Extreme Newsletter—Diet and fitness tips, recipes, and motivation

Issue #047 09/21/2010 FOOTBALL SEASON!

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Tailgating: 8 Tips for Surviving the Football Season

By Stephanie S. Saunders

Are you ready for some football? Sure ya are! As the new season kicks off, we're all rooting for our favorite team to make it to the Super Bowl®, or the Rose Bowl®, or the Whatever Bowl. But in truth, my fellow Americans, the celebration isn't all about the sport. It's about the pigskin, but it's also about the potato skins. It's about the Heisman®, but it's also about the Heineken®. In other words, it's about tailgating. Is there anything more glorious than perching on the bumper of your Explorer®, hot dog in one hand, cold beer in the other, telling everyone in earshot about the trail of destruction your team is about to make across the Pac-10? Well, that's great and all, but where your fitness goals are concerned, tailgating leaves a little to be desired. So how do we capture all the fun of tailgating without destroying all the progress we've made during our hours of sweat? Let's do some preparation for the game ahead.

A Tailgate Party

  1. Work out first
    A brand new study by a team of Brazilian researchers (Public Library of Science, August 2010) concluded that exercise actually modulates feelings of fullness in the brain, causing us to reduce our intake of food. In other words, when you work out, you actually eat less. Which is good, because you don't want to spend an hour and a half working out in the morning and then destroy it all with cravings for fried food and alcohol. Now that you're doing P90X® 6 days a week, you're a more efficient machine, and you'll have fewer cravings. So before you hang out in that jersey that hides your six-pack, make sure your six-pack is intact and get a good workout in before the party. Working out will help reduce your cravings and decrease your appetite. (Besides, it's pretty unlikely you'll feel like working out after the game.)
  2. Don't go hungry
    Popular wisdom says you should never go grocery shopping while hungry. The same rings true for attending any kind of party. The worst thing you can do to your nutrition plan is wait until you're starving, then descend upon an endless supply of low-quality carbs and not-so-lean meats. It'll be 45 minutes before you realize you're no longer hungry, and you've just consumed your weight in cheese curls. Eat a clean, high-quality meal before you arrive at the gathering. You'll eat less garbage and you'll probably be a lot more pleasant to be around as well.
  3. Veggie PlatterVeggie it up
    I know, I know, you don't want to be that guy, but if you're going to bring anything to the party, your first choice should be a veggie platter. Not only can you save yourself from tomorrow's food hangover, you might actually do your body some good. Bite-sized pieces of broccoli, carrots, celery, bell peppers, cauliflower, and snap peas are all inexpensive, low in calories, and full of vitamins. Create a low-fat dip to accompany them, and you might just trump the team's QB as MVP. Just use any onion or ranch dip recipe, with nonfat yogurt, nonfat sour cream, or nonfat cream cheese as the base.

    Also, try the 5-to-1 veggie trick: for every five bites of veggies you consume, you're allowed one full-fat snack bite. You'll end up having to chew so much for that one morsel of evil, it won't really be worth it.
  4. Feeling fruity
    Another great thing to bring tailgating is a fruit platter or fruit salad. Yes, I realize fruit has a lot more sugar in it than veggies do. But fruit is a lot lower in calories than potato salad, it's loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and most people like it a lot. What's more, it's high in fiber, so you'll stay fuller longer. Fruit skewers are a big crowd-pleaser, and counting the empty sticks will show you how much you're actually eating. Aim for watermelon, cantaloupe, grapes, strawberries, apples, oranges, peaches, and nectarines.
  5. Pass (on) the suds
    This is the section everyone's going to want to skip, but reading on will only work to your advantage. We all enjoy an adult beverage now and again. There's nothing more refreshing than a cold beer when you're sitting in the hot sun. But, people, they call it a "beer gut" for a reason. The empty calories in beer have accounted for more spare tires than the Michelin® Man. But since most people can't or won't abstain, try switching to light beer. Sure, some taste like flavored water, but there are a few low-calorie versions out there that are actually pretty good, especially if you squeeze a little (or a lot) of lime into them. Or try a cocktail made with a low-calorie mixer, or one that mixes a splash of fruit juice with soda water and either an ounce of your favorite liquor or a few ounces of white wine.

    Limeade and Orange Liqueur1 cup of light limeade, 1 ounce of tequila, and 1 ounce of orange liqueur blended with ice is roughly 100 calories—and really tasty. Crystal Light® and vodka make for some pretty yummy low-cal drinks, and will still be under a hundred calories. And remember that both white wine and champagne come in at about 100 calories a glass. Remember, a couple of drinks in an afternoon is fine, but if you're putting so much away that the dude in the body paint starts to look, well . . . sexy, it's time to cut yourself off.
  6. Get your hand out of the bag
    When you're running late on game day, the path of least resistance is to run into a 7-Eleven® and grab a few bags of chips and maybe some dip. Everyone loves 'em, right? Well, your waistline doesn't. You can easily consume a couple of meals' worth of calories by shoving your hand into a bag a few times. So plan ahead a tiny bit and replace those greasy potato chips, corn chips, and cheese curls with baked tortilla chips and salsa, seasoned air-popped popcorn, multigrain pretzels, and mini–rice cakes. You'll still get a ton of crunch and flavor, without consuming 13 grams of fat per handful.

    If you want to add a dip, try this low-fat/high-protein guacamole recipe: Take a 16-ounce container of plain nonfat Greek yogurt, 1 peeled, pitted, and coarsely chopped large avocado, 4 tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro, 2 teaspoons of minced jalape�o, and 1 small minced clove of garlic. Throw them into a food processor and blend until smooth. Chill before serving.
  7. Main course, to stay on course
    Most experienced tailgaters include a barbeque in the festivities. You can smell charcoal and propane for miles around any stadium on any given Sunday. And with the right food choices, a barbeque is a healthy way to prepare good sources of lean protein. Unfortunately, it's a lot easier to throw hot dogs on the grill. Look, if you wanted easy, you would have called for liposuction and never started INSANITY in the first place. So forget the path of least resistance (and all those hot dog nitrates) and try a main course that'll keep you on course.

    Turkey WrapReplace a beef or pork hot dog with a turkey or tofu dog, a 20-percent fat beef burger with a 99-percent lean beef one (or a chicken, turkey, or veggie burger), or a fatty pork sausage with the low-fat chicken variety. Place any of these on a multigrain roll, or stuff them in a pita pocket. Try a low-fat grilled chicken breast instead of those messy, fatty ribs. Skewer up some veggies for a tasty low-calorie main dish. Little pizzas made with prebaked crusts, tomato sauce, low-fat cheese, and veggies grill up brilliantly on a barbeque. You can make ground-turkey-and-three-bean chili in advance in a Crock-Pot® and warm it up on the grill. Just a little forethought and some lean meat choices can make a huge difference.
  8. Just desserts
    Most of the time, dessert at a tailgate party comes in the form of beer, with an occasional Oreo® thrown in. No one puts a lot of thought into making desserts for one of these events, and they put even less thought into how many cookies or brownies they're shoving in their mouth. Instead of satisfying your sweet tooth with enough calories to fuel a defensive lineman, try replacing those high-calorie desserts with one of these ideas.

    Grill pineapple slices or spears for 1 minute on each side, baste with dark rum, grill for 1 more minute, and serve warm with mint sprigs. Make low-fat banana bread by replacing the butter or oil in the traditional recipe with applesauce. Buy a premade angel food cake, slice, and serve with fresh strawberries and either light Cool Whip® or one-third whipped cream with two-thirds drained plain nonfat yogurt folded in. In advance, bake apples stuffed with dried fruit and honey in a pan of apple juice, then heat up later on the barbeque. Make a low-fat batch of oatmeal cookies with whole-wheat flour and vegetable oil. There are lots of sweet options out there that can also be sweet to the size of your gut.

Football season is long, especially if you're a Buffalo Bills fan. In those 17 weeks, you could do a considerable amount of damage . . . or you could have the body of your dreams. Since the NFL rules the airwaves for roughly 5 weeks longer than it takes to do P90X, it's well worth it to put a little effort into your tailgating choices. And although your friends might give you a hard time, consider how their faces will look at the end of week 15, when you have a rock-hard six-pack, and they have more of a keg. Yeah, it's worth it.

Related Articles
"29 Tips for Keeping Portions Under Control"
"The 5 Best and 5 Worst Cocktails"
"How to Party Like a Rock Star (the Beachbody® Way)"

Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Chat with Steve Edwards, the overseer of Beachbody's fitness and diet development (who also serves as your Fitness Advisor on the Message Boards), in the Beachbody Chat Room on Monday, September 27, at 3:00 PM ET, 12:00 PM PT.

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.

Check out our Fitness Advisor's responses to your comments in Steve Edwards' Mailbag on the Message Boards. If you'd like to receive Steve Edwards' Mailbag by email, click here to subscribe to Steve's Health and Fitness Newsletter. And if you'd like to know more about Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope.

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10 Healthy Snacks for Couch Time

By Joe Wilkes

Fall is upon us, which means that the new TV season has begun, baseball is heading into the postseason, and football is starting up. The weather's getting cooler, and the couch will soon call for you to lie down on it with a warm blanket. Now, keep in mind we're not encouraging any couch potato behavior. We'd prefer you pop in a P90X® video and use the couch as a towel rack. But we're all human, and it's almost impossible to resist the siren song of a playoff game or the return of Glee or Dancing with the Stars. Just because you're taking a couple of hours off to flatten both your gluteal muscles and your sofa cushions doesn't mean you have to stuff yourself with chips, cookies, or other bagged diet-killers. Here are 10 tasty and healthy snacks that are great for TV downtime.

3 People Eating and Watching TV

  1. Popcorn. It's not just for the movie theater anymore. In fact, you're better off skipping it at the movie theater, because a bucket of oil-popped movie theater popcorn can contain as much fat as three to five double cheeseburgers. But air-popped popcorn is a pretty benign treat. Three cups of popcorn have just 93 calories and 1.5 grams of fat. Air-popped popcorn doesn't have much nutritive value outside of the energy you may get from the calories and some dietary fiber, but it can satisfy your munchies without getting you too far off the diet path. The best popcorn comes from your own hot-air popper—and with no additional fat or salt, unless you add it later. If you're going for microwave convenience, make sure you read the label carefully. Even some of the "healthy" brands contain a fair amount of fat and salt. And many microwave brands contain perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which has been linked to cancer. You might be better off making your own microwave popcorn. Just put 1/4 cup of popcorn into a brown lunch bag, fold the top over tightly, and microwave at your usual popcorn setting. Try to avoid salt and butter. Instead, enjoy your favorite herbs or a squeeze of lemon juice with some garlic powder or cayenne pepper.
  2. Bean DipBean dip. Beans are a great source of protein and fiber, and they don't have tons of calories. One cup of canned pintos only has 206 calories; it also has 12 grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber—almost half of your recommended daily allowance. And beans are incredibly filling. Even prepackaged bean dips are pretty decent (of course, always check the label for the fat and sodium contents). You can make your own dips, hot or cold, by food-processing canned black or pinto beans (my favorites are the ones canned with jalape�os) and adding water to create your desired consistency. You can also use fat-free refried beans. You could add some chopped bell or jalape�o peppers, green onions, or canned corn to add a crunchy texture, or some chopped tomatoes for a little extra flavor and vitamins. Instead of fatty fried tortilla chips, use baked chips or better yet, some crunchy raw veggies like carrots, celery, sliced bell peppers, broccoli, or cauliflower.
  3. Salsa. This is the perfect mix of tomatoes, onions, and peppers—all members of the top tier of Michi's Ladder. And the great thing is that salsa is so low in calories and so high in fiber, you can basically eat it by the cupful and not gain weight. If you buy it at the store though, watch out for the salt content—that's the secret ingredient in most canned and jarred salsas. You're much better off making your own pico de gallo: Just dice tomatoes and onions and mix with as much minced jalape�o and/or garlic as you can stand. Add fresh cilantro, and salt and pepper to taste and toss the veggies in the juice of two limes. Let it sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving. You can eat it with baked chips or the crunchy veggies that also go great with the bean dip. The salsa and the bean dip also complement each other well, for the double dippers among us.
  4. Crispbread CrackersCrispbread crackers. These crunchy treats (including Wasa® and Rykrisp® brands) have around 30 calories a cracker (depending on the brand, flavor, and style) and a couple of grams of fiber in each one. For the Top Chef in you, they make great bases for some healthy ingredients from your refrigerator. Try a dollop of fat-free cottage cheese with a dash of hot sauce; a slice of turkey breast and roasted red pepper; a "schmear" of hummus and a couple of pitted olives; or a slice of tomato and a fresh basil leaf with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Even the pico de gallo recipe above with some shredded nonfat cheddar will make a tasty cracker-topping treat. By being creative with some wholesome ingredients, you'll forget all about the halcyon days of eating Ritz crackers washed down with aerosol cheese right from the can (sigh).
  5. Pistachios. Pistachios are a great heart-healthy snack full of antioxidants, fiber, and unsaturated fats (the good kind). A 1/2-cup serving (with the shells, assuming you don't eat them) only has 170 calories, with 6 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber; however, that serving also has 14 grams of fat, so don't go nuts chowing down on a whole bag. Walnuts, peanuts, cashews, almonds, pecans, and other nuts all have their nutritional upsides, too, but the reason I think pistachios make great snacks are the shells. The shells are difficult to open, so rather than shoveling handfuls of pre-shelled nuts down your throat, eat in-the-shell pistachios so you're forced to slow down. Keep an eye on the sodium content when you buy the nuts. Either buy unsalted or low-salt versions. And forget those disgusting pink ones that taste like lipstick. Who needs to leave hot-pink fingerprints all over the couch? A lot of stores also sell flavored versions that aren't too salty—chili-lime is one of my favorites.
  6. EdamameEdamame. The Japanese have one of the healthiest diets in the world, and soybeans are a great staple of that diet. Edamame—steamed or boiled soybean pods—contain all the essential amino acids, many essential fatty acids, and soy isoflavones. And a half-cup of beans only has 100 calories, 3 grams of fat, and 9 grams of carbs, with 8 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber. Truly one of nature's perfect foods. And like pistachios, you can serve them in their shells, which slows down your face-stuffing process, giving you time to feel full before you've overeaten.
  7. Mini-pizzas. Forget the frozen food section. Anyone with a toaster oven or a broiler pan can be his or her own Mama Celeste or Chef Boyardee®. Just take half of a whole wheat English muffin (67 calories; 2 grams of fiber), add a little low-sodium tomato-based spaghetti or pizza sauce and a sprinkle of shredded low-fat or nonfat mozzarella cheese, and voilà—tasty and healthy pizza! As with the crispbread crackers, your imagination's the only limit for toppings. Fresh herbs like basil and oregano are delicious. Peppers, mushrooms, and low-sodium anchovies are popular and fairly healthy. Just stay away from processed meats like pepperoni, which are often loaded with saturated fat, carcinogenic nitrates, and sodium.
  8. Pita Chips and HummusPita chips and hummus. Now you can open a Greek taverna in your living room. While some stores sell premade pita chips, you can easily make your own with very little fuss and muss (and usually with much less fat and salt). A large whole wheat pita has 170 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and less than 2 grams of fat. To make chips, cut around the edge of the pita with a small paring knife, so you have two discs. Then with a knife or pizza cutter, cut the discs into eighths or smaller chip-size pieces. Arrange the pieces on an aluminum-foil-covered cookie sheet, lightly spray with some olive oil cooking spray, and sprinkle with a little salt, low-fat Parmesan cheese, or your favorite dried herbs. Cook in oven or toaster oven until lightly browned and crispy, then serve with your favorite hummus or dip recipe.
  9. Relish tray. Some of my favorite snacks are pickled or brined anything—cucumbers, cauliflower, peppers, artichoke hearts, carrots, okra, baby corn, cornichons, cocktail onions, olives, sauerkraut, kimchi . . . even herring and hard-boiled eggs! Extremely low in calories, a plate full of pickled veggies on the coffee table is great for snacking. But watch out for the sodium! Certain store brands have more than others. The more ambitious might try marinating their fresh veggies in vinegar and a little heart-healthy olive oil to control the amount of salt involved. If you use salty brands, you might consider rinsing them to get rid of some of the salt, or mixing them on a plate with some fresh, unpickled vegetables to mitigate the salt intake.
  10. Deviled EggsDeviled eggs. Eggs, once considered a scourge of the heart-healthy diet, are now getting a better rap. What's indisputable is the health value of the whites. If you take the yolks out of the equation, the egg whites can prove to be small, healthy, high-protein delivery systems suitable for all kinds of nutritious creamy fillings. Cut a bunch of hard-boiled eggs in half, lengthwise, and scoop out and discard the yolks. (See Yolkless Deviled Egg recipe elsewhere in this newsletter!) Try mixing some nonfat cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, or nonfat cream cheese with your favorite flavorings and spices, then blending or food-processing until creamy. Spoon or pipe the mixture into the egg whites where the yolks used to be, and you'll have a high-protein snack without all the fat and cholesterol. You can also use the empty egg whites as scoops for your favorite healthy dip or salsa.

Of course, you can enjoy even more snack food if you can work some exercise into your TV-watching. During playoff season, don't just save the stretching for the seventh inning. Try some exercises like P90X X Stretch throughout the game. Or if you're settling in for a night in front of the tube, make a deal with yourself—you can veg out and watch The Office and 30 Rock if you turn off Jay Leno. If you watch a show like Hawaii Five-O that motivates you to kick some butt, schedule some INSANITY® time immediately after the show while your adrenaline's still pumping. Or if, like me, you've become enslaved to your DVR or TiVo®, use it to your advantage and do a cooldown stretch to your favorite show as a reward for a well-done workout.

Related Articles
"Tropic Plunder: 6 Super-Healthy Exotic Fruits"
"Everything You Need to Know about the Glycemic Index"
"What's Your Beef? The Red Meat Dilemma"

Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Chat with Steve Edwards, the overseer of Beachbody's fitness and diet development (who also serves as your Fitness Advisor on the Message Boards), in the Beachbody Chat Room on Monday, September 27, at 3:00 PM ET, 12:00 PM PT.

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.

Submit A CommentTell A Friend Bookmark and Share

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INSANITY® on "Deal or Dud"

INSANITY was recently featured on FOX® 4 News in Dallas during their "Deal or Dud" segment. Check out how reporter Steve Noviello does testing out the workout.

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Recipe: Yolkless Deviled Eggs

Yolkless Deviled Eggs

Hey, cheering on your favorite team takes energy. Here's a high-protein, low-carb, no-fat hors d'oeuvre from P90X nutritionist Carrie Wiatt. You can serve these at your tailgate or football-watching party and not have any shame in your game.

  • 12 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1 cup nonfat cottage cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. green onion, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. curry powder
  • Paprika (to taste)
  • Ground pepper (to taste)

Shell eggs and cut in half lengthwise. Discard yolks. Place cottage cheese, mustard, onion, garlic, and curry powder in a blender or food processor and puree. Spoon mixture into egg halves. Sprinkle with paprika and pepper. Makes 12 servings.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 8 minutes

Nutritional Information (per serving):

Calories Protein Cholesterol Carbs Fat Total Saturated Fat
90 8 g 1 g 1 g 0 g 0 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.

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