Step Ahead Wellness Center Blog

Recipe Corner: Cheesy Mushroom Quinoa

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Jul 17, 2013 @ 03:13 PM

quinoa mushroom pilaf

Packed with nutrition and a garlicky cheese flavor, this vegetarian recipe will even please carnivores. Questions/Comments? Email Sari Greaves, RDN: sari@stepaheadwellnesscenter.com

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 head baby bok choy, chopped

Handful washed kale leaves, stems removed

1 cup portabella mushrooms, chopped

1 (15.5 oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

3/4 teaspoon garlic powder

3/4 teaspoon coriander

1/4 cup nutritional yeast* or 1/4 cup shredded reduced-fat cheese

black pepper to taste

1. Cook quinoa according to package directions.

2. In a large wok or pan, add the oil, bok choy, kale, mushrooms, beans, garlic powder, and coriander. Saute over medium heat for several minutes, or until kale is wilted and the mushrooms and bok choy are softened.

3. Add the cooked quinoa and nutritional yeast into the wok and stir. Add black pepper to taste.

Serves 6 as a side dish.

Serving size: 3/4 cup: 165 calories, 10 grams protein

Adapted from Food & Nutrition Magazine, July/August 2013

*Nutritional yeast doesn't taste like yeast (you know, that strong, beer-like flavor). It comes in both powdered and flaked forms, and tastes nutty, cheesy and delightfully creamy. Many vegans use it as a cheese flavoring substitute, adding it to gravies, sauces, and mac n' cheese dishes. Vegetarians also take advantage of its great nutritional profile. At 60 calories per 2 Tbsp., nutritional yeast is an excellent source of protein, containing essential amino acids; it's full of vitamins, especially B-complex vitamins. You can find nutritional yeast in most grocery or  health food stores, but if it's not available in your area, there are great online sources: Bob's Red Mill or KAL-Yeast Flakes.

HUNGRY FOR MORE? Call Step Ahead Wellness Center today: 908-470-2235 to learn about our 

summer weight loss promotions!


Tags: meal plans, vegetarian, Diet and Nutrition, healthy eating, Dr. Neiman, Dr.Oz, prevention, summer weight loss, beach season, high protein, Bridal Boot Camp, Healthy Meals, Healthy Recipes, Nutrition, lose weight, online nutrition, beach body, health, low carb, summer recipes, healthy entertaining, lose weight fast

SIMPLE VACATION EXERCISE TIPS!

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Jul 10, 2013 @ 02:39 PM

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We all like to indulge while we’re on vacation (think all-inclusive buffets and umbrella drinks!), so we usually end up putting on more weight than we took off to go on the trip in the first place. It’s important to take a break and soak up the relaxing atmosphere, but that doesn’t mean that you should take a breather from your workout. Do your body a favor and follow these five fit travel tips and leave the bathing suit coverup behind.

Pack your workout clothes. It seems simple, but most of us don’t bother to pack them when we’re traveling. Sure, sneakers may be clunkier than some of your other items, so just wear them on the plane, train, or bus and save room in your suitcase. It’s also a good idea to sleep in your workout clothes so you can pop out of bed and be ready to travel comfortably.

Pack light fitness gear. Use mesh zippered packing cubes to store your fitness clothes so you know exactly where to find them in your big old suitcase. Another great, small, and inexpensive fitness product is called Yoga Paws. They’re little sticky mat gloves for your hands and feet that you can keep in your carry-on so you can do yoga without packing a big mat. You should also pack a small travel laundry bag to separate the sweaty workout clothes from the fresh ones. Tide has an adorable blue polka-dotted one that fights odor.

Eat vegetarian as much as you can. When in transit, treat apples, salads, veggie sides, tomato juice, and minestrone soup like gold if you see them on a menu or in a food cart. Eating like this will help you stay ‘regular’ and give you a flat belly, as well as provide good nutrition to fight colds and germs from others on the airplane. If you can’t find veggies, buy a Fiber One Bar. When at a restaurant, play the open & shut menu game. Open the menu, identify the three healthiest dishes, close the menu, and then start a conversation with those sitting with you. By the time the server comes to take your order, you’ll have forgotten about the tempting buttery or cheese-filled dishes you were initially drooling over. Once your healthy meal arrives, you’ll be satisfied and won’t even miss the fatty and fried dish you might have picked out. Plus you won’t feel bloated and can do something active, like going for a long scenic walk, after you digest your meal.

Plan an active vacation. When figuring out your game plan for the day, schedule a workout early so you don’t mess up anyone’s travel/sightseeing itineraries. Better yet, map out a sightseeing route and run a different way each day to explore the area. Pick activities that involve a hike, walking tour, swimming, snorkeling, or an adventure park with zip lines, swinging ropes, rock wall climbing, etc. Another tip: Book a hotel room on a high floor that’s far away from an elevator. This will motivate you to either take the stairs or walk down the long hallway to your room/elevator which equals more calories burned. There’s also a lot less noise when you’re not near the elevator which means you’ll get better sleep.

Bring multimedia that’ll get you moving. Create a heart-pumping selection of songs on your iPod or smartphone and bring any fitness DVDs that’ll wake up your mind and body.

For more vacation exercise tips, or fitness tips in general, contact our fitness director, Noelle Lusardi, at noelle@stepaheadwellnesscenter.com.

 

Tags: Personal Weight Loss, Exercise, diet, fitbit, Diet and Nutrition, fat burning classes, Dr. Neiman, summer weight loss, beach season, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, Personal Trainers, Fitness, Noelle Lusardi, group excercise classes, toning classes, Step Ahead exercise classes, Bridal Boot Camp, Physician Weight Loss, Nutrition, lose weight, bootcamp classes, beach body, Physician Weight Center, OptiFast, personal training, kickboxing, toning, muscle conditioning classes, Yoga classes, walking Bridal Boot Camp, health, Step Ahead, low calorie vegetables, wellness, exercise classes, group exercise, kickboxing classes, lose weight fast

RECIPE CORNER: STRAWBERRY HUMMUS PITA SANDWICHES

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Jul 10, 2013 @ 11:24 AM

strawberry hummusDid you know that strawberries are packed with essential vitamins, dietary fiber, potassium, and disease-fighting phytochemicals? One serving- about eight strawberries or one cup- has only 45 calories and more vitamin C than an orange. Step Ahead's Nutrition Director, Sari Greaves R.D.N., says "strawberries are one of the most versatile fruits that pair well with both sweet and savory dishes. Try this easy to assemble sandwich for a refreshing summer meal!

Bon Appetit! Questions/Comments email sari@stepaheadwellnesscenter.com

Makes 4 servings, 200 calories per sandwich half.

Ingredients

2 whole wheat pitas, cut in half (such as Sahara 150 calorie pita loafs)

1 cup shredded cooked chicken breast

1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion

1/2 cup sliced cucumber

4 medium strawberries, sliced

1 bunch watercress, arugula or any leafy green

1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled

4 tablespoons (about 1/4 cup) plain hummus (such as Sabra)

1. Combine chicken, strawberries and crumbled feta in bowl. To make the sandwiches, spread 1 tablespoon hummus inside each pita half. Fill with chicken mixture. Top with onion, cucumber, and leafy greens.

HUNGRY FOR MORE? CALL STEP AHEAD WELLNESS CENTER TODAY: 908.470.2235 TO LEARN ABOUT OUR SUMMER WEIGHT LOSS PROMOTIONS!

Recipe adapted from www.californiastrawberries.com

Tags: Personal Weight Loss, diet, Sari Greaves, swimsuit season, fruit recipes, Diet and Nutrition, healthy eating, fat burning classes, Dr.Oz, prevention, summer weight loss, beach season, high protein, summer sandwiches, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, Fitness, Bridal Boot Camp, Healthy Meals, Physician Weight Loss, Healthy Recipes, Nutrition, Heart Disease, lose weight, online nutrition, beach body, healthy entertaining, exercise classes, lose weight fast

Best-Fat Burning Foods

Posted by deborah neiman on Mon, Jul 01, 2013 @ 11:50 AM
Best Fat-Burning Foods

Tags: Weight Loss, Sari Greaves, swimsuit season, healthy eating, fat burning classes, Dr. Neiman, Dr.Oz, summer weight loss, beach season, Healthy Meals, Healthy Recipes, Nutrition, Heart Disease, lose weight, online nutrition, beach body, OptiFast, toning, health, low carb, lose weight fast, sharecare

Recipe Corner: Summer Strawberry Salad

Posted by deborah neiman on Mon, Jul 01, 2013 @ 11:47 AM
Sari's Strawberry Salad- Fox News

Tags: diet, Sari Greaves, swimsuit season, Diet and Nutrition, Dr. Neiman, Dr.Oz, summer weight loss, beach season, beach body, Step Ahead, wellness, summer recipes, sharecare

EXERCISE ON VACATION? WHY YOU SHOULD!

Posted by deborah neiman on Fri, Jun 28, 2013 @ 02:29 PM

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You have a big vacation planned – you’re headed to the beach to bask in the sun or to the mountains to breathe in some fresh air. It’s a chance to see new scenery, relax and unwind. It’s therapeutic to have a break and see new sites – but what about your workout? You’ve been exercising most days of the week and are enjoying the results you’re seeing. Should you work out on vacation or take a break?

 If You Take a Break, Will You Become Less Fit?

Here’s the good news. Even if you take a full week off from exercise, you won’t experience a decline in your fitness level. Detraining doesn’t happen that quickly. It usually takes 2 weeks away from endurance exercise to experience a decline in aerobic capacity and you won’t begin losing your strength gains for three to four weeks. So you’re not going to lose the gains you worked so hard to achieve by taking a few days or even a week off.

The Argument for Exercising on Vacation

Before leaving your exercise clothes at home, there are some good reasons to work out even when you’re on vacation. Most people feel better when they stay active and stick with some semblance of a routine when they’re away from home. Plus, you probably won’t eat as cleanly as you do at home, so exercise will help you compensate for those vacation splurges and those high-calorie restaurant dinners. If you’re taking a short vacation, a night or two away from home, it’s easy to justify taking a break, but if you’re taking a vacation that’s longer, you may miss working out after a day or two.

 Keep It Simple – Bring Along Your iPad and a Download

The good news is it’s simpler than ever to exercise on vacation. Download workouts onto an iPad, laptop or iPhone to guide you through a quick sweat session in your hotel room. Choose a short, high-intensity interval workout. Do it as soon as you get up to get it out of the way. You’ll give your metabolism a boost and keep it elevated for hours, while you’re enjoying the sand and the surf. There’s another advantage. You’ll feel less guilty when you nibble on things you wouldn’t routinely eat.

For resistance training, drop some resistance bands into your suitcase or travel bag. Resistance bands travel well and are one of the most versatile pieces of exercise equipment around. Kickboxing workouts are another heart-pumping workout you can do in a small space with no equipment.

You can also get an effective workout using only your body weight. Start the morning off with a circuit-style workout. Do a strength move followed by a cardio move, alternating back and forth for 20 minutes. It’s one of the most time expedient ways to work out and you can do it in even a small hotel room. Even though a number of hotels have exercise rooms, many of them are small, hot and have only the standard pieces of equipment – elliptical machine, exercise bike treadmill and, maybe, a few weights. Bring along your iPad or other device with your favorite workouts downloaded and exercise in your room.

A Little Routine is Good Even When You’re on Vacation

If you go on a longer vacation and stop exercising entirely, it may be harder to get back into the swing of things when you get home. If you need a break, reduce the frequency of your workouts or do lighter workouts. Then try to stay active. Skip the hotel elevator and take the stairs. Leave the car parked at the hotel and walk wherever you can. Take long walks on the beach or hike if you’re in the mountains.

Whatever you do, pack your exercise clothes – even if it’s a short vacation and you’re convinced you’re not going to work out. You may change your mind after you get there and want to “recharge” by doing a quick workout, especially after overindulging in a few too many vacation meals and snacks. Don’t forget your exercise shoes. You’ll be glad you brought them along.

For more fit tips, contact our fitness director/personal trainer Noelle Lusardi at noelle@stepheadwellnesscenter.com.

 

 

Tags: Personal Weight Loss, Exercise, Weight Loss, diet, swimsuit season, fitbit, Diet and Nutrition, Dr. Neiman, summer weight loss, beach season, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, Personal Trainers, Fitness, Noelle Lusardi, group excercise classes, toning classes, Step Ahead exercise classes, Bridal Boot Camp, Physician Weight Loss, Nutrition, lose weight, bootcamp classes, online nutrition, beach body, Physician Weight Center, OptiFast, personal training, kickboxing, toning, muscle conditioning classes, health, wellness, exercise classes, group exercise, lose weight fast

Step Ahead Recipe Corner: Lobster Wraps

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Jun 26, 2013 @ 04:31 PM

lobster wrapLooking to avoid the heat in your kitchen on a hot summer day? This no-cook recipe works well for a lunch, dinner or as bite sized appetizers for entertaining! - Sari Greaves, RDN Nutrition Director, Step Ahead Wellness Center; Questions/Comments email: sari@stepaheadwellnesscenter.com

You can purchase cooked lobster tails at your grocery’s seafood counter. Ditch the buttered roll on this New Englad recipe and go for a lighter 100 calorie flatbread instead.

4 servings (serving size: 1 wrap)

371 calories per serving

Lemon mayonnaise:

1/4 cup light mayonnaise

2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Remaining ingredients:

1 medium chopped tomato

4 (4-ounce) lobster tails, cooked and chopped

4 (2.8-ounce) whole wheat flatbreads (such as Flatout)

8 Bibb lettuce leaves

1. To prepare lemon mayonnaise, combine 1/4 cup mayonnaise, chives, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper; stir well.

2. Combine lemon mayonnaise, tomato, and lobster; stir well. Divide the lobster mixture evenly among flatbreads. Top each serving with 2 lettuce leaves. Roll up jelly-roll fashion,

Recipe adapted from www.cookinglight.com

Try this variation!!!! Chicken & Sun-Dried Tomato Wrap:

Use 1 lb. grilled skinless chicken breasts instead of lobster and with this easy sun-dried tomato spread. Stir together 2 chopped sundried tomatoes with 1/4 cup of light mayonnaise.

HUNGRY FOR MORE? CALL STEP AHEAD WELLNESS CENTER TODAY: 908.470.2235 TO LEARN ABOUT BIG SUMMER SAVINGS ON OUR WEIGHT LOSS AND FITNESS PROGRAMS!

 

Tags: diet, meal plans, Sari Greaves, Diet and Nutrition, Dr. Neiman, Dr.Oz, summer weight loss, beach season, Cooking Classes, Fitness, toning classes, Bridal Boot Camp, Healthy Meals, Healthy Recipes, online nutrition, beach body, low calorie vegetables, low carb, summer recipes, healthy entertaining, sharecare

Step Ahead Recipe Corner: Fabulous Fish Tacos

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Jun 19, 2013 @ 03:42 PM

fish tacos ck 522353 lLooking for a light and healthy meal? Fish tacos are an easy "waist-friendly" summer dish. The spicy-creamy-crunchy trio, featuring seasoned fish, crunchy cabbage slaw, and smooth greek yogurt sauce will satisfy your taste buds. For a sweet touch, serve with pineapple or mango salsa. Questions/Comments: Email sari@stepaheadwellnesscenter.com

2 tablespoons low-sodium taco seasoning (such as McCormick or Mrs. Dash)

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon fresh orange juice

1 pound mahi mahi or other firm white fish fillet (cod, grouper, halibut), cut into bite-sized pieces (use whole fillets if baking or grilling)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 cups pre-sliced green cabbage

1/2 cup chopped green onions

1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream or nonfat Greek yogurt

8 (6-inch) corn tortillas

8 lime wedges

1. Combine first 3 ingredients in a medium bowl. Add fish; toss to coat.

2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add fish; saute 5 minutes or until fish is done. *Grill method: Place fish fillets on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 5 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Bake method: Bake fish fillets at 400° for 20 minutes on baking dish coated with cooking spray or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Slice cooked fillets into chunks.

3. Combine cabbage, onions, and sour cream in a medium bowl.

4. Warm tortillas according to package directions. Spoon about 1/4 cup cabbage mixture down center of each tortilla. Divide fish evenly among tortillas; fold in half. Serve with lime wedges.

Makes 4 servings

Serving size: 2 fish tacos and 2 lime wedges – 327 calories

Invade your spice rack and make your own salt-free seasoning: (recipe makes 3 tablespoons)

1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon oregano

 

Adapted from www.cookinglight.com

HUNGRY FOR MORE? CALL STEP AHEAD WELLNESS CENTER TODAT: 908.470.2235 TO LEARN ABOUT SUMMER SAVING ON OUR CUSTOMIZED WEIGHT LOSS PROGRAMS!

Tags: Personal Weight Loss, Exercise, Weight Loss, meal plans, Sari Greaves, Diet and Nutrition, healthy eating, Dr. Neiman, Dr.Oz, prevention, summer weight loss, beach season, high protein, Cooking Classes, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, Noelle Lusardi, toning classes, Bridal Boot Camp, Healthy Meals, Physician Weight Loss, Healthy Recipes, Nutrition, Heart Disease, lose weight, online nutrition, beach body, OptiFast, health, low carb, wellness, summer recipes, healthy entertaining, sharecare

The Power of the Push Up!

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Jun 19, 2013 @ 12:49 PM

 

breast Push ups

Ask fitness experts what the single most important total body exercise is and a number of them will say the squat. The squat certainly earns its reputation as a power exercise. This exercise targets large muscle groups in the lower body, strengthening them and activating hormones that burn fat. But when it comes to the upper body, the push-up steals the show. No wonder the military emphasizes push-ups and use them as an exercise to whip recruits into shape. If you’re looking for a stronger, more defined upper body, so should you.

The ability to drop to the ground and do push-ups says a lot about your fitness level. The first time you were able to do them from your toes instead of your knees was a defining moment. From there, you were able to increase the number you could do in a single session and begin to feel yourself getting stronger and more confident in your fitness ability. That’s the power of the push-up. Being able to do them puts you in a special class. That’s because not everyone can. In one study of middle-school students, 75% of the girls and 50% of the boys failed the push-up test. What makes push-ups such an important exercise and how can you maximize the benefits you get from doing them?

Push-Ups Target All the Muscles in Your Upper Body

Push-ups work your triceps, pectoral muscles and your core while working stabilizer muscles. These are muscles that help other muscles execute a movement. These auxiliary muscles serve as the underlying foundation that stabilizes and holds everything in place, allowing you to move a weight through its full range of motion. For example, when you do a squat, your thigh and glute muscles are the primary muscles doing the work but you’re getting support from the muscles in your spine and core. Push-ups strengthen the stabilizer muscles in your back and trunk so you can do upper body strength moves like chest presses more easily with less risk of injury.

It’s the Most Versatile of All Exercises

You can vary the arm position of push-ups to change what muscles you emphasize and change the speed with which you go down and up – but that’s only the beginning. You can modify the exercise by doing them against a wall or with your hands on an exercise ball. Turn it into an isometric move by holding the push-up position as long as you can or make it dynamic by doing plyometric push-ups where you push up with enough force that your hands leave the ground. Here, you’re developing strength and power as well as getting your heart rate up.

Then there are spiderman push-ups and decline push-ups where your feet are elevated above your hands on a bench or chair. If you’re ultra-fit, you can challenge your strength and balance by doing hand-stand push-ups or one-arm push-ups. With so many ways to do this versatile exercise, you’ll never become bored or complacent.

You Can Even Modify Push-Ups to Improve Your Balance

With a few modifications, you can use push-ups to do balance work. Grab a stability or med ball and place your hands on it while doing push-ups. Hand-stand push-ups are another way to work on balance. To work up to doing a hand-stand push-up, start by doing decline push-ups and gradually raise the height of your feet as you progress. Once you can do them with your feet maximally raised, you’re ready to tackle a hand-stand push-up. Hand-stand push-ups work your back, shoulders, triceps and core.

How Many Push-Ups Should You Be Able to Do?

How many push-ups can you do? Based on national averages, the average 30 year old female can do 21 while a 40 year old woman, on average, can do 16. These are MODIFIED push-ups. The numbers would most likely drop significantly for unmodified ones.

How much easier is a modified push-up than a full one? According to the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, when you do a regular push-up you’re lifting 64 percent of your body weight. When you do a modified one, about 41%. Age isn’t necessarily a barrier since fitness inspiration Jack LaLane was able to do finger-tip and one-arm push-ups at the ripe, old age of 93.

Push-Up Tips

If you don’t think you can tackle push-ups on your toes quite yet, try them with your upper body elevated above your lower body by putting your hands on a bench. This makes it less difficult. You’ll gradually progress to the point you can do some on your toes on level ground. As these become less difficult, increase the challenge by raising your feet. If you’re trying to build muscle strength, keep making push-ups harder by modifying them rather than doing more of them. Once you get past 15 to 20, you’re working on muscle endurance, not strength.

As with any exercise, you have to continuously challenge yourself to see change. One way to do that is to add new push-up variations to your routine regularly. Variations like plyometric push-ups and one-arm push-ups are a way to add new challenge to your routine so you can keep progressing. It’s one exercise that belongs in your routine.

For more fit tips, contact our fitness director/certified personal trainer, Noelle Lusardi, at noelle@stepaheadwellnesscenter.com

 

References:

New York Times. “An Enduring Measure of Fitness: The Simple Push-up”

ExRx.net. “Push-Up Test”

Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. (2011) 25(10). Pages 2891-2894.

 

Tags: Personal Weight Loss, Exercise, Weight Loss, diet, jumpstart diet, meal plans, fitbit, Diet and Nutrition, Dr. Neiman, summer weight loss, beach season, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, Personal Trainers, Fitness, Noelle Lusardi, group excercise classes, toning classes, Step Ahead exercise classes, Bridal Boot Camp, Physician Weight Loss, Healthy Recipes, Nutrition, lose weight, bootcamp classes, online nutrition, beach body, Physician Weight Center, OptiFast, personal training, kickboxing, toning, muscle conditioning classes, Yoga classes, walking Bridal Boot Camp, health, Step Ahead, low calorie vegetables, wellness, exercise classes, group exercise, kickboxing classes, lose weight fast

Step Ahead's July 4th Weight Loss Promotion

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Jun 12, 2013 @ 05:17 PM
describe the imageAchieve Independent Health with
Step Ahead's July 4th Weight Loss Promotion
Offer valid from July 4th- August 1st 2013
 
One simple step, BIG benefits…
 
* Make an appointment by July 4th and receive 25% off any personal training, exercise class, Optifast package, or visit with doctor & nutritionist.
 
* Offer includes a FREE Calorie Counter handbook!
 
Call us today at 908-470-2235 or

Tags: Weight Loss, swimsuit season, summer weight loss, beach season, beach body, toning, wellness, summer recipes