5 Coffee-Enhancing Hacks To Elevate Your Brew For Optimal Health Perks

Coffee Cup

As you can imagine, I was overjoyed when scientists announced that not only is coffee not a bad thing, it’s actually really good. Did you know there are way to make this amazing drink EVEN BETTER? You have to check out these 5 incredible hacks for taking coffee to the next level:

Coffee Smoothie

1. Supercharge a Smoothie.

Coffee can increase your metabolism (helping you burn more fat than you normally would) and give you more energy. It’s awesome for prepping for workouts. Turn iced coffee into a cardio-boosting smoothie with this recipe:

  • 1/4 cup chilled brewed coffee
  • 3/4 cup almond milk or skim milk
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter (or another nut butter)
  • 1 tablespoon un-brewed ground coffee
  • Ice for thickness

Before you ask … yes, it’s safe to include ground, un-brewed coffee in your smoothie. It gives you extra caffeine and antioxidants.

Cinnamon Bark

2. Curl Up With Cinnamon.

Cinnamon isn’t just for spicing up (pardon the pun) your coffee’s flavor. This delicious ingredient also has lots of health benefits. It gives you major manganese and antioxidants, helping to protect your heart, lower inflammation and help with menstrual pain. Cinnamon can also lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar and strengthen the immune system. Yes, please!

The easiest way to get cinnamon in your coffee is to add 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder to the grounds before brewing.

Almond Milk


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3. Ask for Almond Milk.

For me, creamy coffee is irresistible. In fact, I’m a “no sugar, 2 creamers, please” type of girl. The only problem with that is that milk and creamers add a lot of calories to each cup.

The solution? Choose almond milk instead of dairy. Almond milk still has that supersmooth, creamy texture I love, but roughly half the calories. At the same time, it gives you lots of vitamin D, vitamin E and calcium.

Cup of Coffee

4. Go Bulletproof With Butter & Coconut Oil

Homemade bulletproof coffee uses medium-chain triglycerides to kickstart fat burning. Unlike normal fats, MCTs tend to get turned into energy packets for fuel instead of stubborn belly fat. This helps you avoid the energy drain that sometimes happens with keto diets. At the same time, keto coffee helps fill you up so you don’t feel the temptation to cheat.
To make your own keto brew, here’s what to do:

  • Brew a cup of coffee. Your favorite beans are fine.
  • Pour the coffee into a glass blender jar.
  • Add 1–2 tablespoons of unsalted butter or ghee (clarified butter).
  • Add anywhere from 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or MCT oil.
  • Blend until creamy.

That’s it! Enjoy the frothy, energy-enhancing drink on your way out the door or before working out.

Turmeric Latte

5. Try Turmeric Lattes.

One popular drink in India is called golden milk, a type of bright-yellow latte made with milk and spices. You can put your own twist on this energizing, depression-fighting beverage by adding some to your coffee. Here’s how:

  • Make a golden milk base with 1 teaspoon turmeric powder, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, sprinkle of black pepper and 1 tablespoon water.
  • Brew some coffee.
  • Combine 2 1/2 cups of coffee, 1 1/2 cups almond milk, 1/2 teaspoon honey and a few drops of vanilla extract.
  • Blend everything together until it’s smooth and enjoy!

Turmeric is an incredible spice. It has anti-inflammatory benefits, mood-boosting properties and powerful antioxidants for keeping your whole body healthy.

Do you have other health-boosting tips for my morning java? Please, I’m begging you. Share them with me!

Five Home Exercise Programs That Rival Your SoulCycle Classes

Cycling Exercise Class

How have you been doing with your new at-home workout routine since your regular gym, cycling studio or yoga spot closed as a COVID-19 precaution? I know I've been missing both the camaraderie of my classes and the intensity of my SoulCycle routine. While it's hard to exactly match the vibe of boutique fitness at home, these are the five best ways I've found to feel the burn solo these past few months.

FLY LDN

The online outpost of this European wellness studio offers both live and on-demand fitness classes that fit your schedule. Take your pick of low-impact workouts like barre, pilates and yoga designed to build long, lean muscle, create strength and flexibility, and sculpt your shape. Feel the flow as you stream classes on your laptop, Android or iOS device and take advantage of the seven-day free trial to see if FLY LDN fits your lifestyle before you commit. You'll love the under-20 minute workouts if you need to squeeze in your sweat between Zoom meetings.

Peleton Bike

Peleton

You don't need a Peleton bicycle or treadmill to take advantage of offerings from the cult-favorite fitness company. The brand is currently offering a 30-day trial so you can get comfortable with its suite of exercise classes, including boot camp sessions, heart-pumping cardio, relaxing meditation and yoga, strength training, and so much more.

Sharp video quality and clear instructions make Peloton's videos easy even for beginners to follow. If you prefer to exercise outdoors, try the audio running courses on your next circuit around the neighborhood.


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Aaptiv

This app ranked as an iOS App of the Day, with a legion of fans pursuing the program's promise to provide "a new you in 30 days." You'll find one of the most diverse selections of streaming workouts around, with more than 30 new classes added each and every week in categories that include outdoor running, elliptical, strength training, yoga and more. Expert trainers have also developed special programs targeted to your fitness goals, such as the six-week Intro to Weight Loss course and workouts designed to prep you for your first 5K. Your free trial starts with a fitness evaluation so the app can adapt to your preferences, fitness needs and workout goals.

Woman Exercising at home

Body by Ciara

Fitness influencer Ciara London has gotten tons of ink in 2020. Her thousands of followers appreciate her incredible workout playlists, accessible attitude and motivating energy. With a membership to Body by Ciara, you can take part in live workouts with the London-based fitness instructor, view nutrition plans and connect with her online social media squad for the girl-power motivation you need to get going. You can even schedule one-on-one virtual personal fitness classes with London if you're seeking a true transformation. You'll see why this program has landed in the pages of Vogue, Cosmopolitan and Harper's Bazaar over the past few months.

Workout Equipment

Nike Training Club

This app has become my go-to when I'm looking for workouts that require minimal equipment. What's more, there's no charge for the many streaming workouts offered through the Nike Training Club, with robust features such as tools that let you create a personalized workout program. You'll be floored by the array of world-class trainers who offer exercise, nutrition and wellness advice appropriate for sedentary newbies and seasoned athletes alike. In fact, this app has frequently received the coveted Editor's Choice award from the iOS app store.

No matter what your favorite type of exercise, you'll find an option that fits your lifestyle when you start with these five tried-and-true fitness apps. Grab your device and your favorite gym outfit to catch the spirit of SoulCycle without leaving your living room.

Essential Winter Skincare Tips

Woman in Parka

I love winter, but my face doesn’t. The dry, cold air does terrible things to my skin and makes me feel like I’m made out of crumbly crepe paper. Over the years, I’ve discovered that a lot of people feel the same way I do. If you’re one of them, I have some good news for you! Through trial and error, I’ve found out how to keep my skin as smooth and soft as possible, even when Jack Frost is wreaking havoc outside.

Here are some of my essential winter skincare tips I can no longer live without. Give them a try this year and see what a difference they make in the way your skin looks and feels.

Water

Drink More Than You Think You Need!

If I were limited to giving just one tip for beautiful winter skin, it would be to drink, drink, and drink some more! Your body needs a lot of hydration in the wintertime. The kicker is that humans tend to feel less thirsty during the cold months than at any other time of the year. That’s because you don’t spend your days actively sweating as you do in the summer. But don’t let that fool you! One of the number one causes of dry, papery winter skin is dehydration.

Your outer layer requires a lot of water to stay supple and smooth. If you notice that you tend to drink a lot less during the winter, make it a habit to bring a water bottle along with you wherever you go. Drink sips throughout the day and make sure you’re getting at least eight glasses full for optimal skin health.


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Applying cream

Add a More Nourishing Moisturizer

In addition to hydrating internally, you should also step up your moisturizer game in the colder months. Winter air outside and furnace-warmed air inside can quickly suck the moisture right out of your skin. To restore proper hydration, add a more substantial, nourishing moisturizer than you use in the summertime. Winter is the time for heavier, more substantial creams that can soak into your skin and provide the healing hydration it needs.

Bundle Up

Anytime you head outside on a cold winter day, you should cover up as much of your skin as possible. This includes wearing scarves, gloves, coats and hats. The longer you leave your skin exposed to the harsh elements, the more likely you are to experience inflammation, hyperpigmentation and the dreaded “cheek chap.” Covering your skin properly can help reduce those things.

Woman in the snow

Buy a Humidifier

Winter is the perfect time to invest in a humidifier. Set it up in your office, bedroom, or wherever you spend most of your time. The added moisture in the air can help keep your skin from drying out and can help soothe sore airways as well.

Wear Sunscreen

You may think sunscreen is not necessary in the winter because it’s not very hot outside. However, snow on the ground can actually reflect the sun’s rays up onto your face and increase your risk of exposure. That’s why it’s surprisingly easy to get sunburned when you’re out skiing or sledding. To protect your face, don’t forget to apply sunscreen before you go out to play in the snow.

Healthy meal

Eat Well

Your skin pulls essential nutrients from the foods you eat. If you’re eating mostly greasy, highly processed foods, you won’t be able to obtain the nutrients required to keep your skin vibrant and healthy.

During the winter and throughout the rest of the year, try to eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins and other healthy foods. You should also limit sugary and highly processed foods such as fast food, pastries and candy.

These simple skincare tips are refreshingly easy to follow. Give them a try this winter and take note of the results!

3 Gifts I Will MAKE Instead of BUY

Presents

OK, it’s time for a reality check, and I’m not going to sugar-coat it. The holidays are knocking at your front door, and if you don’t have your gift list nailed down, it’s time to put your game face on. This year has been a crazy one to put it lightly, and if you’re like me, you’re probably feeling a little more sentimental than usual. In the past, I’ve bought most of my gifts online, but this year I decided that my friends and loved ones deserve a little bit more thought. So here are three gifts I will make this year instead of buy. Feel free to use these ideas to make gifts for your own family and friends.

Knit Blankets

1. Blankets

Warm, cozy blankets are some of the best gifts I’ve ever received, which is why I’m going to make a few for my loved ones this year. If you decide to make blankets, be careful. It’s easy to overestimate how many you can make in the days and weeks leading up to the holidays. The last thing you want to do is overburden yourself with so many blankets that you’re stressed out trying to get them done in time.

If you know about how long it takes you to make a blanket, create a schedule for yourself. Figure out how many blankets you can reasonably make by the time the holidays are here. And by “reasonably,” I mean, at a pace that you can sustain while still taking time to clean your house and watch your favorite Hallmark movies.

If your blanket-making skills won’t win you any awards, don’t try to tackle a bunch of King-size quilts. Instead, go easy on yourself and make a few simple lap blankets or throws as gifts. If possible, ask for pictures of your gift recipient’s living rooms or bedrooms in advance so you can create throws and blankets that match their home décor and color themes. Of course, if you’re going for the surprise factor, this isn’t an option. In that case, choose neutral colors that are likely to complement any color palette.


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Homemade Tree Ornament

2. Christmas Ornaments

Christmas ornaments make great handmade gifts because they provide memories and cheer year after year. They’re also extremely affordable, which is great news if you’ve already overextended your holiday budget (no judgment here!)

Call me old-fashioned, but I adore making classic cross-stitched ornaments featuring adorable little Christmas characters or scenes. But if you don’t have the time or patterns to make ornaments like these, try making dried citrus ornaments, wooden bead ornaments, or even wood slice ornaments. I’ve found so many online tutorials that make homemade ornaments a cinch to make. So once you decide what type you prefer, go online and figure out how to DIY it!

Stovetop potpourri

3. Stove Top Potpourri Kits

OK, this gift isn’t one that can be used year after year, but it’s one of my favorite gifts to make (and receive). Stove top potpourri kits are so simple, festive and cheery. To make them, just get a few small jelly jars and fill them with holiday-scented items that can be warmed in a pot on the stove to create a heavenly aroma. Here are my favorite ingredient ideas:

  • Small peppermint sticks (make sure they contain real peppermint oil)
  • Pine sprigs
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Fresh rosemary sprigs
  • Dried lemon peel
  • Whole cloves
  • Whole nutmeg
  • Anise pods
  • Cranberries

Mix and match ingredients to create your own custom scents. Place the ingredients in your jar, put the lid on, and tie a festive bow around the neck. Consider including instructions or a label so your gift recipient knows what it is. This gift idea can fill a home with warm, comforting holiday aromas. Plus, it’s just so adorable! Figure out which gift idea you want to try this year and get ready to help create the most sentimental Christmas yet.

The Worst Sleep Positions for Your Health

Woman sleeping

First of all, let me say that I’m a fan of finding your own ideal sleep posture. I myself often wake up with one foot dangling off the side of the bed, wrinkles on my face and my hair totally messed up. Sleeping a different way just feels “weird” to me and makes it hard to fall asleep. If a certain position helps you wake up refreshed, I say go for it.

If you have certain health conditions, however, sleeping soundly is a little more tricky. People who have sleep apnea, back pain, acid reflux or tender joints may wake up in the morning feeling exhausted instead of rejuvenated. In this case, changing the way you sleep may help improve the quality of your nighttime slumber.

Bed

If You Have Sleep Apnea…

The worst sleeping position for sleep apnea is on lying your back. Sleeping on your back makes it harder for you to breathe consistently during the night because gravity tends to pull your airway shut. In fact, one study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine showed that by sleeping in a different position, many sleep apnea patients experienced a 50% reduction in nighttime events. Get into the habit of sleeping on your side instead, even if you use a CPAP machine.


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Sleeping on your stomach

If You Have Back Pain…

The worst sleep position for back pain or neck pain is sleeping on your stomach. Whether you sleep like a starfish or a freefall expert, getting your z’s belly-down is hard on your back muscles. It moves the spine into an unbalanced position and forces your neck to turn sharply to one side.

The key to giving sore muscles a chance to heal is to sleep in a natural position that provides a lot of support. Sleeping on your back is great for soothing back pain because it distributes your weight evenly and gives your muscles much-needed rest. I know a few people that also swear by side postures with a pillow between the knees.

Sleeping on your side

If You Have Acid Reflux…

The worst sleep position for heartburn is sleeping on your right-hand side. Scientists aren’t exactly sure why, but going to sleep on your right side often makes the symptoms of heartburn worse. This can wake you up during the night constantly. If you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), flip over to your left side instead.

Woman sleeping

If You Have Tender Joints or Nerves…

The worst sleep position for irritated joints is any posture that puts extra pressure on them. For example, if your knee hurts, putting your body’s weight on it can make the inflammation worse. For a painful knee joint, lay on your back with a soft pillow underneath it.

In other words, you have to pay attention to individual joints, not just the overall sleep position. If your shoulder aches, stretching it out is a bad idea. People who have shoulder pain should try to sleep with arms resting by the sides, not above the head.

Bed with cat on it

Great sleep and excellent health are closely connected, so it’s worth experimenting to find the best posture for you. When you enjoy a heavenly seven or eight hours of sleep a night, it helps your body repair itself. More sleep lets you wake up with more energy, less stress and less pain!

When and How to Exercise for Optimal Brain Health

Human Brain

Does it ever feel like your brain and your body are hopelessly disconnected? How about when your body wants to indulge on sweets but your brain tells you that you shouldn’t? Or when you know you need to sleep but your brain insists on keeping you awake at night? I’m intimately familiar with both of those scenarios!

Brain

But despite their differences, your brain and body are actually more connected than you probably realize. In fact, your brain health is very much dependent on regular physical activity. If you are a sedentary person, chances are that your brain will eventually be negatively affected by your lifestyle.

Research shows that regular exercise can boost blood flow to the brain and improve memory. But too much exercise can actually contribute to chronic inflammation, which can harm the brain. That’s why a good balance is important. So, how can you know if you’re doing it right? Here are some of my favorite tips for when and how to exercise for optimal brain health.


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When To Exercise

If you like to hop into your Yoga pants and work up a sweat at midnight, I have some bad news for you. It’s possible that you could be negatively affecting your brain’s natural cycle that’s referred to as its circadian rhythm. Though it sounds super mysterious, your circadian rhythm is just your internal clock. It regulates your sleep-wake cycle and is controlled by your brain. If you consistently rev up your body at midnight, your brain will start thinking that midnight is the time to be awake instead of to sleep. How confusing is that?

Going for a Walk

To obtain optimal brain health and ensure that your circadian rhythm functions properly, most health gurus, sleep experts and regular Joes will tell you that morning is the best time to hit the trail or the gym. When you work out in the morning, your pumping blood and increased physical movements signal to your brain that it’s time to wake up and greet the day! Here are some of the top benefits a morning workout can provide:

  • Fewer distractions
  • Better focus
  • Increased alertness
  • More energy throughout the day
  • Better mood
  • Easier weight maintenance
  • Improved sleep

Of course, morning workouts may not be possible for everyone. If you are unable to exercise soon after you wake up, don’t worry too much. No matter what time of day you exercise, your brain will still benefit from the increased blood flow and release of feel-good hormones that exercise provides. Just try not to work out at or right before bedtime, since doing so can make it difficult to sleep.

Early Morning Exercise

How To Exercise

Now that you know when to exercise for optimal brain health, let’s talk about how to exercise. Aerobic activity is especially good for brain health, but it doesn’t have to be super strenuous. When some people think of aerobics, they envision painful, high-intensity workouts that leave you dripping in sweat. But the word “aerobic” simply means “with oxygen”. It refers to any type of activity that provides cardiovascular conditioning.

An aerobic workout can be as simple as a brisk 20-minute walk or as complicated as a fun and energetic gym class. The key is to find an intensity that works for you and that provides you with the greatest benefit both physically and mentally.

Aerobics class

When you first begin an aerobic exercise, start slow and steady. Trust me, if you don’t, you’ll probably end up with very sore muscles and achy joints. If you want to join a marathon one day, you can work up to that over time. Take care of your body, and your body will do its best to take care of you!

These 5 Nuts Are What’s Missing in Your Diet

Heart shape made of pistachios

You could say that I go nuts over nuts. They’re everything I crave in a snack — crunchy, fast, healthy and tasty. Here are five of the healthiest nuts for your heart, mind and waistline:

Almonds

1. Almonds

We all knew that almonds would be at the top of the list. They’re simply phenomenal in every way — nature’s perfect health food. They have lots of fiber, protein, vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, antioxidants and healthy fat, all in a low-carb package.

Research shows that almonds help to balance your blood sugar, preventing type 2 diabetes and making it easier to lose weight. Whether you’re burning fat with a keto diet or just taking great care of your body, you can never go wrong with almonds.

Macadamia nuts

2. Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts are packed with the same type of heart-healthy fat as olive oil and avocados. At the same time, they’re low in total carbs. For keto, macadamia nuts are one of the best ways to stay in ketosis.

Putting these mild, slightly sweet nuts in healthy cookie recipes is popular, and there are tons of other ways to use them. Make macadamia nuts the star of your favorite post-workout energy bites or use them crushed as a delicious coating for roasted chicken.

Peanuts


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3. Peanuts

Contrary to popular belief, peanuts can be very healthy (unless you have allergies). Dry-roasted peanuts are rich in protein, vitamin E, magnesium and B vitamins. Their protein content makes you feel full, getting rid of junk food cravings quickly. Peanuts also reduce the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Of course, adding salt, sugar and chocolate gets rid of these health benefits. To keep peanuts healthy, choose unsweetened and no salt added peanut butter or ground peanut paste for recipes.

Pistachios

4. Pistachios

These green nuts are extremely low in calories, making them one of the best snack choices when focused on losing weight. One serving of pistachios gives you major potassium, antioxidants and plant nutrients. They’re good for your eyes, your heart and your waistline.

As a snack, pistachios help with mindful eating, because they force you to pause as you open the shells. Personally, I find this relaxing. The rhythmic motion of removing the nuts from the shells calms me down and I get a delicious treat for my efforts!

Walnuts

5. Walnuts

I’m going to be completely honest here — I don’t like the taste of walnuts. The thing is, they’re so healthy that I just have to include them in this list. Walnuts are a great source of healthy fats, and they’re the only nut that has omega-3 fatty acids. Getting lots of omega-3s takes care of your heart, reduces anxiety, moisturizes your skin, fights inflammation and gives your brain a huge boost.

If you’re like me and you despise the flavor of walnuts, do what you would when feeding your kids: hide them. Make raspberry pancakes with crushed walnuts or grind up some walnuts in a fruit smoothie.

Cooking with nuts

Add More Nuts to Your Cooking

You can add more protein and antioxidants to every meal by including nuts in your recipes. Give a fresh salad irresistible crunch by sprinkling pistachios on top. Take that Thai stir fry to the next level with a few spoons of peanut paste. Spice up pasta dishes with almond and basil pesto. Nuts are incredible, and they’re not just for snacking.

Do Calming Teas Really Work?

Cup of Tea on railing

If your doctor ever tells you to drink calming tea to deal with stress or help you fall asleep, he or she is a genius. First, let’s talk science. Then I’ll tell you about my personal experiences (spoiler alert: some herbs are AMAZING).

Scientists have discovered that many types of herbal tea are effective at reducing anxiety. Plenty of studies prove it. For example, green tea leaves lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. This benefit comes from special plant nutrients called catechins, tiny stress fighters. They’re like your own personal Secret Service, keeping anxiety far away from you.

Cup of tea

Valerian Root Tea at Night

First, I tried a cup of valerian root tea in the evening. I wanted something to help me unwind after a particularly stressful day trying to get my kids to apologize to each other over a broken toy.

I took a few sips and … the effects were unbelievable. I’ve never felt so genuinely relaxed and sleepy in my life. It was like that feeling you get from curling up in front of a warm fire. I slept like a baby all night long. In the morning, I woke up feeling completely refreshed.

Woman having tea in bed

Green Tea at Breakfast

Next, I decided to try drinking some green tea during the day. I’ve read studies saying that green tea helps you stay alert but also less stressed at work. For breakfast, I made myself whole-grain toast with plain cream cheese and a few sliced strawberries. As I read the news, I sipped on my green tea.

How did my work-from-home day go? First, I felt WAY less stress than normal. I even felt energized enough to throw a load of clothes in the washer while I was working. Usually, thinking of everything I have to do stresses me out in the morning, but green tea changed that. It empowered me, like I was checking things off my list one by one. My attitude and outlook were more positive, as if the whole world was brighter.


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Turmeric Tea for Avoiding a Meltdown

I love my sisters, I really do. But family members know exactly which buttons to push sometimes. Long story short, we had a smallish argument (we smoothed everything out later on Zoom and now we’re best friends again). I was crying and angry and … well, you know the drill.

That’s when I decided to try brewing an exotic turmeric tea I’d read about. It uses fresh turmeric, ginger, honey, cinnamon and peppercorns, together with some coconut milk and coconut oil. The whole kitchen smelled heavenly, and the tea tasted spicy, creamy and delicious.

It turns out that turmeric has the ability to release “happy hormones” in your brain: dopamine and serotonin. They help to fight sadness and alleviate stress. As I sat there, sipping my turmeric and honey tea, smelling the spices and feeling the warmth of the mug, my heart started beating more slowly. I felt … much better.

Turmeric Tea

Other Great Herbs and Spices for Fighting Stress

Calming herbs can help you get rid of anxiety and feel happier. They’re an amazing way of treating yourself to a moment for relaxation.

Herbal teas

Now it’s your turn. What calming teas work best for you? Are you a believer in lavender, chamomile, ashwagandha root, passionflower, lemon balm or another popular soothing variety? Share your experiences below!

5 Tips on Eating Mindfully When Doing Everything from Home

Woman working from home

If you're like most people, you spend most of your time at home these days. While you surely don't miss your morning commute and cherish spending more time with your family, it's likely your diet has taken a turn for the worse.

Let's face it, it's tough to eat mindfully when you're constantly surrounded by snacks and goodies. It's also natural to turn to food for comfort when life gets stressful, which is a common experience for many. Fortunately, it is possible to eat mindfully these days, especially when you use the following tips.

Meal Plan

Make an Eating Plan Each Day

Meal plans eliminate the stress of deciding what to eat each day. When you have your food prepared and ready to go, you won't fall victim to ordering bad-for-you junk food just because it's quick and easy. When grocery shopping, consider your meals for the rest of the week. Prep your breakfast, lunch, and dinner the night before, so they're ready to go the next day. When meal time rolls around, just pop your prepped food out of the fridge and re-heat. It's as simple as that.

Salads

Know When You're Hungry

It's easy to mistake boredom for hunger, especially when you're working on a tedious task. Your chance of mindless snacking is highest during times of boredom, so pay attention to what your stomach is telling you. If you've recently eaten lunch or breakfast and aren't really feeling hunger pangs, look for another outlet that isn't food related. If you can, take a brief walk around the block. If you're stuck at home, take a ten-minute mediation break. You can also try moving to another task for a brief period to keep your mind engaged.


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Eat Smaller Portions

If the urge to snack is just too strong, consider reducing portion sizes. Try eating a light breakfast of yogurt and a slice of toast, followed up by a banana or other type of fruit. For lunch, have a lettuce wrap or healthy salad, followed up by a snack of kale chips or veggies with hummus. When you eat smaller meals consistently throughout the day, your metabolism will experience a much-needed boost. This helps you maintain a healthy weight, while also fighting back against any cravings you might experience.

Woman drinking water

Drink More Water and Other Fluids

Water is your best friend during a long and tedious day. It keeps you hydrated and refreshed, while also eliminating food cravings by creating a feeling of fullness. There are lots of other healthy beverages you can add into the mix for variety. Instead of coffee, try green tea. Green tea offers a boost thanks to caffeine and is also brimming with antioxidants. If you're trying to reduce your caffeine intake, try drinking a chamomile or ginger tea instead. You can also jazz up your water by adding a splash of lemon or picking up some flavored sparkling water.

Woman working at her desk

Don't Bring Food to Your Work Area

When there are delicious snacks right there on your desk, it's even harder to resist temptation. Consider your desk off limits for eating, even when it comes to healthy snacks. This will benefit you in a couple of ways. First, it will stop you from mindlessly snacking throughout the day. It will also help you achieve a good work/life balance. Taking time to enjoy meals is important for your health, both mentally and physically.

Try implementing the above tips during the day for a more enlightened attitude towards meals and snacking. It may be tough at first, especially if you're used to eating a lot during the day, but over time you'll feel better about yourself and your diet, which is much more gratifying.

What’s the Deal With Healthy Ice Cream “Alternatives”?

Ice cream

Lately, I’ve noticed when strolling happily through the frozen desserts section of the store that there are TONS of different ice cream “alternatives.” Are they worth the hype? I conducted a bunch of … um, “scientific” research to find the answers. Here’s what I discovered.

Gelato

Are Nondairy Desserts or Alternative Ice Creams Right for You?

First, let’s talk about the different options available for frozen treats. There are vegan alternatives, high-protein “keto” versions, Italian gelato, sorbet, frozen yogurt, frozen kefir and shaved ice. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Vegan desserts: These are nondairy desserts, meaning they don’t have any kind of cow’s milk, goat’s milk, etc. Instead, they use tasty coconut, almond, cashew or soy milk. If you’re lactose intolerant, these alternatives can be amazing. However, they also tend to be high in sugar and saturated fat.
  • Sorbet: This is whipped and frozen fruit puree. On the upside, it has zero saturated fat. On the downside, many varieties are packed with sugar.
  • Gelato: This is Italian ice cream. It’s thicker than traditional ice cream, and it has a heavenly texture (you can trust me on this). Ounce for ounce, gelato has significantly less calories, sugar and fat than ice cream. There’s a catch, however: One serving of gelato is quite a bit smaller than a serving of ice cream.
  • Frozen yogurt: This is a joke when it comes to losing weight. Frozen yogurt (and kefir) is tasty, and includes probiotics, but it usually has as much sugar and fat as regular ice cream.
  • Shaved ice: Bao bing, kakigori, Italian lemon ice — these are all types of shaved ice. Low in calories, gluten free and fat free, shaved ice sounds like the perfect alternative to ice cream. And, if you choose options with actual fruit juice and zero added sugar, it can be.

What about flavor? All of the healthy ice cream options I tried tasted great, though not quite as creamy as full-fat ice cream.


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Is Your Favorite Healthy Ice Cream Really Low in Fat?

At around 300–400 calories per pint compared to 1,200 calories in traditional ice cream, there’s no doubt that some varieties of healthy ice cream can help you skip the fat. To really benefit, however, you need to read the label. Some low-calorie desserts are full of added sugar (even more than full-fat ice cream) that adds to your waistline.

Ice cream bars

Are Ice Cream Alternatives Actually Healthy?

Can you benefit from choosing low-calorie alternatives to regular ice cream? Yes … and no. It honestly depends a lot on the specific ingredients. Some brands of healthy ice cream focus on natural ingredients (mint, dark chocolate, real fruit puree). Others use fillers, emulsifiers, sugar alcohols and a bunch of other things I can’t even pronounce.
After trying them over many weeks (purely out of scientific curiosity), my opinion is this: Choose healthy or vegan ice cream if you like it or need it, not as a weight-loss help. Many of these alternatives simply aren’t filling enough, which makes you want to eat more than you should.

Gelato store

Don’t fall for the “go for it!” trap. Even ice cream alternatives that are genuinely healthy can quickly add pounds if you eat the entire pint. Look at the serving size and compare it with what you normally eat. For some people, it’s better to indulge in a few scoops of normal ice cream on special occasions instead of demolishing an entire container of healthy ice cream regularly.