Shape Up Your Christmas List – From Your Adult Weight Loss Camp

December 12, 2013 By: consultant 15 Comments

Giving or receiving holiday gifts can be a terrific opportunity to bump up a fitness program. The below list of equipment complied by fitness trainers at our  adult weight loss camp supports a healthy lifestyle, well-being and of course weight loss. You can please your health conscious spouse, a faithful workout partner, and even an open minded couch potato.  Need a gift for office buddies?  Turn it into a gift that keeps on giving throughout the year by developing a time to use the fitness gift during the day on a 15 minute break or lunch hour. You can also use this list to drop hints for yourself.

  • Exercise Tubing and Bands are portable and versatile, perfect for toning muscles. A recent study shows, with proper form, tubes and bands are as effective on muscle development as dumbbells and machines. Great for hiding in a desk drawer.
  • Foam Roller uses self-massage and acupressure techniques to get rid of knots, drive out lactic acid, and relax your muscles after a vigorous workout. Using a foam roller increases circulation to soft tissue.
  • Gift Certificate to Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts will be the best gift of all!  You and your buddies and/or loved ones can come together to one of the wonderful adult weight loss camps to recharge your battery, learn better eating habits, and get inspired with fun creative classes to teach you how to use all these exercise gadgets.
  • Heart Rate Monitor comes with a chest strap you wear during your exercise program. It helps you stay within your target heart rate zone for a safe and more effective workout.
  • Kettlebells are a terrific workout tool.  Studies show that you burn around 20 calories per minute, since it combines strength training and cardio at the same time. Great for adding functional fitness to your existing program. Women should start at 8 lbs, men at 10 lbs.
  • Medicine Balls are fun and functional.  Terrific for abdominal work and come in a variety of sizes and weights to add unlimited variety.
  • Pedometers, perfect for your office buddies.  Wear them during the day at the office and see who accumulates the most steps. They also keep you mindful of achieving your weight loss and fitness goals.
  • Running Shoes are a great idea since we tend to keep our sneakers long after they are worn out. Get a gift certificate so they can be properly-fitted and are happy with the styling.
  • Stability Balls are great to use at home and at the office to sit on as well as exercise and stretch with. They come in a variety of sizes to suit your height. Short – 55cc, Medium – 65 cc, Tall – 75cc.
  • Stretch/Yoga Mats can get worn out with lots of use.  It is always a nice thought to find one that is made from recycled or eco-friendly ingredients. Keep in mind the mats thickness – some people appreciate the extra padding.
  • Stretching Strap/Yoga Tie will come in handy to assist with all types of flexibility exercises for a more effective routine. You relax and let the strap do the work.
  • Yoga Blocks are wonderful for someone beginning a yoga class or who does not have a lot of flexibility.  They help you perform certain standing and seated positions intended to improve strength, stamina, and flexibility.

Remember, you can be a positive influence in the lives of the people you care about. Your gift can enhance some ones quality of life and give you another exercise partner to support you as well.  It is a win-win!

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Has Your Weight Loss Diet Gone Stale?

December 2, 2013 By: Guest 9 Comments

Tips To Help Make Weight Loss Successful

Here is a post from Tara Heath, a freelance writer on health and wellness, offers a fun personal take on some common tips and knowledge that she’s found useful in her own weight loss journey.

About three months ago, having indulged in a delightful—albeit, not especially healthy—summer of margaritas, barbecues and yes, I’ll admit it, the occasional GIGANTIC ice cream cone, I found myself standing on the scale in my bathroom and staring at a truly disturbing number. My mind flashed forward to the pending holiday season and I shuddered. I could just imagine all my well-meaning-but-judgmental relatives whispering behind their hands about my new . . . uh. . .voluptuousness.

It was time to go on a diet.

 Weight Loss Diet Tips

I confess I was not especially optimistic. After all, I’ve done the dieting thing once or twice (or seventy billion times). Who amongst us hasn’t? And, while I could usually drum up some impressive motivation at first, after a few weeks I’d decide that I didn’t really need to get all the way to my goal weight. Sometimes I’d manage to keep off the weight that I’d lost up to that point– more often I did not. So, this time, I decided to do a little research and find some changes I could actually stick with.

And you know what? I learned a lot.

For one thing, losing weight doesn’t necessarily mean immediately dropping all the foods I love and replacing them with nothing but salads and skinless chicken breast, nor does it mean hours in the gym every day. Gradual changes in diet and exercise can actually be much more effective, because they’re easier and don’t make you feel deprived and discouraged.  Healthy weight loss takes time.

Here are a few other things I’ve learned:

1. Focus on what you’re adding to your diet, rather than what you’re taking away.

For me, this was really important. In the past, I’ve often struggled because I’ve felt frustrated at having to give up the things I loved and replace them with things I really didn’t love, and I hated always feeling hungry. When I started putting my attention on simply adding more good stuff –like fruit, spinach and healthy smoothies—rather than sacrificing all things yummy, I immediately felt better about the whole concept of dieting.

 

2. Eat when you’re hungry

There are actually two parts to this little gem. One of them, of course, is the need to really stop and examine your motivations for eating. Am I actually feeling hunger, or am I just giving in to that craving for some salty potato chips? However, the second part of this equation was more surprising for me. “Eat when you’re hungry,” means just that: eat. when. you’re. hungry.

When you feel those pangs, stop what you’re doing and take the time to eat. So often we wait until we’re ravenous. And what do you do when you’re starving and faced with a whole refrigerator full of food? If you’re anything like me, you pretty much eat everything in sight– not good for the weight loss thing.

 

3. Choose healthier nighttime snacks

I know. Some people swear that in order to succeed, you can’t eat anything after 6:00. Unfortunately, I’ve just never been able to make that happen. However, I have found that I can choose healthier snacks. Rather than buttery popcorn or a cookie, I’ll have a low-fat yogurt or a fruit smoothie.

 

4. Don’t eat your stress away

Sigh. I am a stress eater. There’s no two ways about it.  Things get crazy in my life and I immediately head for the freezer.  A pint of Ben and Jerry’s has gotten me through more hard times than I care to admit. So, I had to find new ways to deal with my stress. Long walks have proven to be a surprisingly enjoyable substitution for me.

In the end, for me, it’s worth it. Judgmental relatives aside, I want to live a long, full life. According the National Institutes of Health, obesity can cause high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, cancer and perhaps most alarmingly, heart disease, which is the #1 cause of death in America. Simply ignoring heart disease won’t lower your risk. Maintaining a healthy weight, eating well and exercising regularly can dramatically reduce the risk of these problems and so many others. and I like my life– love it, in fact– and I’m not planning on going anywhere, anytime soon.

 

 

Tara Heath is a health enthusiast and freelance writer living in Southern California, and her writing covers everything on personal wellness and lifestyle. While she may indulge in the occasional treat now and then, she makes sure to remember that moderation is everything!

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Weight Loss Camp Healthy Holiday Eating Guide

November 25, 2013 By: consultant 1 Comment

Come out of the holidays lighter and cheerier!

At our weight loss camp we know how important it is to continue our healthy eating during the holidays, but we also know that these holidays only come around once a year and it’s okay to indulge a bit!

On the actual holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas), eat what you want!  It’s a special time of year with special foods that we don’t get everyday.  But for all the days in between and around the holidays (there are 54 days between Halloween and Christmas and 60 till New Year’s day), stick to your food and exercise plan and you’ll be successful in continuing with your health goals even during the most challenging time of year.

Tips for Parties:

  • Don’t go to parties on an empty stomach
  • Eat very well the rest of the day, being mindful of portion sizes – and eat a little lighter than usual if you know you’ll be eating extra for dinner
  • Limit snacking on appetizers.
  • One-bite rule – if you feel obligated to or just want to try all of the dishes at a party, just get one bite of each item so you get a taste but don’t end up with too much by the end of the meal.
  • Eat mindfully!  Especially if you’re going for the one-bite rule, eat slowly and savor each bite.  This will allow you to enjoy all of the same foods but be satisfied on smaller amounts.
  • Make sure you bring a healthy dish – this guarantees you’ll have “safe” food to eat no matter what the circumstances.
  • If you are in charge of planning a party (home or office party), give everyone a theme of “healthy holidays” where the goal is to bring lightened up versions of holiday recipes
  • Try to incorporate all of the food groups into your main meal like you would for other normal meals.  This helps to balance your plate and keep you from getting too much of any one item.

Socializing:

  • Try hanging around areas other than where the food is located (out of site, out of mind!)

The rest of the time:  (All the days around Thanksgiving and Christmas)

  • Have a little extra discipline with food choices, making sure to watch portion sizes and eat an overall balance among all food groups

 

If you follow these simple steps, you can’t lose anything but pounds!

 

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Weight Loss Resorts Healthy Snacking Tips

November 21, 2013 By: consultant 1 Comment

Planning and sticking with your healthy snacks can sometimes be even harder than it is to plan for meals.  You can find yourself having unplanned cake at an office birthday party, nibbling on after school snacks with the kids, or caught in a past habit of having a before-bed splurge.  Before you know it, your 100-200 calorie snack has turned into an extra meal…or two! This is an issue a lot of out weight loss resorts guests are having.

Becoming mindful of 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 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 overindulge on it.

Here is a healthy snack recipe from our Snack Simple booklet (that will be available soon!) by our weight loss resorts RD Megan.

Mayan Pumpkin Seed Dip

Makes 5 servings of 1/4 cup & 5 whole grain tortilla chipsMayan Pumpkin Seed Dip

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup shelled pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced shallots
  • 1 diced jalapeno
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tbsp dried parsley or 1/4 cup fresh
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, lightly packed
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp grated orange zest
  • 1/4 cup water

Directions

  • Toast the pumpkin seeds over medium heat in a large skillet for five minutes, tossing occasionally. Place seeds in food processor.
  • In the same skillet, heat 1 tbsp olive oil, add shallots, jalapeno, and garlic cloves. Place mixture in food processor with pumpkin seeds.
  • Add the parsley, cilantro, remaining olive oil, lime juice orange zest and water to food processor and puree until smooth. Serve with tortilla or pita chips.
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Weight Loss Camp Trainer, Discusses Excuses

November 12, 2013 By: consultant Comments Off

Liz-Team-PhotoAs a trainer, I hear “I don’t have enough time to workout” quite a bit and that is one of the biggest obstacles guests at Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts weight loss camp ask me how to overcome. Work, kids, job, school, errands, the list goes on. But I promise you there are ways to make time! Here are a few suggestions for you to be able to fit exercise into your daily life.

1. Take 10! 

For those of you that really can’t dedicate a full block of time for exercise, just commit to 10 minute exercise breaks.

The recommended amount of exercise for adults is a moderate to intense cardio respiratory exercise, 30-60 minutes; five times a week minimum and strength guidelines are to work each major muscle group two to three days a week. ACSM guidelines say this time can be divided up throughout the day with smaller bouts of exercise. For example you could complete 10 minutes when you wake up, 10 minutes on your lunch break, and 10 minutes when you get home from work and you have the recommended amount of exercise checked off for that day.

2. Plan ahead.

Here are a few ways to plan ahead:

  • First, plan what time you will exercise. Morning, lunch break, after dinner?
  • Second, schedule the time in your calendar just like an appointment you wouldn’t want to miss and keep that same schedule and time so it becomes a habit.
  • Third, set out your clothes, gym bag, water, iPod, shoes, pre or post workout snack, and whatever else you may need the night before so you can grab it and go the next day.

3. Daily lifestyle and activities

Here are a few options to increase your caloric burn and fit in extra mini workouts:

  • Take the stairs wherever you can. This will increase your heart rate and calorie burn as well as build your backside.
  • Find a parking spot farther away from the entrance.
  • Take 10! Run around with your kids or dog, or take a short walk around the block.
  • Skip the chair. Standing may burn somewhere between 20-50 calories more per hour than sitting. This may not seem like much but over the course of the day it can definitely add up!

 

Most importantly, everyone is different!  See which workout-timing strategies work better for you then keep up the hard work for amazing results!

 

Written by: Liz Mitchell, BS, CPT, NASM WLS

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4 Fad Weight Loss Diets to Skip

November 7, 2013 By: consultant 2 Comments

These days it seems that we are constantly bombarded with new ideas on how we should be eating to lose weight as fast as possible.  Usually fad diets promote rapid weight loss and involve over-restricting certain foods and eating large amounts of other foods.  It’s important to remember that we need an overall balance of the right foods in the right amounts to get all of the nutrients our body needs.  Depriving the body of key nutrients can be very harmful in the long run.  Keep in mind that like most things in life, if a diet sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  The best way to lose weight and become healthier is to eat a well balanced diet along with regular physical activity.

Here are some examples of four popular fad diets that may sound like a good idea for shedding those extra pounds, but are really not good for your body and may even be harmful over time.

1. Baby Food Diet:

Main Principle:  Replace 2 meals and all snacks each day with about 14 jars of baby food, and eat an adult-sized dinner.  The idea is to reduce calorie intake during the day to jumpstart weight loss.

Why it’s not a good idea:  Babies and adults have different nutritional needs, especially in terms of calories, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.  Eating baby food for most meals will not meet the needs of an adult, nor has this diet been proven sustainable, as most adults can only eat baby food for a certain amount of time before tiring of it.

2. The 5-Bite Diet:

Main Principle: Skip breakfast and eat only 5 bites of any food of your choice for lunch and dinner.  No snacks.  The idea is to train your body to be satisfied on fewer calories.

Why it’s not a good idea: This promotes a very low calorie diet, likely below the nutritional needs for the average adult.  This promotes weight loss from water and lean stores (muscle), not from fat.  Also, 10 bites of food each day is likely not anywhere near enough to get enough nutrition for the body each day.  Even the creator of this diet recommends taking a multivitamin and including protein each day to address this issue.  Healthy eating plans allow you to get enough nutrition through food.

3.  Feeding Tube Diet: 

Main Principle: Participants pay to have a feeding tube inserted through their nose and into the stomach, through which they are fed only 800 calories per day and monitored daily for complications.  The tube is worn for 10 days at a time and is heavily promoted for use of brides-to-be.

Why it’s not a good idea: 800 calories through a feeding tube isn’t metabolically different than eating 800 calories of food.  That amount of calories is also very low and can be considered unsafe, especially with long-term use.  There are also many side effects to using feeding tubes, including discomfort, infection, dizziness, headache, dehydration, and more.  Feeding tubes are meant for use in hospitals for patients who cannot eat food orally, and not designed for this type of use.

4.  The 8-Hour Diet:

Main Principle:  Eat whatever you want for 8 hours each day then stop eating for the next 16 hours.  The idea is that extended periods of fasting on a regular basis will promote weight loss.

Why it’s not a good idea: Putting your body in a fasting state 16 hours each day puts the body in a state of stress, which may actually increase fat retention.  Weight loss tends to be from water, meaning it will likely come right back.  Also, what you eat is so important, and eating poor food choices instead of healthful ones during those 8 hours will not have beneficial health impacts on the body, and may cause harm long-term.

 

It is important to remember that there are no miracle diets. Even if one of these fad diets help you lose weight, chances are it’s going to be temporary and could cause other issues. At Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts we focus on the most proven way to lose weight and that is with physical activity and eating healthy, well balanced, nutritional meals. We also provide each of our guests with a personalized At Home Plan to help them reach their weight loss goals even after they leave.

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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.

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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.

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Renewing Your Fitness Goals After Weight Loss Camp

September 13, 2013 By: consultant 12 Comments

IMG_2364I am writing this blog to all past guests. Whether you were with us at one of our weight loss camps this season, last season or any prior seasons, I’d like to re-emphasize your journey.

 
Those of you who have been home for some time, know it can be hard to translate an exercise routine from a structured program like ours to your home life. But I would like to remind you that it is never to late to start fresh. If things didn’t work out quite as you had planned when you returned home, ask yourself, why? What was it that made it hard? What can you take away as a learning experience from previous attempts at weight loss? Is there anything that could help alleviate some of the stress?

 
There is one thing I know about this situation, and that is that there’s no such thing as failure if something can be learned from the experience. Let’s face it, we can always learn something from our mistakes of the past, sometimes, we just have to look a little deeper than the surface. For those of you who have fallen off the fitness wagon, I challenge you to think about the steps that lead you there and take what you can out of them to make you a happier and healthier person moving forward. Then, I would like you to use this information, dust yourself off, get back up and get back in the game.

 
When you joined us, you made a promise to yourself to meet a goal, to get from point A to point B. We want to help you keep that promise to yourself.
So here I am asking you, have you been staying true to that promise? It’s okay to be honest with yourself. If you’re one that has been successful at home or that has not been home long enough to know, use these thoughts to prepare yourself for possible hard times in the future. However, if the transition has not gone as planned, let’s address this. Even if you started the transition smoothly but fell off the wagon recently, how can you change direction and start moving forward again? To better help you at home, we would like to provide you with some tools.

 
The Shane Team and I will be posting regular fitness and nutrition blogs with topics relevant to fitness, nutrition, healthy living and motivation to help you get back on the weight loss and wellness journey. Just like we were there for you at the resorts guiding you, we are going to again be here for you and help you stay on track. We will also be posting fitness challenges, exercises, inspirational thoughts and quotes on our social media pages, like Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest. If you were with us before, it is not too late to dust off the old exercise program, and get started again. Tomorrow is a good day to also start that healthy eating plan, to start incorporating more movement in your day and to build positive thinking into your life. For those who have not been with us before, visit our website.

 
Think you need a refresher? Check out our Weekend Jumpstart Program at our Texas weight loss camp, a great way to help you get back on the road to success.

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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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