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9 Foods Not to Give Your Kids

By Joe Wilkes

If you've followed the news on childhood obesity lately, you know the state of affairs is pretty grim. Childhood obesity rates have tripled over the past two decades, and most signs point to the next generation being the first whose life expectancy will be shorter than their parents'. Much of the blame for this trend has deservedly been laid at the feet of the producers and marketers of unhealthy food aimed at our youngest consumers, whose parents face an uphill battle: trying to pit fresh, healthy foods devoid of mascots or sidekicks against superheroes and cartoon animals in a struggle to tempt their children's palates and stomachs.

Boy Eating Carrot

Since most kids have hummingbird metabolisms that adults can only envy, it's often easy to give them a free pass and let them eat whatever they want. But eventually those metabolisms slow down and the pounds settle in. Also, as physical activity decreases and processed food intake increases annually, kids aren't burning calories the way their parents might have when they were their age. And even if the kids aren't getting fat, they are establishing eating habits they'll take into adulthood. As parents, you can help foster a love for healthy eating and exercise that will last your kids a lifetime—hopefully a long one!

Eating can so often be a classic power struggle where kids try to finally locate their mom and dad's last nerve. (I can remember family dinners with my brother and parents that could teach Hezbollah a thing or two about standoffs.) There are a number of strategies you can use to mitigate this type of deadlock. One is to let your kids help with the selection and preparation of the food. If they picked out the veggies at the farmers' market and helped cook them, they might be less inclined to feed them to the family pet. Another is to frame eating vegetables and healthy food as being its own reward. Otherwise, by offering dessert as a reward for finishing vegetables, you create a system where unhealthy food is a treat and healthy food sucks. With these thoughts in mind, let's take a look at some of the unhealthiest foods being marketed to your kids today, and some healthier alternatives you can offer to replace each of them.

Note: The following recommendations are for school-aged children. Infants and toddlers have different specific nutritional needs not addressed in this article.

  1. Grilled ChickenChicken nuggets/tenders. These popular kids' menu items are little nuggets of compressed fat, sodium, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), and some form of chicken. Depending on the restaurant, chicken might not even be the first ingredient. Oftentimes, the nuggets or tenders are made of ground pieces of chicken meat and skin, pressed into a shape, flavored with HFCS and salt, and batter-fried in hydrogenated oil (the bad, trans-fatty stuff). Then, as if that weren't unhealthy enough, you dunk it in a HFCS- or mayonnaise-based sauce. With all the fat, salt, and sugar, it's easy to understand why they're tasty, but the nutritive value weighed against the huge amount of calories and fat consumed is incredibly lacking. Even healthier-sounding menu items can be deceiving, like McDonald's® Premium Breast Strips (5 pieces), which pack 640 calories and 38 grams of fat—and that's before you factor in the dipping sauce. (By comparison, a Big Mac® with sauce has 540 calories and 29 grams of fat.)

    Instead: If you're cooking at home, grill a chicken breast and cut it into dipping-size pieces either with a knife or, for extra fun, cookie cutters. Make a healthy dipping sauce from HFCS-free ketchup, marinara sauce, mustard, or yogurt. Let your kids help make the shapes or mix up the sauce. Try and go without breading, but if you must, try dipping the chicken breast in a beaten egg, and then rolling it in cornflake crumbs before you bake it. It'll be crunchy and delicious, but not as fatty.

  2. Sugary cereal. I can remember as a child, after going to friends' houses for overnights and being treated to breakfast cereals with marshmallows that turned the milk fluorescent pink or blue, feeling horribly deprived when faced with the less colorful and sugary options served up in my home kitchen. But now I can appreciate my mom and her unpopular brans and granolas. True, they didn't have any cartoon characters on the box or any toy surprises, but they also didn't have the cups of sugar, grams of fat, and hundreds of empty calories that these Saturday-morning staples are loaded with.

    Instead: Read the labels and try to find cereal that's low in sugar and high in fiber and whole grains. Remember, "wheat" is not the same as "whole wheat." Also, avoid cereals (including some granolas) that have hydrogenated oils, artificial colors, or chemical preservatives. Add raisins, sliced bananas, berries, or other seasonal fruit to the cereal for extra flavor and nutrition. Again, letting your child help design a healthy bowl of cereal from choices you provide will get you a little more buy-in at the breakfast table.

  3. Hot DogsLunch meat and hot dogs. Kids love hot dogs, bologna, and other processed meats, but these are all full of potentially carcinogenic nitrates and nitrites, sodium, saturated fat, and artificial colors and fillers. A study in Los Angeles found that kids who ate 12 hot dogs a month had 9 times the risk of developing leukemia.1 And more health risks are being discovered all the time. Leaf through any research about kids' nutrition, and you're bound to read about the bane of the cafeteria—Oscar Mayer's Lunchables®. These and similar prepackaged lunches are loaded with processed meats and crackers made with hydrogenated oils. These innocent-looking meals can boast fat counts of up to 38 grams. That's as much fat as a Burger King® Whopper® and more than half the recommended daily allowance of fat for an adult.

    Instead: Get unprocessed meats, like lean turkey breast, chicken, tuna, or roast beef. Use whole wheat bread for sandwiches; or if your kid's dying for Lunchables, fill a small plastic container with whole-grain, low-fat crackers, lean, unprocessed meat, and low-fat cheese. This can be another great time to get out the cookie cutters to make healthy sandwiches more fun. For hot dogs, read labels carefully. Turkey dogs are usually a good bet, but some are pumped up with a fair amount of chemicals and extra fat to disguise their fowl origins. Look for low levels of fat, low sodium, and a list of ingredients you recognize. There are some tasty veggie dogs on the market, although a good deal of trial and error may be involved for the choosy child.

  4. Juice and juice-flavored drinks. Juice—what could be wrong with juice? While 100 percent juice is a good source of vitamin C, it doesn't have the fiber of whole fruit, and provides calories mostly from sugar and carbohydrates. Too much juice can lead to obesity and tooth decay, among other problems. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests 4 to 6 ounces of juice per day for kids under 6, and 8 to 12 ounces for older kids. Juice drinks that aren't 100 percent juice are usually laced with artificial colors and that old standby, high fructose corn syrup, and should be avoided. Your best bet is to make your own juice from fresh, seasonal fruit. You won't have to worry about all the additives, and it's another way you can involve your kids in the cooking process. Let them design their own juice "cocktail."

    Instead: Water is still the best thirst quencher. Explain the importance of good hydration to your kids, and try to set a good example yourself by carrying around a healthy reusable hard plastic or stainless steel water bottle. Get your kids used to carrying a small bottle of water in their backpack or attached to their bike. If they're very water averse, try water with a splash of fruit juice in it. But just a splash. The idea is to get your kids used to not having things be overly sweet, overly salty, or overly fatty. Another great beverage is milk. Growing kids need plenty of milk (or fortified nondairy milks, like soy or almond)—which is filled with nutrients, calcium, and (in the case of dairy and soy) protein—but they don't need too much fat, so choosing low-fat or nonfat options will help ensure that they get their milk without actually beginning to resemble a cow.

  5. Vegetable SticksFrench fries. High in calories, high in fat, and high in sodium—and unsurprisingly the most popular "vegetable" among kids. Fries offer virtually none of the nutrients found in broccoli, carrots, spinach, or other veggies not cooked up in a deep fryer, and the fat they're fried in is often trans fat, the unhealthiest kind for the heart. To top it all off, studies are beginning to show cancer-causing properties from acrylamide, a toxic substance that is created when starchy foods like potatoes are heated to extreme temperatures. In some tests, the amount of acrylamide in French fries was 300 to 600 times higher than the amount the EPA allows in a glass of water.2

    Instead: Vegetables like baby carrots, celery sticks, and other crudités are great options, but if potatoes must be had, there are some options that don't involve melting a brick of fat. A scooped-out potato skin with low-fat chili and a little cheese can provide lots of fiber and vitamins, with even higher amounts if the chili has beans. You can also try making baked fries, using slices of potato with a light brushing of olive oil. Or the classic baked potato could be a hit, with plain yogurt or cottage cheese instead of sour cream and butter.

  6. PopcornPotato chips, Cheetos®, Doritos®, etc. These are full of fat, oftentimes saturated, and way more sodium than any child or adult should eat. Some chips also have the acrylamide problem discussed in #5, French fries, above. Also, watch out for innocent-seeming baked and low-fat chips that contain olestra or other fake fats and chemicals that could present health issues for kids.

    Instead: Kids gotta snack, and in fact, since their stomachs are smaller, they aren't usually able to go as long between meals as adults. Cut-up vegetables are the best thing if your kids want to get their crunch on, but air-popped popcorn and some baked chips are okay, too. You can control how much salt goes on the popcorn, or involve your child in experimenting with other toppings like red pepper, Parmesan cheese, or dried herbs. Try making your own trail mix with your kids. They might be more excited to eat their own personal blend, and that way you can avoid certain store-bought trail mixes, which sometimes contain ingredients like chocolate chips and marshmallows that aren't exactly on the healthy snack trail.

  7. Fruit leather. Many of these gelatinous snacks like roll-ups or fruit bites contain just a trace amount of fruit, but lots of sugar or HFCS and bright artificial colors. Don't be misled by all the products that include the word "fruit" on their box. Real fruit is in the produce section, not the candy aisle.

    Instead: If your child doesn't show interest in fruit in its natural state, there are some ways you can make it more interesting without losing its nutritional value. For a healthy frozen treat, try filling ice-cube or frozen-pop trays with fruit juice, or freezing grapes. Or buy unflavored gelatin and mix it with fruit juice and/or pieces of fruit to make gelatin treats without the added sugar and color (let it solidify in big flat casserole dishes or roasting pans—another good time for the cookie cutters!) Try serving some raisins, dried apricots, apples, peaches, or other dried fruits that might give you that chewy, leathery texture without the sugar.

  8. Toast with Fruit SpreadDoughnuts. These little deep-fried gobs of joy are favorites for kids and adults alike, but they are full of fat and trans-fatty acids, and of course, sugar. Toaster pastries, muffins, and cinnamon buns aren't much better. The worst thing about doughnuts and these other pastries, aside from their nutritional content, is that they're often presented to children as acceptable breakfast choices. These delicious deadlies need to be categorized properly—as desserts, to be eaten very sparingly. And you can't have dessert for breakfast.

    Instead: Honestly, a slice of whole wheat toast spread with sugar-free fruit spread or peanut butter isn't going to get as many fans as a chocolate-filled Krispy Kreme® doughnut, but at some point, you have to stand firm. Be the cop who doesn't like doughnuts. Doughnuts—not for breakfast. Period.

  9. PizzaPizza. In moderation, pizza can be a fairly decent choice. If you order the right toppings, you can get in most of your food groups. The problem comes with processed meats like pepperoni and sausage, which add fat and nitrates/nitrites (see #3, Lunch meat and hot dogs, above); and the overabundance of cheese, which will also provide more calories and fat than a child needs.

    Instead: Try making your own pizza with your kids. Use premade whole wheat crusts, or whole wheat tortillas, English muffins, or bread as a base. Then brush on HFCS-free sauce, and set up a workstation with healthy ingredients like diced chicken breast, sliced turkey dogs, and vegetables that each child can use to build his or her own pizza. Then sprinkle on a little cheese, bake, and serve. If your child gets used to eating pizza like this, delivery pizzas may seem unbearably greasy after awhile.

Someday your children will come to realize that caped men in tights and sponges who live under the sea might not have their best interests at heart when it comes to food. Until then, however, why not involve them in the process of selecting and preparing healthier alternatives? Some of these cleverly disguised wholesome foods might become their favorites. Who knows, they may even tempt some of the overgrown children among us!


1Peters J, et al. "Processed meats and risk of childhood leukemia (California, USA)" Cancer Causes & Control 5: 195-202, 1994

2Tareke E, Rydberg P, Karlsson P, et al. "Analysis of acrylamide, a carcinogen formed in heated foodstuffs" J. of Agri and Food Chem. 2002;50:4988-5006

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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 Tuesday, September 6th, at 3:00 PM ET, 12:00 PM PT.

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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, recently named one of the Top 50 blogs covering the sports industry by the Masters in Sports Administration.

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Fighting the Obesity Trend

By Steve Edwards

Most of us are aware that we're in the midst of an obesity epidemic. And while we can't open a newspaper or turn on a computer without a reminder, the problem is still continuing to grow. A recent article in the UK newspaper, The Guardian, predicts that two-thirds of children and 9 out of 10 adults will be obese by 2050 in the UK. As the statistical leader of this growing (pun intended) trend, what does that say about the United States?

Person Holding Cheeseburger While Measuring Waist

Critics may call those projections inflammatory, but looking at even the most conservative numbers should cause concern. Nationwide, obesity rates range between 17 and 30 percent, with some demographics exceeding 40 percent. Estimated health care costs of this epidemic range in the billions. Life expectancy estimates for our youngest generation are lower than those of their parents for the first time in recorded history. The leader of the epidemic, the USA, has seen its status fall from one of the world's healthiest countries to the least healthy country in the developed world. We're far beyond a time when bickering about statistics and numbers even matters. One look around at a mall, an airport, or a school informs us that things aren't as they should be. There is no longer a question of whether it needs national attention. We need to reverse this trend ASAP. But we can't change what we don't understand, so let's examine the major questions and concerns we have about obesity. Then, we'll take a look at what we can do about it.

Is the problem exercise or diet related?

It's both. There is no question about obesity following the pattern of fast food dispersal; all you have to do is look at a map to see that the trend follows these restaurants. However, the latest studies are showing that even with the addition of Big Macs and Big Gulps, caloric consumption is not going up as much as exercise levels are coming down.

Recent studies by British medical journal The Lancet, the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition have all consistently shown that exercise is the central determinant of whether children are overweight. The figures show that kids are consuming approximately 3 percent more calories than they did in the 1970s, but getting a whopping average of 20 percent less exercise. And obese kids are 70 percent more likely to become obese adults.

But even though lack of exercise takes the brunt of the responsibility, it doesn't mean that dietary habits should be ignored. The increase in the number of calories eaten doesn't reflect the type of calories that are consumed. For example, various studies estimate that soda makes up around 15 percent of the caloric intake of teenagers and around 10 percent that of adults in America. The health implications of these statistics are dire, as this habit makes it nearly impossible for a person's diet to be balanced—and that's before we even consider how much calorie-free soda is being added to the mix.

The following study exemplifies the solution, which requires changing both our exercise and dietary habits. In Colac, Australia, 1,800 children, aged 2 to 12, followed a program that included a restricted diet (no carbonated drinks or sweets) and increased exercise. Results included a 68 percent increase in after-school activity program participation, a 21 percent reduction in television viewing, and an average 1 kilogram weight reduction compared to the control group.

For richer and for poorer

Man with Empty Pockets Historically, only lower-income groups had a major problem with obesity. This statistic is rapidly changing. In the early 1970s, 22.5 percent of people with incomes below $25,000 were obese, while just 9.7 percent of people with incomes over $60,000 were obese. Obvious contributing factors were education, more involved parenting, and having the means for being proactive toward child care. Today, however, the obesity rate is growing the fastest among Americans who make more than $60,000 a year.

Since higher-income groups tend to eat "healthier," or at least can afford to change their diets more easily, this is another signal that our exercise habits have become dangerous. Some telltale signs of this reversal of fortune are based around money. Kids with the greatest access to TV, computers, and video games have more excuses not to get outside and move. Another curse of the privileged is the declining number of children who walk or bike to school. There's nothing like trading in a couple hours of movement each day for playing with a Game Boy in an idling SUV for regressing a child's metabolic process. In addition to a declining number of recess periods and poor school lunch programs, we're setting our children up with an ideal recipe for type 2 diabetes.

The number of obese children is still rising among all socioeconomic classes, and it will keep growing unless lifestyle changes are made and people become more aware of the situation. No economic class is immune to obesity. Especially hard on the lower classes is the fact that the least healthy foods also tend to be the cheapest, making it very difficult for children from that socioeconomic background to eat properly. Cheap foods tend to have higher sugar content than natural, healthy food. There is only one way to combat a high-sugar diet, and that's with a lot of rigorous exercise.

It's about more than a ripped body

Man with Dumbell It's not just about looks, as obesity affects more than your physique. It increases your risk for a number of diseases, including diabetes, stroke, insulin resistance, and hypertension. Obesity carried into midlife may also have damaging effects on the brain.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 61 percent of obese young people have at least one additional risk factor for heart disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. Additionally, children who are obese are at greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems. Obese young people are more likely than children of normal weight to become overweight or obese adults and are, therefore, more at risk for associated adult health problems, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.

10 solutions for obesity

  1. Baby Drinking from Bottle No bottles before bed. In fact, no bottle at all seems like a better bet, as kids who are breast-fed are less likely to be obese. A bevy of recent studies, which show infant obesity rates as high as 44 percent in some demographics, has linked a large part of the problem to sending infants to bed with a bottle. Not only is the child getting more calories, it's creating a learned response to eat before bed that is hard to reverse as the child gets older. Infants should have some body fat, but an obese infant is more than twice as likely to grow into an obese adolescent, who is more than twice as likely to become an obese adult.
  2. Turn off the TV. The American Journal of Public Health published a survey stating that 59 percent of children watched between 2 and 4 hours of television, and an additional 22 percent watched 5 or more hours of TV per day. That's a lot—let me say it again, A LOT—of TV, and this, apparently, didn't account for time in front of a computer. Chances are that turning off your TV isn't going to sit well with your kids, so here is some ammunition that will make it easier on both of you.

    Staying thin will increase your child's confidence level. Researchers surveyed 1,520 children, ages 9 to 10, with a 4-year follow-up, and discovered a positive correlation between obesity and low self-esteem. They also discovered that decreased self-esteem led to 19 percent of obese children feeling sad, 48 percent of them feeling bored, and 21 percent of them feeling nervous. In comparison, 8 percent of normal-weight children felt sad, 42 percent of them felt bored, and 12 percent of them felt nervous.
  3. Girls with School Books Walk to school (or at least some of the way). This alone could make one of the biggest differences in activity levels. A generation ago, most self-respecting parents would laugh at their child's suggestion to drive them to school. Nowadays, lines of SUVs stretch out for blocks around campuses filled with kids burning nary a calorie while waiting to be dropped off on the front step of the school. In some neighborhoods, this lost time alone is plenty to fill the child's exercise requirement.

    Lack of busing can shoulder some of the blame, but the primary reason seems to be fear. The world has gotten scary, or so we think, and parents drive their kids to keep them safe. In reality, the damage done from lack of activity is putting them at far more risk. According to former Department of Justice statistician Callie Rennison, our fears are mainly based on sensationalism in the media, which indicates that child abduction plays well in the ratings. "99.9 percent of child abduction cases are family related," she states. "Statistically, our kids are much safer in public than they've ever been."

    Numbers aside, most parents will likely balk at the idea of making their kids the lab rats in some "walking to school" experiment. But, at least, you can drop them off close to school. The last part of the commute, the part while you're waiting in line, is a place where your kids could be moving in what is probably one of the safest situations imaginable—a line of cars filled with highly protective parents.
  4. Kids Jumping Fight for recess. As schools' budgets dwindle because "results" are based on test scores, "optional" classes like recess are being cut. But it can be argued that recess is one of the most important classes your child has. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services, it's not just how much children exercise that counts but how long they exercise that's important. Kids should not exercise for prolonged periods of time. They benefit far more from short bursts of exercise throughout the day. This is the reason that recess periods have been included throughout a typical school day—those recess periods that are now being threatened if they aren't already gone.

    Besides the obvious positive effects of recess, it has also been shown to reduce stress. And stress can influence a child's eating habits. Researchers tested the stress inventory of 28 college females and discovered that those who were binge eating had a mean of 29.65 points on the perceived stress scale, compared to the control group who had a mean of 15.19 points.
  5. Girl Eating a Sandwich at SchoolReform your school lunch program. Brown bagging is back, at least until you can fix your school cafeteria. Having your child bring his or her lunch from home can ensure that they're eating well. School cafeterias have been getting progressively worse. Despite the huge successes enjoyed by some that have switched to healthier menus, most feel too restricted by budgets and bottom lines not to farm out their concessions to the lowest bidder.

    We tend to forget that parents have some say in this. Whether your child goes to public or private school, each school is accountable to its community base. Parents have banded together in many communities to change their school's nutritional structure. You can too.
  6. Get more sleep. A Northwestern University study indicates that inadequate sleep has a negative impact on children's performance in school and on their emotional and social welfare, and increases their risk of being overweight. This study was the first nationally represented, longitudinal investigation on the correlation between sleep, body mass index, and being overweight in children between the ages of 3 and 18. The study found that an extra hour of sleep lowered the children's risk of being overweight from 36 percent to 30 percent, while it lessened older children's risk from 34 percent to 30 percent.
  7. Soda Cans Stop drinking sugar. The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that many children get most of their calories from beverages, when they'd be better off getting them from fresh fruit and other healthy solid foods. Most of these calories come from soda, but some of the blame lies with other healthier-sounding beverages, like juice and sports drinks. Take a look at the orange juice label. This former icon of a nutritious breakfast, which is still praised in some less-enlightened cultures, is mainly sugar. The refining process has leeched most of its useful ingredients and all of the fiber, turning a perfectly healthy food, an orange, into little more than a sugar rush. Sports drinks can be beneficial when you're playing sports, but, at any other time, they're about the worst thing you can consume. Our nutritional needs change during exercise, when we need a lot of sugar and salt. When we aren't exercising, those nutrients in excess are dangerous.
  8. Family Running on the Beach Sign up for something. Our bodies are meant to move, and nothing makes this as easy as doing something fun. Not all of us are good at sports, but almost everyone has an aptitude for some physical activity. Start children early by allowing them to experiment with different activities. The more they try, the easier it will be for you to see which activities they excel at and which they don't. A more benign approach to the old East German method of finding athletes at a young age, it's a great parenting tool because it helps you guide them into things they'll do well at. They get exposed to different things, get some exercise, and, in the end, you'll probably find something they'll be good at—or at least decent—which will help their self-esteem as they develop. It's hard for kids to understand why they're bad at something. This tactic can help them see how the human body is designed and why it's normal to be different. We can't all be the star quarterback, but we can all be the star something, which will be a lot easier to achieve if you're aiming for something you have an aptitude for.

    Don't be afraid to think outside the box here. Martial arts, snowboarding, swimming, dancing, gymnastics, cycling, and rock climbing are all just as effective as football and soccer for building healthy bodies.
  9. Woman Jumping in a Sunny Field Get outside. Besides chasing fast food distribution, an easy way to map the obesity trend is to follow demographics indicating that we spend less and less time outdoors. Nature forces us into action. It expands our minds to the world around us and teaches us to be less fearful. Shoot, just standing around outside burns calories, especially as the weather changes.

    There are an endless number of outdoor activities you can choose from, but the simplest, hiking, is one of the best activities you can do. Not only does it force you to learn more about your world, it's great exercise, especially if you live around hills or mountains. It builds motor skills because you climb on rocks and trees, etc. For your kids, it's a learning tool because you'll encounter the natural world and, most likely, develop an interest in the way it works. You don't need to have Yosemite in your backyard to enjoy hiking. Any city park will do. Natural wonders abound in all settings.
  10. Chalene Johnson Working Out Get a home fitness program. We even know where you can find some. Nothing beats home fitness in both cost and time efficiency. From Kathy Smith's Project:YOU! Type 2® to Hip Hop Abs® to 10-Minute Trainer® and P90X®, there's a home fitness solution that will fit your lifestyle like a glove. Most home fitness programs allow you to finish your exercise requirement in less time than it would take to drive to a gym. A proper program is researched to be time-efficient and will also come with dietary suggestions to match the program. No other option comes close to home fitness when you need to squeeze a lifestyle change into an already booked schedule.

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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 Tuesday, September 6th, 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

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, recently named one of the Top 50 blogs covering the sports industry by the Masters in Sports Administration.

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Achy Feet? Dr. Mark Cheng Explains Why!

Does running, working out, or spending all day on the go leave you with achy feet? Dr. Mark Cheng explains the science behind the pain and how to relieve it. Click below to watch the video.

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Recipe: My Mom's Pancakes

My Mom's Pancakes

Like so many of my family's "secret" recipes, this one began life on the side of a food package—in this case, a carton of eggs (no surprise when you see the second ingredient). Plus, this is a pretty good way of sneaking extra protein into your kids' diets—it'll definitely get a better reaction than a hard-boiled egg and a scoop of cottage cheese on a Saturday morning.

  • 1 cup fat-free cottage cheese
  • 6 eggs
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour (or 1/4 cup whole wheat and 1/4 cup barley flour)
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • Dash of vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup milk

Blend or food process first six ingredients on high until smooth. Add milk slowly to reach batter consistency. Cook on a hot, nonstick griddle. Number of pancakes vary by size. Serves 6.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Nutritional Information (per serving)
Calories Protein Fiber Carbs Fat Total Saturated Fat
225 13 grams 1.5 grams 9 grams 15 grams 3 grams

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

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