Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Paula Deen's Lean: Deep Fried Caramel Apple Pie ~ Philly Style!

I am over-the-top excited to share this delicious dessert recipe with you! On the Real Women of Philadelphia site, Paula showed us how to reinvent the classic apple pie by incorporating a new crust ingredient and of course, Philadelphia Cream Cheese. Check out her how-to video here.


Now, as you can see in the name, Paula does fry her Caramel Apple Pies. In leanin' out this recipe, I was able to save a lot of the flavor, but I couldn't keep the 'deep fry'. Sorry, y'all. But don't dismiss this dessert yet because it is incredible! Not to mention, easy as pie to make. Take a look at this simple, delicious and not-so-sinful dessert classic.


DEEP FRIED BAKED CARAMEL APPLE PIE ~ PHILLY STYLE!
Serves 8


INGREDIENTS:

1 package Pillsbury Reduced-Fat biscuits (8 biscuits)
4 ounces FAT FREE Philadelphia Cream Cheese
2 tbsp. "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter"
3 Granny Smith Apples (peeled & sliced thinly)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
flour
cooking spray


DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.


In a pan over medium-heat, melt butter and brown sugar; creating the caramel for the pie filling. To the caramel, add the sliced apples. Stir in apples until caramel is worked in. Next, add the softened Philadelphia Cream Cheese. Stir frequently, until cream cheese in completely melted and coating the apples.

To prepare the pie crusts, roll out each biscuit until roughly 6-8 inches wide. Use flour to prevent dough from sticking to the surface and the roller.





Evenly spoon the apple mixture onto the center of each pie crust. Take a little bit of water and run your fingers along the edge of the pie. Fold one side of the pie over and seal. Use a fork to secure the seams of the pie crust by pressing along the folded edge.
As Paula points out, we don't want to lose any of that goodness inside!

Place pies on a prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15-18 minutes; or until golden.

Serve with a scoop of frozen vanilla yogurt and drizzle with sugar free caramel. YUM!

 
THE RESULTS:

AMAZING! The biscuits are really a great idea for a pie crust. The are so soft and flavorful. Plus, they come in a reduced-fat variety. Bonus! Overall, if you are looking for an easy and impressive dessert, this is a hit. Since we use biscuits, we could even enjoy this for breakfast, right? If apples aren't your thing, try this recipe using any variety of fruit; peaches, pears or cherries. I really don't think you can go wrong.

In my opinion, the best way to have this dessert is to serve it warm. I made mine before dinner, so when it was dessert time, I just threw mine in the microwave for about 20 seconds. Then I topped it off with a scoop of fat free vanilla ice cream and drizzled on some sugar free caramel. Each bite was just heaven!

I really hope you decide to give this recipe a try. It is the perfect dessert for every season. A true classic! Thanks again for the inspiration, Paula.

NUTRITION FACTS (per serving):  287.8 calories;  8g fat;  51.8g carbohydrate;  6.1g protein;  2.2g fiber
**Facts do not include frozen yogurt or topping.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Livin' Lean Topic Tuesday: Beachwear That Suits You

We are coming up on that season that many women fear; SWIMSUIT SEASON! I don't know how many times I hear ladies say "no thank you" to a cookie at a faculty meeting because they only have "X" numbers of months, weeks or days until they must put on this feared fabric. This little number has the power to completely consume our lives. I know. It does the same thing to me too. It's time to stop this swimsuit anxiety once and for all. Let's take a new look at swimsuits. From this point forward, it's not all about making our body fit the suit. It is also about finding the suit that fits us!


Women come in many beautiful shapes and sizes. And guess what ladies...so do swimsuits! Changing the color, cut or fabric of a suit can totally take you from a state a depression to a state of excitement. Remember, if a suit doesn't look good, it's the suit, not you. We need to find the styles made for us. The first thing we must identify is our body type. What best defines my shape? Then consider what we'll be doing while wearing this suit (reading in the sun, playing volleyball or swimming laps). Function also plays a role in selecting a suit. Believe me, string bikinis are not best for playing the in waves at the beach.


Here is a link to Fitness Magazine. The article offers a guide for finding the best swim suit for your body. It also includes pictures, giving examples of possible options. Take a look and see what is out there for you. At no other time of the year are we as "out there" as we are on the beach or at the pool. Essentially, it is like we are walking around in our bra and undies. Who wouldn't be a little self-conscious, right? Well, instead, we need to feel beautiful, strong and confident out there in our little swim suits. We are outside in the sun to have some fun, not to worry about how we are lookin'. We should step out knowing we look great! It starts with finding the suit that is going to show off our shapes and allows us to feel comfortable. If you want to feel sexy in a suit this summer, find your fit and wear it with confidence.

Now go out and have some fun swimsuit shoppin'! Oh, and don't forget to pick up some sunscreen too. 

Monday, May 24, 2010

My Offical Acceptance into the Preppy Mafia

With all this pink and green, it was just a matter of time before someone noticed my prep potential. I have Shannon, at Webbisodes: Diapers, Drool and Drama, to thank for this beautiful award! To be honest with y'all, while I was growing up, "preppy" was not something I wanted to be categorized under. However, as an adult and now blogging mama, things have changed a bit. These blogging ladies in the Preppy Mafia are definitely ones I pride myself in being associated with. Therefore, I am proud and honored to accept this award as one of the newest members to the Preppy Mafia!


 The rules:


1. Copy and paste the above image onto your blog/website.


2. Answer the questions below.


3. Pass onto bloggers that you LOVE and let them know they've been given this award.


Welcome to the Preppy Mafia! Now for a few questions, you cannot refuse.




1. Who is your style icon(s)?

I like classy and simple, with a little bit of edge (or sass). Those icons include Jennifer Aniston, Jessica Alba and Kelly Ripa.

2. What is your favorite Socialite lit book?

I wish I had time to read anything other than books about education and organizational leadership. For now, that's all I read when it comes to books. I'll get back to ya when I graduate in a few years.

3. Favorite party theme?

I love a good party theme! Probably my favorite is a "Jimmy Buffett/Tropical" theme. It screams, "Kick back, have some fun and enjoy a frozen concoction!."

4. Go to Halloween costume?

Absolutely! Almost every year my husband and I dress up for Halloween parties. We have a blast trying to coordinate outfits. The costumes are always homemade and pieced together. To us, buying a costume already put together takes all the fun out of it.

5. Extravagance you cannot live without?

My cell pone, my lap top and my MomAgenda planners, calendar and note pads. Without these things, it is impossible to function.
6. Living person you admire?

He may think it funny for me to be writing this, but I admire my husband. I don't think he truly knows how much I look up to him and how proud I am of who he is as a person. This man loves his family and friends more than anything in the world. These days, strong, loyal and loving men are hard to come by. If you have one ladies, hold on tight! I admire my husband because he brings out the best in me and others around him.

7. Greatest fear?

Fear is an interesting concept. It is the one thing holding us back from our true potential. It doesn't exist in the world around us, but only within us. My biggest fear is allowing fear itself to keep me from going for my dreams and aspirations.


8. Trait you deplore in yourself?

My listening skills. If I am preoccupied with something or my mind is swamped, I find it hard to really listen when others are talking. For example, if I come home and my husband wants to vent or share something exciting with me, I will appear to be listening, but really my mind is somewhere else. This is something I try to work on constantly. The ones I love deserve my undivided attention. I need to be there for them, 100%. My issues can wait.


9. Which talent would you most like to have?

I wish I could sing. I mean "Kelly Clarkson" sing! I have no problem getting in front of people, I love music, I love to dance, but the voice is not that impressive. If I could sing, I would probably try to be in a band or would have auditioned for American Idol years ago. Instead, my voice is reserved for the shower and my hour-long commutes to work. That's when I get to pretend I'm a rock star.


10. Greatest Achievement?

My greatest achievement is being selected as a finalist in the Real Women of Philadelphia contest. It continues to be one of the greatest experiences in my life (besides marrying Rudy and having our daughter, of course). I am having a blast creating new recipes, making new friends and being a part of the community. If you haven't yet, please stop by the Real Women of Philadelphia community and become a part of all the excitement. The casting part of the competition is closed, but this is just the beginning. After the four winners are selected in Savannah, they will need help creating and choosing recipes to be featured in a Philadelphia Cream Cheese Cookbook. Check it out!



Now, The Preppy Mafia award goes to:

Jen @ After the Alter

AND

Me and My Pink Mixer


Congrats ladies and I hope everyone is having a marvelous Monday!


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Paula Deen's Lean: Wagon Wheels & Cheese with Chicken and Broccoli

This recipe is made specifically with our "Teeny-Leanies" (healthy-eatin' kids) in mind. Paula has a page in her magazine titled "Jack's Corner", where she features yummy child-friendly recipes. Jack is her precious grandson that loves Paula's cookin' just as much as the rest of us. The great news is that even big kids like you and I can enjoy this and many other wonderful recipes found in "Jack's Corner". Here is what I did to lean it up just a bit. For the original version of this recipe, check out Paula's March/April 2010 issue of Cooking with Paula Deen Magazine.


WAGON WHEELS AND CHEESE WITH CHICKEN AND BROCCOLI
Makes 12 Servings


INGREDIENTS:

1 (16 oz.) bag of Veggie Wacky Mac pasta
1 boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1-1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
2 tablespoon SMART BALANCE olive oil/butter blend
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4-1/2 cup 1% milk
1 bag KRAFT fat free shredded cheddar cheese (1-3/4 c)
1 bag KRAFT 1% shredded mozzerella cheese
1 cup reduced-fat shredded Swiss cheese
1 (10-oz.) package frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and drained
1 cup Panko (Japanese bread crumbs)


DIRECTIONS:


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray large casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.


Cook pasta according to directions on the package and keep warm.


Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt. In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add chicken and cook for about 4 minutes or until cooked all the way through. Add flour and remaining salt. Stir constantly until blended. Slowly add milk and stir occasionally; about 5-6 minutes. When the mixture has thickened slightly, add in the cheese. Once cheese is melted and smooth, add the broccoli.
Add the pasta to the mixture and stir gently until all the pasta is covered.


Pour mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Top off with Panko and bake for 15-20 minutes. Bake until hot and bubbly. Make sure to cool before serving.


RESULTS:


It was a hit! From the cook's perspective, it was so simple and took hardly any time at all. From a taster's perspective, it was fantastically delicious! My little one almost cleaned her plate (which is HUGE for her). I couldn't wipe the big smile off my face as I watched her take huge bites loaded with vitamin-packed broccoli and protein-powered chicken, pasta and cheese. It is a parent's dream! And I must add, it was a great meal for myself and my husband too.

My changes were minimal for this recipe. I used reduced-fat cheeses and milk, cut the butter in half and substituted with Smart Balance and used noodles made with vegetables. The Wacky Mac not only added a few more vitamins, but it also added some additional color with green and red colored pasta. More color is always exciting when eating. As Paula says, "We eat first with our eyes," so we gotta make it look exciting, especially to the eyes of those little eaters.

If you have 12 1-cup ovenproof ramekins, you can use those in place of the large casserole. That is what Paula did and it looked really cute. I just didn't have any of these, otherwise I would have. It would have been very helpfult for portion control.
If you have kids in the house, I would say this recipe is a must! If you don't...I still think it is a must. To me, it is a perfectly balance meal; pasta (carbs), chicken and cheese (protein), broccoli (veggies) and butter/olive oil (fats). It gets a perfect "10" on nutrition and taste!

NUTRITION FACTS (per serving): 248.33 calories;  3.47g fat;  36.3g carbohydrate; 18.99g protein;  1.98g fiber

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Livin' Lean Topic Tuesday: What About the Butter?

When people find out about what I do here at cookinlean.com, one of the most common questions they ask me is, "What do you do about all that butter Paula puts in her dishes?" If anyone is familiar with Paula Deen's delicious, southern recipes, then they know how this woman is fearless when it comes to butter. It tastes great and works well in so many dishes; from appetizers to desserts. Therefore, it is used quite frequently throughout her recipes. There is no doubt she knows what tastes good. The problem is, when you are on a mission to cook lean, butter tends to work against you. So, I have researched and experimented with many different butter substitutes in efforts to cut fat, but to also keep Paula's dishes tastin' great and lookin' beautiful. Here are some suggestions for easy butter substitutions:

Extra Virgin Olive Oil- For pasta dishes or certain frying recipes (such as the Faux Crab Cakes), extra virgin olive oil works wonderfully and offers "healthy" fats, which research has shown to reduce levels of LDL (the bad cholesterol) in our bodies. Also try pouring olive oil onto a small plate with spices or just pepper. This is great for dipping bread, instead of spreading butter.


Fruit Puree- I will commonly use apple sauce in place of butter or oil when baking. Other fruit based puree options include plums and prunes. This past weekend I tried an absolutely delicious brownie made with pureed prunes instead of butter and oil. They were unbelievable! One tablespoon of fruit puree cost you 0 grams of fat and about 35 calories. The butter...11 grams of fat and 100 calories.  That is some HUGE savings!

Smart Balance Blends- This is a wonderful product I use quite a bit in my cooking. It is made with extra virgin olive oil. Therefore, it contains 30% less saturated fat (the bad fat) than butter, plus offers the vitamins and healthy fats found in olive oil. I use this to start out many of my dishes beginning with cooked onions, garlic or other vegetables (Try using it in the Fried Bacon Mashed Potatoes. Wonderful!).

"I Can't Believe It's Not Butter"- When it comes to baking and you just have to use butter, the best substitute is this. It bakes and tastes as close to butter as you are going to get, with half the saturated fat of regular butter. The total fat is three grams less than butter too, at 8g fat per serving (tablespoon).

If you surf through my recipes and then look at Paula's, you will see that these simple substitutions are used in almost every one I try (except for the recipes were she already uses EVOO). Like I have said before, cookin' lean doesn't mean giving up all those wonderful and sometimes buttery dishes we love. There are simple ways to keep the flavor and cut out tons of fat and cholesterol. That's just part of livin' lean!

Try some of these substitutions out in your own recipes and let me know how it turns out. I would love to hear from you.

Have a wonderful Tuesday!


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Livin' Lean Topic Tuesday: Eating Out~ Italian Style

When going out to eat, Italian cuisine is one of my favorite indulgences. There is just the sweetest little family-owned restaurant in down town Winchester, Virginia called Violino's, where my husband and I love to go on those special evenings! The atmosphere, the people and the food are all just unbelievable. Really, if you are stoppin' through Winchester and looking for a great meal or the perfect spot to celebrate a special occasion, you must check it out. You will not be disappointed.

But when it comes to livin' lean and eating Italian cuisine, we need to be careful. Just as with any style of food, there are wonderfully healthy dishes to satisfy our appetite, but there are also dishes out there to sabotage all the hard work we do throughout the week. If you are one to follow a low-carb style diet, the first thing you fear is all the PASTA! Yes, Italian cuisine offers many delicious pasta dishes. However, there are numerous options offered without any pasta at all. You just need to know what to look for.

Here's a list of some key words to look out for when ordering Italian at a restaurant:

PASTA- Well, of course this was going to be one of them. Pasta is high in carbohydrates, so according to your nutritional needs, it may be too much for dinner. If you go the pasta route, remember portion control. A serving of pasta is only 1/2 cup cooked.

GNOCCHI- We are talkin' potatoes and butter in these wonderful little bundles. It's a cross between a noodle and a dumpling. Sounds delicious, right? Well, when watching the waistline, it isn't the best choice. You can get more bang for your buck choosing something else.

CREAMY- Anytime you see the word "creamy" or "cream", you are looking at butter and heavy cream being added to your sauce. Opt for a red sauce or EVOO for your pasta. It will save tons of calories and cut out unhealthy fats.

ALFREDO- It tastes so good, but there is a reason for that. This sauce is made out of butter and cheese. Skip alfredo when eating out and save it for home where you can make your own using low-fat recipes.

CALAMARI- It's fried folks...need I say more? A better choice for an appetizer would be something like Mozzerela Santa Lucia; fresh homemade mozzerella and tomatoes drizzled with olive oil, basil and herbs. YUM! A personal favorite.

I love Italian because of all the rich variety in the dishes and the fact they use Extra Virgin Olive Oil in almost everything. EVOO is such a great way to get in the daily healthy fats our bodies need. When you think outside the box of just Italian pasta dishes, you are opening yourself up to a whole new world of flavorful choices.

If I were to go out to Violino's tonight, this is what I would get...

Mozzerella Santa Lucia

Fresh homemade mozzerella and tomatoes drizzled with olive oil, basil and herbs.

Galletto al Limone

Grilled boneless Cornish Hen marinated and pressed with rosemary, garlic and lemon.

And of course, a glass (or two) of Chardonnay.


Food is a wonderful part of life which is meant to be enjoyed. I find the best way to enjoy food is not only to make sure it tastes good, but to make sure it makes me feel good too. Keeping it light is what makes me feel best.

Now go get some Italian!

Have a fabulous week! Ciao!




**Photos are taken from foodnetwork.com and violinorestaurant.com.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Paula Deen's Lean: Faux Crab Cakes

For some insane reason that I cannot explain, I have developed a shell fish allergy in my adult age. Needless to say, this makes me extremely sad. There was once a time in my life where I enjoyed the occasional indulgence of lobster dipped in melted butter or steamed shrimp covered in Ol' Bay. It still looks and sounds mouthwatering to me, but my body does not agree. My shellfish-eatin' days are over.


If I had never experienced life as a shellfish eater, then I wouldn't know what I'm missing. But I did. And that is OK, 'cause you know what "they" say, "Better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all." Well crab cakes, I did love you and since we just weren't getting along like we used to...I had no choice but to move on. Please meet my new love...faux crab cakes.


It's not what you are thinking; no imitation crab here. These delicious pan-fried cakes are made out of tuna. Check out how to make these shellfish-free, lean, fast and extremely affordable cakes.


FAUX CRAB CAKES
Serves 4 (2 cakes each)


INGREDIENTS:


1/4 cup Hellmann's mayonnaise dressing


1 tablespoon minced onion

1 tablespoon sweet relish

1 egg, beaten

2 (6-ounce) cans tuna fish (in water)

Cooking spray; for frying 

1/2 cup PANKO bread crumbs

1 pinch salt

1 pinch pepper

Lemon juice, optional

DIRECTIONS:
Heat large skillet over medium heat; coating with cooking spray. While skillet is heating, combine tuna, beaten egg, onion, mayonnaise dressing, 1/4 cup PANKO bread crumbs, salt, pepper and lemon juice, to taste, if desired. Form into patties and dust with additional bread crumbs. When skillet is hot, fry patty until golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove and serve alone or over a green salad.

RESULTS:
I was really impressed with the flavor in these faux crab cakes. Sometimes canned tuna can be a little strong, but there wasn't an overwhelming tuna taste or aroma to these. They are closer to crab cakes than I had imagined. I give them an A+.

I put my tuna cakes right over a green salad and drizzled a little bit of light ranch on top to complete the meal. This is a great, last minute meal to throw together that is healthy and light. I always have these ingredients (except for the Panko) on hand. By the way, if you have not used PANKO yet, I strongly encourage using it in place of regular bread crumbs. They are Japeneese bread crumbs and in 1/2 cup, there are only about 100 calories and 25 g of carbohydrates! For breading, that isn't bad at all. I am going to try making some oven baked onion rings using PANKO. I'll keep you all posted on the outcome.

I can see myself making this dish quite a bit over the summer, since I will be home for lunch. I eat tuna at least once or twice a week for lunch anyway. This gives me another way to switch it up and keep lunch exciting.

Give it a try. You won't be disappointed!

NUTRITION FACTS (per serving): 169 calories;  2.69g fat;  10.35g carbohydrate;  24.27g protein;  .25g fiber


Thursday, May 6, 2010

SAVANNAH DAY DREAMIN'

It excites me so much to share the most fabulous news with you! Over the past month, I have been cookin' up a cream cheese storm in the Paula Deen and Philadelphia Cream Cheese "Real Women of Philadelphia Challenge". Well...one side dish, two appetizers, two entrees and two desserts later...all my hard work has paid off. Folks, I am so lucky to have been chosen as one of the sixteen finalists to fly to Savannah and compete for a spot as one of four "Real Women of Philadelphia." This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I can't begin to explain how thrilled I am!


Some of you may be thinking, "What is the Real Women of Philadelphia?" It is a competition where women from all over create original recipes using Philadelphia Cream Cheese and make a video cookin' them. The recipes must be original and must contain Philadelphia Cream Cheese. That is it! The rest is up to you and your creativity. For more details on the competition, click here.

Hundreds and hundreds of women have joined in on the adventure and a really cool community has formed out of it. There is so much support and enthusiasm within this competition. You really have to see it for yourself. Please take a moment and check it out. Who knows... you could be the next woman chosen to go to Savannah!

I really can't believe it guys. I get to meet Paula! What an adventure this year is turning out to be. Life is absolutely amazing.

Oh, one more thing. Here is the video and dessert recipe that won my spot in the finals. No, it's not completely lean, but a splurge is good for us every now and then.

Take care!



Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Paula Deen's Lean: Blackened Tilapia Sandwich with Cilantro Lime Mayonnaise

Over the past year, I have really branched out from my comfort zone and tried new things. Even so, there is one branch I have not been brave enough to venture out on and that is the seafood branch. It doesn't help that I am allergic to most shellfish. That is a slight problem. But there is no excuse for not cooking fish, except for that it intimidates the heck out of me. I order it a lot when eating out, but when it comes to preparing it, I am always a little nervous. Well not anymore! Fish, such as the Tilapia in this dish, is so easy to cook. Plus, it is really affordable too. Since I never bought it before, I didn't realize it is actually cheaper than chicken. Bonus! Check out this simple and slim version of Paula Deen's Blackened Tilapia Sandwich with Cilantro Lime Mayonnaise.


BLACKENED TILAPIA SANDWICH WITH CILANTRO LIME MAYONNAISE
Serves 4

INGREDIENTS:
1/4 cup sweet paprika
2 tablespoons ground thyme
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 (10-ounce) tilapia fillets
4 WHOLE WHEAT buns
Cilantro Lime Mayonnaise, recipe follows
Store-bought mango salsa (2 tbsp per sandwich)


Cilantro Lime Mayonnaise:
1/2 cup Hellman's mayonnaise dressing
1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice


DIRECTIONS:
Cilantro Lime Mayonnaise: In a small bowl, combine all ingredients. Cover and chill.


In a shallow dish, combine first 6 ingredients.


Pour EVOO into another shallow dish. Dip fish fillets in EVOO. Then coat with the spice mixture.


Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat until hot. Cook prepared fish for about 3-4 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily with a fork.


Spread Cilantro Lime Mayonnaise Dressing evenly over buns. Place blackened fish on bottom half of bun, top with mango salsa, and cover with top half of bun.


THE RESULTS:


This is such a light and easy dinner. The mango salsa is such a nice touch. I will definitely make this one again. It takes no time at all and really fills you up. And did I mention it was cheep?!?! A real budget-friendly dinner.


The EVOO is replacing the butter and providing the heart healthy fats that our bodies need. By using a whole wheat bun instead of a Kaiser (and not buttering and toasting it), you are saving over 150 calories alone! Other than that, there is no need to change anything else. Another fabulous dish inspired by Paula Deen!

NUTRITION FACTS (per serving):  504 calories;  14.9g fat;  32.4g carbohydrate;  63.2g protein;  5.9g fiber

Livin' Lean Topic Tuesday: Making Exercise Fun

If ya'll don't know this already, I am an elementary physical education teacher. My mission is to teach children about health, nutrition and exercise. But most importantly, my job is to create positive feelings about exercise within my students. I want them to find something they enjoy and be able to carry it with them as they become adults. How do I do this? I make movement fun!

Believe it or not, we are not much different than elementary students. If something is fun, we are more likely going to do it. If it seems like work or a chore, we aren't. It is that simple. So, what we need to do is find ways to make exercise fun or find additional activity in things we already enjoy. Here are some ideas to get you thinking about ways to spice up your exercise life!

WAYS TO MAKE EXERCISE FUN

Fitness with Friends - Find a friend or group of people to take walks with. If someone is counting on you, it is harder to talk yourself out of going for that walk. Plus, it is a great time to laugh and talk with other people; a bonus for your emotional health as well.

Play with Your Kids- I don't know about you, but when my daughter and I run around outside, it can be exhausting! My sister is always tired after babysitting. Kids have tons of energy. Get out there and play with them. It is great for you physcially and strengthens the parent/child relationship.

Dance- Dancing is a fabulous workout! There are probably classes in your area to sign up for. But if you are not into the group class thing, throw on some music and dance in your living room. You could even dance as you clean your house or do other chores. With the right tunes, you won't be able to stop yourself.

Sports Leagues- If you are the competive type or just like being around people, check with your local parks and recreation department for adult sports leagues. The one in my area offers tons of options for adults to get out and have fun.
Hopefully these ideas have you thinking about ways to have fun with fitness. The weather is great this time of year. Get out there, get moving and have a great time! If you include your kids, you are also making my job a little bit easier. PE teachers everywhere appreciate that!

Have a great day!

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