Tag Archives: calories

Simple Swap: EVOO & Balsamic Vinegar

30 Aug

I may have gone to Italy to study cinema (see pretty much any post from July 2011), but some of the biggest lessons I took away were about wine and olive oil. I was taught all about them both in perhaps the world’s most revered places for these products – Chianti.

Because of this, and lack of alternatives, I came home with a newly developed taste for olive oil and vinegar as my salad dressing.

Italians love simplicity in their meals which is why you will never see salad dressing over there (let alone a variety of dressing choices). And no, they don’t use “Italian” dressing with little red and white bits of who-knows-what that settle at the bottom of the bottle. Extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. That’s it.

The great part about adapting to the salad style of Italians is that 1. I save money on salad dressing because a little bit of oil goes a LONG way and 2. I’ve made a lifelong simple swap.

Extra virgin olive oil has 120 calories per every tablespoon (which is really all you need for a regular salad) and balsamic vinegar has about 5 calories for every teaspoon (so feel free to use a few teaspoons!).

Granted, olive oil has more calories than a serving size of American Italian dressing, but it has 100% less salt than “Italian” dressing and 100% less sugar (that means no salt and no sugar – at all!).

On top of that, Extra Virgin Olive Oil falls in the same category as avocados – the “good fats.” It’s also full of antioxidants and vitamins. But, it is still a fat and high-ish in calories so you do have to keep in mind that a little really does go a long way (you shouldn’t eat a whole avocado in one sitting and your lettuce shouldn’t be dripping with oil).

AANNNDD, by using oil and vinegar, you can customize your dressing’s taste. Maybe you’re an oil-only person, or vinegar only, or 2 parts oil 1 part vinegar – you adjust the taste to your liking!

One important thing to remember – use high-quality olive oil as your dressing/dip for bread. Don’t use the cheapest bottle at the supermarket – that’s for cooking (sauteing, using in your pasta water, etc.). It doesn’t taste very good as a dressing. Higher quality olive oil – from a local winery or specialty company – is less processed and leaves more of the natural flavor in the finished product.



Plyometric Exercises Are Your Friend

28 Aug

I’ve been doing plyometric-based workouts for the past few days now and let me tell you, they’re amazing. You read about them in magazines, your trainer tells you all about them at the gym but you never listen. Well, you should.

Plyometrics are basically short bursts of energy using mainly your body weight – jumps, sprints, etc.

These simple moves help you burn so many calories (and fat!) in such short amounts of time – and the little to no added weight is perfect for toning and staying lean, rather than bulking up.

Below are the workouts I did the last two days (I did add weight in some moves, as well as incorporated non-plyometric moves) and some links to sites that have great information/suggestions for other plyometric moves.

WARNING: If you’re one of those people who goes to the gym in full hair and make-up, these are not for you. You will NOT look cute after doing these.


Day 1

Warm-up: Half mile on the treadmill (or anywhere else) at 5.0 mph (about 6 minutes)

Circuit 1:

Lateral box jumps with 10 lb weight, 20 reps (10 each side/leg). At the peak of each rep, do a front press with the weight and bring the weight back to your chest as you land.

Box jumps – 15 reps using a chair, curb, stepper height that’s comfortable for you (I used 4 stackers under the step at the gym).

Squat jumps with 10 lb weight – 15 reps

Rest and repeat circuit

Circuit 2:

Dips – 15 reps

Push-ups – 10 reps

Rest and repeat circuit

Ab Circuit: Do two circuits of your 3 favorite ab moves. I did V-ups, bicycle crunches and legs lifts.

Cardio: 5-minute warm up, 10 minutes of intervals, 5-minute cool down.

Sauna: 5-7 minutes just for good measure (you’re dripping sweat anyway, what’s a little more?)


Day 2

Warm-up: half mile jog

Circuit 1:

Lateral Box jumps with 10 lb weight – 20 reps but this time do an overhead press at the peak of each rep

Box jump with 10 lb weight – 10-15 reps at the same height as the day before (it’s harder with the weight…)

Skaters/Jump Lunges 12 reps (6 reps on each leg). Try with 8 lb dumbbells in each hand.

Rest and repeat circuit.

Circuit 2:

Dips – 15 reps

Inverted push-ups – 10 reps

Rest and repeat circuit

Circuit 3/Weights

Deadlifts – 15 reps with a comfortable weight (I used 50 lbs)

Static Squat with curl – go into squat position and hold, curl weights (8-10 lbs) 15 times. (Fun Fact: I have no idea if that’s what this is called or if it’s even a ‘legit’ move, but I did it and it burns.)

Rest and repeat circuit 2 more times.

Ab Circuit: two sets of 25 crunches on the stability ball holding a 10 lb disc.

Cardio: Easy run at 6.0 mph, 1.0 incline for one mile (about 10 minutes), 2 minute walking cool down.

Sauna: Same reason as the day before.

Here are some sites that you may want to check out:

Women’s Health – Plyometrics: Jump on it!

Self Magazine – Plyometrics workout: Burn more calories in less time

Body Building – Workout of the Week

Simple Swap: Honey Mustard & Low Fat Mayo

25 May

I’m not a fan of plain, yellow mustard – at all. I used to opt for mayo (only the teensiest bit) when making a sandwich at home or getting one from Subway, and then I saw that EVERY calorie came from fat. Gross.

So next time I was at the store I checked the label of Light Mayo – 35 calories (instead of 90) per serving…but 30 calories are from fat. Gross.

I was eating my sandwiches dry for awhile.

Then I discovered honey mustard:

This little gem is only 10 calories a serving with NONE of the calories from fat. And it is a much better alternative to a dry sandwich.

Then I came across the dilemma of, “What am I going to use to make tuna???”

Low Fat Mayo, of course! (I’m not sure what makes it different from ‘Light Mayo’ but there IS a BIG difference in calories.)

Low Fat Mayo only has 15 calories per serving (10 of which are from fat but…I’m not ready to make tuna with mustard so…) and has tasted fine to me in my last batch of tuna.

I looked at the mayo that’s made with olive oil, but that still had 50 calories/serving 45 of which are from fat – ick.

Now, I only use honey mustard on my sammiches ( 🙂 ) and keep a small jar of Low Fat Mayo for tuna use only!