9 Ways a Simple Ice Cube Tray Can Help You Drop Pounds

That unassuming little ice cube tray that sits in your freezer isn’t just for water. It can actually be an effective tool to help you lose weight. Here’s how.

    Cookies: Anyone who’s ever baked a homemade batch of cookies knows it’s impossible to eat just one. So the next time you craft a batch, bake half and scoop the rest into ice cube trays. Then when your sweet tooth kicks in, pop out one and bake it to satisfy your craving without breaking the calorie bank.Juice: Freeze juice from fresh-squeezed lemons, limes, or oranges to add a touch of sweetness to water or seltzer ¡ª it’ll be much fewer calories than a full glass of juice or soda.Herbs: Whether you grow your own or buy them fresh at the store, stuff washed and chopped herbs like basil, oregano, rosemary, and cilantro into each section and fill with veggie broth or water. Pop the frozen herb cubes out to add to soups, sauces, and whole grains for a flavor boost without a lot of calories.Smoothies: Make a huge portion of your favorite smoothie recipe when fruit is overripe or on sale. Fill an ice cube tray (or two) and freeze, then pop a bunch out to easily blend in a blender for a healthy and super quick low-calorie breakfast, snack, or dessert.

    Ice cubes with a boost: Instead of adding plain ice cubes to the blender for smoothies, throw in frozen cubes made of coconut water. It’s a great way to add potassium to your diet, which will help you rehydrate even more effectively. You can freeze soy or almond milk too.Fruit: Puree fruit such as strawberries, peaches, pineapple, or mango and freeze. Pop out a cube or two and stir into plain yogurt to make your own flavored yogurt ¡ª it contains fewer calories than store-bought brands that contain added sugar. You can also add the pureed fruit to oatmeal instead of brown sugar or thaw and pour on top of pancakes instead of high-calorie maple syrup.

    Veggies: Freeze pureed veggies such as peas, spinach, sweet potato, squash, and carrot to add extra fiber to soups, baked goods like these oatmeal cookies, mashed potatoes, dips, smoothies, cooked whole grains, pancake batter, and pasta dishes, or use as a sandwich spread. For a time and money saver, you can also buy greens like spinach and kale in bulk, and puree and freeze them for smoothies. Eating fiber fills you up so you eat less and it also keeps you feeling full longer so you’re not tempted to reach for high-calorie pick-me-ups.Quick snack maker: Each section of an ice cube tray is roughly an ounce. Use it to quickly measure out one-ounce portions of nuts or cheese, and then spoon them out into your own snack baggies to take to work or throw in your purse or gym bag. Leftover vino: No need to polish off the last few ounces in that bottle of wine so it doesn’t go to waste; you could end up drinking an extra 100 calories or more. Freeze it instead and you can use the frozen wine cubes in recipes later.

Remember, be sure to use BPA-free ice cube trays. These OXO Tot 2-pack baby food trays are meant for freezing homemade baby food, so you know they’re safe. Plus they have a cover that slides on securely so you can stack a few trays without worrying about the contents spilling or getting contaminated.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Jenny Sugar

9 Ways a Simple Ice Cube Tray Can Help You Drop Pounds

That unassuming little ice cube tray that sits in your freezer isn’t just for water. It can actually be an effective tool to help you lose weight. Here’s how.

    Cookies: Anyone who’s ever baked a homemade batch of cookies knows it’s impossible to eat just one. So the next time you craft a batch| bake half and scoop the rest into ice cube trays. Then when your sweet tooth kicks in| pop out one and bake it to satisfy your craving without breaking the calorie bank.Juice: Freeze juice from fresh-squeezed lemons| limes| or oranges to add a touch of sweetness to water or seltzer ¡ª it’ll be much fewer calories than a full glass of juice or soda.Herbs: Whether you grow your own or buy them fresh at the store| stuff washed and chopped herbs like basil| oregano| rosemary| and cilantro into each section and fill with veggie broth or water. Pop the frozen herb cubes out to add to soups| sauces| and whole grains for a flavor boost without a lot of calories.Smoothies: Make a huge portion of your favorite smoothie recipe when fruit is overripe or on sale. Fill an ice cube tray (or two) and freeze| then pop a bunch out to easily blend in a blender for a healthy and super quick low-calorie breakfast| snack| or dessert.

    Ice cubes with a boost: Instead of adding plain ice cubes to the blender for smoothies| throw in frozen cubes made of coconut water. It’s a great way to add potassium to your diet| which will help you rehydrate even more effectively. You can freeze soy or almond milk too.Fruit: Puree fruit such as strawberries| peaches| pineapple| or mango and freeze. Pop out a cube or two and stir into plain yogurt to make your own flavored yogurt ¡ª it contains fewer calories than store-bought brands that contain added sugar. You can also add the pureed fruit to oatmeal instead of brown sugar or thaw and pour on top of pancakes instead of high-calorie maple syrup.

    Veggies: Freeze pureed veggies such as peas| spinach| sweet potato| squash| and carrot to add extra fiber to soups| baked goods like these oatmeal cookies| mashed potatoes| dips| smoothies| cooked whole grains| pancake batter| and pasta dishes| or use as a sandwich spread. For a time and money saver| you can also buy greens like spinach and kale in bulk| and puree and freeze them for smoothies. Eating fiber fills you up so you eat less and it also keeps you feeling full longer so you’re not tempted to reach for high-calorie pick-me-ups.Quick snack maker: Each section of an ice cube tray is roughly an ounce. Use it to quickly measure out one-ounce portions of nuts or cheese| and then spoon them out into your own snack baggies to take to work or throw in your purse or gym bag. Leftover vino: No need to polish off the last few ounces in that bottle of wine so it doesn’t go to waste; you could end up drinking an extra 100 calories or more. Freeze it instead and you can use the frozen wine cubes in recipes later.

Remember| be sure to use BPA-free ice cube trays. These OXO Tot 2-pack baby food trays are meant for freezing homemade baby food| so you know they’re safe. Plus they have a cover that slides on securely so you can stack a few trays without worrying about the contents spilling or getting contaminated.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Jenny Sugar

Your 24-Hour Detox Plan

Whether you overindulged last night or just need an extra push in the right direction, this one-day plan will help get you on your healthy way!

Morning

    Upon waking: The benefits of lemon juice are plenty, so start your day off on the right note by drinking some hot water with freshly squeezed lemon juice. Aside from giving the body a boost of vitamin C, says Dr. Frank Lipman, specialist of integrative medicine, hot water with lemon also helps to stimulate the digestive tract. Be sure to continue to drink water all throughout the day ¡ª hydration is key to a healthy detox!Before breakfast: When detoxing, an intense workout isn’t recommended, but it’s still important to keep the body warm and the blood flowing. If you’re feeling a little sluggish, there’s no better way to wake up the body than with some gentle, energizing yoga. This short three-minute morning yoga sequence from yogi Tara Stiles is designed to wake up the body, helping you get energized for the rest of the day.Break the fast: Set the day up for success by eating a meal that will keep you feeling satisfied without weighing you down. If you’re a fan of PB&J, you’ll love this strawberry smoothie recipe from celeb trainer Harley Pasternack. Since it contains over a day’s worth of fiber, it will definitely help to keep things moving. Another option is this recipe for a flat-belly smoothie, which contains ingredients known to ease digestion and eliminate uncomfortable feelings of bloat. Both smoothies contain about 300 calories.Midmorning coffee break: While it’s encouraged to give up caffeine during a detox, sometimes it’s not always feasible. Instead of ordering a cup of coffee, opt for green tea. Rich in antioxidants, green tea has also been shown to boost metabolism. If you’re feeling like you need a little snack before lunch, grab a fiber-rich apple, or pair some belly-fighting blueberries with probiotic-filled Greek yogurt ¡ª each snack will aid in digestion.

Afternoon

    Break often: Use this time to really care for your body’s health, so as much as you can, try to move throughout the day. Get up from your desk frequently to take short walks around the office (every 20 minutes is a good benchmark). If you can’t get up that often, take a moment to do these desk stretches throughout the day, and give your eyes a break by looking away from your computer using the 20-20-20 rule: look away from your computer screen every 20 minutes at a spot 20 feet away for 20 seconds.Lunch hour: Avoid the afternoon slump by eating a light lunch that won’t weigh you down. We recommend choosing one of these detox soup recipes or this fiber-rich cabbage salad that contains heart-healthy fats; round out the meal with some lean protein. Take this time to eat away from your desk ¡ª put away your phone and focus on the delicious meal in front of you. Once lunch is done, allow yourself 20 or 30 minutes for a walk.Snack time: If you feel like you need something to hold you over until dinner, there’s nothing quite like a green juice. This nutrient-dense beverage has a knack for instantly boosting energy and making you feel like you have done something really good for your body. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s packed with a host of essential vitamins. If you aren’t able to make your own juice, pick up one of these store-bought cold-pressed juices from your grocer.

Evening

    Unwind: Before heading home to plop yourself in front of the television, find a way to treat yourself! A great way to unwind and detox is to get a massage or spend time in a sauna. Both will help to ease any tension in the body and offer relief to sore muscles or joints.Dinner: This is the perfect time to relax with a healthy dinner full of lean protein and fresh veggies. This panko-crusted fish over kale is full of fiber, protein, and vitamins; it also only takes 20 minutes to prepare. If you’re sensitive to gluten, try POPSUGAR Food’s cod with asparagus en papillote instead. Instead of eating in front of the TV, sit down at a table to take the time to really enjoy your dinner. You’ll find that by doing so, you can focus on your food and not eat mindlessly, which is a common reason for overeating.Wind down: One of the best ways to detox the body is to make sure you have enough quality sleep. Sleep is connected to weight loss, stress levels, and overall health. Make a point to decompress from technology tonight, take a relaxing shower, and give yourself enough time to get a good night’s rest. You can also unwind with this before-bed yoga sequence that will help you relax.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography

Your 24-Hour Detox Plan

Whether you overindulged last night or just need an extra push in the right direction| this one-day plan will help get you on your healthy way!

Morning

    Upon waking: The benefits of lemon juice are plenty| so start your day off on the right note by drinking some hot water with freshly squeezed lemon juice. Aside from giving the body a boost of vitamin C| says Dr. Frank Lipman| specialist of integrative medicine| hot water with lemon also helps to stimulate the digestive tract. Be sure to continue to drink water all throughout the day hydration is key to a healthy detox!Before breakfast: When detoxing| an intense workout isn’t recommended| but it’s still important to keep the body warm and the blood flowing. If you’re feeling a little sluggish| there’s no better way to wake up the body than with some gentle| energizing yoga. This short three-minute morning yoga sequence from yogi Tara Stiles is designed to wake up the body| helping you get energized for the rest of the day.Break the fast: Set the day up for success by eating a meal that will keep you feeling satisfied without weighing you down. If you’re a fan of PB&J| you’ll love this strawberry smoothie recipe from celeb trainer Harley Pasternack. Since it contains over a day’s worth of fiber| it will definitely help to keep things moving. Another option is this recipe for a flat-belly smoothie| which contains ingredients known to ease digestion and eliminate uncomfortable feelings of bloat. Both smoothies contain about 300 calories.Midmorning coffee break: While it’s encouraged to give up caffeine during a detox| sometimes it’s not always feasible. Instead of ordering a cup of coffee| opt for green tea. Rich in antioxidants| green tea has also been shown to boost metabolism. If you’re feeling like you need a little snack before lunch| grab a fiber-rich apple| or pair some belly-fighting blueberries with probiotic-filled Greek yogurt ¡ª each snack will aid in digestion.

Afternoon

    Break often: Use this time to really care for your body’s health| so as much as you can| try to move throughout the day. Get up from your desk frequently to take short walks around the office (every 20 minutes is a good benchmark). If you can’t get up that often| take a moment to do these desk stretches throughout the day| and give your eyes a break by looking away from your computer using the 20-20-20 rule: look away from your computer screen every 20 minutes at a spot 20 feet away for 20 seconds.Lunch hour: Avoid the afternoon slump by eating a light lunch that won’t weigh you down. We recommend choosing one of these detox soup recipes or this fiber-rich cabbage salad that contains heart-healthy fats; round out the meal with some lean protein. Take this time to eat away from your desk ¡ª put away your phone and focus on the delicious meal in front of you. Once lunch is done| allow yourself 20 or 30 minutes for a walk.Snack time: If you feel like you need something to hold you over until dinner| there’s nothing quite like a green juice. This nutrient-dense beverage has a knack for instantly boosting energy and making you feel like you have done something really good for your body. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s packed with a host of essential vitamins. If you aren’t able to make your own juice| pick up one of these store-bought cold-pressed juices from your grocer.

Evening

    Unwind: Before heading home to plop yourself in front of the television| find a way to treat yourself! A great way to unwind and detox is to get a massage or spend time in a sauna. Both will help to ease any tension in the body and offer relief to sore muscles or joints.Dinner: This is the perfect time to relax with a healthy dinner full of lean protein and fresh veggies. This panko-crusted fish over kale is full of fiber| protein| and vitamins; it also only takes 20 minutes to prepare. If you’re sensitive to gluten| try POPSUGAR Food’s cod with asparagus en papillote instead. Instead of eating in front of the TV| sit down at a table to take the time to really enjoy your dinner. You’ll find that by doing so| you can focus on your food and not eat mindlessly| which is a common reason for overeating.Wind down: One of the best ways to detox the body is to make sure you have enough quality sleep. Sleep is connected to weight loss| stress levels| and overall health. Make a point to decompress from technology tonight| take a relaxing shower| and give yourself enough time to get a good night’s rest. You can also unwind with this before-bed yoga sequence that will help you relax.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography

10 Healthy Reasons to Start Squeezing Lemons

Saying that lemons are a superfood is an understatement. Not only do they add abundant flavor to a variety of dishes, but they also boast a ton of health benefits. The flavonoids within the juice are said to contain antioxidants, which is why lemons are useful in treating so many ailments and conditions. Here are 10 reasons to enjoy them ASAP.

    Prevent kidney stones: Drinking one half-cup of lemon juice every day raises citrate levels in the urine. Studies have shown that this could protect against calcium stones in the kidney.Soothe a sore throat: Mixing lemon juice with honey can help alleviate the discomfort that comes from a nasty sore throat.Support weight loss: Beyond the old notion that the Master Cleanse was the only way lemons could help you lose weight, new studies have shown the ways lemon juice supports your goals. Lemon juice contains pectin, a soluble fiber that has been shown to aid in weight-loss struggles.Start your day right: Leave caffeinated drinks behind, and start your day off with hot water and fresh lemon juice to stimulate your digestive track and add vitamin C.Stop an itch: When it comes to poison ivy or insect bites, rubbing lemon juice on the area can soothe the skin, since it has anti-inflammatory and anesthetic effects.Aids in digestion: Dr. Oz is a big believer in the power of lemon juice for weight loss. He suggests drinking a mixture of lemon juice and flaxseeds in order to eliminate waste more quickly from your body.Anticancer properties: Studies have supported the anticancer activity of citrus liminoids, compounds that protect your cells from damage that can lead to the formation of cancer cells.Potassium power: Bananas aren’t the only way to get a big helping of potassium in your system. In addition to vitamin C, lemons offer 80 milligrams of this mineral that helps your body stay strong and nimble.Bring down a fever: Forget the days of starving a fever! When your temperature goes up, drinking a lemon juice mixture can help bring your fever down faster.Balance pH: While lemons may seem quite acidic, they’re a surprisingly good source of an alkaline food that can help balance your body’s pH.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Nicole Perry

10 Healthy Reasons to Start Squeezing Lemons

Saying that lemons are a superfood is an understatement. Not only do they add abundant flavor to a variety of dishes| but they also boast a ton of health benefits. The flavonoids within the juice are said to contain antioxidants| which is why lemons are useful in treating so many ailments and conditions. Here are 10 reasons to enjoy them ASAP.

    Prevent kidney stones: Drinking one half-cup of lemon juice every day raises citrate levels in the urine. Studies have shown that this could protect against calcium stones in the kidney.Soothe a sore throat: Mixing lemon juice with honey can help alleviate the discomfort that comes from a nasty sore throat.Support weight loss: Beyond the old notion that the Master Cleanse was the only way lemons could help you lose weight| new studies have shown the ways lemon juice supports your goals. Lemon juice contains pectin| a soluble fiber that has been shown to aid in weight-loss struggles.Start your day right: Leave caffeinated drinks behind| and start your day off with hot water and fresh lemon juice to stimulate your digestive track and add vitamin C.Stop an itch: When it comes to poison ivy or insect bites| rubbing lemon juice on the area can soothe the skin| since it has anti-inflammatory and anesthetic effects.Aids in digestion: Dr. Oz is a big believer in the power of lemon juice for weight loss. He suggests drinking a mixture of lemon juice and flaxseeds in order to eliminate waste more quickly from your body.Anticancer properties: Studies have supported the anticancer activity of citrus liminoids| compounds that protect your cells from damage that can lead to the formation of cancer cells.Potassium power: Bananas aren’t the only way to get a big helping of potassium in your system. In addition to vitamin C| lemons offer 80 milligrams of this mineral that helps your body stay strong and nimble.Bring down a fever: Forget the days of starving a fever! When your temperature goes up| drinking a lemon juice mixture can help bring your fever down faster.Balance pH: While lemons may seem quite acidic| they’re a surprisingly good source of an alkaline food that can help balance your body’s pH.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Nicole Perry

This Genius Sunday Prep Idea Will Help You Lose Weight All Week

How do you make the quickest breakfast even quicker? Prep the entire week’s breakfast all at once. Just like you pack salads for the week, you can save time every night by prepping five days of overnight oats.

All you need are mason jars, some basic ingredients, and an under-300-calorie superfilling breakfast will be waiting for you every morning. Enjoyed cold or hot, prepping a week of overnight oats in one shot will nix any temptations for stopping on the way to work for bagels or to eat the donuts in your office break room.

Since this recipe is only 286 calories, feel free to add some fresh fruit such as blueberries, sliced banana, or chopped apple in the morning.

5 Days of Overnight Oats

From Jenny Sugar, POPSUGAR Fitness

5 Days of Overnight Oats

Notes

If you’re avoiding gluten, use gluten-free oats.

This Genius Sunday Prep Idea Will Help You Lose Weight All Week

How do you make the quickest breakfast even quicker? Prep the entire week’s breakfast all at once. Just like you pack salads for the week| you can save time every night by prepping five days of overnight oats.

All you need are mason jars| some basic ingredients| and an under-300-calorie superfilling breakfast will be waiting for you every morning. Enjoyed cold or hot| prepping a week of overnight oats in one shot will nix any temptations for stopping on the way to work for bagels or to eat the donuts in your office break room.

Since this recipe is only 286 calories| feel free to add some fresh fruit such as blueberries| sliced banana| or chopped apple in the morning.

5 Days of Overnight Oats

From Jenny Sugar| POPSUGAR Fitness

5 Days of Overnight Oats

Notes

If you’re avoiding gluten| use gluten-free oats.

How Long Should You Wait to Work Out After Eating?

How you space out meals during the course of the day might not make a big difference in the calorie department, but it has huge implications on your workout performance. Not only can ineffectively fueling your body hinder your performance, but also, eating too much before exercise can interfere with your goals. When it comes to eating before exercise, it’s all about timing.

No matter what time of day you choose to exercise, make sure to plan your workout two to three hours after your meal. Going overboard with too much food right before a workout will leave you feeling sluggish and can lead to stomach discomfort. The last thing you want is your workout habits to hinder your digestion process.

If it’s been a few hours since your last meal, then most experts agree that you should eat a small snack one hour before your workout to properly fuel your body. A combination of carbs and a little protein, all under 200 calories, will do the trick. If you’re not sure what constitutes a good choice, then check out these healthy pre-workout snacks for inspiration. And if you’re going for an early workout session, then remember that exercising on an empty stomach ¡ª even when you first wake up ¡ª isn’t ideal. It might feel tough to eat first thing in the morning, but fueling your body with proper nutrients is essential for your workout. Consider one of these light breakfast snacks you can enjoy an hour before your morning workout.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / THEM TOO

How Long Should You Wait to Work Out After Eating?

How you space out meals during the course of the day might not make a big difference in the calorie department| but it has huge implications on your workout performance. Not only can ineffectively fueling your body hinder your performance| but also| eating too much before exercise can interfere with your goals. When it comes to eating before exercise| it’s all about timing.

No matter what time of day you choose to exercise| make sure to plan your workout two to three hours after your meal. Going overboard with too much food right before a workout will leave you feeling sluggish and can lead to stomach discomfort. The last thing you want is your workout habits to hinder your digestion process.

If it’s been a few hours since your last meal| then most experts agree that you should eat a small snack one hour before your workout to properly fuel your body. A combination of carbs and a little protein| all under 200 calories| will do the trick. If you’re not sure what constitutes a good choice| then check out these healthy pre-workout snacks for inspiration. And if you’re going for an early workout session| then remember that exercising on an empty stomach ¡ª even when you first wake up ¡ª isn’t ideal. It might feel tough to eat first thing in the morning| but fueling your body with proper nutrients is essential for your workout. Consider one of these light breakfast snacks you can enjoy an hour before your morning workout.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / THEM TOO