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By : Brendan Mitchell, 12-14-2017
Diet Tips for the Holiday Season
The holiday season is all about food and festivities, so if you're trying to watch your weight it can be a challenging time. We spoke with nutritionist Jamie Feit about how to survive the holidays without derailing your healthy lifestyle. 
Diet Tips for the Holiday Season

There are plenty of reasons why the holiday season – that is, late November through to early January – is most people’s favorite time of year. As Andy Williams crooned in the 1963 classic song, “There’ll be parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting, and caroling out in the snow… It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”

The song does a great job of capturing all the exciting things about the end of the year… the parties, the collectively festive mood, and of course, the food.

It’s hard not to get excited about the food.

Some holiday foods strictly surface for the season, such as pumpkin pie and eggnog. Then there are the dishes that aren’t exclusive to the holidays, but that you will probably encounter anyway, including roast turkey (or ham), baked yams, sugar cookies and donuts.

Other than their tie to the holiday season, there’s another thing all these foods have in common: they usually contain plenty of sugar, salt, or fat. So, it’s no surprise that if you’re trying to watch your weight, the holiday season presents a big problem.

We spoke with Jamie Feit of Jamie Feit Nutrition in White Plains, New York, about the best way to prepare yourself for the food-heavy festivities. Jamie has been a professional nutritionist and dietitian for over 20 years, so she knows a thing or two about staying healthy and happy through the holiday season.

Be Prepared

Jamie’s number one tip for surviving the holidays is to be prepared. While this is good advice for the season generally, it’s particularly relevant if you’re trying to avoid overeating.

“Don’t arrive at a party hungry,” Jamie says. “Plan your day and track your food to leave some calories for the party.”

Jamie recommends eating protein and vegetables earlier in the day, as they are low in calories but will still satisfy your hunger. If you’re bringing a dish to the party, make sure it’s a healthy one. These days, it’s incredibly easy to find a healthy yet delicious holiday recipe online. 

Watch your Beverages

It’s not enough to watch what and how much you eat; you have to be careful about what you drink as well. For example, drinking a standard 12 oz. beer is roughly the same as eating a slice of white bread in terms of nutritional value. Jamie recommends sticking to zero-calorie drinks when possible.

If you’re drinking alcohol, Jamie warns, you’ll have to be extra careful.

“Limit alcohol to 1-2 servings; choose lower calorie options without added sugar.”

Alcohol also effects your will power, and will make it easier for you to overindulge. Jamie recommends drinking slowly to avoid falling into a binge of food or drink (or both).

Exercise

If you’re not already exercising regularly, the holiday season is a good time to start. There’s no need to wait for your new year resolution.

It’s especially important if you’re going to be eating and drinking more, Jamie says, as exercise will help you burn off the extra calories.

Chanukah Related

If you or your family celebrate Chanukah, Jamie has some additional tips for you.

“Every holiday comes with its own traditions and many delicious foods that are family favorites,” Jamie says. “However, Chanukah tops those traditions with very high calorie fried foods.”

“Celebrating the miracle of Chanukah that a 1-day supply of oil lasted for 8 days leaves us with 8 days of eating high calorie, high carbohydrate, and high fat foods cooked in oil.”

Despite this, Jamie says it’s still possible to celebrate the holiday without ruining your diet. She recommends substituting salt with herbs, sour cream with yogurt, and deep frying should be avoided when possible. If you’re a fan of latkes, add fiber to give them a healthy twist – Jamie recommends chopped carrots, parsnips, and zucchini.

Other Tips

Jamie’s other tips for staying healthy through the holiday season include re-gifting any edible gifts you receive, eating slowly to savor every bite, and if you have kids, avoid eating their leftovers.  If you do happen to indulge, Jamie stresses it’s important not to be too hard on yourself.

“Don’t be anxious about celebrating and overeating at the same time. Life happens, and it is most important to bounce back the next day.”

Looking for more nutritional advice? Contact Jamie Feit Nutrition today on 914-304-4008 to schedule a consultation. Mention this article to secure a discount on your first appointment.
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By : Brendan Mitchell, 04-14-2017
The Spring Dilemma: Is it a Cold or Allergy?
Colds and allergies share similar symptoms, and it is often hard to detect which is which. We researched both to learn more about how you can tell exactly what's ailing you.
The Spring Dilemma: Is it a Cold or Allergy?


Are you sneezing a lot? Is your nose running? Do you feel congested? The common assumption would be that you have a cold. However, these symptoms could be something else, something not contagious at all. It could be a seasonal allergy.

Colds and allergies share similar symptoms and it is often hard to detect which is which. A cold usually comes with cough, sore throat and aches and pains. Seasonal allergies (also known as hay fever) usually means itchy eyes and a blocked-up nose.

The common cold is a contagious viral infection that enters your body and attacks the immune system. Your immune system will try to fight back which is why you experience symptoms such as a runny nose, congestion in your sinuses, coughs, sore throat, body aches or even a fever. As a viral illness, it can be transmitted via the air through a cough or sneeze. 

The Common Cold
The common cold is a contagious viral infection, best treated with lots of rest. 

Currently there is no cure for the common cold, however many people use over-the-counter products and home remedies to help the recovery process. Doctors typically recommend plenty of rest as the best way to get better quickly. It is important to prioritize your recovery when you develop the infection, as some strains of the virus can be fatal.

It’s really a different case for allergies. Allergies are not contagious, but rather triggered by dust or other allergens that irritate your nasal passage. Many people have an allergic reaction at the beginning of spring, but may also be triggered during summer and fall. During these seasons there is a lots of pollen in the air, a common allergen. If you find that your nose is extremely itchy at the start of spring, it is likely you are having an allergic reaction to pollen. Your body will detect the irritant in your system and try to expel it through sneezing and the production of mucus.

There is lots of pollen in the air during Spring
Many people have allergic reactions during spring and summer due to the increased amount of pollen in the air. 

Allergies can also cause itchy and reddish eyes – allergic conjunctivitis – and in some cases, rashes or hives on your face. These are sure signs that you are dealing with an allergy.

Additional clues as to what you are suffering from include the weather, and the duration of your illness. Colds are more common during winter or in areas with a damp and rainy climate, and most people recover within two weeks. Allergies are more common during spring and summer when there are lots of irritants in the air, and can sometimes last for months!

If you find yourself feeling sick for more than two weeks, it’s a smart idea to consult a doctor for a professional opinion, especially if you are considering taking medication. This is particularly important for patients with a higher risk, such as children or the elderly.

Need to find a doctor or allergist? Download the EZBZ app for free and we’ll connect you with reputable professionals in your area, who will chat with you directly through the app. You can also call our concierge team toll-free on 1-855-461-8619 for a local recommendation.

Download the EZBZ App for free!
Download the EZBZ App for free!

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By : Michael Whitehouse, 12-09-2016
Don
When is the best time to set up a contract with a plowing company? Now. You should do it now, especially if snow is not even in the forecast yet. Many companies that do snow removal start.....
Don
When is the best time to set up a contract with a plowing company? Now. You should do it now, especially if snow is not even in the forecast yet. Many companies that do snow removal start contracting with customers months in advance so that they can plan ahead for the winter season. This means that you are best off to find a reliable snow removal company in the fall so that when winter comes, you are ready to go.

As always, EZBZ is here to help. Just put in a request for snow removal and we'll find quality contractors for you.

I'll even make it easy for you by writing out the inquiry for you. Just cut and paste this right into the concierge box: I would like to contract with a snow removal company to plow my home's driveway throughout the winter.

Even though you driveway is plowed, that won't do you any good if your car is not ready for winter! If your car is newer, you may be in need of snow tires, but if your car is a little more experienced, then it might be wise to get a pre-winter check up. You don't want to find out when it's twenty below zero that your battery is losing its oomph.

Maybe your car is old enough that you don't want to press your luck through another winter. Did you know that you can use EZBZ to find a car? Just put in what kind of car you are looking for, and we'll forward your request to local dealers. If you're like most people, you're not looking for a 2012 blue Honda CRV, you're looking for a small SUV less than 4 years old with under 40,000 miles, or something like that. EZBZ is perfect for that kind of inquiry, so just type in what you want. Even better, as with any other request, the dealer will not get your phone number and email address unless you want them to have it, so no endless follow up calls.

For our readers down in the warm, southern states, you are still welcome to use EZBZ to find a caterer for your beach party.
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By : Kate Fatess, 03-11-2016
Budgeting Tips for Fall & Winter

It’s already October, and the hustle and bustle of the holidays are right around the corner. For homeowners with a family, this time of year can be very expensive. Click here for some tips on how you can save money over the holiday season:

Budgeting Tips for Fall & Winter


Every year October seems to arrive earlier than expected, and the hustle and bustle of the holidays are right around the corner. What can also happen fast is how quickly your budget for fall and winter disappears before you’ve even made it to December. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas absorb enough money on their own, let alone the expenses that the harsh weather can incur during the colder seasons. For homeowners with a family, the most wonderful time of the year is also the most expensive.

Here are some tips on how you can save money over the holiday season:

Check Discount Sites & Apps

Couponing

These days there are countless websites and apps that exist purely to help you save money. There are the heavyweights like Groupon and Amazon, but don’t be afraid to dig a little deeper to find those less well-known services that could save you some real dough. For example, My City Mommy is a great coupon site for moms all over the country – they have a local coupon website for nearly 40 metro areas including Saint Louis and Dallas-Fort Worth. The EZBZ Store also often has great deals on products and services that are sometimes even cheaper than Amazon.

Don’t forget that most business owners know how expensive this time of year can be and are willing to offer some great discounts if it means you’ll choose them over a competitor. For example, some grocery stores will offer a free or discounted thanksgiving turkey if you purchase a certain amount of groceries from them. For families that already spend a lot on groceries, this is a perfect opportunity to capitalize. When visiting a local business, don’t be afraid to ask if they are offering any seasonal discounts or specials.

Create your own Decorations

Homemade Decorations

With websites like YouTube and Pinterest, it is easier than ever for parents and children to get hands-on with their holiday decorations. Many sites provide affordable ways to use dollar stores and thrift stores to find supplies so that you can create your own decorations for your home. Creating your own decorations is a great activity to do as a family, giving you a sense of accomplishment and making the holiday décor much more meaningful.

Get Ahead of Next Year

December 26

Planning ahead is the first step to saving money, and this is especially relevant during the holiday season. Halloween and Christmas decorations are almost always on sale on the days following the holiday, sometimes with up to 80% off. In fact, these sales aren’t just for decorations – you can buy all kinds of unopened and unwanted gifts from secondhand stores in the days following Christmas for a discounted price. Valentine’s Day cards can also be purchased for as little as thirty cents on Feburary 15, so why not buy them in advance for next year?

EZBZ It!

EZBZ

EZBZ's free concierge service allows you to request anything and receive quotes back from providers in your area. It’s a great comparison tool to ensure you’re getting the best deal for every purchase or hire you make. In the fall and winter, it’s a great way to get quotes from snow removal services, HVAC contractors, and other professional services that can vary from provider to provider. Businesses can also only reply to you via EZBZ – your contact information is not shared with anyone so you can remain anonymous while comparing your options.

The best part is, if you hire a business through EZBZ, you'll get $5 cash back. So, if you’re looking to hire a contractor or professional service anyway, submitting a free request could end up  saving you some time and money. 

With some careful planning and a little research, these tips are sure to provide you and your family with a joyful & affordable holiday season. Good luck and happy holidays!

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By : Brendan Mitchell, 03-03-2016
Things to Do This Pumpkin Season
From September through to after Thanksgiving, the nation is obsessed with pumpkin. We have compiled a list of some of the things you can do this season to celebrate the second most wonderful time of the year.
Things to Do This Pumpkin Season


As summer slowly comes to a halt in September, and the leaves of fall begin to...er, fall... an alternative season starts: Pumpkin season.

While you can purchase canned pumpkin throughout the year, the orange vegetable is a winter variety of the squash plant, which means the pumpkin harvest starts every September. Nothing beats the taste of fresh pumpkin, and combined with its strong ties to both Thanksgiving and Halloween, it’s easy to see why pumpkin fever hits the country now until after Thanksgiving.  

We have compiled a list of some of the things you can do this season to celebrate the second most wonderful time of the year:

Cooking

Pumpkin-Pie

Pumpkin is first and foremost a delicious vegetable, so cooking should be the top of your list. It’s one of the few foods that can be utilized across all the Thanksgiving courses – appetizer (pumpkin soup), dinner (roast pumpkin), and dessert (pumpkin pie)! Even the seeds can be harvested and used in a range of different ways.

Pumpkin can also be used to create some other, less well known dishes, that are just as delicious. Pumpkin goes great with risotto and pasta (it makes an excellent stuffing for gnocchi or shells), while pumpkin seed oil, which can be rare in the US, has an intense nutty flavor and plenty of “good” fats. It’s great for dipping fresh vegetables or salty cheese in to. The vegetable’s versatility makes it a great choice for vegetarians – it can be used to create veggie burgers, it’s a delicious (and filling) pizza topping, and it works well with plenty of Mexican dishes, including quesadillas. In fact, pumpkin has been a staple of the Mexican diet for thousands of years – pumpkin seeds have been found in ancient burial caves dating back to 7,000 B.C. With a history like that, it’s hard to doubt pumpkin’s ability to please any palate.

Carving

Pumpkin Carving

When thinking about Halloween, the first thing that comes to most people’s mind is the jack-o-lantern – a carved out pumpkin with a candle or light inside. While the typical jack-o-lantern has a scary face carved in to its side, there are plenty of other ways to carve a pumpkin. Every year, thousands of people compete in carving contests, trying to carve the vegetable in new and creative ways. It’s a great activity to do with kids, as it’s good for the development of their fine motor skills, and provides an opportunity to teach them about knife safety. That’s not to mention the benefits of any activity that makes a vegetable more appealing to kids.

Garden Décor

Pumpkin Bird Feeder

When it comes to carving pumpkins, the design doesn’t have to be related to Halloween or kids. The shell of a pumpkin can also be used practically. Check out this guide to making an awesome pumpkin bird-feeder that can hang off your porch or patio, or this guide to making an organic pot plant for your garden.

Visit a Pumpkin Patch

Pumpkin Patch

Capitalizing on the pumpkin fever, many farmers open up their pumpkin patches to the general public in September so they can offer their pumpkin straight from the source. Many pumpkin patches also provide hay rides, petting zoos, and plenty of other activities, making it a fun destination for families.  Buying your pumpkin straight from a nearby patch is a great way to support local farmers and ensure the produce is fresh.

Looking for a nearby pumpkin patch, cooking school, or farmer’s market? Submit a free request through myezbz.com and we’ll help you find what you’re looking for. It’s free, quick, and easy.
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By : Brendan Mitchell, 02-16-2016
I Know What We
Clear blue skies. Soaring temperatures. Patrolling ice cream trucks. Summer is upon us, and with it a plethora of new activities for your family to do together. Click here to learn more.
I Know What We

While summer is well and truly upon us, many families are yet to come up with activities that will keep everyone entertained. As anyone who is a parent knows, this can be harder than it sounds. There are always lots of summer events and activities available for young children, but what about parents, or families with teenagers? They should be able to enjoy the summer too without having to ship the younger ones off to summer camp. We’ve compiled a list of summer activities that will keep the whole family happy:

Camping

The great thing about camping is that it usually provides a plethora of different activities to keep every member of the family entertained. If you’re camping near a body of water, swimming should appeal to kids of all ages. For parents and older kids, why not hire a boat or some kayaks? Kayaking can be incredibly fun, not to mention great exercise. However, make sure when camping that you invest in a tent big enough for your whole family. You’re inevitably going to be in close quarters by sharing a tent, but anything too small will quickly feel stifling in the summer heat. Other necessities include insect repellant, sunblock and plenty of food and water.

Go to the Beach

The beach is the classic summer destination for almost everyone during summer, and it’s not hard to see why – as we mentioned, all kids love swimming, not to mention playing in the sand. Teenagers and adults can find also find some additional thrill in the ocean that they won’t find in a lake or pool. You can also just lie down on the soft sand with a good book, and soak up the sun’s rays.  Of course, there are some potential downsides to a day at the beach as well: sun poisoning, sand everywhere, stings or insect bites… But it’s also entirely possible to avoid these with the proper precautions.

Bike Riding

They say the best time to learn how to ride a bike is when you’re a child. A family bike ride is a great way to exercise together, and for younger kids, it is an introduction to a skill they will retain for the rest of their life. Showing children at a young age how fun and beneficial exercise can be is a great way to teach them how important it is to prioritize your health and wellbeing. If you have an emotional teenager or two, aeorobic exercise like bike riding can be a great way to blow off some steam, and because exercise releases endorphins in the brain, it’s also a great way to fight stress or negative thoughts.

Hiking

If your kids love nature or adventures, going for a hike should be in your summer fun program. Hiking combines adventure, exercise and relaxation as it allows you trek through the forest until you find a nice picnic spot or lookout.  Arm yourself with nice hiking boots, proper clothing, and of course the "spirit of adventure". Also, don’t forget some sandwiches and water as you will need them after trekking for a few hours.

These are just some of the outdoor activities your family can do this summer to have some fun and spend some quality time together. If you’re looking for something in particular, for example local boat or kayak hire, or open camping grounds, consider submitting a free request through EZBZ. We will connect you with local businesses and service providers that can make your summer truly memorable.

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