Step Ahead Wellness Center Blog

Quick 4-Ingredient Parmesan Salad

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Apr 30, 2014 @ 02:19 PM

parsley parm salad

Fill up on good, fresh, real food. Try this 4-ingredient salad as a refreshing Spring time lunch or as a topping to lean protein such as grilled seafood, flank steak, or chicken breast. Adapted from Bon Appetit, May 2014 issue.

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 cups fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

½ cup Parmesan cheese, shavings (about 2 oz.) (Hint: Use store-bought shaved parmesan cheese or create your own parmesan shavings using a vegetable peeler)

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Ground pepper (optional)

Toss parsley, Parmesan, lemon juice, and olive oil in a medium bowl. Season with ground pepper and more lemon juice, if desired.

Makes 4 salad servings, 100 calories per serving

parsleyUsed to perk up dishes with its fresh green flavor and color, parsley can be much more than a garnish. There are more than 30 varieties of parsley, but the most common are curly-leaf and the more pungent Italian or flat-leaf parsley. Flat-leaf parsley has a more robust flavor and is preferred for cooking, while the curly variety is associated with decoration.

How to select; Choose bright green leaves that show no sign of wilting.               How to store: Rinse and wrap in a paper towel and then a plastic bag. Refrigerated it will last for a week. You can freeze parsley! Just clean, chop and let dry; then put in little baggies and seal.
How to prepare: The leaves are most commonly used, however the stalks are good for adding flavor to stocks.
Matches well with: chicken, eggplant, eggs, fish, game, lentils, mushrooms, mussels, pasta, peas, potatoes, poultry, rice, seafood, tomatoes, zucchini, lemon

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Posted by deborah neiman on Tue, Apr 29, 2014 @ 10:03 AM

We are so excited to offer this new weekly POWER WALK/YOGA STRETCH IN THE PARK CLASS all  Summer long.  It's been a long winter so now let's take it outdoors and enjoy the fresh air.  Contact Step Ahead Wellness Center's fitness director, Noelle Lusardi, at for more information and/or to sign up!   

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Recipe Corner: Brie Cheese & Avocado Quesadillas

Posted by deborah neiman on Fri, Apr 25, 2014 @ 04:49 PM

brie quesadillaDid you know that an average restaurant quesadilla packs 1,000 calories!We gave this classic Mexican dish a skinny makeover. Spicy arugula and creamy avocado blends beautifully with the creamy aromatic cheese. For a crunchy & sweet element, substitute the avocado with a sliced Gala apple.



1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

3 (100-calorie) whole grain tortillas

3 ounces of Brie Cheese, rind removed and sliced

½ avocado, sliced

3 cups baby arugula

Nonfat plain greek yogurt (optional for dipping)


  1. Stir mustard and cider in a small bowl.
  2. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Spread each tortilla with 1 ½  teaspoons of mustard mixture. Place tortilla in pan and arrange 1/3 of cheese slices over half of tortilla. When cheese melts, arrange 1/3  of avocado slices over cheese and top with 1 cup arugula.
  3. Fold tortilla in half and cook 2 minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove from pan.
  4. Repeat procedure twice with remaining 2 tortillas. Cut each quesadilla into 4 wedges. Serve with Greek yogurt as dip.


Makes 6 servings, 3 quesadillas (serving size: 2 wedges): 132 calories

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Posted by deborah neiman on Tue, Apr 22, 2014 @ 07:37 AM

It's Not Too Late To Join Our FREE Fit and Fuel Event! 

Call today to register!!!


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Tags: Personal Weight Loss, quick weight loss, Diet and Nutrition, Dr. Neiman, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, Personal Trainers, Noelle Lusardi, diet to lose weight, best weight loss, Step Ahead Wellness Center

Quick Easter & Passover Weight Loss Recipes

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Apr 16, 2014 @ 02:54 PM AND PASSOVER.doc

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RSVP to Step Ahead's FREE Spring Event!

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Apr 02, 2014 @ 01:45 PM

It's Not Too Late to Register...


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Quick Weight Loss Recipe: Easy Crumbled Feta & Baby Green Salad

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Apr 02, 2014 @ 01:38 PM

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According to Step Ahead's Nutritionist, Sari Greaves, RDN, this 5-ingredient recipe is a nutrition rock star!

Arugula pairs well with robust flavors. This peppery salad green is a staple in Italian and Mediterranean cuisines. An excellent source of vitamin K and only 5 calories per cup, arugula is often eaten raw and can add spice to sandwiches and pasta dishes. For sandwiches, choose a 100% whole grain 100- calorie pita or wrap piled high with grilled vegetables & arugula- for a protein topper, add  a small grilled chicken breast, salmon patty, or veggie burger and 1 tablespoon of hummus or greek yogurt as a creamy topping. For an Italian twist, use pasta as a "condiment" instead of a a "main entree"  by adding 1/2 cup of whole wheat pasta (100 calories)  to a vegetable salad.

Don't forget to whip out your measuring cups and spoons to keep this recipe skinny on the waistline!

10 cups pre-washed baby arugula (about 6 ounces)

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, not packed

4 clementines, peeled, segmented, and chopped

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Black pepper to taste

Makes 6 servings, 150 calories per serving.

In a large bowl, combine arugula, cheese, and clementine segments. Pour oil and lemon juice over salad; toss to blend. Season with black pepper to taste.

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Quick Weight Loss Recipe: Warm Brussel Sprout Salad

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Mar 26, 2014 @ 02:42 PM

brusselWarm Brussel Sprout Salad


*Recipe shortcut: Use packaged whole wheat bread crumbs and microwave steam-in-bag frozen brussel sprouts

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Posted by deborah neiman on Tue, Mar 18, 2014 @ 06:45 AM

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For some people, feeling sore after exercise is a badge of honor, although an
uncomfortable one. Muscle soreness after exercise is a sign you’ve worked your
muscles harder than they’re accustomed to. Fortunately, the pain is
self-limited and will typically go away within five to seven days. What should
you do in the mean time? Take a break and relax with a massage or move your
sore muscles?

Massage versus Exercise for Post-Exercise Muscle Soreness

In a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research,
researchers looked at the effect of massage versus exercise for relieving
delayed-onset muscle soreness, also known as DOMS. They induced muscle soreness
in a group of 20 healthy females by asking them to do eccentric exercises
involving their trapezius muscles. Eccentric exercises, where the muscles are
lengthened against resistance, are the most damaging to muscle fibers. They’re
more likely to cause muscle soreness than concentric movements where the
muscles are shortened against resistance.

As expected in this study, the participants experienced soreness after
their eccentric workout. Massage or exercise – which was better for easing the
soreness? They both were. Researchers found massage and active exercise using
resistance bands were equally effective for reducing muscle soreness in the
participants. There was only one downside. The relief was temporary, lasting
only about an hour for both modalities. Still, this study suggests you’ll get
just as much benefit actively exercising your muscles when they’re sore as you
will passively massaging them

Why Moving Your Muscles Helps DOMS

No one knows EXACTLY what causes DOMS. One theory is exposing your muscles
to higher tension than they’re accustomed to causes structural damage that
repairs itself within a few days to a week. Another theory is overloading
muscle tissue increases the temperature of the muscle. This rise in temperature
causes structural damage that leads to pain and soreness. Other sources believe
DOMS is related to accumulation of metabolic waste products. If this is the
case, moving muscles when they’re sore should help mobilize and eliminate some
of the waste products.

Why do eccentric movements where you lengthen the muscle cause more
soreness? When you exercise a muscle eccentrically by lengthening it as you
“brake” it, you activate fewer muscle fibers than you do with a flexion or
concentric contraction where you contract the muscle against resistance. With
an eccentric movement, you’re placing equivalent force over a smaller number of
muscle fibers. This causes more tearing and stretching of muscle fibers – and
more pain. Examples of eccentric contractions are lowering a barbell or running
downhill. In both cases, you’re lengthening muscles in a controlled manner.

Other Treatments for Delay-Onset Muscle Soreness

DOMS has been the focus of considerable research in hopes of finding
treatments that helps the discomfort. Some that have been tested and not shown
to work include hyperbaric oxygen therapy, low-intensity laser treatment,
pulsed electrical current and acupuncture. Modalities that show promise based
on small studies include whole body vibration therapy, ice-water immersion,
low-level heat wrap therapy and moist heat. One study showed supplementing with
branched-chain amino acids reduced delayed-onset muscle soreness in
participants doing squats.

For most people, DOMS is self-limited, regardless of how it’s treated. Most
people don’t need expensive therapies that may or may not work. Ice packs work
reasonably well for easing the discomfort. Some people use non-steroidal
anti-inflammatory medications but it’s not clear how effective they are for
DOMS. They also have side effects.

Should You Keep Exercising?

There’s no evidence that exercising with DOMS delays recovery. In fact,
based on the study above, moving sore muscles offers temporary relief from the
discomfort and is as effective as massage for short-term relief. On the other
hand, it’s a good idea to reduce the intensity of your workout. Research shows
muscles that are sore due to DOMS lose up to 30% of their strength. Trying to
maintain the same workout intensity with sore, overworked muscles could alter
your form and increase your risk for injury. That doesn’t mean you can’t
exercise at a lower intensity.

Stretches and resistance exercises using bands or light weights with higher
repetition will get blood flowing through your muscles and temporarily reduce
the discomfort. Yoga is another form of exercise that may help. A study
published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research showed yoga,
even a single session, helps to ease post-exercise soreness due to DOMS.

Although DOMS is more common in people who are untrained, even trained
athletes and bodybuilders can get it when they increase the intensity or
duration of their workout or work untrained muscles. Once you’ve developed one
bout of post-workout soreness involving a muscle group, that muscle group
develops some degree of resistance to further soreness or damage that lasts for
weeks to months. You may experience soreness if you change the intensity of
your workout but it won’t be as uncomfortable or last as long as the initial

 The Bottom Line?

You may be tempted to take it easy when your muscles are sore after a tough
workout but a little movement will make them feel better. Stretching exercises,
yoga and resistance exercises using light weights or resistance bands all work
well. Listen carefully to your body. If a movement causes pain, it’s a sign you
need to lower the intensity or switch to stretching exercises. The good news is
the soreness will go away on its own in about a week.

For more fitness information please contact our fitness director/certified
personal trainer, Noelle Lusardi, at



Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 27(12): 3352-3359, 2013.

Medscape Reference. “Postexercise Muscle Soreness” “Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness”

More Magazine. “Muscles Sore, They Shouldn’t Be”

J Strength Cond Res. 2004 Nov;18(4):723-9.


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Quick Weight Loss Casserole

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Feb 26, 2014 @ 03:28 PM

Quick Weight Loss Casserole

A traditional casserole can pack 800 calories per serving! Try this high-protein lighter version that's guaranteed to please your palate, thanks to the creamy addition of Greek yogurt and a light dusting of sharp cheddar and Parmesan cheese.
With under 300 calories per 1 1/2 cup serving, this comfort food will not disappoint!


Adapted from

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