Oatmeal Banana Pancakes

Oatmeal Banana Pancake Recipe

Make a sweet and filling breakfast without added sugar. Banana adds so much natural sweetness to these pancakes that you won’t need a drip of high-calorie syrup to enjoy them. Ground oats make them filling and full of heart-healthy fiber.

Yield: 5 pancakes

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

1 cup dry old-fashioned rolled oats

1 medium banana, mashed

1 large egg

¼ tsp pure vanilla extract

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp fine ground sea salt

2 tbsp whole wheat flour

5 tbsp non-fat milk

Chopped banana for serving (optional)

Directions

Place the oats in a small food processor and pulse until they are ground fine and resemble a coarse flour.

In a medium bowl, stir together the banana and egg about 1 minute, until blended.

Stir in the vanilla and cinnamon. Next add the baking powder and sea salt. Stir well.

In a small bowl, stir together the oats and whole wheat flour. Gradually add these dry ingredients, a little at a time, as you continue to stir. Finally fold in the milk to form a loose batter.

Preheat a medium-skillet or griddle sprayed with non-stick cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add ¼ cup of the batter to the skillet for each pancake. Cook 1 ½ to 2 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown and the pancake bubbles. Flip and cook an additional 1 ½ to 2 minutes.

Serve warm with chopped bananas, if desired.

Nutrition information for 1 pancake: Calories 101; Total Fat 1.3 g; Saturated Fat 0.2 g; Trans Fat 0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 179 mg; Carbohydrate 19.2 g; Fiber 2.6 g; Sugar 4.1 g; Protein 3.9 g

Exercising When You Are Sick

Exercising When You Are Sick

It is tough when you finally make exercise a habit and see progress, only to have a cold or the flu knock you off track. With your strong desire to challenge yourself, you might be tempted to ignore your symptoms and push through your workouts. While this is okay under some circumstances, there are also times when exercise may only make things worse. Pay special attention to your symptoms before exercising when you are sick.

When to Exercise

Most health experts agree that when your discomfort and symptoms are in your head, like a stuffed up nose or minor sore throat, it’s okay to stick to your workouts. According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise may briefly ease nasal congestion. If you decide to exercise, consider decreasing the intensity or time.

Even though you can exercise, it doesn’t always mean that you should. Keep in mind that these beginning symptoms might be the first signs of a more serious cold. Trust your instinct and take a break if you feel your body needs it. Rest can help you feel better, and one day isn’t going ruin your progress.

When to Rest

When your symptoms move below your neck and include chest tightness, coughing, upset stomach, aching muscles, or a fever, take a break until you start feeling better. Exercise increases your internal body temperature, so exercising when you have a fever can make you feel even worse. Pushing through workouts may set you back further than if you take a few days and allow your body to fight off the bug.

Allow Time to Recover

A bad cold and the flu can cause fatigue, muscle weakness, and dehydration. Be patient with yourself. If you were regularly active before the sickness, your body will likely bounce back quickly, but don’t get frustrated if it takes some time. It often takes up to two weeks to feel like your energetic self again. Ease back into workouts with lower intensity exercise and shorter sessions until you feel confident that your body is ready to push harder.

Healthy Eating to Beat Winter Blues

Healthy Eating to Beat Winter Blues

A long, dreary winter can easily get you down, but paying special attention to your food intake may help combat this seasonal slump. Healthy eating has a positive influence on your mood and attitude while reducing stress, anxiety, and the symptoms of depression. Try incorporating healthy foods that are loaded with these nutrients to beat the winter blues.

Tryptophan

Tryptophan is an essential amino acids that is not produced by the body, so it must be consumed from foods. It works with other vitamins and minerals to make serotonin, a neurostransmitter (a chemical messenger in the body). Low levels of serotonin have been linked to depression, and higher levels of serotonin may help improve mood.

Foods that contain tryptophan: Meat, poultry, dairy, eggs, nuts and seeds.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids found in fish and some plant foods. They are important for the health of the brain and the central nervous system. Mood swings and depression are some of the symptoms associated with omega-3 fatty acid deficiency.

Foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids: Fatty fish such as salmon, lake trout and sardines, algae, nuts and nut oils.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 plays a part in the production of brain chemicals that influence mood. Other B vitamins, like B6 and folate, also play a role, but inadequate B12 can be of special concern for vegetarians. It’s possible to get the B12 you need, but this is a vitamin that requires special attention when cutting out animal products. Low levels of B vitamins have been linked to depression.

Foods that contain vitamin B12: Lean meats, fish, poultry, dairy and eggs.

Magnesium

Low magnesium has been found to reduce levels of serotonin. Getting adequate magnesium can be accomplished by eating magnesium-rich foods, but also stay aware of other foods and drinks that have been found to lower magnesium, such as excess coffee, soda, salt, and alcohol.

Foods that contain magnesium: Whole grains, nuts, and green leafy vegetables.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is most often associated with bone health, but levels may also be related to mood disorders. Studies show that low levels of vitamin D are linked to a greater risk for depression. While the easiest way to boost vitamin D is exposure to sunlight, it can also be consumed through food.

Foods that contain vitamin D: Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines and herring, fortified dairy, and eggs.

Selenium

Selenium is a mineral that acts as an antioxidant. Lower intakes of selenium have been linked to poor mood. One study in older adults suggests that adequate selenium intake may reduce the symptoms of depression.

Foods that contain selenium: Seeds, Brazil nuts, fish, shellfish, and whole grains.

Toasted Sesame Green Beans

Toasted Sesame Green Bean Recipe

Green beans provide fiber, B vitamins, and antioxidants. They make a quick and easy side dish to pair with any of your favorite entrees. This recipe gives fresh green beans a roasted, nutty flavor and cooks quickly so that the beans stay crispy and flavorful.

Yield: 6 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

½ tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 lb. fresh green beans, stems trimmed

½ tsp dark sesame oil

½ tbsp black or white toasted sesame seeds

¼ tsp fine ground sea salt

Directions

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Add the green beans to the pan, and stir often to coat the beans in the oil and garlic. Reduce the heat slightly, if necessary, to prevent the garlic from burning. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the green beans are slightly tender, but still crisp.

Remove from the heat and stir in the sesame oil, sesame seeds, and salt. Serve warm.

Nutrition information for 1 serving: Calories 35; Total Fat 1.6 g; Saturated Fat 0.2 g; Trans Fat 0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 98 mg; Carbohydrate 4.4 g; Fiber 2 g; Sugar 0.8 g; Protein 1.1 g

Common Exercise Myths

Common Exercise Myths

Science-based recommendations for exercise are constantly changing as new research is revealed. As a result, it’s easy for old beliefs and unsupported claims to make their way to consumers. The best kind of exercise is the kind you actually do, so find a plan that works for you and watch out for these common exercise myths.

An effective workout requires special equipment.

Companies will try hard to convince you that you need the latest fitness product to ensure an effective workout, but this isn’t true. All you need is a quality pair of athletic shoes and clothing you can comfortably move in. If you want to invest more, consider a stop watch, hand weights and a mat for floor work. You can design an at-home circuit workout using your own body weight that is equally as effective as a workout you would get at the gym. Jogging, jumping and marching boost your heart rate, and your body weight can be used as resistance in many strength training exercises.

Only long workouts will improve your fitness.

You don’t have to put in hours of exercise each day to see results. Current research supports that shorter, high-intensity workouts can improve fitness, blood pressure, cholesterol, and insulin sensitivity. They can also reduce abdominal fat and total body weight.

To get results, alternate high and low intensity intervals for at least 20 minutes. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that the high-intensity intervals be performed at 80 to 90 percent of your max heart rate for 5 seconds to 8 minutes. Recover with intervals working at only 40 to 50 percent of your max heart rate. These workouts can be challenging so be sure to find a starting place that matches your current fitness level. Also incorporate lower intensity exercise at other times throughout the week to allow for adequate recovery.

Do cardio before strength training (or strength training before cardio).

Don’t get caught up on recommendations to perform either your cardiovascular exercise or your strength training first. There are valid, evidence-based arguments to support both sides, and many experts agree that it depends on your goals and your personal preference.

If you have a clear goal of improving your endurance or building strength, do the activities that support those goals first. Wearing out your muscles with a long cardio session before strength training could prevent you from lifting to your full potential, and vice versa. Otherwise, do what works best for you. You might find it wise to do what you like the least, first. This may prevent you from skipping out early and neglecting a beneficial activity that isn’t your favorite.

Exercise at the same time everyday.

Those who exercise in the morning are often more successful at sticking with a program because they get their workout in before other duties push exercise to the back burner. Others have success with lunchtime workouts, or evening gym sessions to unwind from a long day. The best time to exercise is a time that works for you and your schedule. While creating a habit by working out the same time each day can be helpful for some people, don’t let the necessity of a schedule get in the way of a workout. If you have to miss your morning workout, it’s not a reason to give up on exercise altogether. Squeeze in 20 minutes at lunch or after work.

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