Step Ahead Wellness Center Blog

Recipe Corner: 10 minute Spring Spinach & Artichoke Salad

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Mar 20, 2013 @ 12:01 PM

Cheating is okay, if it saves you time in the kitchen without sacrificing taste! Nutritionist Sari Greaves loves recipe shortcuts like using prewashed bagged spinach, and jarred artichokes that make a nutritious, seasonal salad seem effortless. 
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 (20-ounce) jar water packed artichokes
leaves from 1 sprig fresh thyme
Juice of 1 lemon
Freshly ground black pepper, dash salt
1 (11-ounce) bag baby spinach
1 ounce grated Parmigiano-Regiano (about 5 tablespoons)
Special equipment: Basic blender 
*Tip: Make sure the salad dressing is not too hot when you pour it over the spinach. 
1.Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic until it becomes fragrant, about 1 minute. Scrape the garlic into a blender. 
2.Drain the artichokes and set aside 6 pieces plus the liquid. Add the remaning artichokes, thyme, and lemon juice to the blender and blend until smooth; season with salt and pepper. If you prefer a thinner consistency, add a little of the reserved artichoke liquid to the dressing.
3.Combine the spinach, reserved artichoke pieces, and cheese in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the spinach and toss well to coat lightly and evenly. Divide the salad among 4 plates.
Makes 4 salads; 116 calories per serving.
Make it into a meal: Add 4 ounces of grilled salmon, flank steak, or chicken breast on top of each salad. For Easter brunch, top each salad with a chopped boiled egg.
Adapted from Now Eat This!
Hungry for more? Call Step Ahead Wellness Center today at 908.470.2235 to find out about our seasonal weight loss programs, exercise classes, and personalized diet plans that fit with your lifestlye. 

Tags: diet, jumpstart diet, meal plans, Diet and Nutrition, healthy eating, fat burning classes, Dr.Oz, Cooking Classes, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, Personal Trainers, Bridal Boot Camp, Healthy Meals, Healthy Recipes, Nutrition, lose weight, online nutrition, OptiFast, superbowl 2013, Step Ahead, low calorie vegetables, low carb, lose weight fast, sharecare

Recipe of the Week: 5-Minute Sandwiches

Posted by deborah neiman on Wed, Mar 13, 2013 @ 05:11 PM


chicken pineapple oh 1895951 xtuna sandwich rs 1601176 x

Tantalize your taste buds with these easy-peasy sandwiches that are bursting with flavor and brimming with nutrients!

Grilled Pineapple & Chicken Buns                                                                             

Makes 4 sandwiches: 333 calories per sandwich. Save 100 calories by swapping out the bun and enjoy chicken filling over a leafy green salad.

4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cooking spray

1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)

4 (1/2-inch-thick) slices fresh pineapple

4 (1.5-ounce) whole wheat hamburger buns, toasted

1-2 teaspoons Light mayonnaise (optional)

4 large basil leaves

1. Sprinkle chicken evenly with salt and pepper. Place chicken on grill pan coated with cooking spray; grill 5 to 6 minutes on each side or until done, brushing occasionally with lime juice. Grill pineapple 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until browned.

2. Spread mayonnaise on bottom halves of buns, if desired. Top each with 1 chicken breast half, 1 pineapple slice, 1 basil leaf, and 1 bun top. Serve immediately.

Roasted Red Pepper & Tuna Roll-Ups

Makes 4 servings; 130 calories each.

2 6-ounce cans of tuna packed in water (drained)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/3 cup jarred roasted red peppers, thinly sliced

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

1. In a medium bowl, combine the tuna, pepper, olive oil, peppers, basil leaves, and vinegar. Spread the mixture on a 100-calorie wrap, roll, or sandwich thin for a 230 calorie sandwich.

Adapted from

Tags: diet, meal plans, Workout Clothes, Diet and Nutrition, healthy eating, fat burning classes, Dr.Oz, Cooking Classes, Doctor Supervised Weight Loss, Personal Trainers, Healthy Meals, Healthy Recipes, Nutrition, Prevention Heart Disease, lose weight, online nutrition, OptiFast, personal training, winter blues, superbowl 2013, Step Ahead, low calorie vegetables, low carb, lose weight fast, sharecare

Step Ahead's Low Calorie Flavor of the Week: Jicama

Posted by deborah neiman on Fri, Feb 01, 2013 @ 02:41 PM



What is it? Jicama is a root vegetable that resembles a very large potato. Eat it raw, sprinkled with lime juice, or use it as a vehicle for dips from salsa to hummus. Jicama adds crunch to green salads instead of high calorie croutons or bacon bits. Jicama can also be used in a stir-fry to create crunch similar to water chestnuts or sauteed on its own for a side dish (Just make sure to stick with 1 tablespoon of olive, canola, or peanut oil!)

What's the Skinny on Jicama? One cup of jicama, amounting to 4.6 oz, contains just 49 calories, provides 6.4 grams of heart-healthy fiber, and is an excellent source of vitamin C.

How do I prepare Jicama? Jicama can be found in the produce section of grocery stores. Simply wash the tough outer skin, slice it into quarters and peel off the skin using a sharp knife. Slice jicama into wedges or vegetable sticks.


Tags: meal plans, Diet and Nutrition, Dr.Oz, Healthy Meals, Healthy Recipes, Nutrition, Heart Disease, online nutrition, superbowl 2013, Step Ahead, low calorie vegetables, low carb, lose weight fast

Go NUTS on Superbowl Sunday!

Posted by deborah neiman on Fri, Jan 25, 2013 @ 02:40 PM


In a nutshell, there is mounting evidence that nuts offer many health benefits. Tree nuts are plant-based proteins that contain fiber and a combination of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are also rich in plant sterols and fat, particularly the heart-healthy mono- and polyunsaturated kinds. The combination of fiber, protein, and fats in nuts provide satiety to meals and snacks, making them an excellent option for weight management. There is a caveat, however: portion size. While nuts are healthy, they are calorie-dense, ranging from 160-200 calories per ounce. Step Ahead's Nutrition Director, Sari Greaves, R.D. recommends to get the health benefits of nuts without breaking the calorie bank, use them as an ingredient in mixed dishes or stick with a "shot glass" size to keep your portion sensible. Whether you enjoy nuts as an appetizer or entree, here are some portion savvy tips and recipes for you to plan a healthy party menu.

Pecans: 19 halves per 1 oz. serving. Sweet, mellow flavor and meaty texture lend well to salads and as a coating for fish.

Walnuts: 14 halves per 1 oz. serving. Grooves hold onto flavors well and are delicious when seasoned or hot. Oil can be used in dressings or sautes.

Pine Nuts: 167 nuts per 1 oz. serving. Standard ingredient in Italian Cuisine and most known for its use in pesto. Light, delicate flavor also lends well to pastas, salads, breads and sautes. Excellent option for a "high-volume" snack.

Hazelnuts: 21 nuts per 1 oz. serving. Available in-shell, whole, diced, sliced, and as a meal for gluten-free baking. Pairs well with savory, citrus and sweet flavors, particularly chocolate.

Pistachios: 49 nuts per 1 oz. serving. Bright color makes for great addition to salads, grain dishes and as a coating for meats. Eating in-shell helps slow consumption, an excellent option for a "high-volume" snack.

Almonds: 23 nuts per 1 oz. serving. Versatile ingredient, can be used whole or sliced. Enjoy in savory or sweet dishes.

Brazil nuts: 6 nuts per 1 oz. serving. Rich, creamy texture lends well to tossing a few into a snack mix.

Cashews: 18 nuts per 1 oz. serving. Soft consistency with delicate, sweet flavor lends well in Asian recipes and as a creamy nut butter.

RECIPE: Hazelnut Crusted Fish

Cooked to perfection in under 10 minutes, this recipe is great for entertaining. You can use pecans, walnuts, or pine nuts in place of hazelnuts. Makes 4 servings, 356 calories per serving  

1 tablespoon butter

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

4 (6-ounce) halibut fillets, skinned  or 1 lb. skinless chicken breast, cut into strips

1 egg white, lightly beaten

1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided

1/2 cup finely chopped hazelnuts

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 pound asparagus, trimmed

Cooking spray

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

4 lemon wedges

1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Heat butter and 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Brush tops of fish fillets with egg white; sprinkle fish evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Coat tops of fish with nuts, pressing gently to adhere. Place half of fish, nuts side down, in pan; cook 3 minutes or until browned. Turn fish over; cook 4 minutes or until desired degree of doneness.

3. Combine remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil, garlic, and asparagus on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray; toss to combine. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and thyme. Bake at 400° for 8 minutes or until crisp-tender. Serve with fish and lemon wedges.

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light

RECIPE: Almond Spiced Chicken Wings

These chicken wings are bursting with flavor, making it a satisfying appetizer at your Superbowl party! Makes 8 servings, 354 calories per serving

1 (8.25 ounce) jar almond mole sauce*

1 (32 ounce) can low-sodium chicken broth

1 (2 pound) package chicken wings

Salt and pepper

1 cup roughly chopped or slivered almonds, roasted, divided

*Find this in the Hispanic section of the supermarket.

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Heat mole sauce and chicken broth on the stove in a large, ovenproof pot or Dutch oven on medium heat.

3. Stir until smooth.

4. Add chicken wings and stir until wings are coated with sauce.

5. Add salt and pepper to taste.

6. Cover and transfer to the oven; bake 45 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking time.

7. Sprinkle with more almonds and serve.

Recipe adapted from




Tags: Weight Loss, jumpstart diet, meal plans, healthy eating, Healthy Recipes, Nutrition, online nutrition, superbowl 2013, lose weight fast