Recipes for Sizzling Spring Delights

All you need for a red-hot spring dinner with family and friends.

As soon as the sun starts peeking out from behind the cold winter days, you come down with the much-anticipated condition of the season: spring fever! You’re suddenly overwhelmed with a desire to clean your house from top to bottom, get some fresh air, and have all your family and friends over for a nice evening of food and fellowship.

If you’re stuck wondering what to serve you guests, read on for some fantastic ideas that will have your mouth watering in no time!

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Want something that screams warm weather? You’ve got to toss some strawberries in it. A great way to add strawberries is through a spinach-based salad. This recipe makes about four servings. Since it is rather fattening (35 grams of fat per serving), you probably shouldn’t make this your everyday salad.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon minced onion
10 ounces fresh spinach (rinsed, dried, and torn into bite-size pieces)
1 quart strawberries (cleaned, hulled, and sliced)
1/4 cup almonds (blanched and slivered)

Directions

Whisk together first eight ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Cover the bowl and chill for an hour. Next, combine the spinach, strawberries, and almonds in a large bowl, pour the chilled dressing over the salad and mix together. After 10 or 15 minutes of refrigeration, serve to your springtime guests and enjoy!

Chicken Barbecue Quesadillas

Think there’s no way to improve on chicken quesadillas? How about using one of spring’s most heralded flavorings to add some barbecue flavor? In addition to bringing in some great spring flavor, chicken barbecue quesadillas are a healthy and easy addition to your springtime festivities! This recipe makes 8-10 servings.

Ingredients

2 cups cooked chicken (finely chopped)
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1 tablespoon minced onion (optional)
8 large flour tortillas
6 to 8 ounces grated Monterey Jack cheese

Directions

In a small saucepan, heat the chicken, barbecue sauce, and onion until it is warmed all the way through. While warming, sprinkle cheese on the tortillas. (Feel free to cut tortillas into shapes for some added flair.) Add a tablespoon of the chicken-bbq-onion mixture, add a little more cheese on top, and put the top tortilla in place. Do this for all the tortillas. A few minutes before eating time, put the tortillas on a warmed griddle for a couple minutes on each side and eat up!

Cool Spring Punch

With the warm weather comes the need to cool down. That’s where this one-of-a-kind recipe comes in. Combining some of your favorite fruit flavors into a refreshing punch, cool spring punch is sure to please. You can also spice it up a bit more if the kids aren’t around!

Ingredients

10 strawberries (washed and stems removed)
3 pineapple spears
20 red seedless grapes
2 ounces rum (optional)

Directions

Toss all the ingredients in a juicing machine, turn it on, and serve ice cold!

Avocado-Mango Salsa

After cleaning up for your guests, you’ll probably want some down time to enjoy your work. With a bag of tortilla chips and this excellent salsa, you’ll have plenty of time to relax, and your guests will be begging for more of this light, spring salsa!

Ingredients

1 ripe mango (peeled, sliced, and diced)
1 tomato (seeded and diced)
2 green onions (sliced)
1/4 cup limejuice
1 jalapeno pepper (seeded and minced)
1 ripe avocado (diced)
salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)

Directions

Combine all ingredients, put in your favorite serving dish, and serve. You can also add this to your favorite grilled meat for a marvelous addition to your spring fare.

Drink to Your Good Health – 6 Drinks for Maximum Health

6 drinks you should start slurping for maximum health.

You know exercise and a healthy diet help you maintain good health. But did you know that you can improve your health by sipping on the right drinks?

Wondering what drinks you should be drinking to live life to the fullest? Wonder no more.

Drink #1: Orange Juice

One of the most readily available drinks on the list, orange juice packs a very powerful punch. How much punch can you get from a glass of OJ? All you need is a single cup of the orange goodness to get your daily allotment of vitamin C. Since this vitamin helps your immunity stay strong and also aids in the fat-burning process, a second glass probably won’t hurt you. Just be sure to go with 100-percent orange juice. Otherwise, you may wind up with added sugars that make it more difficult for you to meet your health goals.

Drink #2: Green Tea

Sometimes, being healthy can be a drag. It requires check-ups at your doctor and dropping your unhealthy habits for new, healthy ones. But sometimes, a good thing can help you enjoy improved health. If you already love green tea, you probably know that it lowers your risk for cavities, cancers, heart disease, and osteoporosis. And if you don’t love green tea, these facts should change your mind!

Drink #3: Milk

Whether you love cow’s milk or soymilk, milk of all sorts is great for your health. By drinking low-fat (one-percent) milk, you get the upper hand against osteoporosis and are able to stay full longer, which means you’ll eat less and be better equipped to lose weight. Prefer soymilk? Your heart disease risk will be reduced, and you can have your soymilk fortified with all sorts of vitamins and minerals. Just be careful, as there is a potential link between excessive soymilk intake and breast cancer.

Drink #4: Coconut Water

Quite possibly the first sports drink to ever exist, coconut water is found inside whole green coconuts and your local grocery store. It’s not full of calories or fat, but it has plenty of potassium, which gives you the energy boost you need during and after a workout. So if you’ve been seeking an alterative to your daily banana, you just found it!

Drink #5: Kefir

It may have an odd name, but this drink is a fantastic way to protect your good health. Full of all the good bacteria you can find in yogurt plus five or six more, kefir is made with fermented cow, sheep, or goat milk. In addition to helping your immune system, kefir helps your digestive system maintain regularity and optimal health.

Drink #6: Cranberry Juice

It may have some bite, but cranberry juice’s benefits far outweigh any bitterness left in your mouth after downing a glass of the rich juice. For years, cranberry juice has been known to ward off urinary tract infections (UTIs). It was so well known that many physicians prescribed cranberry juice to patients with frequent UTIs. However, cranberry juice doesn’t just protect your urinary tract. It’s also been found to protect your gums and teeth from disease. As with orange juice, make sure it’s 100-percent cranberry juice or you’ll wind up with a mouthful of harmful sugars.

Sliding Spinach into Your Diet


How to take the green stuff from the food aisle and into your meals on a regular basis.

If you didn’t grow up eating much spinach, it may be difficult to find ways to toss it in your meals on a regular basis. However, as spinach is rich with vitamins C and A, as well as folate, calcium, iron, and magnesium, adding it to your dishes is a great way to boost your health today and well into the future.

Here are a few tasty and easy ways to make sure your diet is as spinach-centric as possible.

Slide It in Your Salad

This is by far the easiest way to pump spinach into your diet. All you have to do is find some fresh spinach leaves, toss them in a bowl along with your favorite salad additives (think tomatoes, cucumbers, and carrots), finish it off with some healthy dressing, and voila! A delicious spinach-based salad that’ll tickle your taste buds and do your body good.

Want to give your immune system some help? Like having beautiful skin and hair? Then you better start sliding more spinach into your diet!

Slide It in Your Side Dish

All sorts of side dishes could benefit from a splash of spinach. Vegetable soup is an easy target, as is a plate of mixed vegetables. Simply cook the spinach to your liking (or don’t cook it at all!), toss it in your side dish of choice, and take heart knowing you’re doing a little something extra to maintain your good health today!

Slide It into Your Main Course

Now that you know how to slide spinach into your salads and side dishes, you’re ready to go to the next level: inserting salad into your main dish. Since this one takes a little more effort than the others, here is a recipe to get you on your way.

Spinach Lasagna with Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose (plain) flour
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup plain soymilk
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 2 green (spring) onions, including tender green tops, sliced
  • 1/2 cup dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in water and then drained and chopped
  • 10 ounces fresh cremini or shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 cups baby spinach leaves, chopped
  • 2 cups fat-free ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg white
  • 12 no-boil spinach lasagna sheets, about 7 by 3 1/2 inches
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

Directions

In a saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 1–2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add garlic and continue whisking until garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Whisk in soymilk and stock together. Cook and stir until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the green onions and sun-dried tomatoes. Set sauce aside.

In large nonstick frying pan, heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and shallot and sauté until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in parsley and salt. Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool. In same pan, heat remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add spinach and stir quickly until the spinach is wilted but still bright green. Remove from heat. Let cool slightly.

In a large bowl, beat together ricotta, 1/2 cup Parmesan, and the egg white. Stir in the spinach and set aside. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (F). Lightly coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spread 1/2 cup of the sauce in the dish and cover with 3 sheets of the pasta. Spoon half of the spinach mixture onto the pasta and spread gently. Cover with 3 more pasta sheets. Top with another 1/2 cup of sauce. Spread the mushroom mixture on top and cover with another 1/2 cup of sauce, then another layer of pasta. Spoon in the remaining spinach filling and top with the last 3 pasta sheets. Add the remaining sauce and the remaining Parmesan. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 25 minutes.

Remove foil and bake until golden, about 10 minutes longer. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with basil.

29 Simple Ways to Be Fit

Far too often fitness is presented as complicated and confusing.

Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Being fit comes from living the following simple everyday practices:

  1. Throw out your big dinner plates. Using small plates at home effortlessly reduces calorie intake and promotes weight loss.
  2. Make exercise a regular part of your life. Create a network of accountability with workout partners or by working with me, your local fitness expert.
  3. Know what you want to accomplish. Visualize the end result of your hard work.
  4. Believe in you. I know that you CAN accomplish your goals.
  5. Don’t be a wimp. Keep the intensity high during your workouts. Remember that you don’t want to kill time; you want to burn calories and strengthen your body through intense exercise.
  6. Drink water all day long.
  7. Know when to ask for help.
  8. Incorporate High Intensity Interval Training into your routine by doing bursts of high intensity rather than exercising at a single steady pace.
  9. Maintain your metabolism by eating a healthy snack or meal every three hours. This food should be unprocessed, low in fat and high in fiber.
  10. Forget will-power; it’s about WANT-power. How badly do you want it.
  11. Never eat processed foods. These items are high in empty calories and contain a plethora of chemicals that are harmful to your health.
  12. Fat contains twice the caloric density of carbohydrates and protein, so limit the amount of it that you eat. Fill your diet with lean protein and carbohydrates from leafy plants and whole grains.
  13. It’s OK to be a skeptic. Watch out for products that are labeled as ‘health food’. Always read the nutrition labels and make your own informed opinion.
  14. Talk is cheap. Act now and get the job done.
  15. Exercise with people that are in better shape than you. This will encourage you to push your limits.
  16. Never indulge in negative self-talk.
  17. Don’t drink calories.
  18. Pay attention to everything that you eat.
  19. Keep consistent. Exercise at least three or four times each week.
  20. Expect more from yourself.
  21. Never eat High Fructose Corn Syrup. It spikes your blood sugar levels and encourages your body to store fat.
  22. Eat plenty of whole plant foods. Vegetables, fruits and whole grains are filled with fiber and antioxidants, great for good health and weight loss.
  23. Do your cardiovascular exercise after weight training to encourage more fat burn. Your stored sugars will be depleted during the weight training then your body will rely on fat stores to get you through the cardio workout.
  24. Breakfast should be a balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat to get your metabolism going strong.
  25. If you know that you deserve better…then go get it.
  26. Challenge yourself during each workout. Try something new and exciting.
  27. Set specific, measurable goals and track your progress.
  28. Even if they are whole grain, eat carbohydrates sparingly. Carbohydrates are quickly stored as fat.
  29. Put an end to your struggle to get and stay fit. Call or email me today to get started on a proven fitness program that will change your life and body forever.

Print this list and place it somewhere that you’ll see every day.

Weight Loss in the Teen Years

Understanding how to go about weight loss properly during the teenage years.

The teen years are some of the hardest and most confusing years of a person’s life. The sudden surge of emotional, hormonal, and body changes make it easy for teens to feel self-conscious. As a result, many feel they are inadequate and overweight and take drastic measures to correct these perceived problems.

If your teen would like to lose weight, you’ll need to direct his or her efforts to ensure success.

Understand What’s Going On

There are many reasons a teen may want to lose weight. Many feel fat because of the changes their bodies are going through during the teen years. These teens are often not overweight. Rather, they’re self-conscious. Other teens, however, have a history of overeating and are truly overweight or obese.

Regardless of why your teen wants or needs to lose weight, you should help him or her get a healthy view of weight and what is going on in his or her body. While your teen may not like the changes that occur during the teen years, there’s nothing that can stop these changes from occurring. What your teen can modify is his or her behavior. And that’s how weight loss and improved self-image show up.

Start Early

Have a teenager who doesn’t feel like getting out of bed in the morning? Does your teen come home and veg out in front of the television set after school? Don’t wait until these habits result in extra weight or feelings of being overweight. Instead, encourage your teen to get out and get active right now. Have him or her go outside for a game of basketball. Or go on a hike together. This way, your child can build confidence before he or she even needs it.

On top of these pre-emptive strikes, make sure your teen eats breakfast each day. While your teen may prefer to wake up just in time to walk in school as the bell rings, an additional five or six minutes to eat a bowl of oatmeal or a piece of toast can make all the difference. In addition to giving your teen energy to get through the day, breakfast prevents your teen from feeling hungry throughout the date, which keeps him or her from overeating.

Focus on Now and Later

Most teenagers feel invincible. Hence why they eat whatever they want and are willing to go cliff diving without a second thought. However, if you want your teen to obtain a healthy weight today, you’ll need to do it with an eye to the future. Therefore, don’t put your child on a diet. You want to instill good habits in your child that will last a lifetime.

To do this, model healthy habits. Eat homemade meals as often as possible; keep healthy snacks on hand; and only eat cake, ice cream, and other treats at special events. You’ll also want to teach your teen what a serving size is supposed to look like. Many teens have eyes bigger than their stomachs, and if your child wants to obtain and maintain a healthy weight throughout life, he or she will have to understand that most serving sizes are much smaller than what is served at restaurants.

Liquid Weight

While your teen may be mindful of the calories that enter his or her body via foods, drinks can quietly add hundreds of unwanted calories each day. If your teen drinks soda, fancy coffee drinks, or fruit juice on a regular basis, he or she may want to cut these drinks out of his or her routine. Do it now and your child will learn to love the taste of water and other low-fat, healthy drinks with or without meals.

Kissing Gluten Goodbye

For people with celiac disease, this happens every day.

It has a funny name and is fairly rare. As a result, most people don’t understand celiac disease. Want to be one of the educated folks who understand this difficult disease? Read on for a crash course.

Something Like an Allergy

When someone has celiac disease, his or her body has a negative reaction to gluten. This negative reaction causes the small intestine to go crazy. More specifically, millions of villi (tiny hair-like substances that line the intestines and help the body absorb nutrients from foods) get damaged whenever gluten is ingested.

Since gluten is found in all sorts of foods, it is difficult for individuals with celiac to get well-rounded diets. Rye, barley, wheat, and grains that come from these foods all contain gluten. Since these foods have to be avoided by individuals with celiac disease, people living with celiac disease are at high risk for some other dangerous conditions.

More Names, Same Problem. Celiac disease is known by a variety of names: celiac sprue, nontropical sprue, gluten intolerance, and gluten-sensitive enteropathy. The end result, however, is the same: an inability to eat foods that contain gluten.

To Complicate Matters

The most obvious complication that can arise as a result of celiac disease is malnutrition. After all, if you can’t eat a variety of important foods, you’re going to have a hard time staying nourished. This leads to dangerous weight loss, fatigue, and growing problems. But celiac disease’s complications don’t end there.

In addition to malnutrition, celiac disease increases your risk for type 1 diabetes, gastrointestinal cancers, and thyroid disease. As each of these conditions come with even more potential complications, recognizing and treating celiac disease properly is your best chance at living a normal, productive, and healthy life.

Find and Fix

Most of the time, individuals with celiac disease will suffer from some embarrassing symptoms. Diarrhea, weight loss, and abdominal pain and bloating are the most common symptoms, and these are often accompanied by depression or frequent bad moods. As these symptoms are often mistaken for indicating other conditions, it is important to undergo proper medical screening to ensure you receive a proper diagnosis. For an accurate diagnosis of celiac disease, you may have to undergo a physical examination, blood tests, and biopsies of the small intestine.

Once the condition is diagnosed, treatment is as simple as beginning a new diet that completely removes all gluten. Unfortunately, as easy as this new diet sounds on paper, it can be difficult in real life, as gluten sneaks its way into foods ranging from breads to sandwich meats. If you have celiac disease, you’ll also have to be on the prowl for foods that may have been contaminated with gluten products. Your favorite kind of ice cream may not contain gluten, but if it was made alongside a bread factory, you may have to find a new dessert of choice.

What to Watch

Wondering what foods you should avoid if celiac disease sneaks up on you? Have a friend with celiac disease coming over for dinner and want to make sure the menu is gluten-free?

The following are some of the items that contain gluten:

  • pasta
  • certain seasonings
  • dips and spreads
  • stuffing
  • thickening agents
  • non-dairy creamer
  • marinade
  • dry-roasted nuts
  • fried chicken
  • French fries (they’re often coated in flour)
  • modified food starch
  • wafers used in communion
  • cake flour
  • bread and breading used for cooking
  • couscous
  • sauces and gravies
  • yogurts that contain wheat starch
  • some wheat-free products
  • soy sauce
  • certain herbal teas
  • certain flavored coffees
  • beer
  • broths and bouillons
  • imitation meats

Food and Your Eyes

How you can eat your way to better vision.

Remember when your mom used to get you to eat your carrots by saying they help your vision? While you may have stopped believing it a few years ago, what you eat does have a direct impact on how well you see.
If you want to give your vision a boost, eat the right foods to feed your eyes.

Carrot Talk

Believe it or not, carrots really are good for your eyes. That’s right – you may need to return to the hard, orange root, as it actually does the vision good, lending a hand with all your visual needs, particularly when the lighting is low. The vision-helping properties of carrots are found in the large amount of vitamin A found in each bite.

Don’t like carrots but still want good vision? Take heart! Carrots don’t have a monopoly on vitamin A. This vitamin can be found in a variety of foods, such as dairy products, asparagus, nectarines, and apricots. So if you’re eating a well-balanced diet, you’re probably getting enough vitamin A to keep your eyes in tip-top shape.

Orange Clarity

Causing the eye’s lenses to cloud and make it difficult to see, cataracts affect millions of people worldwide. In the medical community, the common consensus is that cataracts are the end result of lens proteins going through the oxidation process (the same process that is related to cancer and is fought off by antioxidants). If only there were a way to stop this oxidizing process!

Well, there is: vitamin C. A study performed in the late 1990s showed that women who used vitamin C supplements (minimum of 500 milligrams) for a decade or longer had a substantially lower likelihood of experiencing early-stage cataracts. Other research has shown that large combined doses of vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, and beta-carotene also fend off macular degeneration, a condition that destroys the center of the eye’s retina and makes it hard for the affected individual to see clearly.

Bilberry Delight

Not to be confused with blueberries, bilberry has long been thought to improve vision, both during the day and during the night. Though it probably doesn’t do that, it does seem to improve a variety of eye disorders, such as cataracts and retina issues.

Even if you find bilberry doesn’t give your vision the upper hand against diseases, it seems useful for a variety of other conditions. From heart disease and chest pain to diabetes, hemorrhoids, and diarrhea, bilberry has long been a familiar face in the medical community. It is even thought to increase circulation, which ensures your eyes get all the blood necessary to remain healthy and in good seeing shape.

Ocular Omega

You’ve heard that omega-3 fatty acids protect against heart disease and stroke. You maybe realize that every one of your body’s major organs depends on these fatty acids found commonly in fish. But are you aware that omega-3 fatty acids actually help improve your eye health?

The most common connection between omega-3 fatty acids and your good eye health is a reduced risk of macular degeneration. But if it’s good at helping you avoid this frustrating sight stealer, omega-3s probably lend a hand in other ways to your peepers. So if you want to see better and live better, do your best to eat more foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids than foods with just plain old fat.

Keep Seeing Well

If you have good vision, you should never take it for granted. To ensure the long-term good health of your eyes, eat the right foods and take the following additional steps:

  • stop smoking
  • exercise regularly
  • wear sunglasses when outside
  • keep away from excessively dry, hot environments
  • take regular breaks from looking at the computer screen
  • use safety glasses when working in the yard or with dangerous tools

Speed Up Your Slow Metabolism


What a faster metabolism can do for your body.

There’s a lot of talk about metabolism, and it seems that all the skinny folks have a large amount of it. But what exactly is metabolism, why is it important to your body, and what can you do to increase your metabolism? You’re about to find out!

What Is Metabolism?

Inside your body, a complex process is going on that involves hormones, enzymes, and food. Known as metabolism, this process is responsible for your body’s ability to take food and turn it into energy. Additionally, your metabolism determines if you take that energy and burn it off with ease or if it sits around on your body and goes nowhere fast.

Though you probably wish your metabolism was sky high (everyone wants that sleek body – right?), there are a number of factors you can’t change that determine the level of your metabolism. These include age, sex, and your genes. That’s right – being over 40 decreases your metabolism, as does being a woman or having a family history of slow metabolism.

Why Is It Important?

Ever wondered why the first few pounds of weight loss come so easily for some people? It’s because your body has to work a little harder when you’re overweight. So when you make a small lifestyle change, your high metabolism does the rest, helping shed pounds with ease. Unfortunately, keeping a high metabolism isn’t after you’ve lost the initial few pounds. But if you want to lose weight and keep it off, you’ll need to have your metabolism working for you.

How Can I Boost It?

While there are a handful of factors that limit your ability to increase or decrease your metabolism, you can take your low metabolism by the horns and give it a boost with the right steps. Since you know that muscle burns more calories than fat, you probably already guessed the first step to speeding up your slow metabolism.

Get more muscles. A little flab here and there won’t make a huge difference, but muscle burns energy faster than flab. So if you want the highest possible metabolism, you’ll need to increase your muscle mass. Do this by exercising on a regular basis (three days a week at the least), and be sure to mix in plenty of weight lifting with your running, bicycling, and swimming. If you’re over 40 years of age, you may need some extra time in the gym, as you also have to fight your metabolism’s desire to slow down regardless of your routine.

Get five meals. Eating three times a day may be how you did things growing up, but unless you want to grow out, you’ve got to eat up more often. By substituting three large meals for five or more small meals throughout the day, you give your body confidence that there will be plenty of food coming later. This confidence allows your body to burn off more calories all day long.

Get good foodsEating five or six times a day will have the greatest impact on your metabolism if you’re filling up on the right stuff. That means tossing the extra slice of cake in the trash and going for a handful of carrots instead. Or grab some oatmeal for a fill up that will provide a slow-burning boost to your metabolic low.

Breakfast: The Crux of Metabolism

Think you can have a high metabolism without ever chowing down on breakfast foods? You’re wrong. Without eating breakfast, you put yourself at risk for slowed metabolism.

Here are a few ways skipping breakfast will do the body bad.

  1. 1. It makes you hungrier at lunch and other times than you should be. When this happens, you don’t make good choices – and you know it!
  2. It gives you nothing to start with. When your stomach is empty, your body is doing everything possible to hang onto the calories at its disposal. Hence why you have no energy without breakfast!
  3. It starts you off all wrong. Start your day with a poor dietary decision, and you’re sure to make more of them throughout the day.

You Are What You Drink


So be careful to avoid these high-calorie alcoholic beverages.

When you’re out on the town, living it up with your best friends, the world is your playground. Unless you’re not enjoying yourself, counting calories is the last thing on your mind. Before you head to the bar and wind up drinking more calories in a couple hours than you should consume in an entire day, you should know which drinks to steer clear from. Want to know what drinks would be better left behind the counter and in the bartender’s hand? Good for you. Get the answer below!

Beer

Considered one of the most innocent drinks when it comes to intoxication, beer is also rather light when it comes to calories. In a 12-ounce can of beer, you can count on picking up about 150 calories. Go with the light beer and you’ll shave off 40 or so calories. And while 150 calories isn’t too much, these calories are detrimental when it comes to maintaining your get up and go. They also add up rather quickly if you order a pitcher or more than one small beer.

Champagne

Typically designated for weddings and other life-changing events, champagne may seem light and tingly, but it can be a bit heavy on the hips. With a whopping 84 calories in only four ounces of alcohol, champagne may not ruin your hot new diet, but it sure doesn’t help you maintain your impressive physique either. Save it for a special occasion and champagne will never get the best of your waistline.

Think alcoholic calories are nothing to sweat about? Think again. On top of being filled with relatively useless calories, alcoholic beverages have the tendency to make you hungry. So after filling up on beer calories, you’re ready for some wing, hamburger, and cheese fry calories!

Wine

Like champagne (which is a wine), red, white, and sweet wine are viewed as lesser evils when it comes to alcohol-based calories. And for good reason. Boasting about the same amount of calories as champagne, these more common varieties of wine are relatively tame when it comes to pushing your calorie count over the edge. In four ounces, you can count on picking up between 75 and 80 calories from red or dry white wine and another 25 to 30 for sweet wine. Not too bad when you consider the various health perks that are associated with drinking a little wine each day.

Cocktails

The cream of the crop when it comes to party drinks, cocktails come with a calorie punch as large as their flavor. In fact, no matter what cocktail you pick, you’ll be drinking more calories than you would with three beers of the same size. Two of the lightest cocktails are daiquiris (122 calories, four ounces) and cooler cocktails (150 calories, six ounces). Pick up a martini and you’re looking at 140 calories in a meager three and one-half ounces. Go with a three and one-half ounce Manhattan and get 164 calories, a four-ounce margarita, 168 calories.

Regardless of what alcoholic drink you decide to go for at your next outing, the calorie count of a single drink isn’t the most important thing to consider. Drinking too much is. Because beyond the obvious problems that arise with intoxication, returning to the bar time and again means hundreds of extra calories hitting you right where it hurts – whether that’s your hips, your stomach, your under arm, or your thighs.

So enjoy your favorite drink, have a great time out and about, but keep the drinking under control. Your good judgment and good health are counting on it.

Transforming a Salad into a Meal

Leave the magic wand and the hocus pocus at home. This magic trick only requires a little kitchen know-how.

What comes to mind when you hear the word “salad”? More than likely, you consider this green dish to be little more than an appetizer, a side dish to the real part of your meal. But with a little work, you can take your sidelined salad and turn it into a main attraction that will please your palate and have your guests begging for more.

So how do you take a salad from ordinary side dish to extraordinary meal?

Meat, Please

For the most part, salads are rather meatless creations. If you want your salad to pack enough punch to be considered a meal, the easiest way to do it is with a little meat. A very popular choice for this is chicken. However, you can add whatever meat you can imagine. From shrimp to steak, you can use any meat for a meal-worthy salad. Just remember not to overload your salad with meat. After all, it’s a salad first and foremost, so lettuce and other veggies should be at the forefront.

Not a meat eater? Toss in some of your favorite meat substitute. From soy-based products to tofu and hummus, you can get the flavor and fulfilled feeling you want from your salad-centric meal.

Color Me Full

Anyone can toss a little salad in a bowl and call it a salad. Unfortunately, this is not going to cut it if you’re going for the full-meal effect. In order to have a bona fide salad for a meal, you’re going to have to let your salad branch out into a wider color palate.

This means tomatoes, onions, corn, peppers, radishes, and carrots. It can also mean hard-boiled egg, goat cheese, and almonds. And don’t forget about blueberries, grapes, avocados, strawberries, oranges, and apples. To give your salad some oomph, you can never go wrong when you add some extra color. At the same time your salad increases in aesthetic beauty, you’ll add to the flavor and variety of nutrients offered in your big, bad salad.

Top It Well

The finishing piece to your salad-turned-meal is the dressing. While it may be tempting to let a store-bought salad dressing finish off your creation, you may want something more exciting. If you want to make sure the effort you put into your salad pays off fully, do a little research to find out what flavor dressing would go best with the variety of foods in your salad.

You may find that a pre-made dressing does just fine. Then again, you may come across a killer dressing that you have to make on your own. Don’t wimp out and let your salad suffer. Take control of your salad destiny and be willing to invest as much time in creating your salad dressing as you did with your salad. It will ensure every plate is cleared and every mouth ends in a contented smile.

A Little More Besides

Treating salad as a meal may be a difficult concept to grasp. If you’re having a hard time eating nothing but salad for your meal, take heart! It is possible to keep salad as the center of your meal without losing out on your other favorite foods.

To do this, make sure your salad is on the largest plate at your table. So if you use a salad plate for your salad, you’ll need a smaller plate or a bowl for your other items. Once you figure out what else you just have to eat, place it in a bowl or plate and keep this second dish to one side or the other – wherever you typically place your salad. This will help your hunger stay focused on the healthy, gorgeous, colorful salad right under your nose.