Tag Archives: exercise in pool

14 Healthier Treats to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 10.22.24 AMI love dessert. And I’m an equal opportunity dessert eater. I like it all – pies, cakes, cobblers, ice cream, cookies, brownies, chocolate – anything that’s sweet and decadent.

However, it can be difficult to maintain healthy eating habits when you love all things dessert. And, basically anything that will satisfy your sweet tooth is most likely going to sabotage your healthy diet.

We have blogged about the dangers and health risks of eating too much sugar in the past. The average American eats and drinks 22 teaspoons – or almost half a cup – of added sugar each day. The American Heart Association recommends that women eat only 6 teaspoons per day and 9 teaspoons a day for men.

Here are 14 ways you can satisfy your need for something sweet and stick to your healthy habits:

Dark chocolate
Eating a moderate amount of dark chocolate (1.4 ounces) can improve your mood and reduce stress levels. So, you can enjoy a small bit of chocolatey goodness without the guilt.

Frozen yogurt
If you’re having a craving for ice cream, substitute frozen yogurt as a good alternative. It’s the same consistency as regular ice cream and it tastes almost as sweet.

Yogurt with toppings
Top a cup of plain Greek yogurt with your favorite treats – crumbled graham crackers, granola, nuts or fruit. You can even add some shaved dark chocolate. You get a decadent dessert without all the added calories.

Jell-O brand cups
Jell-O has single serving cups in many varieties and flavors. You can get pudding cups that have the same creamy flavor as cheesecake but with much less fat and calories. You can even make your own pudding from a powdered mix, using skim milk to keep it healthy. Add your own toppings for more flavor and fun.

Fresh fruit
Any piece of fresh fruit will offer enough natural sugar to fill your sweet tooth craving. It’s also an extremely healthy choice for added nutrients and fiber. Mix up your fruit and create tasty fruit salads.

Dried fruit
Dried fruit is handy to pack on the go as a quick snack and is a great way to have a sweet treat. Make sure if you’re buying packaged dried fruit that you check for no added sugar.

Fudge popsicle
With a fudge popsicle, you can get an ice cream fix along with the great taste of chocolate. It has fewer calories than regular ice cream or even slow-churned ice cream.

Nutella popcorn
You can make another chocolatey treat with Nutella and popcorn. Pop a small bag of natural popcorn and top it with 1 tablespoon of melted Nutella. It’s crunchy along with the perfect amount of sweetness!

Chocolate Nutty Pretzels
A salty and sweet combo may also help you with those sugary cravings. Microwave one square of dark chocolate and one teaspoon of natural peanut butter until both are melted. Then dip pretzels or pretzels rods for a great snack.

Sorbet
Keeping a pint of healthy sorbet on hand is a great option for filling a dessert craving without resorting to ice cream. You can even make your own sorbet if you’re feeling adventurous!

Frozen grapes
Put a bag or container of grapes in the freezer for a few hours, and you’ll have a long-lasting, sweet treat with antioxidants and other nutrients. Grapes also contain resveratrol, which may help lower bad cholesterol levels and be good for your heart.

Trail mix
You can make your own trail mix. Simply combine a healthy mix of nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, peanuts, or pistachios, with dried cranberries, cherries or raisins. You can also add in a few dark chocolate pieces for a great snack with good nutrition, too.

Animal crackers
A good-sized handful of animal crackers has just 120 calories and about 7 grams of sugar. While kids like to snack on them, adults can enjoy them, too!

Chocolate milk
Need a sweet treat during your day? Chocolate milk is good for you and boosts calcium and vitamin D, which research shows is important for preserving cartilage and joint health. Chocolate low-fat milk has also been shown to replenish stores of energy and nutrition after a vigorous workout or activity.

Now I want to eat something sweet, and you probably do, too! A healthy diet means eating a variety of foods and eating them all in moderation. Just be sure to watch portion sizes and treat yourself to these healthy dessert options.

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Water workouts to tone up and lose weight

Workout and exercise in swimming poolWhen I think of swimming pools, I imagine myself floating on a raft soaking up the sun and drinking a cold beverage. However, the pool can be a great way to get in a fun and refreshing workout.

Not only can you burn calories and strengthen your muscles, you can keep cool during the hot summer months. You get in your cardiovascular exercise, toning and stretching without even feeling like you’ve broken a sweat!

Warm up with cardio:

If you’re a decent swimmer, you can swim laps for a few minutes to get your heart pumping. In a smaller, backyard pool, you can swim back and forth across the pool or swim circles around the outside of the pool.

Walking or running in the pool can be just as effective. You may be surprised by how quickly you get tired. Try to work up to 20 minutes at a time. Be sure you plant your feet and heels on the bottom of the pool – rather than on your tiptoes – or your calves will be hurting the next day.

Tone up with these moves:

Tread water
In the deep end of the pool, tread water by making smaller circles with your hands cupped and kicking your legs like you’re pedaling a bicycle. See how long you can continue to tread without feeling overly tired or struggling to stay above water. Treading gets harder the longer you do it!

For even more difficulty, as you tread lift your right leg straight out in front of you at the hip and as high up as you can. Keep your left leg stretched straight down toward the bottom of the pool. Hold it for 5 seconds and then switch to the other side for 5 seconds. Repeat 3 to 5 times on each side. Squeeze your butt and thighs as you do it to keep your legs straight and help tone your muscles.

Pike tread
If you only have shallow water, you can do a modified treading exercise. Sit back in the water while treading using your hands at your sides. Lift both legs up together and fold at the hips to create a wide V shape. Your toes should peek out above the water’s surface. Hold yourself in the V for 30 seconds. You can also paddle yourself around as you tread. If your toes are sinking, tighten your abs or widen your V a little bit.

Squats
Stand in shallow water with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms bent at your sides. Like a regular squat, slowly bend your knees into a squat position with your butt out behind you. Act like you are sitting in a chair and make sure your knees don’t extend out past your toes. Slowly push down with your hands, tighten your abs and stand back up straight. Repeat for 30 reps.

Kicks
Hold onto the side of the pool and extend your legs out behind you. Kick your legs in a scissor motion. Keep it up for 30 to 60 seconds, then rest and repeat. You can tone your glutes, abs and hamstrings all at once. You can even swim around with a noodle tucked under your armpits or on a wave board, and scissor kick your legs behind you.

You can also do a side kick. Hold onto the side of the pool and slowly lift one leg straight out to the side while keeping your back straight. Slowly bring it back down for 15 to 30 reps. Repeat on the other side.

Make waves
You can make waves while you kick. Facing the pool wall in chest deep water, hold onto the edge with your left hand and brace your right hand on the pool wall with your fingers facing down. This position will give you stability. Then, extend your legs behind you and keep your knees and feet together. Swim like a dolphin – in a wave motion from your hips to knees to feet – for 30 seconds. Rest for a few minutes and repeat.

Push ups and pull ups
To do push ups, stand facing the edge of the pool, leaning toward the edge with your arms out straight. Slowly, bend your arms and lean in to touch your nose on the edge. Then slowly push back out. Do 30 repetitions.

You can do pull ups by grabbing the edge of the pool with your back to the edge and lowering your body as far down as your arms will allow. Then, keeping your knees bent, slowly pull yourself up as high as you can and then lower yourself slowly back down. Repeat 30 times.

Crunches
To work your abs, you can do crunches in the pool. With your back to the wall, hold onto the edge of the pool. Keeping your legs straight, slowly bring both legs up at the hip to a sitting position and hold it for ten seconds. Put your legs slowly back down and repeat 30 times.

Play ball
Hit a beach ball back and forth with friends or family. You can also play a modified game of volleyball in the pool. Swimming, jumping and diving for the ball will definitely give you a workout.

Stretch to the finish:

You can do almost any stretch that you do on land in the water. Just move slowly and keep your feet flat on the floor. And, you can get dehydrated in the pool so be sure to drink plenty of water. You may not feel like you really did a hard workout, but you may be sore in the morning!

Do you have exercises you like to do in the pool? Or you do have fun games that can help tone you up without it feeling like a workout? Let us know!