soup

RECIPE: MINESTRONE SOUP

By Curves

Minestrone Soup
Ingredients:

1 tsp olive oil

1/6 whole onion, chopped

1/3 stick celery

1/3 medium carrot

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 tsp oregano

1/2 T basil, ground

1 dash black pepper, to taste

1/2 c tomatoes, canned, diced (no added salt)

1/4 c tomatoes, canned, crushed (no added salt)

1 c water

1/4 T dill, fresh or dried

3/4 c chickpeas, canned, no added salt

1 T parmesan cheese, grated

1/2 c green beans, trimmed

 

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the celery and carrot and cook until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the green beans, garlic, oregano, basil, and pepper and cook 3 more minutes.
  3. Add the diced and crushed tomatoes and the water to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in the chickpeas and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Ladle into bowls and top with the Parmesan and chopped dill.

 

Calories 403, Fat 13g, Saturated Fats 13.5g, Protein 22g, Fiber 17 g, Carbohydrate 53 g

For Phase 3:  Enjoy with bread for dipping and/or a larger portion.

 

 

chopsuey

RECIPE: CHOP SUEY

By Curves

This recipe was submitted by a Curves Complete participant. It is simple to prepare, has great Asian flavors and is loaded with veggies. Mix it up with your favorite veggies. Enjoy!

 

Chop Suey
Serves 4
Ingredients:

2 T brown rice

1/2 T low sodium soy sauce

1 T hoisin sauce

3/4 tsp ginger root

1/4 tsp garlic

3/4 tsp cornstarch (cornflour)

2 T low sodium beef stock

1/4 tsp sesame oil

pinch crushed red pepper (chili flakes)

3/4 tsp canola oil

3/4 c mushrooms

1 rib celery

1/4 c onion

1/4 head baby bok choy

1/4 c snow peas

2 oz water chestnuts (canned)

1 green onions (spring onions)

1 basil leaves

 

Directions:

  1. Cook brown rice according to package directions.
  2. Grate ¾ tsp ginger and mince 1 small garlic clove. 
  3. Combine the following ingredients for the sauce in a bowl and set aside: 2 T low sodium beef stock, 2 tsp hoisin sauce, ¾ tsp low sodium soy sauce, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/2 tsp cornstarch (cornflour), 1/4 tsp sesame oil and a pinch of red pepper flakes (chili flakes).
  4. Chop the following vegetables: mushrooms, celery, onion, bok choy, green onions and basil.
  5. Heat oil in a large pan or wok over high heat. In the same pan, add mushrooms, onion and celery. Sauté for 5 minutes. Add the bok choy and snow peas and cook for 3 more minutes. Add the water chestnuts and green onions. Stir reserved sauce and add it to the pan. Cook for a couple minutes until the sauce has thickened. Remove from heat and stir in basil leaves.
  6. Serve with brown rice.

 

Calories 390, Fat 11g, Saturated Fats 3g, Fiber 6 g, Carbohydrate 38 g, Sodium 672

 

friends

WHY YOU WILL BE MORE MOTIVATED TO WORK OUT IF YOU BRING A FRIEND

By Curves

Most things in life are better with a friend, and that’s especially true of our fitness pursuits. Admit it, sometimes it’s really difficult to find the motivation to work out: you’re too busy, too tired, or discouraged by your progress. Going to Curves with a friend will erase potential roadblocks on your path to fitness and good health. Here’s what a fitness buddy can do for you:

 

  1. She’ll keep you true.

Though you might bag a date you’ve made with yourself, you’re far less likely to cancel plans with your friend. So make a workout date with a friend.

 

  1. She’ll give you a pep talk when you need one.

Good friends have each other’s back, right? So on days when you just don’t feel like hitting the circuit, turn to your workout pal for a pep talk. Someday you’ll return the favor, reminding her how important Curves is to fitness but also how great you’ll both feel after just 30 minutes.

 

  1. She can offer tips on technique.

Make a pact to point out any slip-ups in technique that you spot (it can happen to the best of us). When you work out in good form, you avoid injury and you get your best results.

 

  1. She’ll push you to your highest level.

There’s nothing like a little friendly competition to get you working harder around the circuit. A best effort gets best results. And when you are stronger and slimmer, you’re happier and more motivated to keep coming back to Curves to achieve your ultimate goals.

 

  1. She makes it fun.

Studies show that those who exercise with friends, enjoy their workout more. A friendly face on the circuit, sharing remarks on recovery stations, catching up during the post-workout stretch, and maybe heading for a cup of coffee afterward—all of it makes the experience more enjoyable. You’ll look forward to your next visit.

 

So rather than hope that your Curves buddies will be there when you go, plan ahead of time to meet on the circuit at the same time. Don’t have a Curves buddy? Talk with your Curves Coach about getting a buddy pass so you can introduce a friend to fitness and fun.

 

 

mood

WHY BOOSTING YOUR MUSCLES CAN BOOST YOUR MOOD

By Curves

It’s a given that resistance training builds muscle and physical strength. Perhaps less obvious are the ways that it strengthens your mood and mind.

 

Researchers at the University of Georgia did an extensive review of studies—specifically, randomized controlled trials–that looked at the relationship between resistance training and its effect on mental wellbeing. They concluded that regular strength work may produce the following positive outcomes:

  • calm anxiety
  • reduce depression, particularly in those who are clinically depressed
  • improve sleep
  • enhance cognition and memory
  • raise self-esteem

You can learn more here: http://www.ideafit.com/fitness-library/resistance-training-improves-mental-healthstudies

 

 

Strength training, like aerobic activity, also promotes the release of feel-good endorphins and raises your level of energy to help drive all the activities of your life.

 

One of the most powerful mood boosters you reap with regular resistance training is greater self-satisfaction. Every 30-minute workout on the Curves circuit is an accomplishment. And with every week that you complete those workouts, you get a little stronger. Over time, you’ll find that everything you do, from carrying groceries to playing with your kids in the backyard to your morning walks with friends around the neighborhood, becomes easier and more enjoyable. And, you’ll notice new muscle tone in your arms, legs, and abs. You’ll feel really good about you.

 

To cultivate that stronger self-esteem and all of the mood- and mind-boosting benefit of your Curves workouts, follow these five tips:

 

  1. To benefit from the mood-boosting effects of resistance training, you need to do it consistently and regularly. Mark your calendar with three or four Curves workouts a week and treat them like appointments with your doctor—not to be missed.
  2. Make plans to work out with a friend. Strength-training with a buddy keeps you accountable, and it adds to the fun.
  3. Consider CurvesSmart®*. This program uses a computer to track your optimal effort on each machine as set by you and your coach. It’s challenging, and facing and meeting that challenge provides a real boost to your self-esteem.
  4. Enjoy the moment. You know that good feeling you get at the end of every workout? That combination of accomplishment and endorphins? Revel in it.
  5. Meet weekly with your Curves consultant to review your progress toward your goals and celebrate every accomplishment. Success is one of the best mood-boosters of all.

 

posture

HOW TO GET BETTER POSTURE AND WHY

By Curves

“Stand up straight.” It’s one of a mother’s many excellent pieces of advice. Her reason—appearance. You look better—more confident—when you stand tall. But good posture provides even greater rewards.

 

Prevents back pain. Holding your head high, torso vertical, and shoulders back keeps your spine in proper alignment and helps you avoid back pain. Slouching curls your spine and puts extra stress on back muscles that have to work harder to keep you stable and upright according to sources and the Mayo Clinic.

 

Makes you look slimmer. Want to trim your tummy instantly? Stand tall. Slouching compresses your torso and pushes your midsection outward. Pull your shoulders back and belly in.

 

May boost your mood. A few studies suggest that adopting good posture may improve affect among people with mild depression and those under stress. More research needs to be done to confirm these results, but next time you find yourself in a figurative and literal slump, sit up, stand up, pull your shoulders back, hold your head high, and face those challenges with confidence.  You can learn more here:source

 

Moves that Improve Posture

Certainly be aware and attentive to how you stand and sit–head up, shoulders back and in line with your hips—but your best strategy for achieving and maintaining good posture is to strengthen your back, shoulders, and core says Megan Johnson, senior manager of programs and CurvesSmart. Here’s how the Curves Circuit does just that.

 

The Dip Shrug. “The move you perform on this machine requires you to stand nice and tall,” says Johnson. “And it helps sculpt your shoulders.”

 

The Chest-Back. This machine—as the name reveals—strengthens your chest and back muscles.

 

The Ab/Back.  “You might not think of this machine when you think about improving your posture,” says Johnson, “but a strong core is the foundation of good posture, and the ab/back machine will strengthen your core.”

 

The best move you can make toward improving your posture is to get yourself to Curves regularly every week. You’ll walk out stronger, slimmer, and happier.

 

 

vacation

VACATION NUTRITION TIPS TO KEEP YOU ON TRACK

Claire Kowalchik

Going on vacation doesn’t mean you get to take a vacation from your healthy lifestyle—at least not a significant one. Unfortunately, temptation greets you everywhere, whether it’s the ice cream and pizzerias along the boardwalk, the cotton candy and caramel corn at the county fair, or pina coladas and margaritas at the resort hotel. The lure to splurge is great, and willpower under the influence of fun and frolic can be a little challenging. Here are several tried-and-true tips to keep you faithful to your healthy eating goals while allowing a touch of indulgence.

Don’t skip breakfast
You’ll get the brightest and most energetic start from a breakfast that combines protein with carbohydrates, such as a vegetable omelet with whole wheat toast or nonfat plain Greek yogurt (higher in protein than regular yogurt) with fruit and a sprinkling of nuts. It will keep you feeling satisfied longer and offers a steady supply of energy throughout the morning.

Be smart about snacks
You already know that eating a snack between meals prevents you from getting too hungry and overeating at lunch or dinner. When you’re on vacation and on the go during the day, carry a snack in your purse. Having one handy will help prevent you from diving into the ice cream shop or the pizza parlor when hunger strikes. A perfect option is one of the Curves Snack Bars. If it’s a hot, sunny day and you simply crave a cool treat, opt for a fruit popsicle, or frozen yogurt topped with fruit, over higher-calorie ice cream.

Dine wisely
When dining out, choose a meal with lean proteins (chicken, fish, beans or tofu), lots of vegetables, and whole grains. Avoid fried foods, high-carb entrees, and dishes made with cream sauces or lots of cheese. Share a meal with a friend or family member, especially if you select a menu item that’s a little higher in calories and fat than you might otherwise eat. If no one at your table is willing to share, ask your waiter or waitress to divide the meal and put half in a doggie bag before she brings your food to your table.

Indulge judiciously
Okay, you are on vacation, and it’s only fitting that you relax—just a bit—your tight rein on drinks and desserts, the empty-calorie but full-of-pleasure indulgences. “If you want to have a special splurge on vacation, you can plan for it and stay on track with your weight-loss goals,” says Darcie Anderson, Curves nutritionist. “Phase 2 of Curves Complete allows 400 combined calories of snacks throughout the day, and occasionally, you can enjoy all those calories in one delicious indulgence.”

If celebratory cocktails call to you, Anderson suggests making a wine spritzer with sparkling water, wine, and a splash of fruit juice. “You can have two for the same caloric impact as one glass of wine,” says Anderson. “This is a refreshing way to stretch your drinks out over the evening.”

Move a little more
For all of your efforts at calorie control while you’re on vacation, you’re likely to consume a few extra. “Try to find creative ways to get in more steps, or try a new activity,” advises Anderson

vinegar

Use Flavored Vinegars to Enhance Vegetables

By Ali Struhs

When you think of vinegar, your great aunt’s canned pickled beets probably come to mind, but vinegar is so much more than a pickling ingredient. Introducing flavored balsamic vinegars! These vinegars, like red pepper or pear can add a gourmet and delectable twist to your vegetables. Lisa Talamini, a Registered Dietician for Jenny Craig, suggests adding infused vinegars to vegetables and salads, and even meat or fruits for new bursts of flavor. “My two favorite food pairing strategies are to either enhance a flavor or contrast one,” she says.

At just 10 calories per tablespoon, this is one flavor enhancer that counts as a free! There are countless flavors of vinegars, from chocolate to raspberry, meaning there are countless ways to add flavor to every vegetable. Here are just a few ways to upgrade the taste of your veggies with infused vinegars.

Resist the ranch
Try an exotic flavor combination of grapefruit flavored balsamic vinegar on a fresh salad. Drizzle this refreshing vinegar over a salad of sliced tomatoes, hearts of palm, and sliced radishes.

For another twist, make your own vinaigrette by combining 1 tablespoon of raspberry-flavored vinegar and 1 teaspoon of heart-healthy olive oil with a touch of dijon mustard and drizzling on an antioxidant-rich spinach and strawberry salad.

Caramelize your veggies
Rather than just tossing a mix of vegetables in only olive oil and then roasting in the oven, try adding a flavored vinegar also. Red pepper balsamic vinegar adds a summery vibe to roasted vegetables. Just toss washed and cut squash, broccoli and cauliflower florets, red onion, and carrots in a mixture of flavored vinegar and fat free cooking spray and spread evenly on a pan. If you have extra time, you can put the veggies and vinegar/cooking spray combination in a zippered bag to marinate in the refrigerator until you’re ready to cook, bringing out even more flavor. Roast in the oven at 400 degrees, or on the barbeque in a grilling pan, if weather permits, until the vegetables are tender and caramelized.

Drizzle on steamed vegetables
Steamed or microwaved veggies don’t have to be bland. Make a balsamic vinegar reduction sauce to drizzle on top of steamed asparagus, broccoli, or green beans. To reduce the volume of vinegar into a sauce, cook the vinegar in a sauce pan on low heat until desired thickness. Various flavors to try include fig, raspberry, or mango!

Not just for veggies
Vinegar can also be added to unexpected food, like fruit, meat, and even pancakes! Talamini recommends trying violet balsamic vinegar on top of our Classic Waffles. Reduce the vinegar down by cooking it on low heat, creating a vibrant, floral “syrup” to top Jenny Craig breakfast menu items, such as Blueberry Pancakes or Classic Waffles.

If you’re making a meal on your own or serving guests, she also suggests vinegar is a great addition to many cuts of meat. Peach balsamic vinegar is the perfect glaze for a roast tenderloin, or to balance the smoky flavor of salmon grilled on a plank, baste it with a pomegranate balsamic.

Additionally, you can get your get your chocolate fix by drizzling chocolate balsamic over fresh strawberries and serving with plain nonfat yogurt.