The folks at SlimKicker.com asked if I would be willing to take a look at their new site that launched in March 2012 to help people sustain motivation as they try to lose weight and keep it off. They also offered me a slow cooker to give away if I did a review. More on that later.
The idea is that people have trouble getting healthy because they never learn to change their habits. SlimKicker.com takes habits such as snacking after dinner and turns them into week long challenges for which you earn points. You check in daily with others who are doing the same challenge for support and motivation. In addition to the challenges, SlimKicker.com has places to log daily exercise and keep track of what you eat and how much you weigh.
I decided to try a couple of challenges and I’ve been using the calorie counter to analyze the nutritional content of my recipes for the last few weeks. I also noticed you can join various groups so it’s easy to find people who are struggling with the same things you are. There is a group about healthy cooking (Always Trust a Skinny Chef), a group for people with diabetes (DiaKickers) and a group for people who like breakfast (Breakfast Club). There’s even a group for people who enjoy cocktails, but like to stay in shape! You will be able to find at least one group that speaks to you.
Challenge #1 – Office Fitness Challenge
For a week, I had to perform a series of stretches every 1 to 2 hours during my work day. I spend a lot of time at my computer and I thought this would be a good one for me. SlimKicker.com provided a video of the four exercises, so I knew exactly what I needed to do. The hard parts were (1) remembering to do the exercises and (2) remembering to check in every day. I ended up setting a timer on my phone to help with my memory issues.
Challenge #2 – Three Different Veggies a Day
For this challenge, I had to eat three different vegetables every day. SlimKicker.com provided suggestions about what vegetables to try and how to cook them. Since I get a CSA box from a local farmer every couple of weeks, this challenge was pretty easy. But I still had trouble remembering to check in.
Let me start by saying I’ve never found a recipe analysis tool that doesn’t drive me crazy in some way. Nutritiondata.com makes you enter ingredients at the bottom of the page, so if you have a recipe with a lot of ingredients, you have to do a lot of scrolling. Myfitnesspal.com only allows you to see five nutrition facts at a time and I include a lot more with my recipes. So you see five when you enter the recipe (calories, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium), then you have to change your settings and view the recipe again to see more (carb, fiber, sugars, protein). You’re constantly switching back and forth between settings and the recipe and it gets old fast. SlimKicker.com’s nutrition analysis tool took some getting used to, but I think I like it. You create a recipe, then you search for ingredients like you would if you were logging what you ate for lunch. When a food item pops up, you have the option of adding it to one of your recipes that shows up in a pull-down menu. This has worked fine for me so far, but it may get annoying when I have a long list of recipes to sort through. I do like that you get a full nutrition label for your recipe just like you see on packaged foods. My biggest complaint is that it seems easier to find processed ingredients than fresh. For example, I searched for “basil.” The first three hits were for dried basil. They I got pages and pages of things like Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce and Tomato Basil Soup. I never did find an entry for fresh basil.
All in all, I like the SlimKicker.com site and think it could be a very useful tool for people who want to lose weight or just eat a healthier diet. If you try it out, let me know what you think.
I’m giving away a Crock-Pot SCR300SS 3-Quart Round Manual Slow Cooker in Stainless Steel. To enter, visit slimkicker.com and then come back here and tell me which challenge you’d be most likely to participate in. The contest will run through Saturday, June 2, 2012. The winner will be chosen at random on Sunday, June 3, 2012. You must be at least 18 years of age with a U.S. mailing address to win. No purchase is necessary; void where prohibited.
To get you in the mood for using a slow cooker, even though it’s 80°F outside, I’ve included a recipe for a Vegetable Curry below. I actually don’t mind using a slow cooker in warm weather – it doesn’t heat up the kitchen the way the stove or oven does. I’m not fond of heavy meat dishes when it’s hot out, though. Something like this spicy, flavorful vegetable curry is perfect. Serve it over brown rice or brown rice noodles, if you’d like.
Disclaimer: I received a free Crock-Pot SCR300SS 3-Quart Round Manual Slow Cooker in Stainless Steel from slimkicker.com to give away.
Slow Cooker Vegetable Curry
Adapted from Fitness magazine
1 medium head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets
1 15-oz can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1 10-12 oz. package of frozen cut green beans
5 medium carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1 medium onion, cut into about 8 wedges
1 14-oz can vegetable broth
1 tablespoon curry powder (I used a chat masala curry blend)
1 14 oz can light coconut milk
1/4 cup shredded fresh basil leaves
Mix cauliflower, chickpeas, green beans, carrots and onions in a large bowl. Place in 3- or 4-quart slow cooker. Pour about a third of the broth into the slow cooker. Mix curry powder into remaining broth (right in the can), then pour into slow cooker.
Cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours or on high for 2-1/2 to 3 hours.
Stir in coconut milk. Spoon into bowls and garnish with basil.
Makes 6 servings
Per serving: 175 calories, 5g fat (4g sat), 0mg cholesterol, 429mg sodium, 28g carb, 9g fiber, 9g sugar, 7g protein
Nutritional Analysis: This recipe is loaded with Vitamin A and Vitamin C.