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Chocolate Peanut Butter Shakeology Ice Cream

Chocolate-Peanut-Butter-Shakeology-Ice-Cream

Chocolate peanut butter ice cream that’s good for you? And takes less than 10 minutes to make? Believe it. This is the ice cream you’ve been waiting for. It’s rich and creamy, with just the right amount of sweetness, and it’s made from just four ingredients. It’s so simple, you don’t even need an ice cream maker. That’s right. It’s a no-churn ice cream.

How’d we do it? The secret is frozen bananas. When frozen bananas are pureed in a food processor, they get smooth and creamy just like soft-serve ice cream. We added a scoop of Chocolate Shakeology for rich chocolate flavor. And – peanut butter lovers this is for you – we added two tablespoons of the good stuff to make the peanut butter flavor as bold as the chocolate.

For this recipe, we recommend ripe bananas, or even bananas that are a little bit overripe, as this makes them softer and sweeter. Got a few bananas that are too soft to eat? This ice cream recipe is a great way to use them. When those yellow peels start to turn spotted and brown, peel and slice them into into ½ inch coins. Place the banana slices in a freezer-safe container or arrange them on a small baking sheet, and freeze for four hours, or overnight. Or you can keep a stash of frozen bananas in your freezer all the time, so you can make this ice cream whenever the craving strikes.

When you’re ready for some almost-instant chocolate peanut butter ice cream, combine the frozen banana slices into a food processor with almond milk, peanut butter, and a scoop of Chocolate Shakeology, and blend! You might need to stop the food processor and use a spatula to scrape down the sides once or twice, but when the ice cream is ready, it will be perfectly smooth, frosty cold, and very soft. Enjoy it right away, or place it in the freezer for 20–30 minutes for a firmer, more scoopable ice cream.

Watch the video below to see how it’s made!

 

Author: Beachbody
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 2 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 medium banana, cut into chunks
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 scoops Chocolate Shakeology
  • 2 Tbsp. all-natural smooth peanut butter
 
Instructions
  1. Place banana in plastic bag; freeze for 4 hours, or until completely frozen.
  2. Place almond milk, bananas, Shakeology, and peanut butter in blender (or food processor); cover. Blend until smooth.
  3. Serve immediately.

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10 Great Vegetarian Sources of Protein

10-Vegetarian-Sources-of-Protein

 

Anyone who’s read the latest studies about high-protein diets knows that we need to get a substantial amount of protein in our diets—about a third of a gram for every pound of body weight. One of the best and most readily available sources of protein comes from animals, but there are a lot of good reasons to think about cutting back or cutting out our consumption of meat to satisfy our protein needs.

Aside from the obvious animal-rights issues, there are several economic and environmental considerations to consider. The USDA estimates that it takes roughly 16 pounds of grain to make one pound of beef. When you consider that one-third of the world’s population is classified by the World Health Organization as starving, it’s easy to see where some of that grain could be put to better use. Beef production also impacts the ecosystem, from the clear-cutting of rainforests for grazing to water pollution to methane emissions, which contribute to greenhouse gases. And the cost of meat to your personal health is also significant. Although packed with protein, many meat choices contain high levels of saturated fats, the overconsumption of which can lead to heart disease and cancer.

At any rate, this article isn’t designed to be a polemic about the benefits of vegetarian living. Picking up a book like Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation or Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, not to mention any of the vast Internet resources available on the subject, might convince you to replace meat with an alternative protein source a couple of meals a week.

The challenge in going vegetarian is finding enough “high-quality” protein. High-quality protein is defined as protein that contains all eight of the essential amino acids: isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. Most meat sources have all of the amino acids in one place. Plant sources usually have some of the acids, but not all in one place. So the key is combining foods to get a full complement of amino acids. Here are some of the top places to get your proteins (vegans, skip to #3).

1. Eggs
Egg protein is commonly referred to as a “perfect protein” as it contains all the essential amino acids. There’s a reason Rocky drank them during training; they contribute greatly to muscle recovery. One egg contains 6 grams of protein, with only 80 calories and 5 grams of fat. It also contains over 200 milligrams of dietary cholesterol, which is high, but dietary cholesterol isn’t the same thing as blood cholesterol. In fact, some eggs are now produced with high levels of omega-3s (achieved by adding fatty-acid-rich seeds to the hens’ diets), which can actually aid in the lowering of blood cholesterol levels.

2. Dairy
One cup of 2 percent milk contains 8 grams of protein, only 5 grams of fat (3 of which are saturated), and about 120 calories. Switch to skim milk and you get just as much protein, no fat, and 30 percent fewer calories. An ounce of Swiss cheese also has 8 grams of protein but also 8 grams of fat (with 5 grams saturated) and a little over 100 calories. Nonfat yogurt may be your best option with 14 grams of protein and only 137 calories for a cup, or cottage cheese, which boasts 28 grams of protein in one cup. Many dairy products still have the same saturated-fat issues as meat and not all people can tolerate dairy well; some are even allergic or lactose-intolerant.

3. Legumes
If you read my article on fiber a couple of weeks ago, you already know some of the great health benefits of legumes. Not only are they high in fiber, they’re high in protein, too. A cup of chickpeas has about 17 grams of protein, a cup of lentils has about 16 grams of protein, and a tablespoon of peanut butter has about 4 grams of protein. Some people blame beans for intestinal distress. It actually isn’t the fiber in the beans that causes gas but a sugar that requires an enzyme to be digested, which humans lack. When soaking beans, add a pinch of baking soda to the water. It will help leach out the sugar from the beans, making you less gassy after eating them. Also, to avoid the sugar, don’t cook the beans in their soaking water. Aside from that, if you weren’t much of a bean eater before, add them into your diet slowly to give your system time to get used to them.

4. Grains
Usually, we think of grains as carbs, but when we’re talking whole grains, they actually have a fair amount of protein. A cup of barley, for example, contains almost 20 grams of protein. A cup of buckwheat flour contains 15 grams of protein. A cup of couscous (dry) contains 22 grams of protein. A cup of oats for oatmeal provides you with 13 grams of protein. If you always choose whole-grain varieties of your favorite grains, you’ll also get most of your recommended daily allowance (RDA) of fiber as well. But carb-watchers should beware; whole grains are the “carbiest” of the protein sources available.

5. Nuts and Seeds
The mighty almond, which also has the most fiber per ounce of any of the common nuts, also has the most protein—6 grams per ounce. But almonds also have 16 grams of fat per ounce; however, only one gram of that fat is the unhealthy saturated kind. Pumpkin seeds, or pepitas, have 7 grams of protein per ounce (about 140 seeds) with 13 grams of fat (2 grams saturated). Other seeds, like sunflower and flax, are also good, with about 5 grams of protein per ounce.

6. Seitan
Seitan is a meat substitute made from processed wheat gluten. Popular for centuries in Asia, it has gained in popularity in America in the past few decades but is still largely only available in health-food markets. It’s not very flavorful, which makes it an ideal ingredient for replacing meat in any dish—it will assume the flavor of the sauce or spices you use. Many Asian dishes use it as mock pork, chicken, or beef. Just three ounces of setian contain 20 grams of protein, almost twice as much steak, and only 2 grams of fat and 130 calories. Try it in a stir-fry—you might fool your family!

7. Quorn
Quorn is a fungus-based protein source that has only been available for about 25 years or so. It is processed into different forms and flavors, like hot dogs, burgers, and faux chicken nuggets. Three ounces of Quorn, depending on how it’s prepared, can have 10 to 16 grams of protein, and low fat and calorie contents. Like seitan and other meat substitutes, the sodium content bears keeping an eye on; it’s usually the go-to ingredient when disguising the origin of a meat substitute. Also, there have been some reports of people with allergic reactions to Quorn, so it may be worth checking with your doctor to see if you’re susceptible.

8. Nutritional Yeast
This is an additive that can be used in recipes. It’s very popular in Europe and Australia and gaining popularity in America. It has a slight cheesy flavor and can be added to shakes, soups, and sauces or used as a substitute for Parmesan cheese or as a popcorn or garlic-bread topping. It’s especially rich in B vitamins. A two-tablespoon serving has 8 grams of protein (and is a complete protein, containing all amino acids), only one gram of unsaturated fat, and 50 calories.

9. Spirulina
Also known as blue-green algae, this has been a food source for centuries in Africa and South America. It has a lot of vitamins and minerals and is a complete protein. One ounce of dried spirulina contains 16 grams of protein, only 2 grams of fat, and 81 calories. Algae aren’t the most appetizing foodstuffs, and much of spirulina is consumed in pill form or mixed into super-green drinks. But it can also be used powdered or fresh in dips, salads, and sauces. There are a lot of message boards and recipe ideas on the Internet posted by enthusiasts.

10. Amaranth and Quinoa
These are often referred to as “pseudograins.” Both are actually seeds but are similar to grains in texture and flavor. Both are complete proteins, containing all eight essential amino acids, and have high levels of fiber and minerals. Amaranth can be used as flour, puffed into breakfast cereal, or cooked into soups and stir-frys. One ounce has 4 grams of protein, 2 grams of fat, and 105 calories. Quinoa can also be used for breakfast cereal and, when boiled, makes an excellent substitute for rice or couscous. One cup of cooked quinoa contains 8 grams of protein, 4 grams of fat, and 222 calories.

 

Courtesy of Beachbody Blog

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No-Cook Meal Prep for the 1,800–2,100 Calorie Level

No-Cook-Meal-Prep-Header

No time to cook? Maybe cooking is not one of your strengths? Or, maybe you just don’t feel like spending the afternoon sweating over a hot stove? Good news! With this no-cook meal prep menu, you can enjoy a week of wholesome meals without ever turning on your oven. All it takes is a little chopping and stirring. Sound easy? We think so. And, there are bonuses: This meal prep is insanely fast and there is almost no clean-up.

This no-cook menu is based on the color-coded Portion Fix container system that helps you eat the proper combination of protein, carbs, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats every day. It follows the 1800-2100 calorie level, though those following the 22 Minute Hard Corps nutrition plan at this calorie level should add two extra red containers and one tsp.

Ready? Let’s go!

 

This Week’s Meal Prep Menu

Breakfast: Whole-grain waffle with Greek yogurt and fresh berries

Shakeology Snack: Shakeology with strawberries, spinach, and nut butter

Snack: Cottage cheese with cucumber and tomato, and almonds

Lunch (M/W/F): Salad with sliced turkey, and an orange or apple

Lunch (T/Th):  Zucchini noodles with chicken sausage and whole grain crackers

Dinner (M/W/F): Tuna salad with white beans and pita bread

Dinner (T/Th): Southwestern salad with rotisserie chicken

 

Here’s what your meal prep for the week will look like when you’re done.

No-Cook_Meal_Prep-all-meals-sized

 BREAKFAST: Whole-grain waffle with Greek yogurt and fresh berries

(¾ cup Greek yogurt with one cup berries and a whole-grain waffle = 1 red, 1 purple, 1 yellow)

No-Cook_Meal_Prep-breakfast

SHAKEOLOGY SNACK: Shakeology with strawberries, spinach, and nut butter

(One scoop Shakeology with ½ cup strawberries, ½ cup blueberries, one cup spinach, and three tsp. peanut butter = 1 red, 1 purple, 1 green, 3 tsp.)

No-Cook_Meal_Prep-shakeology-snack

SNACK: Cottage cheese with cucumber and tomato, and almonds

(¾ cup cottage cheese with ½ cup cucumber and ½ cup cherry tomatoes, and 12 almonds = 1 green, 1 red, 1 blue)

No-Cook_Meal_Prep-snack

 

LUNCHES

M/W/F: Salad with sliced turkey, and an orange or apple

(4 oz. sliced turkey, one cup lettuce, ¼ yellow bell pepper, ¼ cup shredded carrots, two sliced radishes, ¼ cup cherry tomatoes, ½ cup shelled edamame, 2 Tbsp. vinaigrette, and one orange = 2 green, 1 red, 1 yellow, 1 orange, 1 purple)

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T/TH: Zucchini noodles with chicken sausage and whole grain crackers

(One cup zucchini noodles with 4 oz. chicken sausage, ¾ cup tomato sauce, 10 kalamata olives, and whole grain crackers = 1 green, 1 red, 1 purple, 1 yellow, 1 orange)

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DINNERS

M/W/F: Tuna salad sandwiches in pita bread

(One can light tuna, ½ cup white beans, ¾ cup shredded lettuce, 1/4 yellow bell peppers, One green onion, two tsp. olive oil, and two tsp. balsamic vinegar = 1 red, 2 yellow, 1 green, 2 tsp.)

No-Cook_Meal_Prep-dinner-mwf

T/TH: Southwestern salad with chicken

(One cup shredded lettuce, 4 oz. cooked chicken breast, ½ cup black beans, ½ cup corn, cilantro, ½ cup cherry tomatoes, 2 tsp olive oil = 1 red, 2 yellow, 2 green, 2 tsp.)

No-Cook_Meal_Prep-dinner-tth

Here are the meals you’ll eat on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

 No-Cook_Meal_Prep-meals-mwf

 

Here are the meals you’ll eat Tuesday and Thursday.

No-Cook_Meal_Prep-meals-tth 

Here is your step by step plan for how to assemble this no-cook meal prep:

1. Place ¾ cup plain lowfat Greek yogurt in a food storage container. Top with one cup mixed berries (or other fresh fruit). Serve with one whole-grain, frozen waffle that has been thawed or toasted.

2. Prepare smoothie bags for your Shakeology snack. Measure ½ cup each of strawberries and blueberries, 1 cup of spinach, and 3 tsp. nut butter into a bag and refrigerate. You do not need to remove the leafy strawberry tops; they blend up perfectly, just like the spinach does. You can also measure out the nut butter when you make your shake, if you prefer. To prepare you smoothie, pour one pre-portioned smoothie bag into a blender with Shakeology, water, and ice, then blend.

3. Fill five plastic bags or small containers with 12 raw almonds. Arrange five small food containers and place ¾ cup cottage cheese into each. Top each with ½ cup cucumber slices and ½ cup cherry tomatoes. For extra flavor, these can be topped with pepper, smoked paprika, hot sauce, or balsamic vinegar if desired.

4. Place one cup spinach (or lettuce) into each of three food containers. Top each with ¼ chopped yellow bell pepper, ¼ cup shredded carrots, two sliced radishes, ¼ cup cherry tomatoes, and ½ cup frozen, shelled edamame. Divide 12 oz. sliced deli turkey evenly between the containers. Serve with your favorite vinaigrette and an orange (or apple).

5. Use a spiralizer or follow these instructions to to make noodles out of two zucchinis: Using a vegetable peeler, cut each zucchini into lengthwise strips about ⅛ inch thick. Turn each zucchini slightly after cutting each strip to work evenly around the outside, stopping when you hit the seeds at the core. Discard cores. Cut slices lengthwise into ½-inch ribbons. Divide zucchini noodles evenly between two food containers. Top each with one fully cooked chicken sausage, ¾ cup marinara sauce, and 10 olives. When it’s time to eat, heat for two to three minutes in a microwave. Serve with one yellow container filled with whole grain crackers.

6. Prepare tuna salad for pita sandwiches. In a medium bowl combine three cans of tuna, drained, one can of white beans that have been drained and rinsed, the rest of the chopped yellow bell pepper (about ¼ pepper), three chopped green onions, and salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with two Tbsp. olive olive and two Tbsp. balsamic vinegar, and stir to combine. Prepare three food containers each with 1 cup spinach (or lettuce). Divide tuna mixture evenly between the containers and place in refrigerator. When it’s time to eat, stuff the tuna and lettuce into two halves of a whole grain pita. It’s best to keep the pita separate from the tuna salad until it’s time to eat to prevent the bread from getting soggy.

7. Fill two food containers each with 1½ cups of shredded lettuce. In a medium bowl, combine one cup canned black beans that have been drained and rinsed, one cup frozen corn, one cup halved cherry tomatoes, four tsp. olive oil, and as much cilantro as you want. Divide bean mixture evenly between the two containers. Chop two cooked chicken breasts (or rotisserie chicken breasts), divide evenly between the containers and place in the fridge. OPTION: Instead of eating this dish as a salad, omit the corn, and when it’s time to eat, wrap all ingredients in a whole grain tortilla.

Grocery List:

Fruit
5 cups berries
3 cups strawberries
2 blueberries
3 oranges/apples

Vegetables
5 cups spinach
3 heads romaine
2 yellow bell peppers
1 bag shredded carrots
1 bunch radishes
2 containers of cherry tomatoes
2 cucumbers
3 zucchini
frozen corn
arugula
cilantro
scallions
1½ cups shelled edamame

Dry and Canned Goods
peanut butter
black beans
1 can white beans
1½ cups pasta sauce
20 olives
5 frozen waffles
60 almonds
whole grain crackers (or bread, or chickpeas)
whole grain pita bread

Protein
3 cans tuna in water, no salt added
30 oz. lowfat plain Greek yogurt
1 rotisserie chicken or 8 oz. cooked chicken breast
12 oz. deli turkey
2 chicken sausages
32 oz. cottage cheese

Pantry
vinaigrette dressing
olive oil
balsamic vinegar

No-Cook-Meal-Prep-pin

Courtesy of http://www.beachbody.com/beachbodyblog/nutrition/no-cook-meal-prep-for-the-1800-2100-calorie-level

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No-Cook Meal Prep for the 1,200–1,500 Calorie Level

With temperatures breaching the 100s in here in Dallas, the last thing I wanted to do was turn on my stove. I found this No-Cook meal prep plan on the Beachbody Blog and wanted to share it with you. 

This meal prep is ideal for a summer heat wave, or if cooking isn’t one of your strengths, or if you don’t have a lot of time to spend on meal prep.

Follow this guide to make your own no-cook meal prep, complete with step-by-step instructions and a grocery list. It’s made for the 1,200–1,500 calorie range.

Here’s what your meal plan for the week will look like when you’re done.

All_Meals

This Week’s Meal Prep Menu

Breakfast: Overnight Oats with Greek Yogurt and Berries

Lunch (M/W/F): Tuna Niçoise Lettuce Cups

Lunch (T/Th): Roast Beef Salad

Snack (M/W/F): Shakeology, frozen fruit, and unsweetened coconut

Snack (T/Th): Shakeology, banana, and nut butter

Dinner (M/W/F): Asian Chicken Wraps

Dinner (T/Th): Turkey or Veggie Burger with vegetables and hummus

 

BREAKFAST

Overnight Oats with Greek Yogurt and Berries

(¼ cup oats, ¾ cup Greek yogurt, 1 cup fruit = 1 Yellow, 1 Red, 1 Purple)

Breakfasts

LUNCHES

M/W/F: Tuna Niçoise Lettuce Cups

(4 lettuce leaves; ½ cup frozen green beans, thawed; ½ cup cherry tomatoes; 1 can tuna in water; 5 olives = 2 Green, 1 Red, 1 Orange)

Lunches-MWF

T/TH: Roast Beef Salad

(1 cup lettuce, ½ cup cherry tomatoes, ½ cup shredded carrots, 3 oz. deli roast beef,

½ cup beans of any kind, dressing = 2 Green, 1 Red, 1 Yellow, 1 Orange

Lunches-TH

SNACKS

M/W/F: Shakeology with 1 cup frozen fruit and 1 Tbsp. unsweetened coconut = 1 Red, 1 Purple, ½ Orange

T/TH: Shakeology with ½ banana and 2 tsp. nut butter = 1 Red, 1 Purple, 2 tsp.

 

snacks-sized

DINNERS

M/W/F: Asian Chicken Wrap

(3 oz. rotisserie chicken breast; 8 raw, unsalted cashews; one 6-inch whole wheat tortilla; 1 cup shredded cabbage, cilantro or parsley; green onion; Peanut Lime Dressing [¼ cup smooth peanut butter, 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice, 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar, 2 tsp. finely chopped fresh ginger, 2 tsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce, 2 tsp. raw honey] = 1 Green, 1 Yellow, 1 Red, 1 Blue, 2 tsp.)

Dinner-MWF2

T/TH: Turkey or veggie burger with vegetables and hummus

(1 turkey burger or veggie burger patty [microwave or put in toaster oven to heat], lettuce leaf, tomato slice, mustard, ½ cup baby carrots or chopped bell peppers, ¼ cup hummus = 1 Red, 1 Green, 1 Blue)

Dinners-TH

Your step-by-step plan to assemble the no-cook meal prep:

  1. Make the overnight oats. Place ¼ cup oats and ¾ cup Greek yogurt in a Mason jar or food storage container. Top with one cup of fresh or frozen fruit.
  2. Thaw the frozen green beans, then prepare the Tuna Niçoise Lettuce Cups. Between four lettuce leaves, divide one can of tuna, ½ cup thawed green beans, ½ cup chopped cherry tomatoes, and five chopped olives. Dress with a lemon wedge or balsamic vinegar.
  3. Prepare the Roast Beef Salad. Combine 1 cup lettuce, ½ cup cherry tomatoes, ½ cup shredded carrots, 3 oz. deli roast beef, ½ cup beans of any kind, and dressing. If you are using a mason jar, place the dressing at the bottom and the lettuce on top. If you are using a food storage container, place the lettuce at the bottom. You can dress the salad during the meal prep, or wait until the day you eat it.
  4. Make the Peanut Lime Dressing. Place 2 Tbsp. water, ¼ cup smooth peanut butter, 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice, 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar, 2 tsp. finely chopped fresh ginger, 2 tsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce, and 2 tsp. raw honey in a blender, and blend until smooth.
  5. Prepare the Asian Chicken Wrap. Set out three food storage containers and place one 6-inch whole wheat tortilla in each. Chop 8 raw, unsalted cashews; chop cilantro or parsley (to taste); and chop green onion (to taste). On top of the tortilla, add 1 cup shredded cabbage, 3 oz. rotisserie chicken breast, cashews, cilantro or parsley, and green onions. Drizzle with 2 Tbsp. Peanut Lime Dressing.
  6. Prepare the turkey or veggie burger. Set out two food storage containers and place a lettuce leaf and a tomato slice in each. Serve with one turkey burger or veggie burger patty that has been microwaved or toasted and topped with mustard. For a side, serve with ½ cup baby carrots or chopped bell peppers and ¼ cup hummus.

GROCERY LIST:

grocery-cart

Protein

3 cans of tuna in water

9 oz. rotisserie chicken breast

6 oz. deli roast beef

2 frozen turkey burger or veggie burger patties

Greek yogurt (32.5 oz.)

Fruit

8 cups frozen fruit (or 3 cups frozen fruit and 5 cups fresh fruit)

1 banana

Vegetables

14 lettuce leaves

3 cups lettuce

1½ cup frozen green beans

2½ cups cherry tomatoes

3 cups shredded cabbage

1 bunch cilantro

1 bunch green onion

1 lime

1 knob fresh ginger

1½ cups shredded carrots

1 cup bell peppers

Dry and Canned Goods

1¼ cups oats

Unsweetened coconut

1 jar peanut butter (smooth)

15 kalamata olives

Raw honey

24 cashews

Three 6-inch whole wheat tortillas

½ cup hummus

1 cup beans (any kind)

Shakeology

Pantry

Balsamic vinegar

Rice vinegar

Low-sodium soy sauce

 

No-Cook-Meal-Prep-for-the-1200-1500-Calorie-Level-pinterest

Photos by Hannah Rex

Courtesy of http://www.beachbody.com/beachbodyblog/nutrition/no-cook-meal-prep

 

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10 tips on What Not to do on a Cruise Ship Pool Deck

What Not to Do on a Cruise Ship Pool Deck

Cruise Pool Deck

Relaxing by the pool, with a cliched umbrella drink in hand, is one of the great pleasures of a cruise vacation. It’s what many 9-to-5ers dream of, as they sit in their offices, ticking off the calendar days until embarkation. So it’s no surprise that cruise travelers get very upset when their sun-drenched fantasies are destroyed by screaming children, rude chair hoggers or unexpected splashings — or feel sheepish when their own behavior gets them into trouble

Everyone can have a good time by the pool without too much effort, as long as we can all agree to follow a few simple etiquette and safety rules, and adjust our expectations from the idyllic to the realistic. Don’t be the object of glares, stares or next-day regrets — learn what not to do on a cruise ship pool deck…and don’t do it!

  1. Don’t be a chair hog.

Pool Deck Chairs

Everyone should have equal access to prime sun loungers. If you want to get up at the crack of dawn, stick a book and towel on a chair, grab breakfast at the buffet, then return to your chair to eat it — be our guest. If you don’t plan on returning until late in the afternoon, preventing other people from using a perfectly good chair, you are a chair hog, and no one likes you. Please be courteous and only reserve chairs you’re actively using when you need to step away to grab a drink, take a dip or run to the bathroom.

  1. Don’t ignore your kids.

There are two parts to this “don’t.” First, as a parent, you are responsible for your kids’ behavior at the pool, so don’t let them terrorize your shipmates by running around screaming, starting water fights or otherwise being a nuisance. Second, most cruise ship pools do not have lifeguards, so watch your little ones when they’re in the water to make sure they stay safe.

  1. Don’t forget sunblock.

Sunscreen

Several hours spent lying in the sun, plus no sunblock (or no re-application of sunscreen), equals one very bad sunburn that could ruin your vacation. Don’t spend half your cruise bathing in aloe vera gel or unable to sit or go outside because you didn’t take a few minutes on your first sea day to lather on some SPF 30. Don’t love the lotion? At least put on a hat and cover-up to keep your fair skin out of the bright rays.

  1. Don’t wear a Speedo.

Unless you’re a gorgeous model, and possibly even then, no one wants to see you in itsy-bitsy, very clingy swim trunks. The best rule of thumb when packing swimwear for a cruise is to remember that people of all ages, genders and levels of modesty will be sharing the pool deck with you. If you don’t want to be stared at — for whatever reason — choose a bathing suit that fits you well and leaves some things to the imagination.

  1. Don’t sunbathe topless.

You might be cruising in Europe, but most cruise lines ban topless sunbathing for women in all destinations. If you want to pick an upper-deck lounger and untie your bikini straps while lying on your stomach, most likely no one will bother you. But this isn’t the place to take off your top while sitting around reading a book or chatting.

  1. Don’t take your baby in the hot tub.

Hot Tub

It’s not safe (infants and toddlers can’t handle high temperatures) and it’s not sanitary (they don’t allow kids in swim diapers for a reason, so don’t do it. Besides, your baby is much more interested in crawling down cabin corridors and chewing on a restaurant menu than enjoying a hot, bubbling soak.

  1. Don’t take your drink in the hot tub (or pool).

While we’re on the subject of what not to take into a body of water…please finish your pina colada or Bud Lite before you enter a hot tub or pool. You run the risk of accidentally knocking your colorful, frozen concoction into the water, forcing a closure for cleaning. Plus, consuming alcohol can lead to dehydration, dizziness, passing out or dumb behavior — all of which can be dangerous when you’re in or near a pool or hot tub. (On that note, drink responsibly and mix in glasses of water between cocktail rounds to avoid inebriation or dehydration in general on sea days.)

  1. Don’t run.

The pool deck is slippery! Please don’t run (or let your kids run). Lose your balance and you can hit your head, topple into the pool or knock someone — or their fruity cocktail — over. It’s OK to walk slowly; lunch will still be there.

  1. Don’t expect peace or privacy.

Cruise Pool

Cruise ship pools are the hubs of sea-day fun. Bands play, people chat, activities staff host silly games and fundraisers and movies or concerts play on huge LED screens. It’s loud, and it’s public. If you want to nap in peace, do a little alfresco canoodling or whisper tete a tetes with your cabinmate, book a balcony cabin and seek privacy there. If you don’t mind company, but don’t want to get splashed during the Belly Flop contest or get crowded by Instagram fans during the Hairy Chest contest, consider a lounge chair that’s not located right at the edge of the pool

  1. Don’t pee in the pool.

We saved it for last, but it must be said: Don’t pee, fart or perform other bodily functions in the pool. Instruct your kids on the same, and follow all rules about not letting toddlers who aren’t potty trained play in the water. Not only is it truly gross, but crew members are obligated to shut down contaminated pools to drain and clean them. One misstep on your part can ruin sea day fun for everyone else onboard.

Courtesy of Cruise Critics

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Slow Cooker Chicken & Sausage

Chicken-Sausage-Gumbo

Slow Cooker Chicken & Sausage

(Courtesy of MyFitnessPal recipes)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (60 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 12 ounces (340 grams) lower-sodium smoked Andouille chicken sausage
  • 2 (5 ounces or 140 grams) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 large (150 grams) onion, chopped
  • 1 large (165 grams) green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 medium (80 grams) celery stalks, minced
  • 2 cups (200 grams) sliced fresh or frozen okra (unthawed)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (14.5-ounce or 410-gram) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 cups (455 grams) reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups (70 grams) shredded chard or kale, or torn spinach
  • 3 cups (560 grams) hot cooked rice
  • 3 medium (35 grams) green onion stalks, sliced

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). Sprinkle flour on a heavy sheet pan or in a cast-iron skillet; bake, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven; cool to room temperature.

DID YOU KNOW? Roux is the secret ingredient to many Louisiana specialties. This fat-flour mixture serves as a thickener and adds a rich nutty flavor. The secret to shaving off calories is a fat-free roux. Instead of cooking equal parts fat and flour on the stove, all-purpose flour is baked in the oven to a golden brown color without oil or butter.

Meanwhile, cook sausage slices and chicken in a nonstick skillet over medium heat for 3–4 minutes until lightly browned. (This step is optional, but searing the meat gives the gumbo more flavor.) Place sausage, chicken, onion, bell pepper, celery, okra, garlic, tomatoes, seasoning and thyme in a 6-quart slow cooker.

In a medium bowl or 4-cup measuring cup, whisk together broth and reserved browned flour until smooth. Pour into slow cooker; stir until blended. Cover, and cook on low for 8–10 hours or high for 6 hours.

Stir in greens; cover and cook on low for 15 minutes until greens wilt.

Serve gumbo over 1/2 cup cooked rice. Sprinkle each serving evenly with green onions..

Nutrition Information

Serves: 6 |  Serving Size: about 1 3/4 cups gumbo + 1/2 cup cooked rice

Per serving: Calories: 309; Total Fat: 6g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 70mg; Sodium: 854mg; Carbohydrate: 36g; Dietary Fiber: 5g; Sugar: 5g; Protein: 27g

Nutrition Bonus: Potassium: 744mg; Iron: 11%; Vitamin A: 25%; Vitamin C: 27%; Calcium: 8%

 

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Beachbody On Demand!

We are so excited about the newest way that Beachbody has come up with to allow us access to a TON of workout programs without having to purchase each one! That’s right, It’s Beachbody On Demand! 
Watch this video and get your club membership today! 

 

 

 

 

We hope you are excited as we are after watching this video. 

Comment below and let us know what you think!

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7 of the Best Grains

Did you know you know there’s a simple way to help lower your blood pressure, improve your cholesterol, and reduce your risk of dying from all sorts of scary-sounding things—and you don’t even have to leave the dinner table to do it?

Intrigued? Then consider replacing the refined grains in your diet with whole grains. What are whole grains? They are cereals and seeds that have not been milled or processed to remove their hard exterior. This outer layer, called the bran, contains healthy oils, fiber, and protein. This is stripped away when the grain is refined. Whole grains are complex carbohydrates that take the body longer to digest, so their nutrition is released slowly and continuously, leaving you feeling energized and full for much longer, partly because they don’t spike your blood sugar. They are an excellent source of dietary fiber, protein, iron, potassium, and manganese.

Misleading food labels have sparked plenty of confusion about what is and isn’t made from whole grain. The best way to verify if your packaged baked goods are whole grain is to read the ingredient list on the back or side. If the grains listed are “whole,” then you’re in good shape. An even better way to know you are eating whole grains is to buy them whole and cook them yourself.

Some of the whole grains you might be familiar with include brown rice, quinoa, and oats, and these are fantastic. But, did you know there are a lot of other whole grains—many of which have been enjoyed around the world for thousands of years—that you can add to your meals for variety? Look for them in the bulk bins or dry goods section of your local market, where many will cost just pennies per serving. Stretch your dollar farther by blending the more exotic varieties with brown rice, buckwheat, and quinoa. Experiment to find your favorite flavor combination!

If you can cook rice or oatmeal, you can easily cook other grains. We’ve provided measurements and cooking times for you below. Use a heavy pot with a lid (or a rice cooker!) and set the burner of your stove to a medium temperature. All grains should be rinsed well before cooking and inspected for stray twigs or stones that remain from the harvesting process.

Substitute whole grains in place of white rice or pasta, add them to soup and casseroles, toss cooked grains into salads, or serve them for breakfast and enjoy like oatmeal. Cooked grains keep well in the fridge, so we recommend making a large batch and storing the leftovers for quick meals during the week. Store uncooked grains in an airtight container in a cool, dark cabinet for up to 6 months, or in your refrigerator as long as a year.

Here are 7 up-and-coming whole grains to try:

AMARANTH
While not technically a grain (it’s a seed), gluten-free amaranth has a nutritional profile similar to grain. Originally from Peru, its cultivation spread through Central and South America and played a crucial role in Aztec rituals and their diet. Amaranth contains more protein than most grains, is considered a complete protein, has three times as much calcium as other grains, is rich in iron and magnesium, and is the only grain that contains vitamin C. It has been shown to lower blood cholesterol in patients with coronary disease and hypertension.

To Cook: Add 1 cup amaranth to 3 cups water, and simmer gently for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cooked amaranth has a consistency similar to Cream of Wheat (it can become sticky if overcooked). For a dish that is more like rice, combine amaranth with other cooked grains. You could also add a few tablespoons while cooking homemade soup to add thickness and protein.

BUCKWHEAT
You may already be familiar with buckwheat—no, not the character from The Little Rascals—the grain. Only, once again, it’s not a grain at all or even related to wheat. This heart-shaped seed is a relative of rhubarb, making it gluten-free. Buckwheat has a satisfying, nutty flavor and numerous health benefits. The phytonutrients in buckwheat are powerful antioxidants that protect cells from cancer-causing free radicals. Buckwheat is also a star when it comes to keeping the heart pumping—its fiber has been shown to reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol levels and its manganese promotes healthy circulation.

Make it a staple in your pantry, and you’ll be glad you did. It cooks quickly for a weeknight dinner, and can be made ahead in bulk and stored in the fridge for easy lunches throughout the week. Buckwheat flour makes delicious pancakes and crepes. Soba noodles made from buckwheat are a great gluten-free alternative to pasta.

To cook: Prepare it like rice on a stovetop or in a rice cooker. Pre-toasting in a dry pan before adding liquid intensifies the nutty flavor and is worth the effort. Bring 1 cup buckwheat and 2 cups water to a boil, reduce heat to low, put a lid on it, and simmer 10 to 15 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed and the kernels are tender.

FARRO

Farro is an ancient relative of wheat that has been eaten for centuries. Want to look like a gladiator (or a goddess)? Then eat farro, the grain that fortified the armies of the Roman Empire. Farro is sometimes called spelt or emmer, but they’re not the same. Farro has a firm and chewy texture, and a nutty flavor that is great in grain salad, stuffing, and soup. It is surprisingly filling because it has 11 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber per cup. It is so nutritiously dense, in fact, that you might find a smaller serving than other grains will make you feel full. The fiber supports healthy digestion and satisfies for hours, making it a healthy choice for people trying to lose weight.

To cook: Farro also benefits from toasting. Add 1 cup farro to 2-1/2 cups boiling water. Cover and simmer without stirring for 20 minutes, or until tender. Farro can be cooked in a rice cooker and makes great leftovers because it keeps its firm texture for several days and never gets mushy or sticky.

KAMUT

Legend has it that a Montana man discovered several kamut seeds in a tomb near the Nile River. Later, an enterprising farmer trademarked the seeds and gave it the ancient Egyptian name for wheat.

One thing is certain, kamut is an ancient grain. It is an heirloom variety of Khorasan wheat from Iran. Research suggests that ancient grains may have more health benefits than modern strains of wheat, and recently, Canadian scientists compared several ancient grains, including kamut, to modern wheat, and found higher levels of lutein (important for eye health) and beta-carotene in the heirloom grains.

Kamut is a smart choice for a healthy diet and, as an added bonus, the branded product is always grown organically. It is high in selenium (which supports the immune system), zinc, and manganese. It also has 20 to 40% more protein per serving than regular wheat. A half-cup serving provides 6 grams of protein and only 140 calories.

To cook: Kamut is a Goliath of grains, and takes a long time to cook. Bring 1 cup kamut and 3 cups water to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until the grains are plump and chewy. This can take 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Soaking the grains overnight will reduce cooking time.

 

KAÑIWA
Though the name sounds similar, don’t confuse kañiwa (pronounced “ka-nyi-wa”) with its popular cousin, quinoa. (If you’re following the Beachbody nutrition guide that came with your fitness program, you should be well acquainted with quinoa.) Kañiwa, from the Andes Mountains, is being touted as the next superfood. These tiny ruby red seeds are about half the size of quinoa and have a mild, sweet flavor. Because they are made up mostly of outer shell, they stay pleasantly crunchy when cooked.

To cook: Add 1 cup kañiwa and 2 cups water to a small pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes, until the seeds look they have sprouted little halos (like quinoa). Fluff with a fork and serve. Try it as a “breading” for meats.

 

MILLET
Some people think millet is for the birds, literally. It is a main ingredient in birdseed mixes, but this gluten-free seed (again, not a grain) is delicious and fluffy when cooked. It is not commonly eaten in the U.S., but it is the sixth most popular grain in the world. Millet may have been the staple grain of Asia before rice, and it’s rich in phosphorous, which is important for strong bones, and is also a source of tryptophan, an amino acid that helps reduce stress.

To cook: Toast 1 cup millet in a dry pan then add 3 cups water. Simmer covered for 15 minutes, then set it aside and leave the lid on for 15 minutes more. Fluff with a fork before serving.

For hot cereal or polenta, grind millet in a spice grinder. Bring 5 cups water to a boil, then gradually whisk in 1 cup millet. Cover, lower heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally for 15 to 30 minutes until grits are tender. The tiny seeds can even be popped like corn!

 

WILD RICE
Just like how many of these “grains” aren’t really grains, wild rice is not really rice. It’s the seed of an aquatic grass that was originally cultivated in shallow waters across North America. It has double the protein and fiber of brown rice and 30 times greater cancer-fighting antioxidant activity than white rice. Reddish brown to black in color, wild rice commands attention with its toothsome bite and bold nutty flavor. For this reason, and also because it’s pricey, it is often blended with other grains.

To cook: Wild rice requires more time to cook than most grains, but it’s worthy of the extra patience. Bring 3 cups water or stock to a boil, stir in 1 cup rice, reduce heat, and simmer covered for 50 minutes, until the kernels burst open, revealing a creamy interior. Uncover, fluff with a fork, and continue cooking over low heat for 5 minutes more if needed. Overcooking causes kernels to curl up and loose their distinct texture.

 

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Chicken Curry

Red curry paste and coconut milk give chicken tons of flavor in this belly-warming dish.

Total Time:​ 25 min.
Prep Time:​​​ 10 min.
Cooking Time:​ 15 min.
Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:
1 tsp. coconut oil
1  medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1-inch slice fresh ginger, peeled, chopped
1  tsp. red curry paste
1 Tbsp. tomato paste, no sugar added
1 lb.​​​​ raw chicken breast, boneless, skinless, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup lite canned coconut milk
½ cup water
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 tsp. Thai fish sauce (optional)
¼ cup coarsely chopped cilantro (optional)
1½ tsp. palm sugar

Preparation:
1. Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
2. Add onion; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes or until onion is translucent.
3. Add garlic and ginger; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.
4. Add curry paste and tomato paste; cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes.
5. Add chicken; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes, or until it’s coated in paste.
6. Add coconut milk and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low; gently boil, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
7. Add tomato, fish sauce (if desired), cilantro (if desired), and sugar; cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

Tip: Thai fish sauce is called nam pla. It can be purchased online or in an Asian market.

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5 Foods You Don’t Want In Your Kitchen

Whether it’s hidden ingredients or compounds that may be damaging your digestive system and metabolism, these five foods should be quickly and permanently banished from your pantry and refrigerator:

1. Packaged Instant Oatmeal

While it’s true that oatmeal can be one of the healthiest foods in your kitchen, loaded with heart- and waist-friendly fiber, packaged oatmeal is a different story. This quick alternative is often packed with added sugar. Added sugar first thing in the morning is just asking for a mid-morning energy crash, not to mention the extra calories. Instead of starting your day with a blood-sugar spike from a bowl of instant oatmeal, opt for plain rolled or steel-cut oats flavored with nuts, fresh chopped fruit and your favorite milk. If a quick and easy breakfast is your goal, cook a large batch of oats ahead of time or try recipes like this.

2. Margarine

If you choose sticks of margarine because you think it is a healthier option than regular butter, you may be getting more trans fat in your diet than you’d like. Trans fat has been shown to negatively impact blood cholesterol levels and overall heart health. In the interest of public health and personal image, many manufacturers are looking for ways to remove trans fat from products such as packaged foods and bakery items. To still get the buttery flavor while limiting trans fats (and avoiding the saturated fat in regular butter), replace the sticks with soft margarine in a tub. Better yet, gradually ease margarine and butter out of your kitchen and your diet to save on calories and fat.

3. “Reduced Fat” Packaged Foods

With fewer grams of fat and something of a health halo, these foods often seem like the smart choice at the grocery store. Unfortunately, when fat is removed, manufacturers often replace it with extra sugar to maintain flavor. Just like the packaged instant oatmeal, this added sugar can lead to extra calories and an energy crash down the line. Instead, stick with the regular version of these foods and enjoy occasional smaller portions to get the taste without undoing all your hard work in the gym.

4. “Diet” soda

Over the last several years, more and more research has examined the effects of artificial sweeteners in soda and other foods. Essentially, the results suggest that you may be better off skipping artificially sweetened foods and drinks entirely. Some studies show they may actually trigger the appetite to kick in—the opposite of what you probably want—and another recent study indicates that artificially sweetened diet soda may actually alter the healthy bacteria in your stomach, which could affect how your body digests food and possibly lead to glucose intolerance. No thank you!

5. Microwave Popcorn

Popcorn itself can be an incredibly healthy snack. As a whole grain, it contains a significant amount of fiber and recent research suggests it actually contains high levels of antioxidants. The key is sticking to air-popped popcorn because microwave popcorn is often loaded with calories, fat and sodium (plus, there are some indications that the bag and flavoring may pose a health risk). Ditch the microwave popcorn and save money and calories while you amp up nutrition with popcorn recipes like this.

What foods do you avoid keeping in your kitchen and why?

With a world of conflicting diet recommendations and research results, it’s important to rely on dietitians to provide the most accurate information and sound advice tailored to individual needs. A strong nutrition program is a must for a successful fitness program

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