The Diet Detective: Activity and Calorie Bargains

The Diet Detective uncovers some information on activities and foods.

The latest Calorie Bargains are not just focused on food--in fact, most of these calorie bargains are focused on products and services that help you live a healthier life. Here are my latest finds.


Calorie Bargain:


The Why: With you can download free yoga videos or play them right on the site--you don't even have to leave your house. The site also describes the level of each class, and there are typically two students following along: one a beginner and the other experienced.

The Health Bonus: Benefits range from better strength, flexibility, posture, coordination and balance to stress reduction, stronger bones, cardiovascular conditioning and the prevention of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis and more.

What We Liked Best: offers a new class each day, and the videos can be saved to your hard drive so you can fit them into your own schedule. And all the classes are filmed with wonderful backdrops, such as Wyoming's Jackson Hole. Just watching the video can be a peaceful experience. And all at no cost.

What We Liked Least: The site doesn’t archive programs (other than the last four days). And there’s advertising--I guess they have to pay the bills somehow.

The Price: Free.


Where to Buy: (you can view the four most recent sessions).

Offerings: Daily one-hour video downloads in the following formats: Windows Media, QuickTime/iPod or Audio Only.

Ingredients: The experienced instructors ( practice various styles, including Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Hatha, Anusara, Kripalu and Kundalini.

Calorie Bargain: Smart Cycle


The Why: Video games don't usually conjure up images of health and fitness, but Smart Cycle changes all that. This amazing game from Fisher-Price combines a stationary bike with a learning arcade game system for hours of intense, active fun for children three through six. I tried it out on a most discerning focus group: my four-year-old and her friends. They loved it.

The Health Bonus: Your kids will be so busy having fun they won't realize that they're exercising and learning.

What We Liked Best: The combination of physical activity, playing and learning.

What We Liked Least: It takes up a bit more space than a regular video game controller...and it isn't cheap.

The Price: $100 plus $20 for new cartridges.

Offerings: Discover the Dinosaurs; Dora the Explorer Friendship Adventure; SpongeBob SquarePants Ocean Adventure; and Barbie Fairytopia.


Where to Buy: Target, Wal-Mart, Kohl's, Costco, Sears, K-B Toys, Toys R Us, Meijer

Ingredients: Smart Cycle and one learning advantage cartridge game.

Calorie Bargain: Amy’s Baked Ziti Kid's Meal


The Why: Kids are hard to please. But this Calorie Bargain tastes great, has a fun package and contains no MSG, no GMOs (genetically modified organism/food) and no preservatives. Plus, it’s dairy and gluten-free. Also, the ingredients are natural, organic, and no meat, fish, poultry, eggs or peanuts are used. The ziti is made with tender rice noodles topped with a dairy-free cheese and Amy’s pasta sauce. To complete the meal there’s broccoli and sauce, handmade rice focaccia and a delicious apple crisp. All portions are child-sized.

The Health Bonus: The ziti has five grams of fiber and contains 45 percent of the daily value for vitamin C as well as eight percent for calcium and 15 percent for iron. And it’s relatively low in calories--360.

What We Liked Best: Not only does it taste great, but it’s 96 percent organic (you can actually read all the ingredients without having a Ph.D.). Plus, it comes with a cute transfer “tattoo” that my four-year-old daughter just loved.

What We Liked Least: A bit too much sugar and sodium. It’s also slightly more costly than other frozen dinners.

The Price: Suggested retail of $4.29.

Offerings: Baked Ziti Kids Meal and Mac n' Cheese Kids Meal.


Where to Buy: Most major supermarkets. Check here for listings:

Nutritional Information: Serving size one meal (227g), calories 360, calories from fat 110, total fat 12g (18 percent), saturated fat 1.5g (8 percent), trans fat 0g, cholesterol 0mg, sodium 460mg (19 percent), total carbs 58g (19 percent), dietary fiber 5g (20 percent), sugars 14g, protein 7g.

Ingredients: Too many to print. Check here to review:

CHARLES STUART PLATKIN is a nutrition and public health advocate, author of The Diet Detective's Count Down (Simon & Schuster, 2007) and founder of, the health and fitness network. Copyright 2007 by Charles Stuart Platkin. All rights reserved. Sign up for the free Diet Detective newsletter at

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