Studying Strength

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Tuesday, August 2, 2005; 9:52 AM

Does building muscle really help you burn more calories? Do you need protein powder and other dietary supplements to make your muscles stronger? And how long does it take to build muscle anyway?

Find the surprising answers to these questions and more in today's Lean Plate Club column, part of a special Health section on Aging Well.

What's your experience with strengthening and toning your muscles? Tell us in today's Lean Plate Club Web chat, from 1 to 2 p.m. EDT. Can't join live? No problem, just leave comments, suggestions and questions ahead of time. Or e-mail me any time at leanplateclub@washpost.com.

Successful Losers

Last week's column on "successful losers" generated a lot of comments in the Web chat as well as some posting and e-mails from other successful losers. For further inspiration, there are audio clips from the successful losers included in an audio gallery for your viewing and listening pleasure.

What's for Dinner Tonight?

Start with some of the wonderful fresh produce now in season. When you're at the grocery or farmer's market, know that looks aren't everything as Self magazine reports in this quick guide to choosing the best fresh fruit and vegetables.

Tomatoes are at their peak. And Epicurious.com has 15 ways to take advantage of the luscious, juicy varieties that are so abundant right now. By the way, tomatoes are not only filled with vitamin C, but are a great source of vitamin A and folic acid. (No need to mention that they're also low in calories and filled with taste.)

Among the choices offered by Epicurious: Oven-Roasted Plum Tomatoes that could serve as an appetizer or a side dish. From Gourmet magazine, there's Gazpacho Chopped Salad. Aside from tomatoes, it features hard-boiled eggs, green peppers and a little prosciutto--enough ingredients to make a light meal perfect for summer. And it's ready in just 30 minutes.

If the hot weather has you hankering for spicy food, then Spicy Asian Eggplant With Tofu and Red Pepper might just satisfy your yearnings. It's got six grams of fiber per serving, clocks in at only 166 calories and takes about 30 minutes to make. Serve it with Nina Simonds's Shrimp Rolls With Spicy Vietnamese Dressing, which have shrimp, a source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

If you've got a little more time--and a yen for something less spicy--our Food section offers 'Baked' Pasta With Zucchini, Tomatoes and Ricotta. It's ready in 45 minutes--enough time to pop it in the oven and do an exercise video, ride a few miles on a stationary bike or just run through the sprinkler with your kids.

Short on time? You can make Sesame Seared Scallops in just in 15 minutes, courtesy of Prevention magazine. Add some of Trader Joe's brown rice (frozen food section) and you've got a quick meal. No TJ's near you? Then just make a batch of brown rice and freeze in individual packets. Or look for some of the quick brown rice now available in your grocery.


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