Strawberry Parfait with Balsamic Vinegar

Think about one of the most iconic food pairings out there: peanut butter and chocolate. The combination of both sweet and savory elements makes this duo completely irresistible. And there are so many ways you can capture this dueling flavor profile! So we riffed off of this idea and created a strawberry parfait recipe with balsamic vinegar.

When you take fresh, juicy strawberries that are drizzled with honey and mixed with tangy, balsamic vinegar, you get a sophisticated flavor that’s perfectly sweet while also being delightfully savory. We even added a dash of ground black pepper to the mix, which surprisingly helps to amp up the flavor of all the ingredients. All together, this dish is makes for an excellent afternoon snack or a satisfying dessert.

Although this strawberry parfait recipe might seem like something that’s off limits on a healthy diet, it’s totally fair game! We used Greek yogurt as the base, so you get in a hearty punch of protein with this dessert, while still enjoying something that’s smooth and creamy.

This dish is also so easy to put together. All in all, it takes about 15 minutes to whip up four parfaits. The only prep work is slicing the strawberries and mixing everything together! But if you do happen to have some extra time, you can let the strawberries mix with the honey, balsamic vinegar, and pepper for 30 minutes to an hour. Then, when you layer the mixture with the Greek yogurt, all of the flavors are fully melded together.

The next time you’re craving something sweet and satisfying, opt for this parfait recipe instead of grabbing a sugar-laden carton of ice cream. Not only will this complex combination of flavors appeal to both your sweet tooth and your salty side, but this dish will also nip any hunger pang in the bud thanks to the 19 grams of protein. Now that’s a dessert worth raving about!

Strawberry Parfait With Balsamic Vinegar

This strawberry parfait recipe uses balsamic vinegar to make a perfect sweet and savory dessert. Plus, it’s high in protein thanks to the Greek yogurt!

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword Strawberry Parfait
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 251 kcal

Ingredients

  • 60 large strawberries sliced; reserve 4 slices for garnish
  • 1 Tbsp. +1 tsp. honey raw
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 3 cups plain (2%) greek yogurt

Instructions

  1. Combine strawberries, honey, vinegar, and pepper in a medium bowl; toss gently to blend. Set aside.

  2. Place ¼ cup yogurt in each of four large serving glasses. Top with ½ cup strawberry mixture, ¼ cup yogurt, remaining ½ cup of strawberry mixture, and remaining ¼ cup yogurt.

  3. Garnish each glass with a strawberry slice.

Recipe Notes

If you have time, let strawberry mixture sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour to meld the flavors together.

The Nutrition Facts box below provides estimated nutritional information for this recipe.

Nutrition Facts
Strawberry Parfait With Balsamic Vinegar
Amount Per Serving (1 parfait)
Calories 251Calories from Fat 36

Can You Lose Weight on the Cabbage Soup Diet?

If you’re trying to lose weight fast, the reputation of the seven-day cabbage soup diet can make it pretty alluring. Proponents claim you can shed 10-plus pounds in a week by eating cabbage soup and select fruits and vegetables — without feeling hungry during any of those seven days.

Whether you think that sounds too good to be true, or you’ve been looking for scientific support for your (frankly weird) cabbage obsession, this post is for you. Read on to find out if the cabbage soup diet is a short-term solution to your upcoming bikini or cocktail dress dilemma — or if it’s full of soup.

What Is the Cabbage Soup Diet?

The seven-day cabbage soup diet is built on the premise that you can eat unlimited amounts of vegetable soup, and lose weight without feeling hungry. Some claim it’s among the oldest fad diets, having truly skyrocketed to fame in the ’90s thanks to coverage in magazines like Cosmo and GQ. But its true origins are murky.

One version of the diet’s history points to its roots as a regimen for overweight patients in the cardiac ward of a Spokane hospital — but that hospital doesn’t actually exist. Elsewhere it’s been referred to as the American Heart Association Cabbage Soup Diet and the Mayo Clinic Diet even though it’s not endorsed by either (or any accredited) organization.

Regardless of where it came from, people looking for a quick drop in lbs. have been slurping cabbage soup alongside its handful of other permitted foods for decades now, making its results secondary to its legend.

How Does the Cabbage Soup Diet Work?

The cabbage soup diet’s strategy for weight loss lies in its emphasis on low-calorie, high-volume foods. At the center of the diet’s seven-day meal plan? You guessed it: cabbage soup. And you can eat as much of it as you want. (Yay?)

The soup itself is a basic broth-and-cabbage setup typically containing onion, green pepper, tomato, celery, and carrot for an energy count of about 66 calories per cup. In addition to the soup, you’re allowed one or two fruits and/or vegetables every day — specific to that day — which are theoretically chosen to help you shed fat.

What Can You Eat on the Cabbage Soup Diet?

In addition to all of the cabbage soup you can shovel in your gullet, the diet allows for a rotating selection of specific fruits and vegetables. Bread, alcohol, and sweetened drinks — included diet soda — are prohibited, but coffee and tea are unlimited.

7-Day Cabbage Soup Diet Plan

Day 1: Unlimited cabbage soup and unlimited fruit, except bananas.

Day 2: Unlimited cabbage soup and unlimited vegetables (raw or cooked), especially leafy greens, but not corn, peas, or beans. At dinner, add one baked potato with butter.

Day 3: Unlimited cabbage soup and unlimited fruit and vegetables, except bananas, corn, peas, and beans.

Day 4: Unlimited cabbage soup and 3-8 bananas. Drink an unlimited amount of skim milk.

Day 5: Unlimited cabbage soup, 10-20 ounces of beef, and up to six fresh tomatoes. Drink 6-8 glasses of water to flush extra uric acid from the body.

Day 6: Unlimited cabbage soup and unlimited beef and vegetables, but no baked potato.

Day 7: Unlimited cabbage soup, and unlimited brown rice and vegetables. Drink an unlimited amount of unsweetened fruit juice.

Also: Make sure to drink at least four glasses of water per day (ideally more). And take a multivitamin to compensate for the nutrients you’re missing.

Does the Cabbage Soup Diet Work?

If you define “work” as the immediate loss of pounds regardless of their quality, “you will most likely lose weight,” Openfit nutrition manager Krista Maguire, R.D., C.S.S.D. says. Wisconsin-based chef and nutritionist Julie Andrews, R.D.N. agrees: “The calorie level on this diet is so low — likely less than 1,000 calories. So you will lose weight.”

Of course that weight loss comes with a “but”: it will mostly be water, likely with some fat and muscle. Maguire says she’s never seen any scientific evidence to support the longer-term efficacy of the diet, or to explain how the specific foods it prescribes “synergistically promote weight loss.” Science also has yet to prove that this meal plan is better for weight loss than any other diet.

Both nutritionists also agree that the majority of people who crash-diet like this will just end up gaining that weight back. Nonetheless, anecdotal evidence, especially from back in the diet’s ’90s heyday, suggests it can help you lose upwards of 10 pounds in just one week; more if you’re obese, and less if you’re already at a healthy weight. But that’s just basic math. Eat at a severe deficit and you’ll lose weight. Whether that’s a smart way to go about it is another topic.

Are There Risks to Following the Cabbage Soup Diet?

Andrews explains that any low-calorie diet comes with a standard inventory of side effects, including possible irritability, lightheadedness, dizziness, lethargy, lack of focus, and/or downright exhaustion. And because you’re excluding whole food groups, the cabbage soup diet lacks a diversity of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, which is why taking a daily multivitamin is a good idea, Maguire adds.

Limiting your calories for seven days won’t wreak long-term havoc on your body. But Andrews points out that “most people who subscribe to crash diets have done them before and will do more of them rather than adopting a healthy lifestyle that is balanced and sustainable.”

And going down that rabbit hole of quick fixes and yo-yo dieting can harm your metabolism and relationship with food. So the cabbage soup diet should only be used as an occasional slim-down or means to jumpstart a healthier, sustainable diet plan filled with more vegetables and fruits, fewer processed foods, adequate protein, and fiber.

Who Is the Cabbage Soup Diet For?

Andrews and Maguire agree that diabetics should skip the cabbage soup diet. And anyone with a serious health condition should talk to their doctor before trying it.

Maguire adds that the diet isn’t recommended for people with a history of disordered eating, those on a fluid-restricted diet, or anyone dealing with flatulence or gastrointestinal issues, since cabbage is a cruciferous veggie and tends to promote gas.

But for otherwise healthy people, Maguire and Andrews agree that following this low-calorie diet likely won’t affect you long term.

A few other perks of the cabbage soup diet: it’s super affordable since the ingredients are pretty cheap, and it’s easy to prep. Just make a big batch of soup to start the week and stock up on the daily fruits and vegetables. Plus, while you’re choosing from a super-limited pool of foods, you get to eat as much as you want, which should stem the gnawing hunger that often accompanies fad diets, Maguire points out.

Health Benefits of Eating Cabbage

Part of the brassica family, which includes veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, and kale, cabbage is often called a “negative-calorie” food. The term is reserved for foods that theoretically require more energy to digest than they provide. But that’s not actually a thing, Maguire says.

Cabbage is super low in calories, however — one cup boasts just 22 energy units. It’s also packed with nutrients: One cup of raw, green cabbage contains a ton of vitamins K and C, as well as small amounts of folate and vitamin B6 — both of which are important for regulating your metabolism and nervous system. It also boasts manganese, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Plus, according to a 2017 revs sew in the journal Functional Foods in Health and Disease, cabbage has anti-inflammatory properties that promote healthy blood sugar levels and fat metabolism.

The recipes generally used for the cabbage soup itself are also high in water and fiber. According to landmark research from Dr. Barbara Roll, such foods help you feel fuller and more satisfied despite a low-calorie diet, Maguire points out.

Cabbage Soup Diet Recipe

There’s not a single agreed-upon recipe for the diet. In part because it has no definitive origin, and also because the soup can be pretty bland. So variations are always trying to make the recipe more exciting and filling without upping the calories. But the most common version goes as follows.

Standard Recipe

  • 2 large yellow or white onions
  • 1 or 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 green peppers
  • 1 or 2 cans of tomatoes (diced or whole)
  • 3 carrots
  • 10 oz. mushrooms
  • 1 bunch of celery
  • Half a head of cabbage
  • 48 oz Low-Sodium V8 juice (optional)

Cut vegetables into small pieces and cover with water and V-8, if using, in a large pot. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until vegetables are tender. Add parsley, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne and curry powders, black pepper, or any other zero-calorie herbs to taste.

Ground Turkey and Rice with Green Beans

Just because a recipe is basic, doesn’t mean it has to be boring. This ground turkey and rice recipe is a perfect example of that fact. With just four simple ingredients, we figured out to make this quick and easy recipe taste like something someone might think you spent an hour in the kitchen creating. The secret? Sesame oil.

This low-calorie, low-sodium seasoning oil is the magic ingredient that can transform this recipe (and many others) from flavorless to phenomenal. It can be added into almost anything, and it gives a dish a subtle Asian twist without having to use soy sauce that packs in a lot more sodium.

Once you stock your cabinet with this meal-changing oil (don’t worry, it’s pretty easy to find at most grocery stores), then you’ll be able to whip up this ground turkey and rice recipe in no time. We also added in some green beans into the mix for a fresh veggie side that makes this a well-balanced, healthy meal. (Make sure you use brown rice to get in those good whole grains!) It’s perfect for a quick dinner at the end of a busy day when you don’t want to spend any more than 30 minutes cooking.

You can also make this dish for a healthy meal prep lunch. It stores well, so pack it up into your favorite containers and enjoy it all week long. You might be surprised at how nice it is to meal prep and have all your lunches cooked and ready for the whole week. This way, you don’t have to think about eating healthy – the meal is just there! It can help reduce the temptation to pop down to the café down the street for that greasy meatball sub. It might taste good in the moment, but our ground turkey and rice recipe won’t make you want to take an afternoon nap like that sub will.

Green Beans, Ground Turkey and Rice

This ground turkey and rice recipe gets a major upgrade by adding crispy green beans and a bit of sesame oil for some extra flavor.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian
Keyword Ground Turkey and Rice
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 13 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 326 kcal
Author Openfit

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 lb. 93% lean ground turkey raw
  • 5 cups green beans ends trimmed
  • Sea salt (or Himalayan salt) and ground black pepper to taste; optional
  • 1⅓ cups brown rice cooked

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.

  2. Add turkey; cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 6 minutes, or until browned and no longer pink.

  3. Add green beans; cook, covered, stirring occasionally, for 4 to 6 minutes, or until green beans are tender crisp.

  4. Season with salt and pepper (if desired); mix well.

  5. Serve each portion over ⅓ cup rice.

Recipe Notes

Serve each portion drizzled with 1½ to 2 tsp. reduced sodium soy sauce.

What is Karma Yoga?

Karma yoga has nothing to do with yoga postures or yoga breathing. It has everything to do with being helpful to others. Think of people who volunteer their time and are of service to others — they are karma yogis. And when they’re in the act of volunteering they’re doing karma yoga.

Sometimes referred to as the “eternal duties of human beings,” offering your version of karma yoga is based on the teachings of the ancient yoga texts and the Bhagavad Gita. When you practice karma yoga — which you can do every day in many ways — you seek selfless actions that often come without reward for your good deeds.

Look around you and see that karma yoga is everywhere…

How to Practice Karma Yoga

Karma yoga isn’t just about seeking accolades for your actions. It’s also about not being attached to what you’re doing in any way. Again, you seek to perform good deeds for their own sake. This means that you’re not doing good deeds for emotional fulfillment, praise from others or even for any type of reward or financial gain.

Karma yoga also requires some emotional detachment from your good deeds so you don’t become discouraged when a good deed falls flat. When properly practiced, karma yoga involves neither bragging and patting yourself on the back nor fretting and self-flagellation. You do the good deed and that’s the end of it. No room for joy, frustration, pride or anger.

How to Get Started, Painlessly

You might not know where to even get started with karma yoga, but it’s best to start somewhere small and very close to home. The Chopra Center recommends beginning with the smallest acts of service around your house. Doing your best at a mundane task, such as doing the dishes or folding the laundry, for example, can get you started on a more karmic path.

Other small steps that inspire the meaning of karma yoga include consciously smiling when you encounter a stranger, or being generous and charitable with your precious time and attention to others.

Karma yoga is about doing everything in this spirit. As you commit deliberate acts of kindness, you want them to be both small (like doing a better job on household chores) and weightier acts of community service, like feeding the homeless or teaching complimentary yoga classes to seniors or disadvantaged youth.

To kickstart these bigger tasks, pick something you’re not especially passionate about. (This can help you to avoid getting too attached to the good deeds that you’re doing.) Whether you win, lose, or draw, you’ll be able to maintain an emotional distance from your acts of service, which can be the hardest part.

What’s the Point of Good Karma?

You’re doing all these good works, but you’re not supposed to feel anything about them. So what’s the point?

The point, according to the Vedanta Society of Southern California, is to not hoard all of this good karma for yourself, but rather to spread it around into the world you inhabit. You’re not trying to rid yourself of bad karma. Rather, you’re trying to share your good karma with everyone whom you encounter.

You are involved already in karma yoga when you practice good deeds that reach far beyond the yoga studio with ongoing community service and charitable works. Are you ready to try a little karma yoga today?

Do Sore Muscles Equal a Good Workout?

When you’re a fitness junkie, sore muscles may feel like a badge of honor. After all, when friends and co-workers ask why you groan every time you sit down, you get to tell them you crushed a tough HIIT session, or that you nailed a squat PR during leg day.

But aside from bragging rights, do sore muscles actually benefit you in any way?

What Causes Muscle Soreness After a Workout?

First, let’s cover what’s going on when your muscles get sore after exercise.

That achy, sometimes-painful sensation you feel in the 24 to 48 hours after an unfamiliar or especially tough workout is known as delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS. For a long time, researchers believed the phenomenon was a result of lactic acid and other waste-product build-up. Today, we know that DOMS is caused by muscle tissue damage.

“When you challenge your muscles during an intense workout, you create microscopic tears in the tissue,” says Trevor Thieme, C.S.C.S., Openfit’s senior manager of fitness and nutrition content. This damage is a completely normal part of the adaptation process. “It’s triggers muscle growth and other training adaptations,” Thieme says.

When you work your muscles harder than usual (i.e. lift heavier weights, reduce rest periods, add new moves to your workouts, etc.) you accumulate enough of that microscopic damage to actually feel it.

“It’s not bad to be sore, and no one should fear being sore,” says Nikki Naab-Levy, an ACE certified group fitness instructor. “Essentially all this means is that you did something novel to your body, and this is your body’s response to it.”

Do Sore Muscles Indicate a Good Workout?

In a word: No.

“There’s no evidence to suggest any link between soreness and workout quality or effectiveness,” Thieme says.

In fact, muscle soreness — especially the extreme variety — can limit your fitness and performance gains.

Think about it: If your muscles are so sore that you can’t perform your best (if at all) during your next workout, you won’t be able to realize the full benefits of that workout. For example, if you like to lift weights, excessive muscle soreness can make it hard to lift as heavy as usual, or to perform exercises through their full ranges of motion. And if you’re someone who enjoys HIIT, sore muscles will likely hinder you from achieving or maintaining the workout intensity you need optimize your fitness gains.

As Naab-Levy notes, having sore muscles doesn’t mean you’re becoming more fit, it just means you did something different or more challenging. So, don’t go chasing muscle soreness with every workout.

Instead of gauging the effectiveness of your workouts by how sore you are, look to other performance indicators. For example: Are you lifting more weight than before? Can you finish that HIIT circuit faster than your previous attempt? Did you run farther than you did last week?

How to Reduce Muscle Soreness

One of the best ways to relieve muscle soreness is to simply give yourself time to recover before exercising again. “If you give yourself adequate time to recover, you can make the most out of every single workout that you do,” Naab-Levy says.

The good news is it only takes one challenging workout for your body to “learn” how to be better prepared for next time, according to a study in Frontiers. When you do that workout again, you won’t be as sore as you were the first time around. You can also try stretching, foam rolling, low-intensity exercise (think: yoga, easy walking or jogging, Pilates), icing, and heat therapy to facilitate your recovery and reduce soreness.

DOMS typically lasts from three to five days. If you’re excessively sore for much longer than that, schedule an appointment with your doctor to make sure that you aren’t suffering from overtraining or that an underlying medical condition isn’t to blame.

10 Quick and Easy Dinner Recipes

At the end of a long day, the last thing you want to do is figure out what to cook for dinner. And once you decide what to make, there’s nothing worse than realizing it will take an hour and requires more ingredients than could ever fit in your fridge at one time. That’s why we’ve compiled 27 healthy, quick and easy dinner recipes that can be prepared in about 40 minutes or less. And as long as you’re stocked with salt and pepper, almost every recipe uses 10 ingredients or fewer. With minimal prep time, these dinners will have you in and out of the kitchen as fast as possible.

We’ve also organized our recipes to cater to your every need. Having a friend over who doesn’t eat meat? Try our easy vegetarian dinner recipes. No time for dishes? Our quick one pot/pan dinner recipes are a must-have for the home cook on-the-go. We even have a slew of recipes that call for just five ingredients or less. Whether you’ve got a packed house or are just cooking for one, our set of quick and easy dinner recipes is sure to please.

Quick and Easy One Pot/Pan Dinner Recipes

Chicken and White Bean Soup

Total time: 25 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Prep: 8 ingredients

Portuguese Kale Soup

Total time: 48 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Prep: 8 ingredients

Roasted Chicken Butternut Squash Soup

Total time: 38 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Prep: 8 ingredients

Black Bean Chili

Total time: 29 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Prep: 10 ingredients

Quick and Easy Dinners with 5 Ingredients or Less

Potato Crusted Salmon Fillets

Total time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Prep: 5 ingredients

Chicken Florentine

Total time: 21 minutes
Servings: 1 servings
Prep: 5 ingredients

Hawaiian Salmon

Total time: 22 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Prep: 4 ingredients

Quick and Easy Dinner Recipes for Two

Shrimp Scampi

Total time: 35 minutes
Servings: 2 servings
Prep: 11 ingredients

Barbecued Cauliflower Salad

Total time: 26 minutes
Servings: 2 servings
Prep: 10 ingredients

Chicken With Quinoa, Oranges, and Walnuts

Total time: 10 minutes
Servings: 2 servings
Prep: 7 ingredients

 

No, You Can’t Turn Fat Into Muscle

Aside from the erroneous concept of spot reduction, nothing might make fitness professionals cringe more than the suggestion that you can turn fat into muscle. While diet and exercise are powerful tools for health and wellbeing, making this physiological leap is only possible with, say, sorcery or witchcraft.

Generally speaking, “one type of tissue cannot convert to another type of tissue, so you can’t turn fat into muscle or vice versa,” says Trevor Thieme, C.S.C.S., senior manager of fitness and nutrition content at Openfit.

End of story.

Yet, it’s almost unfair to blame anyone who’s ever held the misconception that they can turn fat into muscle. It’s an oversimplification of physical transformation that makes for a powerful marketing message, which likely explains its origins.

This theme of anatomical alchemy has prevailed in exercise and weight-loss advertising for decades. And dramatic before-and-after photos used to sell everything from diet pills to this year’s version of the Shake Weight convincingly illustrate soft layers of fat shrinking down into hard, chiseled muscles.

It’s no wonder that those just beginning their fitness journey (and even many seasoned gym-goers, for that matter) are a little confused. It’s time to correct the record.

What Really Happens When You “Turn Fat Into Muscle”

Debunking the fat-to-muscle myth starts with a basic understanding of fat and muscle as two completely different types of tissue.

“Muscle consists of fibrous proteins,” says Pete McCall, host of the All About Fitness podcast. When you crush a challenging workout, you cause microscopic damage to those muscle fibers that the body must then repair. But it doesn’t just repair the damage — it also remodels it to make it larger and stronger in anticipation of that same “stress” again in the near future. If you stop exercising, the reverse happens, says McCall, explaining that the muscle fibers atrophy in the absence of the stress that triggered them to grow.

Fat, on the other hand, is composed of free fatty acids (triglycerides), and functions much differently. “Fat provides energy — that is its primary role,” says McCall. “Excess calories in the diet are stored as free fatty acids in what’s called adipose tissue.” So, if you’re consuming more calories than you burn during the course of your daily activities, you’ll likely gain body fat.

Running at a calorie deficit? The body will begin to tap into those energy stores, leaving you with less body fat. “When the body breaks down fat to produce energy, what’s left over is carbon dioxide and water. The vast bulk (80 percent) of that is carbon dioxide, so most of the fat you burn is literally breathed out into the air,” says Thieme.

Why Do People Believe Fat Becomes Muscle?

While it’s impossible to turn fat into muscle, you can, with proper nutrition and consistent exercise, simultaneously lose fat and gain muscle. “When you strength-train, you build muscle, a process that requires a lot of energy, much of which comes from fat,” explains Thieme, explaining that much of that building occurs between workouts. “That’s why you thin out when you lift weights regularly.”

While the fat doesn’t turn into muscle, your body composition does change: Your lean (fat free) mass increases and your fat mass decreases.

How to Lose Fat and Gain Muscle

So what do you actually need to do to “turn fat into muscle?” Studies show that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is likely the fastest and most efficient way to shrink your waistline, followed closely by strength training. “But you also have to establish a strong fitness baseline in order to perform HIIT safely and effectively,” says Thieme. “That’s why I often recommend people work up to it. If you’re just starting your weight loss journey, focus on strength training.”

While low-intensity steady state exercise (LISS), like a slow jog or gentle hike, is an excellent option for recovery days, it’s not an ideal workout choice for losing fat. “Steady state aerobic exercise isn’t all that effective for long term fat loss because it presents the body with an unchanging stimulus to which the body quickly adapts,” says Thieme. “When adaptation slows or stops, so does muscle growth and fat loss, because that’s what those things are — adaptations.”

Most Filling Foods: How to Get Full With Fewer Calories!

Hunger can be a tough beast to tame. To effectively lose or maintain weight, restricting your daily calorie intake can often leave you feeling deprived. Add in workouts, which only increase your appetite, and the struggle becomes even real-er.

If you’re here to find out which low-calorie foods will fill you up, you’ve clicked wisely. Below are some smart choices for healthy, low-calorie filling foods. But first, let’s discuss how food fills you up in the first place.

What Makes Food “Filling?”

The satiety index is a scale that measures how full people feel after eating certain foods, with white bread being the baseline. There’s moderate correlation between the placement of foods on the satiety index and the following factors.

Fiber

Also called roughage or bulk, fiber is a form of carbohydrate found in plant foods that the body doesn’t digest. This serves a two-fold purpose: it promotes regularity by providing more substance to your poops, and it keeps you feeling full longer because it’s slow to move through your digestive tract.

Pectin in particular is a form of fiber that takes longer than other nutrients to move through your digestive system by forming a gel within your intestines. Pectin studies have resulted in weight loss with no loss of lean mass (muscle).

Protein

This vital building block of muscle and other tissue has been proven the most filling of the macronutrients. Eating protein not only helps you feel full, it can also help you to lose weight without losing muscle. Andrea N. Giancoli, MPH, RD, manager of nutrition and culinary development for Openfit recommends including protein with all meals and snacks.

Volume

Foods that contain a lot of air and/or water are filling because they occupy more space without adding more calories. While high-volume foods won’t necessarily keep you full for as long as high-fiber foods, they can be a quick fix when your stomach feels empty.

10 Low-Calorie Filling Foods

All of the following foods have at least one element to help keep you full. Mix and match them as needed so you feel satiated, without worrying that you’re using up all of your daily calories on snacks!

Oatmeal

Low in calories and high in fiber, whether eaten as overnight oats, baked oatmeal, or the simple stove top version, the beta-glucan fiber in oats will help you feel full. Plus, oats soak up water, so eating them with additional liquid will give them even more volume to fill you up.

Cruciferous vegetables

High in fiber as well as water, vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts are great choices for low-calorie snacks that will fill you up. Fitness nutritionist Rachel Bocchino recommends broccoli as a nutrient rich, hydrating choice. Try dipping it in a low- or non-fat Greek yogurt-based dip instead of one made with sour cream for the filling effect of protein without the fat.

Fish

Beating out even steak and eggs, fish leads all protein-rich foods on the satiety list. Fish also packs omega-3 fatty acids, which studies suggest may help suppress appetite and even promote changes in metabolism that favor fat burning.

Popcorn

High in volume, popcorn promotes satiety by simply taking up so much room in your stomach. Additionally, it’s a high-fiber food. Giancoli suggests air popping; if you don’t have an air popper, she recommends using the smallest amount of oil possible in a nonstick pot, and opting for an oil spray instead of butter as a topping.

Cottage cheese

It’s no surprise to find this cool-again food on the list; we devoted an entire article to how great cottage cheese is, and the many ways you can eat it. In addition to a whopping 24 grams of protein per cup, cultured cottage cheese contains probiotics (check the ingredients to make sure). Those healthy gut bacteria have been shown to reduce food cravings, promote healthy body composition, increase fullness, and even improve mood.

Blended soups

Soup’s appearance here may seem counter-intuitive given that it’s a liquid. But blended soups take extra time to move through your digestive system, resulting in fullness for longer. You can compound the effect by blending fiber-rich cruciferous vegetables with bone broth, which contains gelatin to help you feel full.

Apples and oranges

These are among only a handful of foods that contain pectin, which has been shown to help with satiety. In fact, their multiple forms of fiber make these little fruits a big “yes” for a filling snack. Try baking apples with cinnamon on top for an apple pie vibe.

Potatoes

Topping the satiety index, potatoes are a healthy food that can help you feel full for hours. This is contingent on a couple factors, though: they should be steamed or baked — not fried — and, Giancoli notes, you should be careful about what you put on them. Top with sour cream and butter, and you no longer have a low-calorie snack or side; try Greek yogurt or cottage cheese instead.

Legumes and pulses

Known more commonly as beans, the legume and pulse categories of food also include peas and lentils. They’re good filling foods because they’re high in both protein and fiber. Snack on fresh peas, make a “cowboy caviar” spread with lentils, or try your hands at a bean dip.

Shirataki noodles

They’re called “miracle” noodles with good reason: made of only konjac fiber, shirataki noodles contain no calories at all per serving. They don’t drive you to overeat in compensation, either; a 2017 study showed no difference in subsequent appetite when compared to their calorie-filled counterparts.

Gelatin

Gelatin, a form of collagen protein, is not only essential as a gelling agent in foods, it’s useful for weight management. Gelatin solidifies liquids, meaning you can turn a low-calorie, water-based beverage or broth into a filling snack.

Healthy Filling Foods That Didn’t Make the Cut

Surprised to see avocados and nuts absent from this list? Avocado is a filling food, but it’s not a low-calorie one. At more than 20 grams of fat per fruit, you’re liable to throw off your macros before you feel full. As for nuts, they’re nutrient rich, but also high in fat; one single ounce serving of almonds, an otherwise good choice for satiety, contains nearly 14 grams of fat.

What’s the Most Filling Food?

While the satiety index suggests the most satisfying food is potatoes, there’s clearly no shortage of low-calorie filling foods. Focus on fiber, protein, and volume in your diet, and you’ll slay the hangry dragon within!

How to Get Back In Shape: 8 Tips to Help You Start Working Out Again

Sticking to a regular exercise routine can be challenging, even in the best of circumstances. But when life gets busy or if you happen to get injured, it’s all too easy to fall out of the habit.

One week off turns into two, and before you know it your impressive fitness regime — along with all the progress you made — is nothing but a memory. Though getting back in shape may seem intimidating, if not downright impossible, the truth is that it’s never too late to start working out again.

“There is no ‘right’ time to get back into exercise,” says Amanda Dale, ACE-certified trainer and sports nutritionist. “It doesn’t have to be a new year, a new month, or even a Monday to get started. There is no age limit or expiration date on getting into shape,” she says.

It doesn’t matter how much couch time you’ve logged during your exercise hiatus, you can get back into working out with a few smart changes and the right attitude. To help you out, here are eight of the best ways to get back in shape.

8 Tips for Getting Back In Shape

1. Figure out why you stopped exercising the first time.

So you used to be on a consistent workout schedule…then what happened? If you want to maintain your fitness going forward, you need to figure out what went wrong last time.

Were you too busy? Bored with your exercise routine? Recovering from an injury or illness? Understanding why you got off track is crucial to ensuring you don’t fall into the same pattern.

Maybe you need to find a workout buddy to keep you accountable, or you might need to change your mindset and find a type of exercise you truly enjoy. Once you figure out the obstacles you ran into before, you can make changes to set yourself up for success with a new plan of attack.

2. Start small

When you’re getting back into working out, you can’t just pick up where you left off. You need to build up your strength and stamina again, so it’s best to start small, says Openfit fitness expert Cody Braun.

For example, if you used to run 25 miles a week at your peak fitness, try running just five to 10 miles a week to start. Or, if you lifted weights every Monday through Friday, ease back into it with just two to three days at the gym. Something is better than nothing, and starting small will also help you safely transition back into a full routine.

More overall daily movement goes a long way, too. In addition to re-introducing regular workouts into your routine, try things like trading your daily Netflix session for a walk, or using the stairs at the office instead of the elevator.

3. Set simple, realistic goals

When you’re starting to work out again, setting short-term, realistic goals is key, Braun says. Instead of signing up to run your first marathon or vowing to hit the gym six days a week, stick to something simple—say, working out twice a week for 30 minutes. Then you can build up to more challenging goals as you progress, Braun says.

As you set your goals, think about a timeline and specific action steps, as well as what feels exciting for you to accomplish, Dale says.

“While everyone’s goal will be different, I encourage clients to move away from body-based goals (“I need to lose weight so I can look better in a bikini”) and toward performance-based goals (“I’d like to run 5K without stopping”) to make sure they don’t get wrapped up in the wrong motivation,” she says. This way, you’ll view fitness as a part of your lifestyle instead of just a quick fix to help you look better before vacation.

4. Focus on consistency

When you’re rebooting your fitness routine, you need to “build structures that make it impossible to fail,” Dale says. That might mean signing up for a weekly group workout class, pre-paying for a month of private sessions with a trainer, or creating a detailed training plan to follow.

Braun recommends scheduling your workouts each week and giving them a spot on your calendar. “If you have to adjust (your schedule) for any reason, you already have a dedicated block of time for yourself.” Then, if you can’t make your usual morning gym session, you’ll think to switch it to the evening instead of just skipping it all together.

“No matter what you’re trying to achieve, working toward it on a consistent, no-excuses schedule is the only way to actually get there,” Dale adds.

5. Don’t compare your current self to your fittest self

Resist the urge to dwell on how fit you were before you took an exercise break. “Comparisons—to a former version of yourself, other people, or worse, other people’s social media selves—are never helpful as long-term motivators toward real wellness,” Dale says.

It may be tempting to review old workout sheets to see how fast you ran or how much weight you lifted when you were in top form, but this habit can damage your self-esteem and hinder your progress.

“The only numbers that matter are the current ones,” Braun says. “Understand that getting back in shape is a process.” Track your workouts from where you’re starting now, then see how much you can improve from there.

6. Create an accountability system

The key to following through with workouts isn’t just self-discipline, motivation, or willpower — accountability also plays a huge role in sticking to your routine. When you’re just starting to rebuild your fitness, the biggest factor in your success is whether or not you show up. To keep yourself on track, try joining a local fitness group, planning workouts with a friend, or investing in a personal trainer.

“Finding a community that will hold you accountable to your goals is huge, because on those days when you feel burnt out, they can help you keep that fire alive,” Braun says.

7. Celebrate your progress

Acknowledging how far you’ve come is a great way to stay on track with your goals and maintain your motivation. Carve out time every week to reflect on your workouts and celebrate the little victories, like lifting two more pounds or showing up to all four of the pilates classes you signed up for.

Dale also suggests creating a specific reward system for meeting your goals. “For example, book yourself a massage when you hit five workouts in one week, or indulge in a weekend away if you hit 20 workouts in a month,” she says.

8. Evaluate your routine and adjust as needed

Getting back in shape can take considerable time, so it’s a good idea to check in with yourself regularly to see whether or not you routine is working.

Braun recommends tracking your workouts and reviewing them every three to four weeks. If you notice a plateau, you may need to reassess your exercise routine and make some adjustments.

Before you change your workouts, though, take stock of your other daily habits first. Factors like diet, sleep, recovery time, and stress can all affect your fitness progress. You want to make sure you’re hydrating often, nourishing yourself well, and getting adequate sleep, Braun says.

If all of that is on point and you’re still seeing a lag in your results, then it’s probably time to tweak your workouts.

The Takeaway

It’s always possible to reclaim your fitness and get back in shape, no matter how long it’s been since last exercised. You just have to be willing to start. Once you get going again, focus on setting attainable goals, easing back into your routine, practicing consistency, and enjoying the process.

Here’s How Much Exercise You Need to Burn Off Thanksgiving Foods

It’s the most dietarily-fraught time of the year. Thanksgiving brings all of the delicious meats, cheeses, sauces, gravies, and fat-blanched vegetables you can eat… and all of the accompanying pounds of additional Thanksgiving weight gain and shame along with them.

No wonder so many New Year’s resolutions involve losing weight and eating better. It’s why we’re here. And it’s why you’re here.

Which is why we’re sorry to report that, while we have some good news, we also have some bad news.And there’s no more fun way to share news than with statistics! (It’s statistically proven.)

How Much Weight Does the Average Person Gain During the Holidays?

The good news: You know that familiar warning about how the average American gains 5-10 pounds over the holidays? Totally bogus.

“There’s no scientific data supporting that number,” says Jamie Cooper, Ph.D., an exercise physiologist and associate professor in the Department of Foods and Nutrition at the University of Georgia. She co-authored a study, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, in which participants averaged just 1.7 lbs. gained. (Another study it references showed an average weight gain of 0.9 lbs.)

OK, now the bad news: Those who exercised (at least 150 minutes a week on average) gained the same amount of weight as the people who didn’t. Gulp. “That doesn’t mean you should skip exercise,” cautions Cooper, “but it really does come down to your food choices.”

Still, is it even worth worrying about such a small number? It’s not that hard to drop a couple pounds come January when you lay in your supplies of broccoli and chicken breast.

Except for many people it is. Cooper says that many people won’t drop their holiday weight in the new year.

“There’s something called creeping obesity,” she explains. “If you put on a small amount of weight each year, year after year, it really adds up over time.” The average American gains 1-2 pounds a year, and if that gain is gonna come primarily during the holidays, it makes sense to try to avoid it.

How to Avoid Gaining Weight on Thanksgiving

So back to that exercise issue. Cooper’s easiest tip for surviving the season without having to loosen your belt is to stick to your normal routine as far as trying to eat healthy and work out (it also can’t hurt to kick up your exercise intensity a bit).

In her study, initial body weight was a bigger predictor of holiday weight gain than exercise, meaning heavier people tended to put on more pounds. So if you’re already lean and trim, you’re on the right path.

Cooper also suggests weighing yourself regularly during the holidays so you can catch the number creeping up — and then minimize excessive liquid calories, such as alcohol, punch, and eggnog. Finally, be aware of how many calories your food contains. “That single holiday cookie has 150 calories, and you’d have to walk a mile-and-a-half to burn it off,” she says.

How Much Exercise Does It Take to Erase Thanksgiving Calories?

Read on to visualize what it takes to work off a typical Thanksgiving plate.* Then decide if that extra glass of wine is worth it. (All calorie counts are based on a 150-pound person, so if you weigh more, you’ll also torch more calories.)

Butter

Before your guests arrive, jumpstart the big day with some yoga sun salutations (3.3 METS) to center your mind and adopt an “attitude of gratitude.” Ten minutes of flowing yoga will zap each pat of real butter (36 calories).

Turkey leg

You called dibs — via mass e-mail — on one of the drumsticks last week. Earn it by putting in some time in the kitchen because it’ll take about two and a half hours of stove time (3.3 METS) to burn off the 542 (pre-basted) calories in the drumstick.

Pumpkin pie

Sign up for a T-Day morning turkey trot, and you won’t have to feel too bad about pounding that 323-calorie slice of pumpkin pie. Maintain a 10-minute-mile pace (9.8 METS) for a half hour, and you’ll burn enough calories to top it with a tablespoon of whipped cream.

Gravy

We don’t need no stinkin’ gravy packets. Your mom is making animal sauce the old-fashioned way — with the drippings and giblets. She gets a gold star for effort; you get cellulite. Help clean up the house (3.3 METS) for 12 minutes before everyone arrives to cancel out each quarter-cup serving of turkey gravy (46 calories).

Sweet potato casserole

If you have visions of this Southern classic dancing in your head, make room for a serving (249 calories) with just under an hour of moderate-intensity calisthenics (3.8 METS) — push-ups, crunches, lunges, squats, and planks — while watching the Thanksgiving Day parade.

Wine

She only arrived five minutes ago and already your nosy Aunt Esther asks why you aren’t married/don’t have kids/wear your hair so short/have that tattoo. Lace up your sneakers and head out for a 35-minute-long power walk (6 METS) to make room for the two glasses of cabernet (244 calories) it’ll take to get you through dinner. Seated next to Aunt Esther, of course.

Stuffing

Can’t stop thinking about that dressing, huh? Rake leaves (3.8 METS) for 38 minutes and negate the 162 calories in a 1/3-cup serving of scrumptious-ness. (Who are you kidding? You better double up on that raking time.)

Green bean casserole

If you prefer your vegetables unrecognizable, get a rope. Just nine minutes of jump rope (11 METS) will torch a serving of those beans (111 calories).

Kugel

You heard Cousin Miriam is bringing her traditional Hannukah kugel. Organize a game of flag football (4 METS), and you’ll melt a one-cup serving (257 calories) in about an hour.

Cranberry sauce

Wanna make up for your exile to the kids’ table by bogarting the cranberry sauce? Brave the pre-Black Friday sales (2.3 METS) for an hour and 20 minutes to erase half a cup of that bittersweet, red muck (210 calories).

Pumpkin spice latte

You “treated” yourself (for the 24th time this month) to Starbucks’ autumnal pumpkin potion for a mid-Turkey-Day jolt. Better do some max-effort calisthenics (8 METS). You’ll need about 40 minutes to incinerate the calories lurking in a grande with 2 percent milk and whipping cream (380 kcal).