Photography by Katherine Holland
The ET Canada entertainment reporter and HGTV Canada host is a fitness buff who loves chocolate. Here's a sneak peek at her workout routine, meal ideas and exercise playlist.
Spend time viewing Sangita Patel's Instagram account and you'll notice a pattern: Sprinkled liberally among fashion blogger–worthy glamour shots, photos of celebs (thanks to day job No. 1, ET Canada entertainment reporter) and a pic or two of Canadian design stars (from day job No. 2, host of HGTV Canada's Home to Win) are videos and photos of the TV personality killing it at the gym. Her regular #FitnessTuesday posts o er a sneak peek at her exercise routine, whether it's an at-home arm workout or a group CrossFit class. She started the hashtag as a way to motivate herself and others to meet their health goals, and it's de nitely made an impact on her 17,000-plus followers. "Someone sent me a direct message about how she lost 20 pounds by following #FitnessTuesday!" she says. at's why Sangita is the perfect person to kick o a new column about women living their healthiest lives. Read on for meal ideas, workout songs and the best way to eat a banana, ever.
Favourite exercise: "I normally hate cardio, but I love skipping; I love doing double unders."
Least favourite exercise: "Burpees are the worst, but I know I have to do them because they're so good for you."
What's on her workout playlist: "I love loud music. Eminem's 'Lose Yourself' is one of my favourite songs to work out to."
Hydration tips: "I sip water with lemon all day long."
Breakfast: "I have a protein shake with a shot of espresso in the morning. I take that on the road, and that's my morning start."
Lunch: "I'll usually have an omelette or hard-cooked eggs for lunch, or sometimes I'll have soup because I need more sodium in my diet."
Dinner: "I tend to have some carbs in the evening, which isn't necessarily the right way to do it. But I love basmati rice, and I love quinoa with chicken. I just try to eat before 7 p.m."
Healthy dessert: "One really easy, healthy dessert is taking a banana, slicing it open, spread- ing on some good peanut butter and a little bit of dark chocolate, wrap- ping it in foil and baking it for a few minutes."
Our experts answer reader questions about dropping the last 10 pounds—or more.
Question: I've heard that lifting weights helps the body burn calories even when you're not active. True or false? — Reiko
Answer: That's true. A lot of women prioritize cardio because they want to lose fat, but that burns calories only while you're exercising; as soon as you stop, you're no longer burning as much. Instead, lifting weights revs up your metabolism, so you'll continue burning calories for a few hours after your workout. And don't worry about bulking up; women don't have enough testosterone for that. But you will get leaner!
— Trudie German, certified personal trainer and owner of bodyenvy.ca, Toronto
Question: Is it possible I'm meant to be this big? I've been about the same size all my adult life, give or take a dress size. My mom and my sister are both size 14, and so were my grandmas. Maybe it's genetics? — Anne
Answer: Your genes do play a role, but it's more important to remember that size isn't really a good measure of health. If you're active, feeling good and sleeping and eating well, you probably don't have to worry. According to the World Health Organization, obesity is defined as "abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health." Of course, as you get heavier, there's a greater likelihood your health could be negatively impacted. But it's impossible for me to tell just by having you step on a scale; I have to do all sorts of tests to see if your weight really is affecting your health.
— Dr. Arya Sharma, founder of the Canadian Obesity Network and professor at the University of Alberta
Question: I'm injured and I can't work out. Is it still possible to lose weight? (Even if I'm eating my feelings about not being able to exercise?) — Katie
Answer: It's certainly possible! In fact, what you eat has more of an impact on your weight than exercise. You won't be able to work off extra calories, so be particularly mindful of other factors that influence weight, too, by getting enough sleep, finding ways to manage stress and choosing healthy whole foods in appropriate portions. And try these tricks: Serve vegetables family-style so they're within easy reach, but keep richer foods on the stovetop; use a smaller plate; and focus on your food—you're more likely to overindulge if you're distracted, so try not to eat in front of the TV, in the car or at your desk at work. Lastly, don't deny your hunger; eventually, it will backfire and you'll find yourself overeating or grabbing a convenient but unhealthy snack. People often think they have to cut back on food if they're going to lose weight, but I counsel my clients to eat more during the day. The idea isn't to willpower your way to weight loss; it's to make sustainable changes.
— Casey Berglund, registered dietitian and owner of worthyandwell.com, Calgary
From hearty casseroles, to tacos, meatloaves and pasta dishes, we share our favourite ground beef recipes.
Our quick mini lasagnas give you all the cheesy, hearty flavours of classic lasagna, without the time-consuming process of layering.
This tasty recipe is a quick fix when tacos just won't do. There is no rolling involved and each slice has a generous helping of thick enchilada sauce.
East meets West in these tasty little bites. We've doubled up on the spring roll wrappers, which provides extra crunch and prevents the filling from bursting out.
The beef and lentil combination gives the burgers a tender texture, and the jalapeno supplies a spicy kick.
A touch of horseradish adds zesty flair to classic meat loaf. Cooking the onion, celery and garlic before adding them to the mixture means the loaf is tender and evenly flavoured.
This kid-friendly dinner is made with ingredients most people keep on hand in the refrigerator and pantry.
This quick meal packs the addictive flavours of classic beef tacos onto crispy flatbread crusts. Go ahead and customize the recipe using any produce from your fridge.
Spinach adds extra nutrients to these juicy beef meatballs.
This tidy version of a sloppy joe is perfect for small hands. Serve the extra sauce on the side for dipping. Kids with bigger appetites will want to eat two!
Creamy mushroom sauce elevates meat loaf to new heights. A double dose of mushrooms – dried in the loaf and fresh in the sauce – is a dream for mushroom lovers.
Ginger, cumin and curry powder give this beef and rice dish some serioius flavour. This quick meal is perfect for weeknights, as it cooks in 30 minutes.
Layer after scrumptious layer of rich meat sauce, tender pasta and creamy cheese make this lasagna the best you'll ever have.
These bite-size meatballs are tossed in a retro sweet and sour sauce that everyone will love.
All you'll need to make this classic dish is some ground beef, a couple of onions and some pantry staples.
There's no need to choose between shepherd's pie and beef Stroganoff, thanks to this simple skillet dinner, which combines a creamy mushroom-and-beef filling with a smooth, buttery potato topping.
Fifteen minutes of prep time is all you need to make these flavourful muffin meat loaves.
Classic beef tacos are a real crowdpleaser and a family favourite. To feed more people, simply double or triple the recipe.
Enjoy hearty oats in more ways than just a bowl of oatmeal. Oats are a nutritious ingredient in both sweet and savoury recipes.
This is the ultimate in comfort food, combining two all-time homegrown favourites: cinnamon buns and bubbly, sweet apple cobbler. Sprinkling a cinnamon filling into rolled buttermilk biscuits offers a quick alternative to a yeast-risen cinnamon bun.
Adding fresh apples to this muffin batter is a nice way to incorporate fruit in a baked treat. Dried cranberries add a touch of tartness, but you can use raisins or any other dried fruit.
You won't miss the nuts in this deluxe granola. Make sure it is completely cool before adding the chocolate.
Enjoy all the pleasures of crumble-topped apple pie in a delightful hand-held size. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream for an even more indulgent dessert.
Sweet-tart cranberries are cooked with a hint of orange to make an easy jam-like filling, then sandwiched between layers of crisp almond pastry. Freshly ground almonds are crunchier than the storebought ground variety, so whirl whole nuts in a food processor for the ultimate nutty crust.
These decadent drops are incredibly easy to prepare, making them perfect for a last-minute cookie exchange. The chocolate-dipped pretzel topping adds an easy, festive flair.
For anyone with a sweet tooth on your list, these sweet bites take almost no prep time and great for last-minute treats.
Make weeknight dinners fun (for adults and kids) with these veggie-packed, tomato sauce–topped mini meat loaves. Cooking your potatoes on the stove top with the help of a little steam gets dinner on the table more quickly. Steamed green beans make a nice veggie side dish.
Treat yourself with these fruity, buttery bites. Sweet blueberry filling packed between layers of classic oat meal crumble will have you reminiscing of grandma's baked goods.
Warm up cool evenings by filling empty tummies with hearty soup. Sprinkle a little Parmesan cheese over top or add a handful of cooked noodles to make leftovers new again.
Veggie burgers should be just as juicy as the original hamburger. Add your favourite toppings and condiments or switch it up by going bunless and wrap in a large lettuce leaf.
Shredded coconut in the crumble topping adds tropical flair to an otherwise classic recipe. Many people with celiac disease can still consume oats, but to be absolutely sure yours haven't been in contact with gluten from other products, look for bags labelled "pure uncontaminated oats."
These muffins are big on flavour and sure to entice even those who have no trouble with gluten. Play around with the fruit: Try dried blueberries, strawberries, raspberries or chopped apricots.
These nut-free treats are chewy and packed with flavour, thanks to the tasty fruit and toasted quinoa, which also add fibre and protein to stave off hunger. Pack one in her knapsack for snack emergencies!
The versatility of these cookies is endless. White or milk chocolate, or dried apricots or currants make delicious substitutions for the dark chocolate.
This sweet granola has a surprising yet gentle hint of ginger and is the perfect partner for the tangy rhubarb topping. Set out the yogurt, granola and compote with small bowls or pretty glasses so guests can make their own parfaits.
This free-form pastry tastes just as delicious as apple pie—but with no upper crust or fluting to worry about, it's forgiving to make. The crispy oatmeal streusel helps insulate the filling while baking, keeping the apples juicy. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Meat loaf is a popular comfort food not only because it's quick and easy to toss together but also because it's hearty and always delicious – especially this one with its glossy vegetable topping.
Nothing beats a home-style crumble at the end of a Sunday meal. Serve warm with a dollop of fresh whipped cream or ice cream for an indulgent treat.
Classic cookies are always a weekend favourite and easy for even a novice baker. Freeze scooped portions to thaw and bake at another time.
Multigrain flour, rolled oats and wheat germ give these quite chewy pancakes a wholesome flavour. Multigrain flour is a combination of all-purpose and whole wheat flours, cracked wheat and rye and whole flaxseeds.
These squares have all of the layered goodness of apple pie with the ease of a crumble.
This springtime twist on classic date squares features a tangy-sweet pink rhubarb filling. If fresh rhubarb is unavailable, measure the same amount of frozen rhubarb, then thaw and drain.
Here's the perfect ending to a summer meal: a rustic home-style crumble made with juicy stone fruit. There's no need to peel the plums and nectarines—the skins soften as the fruit cooks and impart a lovely blush colour to the sauce.