, light margarine and a touch of maple syrup instead of sugar. A serving counts as two Extras. Get the full recipe here! >

 

Baked Cinnamon Apple Nachos

This creative take on nachos will be one of your favorite desserts, guaranteed. Sliced apples are tossed with cinnamon and coconut oil, baked, then topped with nuts or seeds (like pumpkin seeds), pomegranate seeds, nut or seed butter and mini chocolate chips. The recipe makes two servings at 245 calories each. Be sure to make extra for the family so they don’t steal yours. Count this dessert as half of a PowerFuel, one SmartCarb and three Extras. Get the full recipe here! >

 

Maple Chocolate Pecan Pies

Tempted? Go ahead, give in. One serving of this decadent pie is only 90 calories and counts as three Extras. It all starts with a store-bought pie crust (yay!) and uses maple syrup and stevia baking blend for sweetness. Even the chocolate chips are stevia sweetened. Get the full recipe here! >

 

Pumpkin Blondies

If you love brownies, these 97-calorie snack cakes might just lure you over to the blondie side. The recipe starts with homemade oat flour and contains a cup of pumpkin puree (high in vitamin A) with almond butter, brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice. The recipe makes 16 bars and each counts as one SmartCarb and one Extra. Get the full recipe here! >

 

Chai Baked Oatmeal

Cake for breakfast? Yes, please! The old-fashioned oats add healthy fiber. Mixed with nonfat plain Greek yogurt, unsweetened applesauce and an array of spices (cinnamon, allspice, cloves, cardamom, ginger and—surprise!—black pepper), this breakfast-dessert hybrid is studded with pecans and golden raisins. This recipe makes nine bars, only 216 calories each. One bar counts as one PowerFuel and one SmartCarb. Get the full recipe here! >

 

Healthy Apple Pie

Whole wheat flour and light butter pares so many calories from this easy pie that one serving is only 147 calories! There’s also no added sugar but plenty of apple cinnamon taste. On Nutrisystem, a serving counts as one SmartCarb and two Extras. Get the full recipe here! >

 

Pumpkin Banana Bread

Banana bread meets pumpkin bread in this recipe—and they get along great together. Combine applesauce, maple syrup, two ripe bananas and fiber-rich whole wheat pastry flour. Simple ingredients make this pumpkin-pie-spiced loaf plenty healthy. The recipe makes 12 servings, and each 143-calorie serving counts as one SmartCarb and one Extra. Get the full recipe here! >

 

Pear Ginger Squares

You’re going to wonder why you never thought of spicing up pears with ginger once you taste these triple ginger bars. Featuring ground, grated fresh and crystalized ginger, this recipe packs loads of flavor in just 112 calories. A stevia baking blend and applesauce add sweetness to the already sweet, chopped Bosc pear. This snack cake counts as one SmartCarb. Get the full recipe here! >

 

Homemade Carrot Cake

Carrot cake on a diet? No problem! Thanks to whole wheat flour, applesauce, stevia and maple syrup, this moist cake (that has two cups of grated carrots!) with its ricotta-yogurt frosting is only 147 calories a slice. Each slice counts as half of a PowerFuel, half of a SmartCarb and two Extras. Get the full recipe here! >

 

Crustless Pumpkin Pie

Losing the crust of this holiday pie alone saves more than 100 calories. Using stevia as a sweetener along with nonfat milk shaves off even more. Indulge in a slice of this spicy Thanksgiving regular, which counts as one SmartCarb. Get the full recipe here! >

 

Gluten Free Chewy Ginger Cookies

Even if you aren’t gluten-sensitive, you’ll enjoy the taste and texture of these rich-tasting chewy cookies redolent of ginger, molasses, cinnamon and vanilla. Coconut flour replaces wheat in this recipe that makes 16 cookies, each of which is 102 calories and counts as three Extras. Get the full recipe here! >

 

Crustless Cranberry Pie

You’ve had cranberry sauce, bread and cookies, but you’ve probably never had cranberries baked into a pie. Two cups of whole tart cranberries are folded into a batter made from whole wheat flour, nonfat plain Greek yogurt, eggs, applesauce, almond extract and sliced almonds. Serve the 124-calorie slice warm with light whipped cream. One serving counts as one SmartCarb and one Extra. Get the full recipe here! >

 

Cinnamon Spice Baked Apples

Think of this dessert as apple pie without the crust. Warm, sweet apples are seasoned with cinnamon, lemon juice, nutmeg and sugar-free syrup for only 90 calories a serving. Each serving counts as one SmartCarb and one Extra. Get the full recipe here! >

 

Mini Pumpkin Cream Cheese Pies

The crust of these mini pies is delicious and it’s easy to make it yourself. Just combine rolled oats, sweet medjool dates and unsweetened vanilla almond milk. Make a cream cheese filling using Neufchatel cheese (marketed as light cream cheese) and then a second filling made with pumpkin puree, almond milk and pumpkin pie spice. Stevia and maple syrup add the sweetness. They’re made in mini muffin pans so you have 12. One is 83 calories and counts as one SmartCarb. Get the full recipe here! >

 

Skinny Pumpkin Biscuits with Cinnamon Butter

Imagine having these decadent biscuits with your morning coffee or tea. They’re totally diet-friendly because of their fiber-rich whole wheat flour, light butter and low-fat buttermilk. Maple syrup adds sweetness and flavor, while pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice will remind you of pie. Each biscuit with butter is only 151 calories and counts as one SmartCarb and two Extras. Get the full recipe here! >

 

Maple Almond Butter Muffins

These treats offer a symphony of flavors in the morning. Cinnamon, nutmeg, almond butter, unsweetened applesauce, maple syrup, brown sugar and maple extract are part of a batter that consists of oat flour, rolled oats, egg, baking powder and salt. They’re baked in a regular sized muffin tin. The recipe makes six muffins, each of which is 176 calories and counts as one SmartCarb and two Extras. Get the full recipe here! >

 

Carrot Soufflé Cups

These yummy soufflé cups are worth the extra step of cooking and mashing a couple of carrots. The rest of the recipe is a cakewalk from there. Eggs, oil, flour, baking soda, vanilla extract, grated fresh ginger and stevia make up the batter. Combine with your cooked mashed carrots, pour into muffin cups and bake. The recipe makes four servings at 183 calories each. One serving counts as one PowerFuel, half of a Vegetable and two Extras. Get the full recipe here! >

 

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites

When an ingredients list starts with gingersnap cookies, you know it’s going to be good. Ten crushed cookies combined with coconut oil and water make the crust for these low-fat cream cheese-based cakes. They’re flavored with canned pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice and baked in a mini muffin tin. One mini cheesecake counts as a serving at 64 calories each. They count as two Extras on Nutrisystem. Get the full recipe here! >

 

Baked Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Muffins

These muffins combine mashed banana with rolled dry oats, baking powder, cinnamon, eggs, unsweetened almond milk and vanilla extract. To this gluten-free batter, you add orange zest and dried cranberries. Bake in a muffin pan and voila! A sweet and healthy breakfast (or afternoon pick-me-up). They are only 106 calories per muffin, which counts as one SmartCarb. Get the full recipe here! >

 

3-Step Cinnamon Pecan Cookies

Almond flour makes these cookies even nuttier, not to mention protein-rich and gluten free. To make these one-bowl wonders, mix almond flour with light butter, cinnamon, baking soda, unsweetened almond milk and brown sugar. Bake with a pecan on the top. One cookie is 115 calories and counts as one PowerFuel and one Extra. Get the full recipe here! >

 

Maple Walnut Cookies

You’ll go wild for the maple glaze on these 122-calorie cookies, made with rolled oats and wheat flour, a touch of cinnamon, maple extract and walnuts. Unsweetened applesauce, maple syrup and a little confectioners sugar in the glaze brings out the sweetness. One cookie counts as one SmartCarb and one Extra. Get the full recipe here! >

 

Pumpkin Cranberry Crackers

For the days when you’re craving a little savory with your sweet, whip up a batch of these crackers made with whole wheat flour, pureed pumpkin, coconut oil and dried cranberries. These crispy treats can be used with dips or eaten just plain (though there’s nothing plain about them) with your coffee or tea. At only 117.4 calories each, a serving counts as one SmartCarb. Get the full recipe here! >

 

Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls

These yeast rolls take a little more time to make—two hours of waiting for the dough to rise—but they are so worth it! The dough gets fiber from whole wheat flour and the apple pie filling gets an extra apple boost with the addition of unsweetened applesauce. And then there’s the glaze—low fat cream cheese, light butter, powdered sugar and nonfat milk—drizzled on top. Brunch-worthy if you’re having guests, or perfect for any time you want a special treat. Each roll is 230 calories and counts as one and a half SmartCarbs and three Extras. Get the full recipe here! >

well I hope y’all love these treats and Please deal free to comment on which ones you choose to make and how they turned out, yours truly Bernadette your fitness coach.

10 Ways to Prepare for a Healthy and Happy Holiday Season

You’ve probably read dozens of articles that offer advice on how to “survive the holidays” when you’re trying to lose weight. Survive? What happened to experiencing the joy of the season, feeling merry and being happy? No one wants to just survive the holidays, like they’re a lagoon full of crocodiles. You want to enjoy them! By making just a few strategic preparations beforehand, you can experience a healthy and happy holiday.

Here are 10 simple ways to prepare for a healthy and happy holiday season:

1. Define “happy”.

 

happy holiday

What are your favorite things about the holidays? Make a list of what makes you happy during this special time of year. Gift-giving, gift-getting, bringing out the family heirloom table or tree decorations, writing cards, making holiday crafts, the annual neighborhood party or the delicious tastes of family meals: mom’s stuffing, Nana’s pizzelles, the buttery taste of Aunt Rose’s challah bread.

Chances are, one of your favorite things is the feeling of warmth and togetherness as the whole family draws together to enjoy each other. When you’re tempted to eat one extra holiday cookie or take another dip into the party punch, pull out your list. It will serve as a reminder that you have plenty of other ways to enjoy the holidays, so you won’t feel the least bit deprived.

2. Don’t skip meals.

 

happy holiday

Even if you know there’s a big feed on the agenda, don’t “save up” for it by skipping your healthy Nutrisystem meals. You don’t want to face temptation hungry.

3. Stock up on seltzer.

 

happy holiday

According to the National Health Service, alcoholic drinks may affect the brain chemicals that tell your appetite to call it a day. Researchers explain that despite consuming loads of calories in alcoholic beverages, you may end up eating more than when you are sober.

If you’d like to indulge in a glass of wine at the holiday party, fill your glass half or two-thirds of the way up with seltzer water before you add any alcohol. Bonus: Holding a glass of plain or mixed seltzer usually stops your host from trying to give you more!

4. Volunteer.

volunteer

Consider signing up to help at the local soup kitchen or pet shelter over the holidays. You’re not only helping others in need, you’re helping yourself. According to Mayo Clinic, studies have found that people who volunteer can beat depression and lower stress levels, both common risks over the holidays. It can also help with keeping you physically and mentally healthy. Bring the family with you and start a new, happy holiday tradition.

5. Dance.

 

dance

If you get stressed or depressed when the holidays roll around, turn on the music and get moving. You don’t have to be a scientist to figure out that it’s really hard to feel bad when you’re dancing. But science can prove it: A 2015 study, published in European Journal of Sport Science, compared the moods of recreational ballroom dancers and those who dance competitively. Researchers found that the less rigorous workout by amateurs resulted in less stress and more pleasure, even after the last notes were sounded. Even better: Dancing away the blues can burn up to 518 calories per hour (depending on the type of dance and speed), says the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. So, dance away the blues and stay happy this holiday season.

6. Plan a holiday hike… or two.

 

happy holiday

And bring as many family members along as you can! According to Healthline, walking provides a host of health benefits, such as burning calories, increasing energy and improving heart health, immunity and mood. Along with these perks, family walks also offer an interrupted time to connect with each other without distraction.

7. Keep your hands (and mind) busy.

 

happy holiday

If you relish the time you spend making holiday cookies, transfer your DIY yearnings to something that isn’t food. Many park departments, arboretums and garden clubs offer classes on how to make holiday wreaths and centerpieces, force bulbs or create fairy gardens. Learn to bead, knit and quilt at your local fabric store or art center to create homemade holiday gifts your family will love.

8. Take a moment—often.

 

happy holiday

It’s so easy to get carried away over the holidays—planning, prepping, shopping, buying, decorating, cooking, wrapping. Just the thought can make your blood pressure rise. Mindfulness—a meditative technique that helps you focus on the present moment (and not all the other moments you’re planning for)—may be your solution.

According to the magazine Today’s Dietitian, mindful practices have been shown to help develop better eating habits and a “higher well-being in daily life.” Think of it as putting yourself on pause, during which you pay close attention to what you’re feeling and sensing in the moment, without making any judgments. It can help you calm down, sidestep a craving and remind yourself of your ultimate goals, leading to better choices.

9. Relax anywhere.

 

relax

Become instantly calm with simple, deep breathing techniques, no matter what’s going on around you. According to Medical News Today, a specific breathing technique called “4-7-8” may help decrease stress, improve sleep and control cravings. It involves breathing in quietly through your nose for four seconds, holding for seven seconds, then exhaling for eight seconds, making a soft whoosh sound (repeat up to four times). Just make sure to speak with your doctor before adding this practice to your routine to ensure this is the right technique for you.

10. Give yourself the gift of forgiveness.

 

happy holiday

You planned ahead to do the right thing and stick to your diet program. However, holiday treats still tempt you and a few sneak onto your plate. Don’t beat yourself up. Shame may lead you to give up and derail your diet permanently. Cut yourself a break. Everyone has a bad day, but it doesn’t have to lead to a bad life. Forgive yourself and hop right back on the diet train at your very next meal.

5 Best Foods Backed by Science for Better Sleep at Night

How well we sleep affects what we eat. Research shows that sleep-deprived people consistently consume more calories than people who get the recommended seven or more hours of sleep each night.

If we’re overly tired, we’re also more likely to choose unhealthy foods to deal with cravings and fluctuating blood sugar levels. But there’s another side to this: what we eat directly affects how well we sleep. The five foods listed below have been found by doctors and researchers to help people fall asleep and rest more soundly.

1. Salmon

 

Fatty fish like salmon have omega-3s that can help you relax and sleep better

Nutrisystem Category: PowerFuels

Serving size: 2 ounces

Why: Eating salmon three times per week for several months helped study subjects have better overall sleep as well as improved daytime functioning, according to a report in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. “Researchers believe that fatty fish may help sleep by providing a healthy dose of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, which are involved in the body’s regulation of serotonin,” explains the National Sleep Foundation. Serotonin is a hormone that plays a role in energy balance, sleep, mood, emotions and appetite. Eating fatty fish like salmon is a natural way to potentially get some of these benefits.

Try: Canned salmon is convenient to keep on hand, ready to eat whenever you are. Plus, it’s just as nutritious as fresh fish. Our Grilled Feta Salmon Burger recipe is loaded with flavor and protein to keep you satisfied. Make sure to also try out our Sheet Pan Pesto Salmon and Veggies recipe, the perfect one-pan Flex meal!

2. Nuts

 

Of all nuts, walnuts have the highest amount of melatonin to help you sleep

Nutrisystem Category: PowerFuels

Serving size: 2 Tablespoons or ½ ounce

Why: Along with protein and healthy fats to keep you feeling full while you sleep, nuts may help replenish your body’s supply of melatonin, a hormone that regulates your internal clock and helps your brain feel tired at bedtime. When fed an extract from walnuts, laboratory animals had high concentrations of melatonin in their bodies, according to a report published in the journal Nutrition. Walnuts also contain other nutrients associated with better sleep, including magnesium, potassium, folate and calcium. You can also get melatonin from other nuts like almonds, pistachios and cashews.

Try: Be aware that packages of nuts can come with a lot of extra oil and salt. Look for dry-roasted, unsalted versions. With Air Fryer Spiced Nuts, you can bump up the flavor of walnuts, almonds and pecans with a sweet and zesty seasoning of cinnamon and cayenne pepper and no added sodium. The spiced nuts come out of the oil-free air fryer extra crispy and tasty.

3. Milk

 

Dairy is high in amino acids like tryptophan that can promote better sleep

Nutrisystem Category: PowerFuels

Serving size: 1 cup or 8 ounces

Why: Your mother or grandmother may have offered you warm milk when you were a child and having trouble sleeping. Science supports drinking milk as a natural home remedy for insomnia. While warm milk may be soothing if it’s tied to positive childhood memories, dairy foods like milk and cheese are high in an amino acid called tryptophan that promotes the production of serotonin and melatonin. “Milk contains four sleep-promoting compounds: tryptophan, calcium, vitamin D, and melatonin,” says Medical News Today.

Fun Fact: According to the National Sleep Foundation, “Milk collected from cows milked at night contains ample amounts of melatonin in addition to tryptophan.”

Try:  When shopping for milk, cheese or other dairy products, be sure to get low-fat varieties rather than whole milk types. Sip on this Peppermint White Hot Chocolate for a comforting and healthy snack that features skim milk. It’s perfectly flavored with white chocolate, peppermint extract and fat-free cool whip.

4. Eggs

 

Eggs are rich in melatonin and tryptophan

Nutrisystem Category: PowerFuels

Serving size: 1 large egg

Why: Eggs are a rich source of melatonin and, like milk, egg whites specifically are loaded with tryptophan. What’s more, eggs give you a healthy supply of easy-to-digest protein. Eating a diet high in lean protein helps people to sleep better as they lose weight, according to researchers at Purdue University.

Try: There are so many delicious ways to enjoy eggs on Nutrisystem, as they are a perfectly portioned PowerFuel. From Air Fryer Baked Eggs to Easy Egg and Toast Cups, you can eat eggs for breakfast, lunch or dinner on our plan.

5. Cherries

 

Tart cherries have more melatonin than any other food

Nutrisystem Category: SmartCarbs

Serving size: 1 cup

Why: Tart cherries (also known as pie cherries) have just about the highest concentration of melatonin of any food. Drinking cherry juice helped study subjects to sleep more soundly, according to research published in the American Journal of Therapeutics. The cherries also appeared to reduce inflammation in the people who drank it. Pain from swollen joints is a common cause of sleep troubles for people, especially as they grow older.

Try: Eating real cherries contains more fiber than just drinking the juice. You can add cherries to your Nutrisystem Chocolate Shake Mix to create this rich and creamy Black Forest Chocolate Cherry Milkshake recipe. Our recipe for Chocolate Cherry Bliss Balls features nuts along with the cherries to give you twice the sleep benefits.

*Speak to your doctor before making any changes to your diet or if you have any questions about sleep.

7 Easy Tips for Natural Stress Relief

Even before there was a worldwide pandemic, you were probably stressed: According to the American Psychological Association’s 2017 “Stress in America” report, more than 60 percent of adults felt stress about money, work and the future of the nation.1 With the COVID-19 pandemic, stress numbers have grown: The same report in 2020 found that 67 percent of Americans have felt an increase in stress over the course of the pandemic.2

A little stress—rushing to catch a bus, worrying how that job interview went—is unavoidable. But constant stress can increase your risk of mental health conditions like depression,3 as well as physical ones like heart disease.4 And it can take a toll on your relationships, too. In the 2020 “Stress in America” study, 20 percent of adults reported “snapping” or getting angry quickly, and 17 percent admitted to yelling or screaming at a loved one due to stress.2

It can also affect our weight loss success: Our ability to make healthy food choices is compromised when we’re stressed.5

All these risk factors of stress may be causing you more stress, so we’ll stop—and offer these seven easy and natural ways to relieve stress and reduce your risks, improve your relationships and stay on track to your weight loss goals.

1. Take a five-minute break to play a casual video game.

 

a woman and child playing video games together

With their constant access to current events updates and the FOMO of social media, our phones are usually a cause of stress. But used correctly, your miracle gadget can also help reduce stress. In a study of 66 undergraduate students suffering from computer-based “cognitive fatigue,” researchers had the groups take one of three types of five-minute breaks: One group sat in a room without phone or computer, doing nothing. Another group participated in a guided relaxation activity. And a third group played five minutes of a casual video game. The video game group saw similar reductions in distress as the guided relaxation group. However, they were also the only group to say they felt better after the break.6

What’s a “casual video game”? In the study, the authors describe them as “recreational games that are simple to play, easy to learn and designed to be played in short intervals.” The authors specifically mention Candy Crush and Angry Birds. But for a new one, try the game the study participants played: Sushi Cat 2, a simple game where players navigate a cat around to collect and eat sushi.6 Just the description of that game may provide some stress relief!

2. Spend 10 minutes in nature.

 

a man going on a hike on a sunny day for stress relief

Scientists have long known that time in nature provides natural stress relief. However, in 2020, scientists found the minimum effective dose: Just 10 minutes spent away from the stresses of civilization was enough to improve mood and focus while reducing blood pressure and heart rate. And you don’t even have to do anything in nature: Those benefits occurred while sitting or walking.7

If you have 15 minutes and can sit in a forest, even better: “Forest bathing,” a Japanese pastime where people recharge by sitting among the trees, has been shown to improve your immune system and cancer prevention,8 as well as a reduction in cortisol, a hormone associated with stress.9

3. Get moving.

 

a woman exercising on a yoga mat in front of a laptop for stress relief

Sitting in the forest is great, but sometimes you’ve got to move your body to bust that stress. Scientists believe that one way exercise helps with natural stress relief is by increasing a brain protein called galanin.10 Whatever the reason, it works: Walking for 30 minutes at lunch has been found to make walkers feel more enthusiastic, less nervous and more relaxed at work.11 And strength training has been shown to reduce overall fatigue, reduce depression symptoms in people diagnosed with clinical depression and reduce anxiety symptoms in healthy adults.12

Why not both? Combo your daily walk with one of these 10 workouts you can do right in your living room! >

4. Pet a dog or cat for 10 minutes:

 

a man embracing a golden retriever in a park for stress relief

Looking at pictures of cute animals might make you feel less stressed. However, it ain’t nothing like the real thing! When participants in one adorable study were given 10 minutes to pet cats or dogs, their levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, dropped significantly more than it did for participant groups who just viewed slideshows of animals.13

Don’t have a cuddly friend of your own? If you can safely visit a friend and social distance, pet their pet—or make plans to volunteer at your local shelter when you feel safe to do so.

5. Order a shrimp cocktail.

 

shrimp cocktail with lemon wedges and thyme

When you think of “stress eating,” luxurious, calorie-dense foods probably come to mind. This makes sense: As mentioned above, stress can compromise our ability to make healthy food choices.

But one seemingly decadent food is good for stress relief and is surprisingly good for your calorie control: Shellfish. Mussels, clams, oysters and shrimp are high in an amino acid called taurine,14 which has been shown to have antidepressant properties.15 They also contain zinc,16 a mineral found to boost mood.17

When prepared without buttery sauces, these crustaceans and bivalves can help you stay on plan, too: A three-ounce serving of shrimp (depending on the size, 8 or 9 shrimp) is just one PowerFuel on Nutrisystem! Looking for another delicious and easy way to prepare shrimp? Try this Cajun Sheet Pan Shrimp Boil Recipe! >

6. Drink (or eat) some matcha.

 

matcha cookies with white chocolate on a plate with milk

Among its many health benefits, green tea has long been shown to reduce stress. It’s no wonder then that its super-concentrated form, finely ground matcha powder, has been shown to do the same. And it works whether you drink this green powder18 or even if you eat it: In one study of 36 people, those who ate matcha-infused cookies for two weeks had lower levels of a stress marker compared to a group that were green-powder-free.19 What a delicious method for natural stress relief!

Get a packet of your own and try it in these Nutrisystem-approved Matcha Blueberry Muffins, in this surprisingly sweet Matcha Melon Smoothie or in your very own, homemade, Guilt-free Iced Matcha Latte.

7. Do a simple body scan meditation.

 

a woman resting on a gray couch with her headphones on for stress relief

You don’t have to be a master of mindfulness to get stress-busting benefits from meditation: Scientists have found that even one of the most basic meditation practices, a body scan, has natural stress-relieving effects.20

In a body scan, meditators put intentional focus on each area of the body, one by one, trying to really experience that segment of the body—how your back is in contact with the chair you’re sitting in, for instance, and how the chair feels against your back. You can find short, guided body scans on YouTube or in your favorite podcast app.

*Always speak with your doctor if you’re feeling overly stressed, sad or anxious. 

Check out some of my Sources: 

  1. https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2017/state-nation.pdf 
  2. https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2020/report-october
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5573220/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6345505/
  5. https://journals.lww.com/psychosomaticmedicine/Abstract/2000/11000/Stress_and_Food_Choice__A_Laboratory_Study.16.aspx
  6. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/317783795_Searching_for_Affective_and_Cognitive_Restoration_Examining_the_Restorative_Effects_of_Casual_Video_Game_Play
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6970969/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20074458
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2793346/
  10. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/08/200831131638.htm
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25559067
  12. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1559827610368771
  13. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/2332858419852592
  14. https://agris.fao.org/agris-search/search.do?recordID=US9022779
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5504064/
  16. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/is-shrimp-healthy
  17. https://www.nature.com/articles/ejcn2009158
  18. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/07/190709110228.htm
  19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6512570/
  20. https://www.healthline.com/health/body-scan-meditation

8 Fun and Healthy Halloween Ideas to Celebrate

Halloween doesn’t have to be all about candy. In fact, if you’re trying to slim down, it shouldn’t be about candy at all. This year, let it be about family fun. Here are eight healthy Halloween ideas to boost the holiday fun factor, most of which have zero calories!

1. Up your jack-o’-lantern game.

 

jack-o'-lanterns

While triangle eyes and nose and fanged grin are the classic pumpkin carving go-to, keep your hands a little busier this year (and less likely to dip into the candy) with something a little more, well, spooktacular. Head to the internet to get some fun pumpkin carving Halloween ideas. Buy or download free pumpkin stencils that will make your jack-o’-lanterns the talk of the neighborhood. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to create a spooky zombie face, a witch on a broomstick, a hooting owl or a Day of the Dead Mexican skull, even if you have zero artistic talent. Invest in a pumpkin carving kit that contains tools to make it easier. It’s so satisfying and fun, you may not stop!

2. Make a scary entrance.

 

Halloween house entrance

There are some easy peasy ways to decorate your front porch or walkway to make Halloween an extra supernatural experience for trick-or-treaters. If you have a cast iron Dutch oven, add some dry ice to water which will turn it into a bubbling cauldron. Invest in some fake spider webs and spiders to cover shrubs or trees to greet visitors as they walk up to your door. You can even make spiders out of black balloons—small one for the head, larger one for the body, tied together, with black pipe cleaners for legs. Dangle them from your porch. Use a couple of bales of hay as an outdoor table if you want your trick or treaters to serve themselves. Use faux spider webbing as your “tablecloth,” and group your pumpkins, carved and otherwise, around the base. Don’t forget a few white plastic bag “ghosts” for good measure.

3. Plan a bonfire.

 

backyard fall bonfire

With the arrival of chilly fall air, now may be the perfect time to invest in a little backyard firepit to cozy up next to on weekend evenings. You, your family and friends can gather to roast marshmallows (less than 100 calories for four regular sized marshmallows!) and tell your best scary ghost stories. It could become a family or neighborhood tradition.

4. Bob for apples.

 

`bob for apples game

This used to be the funniest party game before designers Chuck Foley and Neil Rabens invented Twister. Contestants would kneel in front of a large container of water filled with floating apples. The object of the game? Grab an apple . . . with your teeth! Try to do it without laughing (not possible) or getting wet (sooo not possible). Given the pandemic, it’s probably not appropriate for a general Halloween party, but it can be a hilarious family activity for those in your household. Don’t forget to eat the apples!

5. Talk to the hands.

 

Halloween Popcorn Hands

A great (and delicious) activity to do with kids is to make spooky Halloween Popcorn Hands. All you need are four cups of air-popped or light popcorn, three disposable gloves (food contact gloves which contain no powder and are Latex free) and 15 candy corn pieces. Drop the candy corn into each finger of the gloves (yep, those are finger nails). Then stuff the popcorn into each finger and also fill up the glove. Tie the end of the gloves. These decorative treats count as two Extras on the Nutrisystem plan.

6. Make some diet-friendly chocolate apples.

 

Autumn candy apples with chocolate and caramel

Everyone in the family will love these sweet treats. You’ll love the fact that you can easily make them Nutrisystem-friendly! Prepare regular chocolate apples for the fam and whip up a lightened-up version for yourself. Instead of using regular chocolate or caramel, swap in a bag of Nutrisystem NutriChocolaty Wafers. These bite-sized morsels have the delicious flavor of chocolate and rich cocoa with just a hint of caramel. With this hack, your apple “indulgence” counts as only one Nutrisystem Snack, one PowerFuel and one SmartCarb.

For each chocolate apple, simply melt a bag of NutriChocolaty Wafers, insert a popsicle stick into the core of a medium apple, dip the apple in the melted chocolate, then roll in two Tablespoons of crushed peanuts. Set on parchment paper until the chocolate hardens. To download a free printable recipe books with this recipe and 11 other healthy Halloween ideas, click here! >

7. Plan a scary movie night.

 

man watching a scary Halloween movie

If you have an all-adult household, you can have a movie night and hold a “Halloween” marathon—the movie series, “Halloween” that is. Other top horror flicks according to Rotten Tomatoes, the movie rating site, include “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” “The Ring,” “Candyman,” “Scream” and “House on Haunted Hill.” If you like a little humor with your scary, consider “Shawn of the Dead,” “Black Sheep” or “Tremors.” Some class acting? “Rosemary’s Baby” and “The Shining” are standouts. Anything Stephen King. Kiddies on board? Think about “Frankenweenie,” “The Little Vampire,” “The Adams Family,” “The House with a Clock in Its Walls” or “Coraline.” The whole family will enjoy “Beetlejuice.”

8. Go on a hay ride.

 

Autumn Sign: PUMPKINS APPLES HAYRIDES

Many farms and nature centers have Halloween hayrides. Some are “haunted” by human and animatronic ghosts and zombies for those who love a good fright. Others are mellow and simply take you for a ride through the fields balanced on a hay bale. Some farms also have corn mazes that can keep you twisting and turning for close to an hour, plus farm animals to pet, pumpkins to pick and apple cider to drink. You can even take a trip to a local sunflower field for plenty of photo ops!

Looking for more healthy and fun ideas to celebrate Halloween? Click the links above.

Does Coffee Boost Metabolism? The Benefits of Coffee for Weight Loss (Plus Recipes!)

“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!”

The Health Benefits of Coffee

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

Everyone has there own choose, as to what they prefer

, a website created by nutrition and food safety experts at the International Food Information Council.

Does Coffee Boost Metabolism and Help Weight Loss?

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.

10 Healthy Coffee Recipes

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 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. Click here for the full recipe! >

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. Click here for the full recipe! >

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. Click here for the full recipe! >

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. Click here for the full recipe! >

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. Click here for the full recipe! >

6. 3-Ingredient Chocolate Coffee Mousse >

 

3-Ingredient Chocolate Coffee Mousse

Cool down and fuel your day with a creamy, dreamy dessert. With just three simple ingredients and a few simple steps, you can be digging your spoon into a light and airy Chocolate Coffee Mousse that’s rich, decadent and delicious. This chocolaty java treat clocks in at just 88 calories per serving. If you’re on the Nutrisystem weight loss plan, you can count it as all three of your Extras for the day. Click here for the full recipe! >

7. Skinny Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew >

 

Skinny Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew

Stay on track with your weight loss while indulging in the flavors of fall with this Skinny Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew recipe! It’s perfectly portioned, lower in calories and eliminates the added sugar that typically accompanies these tasty drinks at the coffee shop.  Each 107-calorie beverage can be counted as half of a PowerFuel and two Extras on Nutrisystem. Click here for the full recipe! >

8. Sweet Cinnamon Latte >

 

Sweet Cinnamon Latte

This Sweet Cinnamon Latte is super easy to whip up. All you need is nonfat milk, Truvia, ground cinnamon and of course, coffee. Whether you need a morning pick-me-up or a midday treat, this sweet cup of joe will give you the energy you need. One serving is just 126 calories. It counts as one PowerFuel and one Extra on Nutrisystem. Click here for the full recipe! >

9. Iced Mocha Latte >

 

Iced Mocha Latte

Even if you’ve never considered yourself to be an expert barista, our Iced Mocha Latte will be done faster than a barista can call out that your order is ready. Plus, your wallet will be feeling a little heavier! This tasty drink provides the caffeine kick you need with the perfect amount of chocolaty goodness. Click here for the full recipe! >

10. Vanilla Latte Protein Smoothie >

 

Vanilla Latte Protein Smoothie

Turn your morning coffee into your morning time meal with this latte recipe! This smart sip is packed with protein, fiber and probiotics for a nutritious breakfast that fuels your day. Blend up this six-ingredient shake and enjoy a refreshing, energizing beverage that fits into your weight loss meal plan. It clocks in at just 176 calories and counts as one PowerFuel and one Extra on Nutrisystem. Click here for the full recipe! >

Does Eating Breakfast Help You Lose Weight? What the Research Says

You could save a load of calories by skipping breakfast. About a quarter of American adults do. But does eating breakfast help you lose weight? And is it really the most important meal of the day?

Does Eating Breakfast Help You Lose Weight?

 

eggs and spinach for breakfast to lose weight

Statistically speaking, saving calories in the morning doesn’t guarantee that you’ll lose weight faster—or at all. In fact, studies have found that breakfast skippers are more likely to be overweight or obese than faithful morning eaters.1

One study, for example, found that people who ate a bowl of cereal for breakfast weighed less than those who skipped breakfast or who ate a higher fat breakfast.2

Some of the most successful losers—people who qualify for the National Weight Control Registry because they’ve lost 30 pounds or more and kept it off for more than a year—have a few things in common, the chief among them that 78 percent of them eat breakfast every day.3

Breakfast Keeps You Full and Satisfied

 

couple eating breakfast to lose weight

One reason breakfast plays such an important role on a weight loss program is—no surprise—that it can reduce your hunger.

Experts at the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture explain, “While you might save calories by skipping breakfast, this is not an effective strategy. Typically, hunger gets the best of breakfast ­skippers, and they eat more at lunch and throughout the day.2

While you may not be ready to nosh on a whole wheat bagel at the break of dawn, it can keep you full, satisfied and energized. Wait too long before eating and you could find yourself binge snacking the rest of the day.2

Boost Your Burn With Breakfast

 

oatmeal with berries and nuts

A recent small study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, suggests there may be something else at play.

Researchers at the University of Lubeck in Germany invited a group of volunteers to spend three days in a lab where their diet was strictly controlled. (Many larger breakfast studies rely on volunteers remembering what they ate over a period of time, which is not always reliable.)

The study found that the body uses 2.5 times more energy after breakfast than after dinner. This means you get more fat-burning power after a good breakfast than you do after your evening meal. The participants also had less of a spike in blood sugar and insulin concentrations after their breakfasts than they did at dinner.4

The old advice to “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper” also got some credence from this research. Participants who ate a low-calorie breakfast were more likely to report feeling hungry and craving sweets later in the day than those who ate more calories at breakfast time.4 So yes, eating breakfast does help you lose weight!

Easy and Healthy Breakfast Ideas

With Nutrisystem, you can get delicious and nutritious breakfast options delivered right to your door. From hearty breakfast sandwiches and moist muffins to crunchy cereal and grab-and-go bars, you’re sure to find an option that you love. Plus, all of them are ready to enjoy in minutes! Paired with our easy-to-follow weight loss plan and amazing support tools, you can lose weight and get healthy while enjoying a tasty morning meal.

Check out some of our favorite irresistible healthy breakfasts below:

1. Blueberry Muffin >

 

Blueberry Breakfast Muffin to lose weight

Seriously, how can you resist? This fruity muffin is studded with plump, wild blueberries for a quick and easy sweet treat. It’s perfect for those with a busy schedule, the dieter looking for immediate gratification (you can eat it right out of the package) and the morning sweets craver. But here’s its weight loss secret: It has only 150 calories, but a whopping six grams of filling fiber.

2. Buttermilk Waffles >

 

Buttermilk Waffles

These are not your average frozen waffles. They are a good source of fiber (three grams) and contain five grams of protein for only 160 calories. A splash of sugar-free syrup, some fresh fruit and even a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg will make your quick weekday breakfast seems like a leisurely weekend brunch.

3. Apple Walnut Oatmeal >

 

Apple Walnut Oatmeal

Think of it as morning comfort food. Creamy oatmeal is dotted with real apples and walnuts and sprinkled with cinnamon (go on and sprinkle on a little more!). This instant healthy breakfast solves the “no time to eat” problem that so many of us have in the morning. It takes no time to make and you can even whip it up at work. Only 150 calories, it supplies five grams of fiber and protein to keep you full.

4. Canadian Style Turkey Bacon, Egg And Cheese Muffin >

 

Canadian Style Turkey Bacon, Egg And Cheese Muffin

No need to hit the drive-thru. Your favorite breakfast sammie is right in your freezer, ready to microwave and eat. High protein egg whites, American cheese and Canadian-style turkey bacon are served atop a whole grain English muffin that will give you staying power for the morning. It’s got 160 calories with three grams of fiber and 11 grams of protein.

5. Harvest Nut Oat Bar >

 

Harvest Nut Oat breakfast Bar to lose weight

Looking for a grab-and-go option? Try this Harvest Nut Oat Bar made with peanuts, almonds and the goodness of cranberries and raisins. Bonus: It’s got a subtle sweetness that is sure to satisfy your cravings! Each bar is only 160 calories and has seven grams of protein. The only thing you need to supply is the morning coffee for a perfect way to start the day.

6. Granola Cereal >

 

Granola Cereal breakfast to lose weight

Dig into a delicious bowl of crunchy clusters made from rolled oats, puffed rice and cinnamon. This sweet and wholesome morning meal is a good source of fiber and provides you with 150 calories. And don’t forget about the study we mentioned earlier about cereal eaters weighing less than breakfast skippers!2

Here are some Sources: 

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1871403X19305472
  2. https://www.uaex.edu/publications/pdf/FSFCS87.pdf
  3. http://www.nwcr.ws/Research/default.htm
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32073608/    And Thanks for stoppin by YourNutritionist Bernadette here at www.WeightLossNewsNow.com, If you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them below and I’ll try to get back to you in a timely manner, Have a Great rest of your day!

Everything You Need to Know About Nut Milk

Many people are surprised to learn how many alternatives there are to animal milk products. Plant-based milk options like oat milk, hemp milk and rice milk are a few popular options, but nut milks have rapidly emerged as the most popular. While non-dairy milk was once thought of as being primarily for the lactose intolerant, they are becoming increasingly favored by the masses thanks to their unique flavor profiles and versatility.

In terms of how to use nut milk, there are so many different ideas! You can use nut milk in place of dairy milk for baking to add some rich, creamy flavor to your baked goods. You might also love the nutty deliciousness that these options bring to cereals, coffee, protein shakes, smoothies and more. You can even use them to make healthy nice cream,

From a nutritional standpoint, nut milk will not give you the same amount of protein as dairy milk. However, most of the nut milks on the market are lower in fat, sugar and calories than your standard glass of milk. Some of them even have more calcium!1 Still, you need to be wary of added sugars. Some manufacturers also add salt or thickeners to enhance the flavor and texture, so look for options with fewer ingredients and additivities. Plus, anyone with a nut allergy should obviously steer clear of this choice.

While we find that most people are familiar with almond milk—the most popular plant-based milk holding 63% of the total market2—your nut milk options extend far beyond this widespread favorite. Check out this helpful guide to the different kinds of nut milks.

1. Almond Milk

 

Almond milk is rich in vitamin E

As we’ve said, almond milk is perhaps the most well-known of the nut milk choices, so it makes sense to start our list here. Almond milk is said to have surged in popularity in 2013 when it surpassed soy milk as the most popular dairy alternative.2

Almond milk is made by blending together almonds and water or by combining water and almond butter. The mixture is then strained to create the milk alternative that we know and love. According to Medical News Today, “It has a pleasant, nutty flavor and a creamy texture similar to that of regular milk.”3

Almond milk’s biggest claim to fame, aside from its versatile texture, is its high levels of vitamin E which can help promote skin health and healthy aging.3,4 Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant and is essential for vision and brain heath.4

While almond milk is not as nutritious as cow’s milk, the fortified versions are close and can offer comparable nutrition benefits with vitamin D, vitamin A and calcium. Unlike regular plain almonds, almond milk is a low calorie beverage since it’s diluted with water. Just be sure to stick to the unsweetened versions as added sugars can abound in flavored options.3

2. Cashew Milk

 

Creamy cashew milk is good for your blood and bones

Of the various nut milks on the market, cashew milk is one of the creamiest. Between its creamy texture and nutty flavor, this nut milk is a top pick for many people shifting away from dairy. And despite how rich it feels, unsweetened cashew milk has significantly fewer calories and sugar than even skim milk.5

Like almond milk, many brands of cashew milk are fortified with calcium and vitamin D.6 One brand even claims to have 50% more calcium than dairy milk!7 Cashew milk is also high in vitamin K, which is essential for healthy blood clotting and for bone health.8 Its nutty flavor and creamy texture make it a top pick for many.

Beware that cashew milk can be higher in sodium—and it lacks the protein delivered by dairy milk.6 Most experts say that if you’re getting protein from other sources, it may not be a big deal to be missing it in milk.

3. Walnut Milk

 

The omega-3s in walnut milk are good for your skin and brain

While not nearly as common as almond or cashew milk, walnut milk is a delicious and nutritious dairy alternative. It is said to have a stronger nutty flavor that you might want to keep in mind as you choose where to use it.

Walnut milk is rich in vitamin E, an essential nutrient for your immune system and skin.9 It typically comes in at around the same calories as two-percent milk, but contains less carbs.10,11  And since walnuts are a good source of plant-based omega-3s, it should come as no surprise that walnut milk is packed with these healthy fats.9

Walnuts themselves are also rich in antioxidants, essential fatty acids and even fiber, making them a bit of a nutritional powerhouse.9,12 According to the American Chemical Society, walnuts are the number one nut for heart-healthy antioxidants. They explain, “walnuts have a combination of more healthful antioxidants and higher quality antioxidants than any other nut.”12

4. Hazelnut Milk

 

Hazelnut milk is a healthy sweet treat

Speaking of antioxidants, hazelnuts also deliver these protective compounds in a creamy and delicious drink. The skin of hazelnuts has three times the antioxidant levels of walnuts, and twenty-five times the levels of blackberries! As if that were not enough, hazelnut milk is said to have cardiovascular benefits as well as positive impacts on blood sugar levels. Consider hazelnut milk if you’re planning to improve your longevity, as hazelnuts are rich in vitamin E which has been shown to provide free radical protection.13

This non-dairy milk is made by blending soaked walnuts with water and straining the resulting liquid. The result is a rich and creamy nut milk that is said to have a lot of body. It’s easy to make yourself but since hazelnuts can be expensive, for many people it’s more of a treat than an everyday cereal topper or coffee creamer.14

5. Macadamia Milk

 

Macadamia milk has anti-inflammatory benefits

Another creamy and delicious option, macadamia milk is a sweet and versatile option that’s perfect for coffee and smoothies.

Macadamia milk is best known for being full of both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which helps with everything from the brain through the skin, and even improves heart function and cardiovascular health.15

While macadamias are higher in fat than other nuts, they are mostly full of monosaturated fats which can have health benefits like reducing inflammation and oxidative stress. Fortified macadamia milk can provide essential nutrients like vitamin D, vitamin B12, vitamin A and calcium. It’s also rich in iron, manganese and potassium.16

Making Healthy Choices

 

Bottles of fresh almond milk, cashew milk, and other nut milks

If you’re losing weight with the Nutrisystem plan, most of these nut milks will count towards your daily Extras or PowerFuels. This will depend on the calories and the amount of protein or fat in each serving. One Extra contains 10 to 35 calories per serving. One PowerFuel is between 80 to 120 calories with at least five grams of protein or at least eight grams of total fat (with no more than four grams of saturated fat).

At the end of the day, each of these nut milks can be easy to make at home, giving you maximum control over their quality and nutritional benefits. But if you’re looking to purchase one of these non-dairy milk choices at the store, pay attention to the label to avoid excess added sugars and other unwanted additives.

Each of these nut milks can serve as a great, plant-based dairy milk alternative that can add some new flavors to your daily meals in a healthful and nutritious way.

Sources:

  1. https://nutrition.org/going-nuts-about-milk-heres-what-you-need-to-know-about-plant-based-milk-alternatives/
  2. https://www.fooddive.com/news/oat-milk-surges-to-second-most-popular-in-plant-based-dairy/586010/
  3. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318612
  4. https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-vitamin-e/art-20364144
  5. https://health.usnews.com/wellness/food/articles/which-type-of-milk-is-healthiest
  6. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/FS413
  7. https://silk.com/plant-based-products/cashewmilk/benefits-of-cashewmilk/
  8. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/cashew-milk-benefits
  9. https://elmhurst1925.com/blogs/news/walnut-milk-health-benefits
  10. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/746778/nutrients
  11. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1685973/nutrients
  12. https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/pressroom/newsreleases/2011/march/walnuts-are-top-nut-for-heart-healthy-antioxidants.html
  13. https://elmhurst1925.com/blogs/news/all-about-hazelnut-milk-qxuh
  14. https://www.abeautifulplate.com/homemade-hazelnut-milk/
  15. https://www.dairyreporter.com/Article/2016/05/12/The-Healthy-Natural-Show-Could-macadamia-milk-knockout-almond-milk
  16. https://www.livestrong.com/article/13730587-macadamia-milk-benefits/
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