Grocery Shopping for Healthy Eating

September 3, 2013 By: consultant 10 Comments

P1040146It can be overwhelming going through the grocery store, looking for healthy eating options, thinking of what to add to your basket especially with confusing claims made on food packaging and trying to decipher whether the item is really healthy or not. But it doesn’t have to be that way if you know what to look for.

The first thing you should do is plan your meals ahead of time. Try to pick a day that works with your schedule to sit down and jot down the meals you want for the week, including snacks. Next, based upon your meal plan make a shopping list that way you’re not tempted to add in extras that you don’t need.

When looking at products, always read the labels. When looking at grain product look for the word “whole” as the first ingredient to make sure it is a whole grain. Look at the types of fats in packaged food, saturated and trans fats should be kept to a minimum, focus on monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. When considering trans fats, one way to make sure that a product is trans-fat free is to look for the words “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” before oils on the ingredient list. If it has anything that says hydrogenated you should skip it.  Another thing to look out for is sugar content. Since the label does not distinguish between added sugar and natural sugar found in foods, look for the word “syrup” that can be hidden in the ingredient list. Another consideration to make is whether the food is a good source of vitamins and minerals look for items that contain 10 or more percent of the daily recommended values.

So what are some healthy staples to have in your refrigerator and pantry? It really depends on your cooking style, but here are some general things a healthy kitchen should be stocked with.

Whole-wheat pastas, breads and other whole grains such as, barley, brown rice, whole-wheat cous cous, oats, and wheatberry.
Canned goods such as low sodium bean varieties, and low sodium canned vegetables. You can include canned fruit but avoid the kind canned with syrup.

  • Frozen goods: whole-wheat waffles, a variety of frozen fruit, frozen broccoli, cauliflower and mixed vegetables.
  • Low fat dairy: yogurt, string cheese, shredded cheese, and cottage cheese.
  • Nuts: unsalted nuts, almonds, walnuts, and pecans. Keep these along with dried fruit like raisins, cranberries and prunes. You can make your own trail mix with this!
  • Greens: mixed salad greens, spinach, romaine lettuces are all good for quick salads.
  • Fresh Vegetables and Fruits: Bananas, apples, seasonal berries, and oranges. Tomatoes, avocados, cauliflower, carrots, and onions.

Lastly, to avoid falling into the trap of not having enough time to prep things when cooking, try washing and cutting vegetables right after getting home from the grocery store. Simply store them in airtight containers and they’ll be easy to get to when you are cooking. Follow some of these simple tips and you can’t go wrong in picking healthy eating options for a healthy lifestyle and weight loss.

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Weight Loss Camps Tips for Fall Harvest

August 28, 2013 By: office 1 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.

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Shane Weight Loss Camps Tips on Stocking a Healthy Pantry

August 14, 2013 By: consultant 4 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!

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Healthy Vacation Tips from the Shane Family Weight Loss Camp

July 29, 2013 By: consultant 29 Comments

Casita Village_PoolIt’s summer time and normally that means it’s time for vacation. Typically, when you think about vacation you think relaxation, having fun, and enjoying different scenery. What we often don’t realize is that our eating habits go on vacation too. But you don’t have to but your weight loss and diet plans aside for vacation!

How many times have we said “So what, I’m on vacation!”? We try to justify overeating on vacation since we are relaxing from our real lives and think there won’t be any consequences of going on vacation from our eating habits. But that may not be the case.

Don’t deprive yourself, but find a balance of staying on track with healthy eating and indulging. Try incorporating these tips to stay on track with your healthy lifestyle or weight loss goals.

  • Pick your indulgences. “Splurge” on food you typically wouldn’t eat at home. When you do splurge, savor it. Eat slowly and enjoy each bite. This way you will feel satisfied sooner without overeating. Most vacation destinations have a buffet breakfast of waffles, pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, pastries, muffins, etc. Why waste your splurge on typical breakfast food? Try to keep these things in mind.
  • Exercise. A lot of times hotels have gyms. Pop in there in the morning for a little workout. You will have plenty of time to sleep on the beach later in the day. Don’t feel like a gym workout? Just be active! Go for a walk on the beach, join in on activities going on where you are staying like dancing, play some volleyball, etc. No matter where you are vacationing there will be an active event available.
  • Don’t forget to pack healthy snacks. Skip the fast food places at the airport and rest stops on car rides. Pack fresh fruit, healthy granola bars, nuts, cheese sticks, etc. Also, keep those snacks handy while vacationing to keep hunger at bay and prevent overeating at the next meal.

It’s all about balance. Having a good time on vacations usually involves food too, especially if your destination has different cuisine then you are used to. The key is to enjoy yourself in moderation then you have the best of both worlds, enjoying your vacation and not sabotaging your healthy lifestyle or weight loss goals.

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Weight Loss Camps Explains The Benefits of Whole Grains

July 23, 2013 By: consultant 5 Comments

Whole GrainsThe 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that we consume more whole grains, yet many of us may not know the reasons behind it or how to spot whole grains on menus or stores. The registered dietitians at our adult weight loss camps explain the benefits of consuming more whole grains.

 

What is the difference between whole grains and refined grains?

Whole grains are exactly what it sounds like, it includes the all parts of a grain the kernel, bran, germ and endosperm. Some whole grains include oats, bulgur, brown rice, corn, quinoa, and buckwheat, compared to refined grains that have been milled and lack the bran and germ. Because they lack those components they are also lacking fiber, iron, and B vitamins. This is why refined grain products are enriched.

 

Health Benefits

Whole grains are rich sources of many B vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals. There is strong evidence that whole grains may have a protective effect on heart health and also may help with hypertension. In addition, whole grains may decrease the risk for weight gain and type 2 diabetes. Our adult weight loss camp focuses on making sure that what grains we provide to our guests are whole grains, in order to help them with their weight loss goals.

 

What to look for on labels

Look for the ingredient label to say “whole wheat flour” or other “whole” grains such as buckwheat or oats. Try to aim on making at least half of your grain intake whole grains.

Incorporating more whole grains into your diet is easier than you think. Follow these simple tips that we use at our weight loss camps. And if you have any questions, let us know and we’d be happy to help!

 

Tips for including more whole grains

  • Buy a variety of whole grain pastas
  • Snack on popcorn (without butter)
  • Have oatmeal for breakfast
  • Snack on whole grain crackers
  • Include whole grain cereals for breakfast
  • Serve barley, brown or wild rice, and quinoa as side dishes
  • Buy whole grain breads, tortillas, and pitas
  • When baking cookies or muffins make half the flour whole wheat.
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Feeding Tubes: An Alarming New Weight loss Diet

July 15, 2013 By: consultant 2 Comments

Based on: A Feeding Tube By Fritz Lenneman 

crazy Weight loss dietFeeding tubes are a medical procedure that is used to help people get the required nutrients when they can’t take food orally. However, a new trend has started to attract weight loss seekers to this procedure. It is rumored to be used mostly by brides to-be that are eager to lose weight. The user will get a feeding tube inserted through the nose, down the esophagus and to the stomach to deliver a feeding solution that provides about 800 calories per day and is used for 10 days.

Using a feeding tube to achieve weight loss is an inappropriate use of the medical procedure and could cause serious complications for the user. The formula only provides fats and proteins, but does not provide sufficient carbohydrates that a healthy person needs. Once the procedure stops, users are more likely to binge eat or return to their normal eating habits, which could cause cramping, diarrhea, vomiting and gas. Also, incorrect feeding tube insertions could cause infections.

The bottom line is that this is not recommended as a safe or sustainable way of losing weight, which should instead be done by eating a balanced diet and making physical activity a lifestyle habit.

At Shane Camps & Resorts, we focus on giving our campers and guests all the tools they need while they are with us and for when they leave, so they will have successful weight loss. We also teach that just because you are trying to lose weight, doesn’t mean you still can’t eat delicious foods. For example, one of our nutritionist adapted this low calorie recipe for oven “fried” chicken from eatingwell.com.

Makes 4 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup nonfat buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 2 1/2-3 pounds whole chicken legs, skin removed, trimmed and cut into thighs and drumsticks
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil cooking spray

Preparation

  1. Whisk buttermilk, mustard, garlic and hot sauce in a shallow glass dish until well blended. Add the chicken and turn to coat. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or for up to 8 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Set a wire rack on the baking sheet and coat it with cooking spray.
  3. Whisk flour, sesame seeds, paprika, thyme, baking powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Place the flour mixture in a paper bag or large sealable plastic bag. Shaking off excess marinade, place one or two pieces of chicken at a time in the bag and shake to coat. Shake off excess flour and place the chicken on the prepared rack. (Discard any leftover flour mixture and marinade.) Spray the chicken pieces with cooking spray.
  4. Bake the chicken until golden brown and no longer pink in the center, 40 to 50 minutes.

Per serving: 224 calories; 7 g fat ( 2 g sat , 2 g mono ); 130 mg cholesterol; 5 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 34 g protein; 1 g fiber; 237 mg sodium; 400 mg potassium.

Remember that if you’re trying to focus on weight loss, it doesn’t mean you need to go to crazy extremes, like using a feeding tube. You just need the perfect balance of nutrition and fitness.

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Weight Loss & Weight Gain: How Big of a Role do Genetics Play?

July 9, 2013 By: consultant 2 Comments

imagesHave you ever experienced successful weight loss just to eventually gain some, most, or all of it back? Even if this scenario has not happened to you personally, you probably know someone who has gone through it. It can be extremely frustrating to devote so much time and energy to shedding the pounds, just to have it creep back on. So is there a science to losing the weight and keeping it off? According to research highlighted in a New York Times article that just may be the case.

In this article, author Tara Parker-Pope is able to relate to anyone who has been motivated to lose weight, just to have it return later on. Even while maintaining a healthy lifestyle, she has been unable to keep the weight she’s lost off. She mentions that it could very well be due to genetics, because many of her immediate family members have also struggled with weight loss and keeping it off. But it is still up in the air as to how much of a role genetics play versus the environment.

So is weight gain (and weight loss) pre-determined by your body and brain’s genetic makeup? Or does it come down to the environment you are surrounded by? Recent research, as discussed in this article, says that it could go either way.

The National Weight Control Registry tracked 10,000 people who have lost weight and kept it off. Rena Wing, a professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University’s Alpert Medical School, helped create this registry with James O. Hill, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado in Denver.

Wing says physiological changes probably do occur that make permanent weight loss difficult, but she says the larger problem is environmental. She says people struggle to keep weight off because they are constantly surrounded by food, food messages, and opportunities to eat. “We’ve taught ourselves over the years that one of the ways to reward yourself is with food,” Wing says. “It’s hard to change the environment and the behavior.”

Although the people in the registry used different methods for weight loss, there does seem to be a common denominator. In order to have lost the weight and maintain the weight loss, a person must eat fewer calories and exercise far more than someone who maintains the same weight naturally.

Kelly Brownell, director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University, says that while the 10,000 people tracked in the registry are a useful resource, they also represent a tiny percentage of the tens of millions of people who have tried to lose weight and keep it off unsuccessfully. “You find these people are incredibly vigilant about maintaining their weight,” Brownell says. “Years later they are paying attention to every calorie, spending an hour a day on exercise. They never don’t think about their weight.”

From a different perspective, Rudolph Leibel, an obesity researcher at Columbia University, believes that weight loss and the ability to keep it off is based on a biological system. For 25 years, Liebel and his colleague Michael Rosenbaum, have meticulously tracked about 130 individuals for a minimum of six months. The participants would stay at the research clinic where every aspect of their body is measured, including body fat, oxygen consumption, carbon-dioxide output, calories burned during digestion, exercise tests to measure maximum heart rate, blood tests to measure hormones and brain chemicals, and muscle biopsies to measure metabolic efficiency.

The Columbia University participants are eventually placed on a liquid diet of approximately 800 calories a day until they have lost 10% of their body weight. Once they reach this goal, they are put through another round of intensive testing as they try to maintain the new weight. The data generated by this research suggests that once a person loses about 10% of their body weight, they are metabolically different than a similar-size person who is naturally the same weight.

The results also found that the changes that occur after weight loss translate to a huge caloric disadvantage. In other words, for someone to maintain their weight loss, they must eat fewer calories than someone who is naturally the same weight. The study also found that people who have lost weight burn fewer calories during physical activity than a person who is naturally the same weight.

The brain also seems to respond differently to food after losing weight, as per data collected from the Columbia University study. “After you’ve lost weight, your brain has a greater emotional response to food,” Rosenbaum says. “You want it more, but the areas of the brain involved in restraint are less active.” Combine that with a body that is now burning fewer calories than expected, he says, “and you’ve created the perfect storm for weight regain.”

It is clear that there will need to be more in-depth studying done of varying degrees to find out what influences weight loss and maintenance. Eventually, this research may change the way people approach weight loss.

Meanwhile, Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts sticks to the basics: fewer calories in and the right amount of physical activity to burn those calories. Since 1968, Shane’s participants have found success with gradual and steady weight loss, as opposed to trying to lose the weight as quickly as possible. Experience has shown that it takes time to form a habit and good healthy lifestyle habits can change a person’s life permanently.

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Healthy & Weight Loss Friendly July 4th Cookouts

July 3, 2013 By: office 1 Comment

redbluestarsaladOur favorite summer holiday is fast approaching! Hopefully you have your cookout menu selected, but if you don’t, here are some delightfully healthy and weight loss friendly options you can incorporate that everyone is sure to enjoy!

Of course everyone’s go-to classic cookout is the burger, but by using reduced fat mayo and whole wheat buns along with other veggies as toppings, you are increasing the nutritional value without compromising the flavor. If you have vegetarians in your party you can substitute grilled portabella mushrooms, and if you prefer you can make burgers with ground turkey instead of beef.

Our Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts team in Texas has adapted some recipes from EatingWell.com to help you to have a healthy and weight loss friendly 4th of July cookout.

 

“Fajita” Burgers: Makes 4 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound 90%-lean ground beef
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chipotle chile in adobo
  • 1/2 cup shredded reduced fat Monterey Jack cheese
  • 4 whole wheat buns or French style rolls
  • 2 roasted Anaheim or poblano peppers
  • 1 cup shredded green cabbage
  • 4 slices tomato
  • 4 thin slices red onion

Preparation

  1. Preheat grill to medium-high.
  2. Place beef, 1/4 cup cilantro, onion, scallions, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, pepper and salt in a large bowl. Gently combine, without over mixing, until evenly incorporated. Form into 4 equal patties, about 1/2 inch thick and oval-shaped to match the rolls.
  3. Combine the remaining 1/2 cup cilantro, mayonnaise, lime juice and chipotle in a small bowl.
  4. Peel the roasted peppers, halve lengthwise and remove the seeds.
  5. Oil the grill rack (see Tip). Grill the burgers until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 165°F, about 6 minutes per side. Top with cheese and cook until it is melted, about 1 minute more.
  6. Assemble the burgers on toasted rolls with the chipotle mayonnaise, half a roasted pepper, cabbage, tomato and onion.

 

Another dish we often see at cookouts is potato salad. It is often a summer cookout favorite, but the traditional way of making it can be high in calories and high in fat. We have a simple, and still delicious version of potato salad that is low in fat and calories but still has all the taste.

 

Red, White and Blue Potato salad. Makes 4 ½ cups

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds baby potatoes, a mix of white and blue (or purple)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup chopped roasted red peppers, rinsed
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

Preparation

  1.  Place potatoes in a large saucepan or Dutch oven and cover with lightly salted water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Transfer to a cutting board. Let cool for 20 minutes.
  2. Whisk lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Cut the potatoes in half, add to the bowl and toss to coat.
  3.  Just before serving, add peppers, scallions and mint to the salad and toss gently.

 

Finally, who could forget about our all American favorite dessert, pie! Traditional pies are typically high in sugar and fat, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a way around that. This recipe uses the natural sweetness from the blueberries and uses walnuts in the crust for a nutty and savory flavor. You can also try different berries and see which one you like better. Be creative this 4th and try something different, where your family and friends wont know it’s healthy and weight loss friendly!

 

Blueberry Tart with Walnut Crust. Makes 12 servings

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1/2 cup walnuts, lightly toasted (see Tip)
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs, preferably whole-wheat (see Note)
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon peanut or canola oil
  • Pinch of salt

Filling

  • 8 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel), softened
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup, preferably grade B, divided
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries

Preparation

  1. To prepare crust: Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Coarsely chop walnuts in a food processor. Add graham cracker crumbs and process until the mixture looks like fine crumbs.
  3. Whisk egg white in a medium bowl until frothy. Add the crumb mixture, butter, oil and salt; toss to combine. Press the mixture into the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of a 9-inch removable-bottom tart pan. Set the pan on a baking sheet. Bake until dry and slightly darker around the edges, about 8 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
  4. To prepare filling: Beat cream cheese, sour cream and 1/4 cup maple syrup in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on low speed until smooth. When the crust is cool, spread the filling evenly into it, being careful not to break up the delicate crust. Arrange blueberries on the filling, pressing lightly so they set in. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons maple syrup over the berries. Chill for at least 1 hour to firm up.

With these recipes you can enjoy the holiday without jeopardizing a healthy lifestyle or your weight loss goals.

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Incorporate Whole Foods Into Your Diet & Help With Weight Loss: Part Two

June 26, 2013 By: consultant 70 Comments
Food

Wheatberry Salad made by guests at Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts New York location during a cooking demo.

By: Megan Ware, RDN, LD

We’ve all heard of all the studies done that describe the benefits of vitamins and antioxidants when consumed in a food, especially when consumed while working toward weight loss. But for some reason, whenever those same vitamins or minerals are isolated and studied in supplement form, they never seem to show the same positive results. Why is that?

Nutrition science is still in its early stage and we don’t know all of the components that are in a whole food that make it healthy. We are always discovering new components of foods that we didn’t know existed. When there is a health benefit or protection from various diseases that we get from eating certain foods, it could be due to the natural combination and interaction of all of the different and unique nutrients and proteins that each food naturally contains. Attempting to extract a single nutrient and consuming it by itself does not have the same effects. This is one of the best benefits eating whole foods has. By eating a whole food, you’re getting the natural synergy of all of these nutrients together.

Another benefit of whole foods: they’re cheaper! The more processed foods are, the higher the manufacturing cost, therefore making the food cost higher. For example, a whole potato is going to be cheaper than a bag of potato chips. Just remember, processed foods are made for shelf life, not human life! Food manufacturers spend abundant a lot of time, money and research on ways to lengthen the shelf life of their products, with little attention paid to how the processing will affect our bodies.

A lot of people have the misconception that eating healthier means they can only shop at expensive health food stores. But here’s a secret, you do not need to spend a fortune to get whole foods, and you certainly don’t need to shop at health food stores. Visit your local farmers market or buy produce in season from your local grocery. For instance, citrus fruits are cheaper in the winter months because that is their natural season.

You do not need to cut out all processed foods from your diet. The goal is just to decrease the number of processed foods you eat and increase the proportion of whole foods, always keeping in mind the 1st pillar of nutrition at Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts weight loss camp is, balance.

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Incorporate Whole Foods Into Your Diet & Help With Weight Loss: Part One

June 21, 2013 By: consultant 11 Comments

By: Megan Ware, RDN, LD

The terms “whole foods” and “clean eating” are big buzzwords these days, but what exactly are whole foods and why should you be eating more of them, especially if we are working toward weight loss?

A whole food is a food that has been processed or refined as little as possible and is free from additives or other artificial substances. A strawberry is a whole food. A potato is a whole food. Apart from being grown, dug up and shipped, a whole potato is as unprocessed as possible, available for consumption in its most natural state.

Whole foods like potatoes or strawberries may be organic or locally grown, but not necessarily. A whole food is simply a food in its most natural state, with all of its nutrients intact.

The opposite of whole foods are highly processed foods. Let’s take the potato chip for example. Once the potatoes are harvested, they are sent to a processing plant where they are inspected, placed on a conveyer belt, peeled, washed in cold water and impaled into paper-thin slices. The slices then fall into a second cold-water wash that removes the starch released when the potatoes are cut. The potato remnants are chemically treated to enhance their color and passed under air drying jets as they flow into troughs filled with hot oil for frying. Excess oil is drained and the chips begin to cool. Flavored chips are passed through a drum filled with powdered seasonings. Then the packaging process starts. I’m not going to bore you with those details, but I think you can see the difference between eating a whole food, a potato, that was simply grown and harvested, and a processed food, a potato chip, where many of the nutrients the original food had are lost in the refinement process.

Let’s put this in perspective of our normal every day lives. On one end of the spectrum you have someone who grows their own fruits and vegetables, has their own chickens that hatch their own eggs, and raises their own livestock that eats hay from their pasture and drinks the water from their creek. This person knows exactly where all of their food comes from, the components of each food, and any processing that their food endures takes place in their own kitchen.

At the other end of the spectrum is the person who grabs dinner from the fast food drive-through, as 25% of Americans do daily. They have no idea where their food came from, what kind of processing it went through, or how it was cooked or prepared.  The meat in a single fast food burger could come from dozens or even hundreds of cows from all different regions and processing plants. Chemicals, additives and preservatives are added to processed foods so that they will last for as long as possible without affecting the flavor of the food.

Not all of us have the ability to be self-sufficient and grow our own foods, but we all have the ability to get more involved in our meal preparation. We can set aside time at the beginning of each week to pick out a few recipes, buy locally available produce from our grocery or farmers market, plan our meals for the week and really take initiative to know where your food is coming from and how it was prepared. And what better way to do this then to buy and prepare it ourselves?

A cooking demo at Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts New York teaching the guests of our weight loss camp how to make their own black bean salsa from a variety of whole foods: tomatoes, limes, beans, parsley, onion, cilantro and garlic.

A cooking demo at Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts New York teaching the guests of our weight loss camp how to make their own black bean salsa from a variety of whole foods: tomatoes, limes, beans, parsley, onion, cilantro and garlic.

When you are dining out, don’t be afraid to ask questions. How was this fish prepared? Was it doused in oil or butter? Is it farmed or fresh-caught? The lesson here is that the more involved you are in your food, the healthier your meal will be, and your body will thank you for it, whether you’re working on weight loss or not.

 

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