Posts By: nickihicks

3 Ways to Make Your Kitchen a Happier Place

by in Stress-Free Kitchen

Nicki Hicks

Last night, I looked through my kitchen cabinets – not just in the front, which houses all of my go-to, use-all-the-time ingredients, but to the deep, dark back. I was shocked. Soup from 2005. Canned tomatoes from 2006. Canned veggies from who knows when (the label was ripped).

I moved to the freezer. I’m embarrassed to say how many bags of frozen vegetables I have stockpiled. Suffice it to say, I could make stir fry every night for the next three weeks.

Lucky for me, all of these (mostly) non-perishables will last for a little while longer. It got me to thinking, though…how many of us stock pile like this? And is it just being wasteful?

Never fear. We can combat this torturous use of the heart of the home in three (pretty painless) steps…

3 Ways to Make Your Kitchen a Happier Place

What you get out of exercise over losing weight

by in Fitness and Weight Loss

Nicki Hicks

There’s more to exercise than meets the eye. Sure, you lose calories, weight, and look great. You chisel muscles and get lean; but exercise can do more than that.

Looking good leads to feeling good – both reasons lead to higher self esteem. Regular exercise will help you alleviate stress and feel happier.

Exercise helps your body work more efficiently, thereby giving you more energy. We could all do with a littler more energy, couldn’t we?

Not only will you have more energy, but at night you’ll be more tired. That’s right…put those sleeping pills away if you have trouble falling asleep at night. Exercise more, and you’ll find the secret to catching your z’s.

Walking, running, or going to the gym? Regardless, more exercise combats illness and chronic disease.

Spend some quality time with friends or family and go for a walk or a hike. Play with your kids on the jungle gym. All these seemingly fun activities?…code words for exercise…

3 Options to Cure Your Sweet Tooth

by in Healthy Tips

Nicki Hicks

Post holidays, our taste buds still crave what we’ve been giving them. What with all the holiday parties, cookies, and candies how could we not want more? Hopefully decreasing sugar intake is one of your New Years’ resolutions, but if it’s not…these tricks will help you become far healthier.

I should clarify: these may not cure your sweet tooth, but they’ll certainly occupy it for the time being.

Craving candy? Try a piece of fruit. An apple is a great option, or try berries (to get the antioxidant benefits). The natural sugar isn’t only good for you, but it should take care of that sugar craving. Although if you need some extra sweetness, try some form of raw sugar or cinnamon on top.

Need ice cream? Try a soy-based or no sugar added ice cream. There’s still sugar, but they’re both healthier options.

Try a drink. Stay away from the liquor cabinet, but try a sweet tea – maybe a white tea or peppermint flavored. If that isn’t enough, try juice – but make sure it’s 100%.

What about you? What’s your tip for staying away from the cookie jar?…

3 Options to Cure Your Sweet Tooth

Healthy Replacements You Can Make in Your Kitchen

by in Stress-Free Kitchen

Nicki Hicks

You don’t need to spend a lot to lose a lot (of calories, that is). Try these replacements to make your kitchen – and your cooking habits a little healthier.

Use extra virgin olive oil (or even my Mom’s favorite – sesame oil, which can be used at higher temperatures without burning) instead of butter.

One of my favorite tricks is using fat free (or low fat) plain or flavored yogurt instead of oil when I make brownies. It depends on what you’re making, but there are probably a ton of baking recipes where this trick could be used.

Use egg whites instead of whole eggs – you’ll lose a lot of cholesterol and fat, but maintain the protein.

Love your fruity cocktails? I know they’re yummy, but replace that full-of-sugar juice with soda water in your mixed drinks, and you’ll lose a ton of the calories.

Get rid of your bleached white flour and replace it with whole wheat for all of your baking and cooking.

What is your favorite replacement in the kitchen?

Healthy Replacements You Can Make in Your Kitchen

5 Rules to Eating So You Can Forget That Diet

by in Fitness and Weight Loss

Nicki Hicks

Let’s face it – weight loss happens when we have self control and discipline. Usually, that combination means a diet. Not necessarily. Here are 5 tricks so that you can eat what you want…in moderation, that is.

1. Ask yourself if you’re hungry. Often we’re tired, bored, or even thirsty when we shovel food in our mouths. So just ask yourself: am I really hungry?

2. Don’t eat after 7. You’ve probably heard this one before and, while the act of eating won’t cause you to gain unnecessary weight, it’s simply that by the time morning comes, you won’t be as hungry for breakfast. In short, eating after 7 or 8 at night gets your metabolism and eating schedule out of whack.

3. Watch your portions. This is the most important rule. It’s no secret that Americans are an incredibly overweight population and it’s no wonder why – the portions you get eating out could more often than not feed you for an entire day, let alone one meal. One of my favorite tricks is – put what you’re eating on a plate or in a bowl – don’t eat directly out of the pan/dish/bag. If you’re still hungry, go for seconds; but chances are you won’t be.

4. Eat plenty of fruits and veggies. Not only are they good for you, but they’ll fill you up, so you eat less of the more hearty food in your diet.

5. Snack, snack, snack! Technically, it’s better to eat about every three hours than three big meals. So instead of binging three times a day, be sure to grab a little something (a piece of fruit perhaps? ;)), so you don’t have to engorge yourself later.

What’s one of your rules for staying away from the newest fad diet?

8 Ways To Keep You Fit

by in Fitness and Weight Loss

Nicki Hicks

I don’t know about you, but trying to get outside and go for a run in the winter time is nearly impossible. If you’re a skier or snowboarder, your exercise routine is set at the slopes; but for the rest of us, the gym can get monotonous.

Never fear, there are a surprising (and dare I say, fun) amount of outdoor activities that burn a ton of calories.

Snow removal doesn’t have to be all work and no play. Well, maybe it is – but you can feel good about the fact that, while shoveling, you’re burning 298 calories an hour.

Ice skating doesn’t need to be on a rink. Head out to a local lake or pond and burn 357 calories an hour practicing your figure skating moves.

Hiking isn’t just for the warmer months; you’ll be surprised how quickly you get tired. No wonder – you’re burning 408 calories an hour.

Take that hike to the next level and pop on your snowshoes. You’ll burn a tremendous 417 calories per hour.

Get outside with the kids

Take a load off and lay at the snow with this cold weather pastime: snow angels. Doing horizontal jumping jacks burns 214 calories per hour.

Building a snowman? You’ll burn 285 calories an hour. That’s worth building a whole snow family – and don’t forget the dog.

Building in the snow is fun, but throwing it around is too. Having a snowball fight will burn 319 calories an hour.

Last but not least…head back to the slopes with your toboggan. Sledding burns a whopping 357 calories per hour.

Note: All of the calorie statistics are based on a 40 year old, 150 lb. woman…

8 Ways To Keep You Fit

There are NO Excuses for Not Exercising

by in Fitness and Weight Loss

Nicki Hicks

We all know we need to exercise – how can we not? We hear it everywhere. That said, it’s often easier to make excuses than make your gym session.

“I don’t have the time”

Wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t have to sleep? We’d get 6-8 hours of extra work/play/relaxation time in. Unfortunately, that’s not a possibility.

So, don’t have time to make it to the gym or get a run in? There’s no secret; you have to make the time. You make the time to watch your favorite TV show, or to get a massage in. Make the time to exercise.

The good news is you don’t need to spend two hours at the gym. Take your dog for a 30 minute walk, or join your kids in a game outside for 45 minutes. There are a ton of activities that burn calories and don’t take a lot of time.

“I don’t have the money”

No one said you have to go to the gym or take expensive classes to exercise. Grab your sneakers and go running on the road, or do some weightlifting with things found around the house (like cans of food).

You don’t even need to buy an expensive workout video to get the most popular workout of the moment – you’ll find shows on the cable you already pay for. Check out some of the major networks early…