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!

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

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

Fitness Vacations – The new IT way to jump start a healthy habit?

Just one quick google search will prove that Fitness Vacations- or Fitness and Spa excursions- are slowly gaining speed and popularity in the fitness world. These types of vacations are usually in an exotic area or a desolate and quite area. You focus on healthy eating, exercise, and rest and relaxation. Well, who wouldn’t want that?

However, for those of us that don’t feel like shlepping on an airplane and traveling to a resort in the middle of no-where, maybe we want to stay a little closer to home. Smart Workout now has your answer!

Since Spring is slowly sneaking in, Smart Workouts Fitness Vacation will now feature our Spring activity line up- including the Orchid Show at the NYC Botanical Gardens, walks along the Cloisters, and a full excursion of the newly designed Highline Park.

 

The best part of OUR Fitness Vacation- you can choose how YOU want to vacation- a week, a weekend, whether you are close to the city and want to stay for the weekend, want to visit family and make it a healthy trip where you can see new parts of the city and learn healthy eating habits, or live in Manhattan and just want to take a little time for yourself, we’ve got you covered!

Ready to really immerse in a healthy habit and indulge in the city full of culture and fun? Our next vacation begins on March 25th, so registration is open now! Learn more here.

I dont know about you, but Im REALLY looking forward to the Spring!

It’s February – Have you stuck with your Weight Loss Resolution?

Its time for a little check-in. Did you make a healthy, weight loss resolution a little over a month ago? Was 2012 going to be the start of a new year where you were really going to concentrate on your health and diet?

Well, now that its February, its a great time to check in! Have you stuck with it or fallen a bit off track? Most of us are a little over-zealous when making our weight loss resolutions for a new year, so I wanted to give you some quick tips to help you stay on track:

1.) Do a monthly check in. And I mean it! Set up an appointment in your google calendar, an alarm on your phone, something that will remind you to check back in with yourself. This way, you don’t go 3 months into your program and say oh well! guess I couldn’t stick with it!

2.) Set mini-goals. For each month that you check in there should be a mini-goal you are trying to reach. Think small; like eating 1 more serving of fruit and veggies per week, adding one more class or workout to your normal routine, or even planning to get up and move through your lunch break 2 days per week.

3.) Find a cheerleader. We all have friends that would love this job! This is a friend or family member who agrees to help keep you on track by checking in with you, seeing if you are in need of more support. Think of this person as your backbone, and your sense of accountability. Make sure its a family member or friend that will give you some tough love too! This was also one of the main reasons why Smart Workout developed their Weight Loss Program with private nutritional counseling sessions. It is this support that really makes the difference in a successful weight loss regimen.

Most importantly, remember that reaching your weight loss goals is a journey. There will be hills to climb, plateaus to face, and great triumphs too!

So good luck and keep striving toward your finish line!

-written by Sandi Partyka, CHC, Senior Fitness Assistant