Category: Health

25 Dinners With No Added Sugar That Help You Stick to Your #Goals

Think about it: That tablespoon of maple syrup in your salad dressing, the honey in your Asian-inspired stir-fry sauce, the generous drizzle of ketchup on your burger. Despite many people’s best efforts, that sugar still manages to creep into so many healthy dinner dishes. But meals can be just as tasty and easy to make without the slightest hint of added sweetener. We’ve rounded up 25 added-sugar-free dinners proving just that. 

Poultry

Photo: Lively Table

In a welcome contrast to the honey-soaked restaurant version, this dish uses the actual peel and fresh juice of the orange for its fruity flavor and sweetness. It’s also all done in one pan, so it’s really only marginally harder than ordering in. 

Photo: Living Loving Paleo

Instead of sugary ranch dressing for the “creamy” portion of this pasta, this recipe’s secret weapon is blended cashews, which make the dish incredibly rich in a much healthier way. If you use the coconut oil option instead of ghee, the dish also becomes entirely dairy-free.

Photo: Chef de Home

Along with tang, plain yogurt adds some mild sweetness to this otherwise spicy curry. It’s so much better for you than the butter chicken you’d find in a traditional Indian restaurant, but just as tasty, especially paired with naan or rice. 

Photo: Spinach 4 Breakfast

Get your taco the gluten-free way by stuffing your turkey mixture into a sweet potato. You get an extra serving of fiber and a touch of natural sweetness; plus, it’s a lot more fun to eat this way.  

Photo: Chew Out Loud

There’s a lot that’s sweet about this recipe, but none of it has anything to do with sugar. It’s all from the sweet potatoes, the creamy coconut milk, and the freshly squeezed orange juice. Clean eating really doesn’t have to be hard or bland.

You’ll notice that the teaspoon of sugar in this chili is entirely optional—and it’s for good reason, since you won’t miss it at all if you omit it. With sweet bell peppers, mild turkey, cumin, and chili powder to spice things up, there’s already plenty of flavor going on. 

Beef/Pork

Photo: PDX Food Love

A good steak salad shouldn’t just be a meal you order at a restaurant. It’s just as easy to re-create at home. As a bonus, you control everything that goes on to this plate, from the quality of the meat to the homemade dressing to the fun add-ins such as avocado and peanuts.

Photo: Nutritionist Reviews

Asian-inspired food is delicious, but unfortunately, tends to use alarming amounts of added sugar, such as honey or sweetened sauces. This one gets its not-too-sweet flavor from a blend of rice vinegar and peanut powder (use peanut butter as an alternative)—it’s so good and so easy, you may want to bottle some of it for future stir-fries and salads.

Photo: The Recipe Rebel

Even canned soup can come loaded with sweeteners and additives. Ditch the store-bought stuff and whip up your own take on the classic beef and macaroni soup with a recipe that comes together in fewer than 30 minutes and uses all real food, including whole-wheat pasta.

Photo: The Seasoned Mom

Packaged Hamburger Helper may save you a few minutes in the kitchen, but it isn’t doing a whole lot for your health with ingredients such as corn syrup, sugar, and MSG. This stovetop version packs in lean ground beef, whole-grain macaroni, and plenty of actual tomato sauce, and is hardly time-consuming to put together. 

Photo: Kiwi and Carrot

Who needs sugar when you have rich, creamy carbs that involve bacon? Not only is this recipe the ultimate savory comfort food, it also comes together in just 35 minutes—pretty much record timing for a risotto.

Photo: Food Done Light

This foolproof rice recipe requires no stovetop stirring—the oven-baked method gets it just right. Plus the combination of saffron, paprika, and garlic powder will have your kitchen smelling heavenly. 

Seafood

Photo: Skinny Fitalicious

With an avocado-based pesto slathered over salmon, this recipe is all about the “s” word—that is, superfoods, not sugar. Pair the fish with asparagus for a filling—not to mention, incredibly good-looking—plate. 

Photo: Well Plated

Get your protein and healthy fats in these neat little patties. Held together with egg and breadcrumbs then baked, they’re tasty and versatile. Serve them on a salad or with roasted veggies.  

Photo: Joyful Healthy Eats

Fruit is a fantastic way to give a dish some all-natural sweetness, and a little goes a long way. These tostadas, piled high with spiced salmon and cooled off with a pineapple salsa, are a perfect example.

Photo: Everyday Easy Eats

No room for sugar in this spicy rice dish; Cajun seasonings, a squirt of lemon, and protein-packed shrimp do more than enough to make it tasty without the need for sweeteners, all-natural or otherwise. 

Photo: The Straight Dish

Next time anyone declares that seafood and cheese don’t mix, plate them up a big ol’ portion of this. The salty feta and shrimp go so perfectly with the garlicky pasta and sauce, you’ll no doubt be serving seconds.

Photo: Cooks With Cocktails

This dish packs in so many different flavors, you won’t even feel like you’re eating “light.” Simply seasoned halibut is pan-seared until flaky and topped with an herbed and slightly spicy fruit salsa. It’s refreshing and satisfying all at once.

Photo: My Life Cookbook

Crusted in bread crumbs and Parmesan, and lightly browned—not fried—in a pan, this tilapia dish looks fancy, but requires just six ingredients. The easy tomato sauce makes for a tangy complement to the mild fish. 

Meatless

Photo: Pumpkin and Peanut Butter

While there’s no sugar in this recipe, it does use funky store-bought cubes of garlic, herbs, and ginger. If you can’t find them, just use regular garlic cloves and spices. This super-simple pasta will be just as delicious either way.

Photo: Simply Quinoa

Sugar is almost always included in an authentic pad Thai. This recipe departs from tradition, going for a loosely inspired version that not only skips sugar, but also uses zucchini “noodles” and adds quinoa for extra protein. 

Photo: Everyday Easy Eats

Everyone needs a fried rice recipe in their arsenal, but give yours a superfood upgrade by using quinoa as a base instead. The fluffy kernels are chewy enough to hold up to the veggies and do a great job of absorbing the soy and Sriracha sauce.

Photo: Kristin's Kitchen

Who doesn’t love going to an Indian restaurant and starting off with a plate of crispy, deep-fried samosas? While that’s all well and good once in a while, try a healthier version at home. The veggie filling is piled on top of rice instead of wrapped in dough, and a spicy, cilantro sauce replaces the sugary tamarind one on the outside.

Photo: B Brtinell

Like tofu, tempeh soaks up whatever flavors you put on it. Here, it’s marinating in lime juice, garlic, and classic Mexican spices, then quickly sautéed with veggies for a fantastic weeknight fajita dinner. 

Photo: Modern Little Victories

Using lentils instead of meat for sloppy joes is a common vegetarian fix, but lots of recipes use brown sugar to sweeten the tomato sauce. This one nixes the sweetness, letting the tomato sauce and spices speak for themselves.  

 

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25 Ways to Run Faster—Stat

Usain Bolt makes sprinting look easy. It’s almost as if he doesn’t have to try. But we’ll let you in on a little secret: Sure, Bolt is more of a natural runner than we are, but he still has to work at it in order to keep himself in top form. Even better news? There are tons of steps you can take to run faster, smoke the competition, and maybe even sent a new PR. 

1. Nail good form.

The key to running (at any speed) is to practice proper running technique. That means keeping your upper body tall yet relaxed, striking the ground with your mid-foot landing under your hip, and swinging your arms forward and back (not side to side!) at low 90-degree angles.

2. Count your steps.

Get familiar with stride turnover—the rate of steps you take while running, regardless of pace. The fastest, most efficient runners have a cadence of around 180 steps per minute and keep their feet close to the ground with light, short, and speedy steps. To find your magic number, run for one minute, count the number of times the right foot hits the ground, and multiply by two.

3. Try interval training.

Short on gym time? Try interval training. Alternate periods of high and low intensity while exercising to build speed and endurance—and burn major calories in less time too!

4. Don’t forget to sprint.

There’s a reason you see all those “real runners” doing short sprints before the big road race. Strides are a series of comfortable sprints (usually eight to 12, between 50 and 200 meters each) to improve acceleration technique.

5. Make the treadmill your friend.

The treadmill’s belt assists with leg turnover, so it’s actually easier to run faster. Plus, you have the power to push the pace right at your fingertips. Just make sure you get on the machine before turning up the dial.

Stretch

6. Stretch daily.

The jury is still out on static stretches—it’s unclear if they really prevent running injuries.  Stretching and injury prevention: an obscure relationship. Witvrouw E, Mahieu N, Danneels L. Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.), 2004, Dec.;34(7):0112-1642. But leaders of the pack know stretching daily (especially targeting those hip flexors) increases flexibility for better strides.

7. Switch up your pace.

Fartleks is a funny Swedish word (yes, our inner 10-year-old finds it hilarious) meaning “speed play.” Alternating jogs and sprints gradually builds up speed and endurance, plus you call the shots in determining when to switch it up.

8. Jump rope.

Take a lesson from boxers and add jump rope workouts to your routine. Boxers know that fast feet mean fast hands. But for runners, fast feet just equal fast feet.

9. Trade up for lighter shoes.

We’re not saying you need to embrace barefoot running, but sneakers are getting lighter and lighter to mimic your foot’s natural movement and improve your stride. Try a minimalist pair to see if less weight means more energy for faster feet.

10. Work out your core. 

Stronger core muscles (especially lower abs) allow runners to tap into more force out on the road. The best part? Just 15 minutes of core work a few days per week is enough to help you speed up. Does core strength training influence running kinetics, lower-extremity stability, and 5000-M performance in runners? Sato K, Mokha M. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 2009, May.;23(1):1533-4287.

11. Change how you breathe.

Learning how to breathe while running at faster speeds takes practice. Use both your nose and mouth while inhaling and exhaling to get the maximum amount of oxygen to the muscles. Also, try belly breathing—fill the stomach, not the chest, with air on each inhale.

Running Uphill

12. Head for the hills.

Hill repeats are shown to improve speed, build muscle strength, and add a boost of confidence too.

13. Skip the sweets.

Junk food guarantees a sugar high and slows you down. Stick to whole grains and pasta before runs, which provide long-lasting energy—without the crash.

14. Play with resistance.

Try a running parachute for added resistance, or if your budget allows, see what it’s like on the other edge of the resistance spectrum with an anti-gravity treadmill.

15. Lift weight.

Stronger, leaner muscles will help you get to the finish line faster. And while runners shouldn’t take up bodybuilding, two short strength training sessions per week can go a long way in improving your speed.

16. Lose weight.

On the other hand, research shows that shedding the pounds (fat, not muscle) can help runners shave time off the clock—cutting an average of two seconds off your mile time for every pound you lose. Of course not everyone has the weight to lose, so remember to consult a physician before starting any weight-loss program.

17. Look ahead.

Looking down at your feet or turning your head to check out the competition can waste precious time. Instead, focus on what’s directly in front of you—about 10 to 20 meters in the distance—and keep those eyes on the prize.

Man Spinning

18. Go for a spin.

Indoor cycling gives your hips a workout while forcing your legs to get comfortable moving from slow leisurely rides to all-out sprints. The same goes for running. So hop on a bike and get ready for some cross-training.

19. Pay attention to your toes.

The whole body plays a role in speed—from your head to your toes! Try dorsiflexion (arching your toes up toward you shins) while running. That way less of your foot hits the ground for a quicker stride turnover.

20. Keep it steady.

Slow and steady may win the race, but fast and steady builds speed! A tempo run challenges runners to find a “comfortably hard” pace and hold it for a 20-minute period. Just don’t burn out before the run is over like that silly little hare!

21. Drink coffee.

Turns out drinking caffeine before running gives you an extra jolt of speed. Even more good news? It’s a totally legal performance enhancer.  Caffeine and sports performance. Burke LM. Applied physiology, nutrition, and metabolism = Physiologie appliquee, nutrition et metabolisme, 2009, Mar.;33(6):1715-5312.

22. Do mountain climbers.

The combo of moving your feet quickly while assuming a plank position will make you crazy fast. 

23. Try yoga.

Get a leg up on fellow runners by adding yoga to your training plan. The increased flexibility from runner-specific positions makes you faster and speeds up aids recovery.

24. Get enough shut-eye.

Studies show well-rested athletes have better reaction times and clock faster finishes.  The Effects of Sleep Extension on the Athletic Performance of Collegiate Basketball Players. Man C, Man K, et al. Sleep. 2011 Jul 1; 34(7): 943–950.
 And think about it—the faster you run, the more time you have to kick back and relax!

25. Strip down.

When it’s finally race day, take it off! The extra layers and fuel belts, that is. The less clothing and gear on your body, the faster your time—which is why the pros practically get right down to their skivvies to run.

Originally published January 2012. Updated February 2014 and April 2017.

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A Cardio Core Workout Way Better Than the Treadmill + Sit-Ups

Cardio is good. Cardio that incorporates core strength at the same time is better. This workout lets you check off both without stepping foot on a treadmill or attempting a few lazy sit-ups on the mat. 

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The 25-minute routine features nontraditional core and cardio exercises to prevent boredom. You’ll perform some standing and some on the floor, but all of them will hit every inch of your core. You need zero equipment for this one, but an exercise mat is optional if you’d prefer. 

To recap: No equipment is needed for this workout. Complete a dynamic warm-up (~1.5 minutes), followed by a 25-minute workout, and a cool-down stretch (~2 minutes).

Workout:
Standing Lateral Crunch
Squat With Toe Tap
Squat Walk-Out With Row
Flutter Kick
Weightless Windmill
Squat With Side Crunch
Plank With Elbow Tap
Starfish
Reach and Pull
Standing Kickback
Sumo Squat to Tip Toe
Standing High-Knee Crunch
Frog Squat
Forward Curtsy
Squat With Side Reach
Plank With Tuck

Looking for more short and effective at-home workouts? Grokker has thousands of routines, so you’ll never get bored. Bonus: For a limited time, Greatist readers get 40 percent off Grokker Premium (just $ 9 per month) and their first 14 days free. Sign up now!

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13 Boxing-Inspired Cardio Moves to Get You in Serious Shape

In case you haven’t heard, boxing is all the rage right now. And for good reason—not only is it a great way to let out all your pent-up feels (and way cheaper than therapy), but it’s also a killer total-body workout that’s sure to get you in fighting shape. That means everything from your core to your arms to even your brain (after all, those combinations aren’t going to remember themselves).

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But before you can jab and cross like a pro, it’s essential to build up some endurance, says Brian Pedone, lead boxing trainer at Box + Flow and Work Train Fight in NYC and founder of Quiet Punch. “Cardio is the baseline; once you have that, then you work on your technique,” he says. 

Check out these 13 boxing-inspired cardio and conditioning exercises that help build endurance, balance, and agility—whether you’re hitting the ring or just rolling with the punches of day-to-day life.

How to use this list: Perform each exercise below for 1 minute. If you’d like to focus on one exercise (jump rope, for example), build your way up to 10 minutes by adding 30 seconds at a time. Once you master 2 minutes of any exercise, combine 5 to 6 moves with no rest in-between to create a killer 10- to 12-minute cardio workout. Or scroll down to try the 12-minute workout we created at the end of this article. 

1. Jump Rope

Boxing Exercises For Cardio: Jump Rope
A classic cardio warm-up for boxing, jumping rope is a great way to get your heart pumping. If you need a refresher: Take the handles in hands, then swing rope over head and in front of body. Hop over rope as it skims ground and land lightly on balls of feet. No rope? No problem. Simply rotate wrists in same motion and hop over an imaginary rope. 

Make it harder: Switch it up by alternating legs, or trying double unders (rope passes under feet twice during one jump or crossovers (crossing rope in front of body during swing). 

2. High Knees

Boxing Exercises For Cardio: High Knees
Start standing with feet hip-width apart. Bring knee toward chest (aim to get knee in-line with hip so thigh is parallel to ground). Continue to alternate as quickly as possible. Swing arms like you would during a sprint. Remember to land lightly on the balls of your feet and toes to propel knees upward. 

3. Heel Tap

Boxing Exercises For Cardio: Butt Kicks
Start standing with feet hip-width apart. Bend right knee to bring foot toward butt. Switch legs and continue to alternate as quickly as possible to get your heart rate up. Reach fingertips back to touch heel. The idea is to bring heels as close to butt as possible to get the maximum strengthening and stretching benefits for hamstrings.

4. Sprawl

Boxing Exercises For Cardio: Sprawl
In a real match, you’d use this move to prevent a takedown by your opponent, but when you’re just training, think of this like a boxer’s version of a burpee. Start in boxer stance—that means left foot in front (or right if you’re left-handed), with your right foot just wider than shoulder-width apart behind you and turned out at a 45-degree angle. Hands should be at jaw, fists clenched, protecting face. From fighter stance, lower hands to floor and jump feet back to a wide-leg plank (if mobility allows, let hips dip to floor and back to arch). From here, immediately hop back up to starting position and repeat.

5. Sprinter Hops

Boxing Exercises For Cardio: Sprinter Hop
While standing, drop down into sprinter’s position with right knee bent, left leg straight out behind you, and left fingertips on floor. This should look and feel like a low runner’s lunge. From lunge position, drive left knee forward and up as you drive through right foot to explode off ground to hop. Reverse the motion to return to starting position. Repeat on opposite leg. 

6. Jump Squat

Boxing Exercises For Cardio: Jump Squat
Stand with legs slightly wider than hip-width apart. Send hips back and bend knees to lower into a squat. Drive through balls of feet to jump off ground. Land lightly by rolling from toes to heels, then send hips back and bend knees to lower back to squat again. You can place hands in prayer position in front of chest for balance. Repeat. 

7. Lateral Hop

Boxing Exercises For Cardio: Lateral Hop
Start standing with knees slightly bent. Pushing off left foot, extend right leg out to right side to hop and land on right foot. Reverse momentum to repeat on opposite leg. Keep alternating back and forth while you swing arms like a sprinter. This should feel like ice skating without the skates. 

8. Jump Tuck

Bodyweight Workout: Jump Tuck
From a standing position, jump and use lower abs to draw knees up until nearly in line with hips, parallel to ground. Engage core to keep spine long and chest lifted (don’t bend over). It helps to place hands out in front of you to tap knees. Land softly on balls of feet and repeat. 

9. Shadow Boxing

Boxing Exercises For Cardio: Shadow Boxing
Shadow boxing is a prime way to polish your form, footwork, and breathing technique. Start in boxing stance and throw a couple jabs and crosses. As you do, dance around with fast footwork, like hopping forward and back, taking lateral steps, or even incorporating squats to simulate ducking under your opponent’s punch. You really can’t mess this one up since you just make it up as you go along. For more info, brush up on boxing basics here

10. Mountain Climber

Boxing Exercises For Cardio: Mountain Climber
Start in a high plank position, core engaged, wrists under shoulders. Bring knee in toward chest—almost like doing high knees in a horizontal position—and continue to alternate legs. Engage core to support spine and keep hips level with shoulders. 

11. Plyo Push-Up

Boxing Exercises For Cardio: Plyo Push Up

Start in high plank position, core engaged, wrists under shoulders. Bend elbows and lower chest to floor to perform a push-up. At the bottom of the move, push off hands with explosive power to pop upper body off ground. Land back on hands and repeat. For this version, be sure to keep your elbows tucked in at sides and bend elbows as you land to lessen the impact.

Make it easier: Start with a push-up on your knees to build strength, then progress to a basic push-up. Once you have that mastered, try the plyo push-up on your knees, then progress to the version above. 

12. Fast Feet

Boxing Exercises For Cardio: Fast Feet
Start standing with feet hip-width apart and fists at jaw in guard. With knees slightly bent, shift weight back and forth between each foot, staying on the balls of feet for agility and speed. The quicker you move, the harder it is! Keep core engaged and upper body as still as possible. 

13. Footwork Switch

Boxing Exercises For Cardio: Switch

Start in boxing stance with fists in guard. From here, hop and rotate at the hips to land with feet squared off and body facing forward. Hop again to fighter stance on the opposite side. If you’re a righty, this alternate stance is referred to as “south paw,” and it’s often used as a tactic to throw off an opponent. Continue to switch your stance as fast as possible. 

Boxing Exercises For Cardio Reebok Boxing Gear Shop the shoot:

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Photography: Julia Hembree

Special thanks to Gotham Gym for providing the location and to trainer Ruben Marin for modeling these moves. 

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8 Vegan Brunches That Prove the Meal Isn’t All About Eggs

Brunch may be synonymous with eggs, bacon, and buttery hollandaise sauce, but sometimes it’s nice to enjoy a brunch

entrée that doesn’t make you want to lie down afterward. These vegan brunch options are lighter twists on classic brunch dishes, but still make your Saturday meal feel pretty indulgent.

Let’s be honest. You can’t go to any brunch spot without seeing some kind of avocado toast on the menu. And vegans and meat eaters love it equally. This version stands out because it’s topped with three simple ingredients: crunchy radishes, lime juice, and poppy seeds. 

Gluten-free? Check. Dairy-free? Check. Egg-free? Check. Good-looking, great-tasting doughnuts? Check. Now all vegans can have their doughnuts… and eat them too.

Here’s a little secret: You can eat quinoa for breakfast. And another secret: Caramelized fruit tastes like candy without all of the added sugar. This recipe combines already sweet peaches with some maple syrup, cinnamon, and a touch of lemon juice. After eating this vegan breakfast bowl, you’ll never want boring old oatmeal again.

Most vegans swear that tempeh bacon tastes just like the real thing. Made by marinating and cooking thinly sliced tempeh strips in maple syrup, smoked paprika, chipotle powder, and cumin, tempeh bacon already sounds so delicious that you probably won’t even care if it tastes like bacon. Thrown on sweet potato hash, this is the heartiest vegan brunch option on the menu.

Sometimes brunch happens at 2 p.m., and your taste for breakfast has long passed. Welcome, vegan cauliflower tacos! This recipe takes gluten-free and vegan cauliflower rice and subs it for ground meat in a delicious vegan taco made for your weekend brunch.

Brunch really isn’t complete without some form of pancakes, but a traditional short stack is made with milk and eggs. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to make vegan pancakes with soy milk and chia seeds. Plus, this recipe is topped with two of the all-time best vegan ingredients—a mixture of maple syrup and peanut butter. 

No vegan brunch would be complete without some form of chia pudding. Not only are they a nutritional powerhouse, but when combined with nondairy milk, chia seeds quickly expand and form a pudding-like consistency. You can top your chia seed pudding with almost any combo of fruit and nuts, and you can get really crazy and try making it with different flavored milks.

Crumbled tofu has the same look and texture of scrambled eggs, but the taste isn’t always the same. This recipe rectifies that problem with the addition of black salt, which has a sulfuric eggy smell and taste. We know, mind blown. Add it to the same pan as veggies and spices, and you have a traditional savory scramble, made vegan.

 

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The 5 Best Blenders to Buy (So You Can Quit Those $10 Smoothies)

Smoothies are the perfect on-the-go food—and they’re a godsend for anyone who’s not into solid food before noon. But hitting up a juice shop for your smoothie fix is a pricey habit. So if you’re serious about smoothies (or soups or dips or nut butters), it’s time to invest in a blender. Our friends at BestReviews spent weeks testing blenders to find the five best machines on the market. A few are expensive, but none of them will set you back as much as a year’s worth of $ 10 smoothies. 

Nutri Ninja 1. Nutri Ninja Pro BL450

The Nutri Ninja snuck in and became one of the most popular blenders on the market without the competition really noticing. So “ninja” is an apt name. It’s the perfect personal blender for someone looking to make individual smoothies or shakes. The Nutri Ninja easily breaks through ice, seeds, skin, and even stems. Also, the jar doubles as a grab-and-go container thanks to the “sip-and-seal” lids. Plus, it’s dishwasher safe, making cleanup a cinch. Just make sure you don’t overfill the container—many customers reported leaks when they stuffed in too many fruits and veggies. 

($ 66.38; walmart.com)

Vitamix Pro 750 Heritage Blender 2. Vitamix Pro 750 Heritage Blender

A Vitamix is a blender in the same way a Tesla is a car—which is to say both blow the rest of the competition out of the water. The Heritage model is built on decades of research and technology. It makes blending a smoothie look like the easiest thing in the world, and it has no problem whipping up nut butters or even steaming hot soup. The only real drawback is the price. 

($ 528.96; surlatable.com)

KitchenAid 5-Speed Blender 3. KitchenAid 5-Speed Blender

The retro look on this KitchenAid might remind you of the blender you grew up with, but it definitely works better. The five speeds allow for maximum control, and you can do anything from dicing to pulverizing with ease. Its one weakness is that it’s loud: One Amazon commenter described the noise as “an angry Chewbacca.” Still, the KitchenAid 5-Speed Blender makes a mean smoothie at a great price, so we can deal with the Star Wars sound effects. 

($ 99.99; target.com)

Oster Versa Pro Performance Blender 4. Oster Versa Pro Performance Blender

From across the room, you might mistake the Versa Pro Performance Blender for a Vitamix—it has a similar dial and comes with a tamper (that plastic rod you push through the lid to help everything blend evenly). It also features programmed settings that take the guesswork out of making smoothies, dips, and soups. For all that, this blender is a third of the price of a Vitamix.

($ 149.99; target.com)

Blendtec Total Blender 5. Blendtec Total Blender

Serious at-home smoothie makers are split into two camps: those who swear by Vitamix and those who are loyal to Blendtec. You really can’t go wrong with either, and the Total Blender is quite a bit cheaper. At first glance, the Blendtec’s dull blades look like they could barely cut through a raspberry. But they tested it on an iPhone and the blender turned it into dust. That’s  some serious design ingenuity, and it makes Blendtec perfect for anyone worried about cleaning around sharp blender blades. 

($ 399.99; target.com)

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9 Recipes That Prove Zoodles Aren’t Going Anywhere

Ever since zoodles hit the scene, we’ve been obsessed. Not only do they let us eat all our favorite pasta dishes in a healthier way, zucchini noodles add an extra dose of veggies in our life and we’re always down for that. At this point, though, we’ve done all the basic stuff. It’s time to step up our zoodle game, and these recipes are helping us do just that. Whether you’re spiralizing, julienning, or just slicing your zucchini reeaaally carefully, here are nine of our favorite ways to serve zoodles.

Pistachio Kale Pesto With Zucchini Noodles and Cherries

Talk about a tasty way to get those greens. Made with homemade pesto, antioxidant-rich cherries, lemon zest, and raw zoodles, this simple dish brings summer flavors to your mouth any time of year. Tip: Use dried cherries in place of fresh if the fruit isn’t in season.

Thai Peanut Zucchini Noodles

Instead of turning to takeout, try this simple recipe. With the best of Thai flavors (peanut butter, cashews, chili, and cashews) and a refreshing touch of basil, mint, and cilantro, you might just break up with delivery for good. Though the dish is awesome as is, it also tastes great with an added protein like chicken or tofu.

Healthy Zucchini Pasta Carbonara
The recipe creator isn’t kidding when she says the flavor will “make your heart swoon.” Though it’s full of all the amazing ingredients that make carbonara decadent (and delicious), this zoodle version is a perfect way to lighten up the rich classic. To make it even healthier, try turkey bacon or chicken sausage in place of the pancetta.

Zucchini Noodles With Fig, Arugula, and Pancetta
Though this recipe is relatively low carb, it’s as filling and satisfying as a dish with actual pasta. Made with fresh figs, arugula, basil, pancetta, and pecorino Romano cheese, it’ll be hard not to demolish the entire bowl. (But hey—it’s totally fine if you do.)

Zucchini Noodles With Pesto

This recipe will be one of the easiest meal you’ll ever make, even if you’re making pesto from scratch. If you opt for a store-bought variety instead, the prep time will be cut down to less than five minutes. Top with cherry tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, and a dash of salt and pepper.

Ginger Zucchini Noodle Egg Drop Soup
Any time we feel slightly sick or sneezy, few things sound better than a hot bowl of noodle soup. Now instead of turning to a can or takeout, we whip up our own batch. It’s easy, inexpensive, and perfect for leftovers, so this zoodle-y twist on a classic egg drop soup is one of our all-time faves.

Avocado-Basil Zucchini Noodles With Chile-Lime Shrimp and Corn

Light, healthy, and a good source of lean protein, this zoodle dish is an easy lunch or dinner option. Though avocado and corn are best during summer months, it’s easy to swap them out for whatever is in season (or whatever is left over in your fridge).

Kung Pao Chicken Zoodles for Two

There’s kung pao chicken, and there’s kung pao chicken zoodles. This recipe is made with the same amazing flavors of the Chinese favorite (like peanuts, scallions, and ginger), and it adds a veggie base and sticks to the homemade sauce to keep things healthier. It’s a good reminder that cooking is way more fun than dialing for takeout.

Zucchini Spaghetti With Lentil Marinara

Marinara sauce is delicious, but it can also get boring. Homemade lentil marinara is a  delicious alternate that packs in extra protein and fiber. Spaghetti will never be the same (in a good way).

Originally published November 2014. Updated March 2017.

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A Step-by-Step Guide to Wrapping Your Hands for Boxing

If you thought boxing was a sport best left to the pros, think again. With the rise of boutique fitness and memberships like ClassPass and FitReserve, boxing is moving from the underground gym scene and into popular studios everywhere. Plus, training like a Million Dollar Baby is a killer workout for cardio endurance, strength, power, and agility. You don’t even need to fight anyone to reap the benefits (whew!). But before you slip on a pair of gloves, start with some hand wraps.

Wrapping your hands provides extra padding around your knuckles and some support for your wrists, so you can throw every punch with confidence. Most boxing gyms and studios will provide gloves but not wraps, so it’s best to buy your own before heading to your first training session or class. We like Everlast Hand Wraps ($ 6.99, everlast.com). After sweaty sessions, just toss them in the washer with your laundry and hang dry. Check out the video below to learn the proper technique for wrapping, demonstrated by Tatiana Firpo, group fitness manager and trainer at Gotham Gym in New York City. 

To recap:
1. Spread fingers. 
2. Place thumb through loop. 
3. Wrap over top of hand and 3 times around wrist. 
4. Wrap knuckles 3 times. 
5. Then bring wrap under thumb and thread between each finger. 
6. Wrap once around wrist to secure finger straps then once around thumb.
7. Wrap knucles 3 more times and then again around wrist. 
8. Velcro to secure. 

Video: Jenna Haufler

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Wine Lovers: Can You Make It Through This Post Without Spending $50?

Wine is one of those rare things that has the power to make pretty much every situation better. Having a bad day? Pour yourself a glass. Having a good day? Pour yourself a glass. Most wine drinkers appear to fall into one of two camps: the fair-weather fans and the fanatics. If you’re a part of the latter group (guilty!), we’ve rounded up a list of 19 products you need in your life:

JK This Is Totally Wine Mug 1. JK, This Is Totally Wine Mug

Not all vices are created equal. Exhibit A: It’s not exactly socially acceptable to walk around the office with a glass of pinot. But no one bats an eye when you’re on your third cup of coffee. Keep your coworkers on their toes by sporting this mug. “It’s 10 a.m., there can’t really be wine in there,” your coworkers say with a laugh. Wanna bet?

($ 14.95; zazzle.com)

SipCaddy 2. SipCaddy Bath and Shower Cup Holder

A short list of things we were introduced to in college: all-nighters, ultimate frisbee, and shower beers. Since we’re adults now, it’s time to class up that last one. Introducing shower wine. Fill up your glass, place it comfortably in the SipCaddy, and take sips in-between sudsing. If you really want to indulge, use the cupholder while taking a bath. After all, vino will always do more to relax you than bubble bath. 

($ 13.95; amazon.com)

I Solemnly Swear I Am Up to No Good 3. I Solemnly Swear I Am Up to No Good Wine Glass

Butterbeer is great, but nothing is as magical as a glass of wine. It’s enough to cast a spell on you. OK, enough bad wizarding puns—even without them, these wine glasses are a Harry Potter fan’s dream come true. 

($ 13.99; integritybottles.com)

Wine Condoms 4. Wine Condoms 

For those *rare* times when you don’t finish a bottle in one sitting, you need to figure out how you’re going to keep the leftover wine from spoiling or spilling. We’ve had so-so luck with wine stoppers, so we like the look of wine condoms. The tight seal means you can lay a bottle on its side in your fridge and not worry about any of it dripping onto the shelf. Plus, just like regular condoms, you can keep one in your pocket at all times so you’re ready when the moment strikes. 

($ 13.97, set of 6; amazon.com)

BellaVita Portovino 5. BellaVita Portovino

OK, at first we thought this Franzia with handles was a hilarious (and slightly pricey) gag gift. But there are lots of situations where stealthily carrying around wine would be a major plus. Sitting through a boring movie? Visiting those relatives who look down on drinking before noon? All fair game. 

($ 74.95; bellavitabags.com

Oenophilia Neoprene Stemstrap 6. Oenophilia Neoprene Stemstrap

Don’t let the fancy name fool you: This is a glorified wine necklace. The lanyard and rubber lining hold your glass snugly in place so you can use your hands for other things—like eating, gesturing wildly, or filling up another glass of wine. 

($ 7.99; amazon.com)

Hakuna Moscato T-Shirt 7. Hakuna Moscato Tank 

Some people wear their hearts on their sleeve. We wear ours on a graphic t-shirt. Different strokes for different folks, right? Wine and Disney films are our two true loves—and they also happen to be our Friday night plans. 

($ 21.99; lookhuman.com)

Yes Way Rose Beanie 8. Yes Way Rosé Beanie 

Sommeliers will tell you rosé is a summer beverage—and probably scoff at the fact that you consider drinking pink at all. But who are they to tell you how to live your life? Celebrate rosé all winter long—when sunshine and balmy temps are a distant memory—with this adorable and super-warm beanie.

($ 40; yeswayrose.com)

Wine Wipes 9. Wine Wipes 

Few things hit the spot like a full-bodied red wine after a long day. (Look at us trying to sound like we don’t walk into the liquor store and say, “Your cheapest bottle, please.”) The not-so-fun part of drinking red wine? It stains your teeth. Unless, of course, you have Wine Wipes. They’re mini stain removers that come in a compact mirror so you can make sure your pearly whites are, well, pearly white wherever you are. 

($ 7.62, pack of 15 wipes; amazon.com)

Tony Moly Red Wine Mask 10. Tony Moly Red Wine Mask

If you’re using a sheet mask and you don’t have a wine in hand, are you doing it right? Actually, it doesn’t matter. This Tony Moly mask, infused with red wine extract, takes boozy self-care to a whole new level. The manufacturer claims that wine extract “reduces the appearance of enlarged pores while tightening and purifying skin.” We’re not so sure we buy that, but it left us feeling (and smelling) good. 

($ 3.75; ulta.com)

Igloo Daytripper Insulated Backpack 11. Igloo Daytripper Insulated Backpack

Picnics seem so romantic, but the only one we’ve been on turned into a disaster. We opened our tote bag and found the wine had crushed the crackers and dented the cheese. Oh, and of course, we forgot a corkscrew. Tears followed. We’d actually consider picnicking again with the Igloo Daytripper Insulated Backpack. It has separate pouches for drinks and food (plus plenty of padding to stop the bottles from clinking) and comes equipped with knives, a cheese board, and a bottle opener. What more could you ask for?

($ 79.99; amazon.com)

Wine Bottle Lights 12. Wine Bottle Lights

We’re going to take a wild guess and say you’ve got a bunch of empty wine bottles lying around (no judgment). You’re keeping ’em for all those DIY projects (wine bottle candles, wine bottle vases, etc.) you’ll probably never do. So maybe save time and opt for the do-it-mostly-yourself route. This strand of battery-powered lights is designed specifically for wine bottles and tells the world, “Yes, I like to drink and watch HGTV.”

($ 8.99, set of 3; amazon.com)

Winosaur Tote 13. Winosaur Tote

Scientists can’t vouch for the accuracy of this illustration. For starters, it’s not clear that grapes existed during the Triassic period. Plus, could a T. rex—with its small hands—really hold a wine glass? (These are the questions that keep us up at night.) But the Winosaur Tote is also irresistibly cute, so go ahead and snag one. Wine not, right? 

($ 18; society6.com)

Primavera Wine Opener 14. Primavera Electric Wine Opener 

Confession time: We usually buy bottles with a screw top because we somehow made it to adulthood without learning how to properly use a corkscrew. It’s not that we can’t use one. It’s just that, like, half the time, we break the cork. But then we learned about electric wine openers exist to do all the hard work for you. This one from Primavera is a savior—no more cold sweat when someone asks, “Hey, can you open this bottle?”

($ 16.99; amazon.com)

Legless Pirate Corkscrew 15. Legless Pirate Corkscrew 

For those of you who have mastered the art of using a corkscrew, check out this pirate-themed one. The design is hilarious—the pirate has a bandana, beard, eye patch, earring, and a parrot on his shoulder—and it’s functional. Well, at least that’s what our friends who can use a corkscrew tell us. Oh, and once you get the cork out, it looks like the pirate has a peg leg. The designers behind the Legless Pirate Corkscrew are geniuses. 

($ 15; amazon.com)

Vacu Vin Rapid Ice Wine Cooler 16. Vacu Vin Rapid Ice Wine Cooler 

We love a crisp sauvignon blanc or a dry pinot grigio on a hot day. But it’s only refreshing (and drinkable) if the white wine is chilled. Seems easy enough, but we’re terrible at planning ahead. Since ice cubes dilute wine and ruin the whole experience, we’ve become fans of the Vacu Vin. It’s a specially designed ice pack that chills bottles in five minutes. We keep one in the freezer at all times in case of emergency. 

($ 9.56; amazon.com)

The Essential Scratch and Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert 17. The Essential Scratch and Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert

Supposedly half the sensory experience of drinking wine comes down to smell. But what are we supposed to be smelling? Fruity and woody notes? What does that even mean?! We were lost before we got our hands on this incredible scratch-and-sniff book. Author Richard Betts is a master sommelier, but not the pinkies-up kind. He explains the basics in a way everyone can understand.  

($ 8.68; amazon.com)

Lockey USA Combo-Cork Bottle Lock 18. Lockey USA Combo-Cork Bottle Lock

Some wine is for sharing, but most isn’t. For all those bottles that fall into the latter category, you need this lock. It’s basically a bottle stopper with combination lock on top so you can keep your precious vino away from moochers. 

($ 19.88; amazon.com)

Meow Wine Glasses 19. Meow Stemless Wine Glass 

Not sick of puns yet? See if you feel that way after reading this: A glass of Malbec is the purr-fect end to a long day. And two glasses? That gets us feeling frisky. We’re paw-sitive all the cat lovers in your life will be fans of these stemless beauties. Makes you want to drink, doesn’t it?

($ 16, set of 2; urbanoutfitters.com)

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How Candice Kumai Found Major Confidence After Some Serious Setbacks

Welcome to Behind the Confidence, a video series about the real, unfiltered journey to self-belief. We talked to four health and wellness pros who prove true confidence doesn’t stem from a “like,” nor does it magically happen overnight. It’s about finding what makes you feel good physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Your confidence levels can go up and down depending on what’s going on in your life. Chef and wellness expert Candice Kumai knows this all too well. Her confidence plummeted during two of the toughest years of her career. “I think inevitably… you end up struggling one way or another, and sometimes you have to look back in life and say, ‘Wow, I can’t believe I got through that, and I came out a better person because of it,’” she says.

Better is an understatement: Kumai is at the top of her game. In this video, she talks about how important it is to pursue your passion and live a life full of chances and challenges—and how to remain confident through it all.

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