Recipe Of the Week:
Chicken and Spiced Apples (from www.eatingwell.com)

Butter apples are a wonderful complement to thinly pounded chicken breast. This recipe can be served with any roasted meat or veggies.

Nutrition Profile:
Diabetes appropriate, low calorie, low saturated fat, low sodium, heart healthy, healthy weight appropriate, gluten free.

Ingredients:
2 Braeburn apples, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 teaspoons unsalted butter, divided
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/8 teaspoon herbes de Provence, divided
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

Directions:

1. Toss apple slices with lemon juice and cinnamon in a small bowl. Heat 1 teaspoon oil and 1 teaspoon butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add apples and cook, stirring occasionally until tender, about 5 minutes. Keep warm.

2. Mix 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence, salt and pepper. Place chicken between sheets of plastic wrap and pound meat with a meat mallet or the bottom of a small sauce pan to ½ -inch thickness. Sprinkle the chicken on both sides with the seasoning mixture.

3. Heat 1 teaspoon oil and 1 teaspoon butter in a large skillet over high heat. Add half the chicken and cook until no longer pin in the center, 2-3 minutes per side. Remove to a platter and keep warm. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and 1 teaspoon butter to the pan; heat over high heat. Cook the remaining chicken in the same manner.

4. Add broth, lemon zest and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon herbes and any accumulated juices from the chicken to the pan. Cook, stirring to scrape any browned bits, until slightly reduced, about 3 minutes. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and served with the sautéed apples.

Nutrition Per Serving: 191 calories, 6g fat (2g sat, 2g mono), 72 mg cholesterol; 6g carbohydrates, 27g protein; 1 g fiber; 292 mg sodium; 342 mg potassium.

Fit Tip of the Week: What to Look For In a Weight Loss Program

Every year consumers spend billions of dollars on weight loss programs and products, many of which leave them empty handed (and with an empty wallet). With a huge variety of weight loss programs available, I’m often asked how to choose the right one that will help provide safe weight loss and keep the pounds away for good. To answer this question, I put together a list of key elements to look for in a weight loss program:

1. Safety.
This goes at the very top of my list. A sound weight-loss program will encourage you to check with your healthcare provider before you get started. This visit allows your provider a chance to offer any special precautions or guidelines based on your health status and should include a screening to assess your readiness for exercise.

2. Credibility.
This ranks right up there with safety. For the best results, and to further help ensure safety, the program should have credentialed providers such as registered dietitians, certified fitness professionals, certified wellness coaches, behavioral specialists (licensed psychologist or counselors0 and such licensed medical professionals such as physicians and registered nurses. Always use caution with peer-led programs (that is people who claim they have lost weight successfully). Although such programs can offer support and guidance though the program functions, they often don’t have a staff with educational background in exercise, nutrition, or behavior change to offer sound professional advice.

3. Flexibility.
Programs that demand a rigid diet or exercise pan set you up for failure before you even begin. Often these guidelines are just too difficult to stick with for even the most disciplined and dedicated individuals. Look instead for programs that integrate your food and physical activity preferences. Perhaps a program that will teach you how to cook your favorite dishes in a more healthful way. To be successful in the long-term, you’ll need to adopt lifestyle changes that you can live with.

4. Realistic outcomes. It absolutely drives me up the wall when I see commercials or hear claims on the radio of someone saying, “Lose 20 pounds in 1 week.” Believe it or not I’ve actually heard claims like this and my immediate thought was, “Why isn’t this person in the hospital?” Although this might catch your eye, the truth is safe and permanent weight loss happens slowly. The recommended (by fitness and medical experts) weight loss rate is ½ pound to a maximum 2 pounds per week for lasting results. You should ask to see program outcome data regarding average amount of weight loss and long-term follow up results. If no data is available, or they won’t share it… HUGE RED FLAG!

5. Self-monitoring. One study found that people who kept a daily food journal lost twice as much weight as those who didn’t. Writing down what you eat keeps you accountable and makes you think twice about going back for seconds. Keeping exercise records can be helpful as well. Self-monitoring offers an objective look at how you’re doing in relation to your goals and is very helpful especially when you hit a plateau and need to adjust your approach.

6. Sensible nutrition. Avoid programs that eliminate entire food or nutritional categories, such as fruit, grain, fats or carbs (which are everywhere!). According to the American Dietetic Association, all foods fit in a healthy diet. Plans that advocate special combinations of foods, certain foods in unlimited quantities, or are too restrictive don’t work. Eat a variety of whole grains, colorful veggies and fruits, low-fat dairy products and lean sources of protein and you’re instantly on a path to a healthier diet.

7. Regular exercise.
Programs making claims that weight can be loss “without exercise or change in physical activity” is another one that drives me crazy. Getting active and staying active is the cornerstone of maintaining a healthy body weight. In addition, exercise optimizes conditions in the brain for enhanced learning and decision-making. It’s a great mood-elevator, metabolism booster and can help counteract emotional eating. A weight loos program should encourage you to find ways to make physical activity apart of your daily life.

8. Cognitive changes.
A good weight loss program will help you learn to think in new ways that is essential for long-term success. A reputable program will help you replace faulty thinking patterns with positive, productive ways of thinking that support your health goals.

9. Believable claims and no pressure. Walk (or better yet run) away from any program that pressures you to buy special foods, supplements, pills, or gadgets or promises a quick fix. There are no magic pills to “melt your fat away”. Sustainable weight loss requires a significant effort and a sensible approach and with the right support, expertise and guidance, you can make it happen.

Until next week…

KinkySheaPT
G. Nicole Shea, BS, ACSM-CPT
ACSM Certified Personal Trainer
Zumba® Fitness Instructor