Weight Loss Camps Tasty Halloween Treat

October 31, 2013 By: consultant Comments Off

Happy Halloween!

Today may be Halloween but there are still going to be Halloween parties this weekend. Want to bring something delicious, but don’t want to undue all the hard work you’ve done to lose weight and stay healthy? Check out this recipe created by our Registered Dietitian at our weight loss camp in San Antonio! 

Chocolate Pumpkin Popcorn Balls

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Makes about 24 1-inch popcorn balls (serving size:  2 popcorn balls)

6 cups plain popped cornIngredients:

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 2 TBS chopped dark chocolate chips
  • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped pumpkin seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped dried cherries, cranberries, or raisins
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Put popcorn in a large bowl.
  2. Combine honey and peanut butter a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, cooking until mixture is bubbly and smooth.  Remove from heat, and stir in the pumpkin seeds, dried fruit, cinnamon, and chocolate (the chocolate will melt in to the mixture).
  3. Pour the hot mixture over the popcorn and gently mix with a wooden spoon or spatula until well combined.
  4. Dip both hands in the ice water. Press 2 TBS of the mixture at a time into balls about 1 inch in diameter.  Make sure to press them tightly into a ball shape so they hold together.  Place the balls on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper or wax paper.
  5. Let the popcorn balls cool completely before wrapping them individually in saran wrap and store in an airtight container.  Best if eaten within a few days.

 

Calories per serving: 70, Total Fat: 4 g, Total Carbohydrates: 8 g, Sugar 7gg Dietary Fiber: 0.5 g, Protein: 2 g

 

Happy Halloween!

 

Weight Loss Camps Talk Fiber

October 28, 2013 By: consultant Comments Off

Fiber Facts: Understanding Food Labels and Isolated Fibers

Did you know that there’s fiber in my ice cream? Or did you know that there’s 3.6 g of fiber in one cup of blueberries? Have you noticed that recently the rise in foods (possibly some you eat on a regular basis) have much more fiber in them than they used to? Here are some of the eye-catching labels that you run into while grocery shopping:

  • ⅓ of Your Daily Needs for Fiber
  • An Excellent Source of Fiber
  • Now With Twice as Much Fiber

Is it true? Did food manufacturers suddenly find a magical way to make all of our favorite foods healthier?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. What happened is that food manufacturers stumbled upon something called “isolated fibers.”  Isolated fibers are insoluble fibers that help with our digestive system. Examples of these isolated fibers are inulin, maltodextrin, oat fiber, soy fiber, modified wheat starch, sugarcane fiber, and polydextrose.

Food labels count these isolated fibers when communicating how much fiber is in a serving of any given food. However, buyer beware, because these fibers absolutely do not lower blood cholesterol levels or reduce the risk of diabetes, like their natural counterparts do. Some of these fibers do help to promote regularity, but not all of them—for instance, inulin does not, but polydextrose might, and oat fiber, sugarcane fiber, and soy fiber almost certainly do. However, any of these isolated fibers can lead to gas and other gastrointestinal issues when eaten in large doses. In fact, any food that contains more than 15 grams of polydextrose must have a warning label stating that “sensitive individuals may experience a laxative effect from excessive consumption of this product.

It looks like if you eat five high-fiber ice cream sandwiches, you have met your goal for the day, but that is absolutely not true. These fibers do not give you the same health benefits, and depending on them to meet your daily fiber needs is not nearly as healthful as eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The trouble is that some people might pick up a package of high-fiber toaster pastry, and decide that this is just as good as whole-grain cereal.  In addition, many of these new high-fiber foods are very high in sugar and Trans fats.

 

Understanding food labels with help from weight loss camps: 

100% whole grain or 100% whole wheat - This means the product contains no refined white flour.

Whole grain - Most of these products contain little or no refined white flour. Look at the label’s ingredient list to see how far down on the list the enriched wheat flour, unbleached white flour, or wheat flour appears—the lower the better.

Whole-grain white - This label usually appears on bread, but it does not necessarily mean anything specific. In the best case scenario, the bread was made with an albino variety of wheat. Most breads with this label contain a mix of whole and refined flour from red wheat. Look for the brands that contain more whole flour, and less refined flour.

12-grain or multigrain - It does not matter how many grains are in a product. It matters how many of those grains are whole grains.

May prevent heart disease - This claim is approved for use on almost any food that is made from at least 51% whole grains, and is low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium.

 

Replacing isolated fibers

Instead of relying on highly processed food products with questionable marketing, you should rely on the following foods to meet your fiber quota, and rest easy knowing that you are certainly helping your health:

  • Oats
  • Oat bran
  • Breakfast cereals, including:
    • All-Bran® Bran Buds®
    • All-Bran®
    • Grape-Nuts
    • Shredded wheat
    • Cheerios®
    • Raisin bran
  • Grains including:
    • Barley
    • Bulgur
    • Kasha
    • Amaranth
    • Quinoa
    • Couscous
  • Polenta
  • Brown rice
  • Whole-wheat breads and pastas
  • All fresh fruits, especially:
    • Dried figs
    • Apples
    • Berries
    • Pears
    • Oranges
    • Dried and fresh plums
    • Raisins
    • Pineapple
    • Bananas
  • All fresh vegetables, especially:
    • Greens
    • Eggplant
    • Green beans
    • Beets
    • Winter squash
    • Broad beans
    • Cabbage
    • Broccoli
    • Carrots
    • Okra
    • Artichoke hearts
    • Peas
    • Corn
  • Potatoes and sweet potatoes
  • Dried beans
  • Popcorn
  • Nuts

 

Difference between whole grain and high fiber

Different grains naturally contain different amounts of fiber. Bran products, for instance, are not whole grain. Bran is an excellent source of fiber, but is not technically a whole grain, because whole grains must contain the bran, endosperm, and germ of the grain.

Portion Distortion Lesson from Weight Loss Camps for Adults

October 9, 2013 By: consultant 1,980 Comments

Did you know that portion sizes have grown significantly since the 1960’s?  At that time, the average American plate was about 9” in diameter.  Since then it has increased to 11-12”, sometimes even larger! Portion Distortion is one of the big lessons we teach at our weight loss camps for adults. Because most people don’t realize that along with the plate itself, the portions that we put on that plate have grown as well, this is one of the contributing factors of the rise of obese and overweight Americans. Did you know that the correct size of a bagel should be similar to a hockey puck, and a serving of meat should be comparable to a deck of cards?  These portion sizes are significantly different than what we are served in a restaurant, or buy in a grocery store.

 Portion Distorition

Knowing proper portion sizes is crucial to staying within your appropriate caloric range and is key in helping with weight loss.  Be sure to familiarize yourself with what is accurate! Use measuring cups at home when you can, and when packing food for work.  Try picking one meal a day where you always measure out your food. Another option is to measure food one week a month- you’ll notice your portion sizes tend to grow a little during that off time.

When eating out, try to use comparisons; such as a pancake should be the size of a DVD or a potato being similar to the size of a computer mouse.  Portions you receive will almost always be oversized when eating out, so boxing up half of what is on your plate will also help to avoid over eating and then you have an already portioned meal for later!

Knowing the proper portions is important for everyone whether you’re trying to lose weight or not. And being aware of how much you’re eating is helpful to keep track of your caloric intake. At our weight loss camps for adults, we know this is the biggest hurdle for anyone to overcome because most adults are used to the portion distortion that surrounds us all. For more tips and tricks to help out with nutrition and portion distortion take a look at one of the many government funded sites or check out our nutrition page.

Weight Loss Camps Pre & Post Workout Meals/Snacks

October 2, 2013 By: consultant 3 Comments

At our weight loss camps, we know there is more to losing weight, getting fit and staying healthy than just exercising and eating nutritious foods. It’s making sure that you are getting the proper foods before and after a work out to make sure that your body is getting the nutrients it needs to make sure that you have a good workout.

Pre-Workout Meals and Snacks

Making sure you are properly fueled before working out is crucial to having a successful workout in which you can push yourself to a good level of intensity and have enough energy to get through without feeling overly fatigued.

The timing of a pre-workout can vary from person to person so it might take time to find out what works best for you specifically.  A good general rule of thumb is to have a snack about 10-15 minutes prior to any workout.  If you’re having a full meal, you’ll want to give yourself 45 minutes to an hour to digest before starting to exercise.

For a pre-workout snack you’re going to want to make sure you have some simple carbohydrates that will break down quickly so you have an immediate source of energy to utilize. This can be anything from a piece of fruit to a small granola bar- something mostly carbohydrates with a small amount of protein.

For a pre-workout meal, make sure you have some complex carbohydrates and a serving of protein in your meal. If you consume your meal about an hour before working out, it will provide your stomach enough time to break down the food and have that energy available to you while working out.

 

Post-Workout Meals and Snacks

The body’s ability to recover properly after a workout depends significantly on getting appropriate nutrition it needs.  During your workout, you are putting a lot of tiny tears in your muscles and it is extremely important to refuel properly afterwards so that those muscles can recover and heal as quickly as possible.

It’s important to make sure that you have your post-workout meal or snack with carbohydrates and protein 15-30 minutes after working out. This is the best way to optimize nutrient absorption.  If you’re worried about caloric intake, a great way to stay on track would be to make your post-workout meal one of your main meals of the day. For a post-workout snack a banana with chocolate milk, or a peanut butter sandwich are great options.  You put the hard work in during the workout, make sure to reap all of the benefits from it!

 

Healthy Snacking

Planning and sticking with your healthy snacks can be even harder than meals sometimes.  You can get caught in the middle of an office party, have an after school snack with the kids, or get sucked into that before bed binge.  Before you know it, your 100-200 calorie snack has turned into an extra meal…or two!

Knowing the times that you’re most likely to fall prey to over snacking means you can now come up with a plan to avoid it in the future.  Whatever your favorite time to snack is, make sure you allot yourself enough calories to have your snack and feel satisfied.  Also be sure to include at least two food groups in order for your body to feel full.

If you’re a person who likes to snack throughout the entire day, five to six small meals as opposed to three larger ones might be a better way to stay within your caloric range without feeling deprived.  If there is only one time where you really get caught over eating, make sure you have a plan where you have a small snack that you enjoy every day during that time.  Just knowing that you will be able to have something that you enjoy again the next day will help to avoid the need to binge on it. Need some ideas? Take a look at a few of our recipes or buy our cookbook Meal Simple.

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