The EatSmart Blog

Providing Tools and Tips to Live Healthier, Happier Lives

9 Simple Things To Do To Prepare For a Healthy and Happy New Year

ESP_prepare_for_new_years_pinterestThe New Year is almost here! Will this be the year you see your resolution all the way through? If you have health and fitness goals heading into 2016, the following steps will help turn your vision into reality.

Set a fitness goal

Create a specific, attainable goal that you want to accomplish. The goal can be running a 5K or a marathon, committing to attend one exercise class per week at the gym/studio, setting a PR in CrossFit, or anything that keeps you motivated to consistently workout.

Make an exercise commitment

Commit to a certain amount of time per week that you will work out. For instance, you can plan to exercise three times or a total of two total hours per week. It’s important to set realistic goals for yourself. In three months, reassess this commitment and adjust it to better fit your schedule.

Find an accountability buddy

If you know someone who is also striving to hit a fitness goal, invite them to be an accountability buddy. Have regular check-ins to make sure you’re both on track. If you don’t have any friends to hold you accountable, join a workout group or hire a coach to help you hit your goals.

Assess your current diet

Keep a food journal to make sure you’re eating smart and use our EatSmart Precision Pro Digital Kitchen Scale to measure proper portion sizes. If you’re looking for inspiration in the kitchen, check out the recipe section on our EatSmart Blog for healthy options.

Stop eating on the fly

Are you constantly snacking on whatever is around or picking up fast food on the fly? Make a healthy eating plan for each day, even if it includes eating out. Apps like MyFitnessPal, Noom Coach and HealthyOut make meal planning easy.

Take your measurements

It’s empowering to see how improved diet and exercise change your body. Track your progress with monthly measurements of your chest, waist, upper arm and thigh. Did you know that our EatSmart Precision Digital Bathroom Scale comes with a free Body Tape Measure?

Keep track of your weight

Keeping track of your weight can provide huge motivation towards reaching your goals. Every time you step on our EatSmart Precision Tracker Digital Bathroom Scale it displays three readings: current weight, weight change from the last weigh in, and total change from the starting weight.

Stress less

Set aside a little time each day for relaxation. If it’s hard to find the time in your busy schedule, set your alarm 15 minutes earlier in the morning. Start your day with some quiet time such as a quick yoga flow or meditation. If the morning isn’t possible, try to unwind and unplug 15 minutes before bed.

Get your beauty sleep

Sleep is essential to happiness and health. Besides being cranky and tired, sleep deprivation leaves us more likely to make poor food choices or miss a workout.

If you’re ready to make lifestyle changes in 2016, an action plan with specific goals will be the key to your success. As you progress through the year, create monthly checkpoints to hold yourself accountable and track your progress.

Do you have New Year’s resolution success story? Tell us how you did it @EatSmartScales.
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Carrot Spice Pancakes

Love carrot cake?  Then you’ll enjoy these Carrot Spice Pancakes.  They are full of fresh carrots and very flavorful.

carrotpancakesIngredients

  • 1¼ cup shredded carrot, packed
  • 1¼ cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup gluten free flour
  • ½ cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • oil for frying

Click here for preparation instructions.

About the Author: Annie is the gluten-free blogger behind Maebells that has a passion for revamping classic Southern comfort food into lighter, healthier, gluten-free meals.

Meet the BRAND NEW EatSmart Precision Body Check Bathroom Scale

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We’re so excited about our new Precision Body Check Body Fat Bathroom Scale that we have to share it!

The Basics:

This bathroom scale sports a white, glass top with chrome accents and includes an oversized 3.7” x 2.2” backlit LED display. It has a weight capacity of up to 400 lbs and measures in 0.2 lb increments. It’s very sturdy with a slim profile that will fit perfectly (and look good!) in your bathroom. EatSmart-body-check-body-fat-scale

“Techy” Features:

Weight alone is not an accurate indicator of health. A body fat scale distinguishes between pounds that come from body fat and pounds that come from mass muscle and total body water. The EatSmart Precision Body Check Scale monitors 7 important health metrics including weight, BMI (Body Mass Index), body fat, muscle mass, total body water, bone mass, and estimated caloric intake, providing a complete picture of health. 

Weight
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BMI
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Body Fat %
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Muscle Mass %
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Body Water %
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Bone Density
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Caloric Intake Calculator (Displays how many calories per day are needed to maintain your weight)
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Additional Features:

There’s an athlete mode for very active users which providers these individuals with more accurate readings.

Auto recognition software, which stores up to 8 unique user profiles, recognizes the individual user as soon as they step onto the scale.

When a weight locks in, the scale will beep allowing the user to step off and have an easy view of the readout.

The Precision Body Check Scale will be available for purchase on Amazon.com and other major online retailers in January 2016 at a low price of only $39.95.

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Click here to be the first to know when the Body Check Bathroom Scale is available.

UPDATED 1/3/16: THE PRECISION BODY CHECK SCALE IS NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON. CLICK HERE.

Melting Snowman Sugar Cookies

Looking to bring a smile to the faces of your friends and family this Christmas? These easy to make Melting Snowman Sugar Cookies are sure to be an amusing conversation topic.  Oh, and they taste good too!

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Ingredients

Cookies

  • 1½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 2½ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Frosting

  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3½ cups powdered sugar, sifted

Click here for baking instructions.

About the Author: Charlene is the blogger behind My Frugal Adventures, where you will find simple, affordable and fun recipes, crafts and DIY projects.  Stop by for a daily dose of inspiration as well as the hottest online shopping deals.

DIY Edible Holiday Gift Ideas

edible-gift-ideasHomemade edible gifts let your friends and family know you’re thinking of them and they’ll think of you as they enjoy their goodies. We have compiled a variety of DIY edible gift ideas, some sweet and some savory. Most of these recipes are quick and easy, with a few requiring no more than layering ingredients in a jar. Wow your friends and family with these DIY treats that are sure to please.

Gingerbread Box and Mason Jars

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Get the recipe from RecipeTin Eats.


Homemade Nutella

Get the recipe from A Southern Fairytale.


Homemade Coffee Syrup

Get the recipe from Nellie Bellie.


Hot Chocolate Fudge

Get the recipe from Wonky Wonderful.


Cranberry Mustard

Get the recipe from In Johnna’s Kitchen.


Vanilla Chai Tea

Get the recipe from Kats’ Kitchen.


Honey Roasted Almond Butter

Get the recipe from Heather’s French Press.


Double Chocolate Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

Get the recipe from The Pretty Bee.


 

Homemade Popcorn Holiday Gift Set

Get the recipe from Real Food Real Deals.


Lentil Rice Casserole

Get the recipe from Busy-at-Home.


Cranberry Ginger Baked Oatmeal

Get the recipe from Mom’s Kitchen Handbook.


Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Granola

Get the recipe from Cafe Johnsonia.


Which of these recipes are you going to make?  Tweet to us @eatsmartscales.

Italian Ricotta Cookies

Planning to get your holiday bake on? These easy to make Italian Ricotta Cookies are cake-like, fluffy and festive .
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Ingredients

Cookies

  • 3 1/2 cups (495g) all-purpose flour*
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (8 oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups (370g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 15 oz. ricotta, whole milk or fresh (1 3/4 cups)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
Glaze
  • 1 Tbsp butter (salted or unsalted), melted
  • 3 3/4 cups (460g) powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, or 1 1/4 tsp almond extract and more milk as needed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 – 6 Tbsp milk

Click here for baking instructions.

About the Author: I’m Jaclyn, a twenty something wife and mother, as well as the self-taught cook, baker, writer, editor and photographer behind CookingClassy.com. Cooking Classy is a place for me to share the food I love. Please follow along and lets create something delicious!

7 Tips for Successful Holiday Baking

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Happy Holidays! This is the time that many of us are in the kitchen, baking all sorts of sweets and family favorites. Organization is paramount to successful holiday baking and our list will help you navigate through it without any added holiday stress.

Brainstorm
Do you have family recipes that you break out only once a year? Or do you want to create an extravagant spread of sweets that are Instagram worthy? Check out Pinterest for fun new ideas. Either way, make a list of your must makes, and maybe a few new recipes you’d like to try. Not much of a baker? Try a no-bake recipe!

Organization
Print out all of your recipes and write down the ingredients you will need. Check your pantry. Replace your baking powder and baking soda if you can’t remember when you bought them last. It will make a difference in the rise of your baked goods. Do you need parchment paper or another can of baking spray? Pantry staples: flour, white/brown sugar, cocoa, chocolate, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla extract, food coloring, eggs, butter, etc.

Storage Containers
Are you gifting trays of cookies to friends and family and don’t want to have to ask for your dishware back? You can buy pretty platters from the dollar store, reusable plastic sandwich containers or disposable pie tins from the grocery store. Many grocery store bakeries will even sell you cake containers for a few dollars so you can transport a cake easily.

Ingredients

  • Most recipes that use flour mean all-purpose flour, unless otherwise specified.
  • Use unsalted butter. Use European style butter for flakier pastry crusts.
  • Use large eggs.
  • High quality chocolate will give your baked goods rich chocolate flavor.

Read Your Recipe
Read the recipe from top to bottom, ensure you have all ingredients, pan sizes and equipment on hand. Do not change from the recipe specs unless you’ve baked that particular recipe before. Baking is an exact science, so changing ingredients can have undesirable effects.

Baking Time

  • Pre-heat your oven.
  • Have all ingredients (eggs, butter, etc.) at room temperature unless otherwise noted in the recipe (like if you’re making pie crust, the butter and water need to be cold). Take them out about an hour before.
  • Liquid ingredients use a wet measuring cup, dry ingredients use dry measuring cups. Scoop until your dry ingredient is overflowing, then drag the back of a butter knife across the top to push off the excess. An easier way to accurately measure ingredients is with a digital kitchen scale like our EatSmart Precision Elite Digital Kitchen Scale. Many recipe sites now have volume conversion, and you’ll get fantastic results with every batch.
  • Think ahead! Most cookie doughs and pie crusts freeze well, so make your dough today and bake when you have time.

Get the Kids Involved!
Kids love to help in the kitchen. Cookie cutters and adding sprinkles and icing are a great way to get help decorating your baked goods and create sweet family memories.ESP_holiday_baking_list

Be sure to turn up the Holiday music and have fun! Did we miss anything? Please share your baking prep secrets with us on Twitter, @eatsmartscales.

Healthy Buffalo Chicken Bowls

Do you love Buffalo Chicken wraps?  If so, you will love these Buffalo Chicken Bowls which have the Buffalo flavor without the calories.

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Ingredients

  • 2 cans corn
  • 2 cans black beans
  • 3 avocados
  • a pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 6 chicken breasts
  • 1 cup of your favorite buffalo sauce (I use Franks)
  • 1 TBS garlic, minced
  • 1 packet Hidden Valley Greek Yogurt Dressing
  • 1 1/3 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 TBS milk

Click here for preparation instructions.

About the authors:  Jess and Sarah are two best friends who love food, DIY, family fun, fashion and saving money on all of it! They believe in saving for dreams and working hard.  They love making new friends and hope you’ll stop by Pretty Providence to say hello!

Charity of the Month December 2015 – TASK

EatSmart fans will continue to select a Charity of the Month in 2015. Fans will submit short stories about the charity’s mission and why it’s meaningful to them. We began our Charity of the Month donations in 2011.

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With the holiday season of giving upon us, we’ve selected TASK (Trenton Area Soup Kitchen) as our charity of the month.

The mission of TASK:

TASK feeds those who are hungry in the Trenton area and offers programs to encourage self-sufficiency and improve the quality of life of its patrons.

TASK offers hot, nutritious lunch and dinner as well as an Adult Education Program, Hygiene Kit Distribution, Social Worker Services, and Arts Programming. They have an open door, no-questions-asked policy.

To learn more about TASK, please visit their website.

For every new Twitter follower we (@eatsmartscales) acquire during the month of December, we will donate 50 cents/follower to TASK. (So spread the word!)

Click below, follow us and EatSmart will donate:

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If interested in submitting a charity for consideration, please email karen@eatsmartproducts.com. The donation amount will be capped at 500 new followers/likes.

How to Stick to Your Diet During the Holidays

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The holidays are a festive time of year filled with family, friends, parties and foods that can derail your diet. You can try to practice restraint, but it’s hard to say no to cookies or your mother’s lasagna. Thankfully, with a little planning, you can enjoy the holidays and stick to your diet.

Start your day with exercise

Can’t find time to hit the gym for a full session or hour-long class? Start your day with at least 10 – 20 minutes of exercise. Then, add a few more short bursts of exercise throughout the day. Sneaking in fitness with your daily routine, such as parking further away from the mall or taking a walk at lunchtime, will help keep your waistline in check.

Plan your meals

Start your day off right with a healthy breakfast to prevent unwanted cravings throughout the day. If you stick to your diet when you’re at home, you can justify a treat or two when you’re out at a party. Our Precision Pro Digital Kitchen Scale can help you accurately measure servings to ensure that you eat the right portion sizes.

Make healthy choices

Load up on the veggie tray and healthy proteins, such as chicken skewers or shrimp cocktail at a holiday party. Make splurges the exception rather than the rule. When you’re shopping, avoid temptations in the food court and choose lean proteins and green salads instead.

Drink water

Drinking at least 8 cups of water every day can prevent dehydration and even help curb hunger cravings. It’s also a good idea to have a glass of water for every alcoholic beverage you consume. Additionally, a glass of water between alcoholic drinks will prevent tomorrow’s hangover.

Snack smart

The stress of holiday shopping and dealing with crowds at the mall can lead to impulsive food choices. Keep a healthy snack, like a low sugar energy bar or an apple, on hand to stop yourself from grabbing junk food.

Mingle at parties

Focus on your friends, family, and the experience when socializing rather than the food table. Holding a glass of sparkling water and chatting will keep you busy, plus you’ll have more fun.

Skip the eggnog

Eggnog, punches and mixers pack on a lot of extra empty calories. If you have a drink, stick to wine, beer or a mixed drink with seltzer and a splash of juice.

Enjoy dessert, in moderation

It may seem counterintuitive, but passing up your favorite holiday goodies can lead to binge eating later on. Enjoy a cookie or a few bites of cake to satisfy your craving.

Keep yourself accountable

Regular weigh-ins will keep you focused on your health. Our Precision Tracker Digital Bathroom Scale keeps track of three data points: your original weight, your last weigh-in, and your current weight. It’s a great motivational tool to see how well you are doing throughout the holiday season.

Get some rest

People who are sleep deprived tend to seek out comfort foods and skip workouts. If you’re well rested, it will be easier to eat smart and find the energy to exercise. The holidays are full of temptations. However, with the right plan, you can stick with your diet and maintain your fitness during the holiday season.

Do you have diet tips for the holiday season? Tweet them to us @eatsmartscales.

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