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Healthy Cooking with Leftovers Healthy Cooking with Leftovers


cooking with leftovers

Properly using leftovers is a great way to increase the efficiency of home cooking. A big slow cooker of pinto beans can be stretched for use as a hearty lunch, the filling for breakfast burritos, and a side dish for tacos later in the week. When using leftovers, it’s important to be concerned about food safety because many people overestimate how long properly stored leftovers will last. Consuming leftovers beyond their "safe date" increases the risk for foodborne illness.

Always refrigerate leftovers as soon as possible, making sure that they don't stay at room temperature for more than 2 hours. (This time limit drops to 1 hour in hot weather.) Ensure that your refrigerator is set below 40 Fahrenheit; otherwise bacteria can multiply quickly in the food.

Label each container with the date so that you don't forget when it was prepared, and always throw it out if there is any question concerning its safety. It's better to be safe than sorry and sick. The lifespan of leftovers varies depending on the type of food. Refer to the information below when determining if the leftovers in your fridge are still safe to eat.

  • Cooked Seafood 1-2 days

  • Fruit and Cream Pies 2-3 days

  • Cooked Beef, Ham, Pork, Poultry, Fish and Meat Casseroles 3-4 day

  • Cooked Fresh Vegetables 3-4 days

  • Soups, Stews & Sauces 3-4 days

  • Pizza 3-4 days

  • Homemade Dips 3-4 days

  • Cooked Pasta 3-5 days

  • Pre-packaged Lunch Meats (opened) 3-5 days

  • Baked Muffins 7 days

  • Cooked Rice 7 days

  • Hard Cooked Eggs 7 days

  • Hot Dogs (opened) 7 days

Food safety information from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the University of Idaho

Gift Ideas for 7 Types of Fitness Lovers Gift Ideas for 7 Types of Fitness Lovers


Gift Ideas for 7 Types of Fitness Lovers

Giving a gift that promotes a healthy lifestyle is a great way to celebrate the holiday season. Here are gift ideas for 7 types of fitness enthusiasts in your life!

The Newbie

This is the person who is just beginning to exercise. Everything is new and fresh, and they are still trying to find which activities they like best.

One week trials. Give this person the gift of variety. Put together a package of one week trials for new activities. Consider the beginner yoga class, Zumba or salsa dancing. This gift will help your loved one discover a new activity that will keep her exercising long term.

Beginner courses. The gift doesn’t have to be actual exercise. You can focus more on education. Many gyms and recreation centers offer workshops on how to strength train or on starting a running program. Get an idea of what he might like to learn and seek out an educational course to match it.

The Advocate

The advocate is the person who loves activity, and strives to support others. They raise money through training and racing and help with organizations that promote health.

Donate to the cause. Advocates often have fundraising campaigns established as they train for the next event. Donate the money you would spend on a gift to the fundraiser. Or select an organization that is close to her heart and donate in her honor.

Customized shirts or signs for upcoming races. Have shirts and signs printed with names, sayings, and organizations that relate to the advocate. Give these as a gift with a promise that you will be on the course wearing the shirts and holding the signs for support and to garner attention for the cause.

The Advanced

This is the person who has been there and done that when it comes to exercise, and they have the fitness to prove it.

A gift for the next level. Has this person’s passion for fitness turned into plans for a new job or hobby? If a fitness certification is being considered, study materials or exam registration fees can be a great gift idea.

Personal training sessions. Buy a personal training package with the toughest trainer you know. Advanced exercisers are always up for a new challenge!

The Friend Who Needs Convincing

This is the person that is interested in exercise, but hasn’t gotten started. They need direction and a little boost of motivation to take the first step.

Motivating reading materials. Magazines and books with tips, sample exercises, and information on total wellness are a good place to start. A subscription is a simple gift that can have this person looking forward to learning more as they get started.

Get a together gift. Get a gift that allows you to exercise together. Outdoor boot camp sessions, weekend yoga retreats, or beginner rock wall climbing lessons are all things that will get you moving.

The Yoga-lover

This is the person who loves a quiet, peaceful workout, but is driven and strives for balance in mental and physical health.

Passes to new studios. Every yoga student has her favorite type of practice and many studios cater to just one or two types. Check out other studios in the area and consider a gift pass to something this person hasn’t tried such as hot yoga or anti-gravity yoga.

Weekend workshops. Many yoga studios offer weekend workshops that educate on principles related to yoga. This can include mindfulness workshops, meditation retreats, and classes for stress reduction.

The Runner or Cyclist

The avid runner or cyclist will be looking for a challenge. They love fitness, but they prefer that all gifts relate to their favorite activity.

Laboratory analysis. Many universities and clinics have exercise science labs that offer sport-specific testing to the public. For a fee, researchers and clinicians will analyze factors such as gate, form, and fitness level which can help the exerciser improve performance.

Race registration. Lengthier, more challenging run and bike events can be expensive. If you know this person is hoping to compete, a gift to help out with the race registration may be a huge hit.

The Gym-rat

Some people hate the gym, but these folks live for it. Cardio machines, classes, free weights - these are the people who don’t mind exercising indoors.

Gym perks. Check out additional features offered by the gym. Consider a gift certificate for a massage, nutritional consultation, or fitness testing. If you know childcare is a barrier to regular workouts, consider a gift certificate that will help cover the cost. This can be childcare offered by the gym, or it might be a class (such as martial arts or swimming) that will keep the kids busy while mom exercises.

Functional fitness products. There are all types of fun products on the market that are designed to support the gym-goers lifestyle. Check out new gym bags, quick-drying towels for the locker rooms, and beauty products designed for active lifestyles. Have fun pulling this one together and fill a new gym bag with unique items.

10 Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain 10 Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain


Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

From late October through December, special foods and lack of exercise result in holiday weight gain. Studies suggest that adults gain as many as 5 lbs during the holiday season. This year, avoid ruining all of you hard work with these tips.

Start planning now.

The earlier you develop a strategy, the more successful you will be. Jot down annual parties and family commitments in your calendar. Take note of when you may need to cut back on calories to compensate for celebrations, and set a goal for the number of weekly workouts you will complete. As the season progresses, you will be prepared to make your healthy habits a priority.

Select your splurges.

You will be bombarded with high-calorie foods throughout the coming weeks. It’s important not to go overboard, but it is also important to remember that this time comes only once a year. If you set out to deprive yourself of seasonal treats, you won’t succeed. Plan to enjoy those treats you can only get this time of year. Limit yourself to small portions, and pass on the rest.

Use your slow cooker.

A busy afternoon of running errands makes a quick dinner from the drive-thru tempting. You can avoid this temptation with a little planning. Create a list of healthy slow cooker recipes that you prep in the mornings. If you have a hot meal waiting for you at home, you’ll be less tempted to stop for unhealthy fast food meals.

Eat healthy foods for energy.

During the holidays, it’s easy to skip healthy seasonal produce (such as kale, pumpkin and citrus) when you fill up on party appetizers, casseroles, and cookies. Using high-sugar, high-fat foods as your main energy source will have you ready for a nap, not a workout. Enjoy a treat, but don’t allow the season to completely change your healthy eating patterns.

Order online.

If shopping is your excuse for skipping workouts, take your shopping to the Internet. Not only can you take care of your gift list, but you can use an online grocer to bring dinner ingredients straight to your door. You’ll save time by avoiding the travel and long lines. Use the time you save for exercise and for planning your meals for the week.

Limit your to-do list.

Once you make your holiday to-do list, set it aside for a day or two, and then revisit it. Cut out everything that isn’t absolutely necessary. For example, there will be plenty of sweets around. Do you really need to make all five types of cookies, or could you cut it down to four? This could save you at least 30 minutes on a day that you may have otherwise skipped your workout.

Schedule stress-reducing activities.

The holidays can be stressful. Exercise will help, but also consider taking a few minutes to step back from the hectic day and enjoy the moment. Your list may include deep breathing, reading a novel, prayer, mediation, playing with your children, a massage, or a bath. Schedule these short bouts of relaxation into each day to reduce stress throughout the season.

Shorten your workouts.

Research shows that shorter workouts can be as effective as longer sessions, if you step up the intensity. Save yourself time during the holidays and commit to 20 minute workouts. Add hills, speed, and strength intervals to your regular routine to challenge yourself and burn more calories.

Make exercise part of the celebration.

From Halloween to New Year’s Day, nearly every city has a fitness event to commemorate the holiday season. Look for a night-time Halloween walk, a Turkey Trot, or a Jingle Bell Run. Local yoga studios often offer free classes this time of year, or check the gym for a holiday fitness challenge that will keep you on track with workouts.

Don’t overlook the small stuff.

This is the time when the small things matter the most. Fit in every bit of moving that you can throughout your day. Park on the opposite end of the mall, add an extra flight of stairs, or do a mini-fitness routine each morning with 10 push-ups, 15 squats, and 20 crunches. Individually these activities don’t burn a significant number of calories, but when combined they may help offset the cookie you couldn’t pass up yesterday afternoon.

8 Foods that Fight a Cold 8 Foods that Fight a Cold


8 Foods that Fight a Cold

While there is no cure for the common cold, these 8 foods can build your immune system to help fight the cold virus and other bugs.


The skin of almonds contain natural compounds that may boost immunity and reduce inflammation. Researchers suggest that these compounds help white blood cells identify viruses and prevent them from spreading.


Cabbage contains the amino acid glutamine, which assists in the proper function of the immune system. The body makes glutamine, but if you regularly perform strenuous exercise, or you frequently get colds or the flu, you may need extra glutamine from food sources.

Chicken Soup

It turns out that this time-trusted remedy has scientific research to back it up. Chicken soup does have anti-inflammatory properties that are beneficial when you are down with a cold. With a few creative twists to your basic recipe, it also provides a good way to eat many of the other foods that help prevent colds such as garlic, cabbage, and mushrooms.


Garlic contains the sulfur compound allicin, a powerful antioxidant believed to have antibacterial and antiviral properties. Current reviews suggest that more research is needed to support garlic’s role in the prevention of the cold, but with it’s many benefits to overall health, it doesn’t hurt to keep adding it to your meals.


Ginger root contains phenolic compounds called gingerols that have anti-inflammatory properties. It can also help if you are experiencing an upset stomach as it has long been associated with easing nausea and motion sickness.


Mushrooms contain B vitamins that help boost immunity. Even the standard white button mushroom found in most grocery stores provides health benefits. Recent animal studies show that these mushrooms enhance cell activity in the immune system, and that they may increase production of antiviral proteins.


This green leafy vegetable provides a powerful cocktail of antioxidants (including vitamin E, vitamin C, beta-carotene, selenium, and zinc). Together these nutrients help boost your immune system and work to resist infection.


The live active cultures in yogurt are probiotics that strengthen the immune system, and help the body fight off infection. To be sure your yogurt contains these cultures, check the label for the Live & Active Cultures seal from the National Yogurt Association.

7 Tips to Maintain Energy Levels During Weight Loss 7 Tips to Maintain Energy Levels During Weight Loss


Maintain Energy Levels During Weight Loss

Healthy eating makes you feel great, but when you start a weight loss plan, you may experience a temporary drop in energy. These tips will help you identify what is causing your lack of energy, and how to change it. Just remember to hang in there. Once your body adjusts to your new healthy lifestyle, your energy levels will soar!

Expect an adjustment period.

You will be tempted to adopt many new habits all at once, but remember that weight loss isn’t about short term changes. You will need to make gradual, long-term changes to create a healthy lifestyle. Cutting out all the foods you love, or jumping into strenuous workouts right away will leave you feeling drained, and set you up for failure. Instead of dropping your food intake from 2,200 to 1,200 calories in one day, try cutting out 200 calories daily and then increase your calorie deficit each week. This will help your body gradually adjust to your new eating patterns while maintaining your energy levels.

Monitor your calorie intake.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that women eat no fewer than 1,200 calories per day, and men no fewer than 1,700 calories per day for safe and effective weight loss. This doesn’t mean your intake needs to be this low. If you’ve eaten the same amount of calories for a week and still feel lethargic, slowly add back a few calories in the form of nutritious foods. The goal is to find a point of balance where you feel energized, but you have reduced calories enough to lose weight.

Eat more iron.

Over time, low iron intake can lead to iron deficiency anemia, which results in low energy levels. Eat high-protein, iron-rich foods -- such as beans, poultry, lean red meat, and nuts. The National Institutes of Health recommend that men aged 19 and older, and women aged 51 and older, get 8 mg of iron per day. Women aged 19 to 50 need 18 mg per day.

Focus on nutrition, not just calories.

It’s possible to reduce calories and lose weight while still eating processed foods that contain excess sodium and sugar. While you may lose weight, you won’t have the same energy levels as you would if you ate whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats. This is because these foods also contain vitamins and minerals that support healthy body function. Include more fresh foods in your diet and decrease the amount of packaged foods you eat to increase your energy levels.

Eat more often.

When you go an extended period of time from one meal to the next, or skip meals all together, this causes problems with your metabolism and leaves you famished. Eating when you are hungry will help your body to trust that you are not starving it. In return, your body will reestablish a healthy metabolism that will help you reach a healthy weight.

Get the right amount of exercise.

Avoid jumping into exercise too quickly. If you haven’t worked up to an adequate fitness level, strenuous exercise will leave you exhausted. Make your goal to exercise enough to feel challenged, but not to the point where you are too exhausted and sore to move. Begin with 15 – 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise, such as walking, 3 to 5 times per week. Each week, gradually add more time, more intensity, or new exercises as your fitness level improves. Soon you’ll be able to push through a tough workout and feel energetic afterward.

Sleep well.

Lack of quality sleep will leave you drained of energy. Over time this can reduce your motivation to exercise, and you’ll lose focus. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Experiment with your sleep patterns until you find a time frame that allows you to wake feeling rested.

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