Calorie Bargains: Products

by Charles Platkin, PhD

Calorie Bargains: Products

Calorie Bargain:

The Why: We’ve all heard about the amazing benefits of regular , but it can be such a hassle (not to mention expensive!) to drag yourself to a studio several times a week. With you can download free yoga videos or play them right on the site — you don’t even have to leave your house. They also tell you the level of each class, and there are typically two students following along: one a beginner and the other experienced.

The Bonus: Yoga is great exercise, with health claims ranging from better strength, flexibility, posture, coordination and balance to stress reduction, stronger bones, cardiovascular conditioning and the prevention of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis and more. Devotees are pretty emphatic about the benefits on three levels: physiological, psychological and biochemical.

What We Liked Best: offers a new class each day, and the videos can be saved to your hard drive so you can fit them into your own schedule. And all the classes are filmed with wonderful backdrops, such as Wyoming’s Jackson Hole. Nice. Just watching the video can be a peaceful experience. Also, the video and music are both crystal clear. And all at no cost. Wow!

What We Liked Least: The site doesn’t archive programs (other than the last four days). So, if you’re looking for a specific class — like beginning yoga moves — you will not be able to find it. The good news is that there will eventually be a searchable archive, but you’ll have might pay a small fee to download from it. And there’s advertising in the beginning. I guess they have to pay the bills somehow.

The Price: Free.

Web Site:

Where to Buy: (you can view the four most recent sessions).

Offerings: Daily one-hour video downloads with wonderful, diverse instructors. You can download in Windows Media, QuickTime/iPod or Audio Only.

Ingredients: The experienced instructors ( practice various styles including: Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Hatha, Anusara, Kripalu and Kundalini.

Calorie Bargain: Smart Cycle

The Why: Video games don’t usually conjure up images of health and fitness, but Smart Cycle changes all that. This amazing game from Fisher-Price combines a stationary bike with a learning arcade game system to provide hours of intense, active fun for children ages 3 through 6. I tried it out on a most discerning focus group: my 4-year-old daughter and her friends. They thought it was a scream, and the interaction and game sounds are hysterical for nearby parents, too. You’ll have no problem saying yes when your children beg you to let them play.

The Health Bonus: Your kids will be so busy having fun they won’t even realize that they’re exercising and learning.

What We Liked Best: The combination of physical activity, playing and learning is a great triple header.

What We Liked Least: It takes up a bit more space than a regular video game controller … and though it’s worth the price, it isn’t cheap.

The Price: $100, plus $20 for new cartridges.

Offerings: There are currently four additional cartridges available: Discover the Dinosaurs; Dora the Explorer Friendship Adventure; SpongeBob SquarePants Ocean Adventure; and Barbie Fairytopia.

Web Site:

Where to Buy: Target, Wal-Mart, Kohl’s, Costco, Sears, K-B Toys, Toys R Us, Meijer.

Ingredients: Smart Cycle learning advantage cartridge game (with one cartridge).

Calorie Bargain: “Your Guide to Healthy

The Why: We may love to boast about how little sleep we get or need each night, but sleep matters! This handy little book will help you catch some much needed ZZZZs.

The Health Bonus: Sleep affects all kinds of things: your mood, your hormones, your quality of life — even your weight! Lack of sleep can increase hunger and appetite, and also, when you’re tired you’re less likely to make the healthiest food choices.

What We Liked Best: The guide is a quick and easy read with plenty of practical suggestions for improving your snoozing habits. Plus, there’s a sleep journal at the end that can help you determine if you have a sleep disorder. (As always, check with your doctor if you think you might have a problem.) And you can download it free of charge from the Internet.

What We Liked Least: The 68-page booklet is pretty heavy on the graphics, so it might put a significant dent in your toner cartridge if you want to print out a copy.

The Price: Free to download, or you can order a hard copy from the Web site for $3.50.

Web Site:

Where to Buy:

Ingredients: This helpful and detailed booklet dispels common sleep myths, gives practical tips for getting adequate sleep, coping with jet lag and night shift work, and avoiding dangerous drowsy driving. It covers the stages of sleep, sleep debt, cues for sleep and changes in sleep patterns over the life span. You will also learn about sleep disorders, such as insomnia, sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, narcolepsy and some parasomnias (childhood sleep disorders).

Calorie Bargain: Lean Cuisine’s Southwest-style Chicken Panini

The Why: Mesquite-seasoned white-meat chicken strips are combined with green peppers, tomatoes, onions, cheese and Southwest-style sauce on sourdough bread. I’ve been taste-testing these for about three weeks now, and they are great! And get this: They’re filling and only 280 calories. I still haven’t figured out how to get the bread crispy each time even though I’ve been using the special tray that helps to crisp it — but I’m working on it.

The Health Bonus: Each Panini has about 30 percent of your daily calcium needs and 15 percent of your iron as well as 3 grams of fiber and 20 grams of protein. And did we mention they’re low in calories?

What We Liked Best: Great-tasting, low-calorie hot sandwiches prepared in a matter of minutes.

What We Liked Least: The bread isn’t whole grain, and the crisping tray performs haphazardly. The paninis are also high in sodium, as are most frozen dinners.

The Price: $3.09.

Offerings: Chicken, Spinach & Mushroom; Steak, Cheddar & Mushroom; Southwest-Style Chicken; and Chicken Club. Two more, Chicken Tuscan, which has tender white-meat chicken, peppers, olives, tomatoes and margherita-style sauce on Italian herb bread (340 calories, 8g fat, 0g trans fat); and Philly-Style Steak & Cheese, with steak, red and green peppers, onions and cheese sauce on sourdough bread (350 calories, 9g fat, 0g trans fat) will be available some time in July.

Web Site:

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