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8 Gym-Free Ways to Burn 100 Calories

by Alexandra Zega
 

Some days you’re just not up to a heart-thumping Spin class. Or maybe working out just isn’t your idea of a good time. Well, here’s some great news: You can melt away fat while having fun and without stepping foot in the gym. Try these eight no-sweat tricks for burning 100 calories while doing stuff you love (think gardening, hosting a party and playing with your pooch). Slimming has never been so enjoyable—or so simple!

Can you dig it?
Sow pumpkin seeds in July and you’ll reap jack-o’-lanterns by Halloween. Spend 21 minutes tilling soil and planting in your backyard to meet your triple-digit goal. Think of growing as a way of shrinking!

Have a doggone good time
Leash your canine companion and head to the dog park at a relaxed pace to burn 30 calories in 10 minutes. At the park, use the leash to jump rope for four minutes to zap 40 calories. (If your leash is too short, use a jump rope as a leash.) Stroll back home to erase another 30 calories.

Create a night to remember
Check event listings for an outdoor screening of an oldie but goody movie. Prepare and pack a picnic (20 calories in 10 minutes), lug it from the car to the grass (18 calories in 5 minutes), and toss a Frisbee for 20 minutes as you wait for the opening credits (64 calories). Then kick back, relax, and enjoy the show. Those 100 calories? Hasta la vista, baby.

Kick it old-school
Time to relive those carefree childhood summers. Bring a kite to the park or beach, wait for a big gust of wind, and then fly high! You’ll blow away 100 calories in 12 minutes. Or pull on a pair of roller skates and take off (with a helmet, naturally), doing your best figure eights and spins whenever possible (100 nixed in 14 minutes).

Go coupon-crazy
Surf Groupon.com to find great deals on adventures near you. Redeem a coupon for rock climbing, one of the site’s frequently discounted activities, and you’ll burn 100 calories in 9 minutes while scaling a wall. Or nab an amusement park day pass, another site favorite, and you’ll lose 100 in 31 minutes as you meander from ride to ride.

Suit up
Have a diving contest! Spend 30 minutes competing off the diving board at your local pool—cannonballs count (95 calories). Cap it off with 5 minutes in the whirlpool (5 calories). Everyone wins!

Lean and limber
Stretching feels good, protects you from injury and torches 2.7 calories a minute, more than twice as many as sitting. Spend 6 minutes daily working on your flexibility to zap more than 100 calories in a week.

Host a dinner party
Turn off Top Chef and become one yourself. Between chopping and table setting, you’ll burn 100 calories in 38 minutes. SELF’s Chicken and Cheese Sliders recipe takes about that long to whip up. And it’s a crowd-pleaser! Serves 4

Vegetable oil cooking spray
1 green bell pepper, chopped
½ medium red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bone-in skinless chicken breast (about 6 oz)
½ cup store-bought barbecue sauce
¼ can (7 oz) chipotle peppers in adobo
8 small whole-wheat buns (such as Pepperidge Farm Wheat Sliders)
½ cup grated aged cheddar
8 cherry tomatoes, sliced
2 cups sprouts (such as arugula or broccoli)

Coat a medium saucepan with cooking spray. Cook bell pepper, onion and garlic in pan over medium heat, stirring, three minutes. Add chicken, barbecue sauce, chipotles and ¼ cup water; cover and simmer until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165º, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove chicken from sauce; place on a plate to cool for five minutes. Use a fork to pull meat off bone and shred; return meat to pan and toss to coat with sauce. Heat oven to 400º. Open buns and set on a baking sheet covered with foil. Distribute chicken evenly among bottom half of each bun (about 2 tbsp per bun); top each with 2 tbsp cheese. Bake until cheese melts and bubbles, four to five minutes. Top with tomatoes, sprouts and bun cap; serve immediately.

THE DISH 374 calories per 2 sliders, 8 g fat (2 g saturated), 52 g carbs, 8 g fiber, 27 g protein

(c) Lucy Danziger and the staff at SELF

8 Gym-Free Ways to Burn 100 Calories

by Alexandra Zega
 

Some days you’re just not up to a heart-thumping Spin class. Or maybe working out just isn’t your idea of a good time. Well, here’s some great news: You can melt away fat while having fun and without stepping foot in the gym. Try these eight no-sweat tricks for burning 100 calories while doing stuff you love (think gardening, hosting a party and playing with your pooch). Slimming has never been so enjoyable—or so simple!

Can you dig it?
Sow pumpkin seeds in July and you’ll reap jack-o’-lanterns by Halloween. Spend 21 minutes tilling soil and planting in your backyard to meet your triple-digit goal. Think of growing as a way of shrinking!

Have a doggone good time
Leash your canine companion and head to the dog park at a relaxed pace to burn 30 calories in 10 minutes. At the park, use the leash to jump rope for four minutes to zap 40 calories. (If your leash is too short, use a jump rope as a leash.) Stroll back home to erase another 30 calories.

Create a night to remember
Check event listings for an outdoor screening of an oldie but goody movie. Prepare and pack a picnic (20 calories in 10 minutes), lug it from the car to the grass (18 calories in 5 minutes), and toss a Frisbee for 20 minutes as you wait for the opening credits (64 calories). Then kick back, relax, and enjoy the show. Those 100 calories? Hasta la vista, baby.

Kick it old-school
Time to relive those carefree childhood summers. Bring a kite to the park or beach, wait for a big gust of wind, and then fly high! You’ll blow away 100 calories in 12 minutes. Or pull on a pair of roller skates and take off (with a helmet, naturally), doing your best figure eights and spins whenever possible (100 nixed in 14 minutes).

Go coupon-crazy
Surf Groupon.com to find great deals on adventures near you. Redeem a coupon for rock climbing, one of the site’s frequently discounted activities, and you’ll burn 100 calories in 9 minutes while scaling a wall. Or nab an amusement park day pass, another site favorite, and you’ll lose 100 in 31 minutes as you meander from ride to ride.

Suit up
Have a diving contest! Spend 30 minutes competing off the diving board at your local pool—cannonballs count (95 calories). Cap it off with 5 minutes in the whirlpool (5 calories). Everyone wins!

Lean and limber
Stretching feels good, protects you from injury and torches 2.7 calories a minute, more than twice as many as sitting. Spend 6 minutes daily working on your flexibility to zap more than 100 calories in a week.

Host a dinner party
Turn off Top Chef and become one yourself. Between chopping and table setting, you’ll burn 100 calories in 38 minutes. SELF’s Chicken and Cheese Sliders recipe takes about that long to whip up. And it’s a crowd-pleaser! Serves 4

Vegetable oil cooking spray
1 green bell pepper, chopped
½ medium red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bone-in skinless chicken breast (about 6 oz)
½ cup store-bought barbecue sauce
¼ can (7 oz) chipotle peppers in adobo
8 small whole-wheat buns (such as Pepperidge Farm Wheat Sliders)
½ cup grated aged cheddar
8 cherry tomatoes, sliced
2 cups sprouts (such as arugula or broccoli)

Coat a medium saucepan with cooking spray. Cook bell pepper, onion and garlic in pan over medium heat, stirring, three minutes. Add chicken, barbecue sauce, chipotles and ¼ cup water; cover and simmer until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165º, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove chicken from sauce; place on a plate to cool for five minutes. Use a fork to pull meat off bone and shred; return meat to pan and toss to coat with sauce. Heat oven to 400º. Open buns and set on a baking sheet covered with foil. Distribute chicken evenly among bottom half of each bun (about 2 tbsp per bun); top each with 2 tbsp cheese. Bake until cheese melts and bubbles, four to five minutes. Top with tomatoes, sprouts and bun cap; serve immediately.

THE DISH 374 calories per 2 sliders, 8 g fat (2 g saturated), 52 g carbs, 8 g fiber, 27 g protein

(c) Lucy Danziger and the staff at SELF

5 Foods that keep you thin

by Alexandra Zega

 

It's true: Apples can help you stay thin. (Thinkstock)

It's true: Apples can help you stay thin. (Thinkstock)

 
Take a look around any book store, and you'll find dozens of diet books lining the shelves. Despite their bright and cheerful covers, with their positive, upbeat claims, many of them are filled with information that promotes all the wrong messages.

"The word 'diet' is negative and implies people can go on and off them," said Jane Korsberg, a senior instructor in the department of nutrition at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

Korsberg is one nutritionist who thinks it would be better to re-think the whole concept of dieting.

"'Diet foods' are confusing to many people," she explained. "What diet is the 'diet food' geared for? Is it low-calorie, low-fat, low-sodium, low-sugar, gluten-free, et cetera?"

Besides, many of the foods that specifically target dieters seem to rarely satisfy. Take those 100-calorie snack packs, for example, made to help people control calories. Those often don't even work, Korsberg says. After all, few people actually stop at only one pack.

You don't need fancy plans or complicated point systems to be thin. All you need to do is make smart food choices, watch your portion sizes and stay active.

"Learning to eat properly for a lifetime is more beneficial," Korsberg said. "The emphasis should be on choosing healthful foods every day and changing lifestyles for the better."

So instead of sticking to diet fare, fill up on nutritious, wholesome foods. And if you need some recommendations, you can start with these five options, which are among the many delicious foods that make a good addition to healthy eating while keeping you slender.


Apples

Apples are a good source of dietary fiber. Dietary fiber not only contributes to a healthy digestive system and reduced cholesterol, but it also benefits smart eaters by yielding no calories while keeping them satisfied.

And there's something else about the fruit that might help you feel full. A study in the journal "Appetite" found that when women added either three apples or three pears to their daily meals, they lost more weight than people who added three oat cookies to their diets -- even though the fruit and the cookies contained the exact same amount of dietary fiber.

Although the reason behind this finding may be a mystery, there is something to be said for the findings. According to Alan Aragon, a nutritionist and author of "Girth Control: The Science of Fat Loss & Muscle Gain," crunchy foods in particular can trick a person into feeling fuller. The act of chewing may send satiety signals to your body, he says, making you think you've eaten more than you really have and keeping hunger at bay.


Almonds

If you're looking for a tasty midday snack, a handful of almonds are a well-regarded option. A study in 2009 in "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" found that women who ate nuts at least two times a week were more successful at keeping weight off than those who didn't eat this food.

One particular favorite among some nutritionists is almonds, says Aragon. One ounce of this food contains only 167 calories, plus it packs roughly 6 g of protein and 3 g of fiber, both nutrients that can make you feel full. Furthermore, like apples, almonds are crunchy and require a lot of chewing, so they, too, can make you feel like you've eaten more than you actually did and keep you fuller longer.


Salmon

If you're uncertain about fish, there's no need to fear. Seafood can be part of a healthy diet. And there's some evidence that the fat in foods such as salmon can boost satiety levels, says Aragon. For example, a study published in the "International Journal of Obesity" found that when dieters ate salmon a few times a week, they lost about two more pounds than those who didn't include seafood in their meals.

And in spite of the mention of salmon's fat content, the food is relatively low in calories. One 3-oz. serving has just 175 calories. Salmon is a good source of protein as well.


Eggs

There's no doubt that protein, like fiber, has impressive satiating powers. And while eggs seem to have a bad reputation in some circles, there can be no contesting their ability to help keep your weight in check.

Research has shown that eating eggs at breakfast can help you fight weight gain all day long. A study reported in 2008 in the "International Journal of Obesity" found that when dieters ate two eggs for breakfast for five days out of the week, they lost 65 percent more weight than dieters who consumed a bagel in the morning. Although protein is likely to fill you up whenever you eat it, some scientists suspect that having more in the morning can keep you feeling fuller all day long.


Tomatoes

It's true that most veggies make for great diet fare. Non-starchy vegetables in particular, such as carrots, celery and spinach, are filled with fiber. Like other foods high in fiber, they can help keep you feeling satiated.

Plus, they're pretty self-regulating, says Aragon. You can't really overeat with nonstarchy vegetables. After all, how many baby carrots can a person eat without needing to dunk them in some ranch dressing?

So while there are many veggies that can help you stay slim, tomatoes might be a particularly good option because they're so tasty. And, besides, with that whole a-tomato-is-a-vegetable-no-it's-a-fruit argument, you might have forgotten all about eating them. One cup of cooked, red tomatoes contains just 43 calories, but tastes just as delicious as any number of high-calorie foods.

And that's at least half the secret, finding foods that are both healthy and tasty. The good thing is, they do exist. Over time, you'll discover what wholesome, filling foods you prefer, expanding your choices while shrinking your waistline.

 

(c) Livestrong.com, Kristin McGrath

5 Tax Friendly State for Retirees

by Alexandra Zega

(c) by Mary Beth Franklin
Kiplinger'sPersonalFinance

Where's the best state for you to retire? Here's a good place to start your search: These five impose the lowest taxes on retirees in the contiguous U.S., according to our research. All these retiree tax heavens exempt Social Security benefits from state income taxes. Many of them exclude government and military pensions from income taxes, too, or offer blanket exclusions up to a specific dollar amount for a wide variety of retirement income.


Although relocating to an income-tax-free state such as Florida or Texas may sound appealing, sometimes the best retirement destination is a state that imposes an income tax but offers generous exemptions for retirement income.

Once you narrow your search to a few key states, zero in on local taxes. Municipalities can impose hefty property taxes or other assessments, or they may layer local sales taxes on top of statewide levies. Federal taxes? If you claim the standard deduction, they'll be the same no matter where you live. But if you itemize your deductions, you'll be able to write off real estate taxes and state income taxes, reducing your federal tax bill and easing some of the pain.

#1 Wyoming

State Income Tax: None
State Sales Tax: 4%
Estate Tax/Inheritance Tax: No/No

Thanks to the abundant revenues that Wyoming collects from oil and mineral companies, its residents have one of the lowest tax burdens in the nation, according to the Tax Foundation, a nonprofit research group in Washington, D.C. There is no state income tax. The state sales tax is 4%, and counties in the Equality State can only add up to 1% in additional levies -- a very low ceiling. Plus, prescription drugs and groceries are exempt from state sales taxes. For most property, only 9.5% of market value is subject to tax, so a home worth $100,000 is taxed on $9,500 of assessed value.

#2 Mississippi

State Income Tax: 3%-5%
State Sales Tax: 7%
Estate Tax/Inheritance Tax: No/No

Mississippi offers a sweet income-tax deal for retirees. It not only exempts Social Security benefits from state income taxes but also excludes all qualified retirement income -- including pensions, annuities, and IRA and 401(k) distributions. Remaining income is taxed at a maximum 5%. In addition, the Magnolia State is home to some of the lowest property taxes in the nation. Residential property is taxed at 10% of assessed value, and seniors qualify for a homestead exemption on the first $75,000 of value. The statewide sales tax is 7%, and counties and cities may add up to 3% to the state rate. But prescription drugs and health care services are exempt.

#3 Pennsylvania

State Income Tax: Flat rate of 3.07%
State Sales Tax: 6%
Estate Tax/Inheritance Tax: Yes/Yes

True to its Quaker roots, Pennsylvania extends a friendly hand to retirees. It offers unusually generous exclusions from state income tax on a wide variety of retirement income. Pennsylvania does not tax Social Security benefits or any type of public or private pensions. Nor does it nick distributions from 401(k)s, IRAs, deferred-compensation plans or other retirement accounts. Remaining income is taxed at a low, flat rate of 3.07%. Food, clothing and medicine are exempt from state sales taxes. Property taxes can be high in the Keystone State, especially near larger cities, but rates vary widely. One caveat for the wealthy: Your heirs won'’t get off so easily. Pennsylvania is one of the few states to have both an inheritance tax, paid by the heirs, and an estate tax -- though it applies only when an estate is large enough to trigger federal estate taxes ($5 million or more).

#4 Kentucky

State Income Tax: 2%-6%
State Sales Tax: 6%
Estate Tax/Inheritance Tax: No/Yes

The home of the Kentucky Derby is a good bet for retirees. It exempts Social Security benefits from state income taxes, and it allows residents to exclude up to $41,110 per person in retirement income from a wide variety of sources, including public and private pensions and annuities. Personal income-tax rates range from 2% to 6%. A 6% sales tax is imposed at the state level only. Homeowners 65 and older qualify for a homestead provision that exempts part of the value of their property from state taxes. The Bluegrass State has an inheritance tax, but immediate family members are exempt.

#5 Alabama

State Income Tax: 2%-5%
State Sales Tax: 4%
Estate Tax/Inheritance Tax: No/No
Alabama is a tax haven for retirees. Social Security benefits, as well as military, public and private defined-benefit pensions, are excluded from state income taxes. Remaining income is taxed at the state's low rates, which range from 2% to 5%. Alabama also has some of the lowest property taxes in the U.S. Homeowners 65 and older are exempt from state property taxes, but some cities assess their own property tax. The only downside is sales taxes. Although the statewide rate is just 4%, cities and counties in the Yellowhammer State can impose their own levies, and together the taxes can add up to a whopping 10% or more in some cities. Food is taxed, but prescription drugs are not.

Visit Kiplinger for more tax-friendly states for retirees.

Displaying blog entries 1-4 of 4

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