Denise Tausig (SP_COACH_DENISE)

SparkPeople Community Coordinator

Denise's first introduction to SparkPeople was January 1, 2004, as a member. It took her eight months to lose 40 pounds and reach her goal weight, which she's maintained for many years thanks to regular walking, yoga, and fitness videos. Losing weight and exercising inspired Denise to change her life. She went back to school and earned a bachelor's degree in wellness at Lincoln University in Missouri and become an ACE-certified personal trainer. Now a SparkPeople employee, she helps others achieve their health and fitness goals, including the 13- to 17-year-old members of our sister site, SparkTeens.com, where Denise works as the Community Leader. At SparkPeople, you'll find her throughout the Community, answering questions, leading SparkTeams and challenges and providing support to members.


Read More of Denise's Blogs:

Beat the Heat with 12 Summer Salads

Back to school and pumpkin beers at the grocery say summer is coming to a close, yet no one seems to have told the sun as temperatures remain hot in most of the country. Salads are a cool and refreshing way to beat the heat and change things up at the dinner table after a summer filled with grilled meats. Plus, with minimal prep time and simple ingredients, you'll spend less time with a hot stove and more time enjoying the sunshine. The many fresh fruits and other foods available during the summer months (farmers market, anyone?) allow you to add flavor and variety to your salads--no boring meals here! Hold on tight to the last bit of summer by enjoying a few of these summer-friendly salads in the coming weeks.

















Summer Salad with Peaches and Goat Cheese
 Sweet summer peaches and tangy goat cheese top the season’s freshest vegetables in this crowd-pleasing salad.

Summer Salad with Chicken and Berries With berries reaching their peak sweetness levels, now is the perfect time to incorporate them into a salad. Let a range of fresh berries shine in this filling lunch dish.
Coach Nicole's Favorite Summer Salad Add your favorite dressing—balsamic vinaigrette works great—to this filling and effortlessly delicious salad.

Spinach-Berry Salad Fresh and juicy strawberries mingle with tender spinach, goat cheese and crunchy almonds in this salad that even kids will devour.

Cool Cucumber Salad Cucumber, red onion and a simple dressing are all you need to create this fantastic dish, which happens to pair well with grilled meats.

Caprese Salad Simple flavors combine in this timeless salad that is sure to win fans at your next backyard BBQ.


Easy Watermelon and Feta Salad Watermelon is a favorite summer dessert, but it makes a lovely addition to a dinner salad, too. Here, creamy citrus dressing and crunchy celery pairs with the sweet melon.

Peach-Tomato Salad with Basil and Feta Sweet, juicy peaches, tangy tomatoes, fresh basil and feta come together in a salad that is sure to make your taste buds do the happy dance.

Israeli Salad When the ingredients are fresh, salads can be simple, yet impressive. This traditional Israeli salad is perfect as a side, lunch salad or as a filling for your pita.

Spinach and Pear Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette Up your salad game with this spinach and pear salad topped with a homemade Dijon vinaigrette.


Waldorf Salad The classic Waldorf salad gets a healthy makeover thanks to the addition of low-fat yogurt.



End of Summer Salad A hot summer afternoon is the perfect time to enjoy this sweet and savory watermelon salad.





Do you eat more salads during the summer months? Which of these recipes will you try first?

Click here for even more summer salad recipes.


Posted 8/21/2015  12:00:00 AM By: Denise Tausig : 2 comments   9,338 views

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12 Side Dishes That Steal the Spotlight

With summer in full swing, we imagine many of you have been putting the grill to work. We recently shared some easy grilling recipes and hope that you have been enjoying at least some of them! Of course, no grill-out is complete without a side dish or two, right? Lucky for you, we've rounded up a variety of healthy salads, slaws, veggies and more, all of which are amazing complements to grilled meats. Be forewarned: these delicious, healthy side dishes might just take the main stage!

















Garden Potato Salad

Low-fat, protein-powerhouse cottage cheese sneaks its way into the dressing of this simple summer side. 100 Calories, 0g Fat, 22g Carbs, 4g Protein


Macaroni Salad with Bacon, Peas and Dijon Dressing

Tangy dressing contrasts well with the smoky bacon, sweet bell pepper and red onion. 189 Calories, 6g Fat, 26g Carbs, 7g Protein

Rainbow Fruit Salad

This fruit salad showcases the best flavors of summer--mango, blueberries, bananas and kiwi, just to name a few. Try it as a side with grilled chicken or even for dessert. 98 Calories, 1g Fat, 25g Carbs, 1g Protein

Light and Creamy Coleslaw
This creamy and delicious coleslaw is hiding a secret--it's very low in fat! 52 Calories, 2g Fat, 8g Carbs, 2g Protein





Slow Cooker Boston Baked Beans

Make this picnic staple right in your slow cooker. 170 Calories, 1g Fat, 37g Carbs, 7g Protein


Crunchy Coleslaw

This crunchy coleslaw is a healthier version of that summer favorite: Ramen noodle salad. Two servings of vegetables in every portion! 70 Calories, 6g Fat, 6g Carbs, 1g Protein


Cauliflower or Mock Potato Salad

Cauliflower takes center stage in this ''mock'' potato salad. You won't even miss the heavy potato version. 126 Calories, 7g Fat, 14g Carbs, 5g Protein


Garlic-Herb Potato Packs

Whether you make these on the grill or in the oven, these quick-fix potato packs are mom's best friend. No mess, no clean-up and just five minutes to prepare. 165 Calories, 2g Fat, 34g Carbs, 4g Protein


Grilled Avocado Boats

If you've never grilled an avocado, you're truly missing out. Top a creamy, grilled avocado with spicy salsa and Mexican cheese for a unique summer treat. 181 Calories, 16g Fat, 9g Carbs, 3g Protein


Greek Penne Pasta Salad

The classic cookout side dish gets a healthy Greek makeover. Veggie lovers will adore the edamame, tomato and onion. 190 Calories, 8g Fat, 28g Carbs, 7g Protein


Grilled Vegetables with Pineapple

Add a bit of sweetness to your vegetable kabobs with chunks of summer pineapple. 137 Calories, 7g Fat, 17g Carbs, 2g Protein


Grilled Corn with Lime Butter

Take your grilled corn to the next level by adding a hint of lime. 98 Calories, 3g Fat, 17g Carbs, 3g Protein









What is your favorite grill-out side dish? Which of these recipes are you most excited to try?

Posted 7/31/2015  12:00:00 AM By: Denise Tausig : 4 comments   24,610 views

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12 Hot-Off the Grill Recipes

Summer brings to mind a number of scents—sunscreen, salty sea air, chlorine—but for our money, the smell of a hot grill cooking up a meal is the best of them all. Whether you’re making lunch or dinner for you and the family or you’re entertaining guests, grilling is a great option for making quick, flavorful and healthy meals. From chicken to pizza and everything in between, there is an easy grilling recipe for you to love! Fire up the grill and try one of these new recipes this summer.












Tropical Grilled Chicken 
This sweet and savory chicken is delicious as is with a side of grilled veggies, but can also be shredded for tacos.
265 Calories, 3g Fat, 34g Carbs, 28g Protein

Grilled Garlic Citrus Flank Steak Pair this flank steak with Chef Meg's Garlic-Citrus Parsley Sauce, plus a green salad and some whole-grain bread--warmed on the grill, of course!--for a completely delicious meal.
231 Calories, 12g Fat, 4g Carbs, 24g Protein

Simple Grilled Salmon 
If you’ve never considered grilling salmon, this recipe will change your mind. Fresh dill and lemon shine through in this light, quick and easy dinner.
210 Calories, 10g Fat, 0.5g Carbs, 29g Protein

Southwestern Grilled Pork Tenderloin The "other white meat" is perfect for grilling! The simple four-ingredient rub helps create a very flavorful dish.
170 Calories, 5g Fat, 1g Carbs, 28g Protein

Honey Grilled Chicken Breasts Ginger and garlic are the stars of the sauce in this easy chicken dish. Just marinate overnight and throw it on the grill the next day.
189 Calories, 3g Fat, 12g Carbs, 27g Protein

Balsamic Grilled Chicken Breast The marinade in this grilled chicken recipe can be easily altered to suit your taste. The final product pairs nicely with roasted potatoes, a green side salad and fresh fruit.
210 Calories, 10g Fat, 3g Carbs, 26g Protein

Lime-Grilled Chicken with Cuban Salsa 
Looking for a lot of flavor? This lime-grilled chicken is bursting with fresh, tropical ingredients that are sure to please your taste buds.
373 Calories, 7g Fat, 30g Carbs, 48g Protein

Grilled BBQ Chicken Flatbreads A fun take on pizza that is also lighter on calories! Pile on extra veggies to make it even more nutritious.
233 Calories, 5g Fat, 21g Carbs, 26g Protein

Grilled Pesto & Ricotta Stuffed Chicken Breasts This delicious chicken recipe requires just four ingredients and takes no more than 25 minutes to make. 
382 Calories, 15g Fat, 2g Carbs, 55g Protein

5-Ingredient Grilled Rosemary Chicken Breast Grilling doesn’t get much easier than this chicken, which cooks up in just 15 minutes. Serve with a green salad, summer fruit and whole-grain bread to round out the meal.
170 Calories, 7g Fat, 1g Carbs, 26g Protein

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms on the Grill 
These cheesy stuffed mushrooms are the versatile food every grill master needs. Serve them as an appetizer, a light vegetarian meal or a hearty side dish.
94 Calories, 4g Fat, 10g Carbs, 7g Protein

Grilled Perch with Citrus Salsa Citrus and cilantro really complement this grilled fish. The light perch goes well with brown rice or whole-grain tortillas warmed on the grill, along with a salad or steamed vegetables.
241 Calories, 8g Fat, 13g Carbs, 29g Protein


What is your favorite grill-out recipe? Which of these recipes will be on your grill this summer?

Click here for more grill out recipes and resources.

Posted 6/23/2015  12:00:00 AM By: Denise Tausig : 0 comments   16,084 views

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5 Corned Beef Recipes for St. Patrick's Day

Are you looking for a new way to make corned beef and cabbage this St. Patrick's Day? Try something different this year with one of these recipes! 

Posted 3/16/2014  10:00:00 AM By: Denise Tausig : 24 comments   23,227 views

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12 Chicken Recipes for the Slow Cooker

Looking for some new ways to spice up your slow cooker recipes? We've rounded up a variety of chicken recipes for the slow cooker that are quick, easy, and full of flavor!

Slow Cooker Apricot Chicken

Slow Cooker Chicken & Hominy Chili


Slow Cooker Southwest Chicken

Chef Meg's Slow Cooker Provencal Chicken and Beans

Posted 10/12/2013  12:00:00 PM By: Denise Tausig : 40 comments   307,720 views

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Beat the Heat During Your Summer Workouts

Summer is almost here, which means the temperature will continue to rise. Some of you may have already experienced some early summer-type heat and are already starting to get acclimated to it. As we change over to summer weather, we need to remember to take precautions when exercising in the heat.

Our bodies do a great job at cooling off in general, but it does take time for them to get acclimated to the heat as the season changes. Depending on your age, current health condition and your activity level, your body can take 2 or more weeks to acclimate to the heat. This is something to keep in mind, especially if you are feeling like your workouts are getting harder during this time of year and/or you have humidity to deal with on top of the heat.

Posted 6/14/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Denise Tausig : 21 comments   25,724 views

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Your Guide to Flat Abs

Many people want to have flat abs, but have trouble getting them. Attaining visible abdominal definition depends on a low body fat percentage that isn't realistic for many and your genetics plays a part of it as well, but that doesn't mean you can't work towards a goal of having a slimmer tummy. While you can't spot train or target where you lose fat, you can work on those muscles to help you achieve flatter abs and a strong core overall.

Posted 5/20/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Denise Tausig : 37 comments   95,660 views

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What Motivates You to Exercise?

It's no secret that there are many people who don't like to exercise for one reason or another, but at the same time, there are many others that really enjoy it. Why is there such a love it or hate it attitude towards exercise? There are numerous answers to that question and some might say that they had a really bad past experience, they find it boring and haven't found something that is enjoyable, or they may not see the instant gratification (weight loss) that they are looking for when it comes to exercise. As many of you know, what motivates one person to do something may not work for the next person. 
 

Posted 5/10/2013  12:00:00 PM By: Denise Tausig : 297 comments   33,486 views

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Our Fastest Cardio Workouts

Do you ever feel like you don't have enough time to get a good workout in during the day? No need to fret because you can still get an effective cardio workout in just 10 minutes. I gave up the all-or-nothing thinking years ago and have done my best to commit to at least 10 minutes of exercise each day. It all really DOES add up! Even if you did just 10 minutes of exercise a day, that is 70 minutes of exercise for the week, which is better than not doing anything at all and you can still see the benefits from doing that.

Posted 5/3/2013  6:00:00 PM By: Denise Tausig : 37 comments   174,623 views

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9 Healthy Pancake Recipes

Do you love pancakes, but want a healthier pancake recipe? We've rounded up a variety of healthy and delicious pancake recipes for you to try.

Posted 4/23/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Denise Tausig : 39 comments   279,978 views

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13 Healthy Oatmeal Recipes

Are you looking for some new oatmeal recipes to help warm and fill you up on these cold winter mornings? We've rounded up a variety of healthy oatmeal recipes for you to try.

Coach Dean's Blue Oatmeal Recipe

Banana Peanut Butter Oatmeal





Posted 3/14/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Denise Tausig : 77 comments   355,599 views

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24 Ways to Say ‘I Love You’

Valentine’s Day is just two days away! Although television and radio commercials might try to convince you otherwise, there are plenty of ways to celebrate your love for your partner besides the typical fancy dinner date or box of chocolate. And--let's face it—the traditional ways of celebrating the annual day of love can be expensive, high in calories and often overdone (dinner and a movie again?). Here are some alternative ways to celebrate your love with your significant other on Valentine’s Day, or any other day throughout the year!

  1. Get a new photo taken of the two of you together. It may have been a while since you last had a photo taken with just the two of you. Whether you have a professional photographer or a friend take your photo, it’s always great to have more pictures to document your time together.
     
  2. Recreate your first date or another memorable date. This can be fun and romantic, especially for couples that have been together for a long time! It's a great way to reflect on how much has changed (and how much has stayed the same!) since you first got together.

    Posted 2/12/2013  12:00:00 PM By: Denise Tausig : 13 comments   15,036 views

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Be a Goal-Getter: 25 Ways to Reach Your Resolutions

So, it's mid-January, and you've got your exciting New Year's Resolutions all planned out and ready to go. But are you still unsure of where to begin your journey—or how to keep the momentum going? Take your next steps with these tips from successful SparkPeople members who have stuck with their own goals for the long haul! 

Posted 1/15/2013  12:00:00 PM By: Denise Tausig : 7 comments   15,051 views

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8 Ways to Bust the Winter Blahs

For many people, cold weather and a lack of sunshine can bring on a mild depression known as the ''winter blues.'' People that experience the ''winter blues'' will generally lack motivation and energy. Others may even develop a clinical depression in the form of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). 
 
According to the Mayo Clinic, SAD is ''a type of depression that occurs at the same time every year. If you're like most people with seasonal affective disorder, your symptoms start in the fall and may continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody.'' Those that experience SAD may produce too much melatonin, which is a hormone that helps to regulate sleep and body temperature. Producing too much melatonin disrupts the body's internal clock and may then cause depression, as seen with SAD sufferers.
 
Some of the signs of SAD may include the following:
 

  • Loss of energy
  • Social withdrawal
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Depressed mood
  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Cravings for sweet and starchy foods
  • Oversleeping
 

Posted 12/18/2012  12:00:00 PM By: Denise Tausig : 15 comments   13,663 views

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Thanksgiving Tips and Trivia

Happy Thanksgiving! Let's celebrate with some trivia and tips related to the holiday.

Posted 11/22/2012  2:00:00 PM By: Denise Tausig : 35 comments   22,678 views

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