Fats: A Necessary Evil?

April 18, 2014 By: office Comments Off

In the 80s everywhere you went, from the grocery store to your nearest vending machine, that familiar phrase “Low Fat” rang out time and time again. It was almost as though fat was worse for you than the myriad chemicals present in the diet soda or ranch dressing you were consuming. Now, years later, we find things to be quite different. So much so, that a few years back a certain soft drink company rebranded themselves by launching a “Throwback” drink whose singular claim to fame was that it was making use of real sugar again…leaving us all to question, “Well, what was I drinking before?” A return to basics is being touted as the healthiest way toward staying…well, healthy.

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Still, fat has been one of those persistently hounded culprits in the battle of the bulge. And with good reason, I mean…isn’t that what we’re all being told to burn and limit? Fat? Cholesterol? Calories? They are the enemy! Not necessarily. It’s important to stress, as a good part of any diet, the ability to differentiate between good fats and bad ones. So if you’re going to be watching fats as part of your weight-loss regimen, keep these important points in mind to dispel whatever myths you may have been fed about fat in the past.

  • Fats can be divided into two teams…the “hero” fats and the “bad guy” fats. Stick with the hero fats, unless you want to get locked up in a prison of your own creation! “Hero” fats include: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. “Bad Guy” fats include: trans fats and some saturated fats (excluding the aforementioned ones).
  • Never judge a food product by its label alone. “Fat-free” or “low-fat” isn’t an invitation to gorge yourself on whatever it is you’re consuming. In fact, many of these products have been reently found to include ingredients with addictive properties that leave you coming back for more and overeating, as a result, so watch it!
  • Become a fan of the “FANS” acronym. And keep it in mind when deciding which fats you should be eating more of. Fish, Avocado, Nuts and Seeds contain some of the very best complex fats that your body needs to consistently feel and look its very best.

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So to recap, not all fats you come across are out to get you, it’s just important to be aware of the ones that are!

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!

 

Portion Distortion Lesson from Weight Loss Camps for Adults

October 9, 2013 By: consultant 1,980 Comments

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

 Portion Distorition

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

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

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

Weight Loss Camps Pre & Post Workout Meals/Snacks

October 2, 2013 By: consultant 3 Comments

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

Pre-Workout Meals and Snacks

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

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

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

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

 

Post-Workout Meals and Snacks

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

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

 

Healthy Snacking

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

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

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

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.

 

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.

Weight Loss Camps Tips for Fall Harvest

August 28, 2013 By: office 1 Comment
Pumpkin Moose

Pumpkin Moose a recipe from our Meal Simple Camp Shane cookbook

September is just around the corner and as the September days come and go the air gets cooler, the leaves begin to change color, and some of our favorite vegetables come into season; Pumpkin and winter squash. These two versatile vegetables, and two favorites of our nutritionists at our weight loss camps, can be used in an array of recipes, ranging from desserts to main dishes. Here are some of the choices you can choose from, how to prepare them for cooking, and how to share them with your family and friends:

Pumpkin is most useful in its canned form and easy to keep on hand in your pantry. Be careful when shopping to avoid canned pumpkin pie filling, which has added sugar and fat. Look for canned pure pumpkin and load up for the off season when even the canned version can become hard to find in stores. Pumpkin puree can be used as a baking substitute for eggs and oil in cake recipes making for a thick and rich texture, added to your morning oatmeal for some extra flavor and fiber, or in a quick and simple soup with chicken broth, canned pure pumpkin, and veggies of your choice.

Winter Squash is great for creating a hearty and colorful meal. Some of the most popular include butternut squash, acorn squash, and spaghetti squash. Butternut and acorn are very similar in taste and preparation but can be identified by their different shapes. Spaghetti squash is unique in its preparation and as the name states, looks like spaghetti on your plate!

When choosing a butternut squash look for ones with longer and thicker stems as most of the “meat” comes from this part and the bottom is where the hollow and seeded part is located. To prep your butternut squash start by peeling the skin from the outside with a potato peeler (be careful when dealing with its awkward shape not to cut yourself). Then cut the squash in half length wise so both the stem and bottom will be cut in half. Next, scoop out the seeds from the center and begin to cube up your butternut. If this is too much work you can find precut and cubed squash in your groceries refrigerated section.  Butternut squash can be roasted up with onions, apples, olive oil, cinnamon, and salt for a side dish, made into a vegetarian chili with black beans and tomatoes, or into muffins for sweet treat.  Acorn squash can be substituted for butternut in many recipes, but is harder to peel and cube. Acorn squashes are good for cutting in half, roasting, and stuffing with foods such as brown rice, beans, and veggies.

Spaghetti squash is a large yellow oval shape and can be found in the produce section with other squash selections. Start by cutting the squash in half length wise (this is sometimes difficult) and remove the seeds and pulp. Then place the squash face down on a baking pan and cook for about 30 to 40 minutes in the oven depending on the size of the squash at 375 degrees. If you don’t have a lot of time or only have access to a microwave no problem. Place the squash in a shallow dish with enough water to cover the bottom and place saran wrap over the dish. Microwave for about 6 to 8 minutes, remove the plastic film and let stand for a minute or two. If the squash is fork tender and starts to stings when you scrap it length wise it’s ready to go! Scoop out the contents from both halves with a fork to get the full spaghetti effect. This squash can be used as a pasta replacement, and can even be served as a sweet dish with a little butter or margarine and cinnamon sugar.

There are so many different uses for pumpkin and squash. Take some of these helpful tips from the nutritionists from our weight loss camps and you will be making delicious dishes everyone will love.

Shane Weight Loss Camps Tips on Stocking a Healthy Pantry

August 14, 2013 By: consultant 4 Comments

groceryshoppingHaving the right staple foods in your pantry can sound like a pain to keep up with, but with a few tips, it can be easy as pie (which is not a pantry staple).  At Shane weight loss camps we teach that a healthy, well-stocked pantry is important when trying to maintain a well balanced diet. Even on the days that are busy, knowing you have enough items around to put together snacks and a balanced meal is crucial to sticking with your commitment to a healthy lifestyle.  It will also help you save money, since you can grab foods from home instead of buying from convenience stores.

Some helpful tips to remember are:

  • Keep the freezer full: Frozen proteins such as chicken, turkey, or hamburgers are great to keep around when you don’t have the time to buy meat fresh from the supermarket.  Thaw in the microwave for a few minutes and it’s ready to cook up. Frozen veggies are another staple. These are perfect for making into a quick stir-fry or side, and are also easy to pick up on sale.
  • Canned foods are a must have. They are cheap, easy to pick up at any time, and have an extremely long shelf life. Just make sure to rinse your canned items under water to wash away the high-sodium syrup they are preserved in.  When buying canned foods such as fruit or tuna fish, buy ones that are water based, and when buying canned vegetables, stick to no or low sodium items.
  • When buying grains, make sure to go for the ‘whole grain’ grain products. Don’t be fooled by the ingredient ‘wheat’- white flour is wheat too!  Pasta’s, rice’s, quinoa all have a good shelf life and don’t take long to cook. Be sure to keep your wraps, pita’s, and breads in the fridge if they seem to spoil quickly.
  • Fruits and vegetables are essential items for the household.  Not only are they high in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, they are low in calories, and also make great grab-and-go snacks.  Apples can last up to 3 weeks when refrigerated and raw carrots are a great way to work another serving of vegetables into your day.
  • Besides your meat based lean protein sources, there are also other plant-based proteins that are great to have on hand in your pantry.  Sunflower seeds, almonds, or other nuts are great to grab as a quick snack or throw into a salad, and eggs or tofu are great foods to work into your meals.
  • Dairy sources are essential to have on hand, as you want to get 3 servings a day.  Dairy options are usually refrigerated so there’s not too much worry in foods spoiling. If you aren’t a big milk drinker, stick with the half gallon or smaller of skim or 1% milk. Low fat, Greek yogurt, and cottage cheese are great additions to breakfast and easy to take as a snack, and low fat shredded cheeses are perfect to add a light sprinkle to dress up meals.

The key to keeping a healthy pantry is just making sure that you have the healthy essentials at all times. This way not matter what, you always have what you need for a healthy meal.

 

Nutrition Tip: Keep your eyes out for frozen food sales.  Having frozen veggies and lean proteins on hand can help whenever you’re in a pinch and don’t have time to buy or cook fresh foods. But because you don’t need them immediately, wait for the price to go down first!

Healthy Vacation Tips from the Shane Family Weight Loss Camp

July 29, 2013 By: consultant 29 Comments

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

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

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

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

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

Weight Loss Camps Explains The Benefits of Whole Grains

July 23, 2013 By: consultant 5 Comments

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

 

What is the difference between whole grains and refined grains?

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

 

Health Benefits

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

 

What to look for on labels

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

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

 

Tips for including more whole grains

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

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