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Ingredient of the Week: 11 Ways Bananas Can Sweeten Up Your Breakfast

There’s a reason bananas were the top-logged fruit among the entire 190 million strong Under Armour Connected Fitness community in 2016: They’re nutritious, versatile and easy. They can help keep your heart healthy and reduce muscle cramps because they are high in potassium. They also make for a healthy, satisfying snack because they’re rich in fiber, carbohydrates and antioxidants. Compared to other fruits, bananas are highly portable and affordable, and they’re a great start to your day. That’s why they’re our Ingredient of the Week.

1. 5-INGREDIENT PEANUT BUTTER BANANA ENERGY BARS | BOWL OF DELICIOUS

With only five ingredients required, this no-fuss recipe is designed to be an uncomplicated, delicious pre-workout snack. Each sweet, nutty bar is packed with wholesome carbs, healthy fats and protein. Recipe makes 12 servings at 1 energy bar each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 240; Total Fat: 13g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 94mg; Carbohydrate: 28g; Dietary Fiber: 4g; Sugar: 12g; Protein: 7g

2. MINI ZUCCHINI-NUT MUFFINS | DIETITIAN DEBBIE DISHES

These vegan muffins are lightly sweetened and deliver some heart-healthy omega-3 fats from the ground flaxseeds and walnuts. (Plus they sneak in a veggie while still tasting delicious.) These mini muffins are great to have on hand for a quick breakfast or snack. Pair with a banana and a cup of yogurt for a filling breakfast. Recipe makes 12 servings at 1 muffin each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 174; Total Fat: 9g; Saturated Fat: 4g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 108mg; Carbohydrate: 21g; Dietary Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 8g; Protein: 4g

3. FOUR-INGREDIENT NO-BAKE BANANA BREAD BLONDIES | THE BIG MAN’S WORLD

Four ingredients, one bowl, five minutes. That’s all you need to make these soft and fudgy banana-bread blondies! You don’t have to turn on the oven — plus, these tasty treats are gluten-free, Paleo-friendly and vegan. Recipe makes 6 servings at 1 blondie each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 156; Total Fat: 7g; Saturated Fat: 3g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 56mg; Carbohydrate: 22g; Dietary Fiber: 4g; Sugar: 12g; Protein: 3g

4. BAKED BANANA FRENCH TOAST | MYFITNESSPAL’S RECIPES

Craving French toast, but don’t want all the calories that usually come along with it? Our baked banana French toast saves you calories and adds nutrition without compromising the traditional flavors you crave. We use simple swaps such as baking instead of frying and whole-grain bread instead of white. Give this dish a personal flair by adding your favorite toppings. Recipe makes 6 servings at 1 (3 1/2-inch) square (165 grams) each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 229; Total Fat: 6g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 125mg; Sodium: 197mg; Carbohydrate: 44g; Dietary Fiber: 4g; Sugar: 18g; Protein: 11g

5. ONE-BOWL BANANA NUT MUFFINS | HEALTHY NIBBLES & BITS

Need a healthy, delicious on-the-go breakfast or a healthy snack to curb your hunger before dinner? Try these one-bowl banana nut muffins. Filled with crunchy walnuts and and fragrant spices, they are sure to be a crowd pleaser. Recipe makes 11 servings at 1 large muffin each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 250; Total Fat: 13g; Saturated Fat: 6g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 17mg; Sodium: 233mg; Carbohydrate: 31g; Dietary Fiber: 4g; Sugar: 13g; Protein: 4g

6. BLACK & WHITE BANANA GRANOLA | TWO OF A KIND

Craving something sweet and crunchy? Make this black-and-white banana granola. Flavored with chocolate and vanilla, this two-toned treat packs a healthy dose of fiber and protein without an overload of sugar. Serve these clusters for breakfast with fruit and yogurt or with recipe number 10 for a sweet treat. Recipe makes 12 servings at 1/4 cup each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 178; Total Fat: 9g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 4g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 157mg; Carbohydrate: 21g; Dietary Fiber: 4g; Sugar: 7g; Protein: 5g

7. GLUTEN-FREE BANANA OAT WAFFLES | KIM’S CRAVINGS

Treat yourself any morning with banana-oat waffles. They’re light and crispy on the outside but fluffy on the inside. These clean-eating waffles will satisfy your cravings while keeping you on track with your nutrition goals. Top your waffles with fresh berries or crushed nuts for an extra nutritious boost to kick-start your day. Recipe makes 4 servings at 1 large waffle each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 232; Total Fat: 6g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 93mg; Sodium: 82mg; Carbohydrate: 36g; Dietary Fiber: 5g; Sugar: 5g; Protein: 10g

8. BANANA BREAD GRANOLA BARS | RUNNING WITH SPOONS

This lightly sweetened granola bar takes banana bread to a new, portable level. These simple bars are made from chewy rolled oats and ground flax and lightly sweetened with ripe bananas, honey and dates. They’re also gluten-free. These make a great post-workout snack. Recipe makes 10 servings at 1 bar each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 130; Total Fat: 2g; Saturated Fat: 0g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 120mg; Carbohydrate: 27g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Sugar: 14g; Protein: 3g

9. HOMEMADE BANANA “YOGURT” | NUTRITION STRIPPED

This banana “yogurt” is made with deliciously simple whole-food ingredients, and it’s dairy-free! Creamy cashews, fiber-rich ground chia and ripe banana blend together to create a thick, yogurt-like dish that’s creamy and naturally sweet. Recipe makes 2 servings.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 152; Total Fat: 7g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 45mg; Carbohydrate: 23g; Dietary Fiber: 7g; Sugar: 8g; Protein: 5g

10. ONE-INGREDIENT ICE CREAM | THE KITCHN

The easiest way to save your ripe bananas is to peel them and freeze in a zip-top bag, so you can save them for recipes like this one.This ice cream has just one ingredient, and we think you’ll go bananas over it! Recipe makes 2 servings at 1/2 cup each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 61; Total Fat: 0g; Saturated Fat: 0g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 1mg; Carbohydrate: 16g; Dietary Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 8g; Protein: 1g

11. HEALTHY BANANA BREAD | COOKIE AND KATE

The most popular quick bread in the book, banana bread is a classic comfort food. Make this fluffy, moist loaf on Sunday, and enjoy it for breakfast or snacks throughout the week. Recipe makes 8 servings.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 240; Total Fat: 11g; Saturated Fat: 8g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 47mg; Sodium: 322mg; Carbohydrate: 35g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Sugar: 22g; Protein: 4g

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A History of Dieting as Told Through GIFs

In a lot of ways, we should consider ourselves lucky that many of us are trying to watch our weight. For the majority of human history, getting enough to eat has been more of an issue. In fact, it wasn’t until the early 19th century that the ideal figure evolved to something noticeably more svelte.

And thus, we have been dieting ever since. But were these diets ever really effective? From slimming potions to green juices, here are a few highlights of some of the most interesting diet trends over the past 200 years, told in that oh-so-modern of ways: through GIF’s.

THE 1800s: FOOD WITH PURPOSE

Before it became integral to America’s favorite campfire treat, the graham cracker was one of the first diet foods. Created by a New Jersey minister — the not-so-coincidentally named Rev. Sylvester Graham — these yummy snacks were made with whole-grain flour instead of the refined white flour that was popular at the time. Graham created a heartier, nutritious biscuit with unsifted flour and no additives, which he believed to be far superior to white bread. He wasn’t wrong. But sorry, campers: That still doesn’t make s’mores a health food.

MAGICAL PILLS AND POTIONS

In the 1800s, pills, tonics and potions containing arsenic became increasingly popular due to the claim that they cleared the complexion and helped boost the metabolism. Though the amount of arsenic used was small, people tended to take more than the recommended dosage so it would work faster. Side effects included hair loss, stomach pains, vomiting, diarrhea and that irreversible condition known as death.

CELEBRITY DIET 101: LORD BYRON

Long before Khloé Kardashian started publishing her workouts on Snapchat, the famed poet Lord Byron also worked hard to maintain his physique: pale and thin, considered “fashionable” during the early 19th century. He claimed he had a “morbid propensity to fatten,” according to “Calories & Corsets” by Louise Foxcroft. Absolutely terrified of being fat, Byron weighed himself regularly and began to starve himself, sticking to foods like biscuits and soda water, potatoes drenched with vinegar or simply a bit of claret instead of food. He was so culturally influential that he was accused of encouraging young people to not only worry about weight but also to follow his strange diet patterns — including drinking vinegar to drop pounds.

LOW CARBS WAY AHEAD OF THEIR TIME

In the 1860s, a London carpenter named William Banting suffered from poor eyesight and hearing, knee problems and other health issues he believed stemmed from his weight. His diet strategy focused on consuming vegetables and meat, while avoiding bread, pastry and potatoes. He managed to see results within just a few days, eventually losing 50 pounds and vastly improving his health. He then published his regimen in a book titled “A Letter on Corpulence,” and, for many years after, “dieting” also was known as “banting” in England and the U.S.

THE EARLY 1900s: CHEW IT AGAIN, SAM

At the turn of the 20th century, American entrepreneur Horace Fletcher advocated chewing each mouthful of food a minimum of 100 times per minute, in the hopes of extracting every bit of nutrition from it, before swallowing. This became known as “Fletcherism,” and he earned the nickname “the Great Masticator.” That must explain all those fantastic jawbones in early silent movies.

THE 1920s-50s: A SLEW OF LOW-CALORIE TRENDS

In 1925, advertisements for Lucky Strike cigarettes sported the slogan “Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet” to discourage people from consuming too many calories. Thanks to the appetite-suppressing power of nicotine, smoking became all the rage among those who wanted to watch their figures. MyFitnessPal endorses pretty much nothing in this paragraph.

In the 1930s, the Grapefruit Diet (also known as “the Hollywood Diet”) called for eating half a grapefruit before every meal. The fruit’s fiber and liquid helped to fill you up, and you’d eat less, lowering your calorie intake. The downside? Grapefruit with every meal got uber boring, and many dieters had a hard time sticking to it.

In the 1950s, the Cabbage Soup Diet promised people could lose up to 15 pounds in a week by eating cabbage soup every day — similar to the Grapefruit Diet, fiber and liquid played a part in preventing you from eating too much. This still remains a popular diet fad today — although you’re probably more likely to clear a room than lose weight.

THE 1960s-70s: COOKIES, SHAKES AND QUICK-FIX PILLS

Beginning in the ’60s, pills began emerging as a favorite diet tool — the “Sleeping Beauty Diet” advocated sleeping up to 20 hours a day to avoid eating, thanks to the use of sedatives. (Elvis Presley was supposedly a fan.) In the ’70s, Dr. Sanford Siegel introduced the Cookie Diet to Hollywood, where six cookies containing a special blend of amino acids would make up your day’s calorie intake. The SlimFast diet helped its followers create a calorie deficit by replacing breakfast and lunch with their shakes. By the end of the decade, shelves began to fill with Dexatrim, a diet pill made with phenylpropanolamine (which eventually was linked to an increased stroke risk, resulting in a formula change 20 years later).

THE 1980s: LET’S GET PHYSICAL

The awesome ’80s saw an uptick in aerobic exercise, thanks to videos from Jane Fonda and Richard Simmons, and the opening of Jazzercise studios in all 50 states. The diet trends of the prior decade carried over, and the ’80s also saw a surge in the popularity of low-fat and cholesterol-free foods like margarine and fat-free cookies. Studies later questioned the validity of the fat-free ideology — America saw a rise in obesity and diabetes toward the end of the decade and into the early 1990s. Totally bogus.

THE 1990s: GOING LOW-CARB CRAZY

Dr. Robert C. Atkins created his eponymous diet in the early ’70s, but it didn’t go viral (in a pre-viral world) until he published an updated version of it in his 1992 book, “Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution.” The Atkins Diet was one of the modern proponents of a high-protein approach and sparked the “low-carb” fad, along with the South Beach Diet and Zone Diet. When “Friends” star Jennifer Aniston showed off a more svelte physique in the late ’90s, it was largely attributed to the Zone Diet. (Kitchen obsessive-compulsiveness, meanwhile, is still largely attributed to Monica Geller.)

THE 2000s: GWYNETH AND BEYONCÉ MADE ME DO IT

Celebrity-endorsed diets really took center stage in the new millennium, with Gwyneth Paltrow accrediting her slim figure to the high-fiber, low-fat Macrobiotic Diet: carefully designed meals of whole grains, vegetables, beans and sea vegetables. In 2004, Mireille Guiliano, then CEO of the Champagne house Veuve Clicquot, published the book “French Women Don’t Get Fat,” giving hope to women everywhere that they could be thin while still enjoying cheese and wine. (There is a God!) In 2006, Beyoncé Knowles admitted to using the Master Cleanse — a diet comprising solely of a drink made of hot water, lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper — to aid her in losing 20 pounds for her role in the movie “Dreamgirls.” And in 2009, the Kardashians endorsed QuickTrim, a diet pill that claimed to boost weight loss.

TODAY: #EATCLEAN

Finally, we’ve arrived at our current diet landscape. There are still a handful of questionable trends on the market — like the controversial HCG diet, which uses a fertility drug and extreme calorie restriction, or juicing popularized by the movie “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead,” which documented Joe Cross’ own 60-day juice fast and subsequent weight loss.

Thankfully, many of today’s diets for weight loss are more lifestyle changes that are geared toward overall health, clean eating and well-rounded nutrition. Kale became the poster vegetable for anyone who wanted to eat healthier. Raw foods have become increasingly popular as they are unprocessed and uncooked. Gluten-free and vegan diets have proliferated. And the CrossFit crowd popularized the Paleolithic, or “Paleo,” diet, emphasizing eating natural, noncultivated foods: meat, nuts, eggs, vegetables, fish and fruits — but no grains, dairy or refined sugar.  

So what have we learned through all this? Dieting trends will come and go, but there is no single formula for losing weight that will work for everyone. Regular exercise and nutrition play key roles in our overall health — not just our waistlines — so it’s a great idea to do a little bit of research to find out whether that new diet is just hype.

Need help figuring out where to start? Check out this article on How to Eat Like a Successful MyFitnessPal User.

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HIIT for Beginners Week 2: Bodyweight Strength Circuit

WELCOME TO HIIT FOR BEGINNERS!

Today’s session features a body weight-only interval training strength circuit that can easily be done in a small space at home. In the workout video below, we’ll focus on multimuscle moves designed to bring your heart rate up while also building strength and endurance. Listen to your body throughout the sessions, and modify or skip any moves that are too much for your current fitness level. (I’ll also provide options throughout the routines to help you make it work for you.)

HIIT FOR BEGINNERS WEEK 2: BODY-WEIGHT STRENGTH CIRCUIT

This workout can be logged as “Calisthenics” in your MyFitnessPal app.

Tell us when you’ve completed this week’s workout. Share it in the comments below, or tag us in your checkins @MyFitnessPal so we can cheer you on!

HERE IS YOUR WEEK 2 WORKOUT SCHEDULE:

Day 1: HIIT for Beginners: Body-Weight Strength Circuit

Day 2: Moderate-Intensity Cardio (walking, cycling or try this steady-state session)

Day 3: Active Rest Day

Day 4:  Total-Body Strength Training (try this 30-minute session)

Day 5: Stretching or Flexibility Work (try this 8-minute total-body stretch)

Day 6: HIIT for Beginners: Walking Intervals

Day 7: Active Rest Day

Looking for a full at-home program that includes everything from high-intensity interval training to total-body strength training, brain fitness, prehab exercises and more? Check out “Walk STRONG: 6 Week Total Transformation System!” This balanced program has everything you need to succeed, including online support and accountability. Save 20% when you use the exclusive MyFitnessPal promo code “3Z74EZAT” at checkout on Amazon.com.

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Why Just Will Power Is Not Enough For Weight Loss?

Why Just Will Power Is Not Enough For Weight Loss?

Hello All!!

Most often people blame their inability to lose weight on the lack of will power. Sad as it may seem, relying on your will power alone to lose weight is not practical and not even sustainable.

Your ‘will’ alone cannot help you reach your weight loss goal. Just will power is not enough for weight loss. For lasting weight loss, you need sustainable behaviour changes and a relationship with food that is healthy. These two things are simply nonnegotiable if you are looking for a way to reach your ‘happy weight’.

With will power alone, you may initially lose weight but if you don’t adopt a sustainable behaviour and a good relationship with food, you will simply gain back all the weight you lost. This way you will end up being sad!

Motivation and will power will help in kick-starting your health journey but it won’t take you too far. We are humans after all and we need a realistic plan in order to keep going.

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Here is what you should be doing for lasting results!

1) Don’t fall for weight loss gimmicks

You should avoid products or diet plans that say that you can slim down in 5 days by drinking just a juice or buy completely shunning carbs. Anything that is super extreme is far away from a balanced diet and is just a quick fix. Any weight lost with the help of shortcuts is regained in no time. The bottom line is that you won’t get lasting results with these gimmicks.

2) Eat foods that are healthy as well as fun!

Pizza, ice-cream, creamy cold coffee and other yummy foods are often off the list when you are on a weight loss diet. However, this is not the best strategy for a long lasting loss of weight. Doing so will lead to lots of cravings or probably binge eating. Instead of avoiding them as plague, you can allow yourself to have a little bit of them once in a blue moon!

3) Your weight goals must be achievable

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You cannot lose weight overnight or in a few days. If someone is offering you rapid weight loss, just turn around and run away. Weight loss of more than half  to 1 kilo a week is not sustainable for many. Make sure that your goals are achievable. You need to measure things and keep re-evaluating your goal every week to stay on track.

4) Learn to differentiate hunger and fullness

Half of your weight loss battle is won when you know what, when and how much you should eat. The great news is that you can use the internal hunger and fullness cues of the body as a guide. Those who are able to keep weight off without dieting have already mastered this tool.

5) Have an answer to your ‘why’

Are you aware of the reason behind your urge to lose weight and get fit? You need to turn your motivations into something more than just will power. You have to turn them into purpose. You must write this down to give your goals more meaning.

The next time if you have trouble reaching your goals, or feel as if you have failed, take the actions that are sustainable and long lasting as above mentioned.

Now do you feel that Just Will Power Is Not Enough For Weight Loss?

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