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 11 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 3 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 Post a Comment

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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Shane Weight Loss Camps Tips on Stocking a Healthy Pantry

August 14, 2013 By: consultant 2 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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Alcohol & Nutrition From Our Weight Loss Camp for Adults

August 4, 2013 By: consultant Post a 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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Healthy Vacation Tips from the Shane Family Weight Loss Camp

July 29, 2013 By: consultant 12 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 1 Comment

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 1 Comment

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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Healthy & Weight Loss Friendly July 4th Cookouts

July 3, 2013 By: amiller 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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