Step Ahead Wellness Center Blog

STAY FIT THIS HOLIDAY SEASON WITH STEP AHEAD WELLNESS CENTER'S FOUR EASY FITNESS TIPS!

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Dec 04, 2013 @ 07:46 PM

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Stay fit this holiday season with Step Ahead Wellness Center’s four easy tips…

Set Realistic Goals:

Knowing it's a busy time of year, think ahead and revise your schedule if necessary, and then stick to it!  Think quality rather than quantity.  If you can’t squeeze in concentrated exercise,
move as much as possible throughout your day and stay away from the sweet treats to maintain healthy weight loss between Thanksgiving and New Years.   

Be Creative with your Time:

If you are finding it difficult to keep up with your fitness goals and the parenting demands this holiday season, then work out with your children.  Need to go Christmas shopping? Go to the mall for an hour or so before it opens and walk with your kids (maybe bring the hand-weights too
to increase the intensity). Or, go to a local gym and play basketball or go ice skating or swim at an indoor pool with your kids.

Stick to a Routine:

As much as possible, try to have a general schedule for your days. You and your family will be much happier if you do. Don't think you need "to do it all." You'll be surprised how much your kids would love to help with the baking, wrapping and decorating. You may have a little extra time here and there if you let them help, and more importantly, you'll be making great memories with them.

Take Care of Yourself:

It is so easy to get stressed with all the shopping, decorating, baking, wrapping, family obligations, parties, but breathe and relax.  As much as possible, strive for 7-8 hours a sleep a night, drink plenty of water and continue to eat well.

It's okay to enjoy holiday parties, just don't indulge in all those sweet treats. Have a taste, then move on to something a bit more healthier.  Don't forget to set time to exercise; you'll feel much better and will be able to maintain your healthy weight loss goals this holiday season.

For more holiday fit tips, contact our fitness director, Noelle Lusardi, at noelle@stepaheadwellnesscenter.com or visit us at www.stepaheadwellnesscenter.com.  We’d love to hear from you… which health, wellness, weight loss, fitness topics are you most interested in learning more about.

 

 

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WALK YOUR WAY TO GOOD HEALTH!

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Oct 16, 2013 @ 12:25 PM

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Walking... It's the simplest positive change you can make to effectively improve your heart health.  Research has shown that the benefits of walking and moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day can help you:

  • Reduce the risk of coronary heart disease

  • Improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels

  • Improve blood lipid profile

  • Reduce the risk of osteoporosis

  • Reduce the risk of breast and colon cancer

  • Reduce the risk of non-insulin dependent (type 2) diabetes

Plus you'll burn on average 250-300 calories!  For more fit tips visit our website at www.stepaheadwellnesscenter.com or contact our fitness director Noelle Lusardi at noelle@stepaheadwellnesscenter.com.

Tags: Exercise, Weight Loss, diet, jumpstart diet, HEALTHY DIET SHORTCUTS, fitbit, Diet and Nutrition, healthy eating, fat burning classes, Dr. Neiman, high protein, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, Personal Trainers, Fitness, Noelle Lusardi, toning classes, Physician Weight Loss, Nutrition, Prevention Heart Disease, bootcamp classes, Physician Weight Center, OptiFast, kickboxing, toning, Yoga classes, Desserts under 200 Calories, walking Bridal Boot Camp, low calorie vegetables, wellness, exercise classes, kickboxing classes

CHECK OUT STEP AHEAD'S *NEW* YOGA SERIES... 6 WEEKS OF CORE!

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Aug 07, 2013 @ 01:36 PM

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  WE ARE THRILLED TO BRING YOU OUR *NEW* 6 WEEK CORE YOGA SERIES!!!

 

       Build strength in core muscles, arms, legs, and abs

           Open hamstrings, hips, and side bodies.

 

When: Wednesday evenings

Date: Series begins September 4

Time: 5:30-6:30; 6:30-7:30

 

*email noelle@stepeadwellnesscenter.com to sign up, space is limited to 3 participants per class. Reserve your spot TODAY!!



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 




 




 
 
 
 
 






 
 
 
 
 




 




 
 
 
 
 







 
 
 
 
 









 
 
 
 
 




Series begins on:

  September 4th, 2013

  Every Wednesday

  5:30-6:30pm or 6:30-7:30pm




 
 
 
 
 




SPACE IS LIMITED

  Please contact Noelle if interested.

  noelle@stepaheadwellnesscenter.com





 
 
 
 
 






Tags: Personal Weight Loss, Exercise, Weight Loss, diet, swimsuit season, fitbit, fat burning classes, Dr. Neiman, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, Personal Trainers, Fitness, Noelle Lusardi, group excercise classes, toning classes, Bridal Boot Camp, Nutrition, lose weight, bootcamp classes, online nutrition, OptiFast, personal training, kickboxing, toning, muscle conditioning classes, Yoga classes, walking Bridal Boot Camp, health, wellness, exercise classes, group exercise, kickboxing classes

IMPROVE BALANCE, REDUCE RISK OF INJURY

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Jul 31, 2013 @ 02:55 PM

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Improve Your Sense of Dynamic Balance

There are two types of balance: static and dynamic. Static balance is the ability to remain stable and in equilibrium when you aren’t moving. Dynamic balance is the ability to remain stable when you’re moving. Both are important for sports performance and functionality in everyday life.

One way to improve dynamic balance is to do plyometric drills that involve lateral movements. Place a resistance tube on the floor. Stand on one side of the tube and jump to the other side using both feet. Keep jumping back and forth, varying the speed and height of your jumps. Single leg lateral hops are another good exercise for developing dynamic balance and power.

With lateral plyometric drills you’re building power, burning calories and improving balance at the same time. Pretty good deal, huh?

Take Advantage of Opportunities to Work on Balance

You can work on balance while you’re standing in line or cooking in the kitchen. While you’re washing dishes, raise one leg off the ground and hold it up. For an even more challenge, close your eyes. It’s much more difficult to balance on one leg with your eyes closed because your brain doesn’t get input from your visual system. If you can stand on one foot with your eyes open for a minute or more, you’re doing well. When you do exercises on mat, try to get up from a sitting position without using your hands. It may take strength and balance to do this and it’s a good way to challenge yourself.

The Bottom Line?

It’s easy to neglect balance exercises when you’re busy strength training. The good news is you can modify strength training moves to add more of a balance challenge. Don’t underestimate the importance of improving balance as you age. It reduces the risk of sports injuries and helps to prevent injuries when you play sports and when you do your daily activities.

 

For more fit tips, contact our Fitness Director/Certified Personal Trainer, Noelle Lusardi, at noelle@stepaheadwellnesscenter.com.

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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.

 

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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.

 

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Burn More Fat With High Intensity Intervals!

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Jun 12, 2013 @ 11:16 AM

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Who doesn’t want to burn more fat during exercise? It’s the muscle we want to hang on to. Unfortunately, too many people get stuck in a “cardio rut” where they do the same hour or more of steady-state cardio a few times a week. If you fall into this category, you’re getting cardiovascular benefits but your body quickly adapts to doing the same repetitive movements at the same intensity and burns less fat during your cardio sessions. Even long distance runners who run 90 minutes or more a day can put on body fat if they never alter the intensity of their workouts.

Here’s the good news. According to researchers at the University of Guelph, doing a few sessions of high-intensity exercise each week can increase the amount of fat you burn during those steady-state cardio workouts. How so? Engaging in a little high-intensity activity turns on fat-burning mitochondrial enzymes that help you break down and use stored fat as energy. What could be better than that?

High-Intensity Interval Training and Its Effect on Fat-Burning

Researchers asked a group of healthy participants who regularly engaged in recreational exercise a few days a week, like walking, swimming and weight training, to do seven high-intensity training sessions over a two week period. During these sessions, they did four minutes of cycling at 90% of their V02 max followed by two minutes of rest for a total of four sessions. These sessions took about 25 minutes total and they did them 3 days a week for two weeks.

The results? After only 2 weeks of high-intensity training, the participants experienced significant improvements in their ability to break down and oxidize fat. In fact, their capacity to burn fat increased by almost 30%. These changes took place doing only 1.5 hours of high-intensity training a week. Plus, they experienced improvements after only 14 days of training. High-intensity training is time expedient!

What does this mean? If you’ve hit a fat loss standstill with your steady-state cardio routine, incorporating a few sessions of high-intensity interval training into your routine each week can jump start your fat-burning engines. In this study, high-intensity interval training increased the capacity of mitochondria inside cells to use fat for fuel by increasing enzymes that oxidize fat.

 Other Benefits of High-Intensity Exercise

There are other reasons to add high-intensity interval training to your exercise routine. High-intensity training boosts aerobic capacity, or V02 max, more than moderate-intensity training – and it’s a real timesaver. The beauty of high-intensity interval training is you can expose your body to higher total work load during a training session by allowing your body short periods of recovery time so you can up the intensity again during the next active interval.

Research shows that high-intensity training is more effective for improving V02 max (aerobic capacity) than moderate-intensity exercise. Most research shows it also improves aerobic capacity more quickly than moderate-intensity training. It’s ideal if you’ve reached a certain level of fitness through steady-state exercise and want to make further fitness gains.

There are other advantages as well. High-intensity exercise is superior for improving body composition, reducing belly fat including visceral abdominal fat, the kind that’s linked with a greater risk for heart disease and type 2-diabetes. When you do high-intensity exercise even for short periods of time, your body has to expend more energy to recover. This boosts your metabolic rate for hours afterwards. This effect is known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption or EPOC. You’ve probably heard this referred to as the “afterburn.” You get a greater afterburn with high-intensity exercise compared to exercise at a moderate-intensity.

Then there’s the boredom factor. Doing the same thing at the same intensity for an hour or more can be mind numbing. High-intensity intervals give you something new to focus on. Even if you continue to do steady-state cardio, adding a few high-intensity sessions weekly to your routine can help you further improve your aerobic capacity, increase your lactate threshold so you tire less quickly and increase your body’s capacity to burn fat when you’re doing steady-state exercise.

You may discover you prefer shorter, high-intensity workouts to long periods of moderate-intensity exercise. The disadvantage of long, steady-state cardio is it can lead to muscle breakdown and loss of the muscle tissue you worked so hard to get, especially if you don’t consume enough carbs and protein. You’ll still get superior cardiovascular and metabolic benefits with short, high-intensity interval workouts along with less muscle breakdown.

The Take-Home Message

If you haven’t tried high-intensity training, it could be just what you need to break through a plateau, lose weight and achieve a higher fitness level. You can do high-intensity training in a variety of ways, using most pieces of exercise equipment or no equipment at all. The key is to maximize the intensity during the active periods to the point where it’s difficult to say more than a word or two and then allow your body to recover until the next active interval.

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

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

STEP AHEAD'S SUMMER SPECIAL!

Posted by deborah neiman on Fri, May 17, 2013 @ 02:49 PM

Step Ahead’s Summer Special: Connect your body with cutting-edge fitness & nutrition technology

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Buy a PERSONAL TRAINING PACKAGE TODAY and receive…

 FREE Fitbit fitness/nutrition tracker

FREE body composition analysis

FREE nutrition consultation

 Offer expires July 1st, 2013

Call us today at 908-470-2235 or

email noelle@stepaheadwellnesscenter.com

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Recipe Corner: Watermelon & Feta Salad

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, May 01, 2013 @ 06:07 PM

feta saladIf you are craving something refreshing, look no further! I created this recipe as an ideal warm weather menu item that takes minutes to prepare- perfect for summer barbecues or an everyday meal. The sensational combination of sweet, creamy, and crunchy will satsify your taste buds any time of day. Serve this salad as a side dish or enjoy two servings with 4-ounces of grilled protein as a main entree. The balsamic glaze and oil are used in tiny amonts as an "accent" flavor to compliment the fruit and greens.                                              

- Sari Greaves, RDN Nutrition Director, sari@stepaheadwellnesscenter.com

Makes: 4 servings, 84 calories per serving

1 5-ounce package pre-washed baby arugula

4 cups watermelon (diced or balls)

1 4-ounce container Fat-Free crumbled feta cheese (such as Alouette brand)

1 tablespoon balsamic glaze

1 teaspoon of grapeseed oil

Black pepper

1. Mix grapeseed oil with arugula and arrange over large platter.

2. Top with watermelon and sprinkle with feta.

3. Drizzle with balsamic glaze. Season with freshly ground black pepper.

Fun Facts about Grapeseed oil: Made from the same grapes used for wine making, grapeseed oil is extracted from the tiny inner seeds. Commonly imported from countries like France and Switzerland, this light and fresh oil is becoming more widely available in the United States. Its clean and mild flavor makes it a better choice in dishes where you don’t want the flavor of the oil to compete with the other ingredients. Grapeseed also has an extremely high smoke point, making it ideal for high cooking temps in cooking techniques like stir frying, sautéing, baking and frying. It delivers mostly heart-healthy polunsaturated fats and is a plentiful source of the antioxidant, vitamin E. Bottom line: Grapeseed oil gives everyday dishes new complexity and verve!

Hungry for more? Call Step Ahead Wellness Center at 908.470.2235 to learn about our medically supervised weight loss programs, exercise classes, nutrition counseling and more!

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Recipe Corner: Sweet & Sour Tilapia

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Apr 24, 2013 @ 02:20 PM

 Sesame Crusted TilapiaSWEET & SOUR SESAME TILAPIA

Lighten up this Spring with easy seafood dishes! This star seafood recipe features a an easy marinade to keep your fish moist and delicious. Almost any white fish such as flounder, black sea bass, branzino, flounder, or rainbow trout, can be used for this recipe. This 15-minute recipe calls for eight simple ingredients, many of them you may already have in your kitchen pantry! - Sari Greaves, RDN Nutrition Director www.stepaheadwellnesscenter.com

Makes 4 servings; 310 calories, 31 g protein per serving.

Ingredients:

1 cup apple juice

2 Tbs. reduced sodium soy sauce

2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp. cornstarch

1 tsp. sesame oil

4 Tbs. sesame seeds

4 small tilapia filets

2 Tbs.canola oil

1. In a small pot, boil the apple juice until reduced by half. In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce, vinegar, and cornstarch, then stir in the apple juice. Simmer until thickened, about 1 minutes. Whisk in the sesame oil.

2. Gently press 1 Tbs. of sesame seeds onto one side of each filet. Heat the oil in a large nonstick saute pan over medium heat. Saute the fish (the tilapia will sizzle in the pan), seed-side down, until the seeds are golden, about 2 minutes.

3. Flip the tilapia over and saute additional 1-3 minutes, until fish flakes easily. Pour the sauce over the fish.

Check out www.seafoodwatch.org  for a list of seafood that are sustainably caught or raised. You can download a free pocket guide for best seafood choices in your geographic area!  Recipe adapted from Nutrition Action Healthletter, May 2013

HUNGRY FOR MORE? CALL STEP AHEAD WELLNESS CENTER AT 908.470.2235 TO LEARN ABOUT OUR WEIGHT LOSS SPECIALS, NUTRITION COUNSELING, EXERCISE CLASSES AND MORE!

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