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

Meal Replacement Plans for Medical Weight Loss - Do they work?

Posted by deborah neiman on Tue, Oct 21, 2014 @ 01:36 PM

Do meal replacement plans really work?One of the questions we hear the most here at Step Ahead Wellness Center is: “do meal replacement plans work?” Considering how important meal replacement plans are to the success of many diet and exercise programs, this is a good question to ask before beginning a medical weight loss program. And, it’s a question that deserves an answer.

To put it simply, a meal replacement plan CAN work, if it is done right.

What Happens When Diets Go Wrong?

The problem with a lot of fad diets is that, while they reduce your calorie intake, they don’t provide a suitable level of nutrition to meet your body’s needs. These diets often have you removing food from your diet without replacing that with a healthier option. While an extreme starvation diet might produce some results in the short run, it isn’t a viable choice for long-term healthiness.

As these self-denying diets cut calories, they also cut your intake of vitamins and nutrients such as Vitamins A, C, and D, Calcium, and dozens of other compounds your body needs in order to survive. This results in symptoms such as fatigue, muscular deterioration, increased susceptibility to disease, and even death (in very extreme cases). Even if you’re on a diet, your basic nutrition needs still have to be met.

Even when a diet has a “meal replacement plan,” that plan is often formulated to work for people in general, and as such, isn’t optimized to meet your specific needs. Although, even when these meal replacement plans aren’t entirely tailored to your needs, they’re still better than a starvation diet. At the very least, these plans shouldn’t leave you without nutrition.

What Makes Medical Weight Loss Meal Replacement Different?

To make sure that your meal replacement plan is successful takes more than just cutting calorie intake, it takes a thorough understanding of your health from top to bottom. By starting with a medical examination, a medical weight loss program can find out which vitamins and minerals are deficient in your diet, if any.

Once the doctor supervising your weight loss regimen has an understanding of your unique health needs, she can create a comprehensive meal plan that will address your specific dietary needs. This healthy meal replacement plan will be tailored to provide you with all of the nutrients your body needs to work efficiently, while cutting back your calorie intake to promote healthy weight loss.

Another benefit of a medical weight loss meal replacement program is that the supervising doctor can prescribe dietary supplements as necessary. For example, if a patient had a severe vitamin deficiency that would be impossible to remedy through diet alone (at least, not without a massive increase in calorie intake), their supervising doctor could prescribe a supplement that would give them the nutrients that would otherwise be missing from their diet.

Sometimes, it can be hard to resist the urge to snack unhealthily.One of the leading causes for a meal replacement plan to fail is that it is often too tempting to go “off the plan.” This is especially true of meal plans that rely on a massive reduction in portions compared to what the dieter may be used to. If the meals aren’t filling, the temptation to snack to satiate hunger can lead even the most determined dieters astray.

It is so easy to go astray when you’re hungry. Thoughts such as “just one cookie/candy/scoop of ice cream won’t kill me” and “well, I had one, so might as well eat the next one” are difficult to resist when your stomach is growling like a ravenous tiger. The hunger response is a natural reaction, one designed to make sure we eat enough to meet our body’s needs. The problem is when feelings of hunger persist even after eating all the nutrition you need. This is where appetite suppressants can be a huge help.

Combined with a meal replacement plan and nutritional supplements, appetite suppressants can help you fight the urge to snack and keep you on-track to meet your weight loss goals, while still getting the nutrients you need to stay in good health.

Get a Meal Replacement Plan That Works

Once again, a meal replacement plan can and will work for your weight loss goals, IF it’s the right plan.

Get a complete weight loss solution that combines medical monitoring, meal replacement, dietary supplements and the support you need to lose weight and keep it off today!

Download the Optifast Tip Sheet

Tags: meal plans, medical weight loss solutions, Diet and Nutrition, healthy eating, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss

Tips to Build a Better Barbecue Diet

Posted by Sari Greaves on Wed, Jul 16, 2014 @ 02:56 PM

One great way to cut the bad fats from your summer diet is to grill some veggie burgers instead of beef patties.

Sometimes, the temptations of summertime barbecues make maintaining a diet difficult. However, there are a few tricks to enjoying summer foods in a healthier way.

Many condiments are swimming in fat (think mayonnaise and sour cream), sodium and sugar (think ketchup and barbecue sauce). The good news is that there are healthy alternatives for adding flavor to your barbecue favorites.

 The make it better strategy:

  1. Choose low-sodium ketchup (15 calories, 0g fat, and 3 mg sodium) instead of regular ketchup (15 calories, 0g fat 167 mg sodium).
  2. Choose fat-free mayonnaise (11 calories, 0g fat, and 120 mg sodium) instead of regular mayonnaise. (57 calories, 5g fat, 105 mg sodium) – you save calories, but you don’t save on sodium.
  3. Choose low-sodium Barbecue sauce (52 calories, 0.1g fat, and 47 mg sodium) instead of regular Barbecue sauce (52 calories, 0.1g fat, and 392 mg sodium)
  4. Mustard is hard to beat because it has minimal calories and fat, but the sodium can add up quickly by the teaspoon. People on a salt restricted diet are better off using spices for flavor. 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (5 calories, 0.2g fat, 120 mg sodium) yellow mustard (3 calories, 0.2g fat, 57 mg sodium)

* Ketchup and mayonnaise dietary values are based on measurements of ONE tablespoon. Be sure to practice portion control when using condiments. Make the “OK” sign with your thumb and index finger. The circle you create with your fingers is about 1 tablespoon- keep you portion to 2 tablespoons maximum.

* Barbecue sauce dietary values based on 2 tablespoons.

* Mustard based on 1 teaspoon (about the size of a thumb tip)

Jazz up leaner animal protein foods such as fish, seafood, white meat poultry, pork loin, top or bottom rounds of beef or veggie burgers with some of the following seasoning and marinade suggestions:

  • American Style: Low-sodium barbecue sauce
  • Italian Style: Tomatoes, oregano, garlic, basil, dash of olive oil OR light Italian dressing
  • Mexican style: Cilantro, cumin, oregano, garlic, chilies, dash of olive oil or lime.
  • Greek style: Lemon, garlic, rosemary, mint, oregano or fat-free Greek yogurt
  • French style: White wine, tarragon, thyme, mustard
  • Russian style: Paprika, fat-free sour cream, onion
  • Asian Style: Ginger, sesame seeds, low sodium soy sauce, garlic OR low sodium teriyaki sauce diluted with pineapple juice.
  • Indonesian style: Peanut, lime and ginger
  • Caribbean style: Lime, rum, allspice, ginger, garlic
  • Indian style: Curry powder, garlic, chili powder, cinnamon

Always feel free to add extra vegetables like tomatoes, onions and peppers instead of loading on more sauce.

You can tenderize lean cuts meat to increase flavor and texture. Marinate meat in salsa, low-calorie salad dressings, wine, pineapple, papaya or citrus juices such as orange, lemon or lime. Cover meat with about a quarter-inch of marinate and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. When it’s time to cook, place the meat on a clean, slightly oiled grill. Baste with fresh marinade or heat the marinade until it reaches a rolling boil before using it. Grill steaks until they are at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit and ground meat until it is at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit internally.

You can lighten up your favorite dishes with a few simple ingredient swaps:

  1. Lighten your potato salad by downsizing the amount of real mayonnaise from 1 cup to ¼ cup and mixing in 3/4 cup fat-free sour cream instead.
  2. Lighten your pasta salad by using a light dressing to cut fat in half.
  3. Lighten a vegetable side dish by broiling it instead of sautéing it in oil. For example, broiled peppers are delicious.
  4. Try replacing the classic white rice with couscous the next time you cook.Think beyond white rice. Whole grains such as quinoa and whole wheat couscous make fine additions to a barbecue meal. Prepare a grain pilaf by adding diced carrots, celery, onions and pine nuts to the dish.
  5. Edamame (green soybeans) can be served as a sweet & satisfying side which provides both protein and fiber. You can find them in the frozen section of the supermarket. For the healthiest results, boil edamame or steam them in the microwave.
  6. Spicy flavors satisfy. Prepare a noodle side dish using soba noodles (buckwheat). Cook these noodles according to the package’s directions. Toss noodles with 2 teaspoons peanut oil (heart-healthy fat), ½ teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes, chopped scallions, 3 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce and 1 teaspoon of hot sauce.

As always, be mindful of food allergies when preparing foods with ingredients such as peanut oil.

Menu Makeover:

With proactive eating and planning ahead, your next barbecue can be a healthy experience. From the menus below you can see that if you are not careful, calories and fat creep up quickly. 

Typical Barbecue Meal:

Calories Fat (in Grams)
Cheeseburger, 3 oz. 315 15
1/2 Cup Potato Salad 180 10
1/2 Cup Coleslaw 120 12
16 Potato Chips 150 10
Hot Dog (with Roll) 310 18
Two 24 oz. Beers 300 0
Apple Pie (1 Slice) 300 12
TOTAL 1675 77

Compare this to:

Revised BBQ Meal Calories Fat (in Grams)

Plain Burger, 3 oz.

(Made from 90% lean beef) 

184 10
Fresh Vegetable Salad, 3 Cups 30 0
Light Dressing, 2 Tbsp. 50 2

Chicken Kabob, 3 oz.


110 3
Hummus, 2 Tbsp. 50 2
One Mini Whole Wheat Pita 65 0
Lite Beer, 12 oz. 100 0
Seltzer with Lime 0 0
Fruit Salad, 1 Cup 120 <1
TOTAL 709 17

Calories Saved: 966

Fat Grams Saved: 60

Save an additional 64 calories and 7 fat grams by swapping the hamburger for a veggie burger!

Final Tip: Summer is not only about food.

Do stay active. Exercise is an effective way to prevent weight gain and stay energized. Exercise does not have to be limited to a 30 minute walk on a treadmill. Take advantage of the hot weather and engage in fun outdoor activities such tossing a Frisbee with friends, family and pets, swimming, rollerblading, or playing tennis. Enjoy the company of family and friends away from the comfort of your indoor couch and go for a nice brisk walk together outside instead.

Download the Optifast Tip Sheet

Tags: diet, healthy eating, summer recipes

Physician Weight Loss Tip of the Week

Posted by deborah neiman on Fri, Jun 20, 2014 @ 10:02 AM

Looking to lose weight, but not ready to commit to a complete diet regimen? While a comprehensive, physician-assisted weight loss plan that takes into account your unique metabolism and needs remains the best way to lose weight, there are some small steps to wellness that you can try.

However, finding simple, reliable weight loss tips can be challenging. Every day, new information about how to lose weight “quickly and easily” is added to the web. Regrettably, not all of it is true. So, to help you sift through the sea of misinformation out there, here is a small tip about how you can cut your weight by just a little and move towards a healthier BMI:

Drink more Water

Water is really one of the healthiest things you can drink.Here’s a fun fact: by weight, the body of an adult human male is roughly 60% water on average, while an adult female is closer to 50% on average. However, the actual percentage of weight that a person derives from body water may vary wildly from these numbers based on body fat content (adiposity), age and even general health.

The human body is particularly well adapted to metabolizing water; it’s really one of the healthiest things you can drink. The knowledge that water is such a healthy material has led to this particular tip being circulated: “drink water before a meal to cut your appetite.”

This piece of advice might work for some, but not all. Why? Because the human body is so good at processing and metabolizing water. Drinking a glass of water before a meal might reduce the sensation of hunger temporarily, even enough to get through the meal itself, but the hunger will return as soon as the body finishes processing that water, which it will do fairly quickly.

However, this is not to say that drinking more water (within reason) is pointless. On the contrary, water is a vital part of your nutrition. For most adults, the average amount of water (or other fluids) that should be consumed each day is roughly 1.9 liters, depending on health, general activity level and other factors.

Many people either do not get enough fluids for their needs, or consume drinks that are less than ideal for the body, such as soda and alcohol (which can actively dehydrate the body). By replacing these unhealthy drinks with fresh, clean water, you can improve your overall health and cut your calorie consumption.

For some, drinking water instead of carbonated drinks can lead to modest weight loss, or prevent the gaining of weight. However, this tip may not work for everyone. Every person is different, and will respond to general weight loss tips differently. This is part of the reason why it is so important to consult with a physician and establish a personalized weight loss plan.

If you find that you cannot seem to lose weight, even when following a strict diet and exercise routine that includes strategies such as this one, it may be time to try a different approach. Step Ahead Wellness is here to help you with our effective, proven 5-step weight loss program.

Download the Optifast Tip Sheet

Tags: Weight Loss, diet, healthy eating

get health fitness advice from experts

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, May 28, 2014 @ 12:29 PM

Step Ahead Wellness Center invites you to take a coffee break. Sip on a skinny beverage, and get FREE health and fitness advice from our expert nutritionist and contributor to the Dr. Oz show, Sari Greaves R.D.N. Take our diet personality quiz and chat about current diet trends.
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Friday, May 30th, New time: 12:00-12:30 pm
Starbucks coffee shop: 428 428 US Highway 202/206, Bedminster Township, NJ 07921
Reserve your spot by emailing 
or call 908.470.2235

Tags: HEALTHY DIET SHORTCUTS, physician weight loss program, losing weight fast, medical weight loss solutions, healthy eating, physician weight l9oss, ask the weight loss dr, Healthy Recipes, health fitness advice


Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, May 21, 2014 @ 01:12 PM

Wednesday is “GIVE-AWAY” DAY at Step Ahead!



Come in for a weigh-in, personal training session, or check
in with the Doctor and Registered Dietitian and leave with these


red apple resized 600
Each medium-sized apple -- approximately 3 inches in diameter -- contains 95 calories. Roughly 87 percent of these calories come from carbohydrates, and the carbs found in apples help you metabolize fats, allow your nervous system to function and help your muscle tissue hold onto its protein stores. Each medium apple also contains 4.4 grams of dietary fiber, a nondigestable carbohydrate that fights chronic diseases -- including diverticular disease and type-2 diabetes -- and helps keep you regular. The fiber in one apple contributes 18 percent toward the recommended daily fiber intake for women and 12 percent for men.

Call Erica at 908-440-2235 to schedule your appointment. 

 Don’t delay… offer is good for today only and while supplies last.

We hope to see you today!!


For more information on all the weight loss programs we
offer, visit us at

Tags: diet, fruit recipes, healthy eating, Fitness, doctor supervised weight loss center, Nutrition, health, Weight Loss Center, give-away day, apples, metabolize fats, fight carbs, fiber

Mother's Day Gift Ideas!

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Apr 30, 2014 @ 01:32 PM

mothers day resized 600

This Mother's Day, skip the flowers and give your mom something she really needs—the gift of good health.

No, you don't have to buy her a treadmill. There are many other things you can do to give your mom a boost in terms of her physical (or mental) well-being. Most moms will truly appreciate that your Mother's Day gift is aimed at keeping her happy, healthy, and in your life for a long time. In case you are drawing a blank, Step Ahead came up with a great gift for every mom.


Step Ahead Gift card towards any program.  

*Offer includes a body composition analysis on our Tanita scale.

* 30 minute personal training session.

  *Step by Step guide on how to reach your health goals

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E-mail us to receive an e-gift card sent directly to your e-mail or pick up your custom gift card in our office!

Phone: 908-470-2235




Tags: healthy eating, mothers day health, Healthy Recipes, weight loss goals, Weight Loss Center, best diets 2014, mothers day gifts, mothers day


Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Apr 30, 2014 @ 12:17 PM

Wednesday is “GIVE-AWAY” DAY at Step Ahead!



popcorn resized 600


Come in for a weigh-in, personal training session, or check
in with the Doctor and Registered Dietitian and leave with these

Step Ahead Customized 100 calorie packs.
Enjoy only 65 calories of veggie sticks and 35 calories of popcorn for a delicious 100 calorie snack!

Call Erica at 908-440-2235 to schedule your appointment. 

 Don’t delay… offer is good for today only and while supplies last.

We hope to see you today!!


For more information on all the weight loss programs we
offer, visit us at

Tags: Exercise, diet, HEALTHY DIET SHORTCUTS, Diet and Nutrition, healthy eating, Dr. Neiman, summer weight loss, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, Fitness, Healthy, just 100 calories, Doctor, weight loss goals, diet to lose weight, lose weight in 2014, health, Weight Loss Center, giveaway day, wellness, healthy entertaining, 100 calorie snack

Spring 2014 Newsletter

Posted by deborah neiman on Thu, Apr 17, 2014 @ 09:46 AM

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                                                                                               SPRING 2014 NEWSLETTER


Spring Fit & Fuel Event
Wednesday, April 23rd 5:30-6:30 pm presented by certified personal trainer, Noelle Lusardi and Nutritionist Sari Greaves. 30-minute exercise class followed by 30-minute cooking demonstration. Event is free, RSVP by April 18th
Optifast Support Group
Meet, greet, and connect with others following the Optifast Weight Loss plan. Support group meets every Friday from 11:30-12:00pm and every other Wednesday from 5:00-5:30pm starting May 2nd. Register by emailing
Recipe E-newsletter with Personalized Recipes
Take the hassle out of calorie counting and cooking by signing up for Step Ahead’s weekly recipe, emailed directly to you. Learn how to prepare tasty and nutritious meals from start to finish under 30 minutes. Request a personalized recipe from Step Ahead’s Nutritionist, Sari Greaves.  Register by emailing
Friday Morning Coffee Chat with Step Ahead’s Nutritionist
Join Step Ahead’s Nutritionist & contributor to the Dr. Oz show, Sari Greaves at Starbucks coffee shop in Bedminster, NJ  Friday mornings from 10-10:30 am starting May 2nd. Enjoy a free skinny coffee and discuss your diet with Sari. Sari will also discuss seasonal nutrition topics and latest diet trends. Register by emailing
We are offering a "2 FOR 1" spring training special.  Buy any one of our personal training packages and bring a friend or family member in to train with you for FREE!!  This is a limited time offer so act now to take advantage of it. if you have any questions or to schedule appointments.  Offer is good until June 1!
Interested in taking your fitness routine to the next level??  Call today to schedule your FREE 30-minute TRX training session, 908-470-2235.  What is TRX?  The TRX Suspension Trainer is a workout system that leverages gravity and your bodyweight to perform hundreds of exercises. You're in control of how much you want to challenge yourself on each exercise - because you can simply adjust your body position to add or decrease resistance. TRX delivers a fast, effective total-body workout, helps build a rock-solid core, increases muscular endurance, and benefits people of all fitness levels (pro athletes to seniors).
We are taking you outside this summer!  From June 1 thru Labor Day weekend, our wonderful certified Yoga instructor, Alyssia,  will be offering a weekly 30-minute power walk followed by a 30-minute Yoga Stretch class in the park across the street from our office.  More detailed info on this exciting new summer program will be out soon!  In the meantime, email if you have questions or want to reserve your spot!
Our group exercise classes are still in full swing on Monday and Thursday evenings, and Saturday mornings.  Email to sign up or for more info!
Can you pass along a healthy recipe?
Have a success story to share?
Want to join a support group?

Tags: Exercise, diet, diabetes health, weight loss newsletter, fitbit, Diet and Nutrition, healthy eating, summer weight loss, Fitness, Step Ahead exercise classes, Healthy Meals, Healthy Recipes, weight loss goals, health, diabetes and weight loss, exercise classes, Step Ahead Wellness Center, healthy cocktails, healthy dinner recipe


Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Apr 09, 2014 @ 11:02 AM
Wednesday is “GIVE-AWAY” DAY at Step Ahead!


chobani coupon resized 600


Come in for a weigh-in, personal training session, or check
in with the Doctor and Registered Dietitian and leave with these

Enjoy Greek yogurt as a healthy snack to fuel your body and take the edge off hunger!

Call Erica at 908-440-2235 to schedule your appointment. 

 Don’t delay… offer is good for today only and while supplies last.

We hope to see you today!!


For more information on all the weight loss programs we
offer, visit us at


Tags: Exercise, losing weight tips, fruit recipes, healthy eating, summer weight loss, Fitness, chobani yogurt, coupons, healthy yogurt, diabetes and weight loss, give-away day, wellness, healthy entertaining, Step Ahead Wellness Center