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Peggy, Week 11: How To Beat A Sweet Tooth

Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

We all have our diet pitfalls. If sugar is what tends to do you in, I came up with a few suggestions to help you stay on track. They’ve worked for me.

If you’re craving chocolate, make it healthy by having:
A frozen, chocolate-covered banana. No, it’s not an everyday snack. But it is a nice sweet treat every once in a while.

A chocolate -covered strawberry. These can get addictive, so only make one per person!

Apple slices with chocolate or peanut butter drizzle or BOTH! Because it is a drizzle, you eat less of the high calorie chocolate and peanut butter!

If you’d love a sundae, instead make a:
Greek yogurt sundae. Empty a 6-ounce container of yogurt in a sundae bowl. Add fresh fruit and one crushed granola bar. It seems far more indulgent than it is.

If you really want a milkshake, whip up a:
Yogurt and fresh fruit smoothie!

What’s your favorite healthy sweet treat? Share in the comments below.

Do You Need A “Recovery” Snack?

Trail Mix

In my last blog, I talked about pre-workout snacks but post-workout snacks are also worthy of discussion. Many people automatically assume they should eat a “recovery” snack after a fitness class or other activity. But is this really necessary or are you just eating all the calories you just burned?

Knowing when to snack
As with pre-workout snacks, if you just had a light to moderate workout, such as a walk or a short bike ride, you can probably skip a post-workout snack. If you exercised intensely for an hour or more, see how you feel and go from there. If you’re hungry or feel weak, have a small 100-200 calorie snack.

What snacks are best?
Choose real foods, such as a banana or a small handful of almonds. You don’t need expensive smoothies, shakes, bars or sport drinks. Many of these are full of artificial ingredients and some have as many calories as a meal.

Snacks for kids
The rules for workout snacks apply to kids as well. Avoid forcing snacks on your kids before, during or after their sporting events. Kid’s sports have become snack buffets and many times snacks are not needed, especially for younger kids who may spend more time learning basic skills rather than burning calories running around. Water is usually all they need unless it’s been several hours since their last meal. If they’re hungry, offer them a banana, orange, or other portable snack to tide them over until their next meal.

Through her Des Moines-based nutrition company, SK Health Communications, registered dietitian Stephanie Karpinske writes and develops recipes for magazines, books, supermarkets and food companies. She is the author of Read Before Dieting: Your 4-Step Plan for Diet Success and writes a blog about healthy eating, She’s coaching the Lehman family through the six-month Healthy Family Challenge.

Tiffany, Week 11: A Workout For The Kids

the lehmans

Up until this challenge I’ve never been a member of a large gym. I love the gym my employer has for its employees inside the building. I’ve had much success there and love the trainers, classes, equipment, and trails around the facility. I thought it would be a hard sell for me to feel at home in a large gym. Well I’m here to tell you that no matter what the size, it’s the work you do inside the gym that matters.

Because they’re too young, the kids don’t get to use the facility at Gold’s Gym. However my personal trainer, Lass, developed a program Anna could do at home. It’s four simple body weight exercises that will build cardio and strength in one. And best of all, it only needs to be done three times a week! I’m going to share with you what Lass told with me. (Lass, I hope you don’t mind me giving out your secrets.)

Start off by stretching and getting the body limber. Then do 12 jumping jacks, 12 body weight squats, 12 overhead presses and 12 toe touches. Now repeat those moves 4 times.

Our experience at Gold’s Gym has been nothing but wonderful. I know that our personal trainers will be friends of ours for life. They want nothing but the best for us and expect nothing from us but our best. I know that after this challenge Andy and I will become members at Gold’s Gym. We cannot imagine that gym not being a part of our lives and the kids can’t imagine not having the Kids Club (daycare) either. The staff in the Kids Club is always so nice and happy to see the kids.

What kinds of workouts do you do with your kids? Post a comment and let me know!

What To Eat Before And After A Workout


Knowing how much and the type of fuel you need for a workout can be challenging. It’s also very personal and depends on so many different factors. If your workout is 30 to 60 minutes a day, you might not need to worry about adding additional calories, especially if weight loss is your goal. Just keep in mind hydration—it’s key to having a better workout particularly if you are sweating a lot.

When you start to increase your time and intensity, you’ll probably need more calories to get you through the workout.  Start by eating a small meal 1 to 2 hour before you start to sweat— experiment to see how much time you need to digest your food. Some foods to include might be: a peanut butter, turkey or hummus sandwich on whole grain bread with lettuce, tomato and avocado; yogurt and fruit; oatmeal with walnuts and raisins; or trail mix with nuts and dried fruit.

Sometimes a small snack about 30 minutes before a workout is all you need to get an energy boost to get the best workout—but it’s important to test what agrees with your stomach and what does not. Usually avoiding high fiber foods is best—a banana, a small bag of pretzels, an 8-ounce glass of orange juice might be all you require.

After your workout—don’t drink back all of the calories you burned. Hydrate with water unless you’re working out intensely for over an hour. And refuel with a healthy meal such as salad, vegetables, baked sweet potato or brown rice and grilled chicken or fish.

Registered dietician Elizabeth Fassberg runs Eat Food, a New York City-based company that designs and delivers custom food and nutrition programs for businesses, organizations and individuals. She’s coaching the Avagliano family through the six-month Healthy Family Challenge.

Peggy, Week 11: What To Know On Your First Day At A New Gym

tilton fitness

We just joined Tilton Fitness and our first two days there have been very promising. The gym assigned two trainers to our family: Ann Erik is training me and my husband. TJ Loos is training Michael and Amanda. Ann is willing to push us each according to our own limits. She is aware of Peter’s diabetes and knee injury, and she has tailored his exercise routine accordingly. She also recognizes that I have been a couch potato, so we are starting out slow. At least she thinks it is slow. My arms and legs would say otherwise! TJ is young, so he speaks the same language as the kids. Amanda and Michael both like him.

Yesterday, Peter and I met with Ann for an hour. We began our session with the elliptical, to warm up, followed by the ropes–it seems every gym likes the giant’s shoelaces. Weights, resistance bands, stairs and more cardio rounded out our first session.

Michael and Amanda met us for Bodypump. This class is a series of weight bearing exercises put to music. We all worked to our own level. Personally, I found the music made the time go faster. Everyone liked the class, so I think it will become a family activity.

I am off this week, so Peter and I are going to try Spin class in the morning, if we can still move!

The most important thing to remember on your first day is: it is your first day! Do not expect miracles. This is your starting point—and there are great things to come.

What do you remember about your first day at the gym? Post a comment and tell me!