How to Celebrate Sweetest Day Without Undoing Your Diet

How to Celebrate Sweetest Day Without Undoing Your Diet

This year, Sweetest Day falls on October 19th. Hardly 2 weeks from Halloween, another day of sweet treats, this candy-filled holiday is a reminder for many that they are loved, appreciated, and cared for by those who celebrate with them.  

Wait? You haven’t heard of Sweetest Day? Well, don’t feel too out-of-the-loop; this holiday is primarily celebrated in the Midwestern and Northeastern parts of the U.S. It’s even better known in the state where it originated: Ohio!  

In 1922, philanthropist Herbert Birch Kingston started the idea of Sweetest Day by distributing candy and gifts to orphans, the elderly, and the disabled to show kindness to those he felt received it less than others.  

Today, people celebrate their friends and loved ones in this way to express their love, their gratitude, and to spread the kindness. If you’re observing Sweetest Day this year, or now thinking of adding a new tradition, we’d like to offer you some great (and less sugary) ideas to help you celebrate. 

healthier treat ideas

Instead of the pure sugar you’d get in a box of candy, try out some of these delicious ideas. Not only are they more natural and nutritious treats, the fact that you made them yourself will definitely earn you some bonus points. 

01.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bites 

These sweet treats are super easy. All you need is some banana slices, peanut butter (or almond butter), and dark chocolate. Simply sandwich some peanut butter in between two banana slices and then dip the bite into some melted chocolate. If you like, you can top your creation with crushed peanuts or almonds.  

When using chocolate, we recommend you choose dark because of its lower sugar content. However, if you despise dark chocolate and all that it touches, feel free to use milk chocolate. 

Tips: Freeze the bananas before and after working with them. If you’re using milk chocolate and you’re worried about this treat being too sweet, try dipping only half the bite into the chocolate. 

02.

Watermelon Feta and Mint Skewers 

These skewers are colorful, refreshing, and really tasty, especially if you like to mix sweet and salty flavors. Probably the hardest part of this recipe is figuring out how to cut watermelon into cubes, but really any bite sized shape will do! Simply stack some watermelon, feta, and mint in any order onto some skewers. If you like, you can add a light sprinkle of salt and pepper for a little extra flavor. 

Tips: If you’re cutting mint straight from your yard, try soaking it in a mixture of water and salt for a few minutes to help give the leaves a more thorough clean. 

03.

Healthy Oatmeal Balls 

Not only do these look good, they’re also good for you. They’re little rolled packages of oatmeal, chia seeds, cranberries, coconut, flax seeds, and honey. They take little work but will certainly make a mess of your hands as you roll them together. 

Tips: You can use a variety of ingredients according to the flavor profile you’re looking for. You can use peanut butter as the binder instead of honey, raisins instead of cranberries, cinnamon instead of coconut, and experiment with many other variations. 

If you’re not sure you want to make something edible, there are plenty of other ways to celebrate Sweetest Day. In the next section, you’ll see exactly what we mean. 

Nurture Healthier Relationships 

When it comes to communicating our thanks, sometimes we can be pretty good at letting life, work, school, and everything else get in the way. You can use this day to reflect on the people in your life who matter and on who you’d like to acknowledge more often.

Unlike Valentine’s Day, Sweetest Day is not restricted to celebrating your significant other. Think about all the people who are close to you. Do you have a friend who has been there for you and you want to let them know they are appreciated? Are there people you want to make amends with? Who do you want to show your gratitude for?  

Once you’ve identified your crew, you can start hashing out the details. You can keep it simple or go a little nuts with it. It’s entirely up to you! For some ideas, you can: 

01.

Do Something Nice  

A small act of kindness can go a long way. Do the dishes or take out the trash without being asked. Wash your brother’s car. Buy your coworker a cup of coffee. Compliment your classmate’s outfit. A very ordinary act of kindness, done unexpectedly, can go highly appreciated. 

02.

Write a Card 

Some people are great at “doing,” others are great at “saying.” If you know you don’t say certain things enough, or you’re simply better at expressing what you need to say on paper, writing a heartfelt card is another great option. 

03.

Spend the Day Together 

Let’s be honest, we all have a friend or family member that we don’t see as often as we used to or probably haven’t talked to in a while. Spending some time together may be just what you need. It doesn’t have to be anything outrageous. It can be as simple as going for a walk together, hitting the gym, cooking a meal (or going out for one).  

If you liked our sweet treat suggestions but want even more interesting and healthy ideas, check out our dietitian’s response to this question about Sugary and Salty Snack Substitutions. To access our monthly blog post highlights, subscribe to our newsletter today! 

Your Guide to Mindful Eating

Your Guide to Mindful Eating

Today is World Food Day! With over 2,000,000 farms across the U.S., we produce, export, and consume a lot of food! In 2015, about 48.5 billion pounds of red meat was produced. In 2014, grain production came out to approximately 442.4 million metric tons. 

With all this production comes a lot of waste; 62.5 million tons of wasted food each year, to be more specific. We’re not even considering the waste that comes from actual production, from packaging, and from transporting all this food. 

As an individual, you can easily and effectively help reduce food waste. Here are some ways that you can make a positive impact. 

Reduce Wasted Food 

01.

It can be hard to remember when you made that casserole in the back of your fridge. Create your own labels so you remember when you cooked and to avoid throwing good food out prematurely. 

02.

Create your own labels for store-bought foods as well, particularly if the expiration date is already difficult to see. This is also a great idea if you tend to store certain foods without the packaging it came in. 

03.

Make your grocery shopping trips smaller and more frequent instead of buying large quantities of food less frequently. If you must buy something in bulk, split it up into smaller containers that you can freeze for later use. 

04.

Eat before you shop. We’ve all fallen victim to the hungry shopping-spree that ended with a shopping cart full of items we never intended to buy. Even a light snack before you hit the store can help you make more conscious decisions. 

05.

Try to commit to cooking more at home. If you like to meal prep and you make a big batch of food, freeze some of it so you don’t get tired of eating the same thing. This should keep it from sitting around in your fridge too long. 

06.

Instead of throwing away leftovers, re-purpose them to make an entirely different meal. This article from Taste of Home can give you some ideas on how to make leftovers shine.

07.

To help ward off spoilage, wrap fruits and veggies in a paper towel or toss a napkin into the storage container. This absorbs moisture which will help keep produce fresher longer. If you’re worried about wasting trees, try tree-free products or use regular kitchen towels. 

08.

Don’t toss it just yet! The “Best By” or “Use By” date just means your food will taste the best and be the freshest up to a certain date. It doesn’t necessarily mean it will be spoiled once that date has passed! The USDA explains that “with [the] exception of infant formula…if the date passes during home storage, a product should still be safe and wholesome if handled properly until the time spoilage is evident.”1 

Make Ecologically Sustainable Choices 

01.

Try your best to minimize trash. You may live in a state that has banned single-use grocery bags, but if you don’t, consider reusable grocery bags for your next shopping trip. You can go a step further and bring reusable bags or lightweight containers for buying produce and bulk beans, rice, nuts, etc.

02.

Buy sustainably sourced seafood and choose varieties that are more abundant. For example, choose Mackerel, Tilapia, Catfish, Mussels, Clams, or Oysters over less abundant species like Tropical Prawns, Swordfish, Atlantic Salmon, or Shark. 2

03.

Eat less meat or commit to buying from local sources. Buying local reduces the carbon footprint caused by packaging, shipping, and other transportation. This also goes for fruits and veggies. If you can, stick only to what’s in-season. 

04.

Try composting! Believe it or not, food takes a long time to decompose in a landfill. This is because there is actually very little dirt, oxygen, and very few of the microorganisms that help with decomposition.3 Composting at home is great for the health of your soil and will help you grow your own produce.

05.

If you haven’t invested in a reusable water bottle, this is a great move for your health and for the environment. It’s a reminder to keep hydrated and a way to keep unnecessary plastic out of landfills. You can do the same with straws and cutlery and replace plastic with some reusable and portable alternatives.

For more food and nutrition topics, check out the Meal Prepping 101 Guide or this Super Snacking Guide. To access our monthly blog post highlights, subscribe to our newsletter today! 

Sources:

  1. “FSIS.” Food Product Dating, United States Department of Agriculture, www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/food-labeling/food-product-dating/food-product-dating.
  2. Charles, Alba. “How to Know If Fish Is Sustainable.” Onehowto.com, 2017, food.onehowto.com/article/how-to-know-if-fish-is-sustainable-10516.html.
  3. Talk, Earth. “Do Biodegradable Items Degrade in Landfills?” ThoughtCo, ThoughtCo, 4 Jan. 2019, www.thoughtco.com/do-biodegradable-items-really-break-down-1204144.

Member Spotlight | Little Changes, Big Results

Member Spotlight | Little Changes, Big Results

“Consistency is key; Changes do not happen overnight so do not give up. Start with small changes outside the gym…little changes turn into big results.” 

Nick L.

LAF Member, LA Fitness

Nick’s weight loss journey began with the 8-month birthday of his son. He changed his workout and eating habits over the course of the last year and managed to lose over 100 pounds!  

His motivation came partly from witnessing the success of others who have lost as much weight and more. So, if your goal seems too ambitious and you’re plagued with self-doubt, Nick’s story will show you that with consistency and commitment, big results are possible. 

Nick’s Wakeup Call

“I decided to make a healthy lifestyle a choice when my son became 8 months old and I was too tired to interact and play with him. I knew that if I wanted to be strong enough to provide for my wife and son, something needed to change.  

At that same time, I found a channel on YouTube called BrixFitness where I saw that a man had lost 150 pounds. I thought to myself, if he can do it, I can too. The next day I went and got a membership at LA Fitness. A week later, I showed up to the gym at 5am and I have been going at 5am, 5 days a week for the last year.” 


 

Commitment to the New Lifestyle

“I have made many eating and drinking changes which have helped drive my progress in the gym, and I am seeing major results. I am more conscious of the labels on the food I eat along with the portions. I even started measuring and weighing my food.”  

If Nick could give others a piece of advice, he would tell them that “Consistency is key. Changes do not happen overnight so do not give up. Start with small changes outside the gym like drinking diet soda versus regular soda or eating a protein bar instead of a candy bar. Little changes turn into big results.” 

Nick started this journey at 332 pounds and, as of today, he is currently 230 pounds. With his primary focus on weight training and diet over the course of the last year, his plan is to continue that and start integrating more Cardio and Core sessions to continue shaping his body. 

 He says that his “ultimate fitness goal is to do one pull up as [he has] never done one in [his] entire life.” We’re rooting for you Nick! 

 


 

The Takeaways

  1. Odds are, you’re not alone. Look for success stories that prove it!

     

  2. Small changes build up over time and really make a difference

     

  3. Keep it consistent and remember that changes don’t happen overnight 

Do you have an inspirational story you’d like to share with us? Email us at blog@lafitness.com for a chance to be featured in an upcoming post! 


For grammatical correctness, length, and clarity, minor edits – none of which alter the original or intended meaning – have been made to the quotes provided. 

Recommended Reading

Did I Overdo It? – Signs You Pushed Your Workout Too Hard

Did I Overdo It? – Signs You Pushed Your Workout Too Hard

To get stronger, you need to push your body to certain limits, but how can you know what those limits are? There’s no easy way to define it because everyone is different, and what you are capable of today may not be what you are capable of tomorrow. 

There are some tell-tale signs that your workout is no longer benefiting your body. The farther you push past your limits, the longer your recovery will be, and the longer you’ll need to wait before you can train again. 

Contrary to popular belief, muscle soreness is not required for muscle gain, and you don’t need to feel like a zombie to benefit from your gym session. So, let’s talk about the signs so you can better understand your limits and get the most out of your workouts.  


Pain or Discomfort While Working Out

Because they occur in the moment, these pain signals are easy to identify and are the more obvious warnings of over-exertion. Just a few examples include: 

  • Pain in your side during cardio; also known as a side-stitch 
  • Any sharp, shooting, or stabbing pains  
  • Pain while stretching, especially if your muscles are not warm 
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Muscle tingling or numbness  
  • Dizziness or feeling faint 
  • Chest Pain or Pressure 
  • Nausea or vomiting 

The more dangerous potential for injury is when we do not feel anything, so we continue to exercise. So, if you experience any of the above symptoms, or any other concerning pain or discomfort, that’s a good sign you should take a break or stop. 

Pain or Discomfort After Working Out

If you didn’t feel anything while working out, and then felt like a train-wreck in the days to follow, this is your body communicating its limits, just differently. 

Take, for example, a person experiencing a sudden adrenaline rush. In fight-or-flight mode, the body is capable of incredible things. Only once the body has settled from the rush does a person finally begin to notice various aches, pains, and even more extreme damage like bone breaks or severed limbs.  

It’s possible that while you’re in the zone, pumping iron to the right song, you may not notice that you’re pushing your body just a little too far. 


What You Can Do

Sometimes, you need to be your own critic. Try to carefully monitor the following things as you work out:

  1. Your Form. Look in the mirror and double check what you know about the correct form for the exercise you’re doing. If you don’t know the correct form, ask a professional or do your research to prevent injury.

  2. Are your muscles starting to tremble? This is a sign they’re getting close to reaching their maximum level of exertion. While a little bit of that can be okay, try not to push much further past this point.

     

  3. Is your body unwilling to cooperate? If you just did a few great sets of weighted squats, and now your body refuses to squat without any added weight, that’s it. It’s time to call it. If your muscles feel ready to give out, you’ve probably already gone too far. 

Closing Thoughts 

Overdoing your workout doesn’t just mean going full beast-mode and overworking your body. If you’re fighting sickness, or your body is sleep-deprived and exhausted, you may be better off staying home and resting. It’s possible that while your body is trying to manage other ailments, you won’t get much out of your workout anyway. It’s the safer choice to take a break and come back when you’re feeling better.  

Always pay attention to the signs and learn your body’s limitations so you can hit the gym with confidence and energy instead of with dread. 

For some workout nutrition tips, read out article on Pre- and Post-Workout Foods, or our article on What BCAA’s Can Do for Your Workout. To access our monthly blog post highlights, subscribe to our newsletter today! 

Fruits and Veggies – Part 2 – Podcast Ep. 32

Fruits and Veggies – Part 2 – Podcast Ep. 32


Welcome to the 32nd episode of the Living Healthy podcast, presented by LA Fitness.

On this episode of the Living Healthy Podcast, we continue our discussion with Debbie James, RDN, to dish out the details on super-fruits and veggies. We talk about how to incorporate more into your daily diet, whether they can help you bulk up or trim down, and how you can actually alter your taste buds so they taste better!

Listen in now!

How Are We Doing? 


This podcast should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Timecard Markers – Fruits and Veggies, Part 2 – Podcast Ep. 32   

Intro 

0:01 

Brittany’s Story 

0:34 

Jumping into Part 2 with Debbie James, RDN 

3:41 

Are There Certain Fruits/Veggies That Help You Bulk Up or Lose Weight? 

2:54 

Is it Better to Eat Locally Sourced Fruits and Veggies? 

4:38 

Is There a Better Time of Day to Eat Fruits and Veggies to Bulk Up? 

5:48 

Which Ones Are the Super-Fruits and Super-Veggies? 

8:03 

Can You Change Your Taste buds to Like Veggies? 

10:00 

Are There Any Tips to Get Kids to Eat Veggies? 

12:00 

Cooking with Olive Oil versus Coconut Oil 

15:11 

Does Juicing Hold Long-Term Benefits? 

17:05 

Actionable Advice 

18:20 

Outro 

19:24 


Recommended Podcast Episodes 

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