Sweet Sunflower Seed Spread (from www.eatingwell.com)
Toasted sunflower seeds and raisins join forces with yogurt cheese for a quick and tasty spread for whole grain bread, crackers, or raw veggies.
Nutrition Profile: Diabetes appropriate, low calorie, low cholesterol, low saturated fat, heart healthy, gluten free, healthy weight appropriate.
½ yogurt cheese (see below)
2 tablespoons chopped raisins
1 ½ table spoons chopped toasted sunflower seeds (see below)
1 tablespoon sugar or sugar substitute
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt.
Yogurt Cheese: Line a colander with a large cotton towel or a cheese cloth folded to double the thickness and place the colander in the sink. Add 1 cup of low-fat or fat free plain yogurt. Let stand for 15 minutes then place the colander over a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours. Gather the edges of the town together and gently squeeze any remaining liquid out. Transfer the yogurt cheese to an airtight container. Makes ½ cup and can be stored chilled for up to 1 week.
Toasted Sunflower Seeds: Place in a small dry skillet and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, about 2 to 4 minutes.
Spread: Combine yogurt cheese, raisins, sunflower seeds, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl and mix well.
Nutrition: (Per tablespoon) 26 calories; 1 g fat; o mg cholesterol; 4 g carbohydrates; 1 g protein; 0g fiber 23 mg sodium; 50 mg potassium.
If cash is the only thing keeping you from starting a fitness program or if you’re looking to get moving and save your pennies, there’s good news. You don’t’ need to join a gym to get yourself up and moving. There are plenty of low-cost alternatives that can help you get fit without breaking the bank. Here are a couple of tips and tricks to get you started.
1. Take advantage of opportunities. Special equipment isn’t a necessity for an aerobic workout. With a little bit of foresight, everyday activities can become part of your fitness routine. For example, everyday household chores can be made into a workout. Weeding the garden, mowing the lawn or shoveling snow are great examples. Even vacuuming and scrubbing can count as a workout if you raise your heart rate. If you have children don’t just watch them play at the park. Join in the fun. Play a game of tag or take a family bike ride together. Heading to the grocery store or mall, park further away from the store and walk.
2. Consider modest investments. Inexpensive fitness products can make for great additions to your fitness routine. Dumbbells and resistance tubing can be surprisingly inexpensive and work great for strength training. Jump ropes (usually under $20) provide a wonderful cardiovascular workout as well as muscle toning. Fitness balls can help strengthen the core and improve flexibility and balance.
3. Improvise. If you don’t want to spend a single red cent on fitness equipment then use ordinary household items for various upper and lower body strength training exercises. Believe it or not many canned goods (especially the larger cans) can serve double duty as hand weights. Instead of throwing out that empty water or milk jug give it a good rinse and fill it with water or sand and secure the top with duct tape. Voila! Not only did you create instant strength training equipment, you also did your part in going green. You can adjust the amount of water and sand as your fitness level changes. Got a step stool or stairs in your home? Both work very well for step training. Just turn up your favorite dance tunes and step up (and down) to the beat.
4. Shop smart. If you’re interested in a specific exercise class or piece of equipment, then you should shop around. Check out your local recreation department or community center. Often times they offer discounted fitness classes to local residents. If you live near a college with a fitness center ask if it is available to community members. Stores like Wal-Mart, Target, Marshalls and TJ Maxx are great places to find bargain fitness equipment. Also, buying used equipment is a great savvy shopping technique. I’ve found that yard sales and craigslist.com are great places to find used fitness equipment. Recently, I purchased a set of Bowflex Select Tech Dumbbells from a seller on craigslist.com for my home gym. The equipment was in excellent condition and was a quarter of the cost of a new set. With yard sales and Craigslist you can try out the equipment before you buy it and you don’t have to pay expensive shipping costs as long as you have a vehicle that can carry the equipment. Also, use good common sense and know what to buy. Some “fitness products” are not worth buying no matter how low the price. Products that sound too good to be true (like supplements claiming to melt away pounds without diet or exercise) should be avoided. They’ll drain your wallet and fuel your frustration.
Getting into shape doesn’t have to be expensive. Don’t allow yourself to get caught up in memberships or purchases you can’t afford. Keep your concentration on your fitness goals, get creative on how to achieve them and keep your hard earned money where it needs to be…in your pocket!
Until next week…