Health Help From the Government

Tuesday, November 8, 2005; 10:33 AM

New diet and exercise books are published every week. Soon to be hitting shelves is one by an author that also asks for your taxes each April. Yes, the federal government--long known for issuing reports, pamphlets and those I.R.S. notices--has just published "A Healthier You," a 340-page tome that's based on the U.S. Dietary Guidelines.

Learn in today's Lean Plate Club what the book contains, what experts think about it and where you can already find much of its information online at no cost.

So what do you think about the federal government's foray into health book publishing? Tell us your thoughts in today's Lean Plate Club Web chat from 1 to 2 p.m. EST. Can't join live? No problem. Simply leave your comments, tips or questions ahead of time. Or e-mail me anytime at

Snack Time

Fall is best-known for football, colorful leaves and crisp apples. Can you tell a Red Delicious from a Fuji? You can with this apple guide from the Virginia Apple Growers Association. And by the way, in Men's Health, discover four reasons why apples are more than just nutritious and delicious as a snack.

So which variety of apples tickles your taste buds most? Americans eat 19 pounds of apples annually--about a quarter of the 46 pounds consumed annually by Europeans, according to the Washington Apple Growers Association, which offers this guide to choosing the best apples. Tell us about your favorite apples--and your preferred way to eat 'em--in today's Lean Plate Club Web chat from 1 to 2 p.m. EST, or leave your comments ahead of time.

Fit for Fun

As you move indoors for workouts, consider setting up your own family fitness room, with these tips from Better Homes and Gardens magazine.

Or turn your community center's pool into a great workout tool. More magazine shows you how with these toning water workouts.

Tired of dragging around your own saddlebags? More has simple exercises that will help tone those problem areas, along with firming back muscles and more.

Or just start working on that shoe leather. Walking is still one of the best activities you can do. No matter if you're just thinking about getting more fit or are already regular gym rat, discover why it's always good to fit more walking into your daily regimen.

The last time you probably played kickball was on the school playground. But these days, kickball is not just for kids. Adults who use kickball to stay in shape find that it sometimes offers romantic options too as the Style section reported recently.

No need to limit yourself to kickball, either. In today's Health section, read how some people turing their tennis sets into more vigorous workouts. Vacations are a great time to stay--or get into-shape. So take a tip from our Travel section, which reveals how in Hawaii a number of tourists are putting down their mai tais to jump, hike, paddle and surf instead.

What's your fitness tip this week? How are you keeping active with the holidays--and the Holiday Challenge--just around the corner. Tell us in today's Lean Plate Club Web chat, live from 1 to 2 p.m. EST. Or ask a question about getting starting on a new fitness routine. Can't join live? Just leave your comments and questions ahead of time. Or e-mail me anytime at

What's for Dinner Tonight?

If you've got 15 minutes--and yeah, I know you're busy, but we've all got 15 minutes--then you don't want to miss these quick meals concocted by Phillip Rhodes for Men's Health magazine. The dishes include Barbecue-Sauce Chicken Pizza, which clocks in at 326 calories per pie, and Spicy Fish and Tips (as in asparagus), as well as and Tomato- and Zucchini-Sauced Chicken. These quick, healthy dinners can fit into nearly anybody's schedule. And aren't you worth it?

For Secrets of the Lean Plate Club, an upcoming book about the Lean Plate Club slated for publicaton next year, I've collected healthy recipes from some award-winning chefs. One of them--Richard Perry--has moved from the restaurant world into delivering healthful meals to families. His EatPlan is a new way to eat. For now, it's available only in the St. Louis region, but his Web site offers a handful of recipes that you can make yourself, including Sauce Beautiful for Pork, Mushroom Chili and Asparagus Stew.

What are you cooking tonight? Tell us in today's Web chat from 1 to 2 p.m. EST. Or leave your healthy food finds and great-tasting recipes ahead of time.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company