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Protein Packed Pasta Recipes – Ricotta Bow Tie Pasta

Below is the second in our 5-part series on Protein Packed Pasta Recipes.  I found 5 protein-packed recipes from Men’s Health to help you add a little variety to your dinner table, while still eating healthy.

Watch our blog over the next several weeks for all 5 recipes.  Please note, the recipes are SINGLE SERVING.  I left them that way, rather than converting them to 2-4 servings so that you can adapt them to fit your own mealtime needs.  But don’t forget to double, triple, etc. the ingredients when you are at the store, or you will come up short at dinnertime!

If you don’t like the taste of whole-wheat pasta, or can’t digest it well, you can substitute quinoa or rice pasta into these recipes. The nutritional difference is minimal and they’re prepared the same way.

RICOTTA BOW TIE PASTA

MAKES: 1 SERVING

INGREDIENTS
¼ cup low-fat ricotta cheese
2 tbsp fat-free milk
½ tsp olive oil
3 tsp parmesan cheese, grated, divided
1 tsp fresh garlic, minced
4 oz trimmed boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into strips
½ cup yellow squash rounds
½ cup zucchini rounds
Garlic powder, to taste
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil spray
1 cup cooked (2 oz dry) whole-wheat bow tie pasta
Crushed red pepper flakes to taste.

DIRECTIONS
1) Mix the ricotta, milk, olive oil, 2 tsp parmesan, and minced garlic in a glass measuring cup or microwave-safe bowl and set aside.

2) Sprinkle the chicken, squash, and zucchini with garlic powder, salt, and pepper.

3) Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Mist with spray. Add chicken, squash, and zucchini in a single layer. Cook the chicken 1–2 minutes per side until no longer pink inside.

4) While the chicken cooks, heat the cheese mixture in the microwave until just hot. Transfer the chicken and squash to a medium bowl and add the cooked bow ties and cheese mixture. Toss. Season with additional salt, pepper, parmesan, and pepper flakes, and serve.

NUTRITION
461 calories, 47g protein, 48g carbs, 10g fat

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5 High-Calorie Traps to Avoid

Even shaving off a few calories here and there can make the difference between maintaining and gaining.  Here are 5 tips that could save you almost a day’s worth of calories if you are watching what you eat.  Tips taken from EatingWell.com.

#1: Ordering and eating a full serving of a decadent dessert.  Try instead:  Share with a friend.  You still get the taste you are craving, but with only half the calories.

#2: Following the recipe exactly.  Try instead:  Swap healthier ingredients where possible to decrease the amount of overall calories in the dish.  Use lower calorie cheese or dairy product, bump up the veges and choose leaner cuts of meat.

#3: Being a member of the Clean Plate Club.  Contrary to what mom told you, there is no prize for cleaning  your plate.  Eat half now save the rest for later.

#4: Wasting calories on add-ons you won’t miss.  Serve the salad dressing on the side and dip, rather than drench, your salad.  You can also cut down on cheese, bacon bits and croutons.  Another wonderful tip is to ditch the top slice of bread or bun on a sandwich or burger.  Eat only one slice and you will save around 100 calories, depending on the type of bread.

#5: Eating out of boredom.  During the day, make sure a walk won’t satisfy those boredom pangs before you head to the refrigerator.  A big trap I have learned to avoid is turning off the TV or making sure I have a knitting project in hand while watching.  When I just sit and stare at the screen, my mind tends to wander right back into the kitchen for sinful snacks – even if I am not hungry!

 


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Stretch it Out!

At Live 2 B Healthy, we know that stretching is vital to every workout.  Your certified personal trainer will always guide you through stretching exercises before and after your workout.  But, don’t forget to stretch on your own as well!

Stretching can help increase your overall flexibility, but it may also help improve your posture, manage pain caused by tight muscles and help you stay balanced. Since muscles come in pairs that ideally counterbalance each other, stretching and strengthening the muscles opposite the ones that always seem tight might help. If you have a sore back, for example, overdeveloped chest muscles or underused back muscles may be to blame.

One of the best reasons to stretch is to help prevent injuries. Stretching increases a joint’s range of motion thereby reducing the likelihood of both  pulling a muscle due to overexertion and the potential to lose balance.

Experts suggest taking 10 minutes before your workout to do a mix of stretches as a warm-up.  Then, after your workout, counterbalance the muscles you used with a short cool-down. For example, if you did a bunch of squats (which work the quadriceps on the front of your thigh), be sure to stretch your hamstrings (back of your thigh).

For more information on the stretching exercises we use in our classes, attend a Live 2 B Healthy class in your community, talk to a Live 2 B Healthy owner or trainer, or login to our Trainer website (credentials required).


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More Muscles = Longer Life, Studies Suggest

The more muscle older adults have, the lower their risk of death, according to a new study.  The following is information is from HealthDay.com.

Researchers analyzed data from more than 3,600 older adults who took part in the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 1988 and 1994. The participants included men 55 and older and women 65 and older.  As part of the survey, the participants underwent tests to determine their muscle mass index, which is the amount of muscle relative to height.

The investigators used a follow-up survey done in 2004 to determine how many of the participants had died of natural causes and how muscle mass was related to death risk. People with the highest levels of muscle mass were significantly less likely to have died than those with the lowest levels of muscle mass.

“In other words, the greater your muscle mass, the lower your risk of death,” study coauthor Dr. Arun Karlamangla, an associate professor in the geriatrics division at University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine, said in a university news release. “Thus, rather than worrying about weight or body mass index, we should be trying to maximize and maintain muscle mass.”

The study was published online recently in the American Journal of Medicine.

The findings add to growing evidence that overall body composition is a better predictor of all-cause death than body mass index (BMI), according to the researchers. BMI is an estimate of body fat based on weight and height.

However, the study only shows an association, not a cause-and-effect relationship, between muscle mass and risk of death, the study authors noted in the news release.

“As there is no gold-standard measure of body composition, several studies have addressed this question using different measurement techniques and have obtained different results,” study leader Dr. Preethi Srikanthan, an assistant clinical professor in the endocrinology division at the UCLA School of Medicine, said in the news release.

Many studies that investigate how obesity and weight affect the risk of death look only at BMI, Srikanthan pointed out. “Our study indicates that clinicians need to be focusing on ways to improve body composition, rather than on BMI alone, when counseling older adults on preventative health behaviors,” she explained.

Future research should focus on pinpointing the types and amounts of exercise that are most effective in improving muscle mass in older adults, the study authors concluded.

Information for this article taken from HealthDay.Com


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Did You Ever Wonder?

Every few days, I hear about this clinical trial or that clinical trial.  I always wondered exactly what a clinical trial was, so one day, while doing research for this blog, I came across an article on HealthDay.com that explained exactly what it was.

Clinical trials are research studies that are used to test and evaluate potential medical advances. Before a new medication, surgical procedure, medical device or other potential advance can be used in the general population, it has to go through a rigorous series of clinical trials. These trials are intended to determine if the procedure or product is safe and effective at meeting its medical objectives.

When a medical advance is being developed, often the work will begin in a laboratory and then move to animal testing. Once it is determined that the the advance is safe enough to test in humans, researchers often look for volunteers to participate in clinical trials. These clinical trials are carefully regulated for safety, and a number of them must be successfully completed before a medical advance can be approved.

There are several types of clinical trials. When a new drug or surgical procedure is being tested, this is known as a treatment trial. There are also screening and diagnostic trials, which examine potentially new and better ways to detect or diagnose medical conditions. Prevention trials examine methods for preventing illness, and quality-of-life trials look at methods for improving the lives of people with chronic illness. A natural history study often takes a “big picture” look at the progression of a particular disease in the population.Types of Clinical Trials

There are several different types of clinical trials:  treatment, screening and diagnostic, prevention, quality of life , and natural history. Testing on a new drug or surgical procedure  is known as a treatment trial. Screening and diagnostic trials,  examine potentially new and better ways to detect or diagnose medical conditions. Prevention trials examine methods for preventing illness, and quality-of-life trials look at methods for improving the lives of people with chronic illness. A natural history study often takes a “big picture” look at the progression of a particular disease in the population.

Each different type of clinical trial must make it through four phases of study before it can be approved for use in the general population. Each phase involves larger studies with more participants to determine its safety and effectiveness. Once an advance reaches Phase IV, it is approved but still monitored for safety and effectiveness during its sale and use.


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Protein Packed Pasta Recipes – Pesto Shrimp with Kale & Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Trying to eat healthy?  Chances are you are avoiding pasta.  Pasta is considered to be too low in protein and high in carbs to make it a sensible choice.  But, how many ways can you grill a plain chicken breast and still keep mealtimes interesting?  Consider using a more nutrient-rich noodles, such as whole wheat for a lower carb, higher fiber meal.  I found 5 protein-packed recipes from Men’s Health to help you add a little variety to your dinner table, while still eating healthy.

Watch our blog over the next several weeks for all 5 recipes.  Please note, the recipes are SINGLE SERVING.  I left them that way, rather than converting them to 2-4 servings so that you can adapt them to fit your own mealtime needs.  But don’t forget to double, triple, etc. the ingredients when you are at the store, or you will come up short at dinnertime!

If you don’t like the taste of whole-wheat pasta, or can’t digest it well, you can substitute quinoa or rice pasta into these recipes. The nutritional difference is minimal and they’re prepared the same way.

PESTO SHRIMP WITH KALE & SUN-DRIED TOMATOES
MAKES: 1 SERVING

INGREDIENTS
1 tbsp jarred pesto sauce
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
6 oz large, peeled, grilled (or steamed) shrimp (ideally 20–25)
1 cup chilled, cooked linguini pasta*
1 cup kale leaves, shredded
¼ cup sun-dried tomato slivers
½ tsp fresh garlic, minced

*Cook according to package directions and then run under cold water and drain.

DIRECTIONS

1) Mix pesto with vinegar.
2) Place the shrimp, pasta, kale, tomatoes, and garlic in a salad bowl. Spoon sauce over and toss. Enjoy immediately or chill and serve later.

NUTRITION
493 calories, 58g protein, 52g carbs, 9g fat


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10 Tips to Boost Weight Loss

I don’t know about you, but this time of the year is always scary for me!  Scary because I have to start getting out the summer clothing again and, sometimes, I find it doesn’t fit quite as well as it did last year when I put it away for the winter months.  In Minnesota, winters are long, hard, cold and dark – remind me again why we live here – and it’s easy to pack on a few extra pounds under all those warm winter clothes.

As my mind turns to shedding a few pounds this spring, I found these 10 simple tips from EatingWell.com to help boost my weight-loss efforts.   Of course, exercise and eating well are key – but that goes without saying, I hope!

  1.  Slow down – When eating, it takes 20 minutes for your body to register fullness. According to a University of Rhode Island study, you can save 70 calories by eating slowly over about half an hour versus eating in under 10 minutes.
  2. Use a smaller plate – Seeing appropriately sized portions swimming on a giant plate can make you feel like you’re not getting much food. Put your main meal on a 7-inch plate, which is about the size of a salad plate or child-sizeplate. Choose a 1-cup dessert or cereal bowl instead of a soup bowl, a 6-ounce wineglass rather than a goblet. When you’re eating out, ask for an extra salad plate and transfer the proper-size portions of your food onto it when you’re served your entree. Then ask the waiter to take away and wrap up the rest.
  3. Divide your plate—and you’ll stay satisfied longer.  Trim calories without feeling deprived by dividing your plate like this: Fill half the plate with low-calorie—yet satisfying, fiber-rich—vegetables. Divide the other half of the plate into two equal portions (quarters). Fill one of these quarters with a lean protein, such as chicken, fish, lean beef or tofu. (Research suggests that, gram for gram, protein may keep you feeling fuller longer than carbohydrates or fat.) Fill the other quarter with a filling, fiber-rich whole grain, such as brown rice or quinoa.
  4. Eat breakfast – Research shows that regular breakfast eaters tend to be leaner and that dieters are more successful at losing weight when they eat breakfast. Pack your breakfast with protein and fiber—both will help keep you satisfied all morning. Think: whole-wheat toast with peanut butter or an omelet stuffed with vegetables.
  5. Plan for the occasional treat – Studies suggest that feeling deprived—even if you are consuming plenty of calories—can trigger overeating. And making any food off-limits just increases its allure. So savor a small treat: it won’t break your diet!
  6. Savor meal time – Turn off the TV and the computer and enjoy your meal without distractions. In a recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, participants who ate lunch without distractions felt fuller 30 minutes after eating, and ate less when they snacked later, than people who played solitaire on a computer during their midday meal.
  7. Eat water-filled foods – Foods with high water content—such as soups, salads, cucumbers and watermelon—help you feel satisfied on fewer calories. (Interestingly, drinking water alongside foods doesn’t have the same effect.)
  8. Snack on nuts – Studies show that people who eat nuts tend to be leaner than those who don’t, and a recent Harvard study revealed that nuts are a top food for driving weight loss. In particular, unshelled pistachios are a great choice, as removing the shells slows you down and seeing evidence of what you’ve eaten may prevent you from reaching for more. In a recent study out of Eastern Illinois University, people who were given unshelled pistachios consumed 41 percent fewer calories than those offered nuts with the shells already removed. With all nuts, be mindful of your portion size, as they’re calorie-dense: a 1-ounce serving of pistachios (49 nuts) contains 157 calories.
  9. Up your fiber intake -Increasing your daily fiber intake can help you prevent weight gain—and possibly even encourage weight loss—according to research out of Brigham Young University in Utah.
  10. Get 8 hours of sleep – Skimping on sleep can pack on the pounds, possibly by altering hunger hormones. Other recent research—out of Harvard—shows that missing even an hour or two of sleep may make you more likely to give in to junk food the next day. Why? The prefrontal cortex—part of the brain responsible for self-control—is compromised by sleep loss.