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The Perfect Pops

It's okay Popsicle, I like you!

As the days get hotter, everyone is looking for that ice cool treat. Most people turn to ice cream, but it’s not the best solution. Filled with fat and sugar, ice cream is easily beat by a nice refreshing ice pop. However, the ones you buy in stores or from the ice cream truck may be low in fat and calories, but they are very high in sugar. So here are two types of pops that I make at home: neither has any added sugar, and both are super satisfying. And not only are they a healthy treat for you to enjoy, but they are so easy to make!

To make your own popsicles, all you need are some basic ingredients and an ice pop mold (which can be purchased for less than $2 from any supermarket).

#1: The Milkshake Pop

This pop is completely homemade, yet takes less than 5 minutes to whip together.  All you need is 1 cup plain non fat yogurt, 2 sliced bananas, 1/2 cup skim milk, honey and cinnamon. Put the ingredients into a blender for 2 or 3 minutes and pour into the mold. The amount of honey you use depends on how sweet you want your pops – I use 2 tablespoons. You can also add other fruits, such as strawberries or melon. You’ll have 8 pops at 50 cal each!

#2: The Pudding Pop

This pop is made using sugar free pudding mix. There are so many flavors by Jell-O that you won’t get bored – experiment a little!  You’ll need 1 box Jell-O Sugar Free Fat Free Pudding, 2 cups fat free milk. Simply prepare the pudding by whisking the powder with the milk and pour into your popsicle molds. You’ll have 8 pops at 35 cal each!

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Surviving Theme Park Temptations

Anyone who has been to a theme park will know that it is one of the hardest experience in the life of living healthy. I went to Six Flags Great Adventure yesterday, and let me tell you: scarier than the rides and roller coasters were the smells that were EVERYWHERE. Each corner you turn gives you the scent of something new, be it pizza, burgers, fried goods or funnel cakes. And don’t forget about the little stalls and vending machines. Even in the areas where you wait in line for the coasters, there are machines chock full of M&Ms, sodas and other snacks. And when your wait can be up to 90 minutes … these little troves of sugar can become pretty irresistible.

Sadly to say, Americans have given in to these theme park temptations. I saw 4 times when an obese person had to be asked to get off the ride because the employees could not lock the harness. And there are many people who let their kids roam around while they sit in place and eat plates of fried potato chips – what has the world come to? 😦

So here are some tips to help you out:

Celery w/ peanut butter and pretzels can go a long way!

Theme Park Tip #1: PACK YOUR OWN FOOD. This is the most important tip of all. Having a lunchbox full of healthy munchies is the trick to resisting temptation. Most of the time, you are not actually hungry and just want to eat because you are tempted by the sights and smells: having your own nuts, veggies or fruits can stave the craving. Pack sandwiches so you don’t have to buy a high calorie lunch.

Theme Park Tip #2: STAY HYDRATED. Carry a water bottle and take a few sips every 15 minutes. When you’re dehydrated you often mistake it for hunger, causing you to mindlessly munch on things that will derail your diet. Stay fueled on water and you might even feel too full even nibble on the things you brought yourself – it’s amazing what a little H2O can do. And since you are in the sun for long periods of time, drinking lots of water is essential.

Theme Park Tip #3: POSITIVE THOUGHTS. A lot of the time, my own silly nut bars

My new boyfriend Flash!

were not enough to keep me from wanting a huge plate of churros with chocolate sauce. But then I looked at the people eating them, and thought twice. I thought of the obesity in America that was fueled by places just like this. I kept thinking “You are stronger than a plate of junk, you have come this far and you’re having fun anyway, so why waste all that for a few minutes of indulgence?” Keep your eye on the prize!

Theme Park Tip #4: DON’T CARRY MONEY. Just bring enough with you to buy your entrance ticket and maybe play a few games. If you have lots of extra cash on hand, you’ll be far more likely to splurge on the goodies in sight. If you have no money, you can’t afford them anyway!

My brother & I on the carousel. I chose to ride the awesome chicken!

Theme Park Tip #5: STAY ACTIVE. This is a given when you’re in a theme park, but there are lots of little ways you can burn more calories. Walk across the park instead of taking the cable car and move your legs while you’re waiting in line. Try to avoid sitting around as much as possible, and you’ll realize that you had a healthy day full of exercise.

Staying away from theme park food will make you feel proud of yourself, and will actually keep you up and running longer – a big serving of saturated fats will leave you bloated and lazy. Walking around for hours and enjoying the rides is a lot more exciting anyway. Have a fun time!

The 6 Week Shred

I found this piece on Women’s Health and it really caught my interest. I’m looking to lose about 10 – 15 lbs in the span of 2 months (just in time for my trip to Germany to see the boyfriend), but even if you don’t have anything planned, who doesn’t want a hot summer bod?

Women’s Health has planned out an exercise regime in two types: one for people who don’t currently run, and one for those who are already in the groove of it. You can also find a meal plan to help guide you on what foods to eat, how many calories to intake and what is ‘safe’ to munch on.

I always end up tweaking these plans to suit my lifestyle. I run for more than 30 minutes a day, and usually stay in the gym for around 2 hours messing about with weights and whatnot. I also don’t strictly follow the food plan, because I don’t always have what they recommend in my kitchen. I just substitute different things that have around the same calorie count, but it’s helpful to have an outline.

So come on ladies, get moving! Lose those pounds!