HOW MANY CALORIES ARE IN YOUR HOLIDAY FOODS? #516 12/05/12
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The Beachbody® Holiday Gift Guide

By Rebecca Swanner

This holiday season, we're here to help. And not just to help you fit into a smaller size come January. We asked Tony Horton, Chalene Johnson, Debbie Siebers, and other trainers, experts, nutritionists, and editorial staff what gifts they recommend giving this season. From workout bags and calorie counters to cutting boards and P90X2®, we've got you covered with more than 50 great gifts.

  • Chalene Johnson's Holiday Picks
    Chalene Johnson is the creator of Turbo Jam®, TurboFire®, and ChaLEAN Extreme®. To our knowledge, she has not once in her life held still for more than two minutes at a time.
    1. Beachbody® Balance Ball. This inflatable, oversized exercise ball has been the go-to piece of equipment for personal trainers for almost two decades because it's inexpensive and helps you achieve impressive results. I've found it's the most effective piece of equipment to train your core . . . period!
      Beachbody.com, $29.95
    2. Turbo Wear Gift Card. Nothing gets me more excited to work out than a cute new outfit. If your partner tends to get you workout clothing you don't like, make it easier on both of you this year and ask for a Turbo Wear Gift Card!
      TurboWear.com, $10 and up
    3. INSANITY®. You've seen the amazing results people have gotten from this killer program, but if I may be frank, what they don't talk about in the infomercial is how hot Shaun T is! If you want some tasty eye candy to ease the pain while you're burning calories, Shaun T and his team will not disappoint!
      Beachbody.com, $119.85
    4. TurboFire®. People couldn't get enough of Turbo Jam, my first cardio-kickboxing DVD, because it was fun and challenging. With TurboFire, I took it to the next level, incorporating High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) to help you train the way top athletes do for awesome results.
      Beachbody.com, $120
    5. Bowflex® SelectTech® Dumbbells. If you are serious about your strength training and short on space, these are a must-have investment. They're incredibly compact and allow you to increase the weight by as little as half a pound per side.
      BowflexSelectTech.com, $599
    6. Ticket to Camp Do More. If you really want to do something special for someone, gift them with a ticket to this life-changing, uplifting, crazy-fun event. For the first time, Camp Do More will be held in Las Vegas, and it's the perfect gift to give your BFF or the person who needs a ray of sunshine wrapped in rhinestones and tied with a leather bow! No Debbie Downers or fitness snobs allowed!
      TurboKick.com, $447
  • Ani Aratounians-Khachikian's Holiday Picks
    Ani is Beachbody's Manager of Nutrition & Culinary Development. As a mom, wife, culinary dietitian, and confirmed tennis junkie, she deftly balances nurturing her daughters, achieving her professional goals, and perfecting her backspin.
    1. Misto® Olive Oil Sprayer. I love this spritzer because it allows you to easily control the amount of oil you put on your favorite dishes. I use it on my salads, to coat my skillets, and I've found it's especially good on air-popped popcorn.
      Pfaltzgraff.com, $7–$16
    2. The World's Healthiest Foods: An Essential Guide to Your Healthier Way of Eating. Written by medical doctor George Mateljan, this book is filled with information on how to select, store, and prepare natural foods associated with health and longevity. It also features more than 500 quick and easy recipes and a 4-week meal plan!
      WhFoods.org, $39.95
    3. Teavana® Loose Green Tea Blends. These loose teas that blend exotic teas—such as jasmine and oolong with green tea—will not only wake up your taste buds, but they're also an excellent source of antioxidants. You'll never catch me without a delicious cup o' tea by my side when I'm designing your nutrition plans.
      Teavana.com, $7.94–$20
    4. P90X2 RumbleRoller®. Instead of going to a masseuse every time you need a massage, try the RumbleRoller. I used it to recover from my intense P90X2 workouts, and I kid you not when I say this product changed my life.
      Beachbody.com, $69.60
    5. Nicobella Organics® Chocolates. It's okay to treat yourself to some chocolate once in a while. So, when you do, make it a real treat. Nicobella Organics specializes in vegan, organic, dark chocolate. Mmm.
      NicobellaOrganics.com, $5.50-$30.00
  • Dr. Mark Cheng's Holiday Picks
    Dr. Mark Cheng is the creator of Tai Cheng®; he's the doc to talk to if your prescription calls for Zen.
    1. Cold Steel® Steak Knives. Nothing ticks me off more than having a beautiful meal set in front of me and having to saw away at it with a dull steak knife. This set of six knives is your insurance against such frustrations. Made by a company that specializes in combat-worthy blades, the handles fit your hand better than a glove, and the blades fly through any protein with ease.
      ColdSteel.com, $69.95
    2. Ikazuchi Design Agatsu T-Shirt. One of the most meaningful and recurring themes in Tai Cheng is: Take the time to know your body in order to better know yourself, and the founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba, often said, "True victory, self-victory, is instant victory." This silky soft, form-fitting shirt features the character for "self-victory" and serves as a strong yet understated reminder of this idea.
      Ikazuchi-Design.com, $36
    3. Kettlebell Warrior: Applied Combat Kettlebells for Maximum Martial Power. If you want to learn how to use kettlebells in the safest possible way—without training with a qualified instructor—you need to follow videos that force you to learn the basics. That's exactly what I do in Kettlebell Warrior. Through it, you'll get exercise instruction, workout routines, and martial arts applications all in one.
      DragonDoor.com, $77
    4. E2D Defender Compact Flashlight. This heavy-duty, compact flashlight emits a retina-searing beam of light that's so powerful it can illuminate a wall two houses away, which means it can guide you when the power goes out and disrupt an attacker's night vision. I've dropped mine countless times on concrete, and the bulb still shines brightly.
      SureFire.com, $189
    5. Tai Cheng. Give someone the gift of flexibility and relief from their aches and pains with Tai Cheng, the workout program created by Dr. Mark Cheng, and based on the centuries-old techniques of Tai Chi.
      Beachbody.com $119.85
  • Debbie Siebers' Holiday Picks
    Debbie Siebers is the creator of the best seller Slim in 6®. You want to fit into that little black cocktail dress for the holiday party? Talk to Debbie.
    1. Liquid Bells Singing Bowls CD. This is an absolute must for anyone who needs to relax and de-stress. Tibetan bowls have been used for centuries to produce relaxation, facilitate deep meditation, and move us into higher states of awareness, and every time I lie down and put this CD on, I am transported to a Zen state.
      LiquidBells.com, $15
    2. Slim in 6. My program will take you from beginning to advanced in just 6 weeks. You will build muscular and cardio endurance, increase your energy, and shrink everywhere. What better gift to give someone you love than better health and a fit, kickin' body?
      Beachbody.com, $60
    3. Total Body Solution®. I designed this program to help anyone who deals with physical limitations. Each program includes 15 minutes of mobility drills that you should do every other day for 30 days to help build muscular strength and endurance, while increasing mobility and improving joint health.
      Beachbody.com, $29.95
    4. Young Living Essential Oils® Collection. I started using these oils a few months ago and they are absolutely amazing. Some of my favorites in the kit include Peppermint, which helps ease tension, relieve headaches, and aid in digestive/stomach issues; Lavender, which is great for calming and relaxing the mind and body; Lemon, which is an excellent way to boost the body's natural defenses; and Peace & Calming, which encourages deep relaxation and can assist with meditation to promote a peaceful night's sleep.
      YoungLiving.com, $151
    5. Hayley Style Bracelets. If you want to make your lady very happy, give her one of Hayley's amazing pieces. I wear many of her bracelets and necklaces and am constantly complimented on them. Your special someone will appreciate and love this fantastic gift!
      HayleyStyle.com, Prices vary
    6. Sierra Travel® Blanket and Pillow. This is a handy-dandy gift for someone who travels often. It's compact and will help keep them comfy and warm when traveling, whether they're going by plane, train, bus, or car.
      LugTravel.com, $26
  • Collette DeBenedetto's Holiday Picks
    Collette DeBenedetto, Beachbody Fitness Expert, lifts things up and puts them down, but always keeps her manicure intact.
    1. ESPN® 30 for 30 Collector's Set. Give the sports lover in your family the gift of sports history. This set of documentaries, directed by award-winning filmmakers, details powerful firsthand accounts of some of the greatest sports tragedies, controversies, rises of fame, and betrayals.
      Amazon.com, $56.93
    2. WaterFi® Waterproof Headphones. Love getting your workout on in the pool, but need some music to keep you motivated? Make a splash with these waterproof headphones that will keep your strokes firing through your entire workout.
      Waterfi.com, $15
    3. Nike+ FuelBand®. Ever wonder how many calories you burned in that workout? Or how about in an entire day? The Nike+ FuelBand tracks how many calories you're burning all day long. Plus, it has a slick and sleek design, and also functions as a watch!
      Nike.com, $149
    4. Blender Bottle® Protein Shaker Cup. Use the Blender Bottle to enjoy Shakeology® while you're on the go. Just drop in a scoop of your favorite flavor or use one of the packets and, with a little water, this lightweight bottle will let you shake up your favorite protein shake any time you want!
      BlenderBottle.com, $8.99
    5. INSANITY: THE ASYLUM® Volume 1 & 2. After indulging at all of those holiday parties, it's time to shed the pounds. What better way to do it than with Shaun T's 30-day system, INSANITY: THE ASYLUM, a program that will have you digging deeper with extreme cross-training methods used by elite athletes.
      Beachbody.com, $89.95
    6. Results and Recovery Formula®. Christmas cookies and eggnog are yummy, but they're not good post-workout snacks. Instead, after a hard workout, drink some Results and Recovery Formula to help your muscles bounce back faster.
      Beachbody.com, $49.95
  • Rebecca Swanner's Holiday Picks
    Rebecca Swanner edits the newsletter and manages the English content for Team Beachbody®. She's also an avid baker and is allergic to sleep.
    1. Super Natural Cooking. Heidi Swanson is a goddess in the kitchen. I read her blog regularly and love her cookbooks. This one—and Super Natural Every Day—will dazzle you with its gorgeous photographs and delicious, easy-to-follow, healthy recipes.
      101Cookbooks.com, $20
    2. Rapha® Gloves. Keep your hands warm when you're biking or driving to work this winter with these sexy gloves from Rapha. You'll love the padding that will make your commute more comfortable and the compliments you'll get while wearing them.
      Rapha.cc, Prices vary
    3. NeueGraphic Inspirational Poster. The words and images that surround us can have a profound impact on our behavior. Help yourself follow your dreams by hanging this inspirational poster in your home or office.
      Etsy.com/shop/NeueGraphic, $35
    4. Timber Green Woods Cutting Board. Plastic cutting boards will do the job, but an attractive wooden cutting board will make chopping vegetables feel like less of a chore. I love the ones from Timber Green Woods, as they're crafted in Wisconsin from sustainable wood.
      TimberGrowers.com, $32.95
    5. EatSmart® Precision Pro Kitchen Scale. When it comes to kitchen gadgets, none is more essential than the kitchen scale. You can use it to know if a chicken breast is four ounces or six ounces, and if you bake, the precision will help you take your recipes from okay to incredible.
      EatSmartProducts.com, $25
    6. Jered's Pottery Ceramic Drinking Gourd. Your body craves water. Quench your thirst with these rustic ceramic drinking gourds made in California that will make it fun to stay hydrated. Each handmade gourd is unique, and they're dishwasher- and microwave-safe.
      Muhshome.com, $40-$47
    7. Beachbody Ultimate Reset®. Start the new year right by getting your insides in order. In just 21 days, this cleanse will help you improve your diet, and can make you feel younger and more energized, so you can stick to those New Year's resolutions.
      Beachbody.com, $229.95
  • Denis Faye's Holiday Picks
    Denis Faye, Beachbody nutritional expert and resident curmudgeon, thinks you should eat more broccoli. That means now.
    1. The Karma Chow Ultimate Cookbook. Many of you may know Melissa Costello as Tony Horton's personal chef. Not all of us can afford a luxury like that, but here's the next best thing: Costello's new book, The Karma Chow Ultimate Cookbook, is packed with delicious vegan recipes. Whether you go for the Korean-Style Tacos or Maple Miso Brussels Sprouts, eating cruelty-free never tasted so good!
      KarmaChow.com, $18.95
    2. White Bread: A Social History of the Store-Bought Loaf. If you've blasted through Fast Food Nation and Omnivore's Dilemma and are looking for another engaging food-centric title, Aaron Bobrow-Strain's book is a fascinating portrait of how easily manipulated the American palate is by big business, health scares, and laziness. It's the best thing since sliced . . . well, you know.
      Beacon.com, $27.95
    3. Victorio® 4-Tray Seed Sprouter. Just because it's winter doesn't mean you can't grow fresh greens. With this seed sprouter, you can grow four different types of sprouts at once! Eating sprouts helps your body activate nutrients and neutralizes nasty phytic acid. But more importantly, it'll elevate you holistic types from carrot juice–sipping posers to genuine whole-foods badasses.
      VictorioKitchenProducts.com, $19.95
    4. Bringing It to the Table: On Farming and Food. Long before hipsters were pedaling their fixed bikes to farmers' markets, there was Wendell Berry. This agrarian academic has been espousing the benefits of organic farming since the 1970s, and this poetic series of essays is a great primer for anyone looking to understand whole foods beyond just knowing if their morning muffin is vegan and gluten-free.
      Amazon.com, $14.95
    5. Beachbody Jump Mat. Much like socks and gall bladders, people tend to underestimate the benefits of a quality exercise mat. They cushion your joints from high-impact exercise and they give you a great place to lie down and stretch. I keep mine on the floor of my office so I'm encouraged to take a break and get my downward dog on.
      Beachbody.com, $59.85
  • Luz Plaza's Holiday Gift Picks
    Luz Plaza manages Spanish and English content for Team Beachbody. Although she speaks both languages fluently, she prefers the international language of luxury. Affordable luxury, that is.
    1. Lululemon® Daily Om Duffel. The name might say duffel, but this is not your usual gym bag. Stylish and sturdy, this bag is the perfect gym companion—big enough to fit a change of clothes and daily swag. Plus, it has multiple pockets and even a removable wet pouch to make sure that clean and dirty clothes don't get mixed up. It comes in 3 colors; my personal favorite, you ask? The Alberta Lake.
      Lululemon.com, $128
    2. Nike® Free Run iD. If you are looking for a unique gift, this is it! The Nike Free Run iD shoes are tailored to provide support and fit like a glove. They come in a wide variety of colors, but if you can't find the perfect pair, you can fully customize them so yours will be one of a kind. You can even change the logo on the tongue to say whatever you like (in 6 characters or less).
      Nike.com, $130
    3. Wintersports Performance Fleece by Stella McCartney. Got a picky fashionista on your list this holiday season? Runway fashion is no longer exclusive to ball gowns and dressy occasions, thanks to Stella McCartney, who has partnered with Adidas® to bring high fashion to the active world. This form-fitting winter fleece is perfect for layering, and will make any gym outfit look fabulous!
      Adidas.com, $250
    4. Spa Wisdom Africa Ximenia & Salt Scrub. Everyone deserves a little pampering. Give someone the gift of everyday luxury with this creamy African salt scrub that won't break the bank. It cleanses, exfoliates, and moisturizes skin. It's a simple gift that will make everyone feel special when they use it.
      TheBodyShop-USA.com, $28
    5. Clarisonic® Mia 2®. Gone in 60 seconds. That's how long it takes the Mia 2 to cleanse skin six times better than the traditional cleansing method. This beauty gadget will fit right into anyone's beauty regime, and its small size makes it a perfect gift for busy bees who are always on the go. Plus, it works great with the Derm Exclusive® Facial Cleanser!
      Clarisonic.com, $149
    6. Brazil Butt Lift®. Shake what your mama gave you . . . or what Leandro Carvalho gives you this holiday season. Beachbody's Brazil Butt Lift workout DVD will guarantee a higher, tighter, rounder "bum-bum" in 60 days with Leandro's secret TriAngle Training method. In addition to the workout DVDs, your gift will also include the Fat-Burning Food Guide, Booty Makeover Guide and Calendar, TriAngle Training Workout Cards, and much more.
      Beachbody.com, $59.85
  • Kelly Plowe's Holiday Gift Picks
    Kelly Plowe, Beachbody resident dietitian. She has a soft spot for pull-ups and fresh figs.
    1. Sodastream® Fountain Jet Seltzer Starter Kit. The Sodastream Fountain Jet Seltzer Starter Kit will let you enjoy a healthier "bubbly" by transforming tap water into seltzer water in seconds. Calorie free and with a price tag of only 25 cents per liter, your loved one's waistline and wallet will thank you.
      SodaStreamUSA.com, $79.95
    2. Sanyo® Rice Cooker. The USDA recommends about three servings of whole grains a day. The Sanyo can cook up to 5-1/2 cups of your favorite grain and make soup, porridge, and steamed vegetables. No matter how hectic your schedule, it will help you keep your healthy eating intentions all year long.
      Amazon.com, $69.95
    3. Potting Shed Creations® Micro-green Veggie or Spice Kit. The Micro-green Veggie or Spice Kit is the perfect gift for any health-conscious loved one looking to test out their green thumb. This tiny "farm" includes a recycled steel box, soilless growing medium, and USDA-certified organic greens seeds for spices or veggies.
      PottingShedCreations.com, $40
    4. OXO® Salad Spinner and Accessories. Spinning is no longer just for stationary bike classes. OXO's new salad spinner will dry your greens and herbs better than before. Show that special someone some XOXO by tossing in the OXO Good Grips® Salad Dressing Shaker and Salad Tongs for a complete kit.
      Oxo.com, $11.99–$29.99
    5. Cuisinart® PowerBlend Duet® Blender/Food Processor. Great for blending fruit smoothies or dicing up veggies for a soup, the Cusinart PowerBlend Duet Blender/Food Processor is the appliance every kitchen should have. The dynamic duo has seven speeds so you can stir, chop, pulse, mix, food-process, purée, or crush your way to healthy living.
      Cuisinart.com, $99.95
    6. Stark Bro's Fruit Tree. Help your favorite friend eat more whole fruits by gifting them a fruit tree. From Goldcot Apricots to Caroline Belle Peaches, Stark Bro's has one of the largest varieties of fruit trees and their site will help you pick one best suited to the recipient's climate.
      StarkBros.com, $16-65
    7. Shakeology®. Eating well can be a challenge for those who are on the go or who turn their nose up at broccoli. Shakeology makes eating healthy easy and convenient, as it's packed with more than 70 healthy ingredients like chia seeds and sacha inchi, which provide essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. Replace one meal a day with this nutritional protein shake for weight loss or overall optimal health.
      Shakeology.com, $119.95–129.95
  • Steve Edwards' Holiday Gift Picks
    Steve Edwards, head of fitness and nutrition development for Beachbody. Climber, cyclist, ultra-endurance specialist, and all-around human lab rat. If it can be mounted, surmounted, or masticated, Steve's done it. Probably twice.
    1. Unbreakable. I'm a big believer in motivational tools. We can all use a little push to get into the "Bring It" mode. This film, about the most hotly contested ultramarathon in history, will have you so amped that a mere 60 minutes of exercise will feel like nothing.
      Ws100Film.com, $24.99
    2. The Secret Race. This book about bike racing is one of the most honest accounts of the toil and sacrifice it takes to be a professional cyclist. Yes, it's also an indictment of the entire Lance Armstrong era of cycling, but it's a fascinating look into one of the most difficult professions in the world.
      Amazon.com, $17.07
    3. Rice Bucket. Short on cash? This is the gift for you! Buy (or find) a bucket and fill it with 20 pounds of rice. Use it properly a couple times a week to avoid carpal tunnel, or any other hand or forearm overuse injury. Click below to find out how to use it for the most effective results.
      Click Here to See Demo
    4. Altitude Simulator. Not strapped for cash? For the athlete who has everything, the Altitude Simulator claims to raise your red blood cell count by simulating the altitude you're training at. In other words, it simulates thinner air (less oxygen and pressure), so you breathe harder, and claims to provide a 3.5% boost in performance to elite athletes . . . even more for less-well-conditioned weekend warriors. How bad do you want to win?
      AltoLab-USA.com, Price varies
    5. P90X2®. Three years of my life went into this program, which is why it leads my list. It's designed to break you down and build you back up just short of bionic. Just like life in Camelot, your body will youthen (King Arthur's word, not mine) as you make it through the most scientifically solid home training program since Arthur yanked Excalibur from a slag heap.
      Beachbody.com, $119.85
    6. Power Half Hour®. Before Tony Horton became a household name, he starred in this collection of 5 low-budget workout videos. They're segmented so you can easily fit them into any training program and, at only 30 minutes, eliminate most excuses. Just because they're old, don't be fooled into thinking they're easy. Every time I fire them up, I remember why they were once mega-popular.
      Beachbody.com, $19.95
    7. P90X® Chin-Up Max. This pull-up assist tool helps you get the reps you need without compromising your form. And it will also hold you in the proper position for a pull-up so that you initiate the movement from your scapula (shoulder blade) region. In the long run, that will ultimately make you both fitter and better at doing pull-ups.
      Beachbody.com, $39.90
    8. B-Lines® Exercise Bands. For those of you who travel, exercise bands should be a standard item on your packing list, as they take up virtually no space and will allow you to get your workout on anywhere. Here's a tip: When unsure, always take the lighter bands. They're more versatile and you can always stretch them tighter for more resistance.
      Beachbody.com, $39.95.
  • Tony Horton's Holiday Gift Picks
    P90X® creator Tony Horton may be responsible for shrinking thousands of waistlines the world over, but he will not rest this holiday season until he gets Santa down to a size medium red snowsuit.
    1. Action Wipes®. When you want to exercise outdoors, getting access to a shower afterward can be tough. With Action Wipes, you can take the shower with you for a post-workout cleanup that takes less time than it does to drink your Results and Recovery Formula®.
      ActionWipes.com, $1.25-$45
    2. Sport+Store Water Bottles. When I work out outside, I like to pack light. Who wants to use the rings on Santa Monica's beach only to have your keys and wallet spill out of your pocket? I like the Sport+Store bottles because I can fill the top with water and hide my essentials in the secret compartment underneath.
      SportandStore.com, $19.95
    3. Sheex® Performance Bed Sheets. The folks at Sheex have figured out that all the benefits of athletic fabrics—temperature control, moisture transport, comfort, and breathability—make for great bed linens. They're pricey, but a great night's sleep can only improve the results you'll get with Power 90® or P90X.
      Sheex.com, $59–239
    4. Deo-Go Deodorant Stain Remover. I'm cool with the fact that I sweat. It means that I lead an active lifestyle. What I don't like is the stains that sweat—and deodorant—can leave on my shirts. Deo-Go cleared that problem right up. Sure, this might not be the romantic gift you give that sweaty guy (or girl) in your life, but it's cheaper than buying them a bunch of new shirts.
      GetDeoGo.com, $11.49
    5. SportLOOP®. "Where are my glasses?" The day you find SportLOOP in your stocking is the day you'll stop asking this question. I find them especially useful if I'm reading The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz and suddenly need to crank out 25 pull-ups. (It happens more often than you'd think.)
      LaLoop.com, $25

Related Articles
"40 Healthy Holiday Gifts"
"Holiday Gift-Giving Guide: 4 Great Books That Give Back!"
"9 Ways to De-stress Your Holiday Season"

Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Check the Team Beachbody Chat Room for the next impromptu video chat. Or, if you just can't wait, log onto the Information & Education section of the Team Beachbody Message Boards for questions, answers, and scintillating conversation.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com. We may even answer your question right here, for all the world to see!

And if you'd like to know more about Beachbody Director of Results Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope, named one of the Top 50 blogs covering the sports industry by the Masters in Sports Administration. You can also read a more scientific (not to mention snarky) take on many of the topics we discuss here at The Real Fitness Nerd blog.

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How Many Calories Are in Your Favorite Holiday Foods?

By Rebecca Swanner

Think you're eating healthy this holiday season? Think again. Your favorite holiday foods are loaded with way more calories that you can imagine.

From the Christmas stuffing to Hanukkah's latkes to New Year's bubbly, read on to find out how many calories are lurking in your favorite trimmings . . . and how you can cut some calories here and there while still enjoying all of the holiday flavors you love.

Turkey Meal with all the trimmings

The Mains

The Christmas bird. Though turkey is the most commonplace centerpiece of the Christmas table, the traditional bird was actually the goose. Good thing too, as while roast goose is quite moist and delicious, enjoying it with the skin on is 518 calories for six ounces. Without the skin? Still 405 calories. Then again, slathering butter on the turkey, brining it, or bathing it in gravy packs the pounds onto the healthy fowl. Don't even think about deep frying it. Your waistline—and your house—will thank you later.
Better choice: Turkey. Six ounces of dark meat—skin on—is 350 calories. Six ounces of light meat without skin? 216 calories. Here is a healthy turkey recipe to try.

LatkesLatkes. Pancakes—or latkes—are a traditional Hanukkah food because they commemorate the miracle that the Hanukkah oil lasted for eight nights. Traditionally, these pancakes were made from cheese and fried in oil, but about 400 years ago, potatoes replaced cheese as the main ingredient. This means latkes are marginally healthier than they used to be . . . but one medium potato pancake (3.5 inches in diameter) will still set you back about 100 calories (or more) each. Add some sour cream at 22 calories per tablespoon . . . and it's not long until you're not going to be happy with the scale in the morning.
Better choice: Oil is essential, but instead of deep-frying your latkes, spray or coat a cookie sheet lightly with olive oil, place the latkes on the cookie sheet, coat the tops of them lightly with olive oil, and bake at 450° F for 15 to 20 minutes. And consider trying a recipe for vegetable latkes made from cauliflower or cabbage. Here is a healthy latke recipe to try.

Holiday ham. Ah, the holiday ham. It's the second most popular Christmas dish. And while it might seem high in calories, six ounces is about 330 calories, roughly the same as turkey.
But be careful: The key here is not to go nuts with the glaze. That said, because ham is brined, it's high in sodium, so if you're watching your salt intake, stick with turkey.

The Sides

Cranberry SauceCranberry sauce. Oh, hey! A fruit! This is healthy, right? Nope. Though cranberries on their own are healthy—and packed with vitamin C—cranberry sauce is loaded with sugar. Half a cup of the sweet side is about 209 calories and 52 grams of sugar . . . about the same as a peppermint mocha latte.
Better choice: Sweeten frozen cranberries with fruit juices instead. Yes, you're still adding sugar, but at least you're also adding some vitamins. Here's a recipe you might want to try.

Stuffing. Whether boxed or homemade, it's hard to make stuffing light since it has a bread base and it's held together with butter. It rolls in around 180 calories for a half cup, and most of that is empty carbs.
Better choice: If you must have stuffing, try a brown rice recipe or at least use a whole-grain or sprouted-grain bread like those made by Ezekiel 4:9®. Swap out fatty meats for turkey sausage and use olive oil instead of butter. And load it up with lots of veggies! It'll be more filling and much better for you.

Mashed PotatoesMashed potatoes. On their own, mashed potatoes aren't so bad. A half-cup of plain mashed potatoes is about 200 calories, less if you make them with just potatoes and high-quality olive oil instead of with milk and butter!
Better choice: For a side with a richer, deeper flavor, try dicing up sweet potatoes. They're higher in vitamin C and other nutrients and their high fiber count goes easier on your blood sugar.

Noodle kugel. This casserole-based side dish is often made using egg noodles, potatoes, or a mix of vegetables such as broccoli or cabbage. Some recipes then call for the addition of sour cream, cottage cheese, and butter. The result is an average 2-inch square that's 212 calories.
Better choice: For a lighter kugel, consider using olive oil in place of butter, egg whites only, and relying on dried fruits like raisins to add the sweetness.

The Drinks

Eggnog. I don't imagine that you think a drink made from eggs, whole milk, sugar, heavy cream, and rum—oh, and some nutmeg—would be healthy. In fact, try 343 calories a glass. Yikes.
Better choice: Our nutritionist came up with a fantastic vegan eggnog recipe that's only 149 calories. Our version is alcohol-free, but if you want to add a splash of dark rum, well, it is Christmas and all . . . Check out the recipe below.

Couple Drinking WineWine. As alcoholic drinks go, wine isn't so bad. Red wine is higher in the antioxidant resveratrol but white wine is supposedly better at reducing free radicals and improving cardiovascular health. A glass of either is about 120 calories.
Even better: Select an organic wine. These don't contain the sulfites that some people are allergic to and that may prevent you from sleeping well.

Champagne. Want a great hangover? Go for the bubbly. The bubbles will actually get you tipsy faster1, which can lead to one nasty headache in the AM. Plus, each flute contains about 133 calories, and they go down quickly . . . so it's easy to ratchet up the calories quickly.
Better choice: Cocktail. Water.

Resource:

  1. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/1719780.stm

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"Summer Snack Attack! 23 Easy, Beach-Friendly Snacks Under 150 Calories"

Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Check the Team Beachbody Chat Room for the next impromptu video chat. Or, if you just can't wait, log onto the Information & Education section of the Team Beachbody Message Boards for questions, answers, and scintillating conversation.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com. We may even answer your question right here, for all the world to see!

And if you'd like to know more about Beachbody Director of Results Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope, named one of the Top 50 blogs covering the sports industry by the Masters in Sports Administration. You can also read a more scientific (not to mention snarky) take on many of the topics we discuss here at The Real Fitness Nerd blog.

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3 Secret Weapons for Getting the Most from LES MILLS COMBAT

By Denis Faye

It's easy to compare LES MILLS COMBAT with mixed martial arts training. With a blend of karate, tae kwon do, capoeira, boxing, muay thai, and jiu jitsu, COMBAT's 60 days of high-energy workouts—coupled with an amazing soundtrack—will help get you in fighting shape in no time, sans the obvious downside of being locked in a cage with a large, cauliflower-eared man intent on clobbering you senseless. But with or without a terrifying opponent, the two do have a few things in common: They both require serious commitment.

LES MILLS COMBAT

Hard work and a solid diet play a huge role in your fighting strategy. The COMBAT workouts and Eat Right for the Fight Nutrition Plan have you covered, but there are other ways you can prime your metabolism and speed up recovery time in order to unlock the best results your body will ever see. Here are three that kicked ass with our test group.

  1. Couple SleepingGet some serious sleep. Getting a good night's sleep will improve your LES MILLS COMBAT results. Your body does most of its recovering when you're asleep. The muscles that you'll break down during Core Attack will rebuild faster if you get 7 to 9 hours of restful sleep each night. And guess what that means? You'll be able to push yourself even harder in the next round.

    But that's not the only reason you want to get enough sleep. According to a recent Harvard study, sleep deprivation reduces insulin sensitivity1. Carbs are your body's favorite source of fuel and they play a vital role in the Eat Right for the Fight Nutrition Plan. But if you're not getting enough sleep, your insulin (a hormone crucial to carb metabolism) can't do its job properly—and that means you won't have the fuel you'll need for the fight. In addition, lack of sleep stimulates production of the hormone ghrelin, which tells you to eat, and it decreases the hormone leptin, which tells you to stop eating. In other words, when you skimp on healthy sack time, you're more susceptible to unhealthy snack time and less able to know when to push your plate away.
  2. Family Eating a Meal TogetherEat frequent small meals. Whether or not 6 small meals a day actually boosts metabolism has become a subject of debate, so let's stick to the facts.

    People who skip meals thinking it'll help them lose weight often end up overindulging later in the day. When you can, try to create a regular eating schedule, as it will help you avoid this roller coaster. And the less food you consume in one sitting, the more effectively your body absorbs it. Let's take protein, for example. Protein is made of amino acids, your body's building blocks. They're responsible for the repair of all your tissues—including the muscles you're going to break down doing COMBAT. While your body will generally absorb as much protein as you can eat, only so much of that protein can be used at one time to build tissue—about 30 grams on average. The rest is converted into fuel. So if you spread your protein across the day, you can utilize more of it to build muscle.

    But that said, there's the other side of the coin to consider . . .
  3. Woman Eating a CarrotFast for faster results. New research from the Salk Institute in San Diego shows that mice who fasted 16 hours a day were more prone to burn fat, even when they ate the same calories as mice who ate around the clock2.

    Why? One of the researchers' theories is that the digestive system, like most of the rest of your body, benefits from a recovery phase. Moving food through your system and releasing digestive juices and enzymes to break it down all takes muscle. And, as you learned above, muscles can benefit from a little down time.

    We're not suggesting you fast 16 hours a day. We still stand behind our small, frequent meals advice—but there's a middle ground. Eat 3 to 6 sensible meals a day and, after you finish dinner, stop eating for the night. No TV time glass of wine. No midnight snack. Give your digestive system a chance to rest, just like the rest of your body. 

Obviously, you're going to give it your all once you embark on your LES MILLS COMBAT quest to become a lean, clean, sexy machine, but why stop with exercise and diet? Make this a no-holds-barred fight. As any mixed martial arts fighter worth his or her salt will tell you, it's the only way to fight the good fight.

Resources:

  1. Buxton, O. M., Pavlova, M., Reid, E. W., Wang, W., Simonson, D. C., & Adler, G. K. (2010). Sleep Restriction for 1 Week Reduces Insulin Sensitivity in Healthy Men. Diabetes, 59(9), 2126-2133. American Diabetes Association. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20585000.
  2. http://www.salk.edu/news/pressrelease_details.php?press_id=560

Related Articles
"10 Tips to Get the Best Sleep Ever"
"How ASYLUM Can Spike Your Fitness"
"Sleep and Muscle Growth"

Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Check the Team Beachbody Chat Room for the next impromptu video chat. Or, if you just can't wait, log onto the Information & Education section of the Team Beachbody Message Boards for questions, answers, and scintillating conversation.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com. We may even answer your question right here, for all the world to see!

And if you'd like to know more about Beachbody Director of Results Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope, named one of the Top 50 blogs covering the sports industry by the Masters in Sports Administration. You can also read a more scientific (not to mention snarky) take on many of the topics we discuss here at The Real Fitness Nerd blog.

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Recipe: Virgin Vegan Eggnog

(Makes 6 servings)


 Virgin Vegan Eggnog
There are few holiday drinks yummier than eggnog. But between the raw eggs, milk, sugar, and rum, there are also few drinks more caloric. So we've come up with a healthy, cruelty-free take on this classic drink—and we've done it without the aid of additive- and preservative-loaded, pre-made faux milks. It's a great way to put some ho-ho-ho in your holiday party and still be able to drive-drive-drive home.

(And, yes, you can put Shakeology® in it if you want to.)

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups raw almonds
  • Filtered water for soaking nuts
  • 8 cups filtered water
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup raw almond butter
  • 1-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 2 tsp. rum extract (or to taste)**

Preparation:

  1. Soak almonds overnight in water.
  2. Rinse and drain soaked almonds.
  3. Place soaked almonds and 6 cups of filtered water in blender or food processor (may need to do in 2 batches). Blend on highest speed for 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Strain milk through a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth; discard solids.*
  5. Place almond milk back into blender; add almond butter, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
  6. Blend for 30 seconds; pour into large pitcher with cover.
  7. Cover and refrigerate until cold.

Tips:

  1. *Solids can be dried out in the oven at a low temperature (225° F) and used as almond flour in baking recipes.
  2. **You can hold off on the rum extract if you think the kids won't like it, and then add a few drops to your individual glass of eggnog.
  3. Vegan eggnog can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.

Nutritional Information: (per serving)

Calories Fat Saturated Fat Cholesterol Sodium Carbs Fiber Sugar Protein
149 8g 0 g 0 mg 150 mg 16 g 2 g 13 g 4 g

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.


Body Beast and P90X®/P90X2® Portion Information

Body Beast Nutritional Information:

Legume Fat
1 1



P90X/P90X2 Nutritional Information:

Carb/Legume Fat
1/2 1/2





If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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