Weight Loss Camps Tips for Fall Harvest

August 28, 2013 By: amiller Post a Comment
Pumpkin Moose

Pumpkin Moose a recipe from our Meal Simple Camp Shane cookbook

September is just around the corner and as the September days come and go the air gets cooler, the leaves begin to change color, and some of our favorite vegetables come into season; Pumpkin and winter squash. These two versatile vegetables, and two favorites of our nutritionists at our weight loss camps, can be used in an array of recipes, ranging from desserts to main dishes. Here are some of the choices you can choose from, how to prepare them for cooking, and how to share them with your family and friends:

Pumpkin is most useful in its canned form and easy to keep on hand in your pantry. Be careful when shopping to avoid canned pumpkin pie filling, which has added sugar and fat. Look for canned pure pumpkin and load up for the off season when even the canned version can become hard to find in stores. Pumpkin puree can be used as a baking substitute for eggs and oil in cake recipes making for a thick and rich texture, added to your morning oatmeal for some extra flavor and fiber, or in a quick and simple soup with chicken broth, canned pure pumpkin, and veggies of your choice.

Winter Squash is great for creating a hearty and colorful meal. Some of the most popular include butternut squash, acorn squash, and spaghetti squash. Butternut and acorn are very similar in taste and preparation but can be identified by their different shapes. Spaghetti squash is unique in its preparation and as the name states, looks like spaghetti on your plate!

When choosing a butternut squash look for ones with longer and thicker stems as most of the “meat” comes from this part and the bottom is where the hollow and seeded part is located. To prep your butternut squash start by peeling the skin from the outside with a potato peeler (be careful when dealing with its awkward shape not to cut yourself). Then cut the squash in half length wise so both the stem and bottom will be cut in half. Next, scoop out the seeds from the center and begin to cube up your butternut. If this is too much work you can find precut and cubed squash in your groceries refrigerated section.  Butternut squash can be roasted up with onions, apples, olive oil, cinnamon, and salt for a side dish, made into a vegetarian chili with black beans and tomatoes, or into muffins for sweet treat.  Acorn squash can be substituted for butternut in many recipes, but is harder to peel and cube. Acorn squashes are good for cutting in half, roasting, and stuffing with foods such as brown rice, beans, and veggies.

Spaghetti squash is a large yellow oval shape and can be found in the produce section with other squash selections. Start by cutting the squash in half length wise (this is sometimes difficult) and remove the seeds and pulp. Then place the squash face down on a baking pan and cook for about 30 to 40 minutes in the oven depending on the size of the squash at 375 degrees. If you don’t have a lot of time or only have access to a microwave no problem. Place the squash in a shallow dish with enough water to cover the bottom and place saran wrap over the dish. Microwave for about 6 to 8 minutes, remove the plastic film and let stand for a minute or two. If the squash is fork tender and starts to stings when you scrap it length wise it’s ready to go! Scoop out the contents from both halves with a fork to get the full spaghetti effect. This squash can be used as a pasta replacement, and can even be served as a sweet dish with a little butter or margarine and cinnamon sugar.

There are so many different uses for pumpkin and squash. Take some of these helpful tips from the nutritionists from our weight loss camps and you will be making delicious dishes everyone will love.

Shane Weight Loss Camps Tips on Stocking a Healthy Pantry

August 14, 2013 By: consultant 3 Comments

groceryshoppingHaving the right staple foods in your pantry can sound like a pain to keep up with, but with a few tips, it can be easy as pie (which is not a pantry staple).  At Shane weight loss camps we teach that a healthy, well-stocked pantry is important when trying to maintain a well balanced diet. Even on the days that are busy, knowing you have enough items around to put together snacks and a balanced meal is crucial to sticking with your commitment to a healthy lifestyle.  It will also help you save money, since you can grab foods from home instead of buying from convenience stores.

Some helpful tips to remember are:

  • Keep the freezer full: Frozen proteins such as chicken, turkey, or hamburgers are great to keep around when you don’t have the time to buy meat fresh from the supermarket.  Thaw in the microwave for a few minutes and it’s ready to cook up. Frozen veggies are another staple. These are perfect for making into a quick stir-fry or side, and are also easy to pick up on sale.
  • Canned foods are a must have. They are cheap, easy to pick up at any time, and have an extremely long shelf life. Just make sure to rinse your canned items under water to wash away the high-sodium syrup they are preserved in.  When buying canned foods such as fruit or tuna fish, buy ones that are water based, and when buying canned vegetables, stick to no or low sodium items.
  • When buying grains, make sure to go for the ‘whole grain’ grain products. Don’t be fooled by the ingredient ‘wheat’- white flour is wheat too!  Pasta’s, rice’s, quinoa all have a good shelf life and don’t take long to cook. Be sure to keep your wraps, pita’s, and breads in the fridge if they seem to spoil quickly.
  • Fruits and vegetables are essential items for the household.  Not only are they high in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, they are low in calories, and also make great grab-and-go snacks.  Apples can last up to 3 weeks when refrigerated and raw carrots are a great way to work another serving of vegetables into your day.
  • Besides your meat based lean protein sources, there are also other plant-based proteins that are great to have on hand in your pantry.  Sunflower seeds, almonds, or other nuts are great to grab as a quick snack or throw into a salad, and eggs or tofu are great foods to work into your meals.
  • Dairy sources are essential to have on hand, as you want to get 3 servings a day.  Dairy options are usually refrigerated so there’s not too much worry in foods spoiling. If you aren’t a big milk drinker, stick with the half gallon or smaller of skim or 1% milk. Low fat, Greek yogurt, and cottage cheese are great additions to breakfast and easy to take as a snack, and low fat shredded cheeses are perfect to add a light sprinkle to dress up meals.

The key to keeping a healthy pantry is just making sure that you have the healthy essentials at all times. This way not matter what, you always have what you need for a healthy meal.

 

Nutrition Tip: Keep your eyes out for frozen food sales.  Having frozen veggies and lean proteins on hand can help whenever you’re in a pinch and don’t have time to buy or cook fresh foods. But because you don’t need them immediately, wait for the price to go down first!

Alcohol & Nutrition From Our Weight Loss Camp for Adults

August 4, 2013 By: consultant 1 Comment

Winegrapes3_custom-s6-c30If you’re over 21, sometimes it’s nice to have a drink every once in awhile. But often times, we feel that we can’t do this when we are trying to lose weight and knowing how to fit alcohol into your lifestyle isn’t easy.  Trying to stay in your caloric allowance while still having fun can be annoying and difficult to balance.  Fortunately, our weight loss camp has a few simple facts that can help you to alleviate this factor so you can focus more on socializing and having a good time.

When going out, keep this in mind; in general, a regular beer has around 150 calories, a light beer has around 100 calories, a 6oz glass of wine has 200 calories, and a shot has around 70 calories.   Your best bet when going out is to stick with a liquor that you combine with a low calorie mixer, such as diet soda, club soda, seltzer water, or even just tap water with a squeeze of lemon or lime.  If you’re not a liquor drinker, stick with a beer or wine that you can sip on slowly and won’t finish within a short amount of time.

Remember, in order to prevent hangover issues the next day, hydration is key.  Staying well hydrated is important, so be sure to drink as much water as you can throughout the day.   Once you are out, staggering your drinks with glasses of water in between will help as well.

Another great way to balance out your caloric intake is to add some activity into your drinking plans. This can mean going out dancing, playing softball for a bar league or even having friends over for a friendly backyard game of volleyball, waffle ball or soccer. Anything that is going to increase your movement is going to help negate some of the calories you’re drinking.

But the most important tip we can offer, is know your limit, watch your intake and keep moving. Just because you’re trying to stay healthy, lose weight or maintain, doesn’t mean you can’t have a drink every now and then with some friends.

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