Step Ahead Wellness Center Blog

Tips for a Healthy Memorial Day

Posted by Lauren Udall, RD on Sat, May 23, 2020 @ 02:27 PM


Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

OK, so this may not be the kick off to summer we all had planned.  However, you can still honor those who served our country and kick off the summer having lots of fun at home.  Here are some tips to have a healthy weekend:


1. Celebrate in an Active Way –  Don't make food the central focus of the weekend!  Enjoy the weather and get moving outside.  

2. Grill Out –  Fire up the grill!  You can grill all kinds of food, including lean meats, veggies, and fruit! 

3. Be Together in New Ways – Memorial Day is a weekend where we spend time with loved ones and remember our fallen troops. Set up a Zoom barbecue with friends and family, do a virtual cooking class, or play a virtual game. 

4. Limit Your Alcohol Intake – Alcohol increases your calorie intake and it tends to get us munching on unnecessary snacks.  If you plan to drink, be mindful of the munching! And remember to track the drinks! 

5. Practice Safety –  Wear your masks, social distance, and wear sunscreen 😀 


Traditional Memorial Day foods are big on taste but leaves a lot to be desired in terms of nutrition.  There are some truly delicious recipes that won't weigh you down, ruin your healthy eating, or keep you from wearing your favorite summer clothes. 


Here are some simple ideas:

~ Grill some pineapple, peaches, or watermelon 
~ Grill asparagus, zucchini, corn on the cob, or eggplant
~ Blend some watermelon, ice, and mint for a cool slushie
~ Make kabobs - put your favorite meat and vegetable together and grill them

~ Make fruit kabobs - put your favorite fruit on a skewer.  Make it patriotic! 

~ Throw a piece of fish on foil, season with lemon and garlic, tent it and throw it on the grill


Tags: memorial day weekend, healthy eating, grilling

Pantry Staples Vol 1: Oats

Posted by Lauren Udall, RD on Sat, May 09, 2020 @ 03:21 PM

Cooking with Pantry Staples: Volume One!
Let's Talk about OATS


We are all going to the grocery store less these days and stocking up on shelf stable items to have on hand.  Let's take a look at pantry staples and learn some new ways they can be used!  First up, oats!


Nutritional Benefits:

  1. Oats are a good source of protein, dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
  2. Health benefits include:  increased weight control, better bowel function, lower cholesterol, lower risk of heart disease and diabetes, lower blood pressure, and stabilization of blood sugar.
  3. Correctly packaged and stored oats have an amazing shelf-life of up to 30 years.
  4. Oats are quick and easy to prepare.  They are very versatile and can be made into flour. 
  5. Oats satisfy and make you feel full longer.

Of course, we can eat oatmeal the traditional way - boiling on the stove with water or milk.  But here are some OTHER ways oats can be used:


Blueberry Banana Oatmeal Smoothie

Banana Oatmeal Pancakes

Baked Oatmeal

Baked Oatmeal Cups

Oat Milk

Oatmeal Pizza Crust

Savory Oatmeal with Scallions and Soy Sauce


Easy Non-Recipe Ideas:

• Add raw oats to your smoothies and smoothie bowls!

• Your morning bowl of oatmeal doesn’t have to be sweet. Top it with a poached egg, some wilted greens, any type of cheese you have, a spray of olive oil and even hot sauce!

• If flour is hard to come by, throw oats in a blender and make your own oat flour! It can be used alone or combined with all purpose flour to increase the fiber content of a recipe.

• Use as an egg replacement to bind your burgers/meatballs!  You can use in meat burgers or veggies burgers (1/4-1/2 c per lb of meat)

• Use coarsely ground oats as a breading for chicken instead of breadcrumbs

Turkey time tips

Posted by Corinne Chou, MSN, NP-C on Wed, Nov 22, 2017 @ 11:47 PM

Happy Thanksgiving! The most notorious “pigging” out day is finally here. But don’t let that derail your weight loss progress.  Check off some of these turkey time tips this year.

thanksgiving dinner.jpg

Hosting. Are you the cook? Try revamping some of your key dishes with less sugar and fat. Use sugar substitutes in desserts, fat free broth in gravy, or try fat free yogurt/sour creams in creamy dishes such as mashed potatoes or dips.

Dress for the part. A less form fitting outfit is by far more comfy.  However, a form fitting outfit will help minimize overeating by causing you to feel uncomfortable more quickly as you eat.

Eat first. Don’t sit at the table hungry. One hour before mealtime, have a snack that is nutritious and filling. Another option, snack on the veggie appetizer platter while you are in nibble mode.

Pick an indulgence. Time to choose, sweets or alcohol? drinks and desserts.jpgBoth are heavy hitters in the calorie department and in the over indulgence department. Choose one and in a portion controlled serving.

Wrap it up. Complete your meal with a “finisher.” Something that guarantees no more picking. Try a breath mint, reapplying lipstick, even some water on your plate to prevent third and fourth servings.

Best helper. Be the first to help with the clean up. Clearing and washing dishes or the walk back and forth to the kitchen are extra calories used that sitting won’t burn.

Pump it up. Physical activity shouldn’t be far from your mind. Before or after the big meal are great bonding times with the family. Take a stroll around the block. How about a little touch football?

family touch football.jpeg 

General tips:

Half your plate should be vegetables, one quarter protein, one quarter fat/carbs.

Drink lots of water.

Savor each bite and don’t forget to put your fork down between bites.

Try for weight maintenance during this stressful holiday.


Wishing you and your families a Happy Thanksgiving!

help the weight "fall" off

Posted by Corinne Chou, MSN, NP-C on Mon, Oct 16, 2017 @ 11:37 PM

Summer is out and Fall is here. Now is the perfect time to “step up” and start again and continue with your weight loss goals.

    • Fill out your fall meals with roasted vegetables, salads with fresh apples, or heartier stews with turnips, squash, or sweet potatoes. Cooler weather is the perfect excuse to bring out the slow cooker. Leftovers are easily turned into new dishes for the next meal, or it can guarantee healthier, more filling dinners.
  • fall root veg.jpgSometimes weight loss is just about getting on a schedule and sticking to it. Back into the swing of things with school, work, or weekend activities? Schedule in some wellness time, 30 minutes of walking, pre-work gym workout, or even setting the goal of meal planning and prepping. Routines form habits, and habits (especially the healthy ones) help with weight loss. Don’t forget to get enough hours of sleep. Regular sleep and wake times helps the body to sleep better, and that can help avoid adding pounds.
  • fall walking.jpgFall cools down the weather and make it tolerable to get outdoors to active. The best motivator? Fall foliage! Enjoy the outdoor scenery around the neighborhood, at the local park, or a weekend getaway. No time for that? Remember, even chores like raking leaves can count as physical activity.
  • Not sure how to get into a physical activity program? Set a goal and work towards it. There are plenty of charity runs and 5Ks (ie: A local turkey trot in November) that can give you an easy goal to try to achieve in a short amount of time.
  • Stay hydrated. Bored of the water? Cooler weather is the perfect time to incorporate herbal teas. Just watch the calorie loaded coffee drinks (like pumpkin spiced lattes!) tea.jpg

Summer Fun

Posted by Corinne Chou, MSN, NP-C on Wed, Jul 19, 2017 @ 11:54 PM

The heat is here! Longer days, and plenty of opportunity to squash those excuses from winter. “I’ll walk when the weather is nicer” or “when it’s warm outside I’ll get out more.” Do these sound familiar? If they do, it’s time to check in and see if you are actually taking advantage of that warm weather.

If the word “exercising” makes you cringe, you might be thinking of the most horrid activity from your childhood gym class. Thus, finding many reasons (aka excuses) to justify NOT exercising. “It’s too hot,” “I’d rather sip on some cocktails” or “I’m so much busier now, the weekends are completely filled” may be a running dialogue. Instead, embrace this time and find an activity that will be fun for you (and just so happens to also be active!)

1)Walking! Always my number one activity. Take your pet for a walk, do an extra lap before and after getting the mail, get to an appointment early and walk beforehand! If you don’t have time to do 30 minutes in one chunk, split it in 2 and get twice the fun. A “before your day gets started” 15 minute walk, and “end of the day” 15 minute walk can be energizing, yet still short and sweet. (30 minutes burns 150 calories)


2) Dance. Whether you do it in the privacy of your own home with music blasting and no one looking, or venturing out to a ballroom or ballet dance class, this is a great way to add in physical activity and have fun. 10 minutes (or 3 songs) can take off 150 calories.

hiking.jpg3) Hiking. A great way to spend time with friends and enjoy the scenery. Landscapes can vary from easy paved roads, to more challenging terrain. Some local spots include Jockey Hollow or Hacklebarney State Park, to slightly farther but still close Delaware Water Gap or the Catskills. (30 minutes burns 230 calories)

4) Swimming. Is the back hurting? The knees aching? Non-weight bearing exercises can be a solution, and swimming is perfect. A local community pool, traveling and visiting a hotel pool, or going to the beach or lake, all provide that ideal opportunity to enjoy the weather and to incorporate some physical activity. (220 calories)

5) Water sports: Have access to a beach or lake and are willing to try something new? Kayaking, paddleboarding, or even snorkeling are fun water activities that burn 150-250 calories.paddleboardings.jpg

Physical activity doesn’t have to be boring or painful. Whatever activity you find enjoyable and interesting is what you should do. The most important part is to do it and keep up with it!


Check us out on Facebook, and our #fitnessfriday ideas

Seven Summer Tasty Tips

Posted by Corinne Chou, MSN, NP-C on Thu, May 25, 2017 @ 11:52 PM


With the unofficial mark of the summer just around the corner, it’s time to review some summer tips to stay healthy and on track. Here’s how to avoid some unwanted pounds and maintain your wellness goals:                                                              veg kabob.jpg

1) Add fruit and veggies to your plate and eat those items first. Try a vegetable kabob on the grill for a tasty complement to your protein of choice.

PORTION TIP: ½ of your plate should be veg, ¼ protein, ¼ grain

2) Leaner and portion size are key to picking proteins. If you are willing to try something other than turkey or chicken, a bison burger is a nice flavorful option that is lower in calories. Or opt for a Portobello mushroom and replace that meat altogether.

FOOD FACT: Bison burger is 143 calories, 43% total fat, 2.4g fat vs Beef burger 283 calories, 46% total fat, 8g fat.

3) Just because “salad” is in the title of a dish, that does not automatically equal "healthy." Creamier salads, like macaroni and potato salads are loaded with extra calories, higher saturated fats and carbohydrates. Instead, stick with the basics, and the greener the better.

FOOD FACT: 1 cup of potato salad has 357 calories, 20g fat, 1300mg sodium.

drink.jpg4) Eat (not drink) your calories. Alcoholic and fruit drinks can be huge culprits for unwanted calories. Pass on the sugary mixes, syrups, or frozen drinks. Choose those with lemon, lime, or seltzer water. Drink water in between your drinks and set a limit.

PORTION TIP: 12oz light beer, 5oz wine, ½ oz of distilled spirits (only 1-2 drinks per day)

5) Be a thoughtful guest. Just because you may not know what’s on the menu doesn’t mean it’s time to throw in the towel. Instead, offer to bring a dish. Take the opportunity to ensure that you will have a healthy, filling meal while still staying within your goals.

6) Have one, not all. If you feel that you absolutely, cannot pass up on a dish: choose a spoonful not a scoopful of potato salad, one piece of BBQ slathered protein, and the rest leaner meats, or half a slice of cake instead of the whole.

TIP: Limit yourself to one plate of food and once that's done, no seconds.

7) Don’t sit! Instead of sitting and munching away while you’re socializing, grab a friend and go for a walk, or engage in a game of corn hole or horse shoe. A half hour of active playing (and not just sitting between turns) can easily burn 100 calories and give yourself a little room to indulge at the same time.cornhole.jpg

As always, weight loss and management relies heavily on preparation and planning. Have a back-up plan and no excuses.

More than mother's day brunch

Posted by Corinne Chou, MSN, NP-C on Sat, May 06, 2017 @ 05:15 PM


Roses are red, Violets are blue

Without our Moms, what would we do?

How do we say all things unsaid,

to show our gratitude and love widespread?

Perhaps a celebration keeps Mom fed.

With big brunch buffets or dinners with bread. 

There are many ways to say “thank you”

With gifts that Mom will surely say woohoo!

Rather than serving a high calorie spread.

Why not say “I love you Mom” with these ideas instead?

So a very Happy Mother’s Day to you this year

And to all your loved ones you hold dear!

Enjoy being with your Mom wherever you tread

In health and wellness from StepAhead!


  • image-1.pngFrom a fellow StepAheader, Chelsea Charles “Count me Healthy” bracelets are an inconspicuous way to lead a healthier lifestyle. These bracelets have beads that can only be moved by the wearer. They are a great way to count goals: from glasses of water to blessings each day. These are a fashionable gift any mom can use. Prices start from $45
  • FitBit tracker: a more traditional health tracker that can measure steps, heart rate, and sleep to name a few features. It can also connect to your smartphone, track your food calories, and allow you to compete with your friends. It comes in a variety of options, starting at $60.
  • Can’t get away from the sweet tooth? Try to pick a dark chocolate that’s lower in calories and sugar and take advantage of the its healthy antioxidant benefits. Or you can pair it with a fruit arrangement so everyone can enjoy.
  • For the cook: Pair a healthy cookbook with a kitchen gadget. With summer coming soon, a grill pan or vegetable steamer canZoodles-Shrimp-Pasta-2-web.jpg come in handy. An oil mister will aid in healthier cooking. Another StepAheader uses a vegetable spiralizer to turn her healthy plate of vegetables into more creative dishes.
  • Try a new physical activity together: yoga, Pilates, Barre, or even a spin class. What better way to show Mom how much you care than by putting her health first? Or for the less adventurous take advantage of the outdoors and get extra steps in before you go out to eat. Head out for a walk to a local arboretum and enjoy the flowers, or take a stroll at Duke Farms to get those steps in.

However, you choose to spend Mother's Day, let your wellness progress be enhanced and incorporated into your life (and those around you) instead of letting it be a bump in your road to success!

Tags: Mother's Day Gift

Fast-Track Your WEight Loss this HOliday SEason

Posted by Step Ahead on Wed, Nov 16, 2016 @ 02:01 PM
 The holidays  are a time to indulge in delicious food, but too much snacking and calorie-filled beverages can lead to major weight gain come January. There is a way, however, you can enjoy your favorites without all that fat. Here are what the health experts at Step Ahead Wellness Center recommend  to keeping trim throughout the holiday season. 

Register for our Holiday Season Special:

"6 Weeks To Slim" starting November 23rd through January 4thoptifast-300x225-resized-600.jpg

* Easy Diet Plan, No calorie counting, High Protein Meal Replacements with room to enjoy your favorite foods

*  Choose your reward:  10% Discount for a  6-week supply of OPTIFAST high protein meal replacements OR an  Amazon gift card

* Complimentary  Holiday Goodie Bag

* Healthy Easy Recipes from our Nutritionist, Sari Greaves author of the upcoming family cookbook Cooking Well: Easy Meals

Take charge of your health this Holiday Season!

CALL NOW 908-470-2235 or email

Tip # 1: Practice Damage Control

This is not the time of year to go on a strict diet; it's a time to try to give into your cravings in a controllled manner.

Tip # 2: Bring a healthy dish to the holiday party

Here are some easy potluck contributions:

- Hummus platter with vegetable crudite

- Mixed green salad topped with any type of beans and balsamic vinaigrette

- Shrimp cocktail

- Quinoa with vegetables

Tip # 3: Jazz up your grains

It's easy to give your grain dishes more of a nutritional boost. Quinoa, which is an easy pot luck idea mentioned above, is a whole grain that is high in protein (which will help you feel full on fewer calories). By stretching this dish over vegetables you slash half the calories and add nutrients. 

Tip # 4:  Never go to a party hungry!

You never want to eat something too small or too large before the holiday party. Go for a dish that contains a little bit of protein and carbs and is under 200 calories. Try a small apple with a scoop of peanut butter or Greek yogurt with a sprinkle of nuts. 

Tip # 5: Beware of your beverage intake

 Limit yourself to 1 - 2 party drinks. One standard drink is a 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine or an ounce-and-a-half of 80 proof liquor.


Tags: holiday weight loss

Healthy Medical Weight Loss for Better Health and Wellbeing (Clone)

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Oct 26, 2016 @ 01:27 PM

A healthy medical weight loss program should promote both physical health and emotional wellbeing.One of the primary goals behind any diet and exercise program should be improving the health and wellbeing of the person taking part in the program. However, all too many diet and exercise programs take a cookie-cutter approach to helping people meet their weight loss goals.

What do we mean by a “cookie-cutter approach?” The cookie cutter approach is nothing more than a program that fails to take into account the unique needs of each person to participate in the program. Things such as individual metabolic rates, health and lifestyle are not taken into account in these programs.

Part of making sure that your weight loss program gives you the greatest improvements for your health and wellbeing is making sure that your unique needs are met; which is something that requires personalized, attentive care.

One way in which a weight loss plan can help you maximize your weight loss and health improvements is by determining if medically-assisted weight loss is right for you.

Meeting Weight Loss Goals Safely

For some people, diet and exercise alone aren’t enough to meet their weight loss goals. In fact, for some people, the kind of heavy activity an exercise routine usually demands can be unsafe. For example, if a person with osteoporosis were placed on a strength training regimen, that regimen might help to improve bone health in the long run, but the risk of severe injury is so high that simply supplementing calcium intake might prove to be much more reliable and safe in the long run.

A medical weight loss program can identify major medical conditions and dietary deficiencies, then create a personalized wellness plan just for you. By creating a personalized plan that takes your whole health profile into consideration, your results can be vastly improved as opposed to what could be achieved without the help of a doctor.

Such a plan takes into consideration how much activity you’ll need to lose weight, how much activity is safe for you, and your dietary needs to stay in good health while losing weight. To further improve your results, the doctor supervising your medical weight loss program can prescribe vitamin supplements and appetite suppressants to complement your diet and exercise routine.

How Supplements and Appetite Suppressants Help

For countless people, the demands of keeping up with a packed work schedule and the needs of their family doesn’t leave much time for following a generic diet and exercise routine. In fact, lack of time is one of the primary reasons why people so often turn to unhealthy fast food in order to satisfy their hunger.

Because of this, sometimes, you might need a little help to keep eating healthy and meet weight loss goals. This is where the use of doctor-recommended vitamin supplements and appetite suppressants can be a big help.

One of the leading causes of a failed diet is that dieters have a hard time resisting the temptation to go off-diet without help. Appetite suppressants help you fight the urge to snack and eat unhealthy foods by keeping your hunger in check. Used properly, appetite suppressants can help you safely stick to your diet plan.

Sometimes, it is nearly impossible to get ALL of the nutrients you need through a regular diet. This is where vitamin supplements prescribed by a qualified nutritionist can help you.Another one of the major problems with many fad diets is that while they restrict the intake of calories and fat, they can also end up cutting certain needed vitamins and minerals as well. Vitamin supplements prescribed by a qualified nutritionist help you by making sure that your body is receiving all of the vital nutrients it needs to function at peak efficiency, preventing many of the negative side effects associated with extreme dieting.

Only by thoroughly examining your physical condition can a doctor find out your nutritional needs and create a prescription for vitamin supplements that will provide a complete solution for improving your health and wellbeing. With continuous medical monitoring, these prescriptions can be updated as necessary throughout your weight loss program as your needs change.

Promote Your Health and Wellbeing

A successful weight loss program not only helps you shed pounds, it helps you to be more energetic and healthy. People who have successfully lost weight often report feeling more confident in their appearance and positive about their self-image. In short, losing weight not only helps you to be healthier, but it promotes mental well-being as well.

With the continued support of a trained physician and staff who are dedicated to making sure that you meet your weight loss goals, healthy medical weight loss programs such as Step Ahead Wellness’ OPTIFAST program can help you be healthier, more positive, and energetic. Learn if the OPTIFAST medical weight loss program is right for you today:

Do You Need a Personalized Weight Loss Program?

Tags: Weight Loss, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, Nutrition, OptiFast

Gluten free BLueberry bread

Posted by Step Ahead on Wed, Jul 13, 2016 @ 04:54 PM

Feed your body right and start your day with a healthy dose of antioxidants. Nutritionist Sari Greaves, RDN loves to add  seasonal blueberries to just about anything.

2 cups gluten free rolled oats, ground into a flour

1/2 cup sugar (use stevia or a sugar free baking blend to keep sugar free)

1 Tbsp baking powder

pinch sea salt

1 cup almond milk

1 omega-3 fortified egg (can use 1 large egg if not vegan)

1 tsp vanilla extract

6 Tbsp nut butter of choice, melted (such as smooth panut, almond or cashew butter)

1/4-1/2 cup blueberries

 1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan or 8 x 8 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix well.

3. In a small bowl, whisk the milk, vanilla extract and egg.. Pour into the dry mixture. Add the melted nut butter and mix very well until a batter is formed. Divide the batter in half. In one half, fold through the blueberries.

Pour the blueberry filled batter to evenly cover the baking tray or loaf pan. Top with the other half of the batter. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown on top and a toothpick comes on clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before serving. Makes 24  mini bites (80 calories each) or 24 regular slices (160 calories each*)

*calories are approximate.blueberrry_bread.jpg





Tags: diet