Baked Zucchini Chips
A quick, healthy way to use some zucchini from your garden (or pantry).
These chicken kebobs just SCREAM summer, made with my skinny basil pesto and grape tomatoes. Serve this as an appetizer at your next backyard bash, or have them for dinner any night of the week with a great big salad or over pasta.
We grow sooo much basil in my garden all summer long, so I make a lot of pesto and use it so many ways. This is super easy and can be made a day ahead, in fact the longer it marinates the better! Doubling the skewers helps keep everything in place while grilling, and makes them easier to turn. I love how the tomatoes taste after they are grilled, and they smell just divine when they come off the grill. To make my pesto skinny, I use less oil and make it without the pine nuts – but it’s still so flavorful you won’t miss them! If you’re having this for dinner, I would serve 2 skewers, rather than one with salad or grilled veggies on the side.
These are gluten free, inexpensive, low-carb, clean and simple. If you want to make them paleo, you can leave out the parmesan and swap it for pine nuts. If you love pesto as much as we do, you may also love Skinny Chicken Pesto Bake, Grilled Pesto Shrimp Skewers, or this delicious Eggplant Panini with Pesto – so good!!
Grilled Pesto Chicken and Tomato Kebabs
Servings: 8 • Size: 1 kebab • Old Points: 4 pts • Weight Watcher Points+: 4 pt
Calories: 147 • Fat: 7.5 g • Carb: 3 g • Fiber: 1 g • Protein: 18 g • Sugar: 0 g
Sodium: 104 mg (without salt) • Cholest: 2.5 mg
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- kosher salt and fresh pepper to taste
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1-1/4 lbs skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 24 cherry tomatoes
- 16 wooden skewers
In a food processor pulse basil, garlic, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper until smooth. Slowly add the olive oil while pulsing.
Combine the raw chicken with pesto and marinate a few hours in a bowl. Soak wooden skewers in water at least 30 minutes (or use metal ones to avoid this step). Beginning and ending with chicken, thread chicken and tomatoes onto 8 pairs of parallel skewers to make 8 kebabs total.
Heat the outdoor grill or indoor grill pan over medium heat until hot. Be sure the grates are clean and spray lightly with oil. Place the chicken on the hot grill and cook about 3-4 minutes; turn and continue cooking until chicken is cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Servings: 13 • Size: 1/4 cup • Old Points: 1 pts • Points+: 1 pts
Calories: 52.3 • Fat: 2.0 g • Carbs: 5.5 g • Fiber: 0.0 g • Protein: 3.4 g • Sugar: 3.7 g
Sodium: 288.8 mgIngredients:
- 3/4 cup fat free sour cream
- 3/4 cup fat free Greek yogurt
- 1/3 cup Hellman’s light mayonnaise
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh chives
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tsp salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 1-2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
- 2 cups 1% low fat buttermilk
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ALSO, COMING SOON…. SUMMER SMOOTHIE CHALLENGE!!!! DO YOU HAVE THE BEST SMOOTHIES???? IF YOU DO YOU COULD WIN A NICE LITTLE PRIZE!!!!!
YOUR BRAIN ON CARDIO
Anyone who has ever tackled a StairMaster has a pretty good idea of what happens to your body when you break a sweat. But here’s what’s going on in your head at the same time: All that extra blood bathes your brain cells in oxygen and glucose, which they need to function. The more they get, the better they perform.
Every muscle you move also sends hormones rushing to your brain. There, they mix with a chemical called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF, which plays a role in brain cell growth, mood regulation, and learning. “BDNF is like fertilizer for the brain,” says John J. Ratey, Ph.D., a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. “Without it, our brains can’t take in new information or make new cells.”
Exercise has another vital role: It signals the release of several key hormones, including serotonin, the famed mood booster; dopamine, which affects learning and attention; and norepinephrine, which influences attention, perception, motivation, and arousal. This exercise-induced chemical cocktail has a powerful impact. “By elevating neurotransmitters in the brain, it helps us focus, feel better, and release tension,” Ratey says.
Experienced regularly, all that rushing of blood and hormones primes your brain to grow. In one study, researchers scanned the brains of people who exercised for one hour per day, three days a week, for a duration of six months. They discovered an increase in the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain that controls memory and learning. Working out literally bulked up the study participants’ brains, allowing them to perform better at tasks that require concentration and recall ? two talents that come in handy if, say, you do your own taxes or tend to forget passwords.
“Exercise improves attention, memory, accuracy, and how quickly you process information, all of which helps you make smarter decisions,” says Charles H. Hillman, Ph.D., an associate professor of kinesiology and community health at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
THE MENTAL ADVANTAGE
People who exercised during their workday were 23 percent more productive on those days than they were when they didn’t exercise, says a recent study from the International Journal of Workplace Health Management. And the majority of the study participants (72 percent) did aerobic workouts.
A pulse-pounding workout acts like a cup of coffee (minus the jitters): Your heartbeat picks up, your circulation increases, you’re filled with energy, and your thinking becomes clearer and sharper. What’s more, a study published in Brain and Cognition found that after just 30 minutes of doing an easy half-hour bike ride, subjects completed a cognitive test faster than they did before exercising… and just as accurately. And the brain-boosting effect lasted for at least 52 minutes after the ride.
Use this cardio-induced clarity to your advantage by timing your daily sweat sometime before you punch the clock, on your lunch break, or prior to a demanding task like a big meeting (just don’t skip the post-workout shower!).
23.9 million children ages 2 to 19 are overweight or obese; 33.0% of boys and 30.4% of girls.
Of these children, 12.7 million are obese; 18.6% of boys and 15.0% of girls.
The obesity epidemic is dis proportionally more rampant among children living in low income, low education, and
higher unemployment households, according to data from the National Survey of Children’s Health.
Data from 2011
American Indian/Alaskan Native
youth have an obesity
rate of 17.7%,
whereas rates are 14.7% for Hispanics, 10.6%
for non-Hispanic blacks, 10.3%
for non-Hispanic whites, and 9.3% for Asian/Pacific Islanders.
obesity continues to increase prevalence in male
youth of 5% but not in female youth.
©2013 American Heart Association, Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use prohibited.
American Medical Association says obesity is a disease
American Heart Association Comment
DALLAS, June 19, 2013 – The American Medical Association has announced the organization has designated obesity as a disease requiring treatment and prevention efforts.
The American Heart Association believes the additional focus is needed on this important risk factor for heart disease and stroke. We work with individuals, industry, healthcare professionals and national, state and local governments to recognize the severity of the issue and the need for more coordinated and comprehensive solutions.
Obesity is defined as a body mass index of 30 or higher. Over one-third (33.7%) of U.S. adults are obese (nearly 75 million adults) and about 12 million (16.9%) of U.S. children ages 2 to 19 are obese and nearly one in three (31.7%) U.S. children (23,500,000) ages 2 to 19 are overweight or obese.
“Obesity is mainly caused by taking in more calories than are used up in physical activity and daily life, but other factors may also contribute to obesity including genetics, limited access to healthy foods or unsafe environment for physical activity,” says Donna Arnett, Ph.D., president of the American Heart Association. “When people eat too many calories, or too much saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol, their blood cholesterol levels often rise. But even taking off a few pounds can provide you with cardiovascular benefits, so every step in the right direction is a step toward healthier living.”
If you have too much fat — especially around your waist — you’re at higher risk for health problems. Obesity
- raises blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
- lowers HDL “good” cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is linked with lower heart disease and stroke risk, so reducing it tends to raise the risk.
- raises blood pressure levels.
- can induce diabetes. In some people, diabetes makes these other risk factors much worse. The danger of heart attack is especially high for these people.
When your weight is in a healthy range your body more effectively circulates blood, your fluid levels are more easily managed, and you are less likely to develop diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers and sleep apnea. The American Heart Association can help you get there. To determine your risk for heart disease and stroke, visit www.mylifecheck.org and learn how you can lower your risk.
The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association receives funding mostly from individuals. Foundations and corporations donate as well, and fund specific programs and events. Strict policies are enforced to prevent these relationships from influencing the association’s science content. Financial information for the American Heart Association, including a list of contributions from pharmaceutical companies and device manufacturers, is available at www.heart.org/corporatefunding.
With a stash of berries in your freezer, you can jump-start your day with this nutritious, tasty smoothie in just minutes. It provides vitamin C, fiber, potassium and soy protein.
Makes: 3 servings, 1 cup each
Active Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
- 1 1/4 cups orange juice, preferably calcium-fortified
- 1 banana
- 1 1/4 cups frozen berries, such as raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and/or strawberries
- 1/2 cup low-fat silken tofu, or low-fat plain yogurt
- 1 tablespoon sugar, or Splenda Granular (optional)
- Combine orange juice, banana, berries, tofu (or yogurt) and sugar (or Splenda), if using, in a blender; cover and blend until creamy. Serve immediately.
Per serving: 139 calories; 2 g fat ( 0 g sat , 0 g mono ); 0 mg cholesterol; 33 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 4 g protein; 4 g fiber; 19 mg sodium; 421 mg potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (110% daily value), Fiber (16% dv).
Carbohydrate Servings: 2
Exchanges: 2 fruit, 1/2 low-fat milk