Fun and Tasty Watermelon Recipe!

August 18, 2014 By: office Comments Off

Written by: Kori Mann, Nutrition Intern

watermelon recipeWhen the summer heat hits and everyone is looking for a way to stay cool, not much can beat an ice cold slice of watermelon. Originating from southern Africa, watermelon proves more nutritionally dense than most would think. 92% of the fruit is water and it contains antioxidants including vitamin c and lycopene; the latter is involved in cancer prevention research, particularly in regards to prostate health. Two cups of diced watermelon is about 80 calories, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 270 milligrams of potassium, 30 per cent of the Daily Value for Vitamin A, and 25 per cent for Vitamin C.

The water and potassium content make watermelon a great post-workout snack. Though the fruit alone is delicious, try adding pieces to a salad with some balsamic vinegar, blending some into a fruit smoothie, or making a surprising salsa to go with your meal. Even adding watermelon to a stir fry is a fun way to bring in color and natural sweetness to a dish! Save money and buy your melon whole instead of pre-cut; look for a fruit that is heavier than it seems with a cream-colored patch on the side. Info gathered from watermelon.org Try serving this with your next meal:

Watermelon Gazpacho

Recipe adapted from “A Couple Cooks” website

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • About 8 cups watermelon, cubed
  • 1 medium cucumber, diced
  • 1 medium tomato, quartered
  • 2 medium shallots, peeled and quartered
  • 1⁄4 cup loosely packed basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • A few dashes hot sauce (optional)

Directions

Place the watermelon into a blender or food processor and blend. Pour into a bowl or container, and set aside. Place the cucumber, tomato, shallots, and basil leaves into the food processor. Blend until smooth. Pour the mixture into the container with the watermelon and mix them until fully combined. Stir in the red wine vinegar, the salt, and add the hot sauce. Chill for 2-3 hours before serving.

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Adult Weight Loss Camp Advocate for Healthy Hearts

February 17, 2014 By: consultant 25 Comments

Eat more fruits and vegetables for a healthy heart!

While Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the U.S., many of the risk factors are largely preventable through healthy eating and lifestyle patterns.  One of the most important dietary factors often overlooked is our intake of fruit and vegetables.   We all hear that eating more fruit and veggies is important, but most people aren’t getting nearly enough of these amazing disease-fighting foods.   While the USDA recommends adults consume at least 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables each day, the Produce for Better Health Foundation published findings that the average person consumes only 1.8 cups combined of fruit and vegetables each day, which is less than half of the recommended amounts.  In terms of heart health, fruit and vegetable intake is closely correlated with healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels, along with reduced risk of heart attacks.

A very important study (The Nurses’ Healthy Study and Healthy Professionals follow-up study) concluded that people who consumed larger amounts of fruit and vegetables had a reduced risk of developing heart disease.  In fact, those who had 8 or more servings of fruit and vegetables each day were 30% less likely to have a heart attack than those who ate the fewest servings.  Those who ate 5 servings of fruits and veggies still had a 20% reduced risk of having heart attacks.

Not only are fruits and veggies great sources of fiber, vitamins and minerals, but they also contain antioxidants, which are compounds in fruits and vegetables (especially deeply colored ones) that may help reverse cellular damage and may play a role in the prevention of illnesses like cancer and heart disease.

If all of this isn’t enough to get you running to the nearest farmer’s market or produce section of your grocery store, here’s another great benefit of getting in those fruits and veggies:  these are some of the best “diet-friendly” foods because they are what we call “nutrient dense” meaning they have very high nutritional value for minimal calories.  They’re the foods that are always great to eat more of if you’re still feeling hungry but trying to watch your calorie intake, which is something we tell our guests of our adult weight loss camp.   So make a point to add more fruits and veggies to your day to improve your health!

 

Here’s a fresh, delicious, and heart healthy recipe.  It’s a delicious green smoothie we make at Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts for a healthy snack or dessert.  Our guests love it, and this is the perfect way to sneak extra veggies into your day!

Berry Spinach Smoothie

Makes 4 servings (about 10 ounces each)Green Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 2 Bananas
  • 2 cups ice (preferably crushed)
  • 1 cups Blueberries
  • 1 cup Strawberries, chopped
  • 2 cups spinach (packed)
  • ½ cup plain Soymilk

 

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.  If needed, ingredients can be added individually if the blender is too full.

 

Nutrition Info Per serving (about 10 ounces):  115 calories, 24g carbohydrate, 1g fat, 4 g protein, 41mg sodium, 14 g sugar

 

References:

  1. Hung HC, Joshipura KJ, Jiang R, et al. Fruit and vegetable intake and risk of major chronic disease. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2004; 96:1577–84.
  2. State of the Plate: 2010 Study on America’s Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables, 2010.
  3. Produce for Better Health Foundation. Web. http://www.pbhfoundation.org
  4. http://www.choosemyplate.gov/printpages/MyPlateFoodGroups/Vegetables/food-groups.vegetables-amount.pdf
  5. http://www.choosemyplate.gov/printpages/MyPlateFoodGroups/Fruits/food-groups.fruits-amount.pdf
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Weight Loss Camp Discusses the Benefits of a Flexitarian Lifestyle

January 2, 2014 By: consultant 4 Comments

I’m sure you’re thinking what is Flexitarianism? Megan Ware, one of our weight loss camps RD’s explains. The newly coined term can be used to describe anyone following a plant-based diet that occasionally consumes meat. Any time you replace meat with vegetables, you are cutting back on calories and gaining valuable nutrients. If weight loss isn’t enough of reason, check this out:

  • It has been estimated that 8% of deaths in women and almost 10% of deaths in men could be prevented if people consumed less than half a serving per day of red meat, according to Adam Bernstein, research director at the renowned Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute.

  • The National Institute of Health-AARP conducted a study on half a million people and found that those who ate the most red meat had a 30% higher mortality rate than those who ate the least.

  • The risk of colon and rectal cancer rises by about 20% for every serving of red or processed meat you eat in a day, according to the National Cancer Institute.

This doesn’t mean you have to become a strict vegan. Start small:

  • The next time you’re ordering or preparing anything from an omelet to a burrito, replace the meat with tomato, spinach, mushrooms, peppers, onions or any other vegetable you enjoy. You can turn any mediocre meal into healthier one using this tip—pizza, spaghetti sauces, wraps, sandwiches, you name it.

  • Go meatless one day per week. Participate in meatless Monday, a campaign launched in 2003 in association with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The “cut out meat one day a week” program is active in 23 countries and growing! Start by trying this alternative to the classic burger: 

Black Bean Burgers

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained

  • 1 egg

  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped

  • 1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 teaspoon dried basil

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or granules

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Hot sauce to taste

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive or canola oil

  • 6 whole wheat hamburger buns

  • 6 green leaf lettuce leaves

  • 2 tomatoes, sliced

  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced

Directions:

  1. Put beans in a large bowl and mash well with a fork. Add egg, yellow onion, bread crumbs, oregano, basil, garlic powder, salt, pepper and hot sauce. Mix well to combine then shape into 6 patties.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Arrange patties in a single layer (working in batches, if needed) and cook, flipping once, until golden brown on both sides and cooked through, about 10 minutes total. Transfer to buns, top with lettuce, tomatoes and red onions and serve.

Nutrition and Cooking Tips:

  • Black beans are included in the family of dried beans and peas known as legumes. They are high in protein and fiber, low in fat, and rich in several essential vitamins and minerals. The nutrients in black beans aid in normal body processes, maintain good health and fight chronic disease.  They are great source of iron and 5 percent of the daily value for calcium. Black beans also provide significant amounts of the minerals magnesium, phosphorus and manganese, and the B vitamins -thiamin and folate, or folic acid.  www.Livestrong.com

  • Make your own whole wheat bread crumbs. Either use stale whole wheat bread or toast up some whole wheat bread and process in a food processor until there are crumbs. Season with herbs.

  • Scoop out the whole wheat bun if serving on a bun. Other options are eating it open faced or on a bed of lettuce.

  • Top your burger with a variety of vegetables.

Nutrition Facts: Calories: 290 kcal Total Fat: 7 g Total Carbohydrates: 47 g Dietary Fiber: 10 g Protein: 12 g

 

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants.” – Michael Pollan

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Brighten Your Day – A Shane Weight Loss Resort Recipe

December 5, 2013 By: consultant 4 Comments

During this time of year, with it being fall and winter, weather isn’t always the best. It gets darker earlier, in some areas it’s snowing, raining or foggy and let’s face it, we could all use a little more sunshine.

Our weight loss resort in Texas made a Sunshine Cinnamon-Maple Quinoa with Pecans and Fruit for a cooking class. A delicious dish that will help brighten your day!

 

Sunshine Cinnamon-Maple Quinoa with Pecans and Fruit

Makes 4 servings

 

Ingredients:Sunshine Cinnamon-Maple Quinoa

  • 1 cup quinoa (uncooked)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (can also use skim or soy milk)
  • 1 cup chopped apple
  • ½ cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or sliced almonds
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon

 

Directions:

  • In small pot over medium heat, cook quinoa in water with cinnamon for about 20 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed and quinoa is cooked (check liquid after about 15 minutes, and if needed add and extra ½ cup water and finish the 20 minutes of cooking time).
  • While quinoa is cooking, toast pecans in a skillet on medium-low heat until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add maple syrup, pecans, apple, and blueberries to cooked quinoa.

Nutrition Info: Calories: 338, Total Fat: 17g, Sodium:  48mg, Total Carbohydrates: 39 g, Dietary Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 10g Protein: 8g

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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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Nutritional Benefits of Peanut Butter

November 15, 2013 By: consultant 5 Comments

Happy Peanut Butter Lovers Month!  Here’s some information on this popular snack food in acknowledgement of this occasion!

Peanut Butter and other nut butters, such as almond butter, tend to get a bad reputation because they are about 180-200 calories per serving, which sounds like too much for those trying to watch calorie intake and lose weight.  But, did you know peanut butter is actually packed with nutrition making those calories what we refer to as “nutrient-dense calories?”  This means there are high amounts of nutrients per calorie.  Foods like sugary soft drinks, cookies, chips, or other popular snack foods are referred to as “empty calories” because they don’t have many nutrients for all of the calories they contain.

When trying to get more nutrient-dense, satisfying, and healthy foods into your meal plan, peanut butter can be a great option.

Some nutritional highlights of peanut butter and other nut butters:

  • Good source of protein – Great for helping to fight off hunger

  • Fiber – Ideal for healthy digestion and may help reduce cholesterol

  • Source of healthy fats – Don’t let the high fat content of nut butters scare you; the fats found here are heart-healthy and also help you feel fuller longer.

  • Antioxidants – Also found in fruits and veggies, antioxidants may help prevent diseases

With all of its benefits, it can be easy to get a little carried away with our portion size of peanut butter.  However, it is important to keep in mind that too much of anything (even a good thing) can contribute to weight gain.  So make sure to measure out or pre-portion your peanut butter, so you still get the benefits without consuming too many calories.

Also, the type of peanut butter you eat is important.  Make sure to purchase peanut butter (or any nut butter) that is natural.  Look under the food label at the ingredient list–the best nut butters will have only 1 or 2 ingredients – for example, peanuts and salt.  The more natural the better because many peanut butters, including reduced-fat versions have lots of added oils and sugar that take away from the great nutrition properties this food has all on its own.

Here’s a tasty Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Banana Smoothie that tastes more like a milkshake than a healthy snack!

 

Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Banana Smoothie

Makes 1 serving

Recipe from Make and Takes by Two Peas and Their Pod

Recipe from Make and Takes by Two Peas and Their Pod

 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Banana
  • 1 TBS Cocoa Powder
  • 1 TBS Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 cup ice (preferably crushed)
  • 1 cup plain Soymilk, Skim, or Almond Milk 

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.  If needed, ingredients can be added individually if the blender is too full.

 

Approximate Nutrition Per Serving:  200 calories, 23g carbohydrate, 10g fat, 9 g protein, 121mg sodium, 12 g sugar

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Weight Loss Camps Tasty Halloween Treat

October 31, 2013 By: consultant Comments Off

Happy Halloween!

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

Chocolate Pumpkin Popcorn Balls

iStock_000017678604Medium

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

6 cups plain popped cornIngredients:

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

Directions:

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

 

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

 

Happy Halloween!

 

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Quick Breakfast Recipe From Your Favorite Weight Loss Camps

September 23, 2013 By: consultant 1 Comment

Whether you’re pressed for time in the mornings or you’re just not hungry, missing breakfast is one of the worst mistakes you can make when trying to lose weight and we teach this at all of our weight loss camps. We need breakfast to give our bodies fuel for the day ahead and to get our metabolisms revved up to burn off the calories we take in.

Try making these muffins on a Sunday and have them ready for the workweek, that way you can grab one and head straight out the door. By having one of these muffins instead of your standard Starbucks blueberry muffin, you’ll save 200 calories and 18g of fat! In this recipe, we substitute whole-wheat flour for white flour to provide extra fiber and use applesauce and pumpkin puree to replace the oil and butter. We slash the amount of sugar in most muffin recipes in half and add 1/8 cup of honey for some natural sweetness.

We challenge you this weekend to make these muffins or our Banana Bran muffins and eat them next week for breakfast. Tell us what twists you may of added, how it worked for you or what could have made them better!

 

Blueberry Pumpkin Oat Muffins

Makes 12 muffins (1 muffin= 1 serving)

Blueberry Pumpkin Moffins

Ingredients:

 

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • ¼ cup applesauce
  • ¾ cup skim milk
  • 1 ¼ cup can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1/8 cup honey

 

Directions:

 

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line muffin pans with paper cups or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Mix 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour with blueberries.
  • In a large bowl, combine remaining flour, oatmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda and cinnamon, mixing well.
  • In another bowl, combine applesauce, eggs, milk, pumpkin puree and honey, mixing well. Add moist ingredients to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened.
  • Gently fold blueberries into batter. Spoon into the muffin cups, filling each one 1/2 full.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean. Remove from oven and serve warm.

 

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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 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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