How to Keep Sane During Finals Week

A horrible thing is about to happen.

A painful

tragic

beautiful

thing.

Finals week is about to end, meaning that it is officially the time for the big workout.

The hard, going-to-die workout.

The I-haven’t-done-much-this-month regrets finally catch up with you, and now it is time to get real.

You know that it needs to happen. Those long study nights do not add up to great health, physically or mentally.

So here is what you do.

Do not just sleep for an entire day straight, despite the appeal I know that has.

  1. Listen to the Mayo Clinic and work on creating a steady sleep schedule. This may not seem like the first step, but trust me, if you have had a semester anything like mine, this is a key ingredient to a healthy summer.
  2. Hydrate and stretch before, during and after your workouts. This is incredibly important, as I am sure every person in the state of Arizona has heard more times than they can handle.
  3. Find a buddy. “If you can find a workout buddy it can help you keep yourself accountable,” says exercise and wellness major Ben Holko. If you alone will know that you did or did not work out, it is much easier to put it off.
  4. Create a playlist.
    Music is a great counter to stress.

    Music is a great counter to stress.

    I promise, it is necessary. Start with some motivating, high-tempo songs that make you feel fantastic and empowered — I suggest including plenty of Queen Bee. Work your way into some angrier, more intense pieces to push you through the rough patch and end with the most fun song you can find. Here are some must-haves:

    • “You Give Love a Bad Name” – Bon Jovi

      In order for you to be properly psyched for the legendary workout you are about to have, you must include this hit — at least, according to Barney Stinson.

    • “Are You Satisfied” – Marina and the Diamonds

      I have never been more motivated to challenge myself than when listening to some Marina. You are not complacent. You are strong and ready to destroy that treadmill.

    • “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To” – Weezer

      This song always makes me feel happy and ready to take on the elliptical.

    • Everything Beyonce has ever touched.

      But seriously. Looking into that big mirror showing all your sweat and jiggle can be very detrimental. The entire purpose of this workout is to feel better inside and no one can make you feel more proud, capable and strong than Queen Bee. You can, and will, take on the world.

    • Wannabe – Spice Girls

      A throwback, but still a great mid-workout song. I recommend filling the middle part of your Get Psyched mix with throwbacks that will make you laugh. Working out can be fun. Painful, maybe, but fun.

    • One Foot – Fun.

      Maybe it is just me, but Fun is the soundtrack to my summer. This song is a great way to finish and get you through that final push.

  5. Create a plan. Stretch, warm up with some cardio and hit the machines. Do not forget to do a cool down. Decide your goal beforehand and give yourself a set amount of time you want to be at the gym or wherever you are.

    “Have a plan with you on paper and have a schedule of your workouts. It’s hard to keep it up, but when you have a journal-type thing, it helps,” Holko suggests.

    Only you can really know all the improvements that you have made, and that concrete proof can be a great motivation. Avoid overdoing it. You may think you can handle it, but this will negatively affect your future workouts.

Head out! Do not forget water, headphones and an optimistic outlook.

It’s going to be legendary.

Be Social — It’s for your Health

As I sit here preparing to write the post, with my bowl of ramen noodles and general lazy attitude, I truly begin to understand how college can change a person’s activity and health level.

Taking a break is the healthiest thing you can do for your body and mind!

Taking a break is the healthiest thing you can do for your body and mind!

One of the most helpful tips is going to be pretty surprising: keep busy.

Now, this seems insane. Of course you are busy. You’re too busy. You can barely even function, always a paper looming on the horizon or a blog post due in a day…

According to Kristen Franquist, a junior health and wellness major, there are different ways to organize your business so that you can make time to work out and eat well.

Most days when I have a million things due and school is really piling up, I stay home and block out hours of time in order to get everything done. Franquist suggests that you give yourself an actual time limit for getting each specific task done. Do not make it some excessive amount with enough padded time for you to scroll through your Tumblr dash four times and watch an episode of Game of Thrones.  Make it a realistic amount of time to get the job done, and then make plans after that.

Go hang out with some friends, take a walk or, better yet, head to the gym with your workout buddy to release some stress.

Making more plans can actually motivate you to get your schoolwork done and will lead to a higher physical activity level. I know that I am much more likely to resist clicking on that next episode if I know I have an opportunity to leave my room in the horizon.

The key to this is making concrete plans based on time. Do not say that you come out when this is done, or the usual, “I’ll text you when I need a breather.” Tell your workout buddy that you will meet them on the second floor at 8:45 p.m. and be there. Take the mental break you need and go work on your self-esteem.

An additional benefit to this sort of planning is your health.  If you know you are going to spend the next six hours sitting in your room, you are going to make bad eating choices. I grab the ramen noodles, maybe some chips, definitely caffeine.  Not just the black, unsweetened kind either, which is actually not bad for you, but the syrup-filled deliciousness that will give me a sugar high till the end of time.

We all do it. We basically stock up like winter is coming and we need to get to that iron throne.

But what if you could motivate yourself to continue with plans to see daylight in just two hours? Small study breaks like a jog around campus or a salad with friends will make you feel better about yourself — you popular and healthy little champ.

This comes full circle and remotivates you to finish your work. Normally, three hours into my work, I am convinced that I am not capable of anything, decide I should change my major and feel like taking a nap. A small workout, some food and some socialization can completely change your outlook of the rest of your work, and feeling better about yourself and your capabilities will certainly affect the quality of your work.

Now head out there and make those plans!

Coffee: Healthy or Harmful?

Starbucks. Jobot. Cartel Coffee Lab. Lux. Fair Trade Cafe. One Coffee Co. They’re all downtown coffee shops that a sizable amount of the community frequents regularly. But are we really drinking to our health?

Choose your coffee wisely!

Choose your coffee wisely!

I’m sure you’ve heard arguments that promote and demote the regular consumption of coffee. The question is, which argument is most convincing?

As a regular coffee drinker downtown, I think it’s essential to really understand how to drink coffee in a healthy way — if that’s even possible. Don’t worry, you’ll know by the end of this post.

According to the Mayo Clinic, drinking coffee can help reduce the risk of many illnesses, including but not limited to Parkinson’s disease, liver disease, Type 2 diabetes, liver cancer and even depression.

Harvard’s School of Public Health reports that coffee really doesn’t have any detrimental effects on health, and for people who don’t have high blood pressure or high blood sugar, coffee could actually be a healthy drink option.

But hold on! One thing you must keep in mind when reading the statistics behind how coffee is healthy for you is that when the researcher mentions “coffee,” oftentimes it’s black coffee with no milk and no sugar. Let’s be honest, now, how many of us really drink our daily coffee like this?

Probably not the majority of us.

On the flip side, the Mayo Clinic also reports that drinking high volumes of “unfiltered” coffee (boiled or espresso) can increase unhealthy levels of cholesterol and ultimately induce heart disease.

After referring to the Harvard School of Public Health’s analysis on coffee, it’s apparent that whether your coffee intake is healthy is highly dependent on the individual. Some people can drink six cups of coffee and be just fine. Others might do the same and begin to feel jittery or uneasy. It’s a highly variable substance, because everyone reacts differently to caffeine based on their medical history.

So as you can see, in order to drink coffee the “healthy” way, you have to walk a thin line. But don’t worry — this line isn’t as thin as you think.

Honestly, the most unhealthy way you can drink coffee is to get a drink filled with tons of syrup and fattening milk. Yes, once in a while, splurge! But on your daily grind, try to order a house coffee blend with nonfat milk and a moderate amount of sugar.

Not only will you be doing your heart and liver a favor, you’ll be doing your waistline a favor too.

Read more about what the Mayo Clinic has to say about coffee consumption here.

Read more about what Harvard’s School of Public Health has to say here.

Stay healthy, my friends! Cheers to healthy coffee consumption!

Bike Month!

April is Bike Month in the lovely Valley of the Sun, and you know what this means!

There will be tons of biking events and bike enthusiasts everywhere. Now is the perfect time to become active in the community and at the same time become active physically!

Happy Bike Month, Phoenix!

Happy Bike Month, Phoenix!

So what do you need to know for Bike Month? Well, a lot.

You already know the health benefits behind biking, as discussed in a previous post. But, to recap, biking is one of the best ways to promote health. Not only does it tone muscles and burn fat, it makes you a happier person with a better sleep cycle. Haha. Cycle.

There are a lot of events throughout the month of April that you should become aware of. That way, you can plan ahead and hopefully attend them!

Some of the events that you should mark on your calendar are the following events happening in downtown Phoenix:

April 12 – Co+Hoots Grid Bike Share demo and Phoenix Spokes People neighborhood bike ride
This event is essentially a neighborhood bike ride off of Washington Street that goes from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. There will be a free Grid Bike Share demonstration and test rides as well.

April 18 – Official Bike to School/Work Day
Be sure to bike to school or work on April 18 in tribute to this Valley-wide bike day! Skip your cardio workout and get out in the fresh air.

April 22 – Phoenix/Maricopa County Bike to Work Day
Phoenix City Council is putting on a cool event where the police will escort a 3-mile ride to CityScape. Everyone will meet at Central Avenue and Earll Drive at 7 a.m., and T-shirts, prizes and more will be available — including free breakfast for the first 300 registered participants! Sign up soon!

More information on biking events that are going on around the Valley can be found here.

I urge all of you to take advantage of these great events that will be happening in the next 28 days! A lot of the events are free and there are lots of giveaways. But the most important thing you’ll gain from going to any of these events is a greater sense of community and a healthier you!

Stay healthy, my friends.

Biking in Downtown Phoenix

Have you ever considered reducing your travel time if you walk between two places, toning the muscles you have without any extra effort or increasing your stamina and, in turn, making your heart healthier?

Urban biking has a bright future in downtown Phoenix.

Urban biking has a bright future in downtown Phoenix.

If not, you should consider taking to two wheels as your source of urban transportation. Biking is an activity that enhances your health and the health of your community!

Urban biking is especially something downtown Phoenix residents should consider. Commuting by car or by foot in downtown can sometimes be a challenge. That’s where biking can make your life so much easier.

If you bike, you don’t have to worry about long commutes or traffic jams. On a healthier note, biking is good for you in many ways.

Biking helps burn fat, promotes healthy sleeping habits, encourages healthy digestion and even increases the endorphins in your brain, which makes you a happier, more confident person.

ASU exercise physiologist Christopher Berger is an avid biker and takes a personal interest in biking issues.

“Of course biking is healthy. We’ve got pretty dry air and nice sunshine, so it’s nice to be outside. Our roads are pretty well-kept, you know, there are no potholes or anything like that … and they’re flat, so biking isn’t very strenuous. Logistically, biking is a good idea — it saves you so much time. Health- and fitness-wise, it’s a good idea. It’s just nice to be outside.”

Berger said he thinks biking has more of a future in downtown Phoenix compared to Tempe simply because enforcement is a little bit different.

“People would be more proactive about putting bike lanes in around downtown Phoenix. There are already colored biking lanes on some downtown streets, so I’m pretty optimistic.”

So what exactly makes biking so healthy, and how do you ensure to make the most of your biking experience?

Berger said it’s a combination of things.

“Depending on how you set your gears up, biking can be a very aerobic exercise. If you set your gears really high, it become anaerobic for a little while, because you have to increase the amount of force you generate to move the bike. If you have a lightweight bike, you can bike for a long period of time. I think there’s a lot to be said for a really strong-frame mountain bike because in urban biking you have to have something that’s pretty durable.”

Another source that really promotes urban biking is the organization BikeForce.

BikeForce Phoenix is a collaboration of courier cyclists in downtown Phoenix who serve the business community.

BikeForce aims to help businesses reduce the operating costs of sending packages, documents and parcels all while promoting green energy, environmental awareness and physical fitness.

Could this get any better?

Thomas Johnston, office manager of BikeForce Phoenix, explained why biking is so beneficial to the downtown community.

“We deliver packages from business to business via bike. We are all for urban cycling here at BikeForce. I’m a big believer in biking — the more bikes on the road, the better. It’s healthier and better for the economy. Studies have shown that when there’s more biking, the economy’s better, because people don’t have to worry about parking. I bike almost 100 miles a week. I’ve been a courier for 16 years, and it’s just how I move around.”

Now that you’ve heard testimonials from two passionate sources about the benefits of urban biking, it’s up to you to broaden those horizons and perhaps try breaking biking into your schedule.

Not only will it help the environment, it will help keep you healthier! So get out there and cycle away toward a healthier you.

Stay healthy, my friends!

Allergens: Your Pets and You

The itchy and watery eyes, the red and inflamed nose, the congestion and the dull headache at the top of your head — a lot of us have been there, and one thing is unanimously known: allergies are not fun.

Don't let your allergies keep you from spending time with a furry friend you love.

Don’t let your allergies keep you from spending time with a furry friend you love.

According to WebMD, 55 percent of Americans are allergic to something, whether it’s a food, a plant, or an animal. About 10 percent of the population is allergic to animals. So what does this mean for our lovely pet owners who happen to have allergies?

Two professors at the Downtown campus shed some light on the issue.

“Children who are outside a fair amount are exposed more to allergens and might develop more of a tolerance than other children,” ASU exercise and wellness professor Kathy Campbell says.

“Studying allergies is an inexact science. Anti-histamines aren’t a permanent solution, and studies show that allergies are increasing with each new generation. There’s not really one thing that triggers allergens in people,” ASU biology professor John Olson says.

Both professors agree that keeping children in too sterile of an environment with little, if any, interaction with the outdoors and a little bit of dirt could be a potential cause of pet allergies in our community. Sometimes being too clean can be an issue! This is not to say that you should overcompensate and get too dirty. But, like Olson mentioned, it’s about striking a balance or maintaining a golden mean.

Now that you have some background on the dimensional issue of allergies, you might be wondering how to help relieve symptoms you experience. There are solutions to alleviating the misery you may be in due to pet allergies without taking medication. By all means, if you need medication, please take it — but I’ve highlighted a few ways you can help your allergies without popping pills.

Believe it or not, giving your pet a bath and brushing its fur can make all the difference. Oftentimes, when done once a week, it greatly cuts down the amount of suffering allergic people endure simply because airborne allergens are then not at an all-time high.

Not allowing the pet to go into certain areas of the house is also a good way to combat allergies. This way, your body can become immune to the allergens without being overwhelmed as you are able to go into your “safe zone” where the animal isn’t allowed.

Vacuuming is probably a more obvious option to help keep allergens at bay, but it’s still important to follow through with. All the excess fur that collects along with dust will just irritate your nasal passages if left unvacuumed.

Make sure to keep your pet supplies away from any sort of air conditioner/heater. The last thing you want is for these allergens to be spread throughout the house via recirculation. This applies to anything the animal uses regularly, such as litter boxes, chew toys, beds and other items in direct contact with the animal.

Allergies are such a multifaceted issue with so many different causes. They really show that no two human beings are exactly alike when it comes to what can trigger allergies, how to successfully treat allergies when they arise and how to maintain an allergy-free lifestyle.

The downtown Phoenix community especially needs to be aware of how to maintain an allergy-free lifestyle just because many of us live in small areas, and if we do, in fact, have the pet/allergy combo, we need to be aware of ways to deal with this very widespread issue.

Stay healthy, my friends!

Love 101

As we all know, Friday was the day when lovebirds all over the world supposedly bonded even more and the single folk celebrated their independence or maybe wished for some company — oh, Valentine’s Day.

Healthy love is the best love.

Healthy love is the best love.

So many mixed emotions! But let’s be real. A lot of us don’t just have these emotions on Valentine’s Day. They’re definitely a constant in our everyday lives, whether they’re getting annoyed because some couple is just too lovey-dovey or actually enjoying a romantic dinner with your lover.

This brings up the topic of healthy relationships. It’s vital to every aspect of your health to foster healthy relationships in your lifetime! And I’m going to give you a quick checklist of five aspects that are important when evaluating the relationships you’re in right now or might be in for the future.

  1. Trust: Trust is by far the most important aspect to foster in a relationship. It’s the one thing that can completely break a relationship if broken, and it’s really the one thing that, if broken, is very difficult to gain back. So, ladies and gentlemen, make sure you trust your partner 100 percent in all aspects of his or her life! It’s vital for a successful relationship.
  2. Fidelity: Fidelity goes hand-in-hand with trust. However, too often, partners forgive each other for cheating, and I think that’s really damaging to a relationship. If someone feels inclined to cheat, the relationship obviously isn’t meeting their expectations, and to fix this is next to impossible. Taking a break is probably the best option if you’re considering forgiving your partner for cheating.
  3. Secrecy: We all have secrets. That’s a given. But I’m a strong proponent of transparency in relationships and believe that really, if you’re with the right person, you shouldn’t have to keep any secrets from them.
  4. Intimacy: Some people believe a relationship isn’t “real” until you get intimate with your partner. To each their own! The most important part of this aspect is to ensure that both parties in the relationship are on board for intimacy. Never feel pressured to do something just because you want to please someone else.
  5. Compatibility: Compatibility is something that can grow over time. It’s probably one of the least concrete parts of a relationship, just because human beings are so quirky, and different things drive their capacity to love. But when it comes down to it, make sure that you feel like you’re not wasting your time just to be in a relationship. Make sure you’re actually invested in the relationship and committed to loving the other person because of who they actually are, not who you want them to be.

Honestly, relationships are beautiful experiences. I encourage everyone to love someone and love them with every fiber of your being. Not only is it physically good for you, it’s beneficial for your emotional health too.

Relationships are a normal part of life that make us human. Through happiness or heartbreak, they make us stronger and more well-rounded people. I’m not saying they define who you are and by no means should a relationship take over your life.

The key is to find that ideal balance between your love life, social life and academic/work life. Once you do that, you’re golden. So until then, refer to the key points I highlighted above so you can be one step closer to finding this balance that’s essential to your success as a healthy person.

Stay healthy, my friends!

Are Sub Sandwiches Really as Healthy as They’re Made Out to Be?

We all saw and heard the ads for the oh-so-witty “JanuANY” special Subway chains around the country were advocating as soon as the first light on New Year’s Day was visible. So, with all the hype about any regular footlong now being a $5 footlong, I became curious.

Fill your plate tastefully: avoid sub sandwiches that could compromise your intentions of eating healthy.

Fill your plate tastefully: avoid sub sandwiches that could compromise your intentions of eating healthy.

Subway is widely considered the “healthiest” fast food option to many people. But, exactly how healthy is a sub sandwich?

I mean, don’t meatball marinara and Philly cheesesteak subs make you question exactly how healthy a sub can be when it’s drizzled in cheese or loaded with potentially fattening meatballs?

It definitely got me questioning the health behind sub sandwiches. So, naturally, like any other 20-year-old, I consulted the internet.

According to NY Daily News, a $5 footlong at Subway might, in fact, be less healthy than a McDonald’s Big Mac. After citing a fascinating UCLA study, they uncovered some very intriguing realizations.

They found, for instance, that Subway’s Big Philly Cheesesteak sub sandwich weighs in at a whopping 1,000 calories and has nearly 2,560 grams of sodium. This turns out to be double that of the esteemed McDonald’s Big Mac, which clocks in at 550 calories with 970 grams of sodium.

What does this mean for that avid sub sandwich eater? Well, don’t freak out right away.

After consulting the NY Daily News article and other sources, I came to the realization that there is a way to avoid consuming all these excess calories that are masked behind a brand that people automatically equate with health.

It’s the added cheeses, excessively oily meats and calorie-rich sauces that really make the sub sandwich you think is a healthy choice an unhealthy one instead.

So, when you’re at Subway, or any other sub sandwich shop for that matter, be conscious of what sort of sub you are getting! Don’t overload on three different types of cheeses, salami and ranch dressing. Remember, moderation is key.

Your best bet is to customize your sub by adding a single slice of cheese of your choice, any cold-cut meat and a lighter dressing.

Wherever you are, whether it’s at downtown Phoenix’s beloved Carly’s or just the Subway on ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus, be sure to be cognizant of what type of sub you’re consuming. Don’t fall victim to a great price and a healthy logo!

Stay healthy, my friends!

Late-Night Snacking 101

Hello, hello! Devilishly Healthy is back and is off to a running start! Welcome back, readers. To be honest, I may or may not have gone completely overboard this winter break. Okay, I definitely went overboard. With food, family and so much fun, it was hard to stay on track healthwise. But hey, it’s a new year and now is my chance and your chance to revamp your dietary habits!

Fruit is truly the best option for those late night munchies!

Fruit is truly the best option for those late-night munchies!

This week’s topic is going to focus on late-night snacking. We’re now at that point in the semester where classes have definitely started to pick up, and at this breaking point, our bodies might not have adjusted to the workload. So, we may start to overcompensate when it comes to our nutritional needs.

So can we speak in layman’s terms now?

Do you find that after a long day of classes and a mediocre dinner at 6 p.m., that by 10 p.m. or later your stomach is grumbling? If your answer is yes, good news! You’re not alone.

The bottom line is, sometimes we don’t get the most out of dinner, or we feel inclined to eat a few hours after dinner for no legitimate reason at all. That’s okay — as long as you regulate what you consume after about 6 p.m.

The metabolism is a fascinating thing. It is known that metabolic processes are linked to the time of day you consume food. So what does this mean for you?

Generally speaking, unless you’re some metabolic anomaly, the metabolism functions at its best during the day and slows during the night. So, it’s ideal to eat your biggest meals during the day time and then eat smaller portions as the day goes on.

But what happens when you’re starving at 11 p.m.?

I interviewed ASU sophomore Ashley Garcia, a nutrition major with a concentration in dietetics. She said, while eating late isn’t ideal — the reality is that it does happen.

So we should all be prepared for this!

Garcia said that eating heavy foods with lots of fats and oils are generally not the best options for a midnight snack. But she did say that eating fruits and even dark chocolate is a good option for that late night fix.

Being a college student in the lovely downtown Phoenix, where can you get some good tasting, healthy late-night snacks?

For one thing, Devil’s Greens is a great option. It has the fruit bar and a yogurt bar that can satisfy the sweetness craving while maintaining decent calorie intake.

Another option is to buy some fruit and keep it. I would highly recommend getting your fruit from the Phoenix Public Market. It’s always a good feeling to know you’re shopping locally and eating fruit that isn’t covered in pesticides.

Well, friends, the motto of this week is: when in doubt, eat fruit! When you’re up late studying and you need a quick pick-me-up, whip out a healthy snack that’s fiber-rich. But also, remember that portions are important too!

Stay healthy, my friends!

10 Healthy Holiday Treats

There’s a certain chill in the air, stores are marketing their sales like crazy and Christmas music is playing almost everywhere you go — the holiday season is here!

Traditional holiday treats are so tempting!

Traditional holiday treats are so tempting!

During this festive time, families gather and celebrate the bonds they have. It’s truly a beautiful time. But, often during this time of year, one simple yet vital thing tends to go by the wayside: your health.

The champagne is flowing and buttered ham is roasting on the spit and unhealthy habits are waiting for the opportunity to hijack your fitness progress or push back your future fitness goals.

Don’t let this time of year compromise your health! Make these 10 holiday treats and cut back on your holiday splurging!

  1. Whole-wheat sugar cookies: With less than 300 calories per serving, whole wheat flour can take you a long way with sugar cookies! So when you bake Santa’s cookies, you’ll be doing him a huge favor by making this healthier alternative.
  2. Chocolate-covered strawberries: 57 calories? Who knew? Get that fruit serving in while on break and indulge a little. After all, 57 calories is nothing — but be careful to not have to many of these delectable delights!
  3. Avocado chocolate mousse: This might sound repulsive, but I promise, it’s not. Using avocado as the main ingredient in mousse is one of the most ingenious ideas out there. You can’t taste the avocado replacing the chocolate mousse filling, and it’s so much healthier than regular chocolate mousse.
  4. Oatmeal toffee cookies: Adding oatmeal to almost anything makes it a lot more nutritionally friendly to your body, and especially when it comes to toffee cookies. Throw a handful of oats into your cookie dough, savor the amazing taste and relish in the fact that you’re actually being healthier this holiday season.
  5. Sugared cranberries: Avoid those other confections that are loaded with everything unhealthy. Try a sugared cranberry instead! Yes, it’s sugared, so it’s not the healthiest possible option, but it’s certainly better than the piece of candy you might be tempted to eat.
  6. Cardamom-coconut creme caramel: Creme caramel is a holiday classic for my family, and the way that it’s prepared is anything but healthy! Try adding cardamom and substituting coconut milk for the cream, and you have a concoction that is extremely unique and way healthier than the traditional recipe.
  7. Dark-chocolate orange cake: A derivative of chocolate cake will probably be at every Christmas party you attend. If you host a party or just feel inclined to eat chocolate cake one day, try making a dark-chocolate orange cake. Dark chocolate is much healthier than milk chocolate, and fresh oranges to top the cake add great flavor and nutritional value.
  8. Gingerbread pumpkin bars: Gingerbread is a traditional holiday food for many families. While it’s not the worst thing in the world for you, there are ways to make it a healthier indulgence. Try mixing gluten-free gingerbread with bits of pumpkin! It’s an interesting taste that will have you coming back for more — and at little cost to your waistline.
  9. Gingered cranberry-pear cobbler: Cobblers are a must; everyone knows this. Try marinating cranberries and pears in ginger puree and making cobbler out of it. It’s divine. Also, it’s a lot better for you than a traditional cobbler, because ginger extract is actually full of many nutrients the body uses.
  10. Light eggnog: You can make your own eggnog with reduced-fat milk to cut back on a slew of calories traditional mixes contain. Just mix low-fat milk, eggs, nutmeg, vanilla and cinnamon, then boil. Serve over ice. Adding alcohol to the mixture just increases the calorie count without adding any nutritional benefit, so avoid it.

As you can see, these 10 items are fairly easy to make, and each of them has a unique flair. Be that person who has the “cool” food. Be unique and be conscious of what you’re eating.

Well, friends, I wish you an absolutely delightful holiday season, no matter what you celebrate. Have a joyous time this last month of 2013, and make good choices!

Stay healthy!