All Posts By Dana Angelo White

Heart-Rate Monitors 101

by in Fitness, May 15, 2012
heart rate monitors
Do you use a heart-rate monitor?

Looking for a way to make the most of your workouts? Try a heart-rate monitor on for size.

What is a Heart-Rate Monitor?
As advertised, these gadgets measure your heart rate (a.k.a take your pulse) by sensing and displaying how many times your heart beats each minute. While heart rates will vary from person to person, a healthy adult typically averages anywhere from 60 to 100 beats per minute while at rest. As physical activity increases, so will the beats.

While there are some decent mobile apps out there for pedometers, it’s a very different scene for heart-rate monitors – apps just won’t cut it (at least not yet).

The most common heart-rate monitor styles are worn on the wrist, but some come with chest straps for continuous monitoring of heart activity. Chest strap models are slightly more cumbersome but are also more accurate (and more expensive).  For the wrist-only models, you usually have to stop activity to get an accurate reading. There’s also a huge variety of options – units range in price from $30.00 to more than $500.00! I’m a big fan of anything made by Timex and Polar has a nice variety of budget-friendly models.

Extra features you may find include timers, GPS devices, footware accessories that measure distance traveled and the ability to store data and download it to your computer to track progress.

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Food Safety at the Farmers’ Market

by in Food Safety, May 13, 2012

apples

Farmers’ markets are the prime destination for fresh and local food, but they’re not immune to germs and bacteria. Farmers work hard to comply with state and federal food safety standards but patrons also have to keep their eyes peeled (and their produce washed). Use our tips to help avoid food safety pitfalls.

Produce
Whether it’s organically grown or not, produce needs to be washed well. It’s a good thing that farmers’ market produce isn’t waxed like much of what you’ll find in the grocery store, but these local goodies are often covered with dirt. Rinse delicate items like berries, herbs and lettuces well just before use; rinsing them before storing them can cause them to get moldy or mushy. Sturdy produce like carrots, apples and potatoes can handle a good scrub. Thick-skinned foods like melons should be washed before you slice into them.

Some vendors turn their produce into drinks like apple cider. Look for pasteurized beverages, especially if you’re pregnant, elderly or serving them to young children.

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Eggs Benedict, Lightened Up

by in Meal Makeovers, May 9, 2012
eggs benedict
Make breakfast for mom . . . or yourself.

Eggs Benedict is my all time favorite breakfast, but it can be a bit heavy. Here’s a traditional recipe with a few healthy twists.

Nutrition Facts
An order of Eggs Benedict at IHOP has 1020 calories and almost 60 grams of fat – and those aren’t even the most outrageous numbers I’ve seen. Large portions of meat and gobs of buttery sauces are mostly to blame.

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Make Your Own Croissants

by in Healthy Recipes, May 4, 2012
croissant
Fill store-bought puff pastry with fruit, chocolate, cheese or lemon curd.

I’m always looking for something to liven up brunch menus. Try these buttery bite-sized treats at your next get-together.

Nutrition Facts
An average size plain croissant has 310 calories with more than 50% coming from fat. Pile in sugary and high-calorie fillings and it will quickly sabotage your breakfast or brunch. Smart downsizing is the way to have the best of both worlds.

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Cinco de Mayo Drinks and Appetizers

by in Healthy Holidays, May 3, 2012
six-layer dip
Food Network Magazine's Slim Six-Layer Dip

In the US, the 5th of May is a day to celebrate Mexican heritage. Get your Cinco de Mayo fiesta started with these tasty bites and killer cocktails.

Festive Cocktails
Ginger Margaritas
Classic Margaritas, Lightened Up
Sangria
Blueberry-Ginger Mojitos

No-Fail Appetizers
Slim Six-Layer Dip (above)
Chili Cheese Dip
Nectarine Avocado Salsa
Mexican Tortilla Pizza
Mango Salsa Scoops
Margarita Chicken Skewers
Cilantro Scallops

Tell Us: What’s on your Cinco menu?

Tacos, Lightened Up

by in Healthy Recipes, April 30, 2012
pork tacos
Leaner fillings and soft shells make for lighter tacos.

Fried shells, fatty meats and piles of high-cal toppings can make tacos a belly buster. But they don’t have to be; use our tips to give a healthier spin to this Cinco de Mayo favorite.

Nutrition Facts
Whether it’s fast food or home cooking, the calories and fat in tacos can get crazy. Greasy cuts of meat and many of the classic fixings like cheese, sour cream and guacamole are high in fat. Home taco kits also come equipped with sodium-filled taco seasoning packets. A super stuffed taco could easily top 500 calories – and who eats just one?!

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Market Watch: An Ode to Beet Greens

by in Farmers' Market Finds, April 26, 2012
beets and beet greens
When you buy beets, don't toss the greens!

Some folks foolishly cut and throw beet greens aside, but don’t make this mistake!

Beet greens have a better bite than spinach and a touch of leafy green sweetness, plus a list of valuable nutrients that’s practically never-ending. One cup of cooked beet greets has 39 calories, 4 grams of protein, hefty doses of vitamins A, C , K, riboflavin, calcium, iron and nearly 20% of your daily fiber needs.

Enjoy finely chopped beet greens raw in a salad with balsamic vinaigrette. Saute the greens with olive oil and garlic, use as a pizza topping, or wilt into a steamy bowl of pasta or risotto.

Recipes to Try:
Roasted Beet Risotto
Beet Green Gratin
Garlic Beet Greens

Top 10 Worst Foods in Your Fridge and Freezer

by in Food Safety, Healthy Tips, April 24, 2012
refrigerator
Is it time for a major fridge cleaning at your house?

Take a peek in your fridge or freezer. How many of these items do you have stocked?

Defining “Worst”
It’s no big shocker that large portions of ice cream, butter and mayonnaise aren’t super healthy, but they’re not off limits as far as we’re concerned. For this list we’re highlighting 10 foods that you’re better off avoiding all together.

1.    Expired Condiments
Condiments do last a while, but certainly not forever! Mold, yeast and other types of creepy-crawly bacteria can grow even in the chilly refrigerator, especially when stored in the warmest part of the fridge—the door. Check dates on all condiments and toss anything you aren’t sure about.

2.    Sugar-Sweetened Beverages
Sodas, juice drinks and teas can dump hundreds of sugary calories into your day. A 2010 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that most folks consume a whopping 21.4 teaspoons of added sugar each day. You’ll find anywhere from 12 to 22 teaspoons in just one bottle of sweetened (16 to 20 fluid ounces) of tea or soda.

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Pedometers 101

by in Fitness, April 21, 2012

pedometer
Counting individual steps may seem like a silly way to get some exercise but every little bit helps. Using a pedometer can be a fabulous motivational tool to get you to move more; use our tips and get stepping!

What is a Pedometer?
A pedometer is a pocket-sized device that senses movement and registers each step you take. Some units require a belt loop attachment while others can be carried in your pocket or worn around your neck. Some models may also have settings to estimate calories burned while walking, but these are often inaccurate unless there is an option to adjust for additional details like weight, age and gender.

Pedometers range in price from $6.00 to more than $30.00 – the higher pricing is typically associated with extra features like distance tracking and calorie counting.  Smartphone lovers will be pleased to know that there are quite a few pedometer apps – many of which are free or less than $3.00. Using the GPS already loaded in a Smartphone, many offer accurate distance tracking for less than a hand-held pedometer. Arawella Pedometer and Pedometer Pro GPS as well as Palm Shadow Footsteps Pedometer all carry high ratings.

Many fitness-centric wrist watches also come with built-in pedometers and heart rate monitors (more about heart rate monitors in an upcoming post).

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Healthy Microwave Cooking

by in Healthy Recipes, April 16, 2012

microwaveWe’re not talking about zapping frozen entrees; how about real ingredients and healthy meals straight out of the microwave oven!?

Nuke It
You might already rely on the microwave for quick snacks or a cozy mug of hot chocolate, but how about breakfast, lunch and dinner in the microwave? There’s a right and wrong way to use your microwave — use our tips before you get nuking.

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