Cereal Bars: Sneaky fat or healthy snack?

One thing I happen to love about cereal bars is how convenient they are. I tell clients when they are in a Nutrition Counseling session that it is ok to have these items with you so you do not grab an unhealthy snack. It can also help you fight off the temptations that may arise when you find yourself hungry during the day.

However, a recent study shows that some of the most popular bars actually contain as much sugar as a serving of cookies! We all know that if you are looking for a healthy snack, a cookies is not your go-to item.

So what to do? READ THE LABELS. Right now. If you have your favorite box of granola bars near you, grab the label and look at these key points:

1.) Does it have at least 3g of Fiber?
Think about it; fiber helps keep you fuller longer, so the more fiber in the bar, the longer it will hold you over if its in between meal (or a quick breakfast option).

2.) Does it have at least 5 grams of Protein?
This amount of protein will add balance to the calories and fiber, and again keep you satiated.

3.) Does it contain less than 35% of its calories from sugar?
This is our main argument. Unfortunately, what you may find will shock you!

There are plenty of bars out there, but all-in-all, it is always better homemade. Check ou our  favorite bar recipes!

The Weight Loss Plateau: How you can jump over it

 

 

One thing that I know frustrates many people is the dreaded weight loss plateau. Weve all been there; you’re staying on your plan, eating right, and adding more exercise, but that little bit just wont come off. The last five pounds are by far the trickiest, right?

Well, here is your cheat-sheet on how to battle a plateau:

1.) Awareness is key. Many times when we’ve reach our goals and hit a plateau, we tend to ease back on our routine. Maintain your awareness by keeping track of your exercise and daily food log. You might find that skipping your afternoon latte or hitting up brunch after a Saturday workout may seem small, but it really contributes to smaller ratio of calories in vs. calories out that you thought!

2.) Change it up. Plateaus happen when the muscles in your body get used to the exercises that you are doing. So, if you keep the same routine for 6 months, and you find that you lost weight in the beginning but haven’t in the past 3 weeks, switch up your routine. Putting in a higher intensity bursts for just 5 minutes in your routine or adding on mileage or increasing the pace can make a huge difference in how your body reacts.

3.) Don’t stress! Putting too much emphasis on the fact that the scale is not budging and really focus on your overall goal: to be healthy, live life better, and keep other weight-related ailments at bay. Every time you are frustrated think about all you have accomplished. Keeping yourself positive could help shed those final pounds!

Healthy Summer Recipes for a Deliciously Healthy Summer

Now that we are approaching the middle of May, Summer is coming in full force.

In many ways the beginning of summer marks the start of sun, sand, and little more down time. With this down time can also come a lot more food and booze too! So, to help you stay on track with your fitness and weight goals, I urge you to stay in season.

Some of the most delicious foods are fresh and in season May through August; fruits like peaches, melons and blueberries are perfectly ripe, vegetables like broccoli and asparagus are crisp and fresh. There is truly an abundance of amazing produce that are at their peak during these warm months (and bonus- all are healthy and helpful to keeping you look fit in your bathing suit!).

Click here to see Fitness Magazines great summer recipes.

Are you also looking for a healthy-focused vacation? Check out Smart Workouts Fitness Vacation– a way to see NYC in all its glory all while eating healthfully (even at restaurants!) and exercising. Don’t worry- we’ve included some down time spa services as well!

Heres to a healthy start to a great summer!

-written by Sandi Partyka, CHC

New Study Shows exercise for Cancer patients is beneficial

Its unfortunate, but all of us know at least one person that has been diagnosed with some form of cancer. The treatment, therapy and recovery when going through a form of cancer can be such a draining time both mentally and physically. Since we’ve been lucky to have guest Blogger, David Haas from the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance join us for a post today, Ill let him explain the new findings discussing the benefits of moderate physical activity for cancer patients:

Changing Attitudes Regarding Exercise For Patients Undergoing Cancer Treatment



Doctors have often recommended that patients undergoing treatment for cancer minimize their physical activity and get plenty of bed rest, but recent evidence from UPenn has shown that moderate amounts of physical activity can offer significant benefits for cancer patients. In the past, it was thought that allowing the body to spend large amounts of time resting and recuperating would aid in the recovery process; however, it has now been shown that cancer patients can improve their chances of survival, their quality of life and their energy levels by engaging in moderate physical activity if they are capable.



Exercise for cancer patients should be moderate in intensity, and mirrors the guidelines normally set for healthy adults. Simply walking for thirty minutes a day for five days out of the week is enough to gain practically all of the benefits afforded by exercise. In addition, resistance training may also be useful for cancer patients. Cancer patients often experience weight fluctuations while undergoing treatment; cancers that are hormone based such as breast cancer often cause significant weight gain in the form of additional fat deposits while cancers that affect the integrity of the digestive system can cause weight loss due to the patient not having an appetite or not being able to absorb nutrients as efficiently as they are used to. In the former case, exercise can help prevent the fat gain by increasing the number burned by the patients body; in the latter case, exercise will help preserve lean muscle mass by actively engaging the patients muscle tissue during exercise. Regardless of the type of cancer, exercise can help to stabilize the patients weight and prevent unwanted fat gain or muscle loss.


Cancer patients, like anyone else, should take care to listen to their body while performing exercise. A medical professional can help guide patients on what type of exercise is suitable for them; for example, patients being treated for breast cancer who have had biopsies or lumpectomies performed may sustain injury from doing any exercises that work the upper body, as muscle tissue is often damaged by those surgeries. Experiencing aches and fatigue from performing exercise is usually not an issue, but any sort of sharp or stabbing pains indicate a more serious problem and patients should not perform exercise that is uncomfortable.



The data collected in clinical studies points to patients undergoing cancer treatment receiving a positive benefit from physical activity. It is likely that this will result in a shift in the treatment paradigm in oncology, with oncologists stressing the need for their patients to perform reasonable exercise at a frequency similar to healthy adults rather than suggesting that their patients remain sedentary and inactive.

Volumetrics or Crowding Out; How this principle can help you lose weight

Do you feel like every time you go on a diet you are never satisfied? Always hungry and looking for the next snack or meal?

When weight loss is your main goal to starting or maintaining a healthy life, the Principle of Volumetrics or Crowding Out can be a useful tool to your success.

Studies have shown that most people will eat the same volume of food per day. The key to Volumetrics is to take the volume that you are eating, and cut roughly 25% of the caloric value of it. To do this in a way where you will still be satisfied and full, here are some quick tips:

1.) Bulk up your meal.
Take your traditional meal of protein, veggies and healthy grains (like brown rice) and bulk up the amount of veggies, cut back slightly on the amount of grain and keep the protein to an appropriate portion of 3-4 oz.

Most vegetables like broccoli, bok choy, and dark greens have a lot of fiber and satiety value- so you’ll stay fuller longer.

2.) Portion Control is now QUALITY over QUANTITY.
Instead of saying, Oh for 500 calories I can have chicken and french fries, its quick and easy. And this is the caloric value if you keep the portion size under control. What about the QUALITY of those calories? Chicken is protein, but french fries are empty calories- no staying power to keep you full. Now, if you were to replace the french fries with a more QUALITY side item, like roasted baby potatoes with peppers, tomatoes, and a spinach salad, you would not only be eating LESS calories but you would actually be able to have a meal that gives you the amount of fiber you need to make it through to your next meal or snack.

3.) If done right you can have dessert!
What if someone told you you could have dessert every night and still lose weight? Obviously, you would know that it is about how you pick you foods and what you choose to eat. However, it doesnt have to be boring.

I often tell people if you start with soup or a salad, you will eat a smaller main dish, and will have room (both physically and calorically) to eat a 100-150 calorie dessert. Who doesn’t want that?

The principle of Volumetrics or Crowding Out is far more than a diet to follow; it truly is a different way of looking at how you eat and planning your meals. In Smart Workouts Weight Loss Program, we discuss way to be successful with the idea of Volumetrics and how you can benefit from it.

Happy Eating!

 

-Written by Sandi Partyka, CHC, Senior Fitness Assistant