The SparkPeople Blog

10 Tips to Keep from Overeating at a Party

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
3/14/2017  1:00:00 PM   :  106 comments   :  21,486 views

Temptations abound at parties, but celebration doesn't have to mean overindulgence. Follow these tips to stay on track at your Super Bowl parties this weekend.

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Why Every Kitchen Needs a Cast Iron Skillet

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
3/14/2017  12:00:00 AM   :  38 comments   :  16,878 views

If deliciousness had a sound, it would surely be the sizzling of a hot skillet. Whether you're preparing fajitas or omelets, a stir fry or a frittata, the skillet is just as essential an ingredient as the meat or veggies.

While there's no shortage of skillets to choose from, not all of them are created equal. You can opt for the traditional coated non-stick version, durable stainless steel or, of course, cast iron—otherwise known as the Cadillac of skillets.

Valued for its strong heat retention and durability, cast iron cookware was used as far back as two thousand years ago, when pots and cauldrons were often placed inside the hearth or fireplace. The cast iron skillet was introduced in the late 19th century, around the time when kitchen stoves started to become prevalent in homes. Cast iron took a backseat to coated non-stick cookware in the 1960s and 70s, but its popularity has surged again in recent years as more people discover its many benefits.

Benefits of Cast Iron Skillets


Not only are they sturdy and durable, cast iron skillets could be good for your health. They don't produce the toxic fumes that can come from coated non-stick cookware, and the extra iron intake can provide a boost of energy and immunity. You can add a light coating of vegetable oil to create a natural baked-on seasoning, which also protects the skillet and creates a non-stick surface. Clean-up is easy, too: simply hand-wash with hot water and use a stiff brush or sponge to remove food, then dry right away. Skip the dishwasher, as it can strip the skillet of its beneficial seasoning.

5 Skillets We Love


Ewei's Homeware 12-inch Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet ($23.99): This one gets rave reviews for its durability, quality and pre-seasoned, non-stick surface.

Photo courtesy of Amazon

Lodge Cast Iron Square Grill Pan (starting at $15.72): The ribbed bottom allows you to grill indoors all year round. It's perfect for preparing burgers, fish filets and chicken breasts.
 

Photo courtesy of Amazon

Lodge Cast Iron Covered Deep Skillet (starting at $37.22): The extra depth of this skillet eliminates cooking splatter, and the lid is designed to keep foods moist.
 

Photo courtesy of Amazon

Lodge Cast Iron Cornbread Wedge Pan ($17.18): The divided sections are great for cornbread, scones, frittatas and hash brown wedges.

Photo courtesy of Amazon

Cast Iron Pizza Pan ($29.95): Pizza delivery will become a thing of the past with this multi-purpose tool. It's also great for making pancakes and crepes.


Photo courtesy of Amazon

5 Scrumptious Skillet Recipes


Not sure how to get started with your new skillet? With these sizzling recipes, you can easily whip up delicious, nutritious meals without producing a slew of dirty dishes.

Chorizo Breakfast Skillet: This super simple, protein-packed breakfast is dairy- and gluten-free.
 

Photo courtesy of Avocado Pesto

Cajun Chicken Pasta: This low-carb version is made with zucchini noodles in a spicy cream sauce with fresh bell peppers.
 

Photo courtesy of Gimme Delicious

One-Skillet Mongolian Beef with Broccoli: Who needs a Chinese restaurant when you can prepare this delicious, savory dish on your stovetop in just 20 minutes?
 

Photo courtesy of The Seasoned Mom

One-Skillet Skinny Seafood Alfredo: This protein-packed dinner is ready in just five minutes, and proves that comfort food doesn't have to send your calorie count through the roof.
 

Photo courtesy of The Seasoned Mom

Skillet Veggie Lasagna: This skillet vegetable lasagna is chock-full of delicious veggies. Cook the veggies, noodles, sauce and cheese on the stovetop, then move the skillet to the oven for a quick broil.
 

Photo courtesy of Gimme Some Oven

Do you have a cast iron skillet? Share your tips and favorite recipes in the comments.

Study: Socializing on SparkPeople Helps with Weight Loss

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
3/13/2017  10:00:00 AM   :  82 comments   :  22,651 views

Try out our newest improvement to help you reach your goals: the Community Feed!

The gallery of Success Stories, piles of media clips and endless stream of thank-you message from members who have reached their goals and changed their lives forever are all proof that SparkPeople's program works. But now, a second study led by researchers at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston bolsters what our experts and millions of members already knew: No Spark man (or woman) is an island, and the support provided by our community is invaluable.

Dr. Kevin O. Hwang, lead researcher and assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, surveyed 193 members, conducted interviews and analyzed selected posts on the Message Boards.

Hwang also led a 2007 study published in the American Journal of Medicine that determined that SparkPeople.com members can trust the weight-loss advice they receive from other members on our Message Boards.

The new study, published in the International Journal of Medical Informatics, set out to describe the social support provided to members and concluded:

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Shelli's Journey from ''Shame Yourself Thin'' to Body Acceptance

By: , – Shelli Mosteller
3/13/2017  12:00:00 AM   :  51 comments   :  13,306 views

The size acceptance movement, body positivity movement, fat acceptance movement— call it what you may, it's a movement that continues to create quite a buzz, from the covers of magazines to social media newsfeeds. The movement is about accepting yourself and other people as is, no matter the size of their waist, if they're pear-shaped, their curves or any other physical feature. Sounds like what we teach our kids, right? What could be possibly controversial about acceptance? Hold hands and sing "kum ba yah" around the campfire. Pass the s'mores.

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60 Scrumptious Spring Salads

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
3/13/2017  12:00:00 AM   :  34 comments   :  30,093 views

Nature isn't the only thing going green for spring—there's something about the season of growth and renewal that has us hankering for salad. To grow healthier and stronger for the warmer months, it’s important to include plenty of veggies—and what better way to sneak in extra greens than with a delicious salad?

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10 Exercises You Should Steal from Your Kids

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
3/10/2017  12:00:00 AM   :  14 comments   :  14,335 views

Have you ever noticed that most kids run more than they walk? For little ones, constant physical activity is a way of life, not a task to cross off a to-do list. Whether it's jumping over puddles, using a curb as a balance beam or racing a puppy across the yard, movement just comes naturally to children. Wouldn't it be nice if you could bottle up a little of their boundless energy for yourself—while also burning extra calories and gaining muscle tone?

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