Tag: meal planning

Project Meal Plan

Coming this Fall.

Meal planning is where your dietary intentions become a habit we develop and refine over time.  Come get both inspiration and structure with Club Nutritionist Kathryn Reed, MS. In this program you will:

1st – meet with our club nutritionist for a private half hour session to assess your specific needs, goals and obstacles.

2nd – meet in a group each Monday for six weeks as you create the week’s personalized meal plan/grocery list.

Project Meal Plan is for those new to meal planning, those that just want some inspiration or new ways of cooking meals, for those busy professionals with very little time to cook and it’s also for those who just don’t want to go it alone!

$149 member cost / $179 non-member cost

For more information please contact Fitness Director, Jacob Luckey, at jluckey@sacdt.com.

15-Minute or less meal ideas!

Effective meal-planning must encompass the nights when things blow up and you need to get dinner on the table for yourself and/or your family in 15 minutes or less. If we have the right ingredients on hand we can always have a meal back-up plan.

Below is a list of some of my favorite 15-minute meal ingredients. I’ve separated them into Proteins, Starches and Vegetables. A healthy meal can combine all these into a well-portioned “balanced plate”: ¼ protein, ¼ starch and ½ vegetables.


Quick Proteins (1/4 of plate):

Leftovers or Rotisserie Chicken, Precooked Chicken Sausage (Adele’s or Trader Joes), Precooked Turkey Kielbasa, Canned & Rinsed LS Beans, Eggs, Tofu, Frozen Edamame, Precooked Veggie or Salmon Patties, Canned Tuna or Salmon, Frozen Turkey Meatballs


Quick Starches (1/4 of plate):

Frozen Microwaveable Rice, Microwaved Sweet or Russet Potato, Frozen Peas or Corn, Roast a bag of pre-cut Squash, Sweet Potato or Fingerling Potatoes, Microwaved Spaghetti Squash, Frozen Grain Blends, Couscous (takes 5 minutes to cook), Quinoa or White Rice (15 minutes to cook),Whole wheat pitas/tortillas/bread


Quick Vegetables (1/2 of plate):

Frozen: Broccoli, Asparagus, Pepper Strips, Brussel Sprouts, Frozen Specialty Blends with or without Sauce (Trader Joes has a lot of interesting blends), Bag of Broccoli Slaw (Add raisins/craisins, sunflower seeds and poppy seed dressing), Bag of prewashed & cut veggies (Green beans, mini zucchini, cucumbers, snap peas, baby carrots, mushrooms, specialty mixes), Bagged Fresh Lettuce: Romaine, Spinach, Mixed Greens (Add shredded bagged carrot, grape tomatoes, pre-sliced mushrooms)


Kathryn Reed

Next time you meal plan – buy the ingredients for a quick meal as a back-up. An example would be a flavored pre-cooked Adell’s chicken sausage, a box of couscous and a new frozen vegetable blend. These ingredients will keep for weeks/months – and you’ll always have a quick meal on hand – and avoid the pitfalls of dining out.

Oh No I Gained a Pound!

I recently have been asked by a lot of friends, probably looking to the New Year and losing weight, about how to lose some weight and change the way their body looks and feels. More specifically they have brought it to my attention that their stomach changes each day, and that when they look at themselves each day in the mirror some days they like their looks and other days they don’t. This got me to think about how some people can become obsessed about their looks, exercising and/or dieting more than needed.

Let me tell you, it is not a bad thing to be conscious of what you look like, feel like, how you exercise and what you eat. A problem occurs when that is all that you think about and when you beat yourself up for fall short for one day. Our bodies are made to adapt to any stimulus, be that food, exercise, weather, stress etc. For someone to stress about how their body looks day to day is a little absurd; as each day our body can absorb more or less water, our stomach can be distended from eating too much food or foods that stay in our system longer, for females certain times of the month can make them retain water etc. When we look at ourselves on a daily basis the results can be very skewed and can create a very unhealthy mental aspect or body dismorphia.

A better approach would be to reflect on your weekly habits and how you feel in general. Much like weighing yourself (at the most) once a week try reflecting once a week on your weekly activities. Look at how you are eating that week, at how you are handling your stress for the week, how much exercise you are getting and try to make it all work for you. If you are feeling a little bit off take a look at the things that are different from the past that could be affecting you this week and try to fix them. In the end the science suggests that an change to our body being good or bad is from long term changes or habits, and that if you miss a day of working out or have a not so good day of eating you need to acknowledge it and move on; think about concentrating your energy into the better habits.

In the end how you look and feel does not change in one night…it is a culmination of everything you do in a habitual nature over a longer period of time. So if you feel down because you missed a workout or you feel like you are heavier don’t fret; take time to reflect on how your weekly habits are forming and then go from there.

Decoding Weight Loss Fads

There are always new products and new research concerning weight loss solutions. Analyzing fads critically will give a fresh perspective to what can aid the process, or is just an erroneous claim. This article analyzes a few foods that are said to help with weight loss. Some believe research studies can be manipulated by corporations to support there interests, so it’s important to view each claim objectively.

  • Green coffee bean – You can purchase a pill, extract form or brew a cup. There are several research studies done that results indicate a weight loss of 0.8lbs a week up to 7lbs a week and most studies done were on overweight participants. There is additional research that was done on mice claiming it will stop fat absorption or increases fat metabolism. The active compound is chlorogenic acid, which is removed when the coffee bean is roasted.
  • Pine nuts – These nuts have a lower amount of saturated fat and are considered by some to be a superfood. They are said to reduce appetite by releasing appetite suppressant hormones, such as CCK. Certain vitamins and minerals contained in nuts are beneficial for normalizing metabolic processes. Pinolenic acid is a fatty acid that is found in pine nut oil and is very biologically active.
  • Tea (EGCG) – Epigallocatechin gallate is an antioxidant catechin present in tea. It has many therapeutic properties for disease and symptomology and is said to be helpful with weight loss because of its thermogenic properties. The antioxidant was discovered to be in highest amounts in green and white tea.
  • Capsaicin – The property in peppers that make them hot. It is said to help fight body fat by increasing energy expenditure, deterring fat cell growth, and decreasing appetite. It stimulates beta-adrenergic receptors and can up regulate uncoupling proteins in the mitochondrial cell wall thus increasing thermogenesis.

The research that has been done on these compounds can illuminate promising effects, but effects vary depending on vital factors, such as: the intial weight of participants, age, and if they were also working out and changing overall diet in addition. There are many more nutritional foods and herbs that have properties that assist in fat loss; however, the most important thing to remember is nothing will be an ultimate answer. Your hard work and effort with exercise and good, balanced nutrition is still the best way you will create lasting change. If you have questions about how to address your exercise routine, contact me Amber Walz. If you have question about how to address nutrition, contact one of our staff nutritionists.

Organic and Sustainable Food

In order to be labeled “organic,” a product, its producer, and the farmer must meet the USDA’s organic standards and must be certified by a USDA-approved agency. Organic foods cannot be grown using synthetic fertilizers, chemicals, or sewage sludge, cannot be genetically modified, and cannot be irradiated. Organic meat and poultry must be fed only organically-grown feed (without any animal byproducts) and cannot be treated with hormones or antibiotics. Also the animals must have access to the outdoors.

A product can be considered sustainable if its production allows the resources from which it was made to continue to be available for future generations. A sustainable product can be created repeatedly without generating negative environmental effects, without causing waste products to accumulate as pollution, and without compromising the wellbeing of workers or communities. Many different agricultural techniques can be used to help make food production more sustainable. The drawback of the term ‘sustainable’ is that the term lacks a clear-cut, universally-accepted, enforceable definition. It is more of a philosophy or way of life than a label.

Reasons to Eat Organic and Sustainable Foods

  • Taste
    Many people buy organic food because they believe it tastes better than non-organic.
  • It’s healthier
    On average, organic food contains higher levels of vitamin C and essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron and chromium as well as cancer-fighting antioxidants.
  • No harmful additives
    Out of hundreds of food additives approved for use, only 43 are permitted in organic food. Unlike additives used in non-organic food, none of the additives used in organic food production are considered harmful.
  • Avoids pesticides
    Organic growing practices prohibit synthetic insecticides, fungicides and herbicides used routinely on non-organic food crops. Many of the EPA-approved pesticides were registered long before research linked them to cancer and other diseases.
  • GM-free
    Genetically modified (GM) crops and ingredients are not allowed under organic standards.
  • Doesn’t rely on drugs
    Antibiotic additives routinely added to animal food to speed animal growth are linked with bacterial resistance in humans to the same or closely related antibiotics. USDA organic standards ban the use of antibiotics.
  • Protect farm worker health
    According to a National Cancer Institute study, farmers exposed to herbicides had a six-times greater risk than non-farmers of contracting cancer.
  • Good for wildlife and the environment
    Organic farming supports more wildlife than non-organic farming. It preserves biodiversity, reduces pollution from chemicals, and produces less carbon dioxide gas — the main global warming gas — with less dangerous waste.
  • Save energy
    Non-organic farming uses more petroleum than any other single industry. Organic farming relies mainly on labor-intensive practices such as hand weeding, green manures and crop covers rather than chemical fertilizers, improving the soil while saving energy.

You are What You Eat

Do you ever think to yourself, “I wonder if this bagel with cream cheese is a healthy way to start my day?” Well if you don’t you should, and if you don’t know the answer I’ll go ahead and give it to you, NO that is not a healthy way to start a day. So what should you eat instead? What justifies healthy food? So many questions but let’s just go over general guidelines.

  1. Real food. Real food is super important. Why should you eat a bag of chips with an ingredient list of 20+ items when you could make your own sweet potato chips at home? Check it out…

    Eat real, try to buy real food, the more processed the less healthy. But when you have to buy something in a package/can/bag/etc. pick the stuff with the least amount of ingredients and stuff that you know what it is!

  2. Less sugar! Have you looked at that bag of bagels you’ve been buying for the last year? How many grams of sugar are in there? Enough to constitute your little round treat as a slightly less offensive donut. Sugar raises your insulin levels and is readily stored as fat. Cut back on sugar, of all kinds. Agave nectar is still sugar, so is honey, so is fruit juice, so is cane sugar. They all get broken down in the body the same as fructose so don’t be fooled by the “healthy” stuff. Looking for a sweet snack, have an apple, try some dried apricots (NO sugar added), etc.
  3. Read your labels. It’s shocking to know what’s in your food. Processed this, sugar that, wheat, soy, etc, it’s a real eye opener. Read labels, find the ones that have the most natural ingredients. Make note of grams of sugar, grams of carbohydrates, and how many calories per serving. Know the serving size.
  4. Eat when you are hungry. Snacks are sold EVERYWHERE. You can’t even go to Home Depot without staring down Twix, Snickers, and Jolly Ranchers. Instead of eating junk, if you must have a snack be ready with natural food. 100 calorie packs of Almonds, some turkey jerky, a sting cheese. Don’t be tempted to eat just because it’s there. Make smart decisions when it comes to indulging.
  5. Cook at home! If you constantly eat out, lunch, dinner, weekend breakfast, make it a point to cook dinner at home once or more during the week. Find a fun recipe, go to the Market, buy local, involve your family. You may find that the extra effort makes it taste that much better!

These are just a few basic tips on ways to change to a healthier diet. If you would like more information on nutrition please contact our nutritionist Suzzanne Myer.

10 Sure-fire Nutrition Tips to Conquer Your Resolution Blues

Many of you started off the New Year with well-intended nutrition goals. You were looking to cut calories, eat out less, incorporate more fruits and vegetables, detox from all the holiday partying, etc., etc., etc. You are now a little over a month in and you may be reaching the point where you wonder why setting those goals was ever a good idea! I want to encourage you to push past the pain and frustration and stay committed! Research has shown that it takes 21 days of forcing yourself through a new routine before your mind and body begin to accept the new routine as a habit. It is likely that many of you are beyond this point and still feel frustrated.

Take a moment to reflect on what methods you are using to achieve your nutrition goals. Use these tips as a guideline and reference to get you back on track as you make your daily food choices and stay on track to achieving resolution success!

1.) Start your day with a healthy breakfast. This is key to jump-starting your metabolism! Try a combination of whole grains, fresh fruit, and low-fat dairy.

2.) Eat multiple small meals throughout the day. Instead of consuming three large meals at breakfast, lunch, and dinner try eating four to five smaller meals throughout the day. This will keep your metabolism elevated and your hunger under control!

3.) Focus on incorporating six to nine servings of fruits and vegetables each day! Use snack times as an opportunity to bring them into your diet.

4.) Work on getting 25-35 grams of fiber per day. Fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains are all great sources of fiber! Fiber will aid in digestion, help you feel fuller longer, and keep your blood sugar at bay.

5.) Drink water! Our bodies are made up of nearly 75% water, so make sure you are hydrated because it is essential for your body to function properly. Try keeping a bottle of water handy at your desk!

6.) Take time to enjoy your meals. The brain takes 20 minutes to recognize satiety, so take time to slow down and pay attention to what you are eating and how you feel. Then you are more likely to enjoy our meal, feel satisfied and not overeat.

7.) Keep your portion sizes under control. Make a habit of reading food labels and measuring out correct portions. For more information on correct portion sizes visit www.MyPyramid.gov.

8.) Take control of your environment. We may not always be able to stand up to temptation, but we can create a positive environment for success. For example, if you know there are certain foods that provoke you to overeat keep them out of the house and out of your desk drawer.

9.) Set realistic goals. Don’t try to revamp your diet from the get go, but commit to achieving one goal each week.

10.) Keep a food journal. The average person underestimates their intake by 600 calories each day! Recording what you eat makes you be accountable to yourself, and also gives you clues about where extra calories are coming from.