By Monica Ropar, Jenny Craig Corporate Nutritionist
Lately, there has been a lot of not so sweet news that despite years of knowing sugar isn’t healthy, people are consuming more and more of it. The typical American diet is loaded with excessive amounts of added sugars and you can find them in just about anything on the grocery store shelves. On the road to healthy eating habits, one notable indulgence to drop is eating empty calorie foods, which are foods typically very high in sugar and lacking nutritional value, such as sweetened drinks, donuts, candies and more. When consumed in excess, empty calories can be attributed to weight gain.
There are two types of sugars, naturally occurring or added sugars. Naturally occurring sugars can be found in fruits and milks, while added sugars are found in packaged foods and are one of the biggest culprits of empty calories. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans advised limiting added sugars to less than 10% of total calories. The good news is that the Jenny Craig Menu has been designed to align to this limit so if you are following any of our planned menus, you can feel rest assured that you are not consuming too many added sugars.
Here are some of the most common sugary items to avoid and our suggestions for what you can easily add to your meal plan and not your waistline.
Avoid These: Cereals & Sweetened Yogurts
Despite sounding healthy, many cereals, flavored instant oatmeal, breakfast bars and flavored yogurts can contain as much sugar as a cookie. We all know that starting the day off with a sugary breakfast does not provide us with the fuel our bodies need and crave to have a healthy day.
Enjoy These: Unsweetened versions of cereals, oatmeal and yogurt. Sweeten them with a dash of honey, or best yet, fresh fruit and spices. You’d be surprised how delicious a diced apple sprinkled with cinnamon, nutmeg or cardamom pairs with plain yogurt or oatmeal.
Avoid These: Energy Bars
If you’re not making an educated selection, you could just be eating a ‘glorified’ candy bar. Some options on the market can contain as many calories and added sugars as a typical candy bar, but they are marketed as ‘healthy’ claiming they can ‘give you energy’. Don’t be fooled because they contain healthy ingredients like oats, nuts and grains. You must look at all of the added ingredients.
Enjoy These: Get natural energy from whole foods. Healthy fats, whole grains, proteins and fruits make great snacks. Eat snacks like string cheese and a fruit; or a piece of whole-grain toast with mashed avocado. You can also make deviled eggs out of one hard-boiled egg and use a little mashed avocado or Dijon mustard with the yolk instead of mayonnaise. Top it with smoked paprika for a satisfying snack.
If you’re on our program, Jenny Craig Anytime Bars contain less than half the amount of sugar and calories compared to some popular energy or protein bars.
Avoid These: Specialty coffee drinks & Smoothies
If you want to reduce your sugar intake, your morning routine is the first place to start. Many specialty dessert-sounding coffee drinks can contain as much sugar as a slice of cake or a bowl of ice cream.
Enjoy These: Create a specialty drink yourself! Pre-make flavored ice by throwing cooled coffee into ice cube trays. Combine 3-4 coffee ice cubes into a blender with a half-frozen banana, one scoop of protein powder (experiment with assorted flavors, my favorite is salted caramel) and about a ½ cup milk or plain yogurt. If using alternative milks, such as almond milk, be sure to use unsweetened versions. Make it more decadent by adding a teaspoon of cacao powder or instant espresso powder.
If you want more of a fruit flavor, just replace the banana with 1 cup of frozen fruit of your choice, protein powder, milk and ice. Top it off with a splash of coconut water and blend. Just be sure to measure the fruit since typical fruit smoothies can contain over the recommended 2 fruit servings a day. Remember, 1 cup fresh/frozen fruit counts as 1 fruit choice.
Even quicker: Our Ready-to-Drink Shakes. They contain perfectly portable protein, fiber and essential vitamins and minerals and nearly half the amount of sugar and calories of a typical shake or smoothie.
Avoid These: Cookies, Cakes & Candies
This seems like a no-brainer, however the food industry has gotten smart and has tried to market many of these sugar-laden treats as healthy by using terms like ‘gluten free’ or ‘all-natural’.
Enjoy These: Enjoy a single-serving of sugar-free pudding or a small piece of angel food cake with fruit coulis. Make your own fruit coulis sauce by blending 1 ½ cups unsweetened fruit of your choice, ½ tsp orange liqueur (or orange juice) and a pinch of sugar substitute. Store for up to a week in the fridge and use as a topping for pancakes, plain yogurt or anything you want to make a little sweeter. Jenny Craig’s Breakfast Syrup is a sweet topping alternative to get your pancake or waffle fix.
Avoid This: Sugar-sweetened beverages
It’s not just regular soda. Sugar-sweetened bottled ice teas, sports drinks and even the now popular coconut waters can contain an entire days’ worth of sugar.
Enjoy These: Reach for seltzer with a splash of no-sugar added juice. Try infusing your own water by adding cucumber and crushed mint, lemon and chopped basil, and slices of mixed citrus.
Avoid This: Margaritas & mimosas
Margaritas and mimosas—typical happy hour and brunch drinks. Many of these drinks include sugary-mixes on top of the empty calories that alcohol already provides.
Enjoy This: Order a ‘skinny’ margarita that is made with just tequila, fresh lime juice, soda water and a splash of agave or fresh orange juice. If you like it spicy ask for a jalapeño-infused one, which will make you sip it even more slowly. Avoid pre-mixed mimosas, which are typically half champagne and half orange juice. Ask for plain champagne or a wine spritzer with a small glass of fruit juice on the side so you can control how much juice you add. A tablespoon should be enough and top it off with ice if you like it very chilled. Be smart about your beverage selections and always consume in moderation. Cheers!
You don’t have to eliminate sweets entirely, but see where you can cut down or cut out sweetness in your day. If you can get down to 1 or 2 items daily, you’re on the right path!
Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015, 8th Edition. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
More than 100 million U.S. adults are now living with diabetes or prediabetes, according to a recent report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, these statistics of people with diabetes could change in a positive direction. It all starts with understanding diabetes and making positive steps toward a healthy living. And knowledge is power. Boost your power with these 7 facts about diabetes.
The most common type of diabetes is type 2. Type 2 diabetes, also known as adult-onset diabetes, develops when your body's ability to use insulin becomes impaired. Insulin is the hormone that helps move glucose (sugar) from your bloodstream into your cells where it's used to produce energy. When those cells become insulin resistant-meaning they don't respond to insulin as they should, it causes glucose to build up in your bloodstream.
Your body is producing too much of a good thing. Glucose is a good thing. It's your body's primary source of energy, but when you have high blood glucose levels there's too much in your bloodstream, it can damage blood vessels, nerves and organs and over time, can lead to serious complications such as kidney disease.1 This is why you want to identify the symptoms, especially of undiagnosed diabetes early and take care of it immediately before your blood glucose levels get out of control. According to The American Heart Association, people with diabetes are at a higher risk for developing heart disease.2
Lifestyle is often the root cause. Being overweight and sedentary can be significant risk factors in the development of Type 2 diabetes. A lack of physical activity and excess weight, can lead to an insulin resistance. You can help prevent diabetes by maintaining a healthy weight with a well-balanced diet and exercising regularly. It is important to find an activity you enjoy and that fits easily into your schedule so that you'll keep doing it and incorporate it into your lifestyle. If you need to drop extra pounds, a weight loss plan like Jenny Craig helps you manage portion control, good nutrition and plenty of produce intake. You can reduce your risk of developing diabetes by getting moving and healthy eating.
Metabolic syndrome can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Metabolic syndrome is a constellation of symptoms common among people who are insulin resistant. These include higher-than-normal blood sugar levels, a large waist measurement due to excess abdominal fat, high blood pressure, and abnormal levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. If you have metabolic syndrome, you should be working closely with your primary care physician to treat these issues.
More than 84 million people in the United States have prediabetes.3 Prediabetes is defined as having high blood sugar, but not at the level that meets the diagnosis for diabetes. If the prediabetes is left untreated, individuals will likely develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years. The CDC website offers a 7-question quiz to help you assess your risk. If you know you have high blood sugar, take steps to start living a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise to decrease your risk of developing diabetes.
You can reverse prediabetes. A large study known as the Diabetes Prevention Program, involving more than 3,000 people with prediabetes, found that those who dropped their weight by 7 percent and got 150 minutes of physical activity each week reduced their risk of developing diabetes by 58 percent. Weight loss and exercise can even bring blood sugar levels back to normal without medication.
If you have diabetes, you can keep it under control. There isn't a cure for diabetes, but you can take the steps necessary to manage this disease and prevent its complications. Once you've been diagnosed, you'll work with your doctor, diabetes educator, a dietitian, pharmacist and possibly other specialists as needed to develop the best treatment plan for you. You and your team will focus on controlling your blood glucose levels as well as maintaining healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels to prevent further complications of cardiovascular disease. Weight loss with diabetes is critical to minimizing and potentially reversing the impacts. Stay committed to your plan-to taking your medications as prescribed, eating healthfully, getting physical activity regularly and losing weight. You are the most important person in your diabetes care. Control your diabetes and you can control the quality of your life.
Diabetic Meal Plans by Jenny Craig
Jenny Craig has a special program for type 2 diabetes that has been clinically proven to result in weight loss and improved diabetes control†. We have a customized meal plan which helps you manage blood glucose levels and can help guide you to make a long-term lifestyle change. Learn more about the Jenny Craig Diabetes Program. We are here to help you on your journey to health!
†Diabetes Care 2014;37:1573-80. Doi:10.2337/dc13-2900
Getting moving during your work day can is a good way to help renew your focus and get your heart pumping! However, if you’re like 80% of the working population, your job is sedentary or requires only very light activity,1 so you know firsthand how difficult it is to get quality physical activity during the workday. What you may not realize is that a lack of movement during work marks a dramatic, and very recent, change in our behavior. As recently as fifty years ago, nearly 50% of jobs were physically demanding, requiring an additional 120-140 calories per day in physical activity.1 While that might not seem like much, it’s nearly enough to account for the steady weight gain that has America has seen since 1960.1
So the question becomes, how can we add in physical activity during our day—without disrupting the workflow or heading out to the gym and working up a sweat? This is where NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) comes into play. NEAT is, essentially, calories burned outside of eating, sleeping, or sports-like exercises.2 This includes simple tasks like walking, typing, performing yard work, taking out the garbage, and even fidgeting. These types of activities, if performed consciously throughout an otherwise sedentary day, can accumulate an impressive calorie burn, with some researchers estimating it’s possible to burn an additional 350 calories each day.3
In fact, recent research from the American Council on Exercise shows that “low-intensity movement interruptions are an effective means of combating sedentary behavior...[impacting] dramatic swings in HDL, triglycerides, and blood glucose.”According to ACE, significant health benefits can be seen by simply getting up once per hour and moving for five minutes, or getting up every two hours and moving for ten minutes.4 The types of activities they suggest include standing, walking and folding laundry. In other words, low-intensity and easy-to-perform activities can be simply weaved into your day.
Use the following strategies to add more movement into your workday, and you could reap significant health benefits, without breaking a sweat.
1. Park in the back of the parking lot
You know that one parking spot that’s way in the back of the parking lot? The one that’s always open because nobody wants to park that far from the door? Consider this spot reserved for you and all the extra steps it will allow you to get in over the next days, weeks, and months.
2. Take planned movement breaks at work
There’s an unlimited number of ways to do this, but here’s a few ideas to get you started. First, instead of keeping a large water bottle at your desk, use a regular sized glass. Then set an alarm on your phone to go off every 30-60 minutes to remind you to head to the kitchen and fill it up. Second, only use the bathroom furthest from your desk. Third, go to your co-workers desk and have a conversation instead of emailing them. With just these three ideas you’ll be able to easily get extra steps—multiple times per day. Bonus points if the bathroom and/or water cooler are up or down a flight of steps.
3. Have walking (or standing) meetings
If it works for everyone in the meeting, consider heading outside for a breath of fresh air while you work through the agenda. If the weather isn’t agreeable, you can also walk through the hallways. If you have to be confined to one room for a meeting, consider standing for all or part of the meeting.
4. Take a walking lunch.
If there’s a park you can walk to, grab your lunch and head over there for a quick picnic. Alternatively, just getting outside after lunch and “stretching your legs” for a few minutes can make a bigger impact than you think. Buddy up with a friend to make it more fun and to add some accountability.
5. Get a standing desk.
As more companies see the health and wellness benefits, standing desks are becoming more commonplace in workplaces across the country. Put in a request with your company. You might be surprised at how they respond.
Are you looking for a little more support? Set a free appointment and see if Jenny Craig is right for you.
4. https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/professional/certified/december-2017/6825/ace-sponsored-research-what-is-the-optimal-fit-to-reduce-sedentary-behavior-to-improve <br>
Water is the essence of life. Humans are comprised of almost up to 60% water which means that we have to continually drink water to keep our bodies hydrated, happy, and healthy. This key nutrient is one of the most important elements for the human body, but people often struggle with consuming enough water.
How Many Ounces of Water Should You Drink?
The rule of thumb used to be eight 8-ounce glasses each day, but experts say that has changed. Depending on your activity level and your climate, you should drink a half-ounce to an ounce of water for every pound you weigh. So, if it’s the middle of the summer, you’re working out daily, and you weigh 150 pounds, your daily water intake should be anywhere from 75 to 150 ounces of water. To be safe, no matter the temperature, shoot for at least 8 cups of water each day.
The general “rule” to drink half your body weight in water each day is true and it may even help you shed pounds, too. Researchers found that drinking water may actually help you lose weight by boosting your metabolism.
If you’re feeling thirsty or even hungry, that means your body is already dehydrated, and it could be temporarily harming your metabolism. Drinking H2O throughout your day will not only keep you hydrated, especially during hot, humid summer months, but it will also keep your weight loss journey on track.
How Can I Stay Hydrated?
Below are just a few tips to make getting enough water easier to swallow.
1. Set Reminders
Creating reminders will help jog your memory to drink more water. Mark a water bottle with each hour of the day to schedule just how much water you should be drinking throughout the day. Need an audible reminder? Set an hourly alarm on your phone to remind yourself to take a sip. If you are more of a visual person, try leaving post it notes around your house and office to drink some H20 each time you see a note. You can even leave a note in your car to remind you to take a sip on your different commutes. Write it in your calendar or on your to-do list and check off your consumption! Setting constant reminders to drink more water will help you turn a chore into a routine.
2. Make it A Routine
Take gulps of H2O after you do something that is already part of your daily routine. For example when you first wake up in the morning, make it routine to drink at least 20 sips of water before you leave the bedroom to eat breakfast. Drink water after each time you wash your hands, or sip even more water after you take a flight of stairs. Drink a glass of water before a meal and another one afterward. This will help keep you hydrated and can even help with digestion. To start, pick one or two habits that you practice daily and add drinking water to them. That way you can slowly work it into your routine.
3. Choose A Water Bottle You Like
Choosing a water bottle you like can help inspire you to drink more water. With numerous different kinds of reusable water bottles on the market, you can find the bottle that motivates you the most to sip on more water. There are bigger water bottles so you do not have to refill as often, water bottles with marks on it such as time stamps to help you keep on track, and water bottles with a filter to make sure you water stays pure and clean. We love the insulated water bottles which keep your water cool for hours even when left in a hot car. There are also bottles with a place to add fresh, cut up fruit to infuse your water and even high-tech bottles that track how much water you are drinking. The bottom line is, invest in a water bottle that you will actually use and that will encourage you to drink more. With so many brands, colors, and designs, there’s a style you’ll love.
4. Carry it Everywhere
After you purchase a water bottle you like, or decorate one with stickers that inspire you, and keep it with you wherever you go. Carry it everywhere – from the gym to the car to your bedroom – and refill as necessary. Keep a bottle of water handy at home, at work and on the run. If you'll be out running errands, freeze a water bottle overnight and bring it with you the next day. It will thaw in the car and allow for cool refreshment between stops. Keeping a water bottle with you will help you stay hydrated all day long. You’ll even notice that you’ll take more sips just because you’re holding it – it becomes second nature! Can’t bring your water bottle somewhere? Be on the lookout for public water fountains and stop and take a few sips each time you see one.
5. Keep Track
Keep a tally of your water intake. Aim for 4 glasses by lunchtime and another 4 by bedtime. There are several ways you can keep track of your water intake. Simply keep a tally on a piece of paper or in a journal. Create a countdown in your journal from 8 to 1 and cross off the numbers in descending order until you get to zero. Keep track on your phone – you can make notes in the note function or download an app. There are several apps that can help you keep track of your water intake. Most of them will show empty glass that fills with water when you input your water intake. It is a fun way to visually represent your progress.
6. Drink Water Before, During & After Workouts
Water is extremely important while you’re exercising. Staying hydrated will ensure that your body remains at your optimum performance level. Drink water before, during, and after working out. Aim to drink 8 oz, every 20 minutes, especially if the temperature is hot or you’re sweating a lot. Drinking water after your workout will replenish the water you lost sweating and help break down any lactic acid built up in the muscles, reducing your soreness.
7. Create A Challenge
Are you motivated by challenges or games? Turn drinking water into a game! This will help you reach your daily goal. First, define your goal whether it is drinking a glass of water every hour or drinking 8 glasses of water a day and stick to it. Write down your goal and mark off on your calendar each day you hit your goal. Then create a prize for yourself. If you hit your goal each day for a week, give yourself a reward!
8. Go One-for-One
Make sure to continually drink water by using the one for one rule. After each alcoholic drink, drink a glass of water before getting another drink. Following the one for one rule will help you stay hydrated while drinking and will alleviate some of the post drinking pain the next morning.
9. Add Bubbles & Flavor
If plain drinking water is hard for your to consistently drink, try no calorie, unsweetened carbonated water. Sparkling water can make drinking water fun and help replace a sugary soda addiction. Try replacing soda with sparkling water, or for a sweet twist, try infusing your water with fruits and herbs. Simply fill a pitcher with water and add 1-2 cups of your favorite fruits and herbs, stir, and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight for best results. Experiment with various flavor combinations, such as cucumber, strawberries, and mint, or blueberries, lemon, and basil. Or for a simple solution add a wedge of lime, lemon or orange to your water.
Try heating it up and drink hot water with a slice of lemon. There are even other beverages that contain some water that can help you stay hydrated. Coconut water, skim milk, fat-free milk, and smoothies all contain H20 in their make-up that your body will gladly accept. Drinking only these alternate beverages, however, will not be enough to keep your body hydrated and are just good to help supplement your water intake.
10. Eat Your Water
Did you know there are many other ways you can stay hydrated besides drinking water? There are several water based foods that can help contribute to your daily fluid intake. Foods such as, celery, cucumbers, and lettuce carry a lot of water that your body will use stay hydrated. If you snack daily, try switching out some of your usual snacks for pieces of fruit instead!
Adding more water intake to your daily routine will be overall beneficial to you - to your health, wellness, and even your weight loss. The habit of drinking more water will not happen overnight, but following the tips outlined above will make sure you stay hydrated. Drink more water; your body will thank you!
We know choosing the right weight loss program is hard. We also understand not all plans are created equal—some focus solely on food, such as eliminating food groups or focusing on calories, while others emphasize finding activities, such as physical activity or meetings to hone in on other aspects of well-being.
Jenny Craig offers a more complete, personalized plan to fit your unique needs with the dedicated support of a consultant and delicious food. This isn’t a one-size-fits-all cleanse or crash diet filled with dehydrated food. Before learning more about Jenny Craig, you may have heard of another program that focuses on using real food in a similar manner: Nutrisystem. Let’s learn about both programs, and find out what the key differences are between both companies.
Nutrisystem does not focus on counting calories or eliminating carbs—instead, it also focuses on offering high-fiber, lean protein food options to help fuel your body for the day’s activities. All of their menu items also contain no artificial sweeteners, colors or flavors, as well as zero trans fat.
Nutrisystem offers various 4-week plans, where you’ll eat 4-5 times a day. During your first week on Nutrisystem, you’ll eat 6 times a day. You’ll eat meals, bars and shakes from the program’s Turbo Takeoff box. Your second week, you’ll continue eating Nutrisystem foods while incorporating vegetables and fruits. You’ll also have a flex option, where you can dine out for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack, or use a Nutrisystem recipe as a flex meal. Your meal options do depend on which plan you decide to go with, so you may experience limited choices.
Depending on your plan, you would log in your measurements and weight online through the website or an app, as well as receive access to dietitians and counselors.
Jenny Craig is built on a three-part process that focuses on giving you the support you need, delicious food you’ll love, so you get the results you want. While some weight loss programs provide food and some programs provide coaches, not many provide both. Jenny Craig is a complete program that provides everything you need to succeed.
Every single member is provided with a consultant, who is included with every membership. It’s the key difference between Jenny Craig and other food-based programs.
You meet with your consultant once a week, to do weigh-ins and discuss your plan for the week. They provide you with personalized support and skills to help you develop healthier habits and a healthy relationship with food. The menu is a guide to help you easily make the right choices each day.
Our weight loss consultants have gone through rigorous training, which focuses on active listening, motivation-based counseling, and education on nutrition, physical activity, and behavioral strategies for weight loss and lifestyle change. This education is essential for equipping Jenny Craig members with information so it can help sustain their healthy lifestyle.
The second part of our program is our food. We offer delicious food, so there is no chopping, meal prep or measuring required so you can make healthy choices easily. The food is crafted by chefs and nutritionists for superior taste in flavors you’ll love, like Chicken Fettucine, Margherita Pizza, and Beef Merlot. And then there’s dessert—yes, dessert!—with options like Chocolate Lava Cake, Apple Crisp and Triple Chocolate Cheesecake!
Our consultants create a menu featuring items that you will love to enjoy six times a day. The menu also includes fruits and vegetables for variety from our Fresh & Free Additions list. This includes non-starchy, high-fiber fruits and vegetables that can help you stay fuller longer.
How the Jenny Craig program works
The details: <br>
You get to eat often—six times per day. Three meals and two snacks are included in our delicious menu , and you supply one healthy snack.
No food groups are eliminated. The name of the game here is a balance of carbs, protein and fat. You also add in fresh vegetables, side salads, fruits and dairy for additional balance.
No calorie counting! No counting of calories or macro tracking.
The food and menus are developed by chefs and nutritionists.
The goal isn't to keep you on Jenny Craig food permanently—it's a tool to help you reach your weight loss goal. You are encouraged during the weight loss part of the program to follow the plan to obtain the best results, but as you approach your goal, you are encouraged to start eating more of your own foods, or meals on your own. Your consultant will work with you on healthy meal planning and food preparation, as well as strategies for dining out and managing social situations. The goal is to develop a healthy, sustainable, enjoyable lifestyle you can live with.
The Jenny Craig program is proven and recognized by top news outlets and medical journals. US News and World Report ranked Jenny Craig as a top diet overall for weight loss for 7 years and counting. The Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) also backed Jenny Craig's value, citing that the program resulted in greater weight loss, compared to usual care1. The Annals of Internal Medicine also identified Jenny Craig as one of the most effective weight-loss programs2.
We’re very proud of our accolades, but that’s only one part of our success. When someone is looking for recommendations regarding weight loss programs, oftentimes it’s hearing from people who have been successful on that program that brings us together. Here is one from our success story, Sloane:
“Most diets give you a lot of margin for error. Measure this, count these, keep track of that, which I found put too much initial control in my hands. Knowing my meals were planned gave me the confidence and security to continue.”
You can learn about other members’ success by listening to their Success Stories, or visit one of our local neighborhood Jenny Craig centers near you to find out how the amazing combination of personalized support and food can help you reach your goals.
1Rock CL, Flatt SW, Karanja N, et al. JAMA. 2010;304(16):1803-1811
2Gudzune KA, Doshi RS, Mehta AK, Chaudhry ZW, Jacobs DK, Vakil RM, et al. Ef cacy of Commercial Weight-Loss Programs: An Updated Systematic Review. Ann Intern Med. 2015;162:501-512. doi:10.7326/M14-2238
Holiday meals are a special gathering, as family and friends come together to spend time with each other. Because these meals can go for hours, they’re typically centered around a huge cut of meat and plenty of sides flavored with the holiday’s spice blends of cinnamon and nutmeg or the comfort of heavy cream and butter—and this is all before the temptations that await you at the dessert table! There are plenty of ways to lighten up your holiday table with lighter side dishes that the whole family will love—here are a few of our favorites.
Roasted Fall Vegetables with Feta and Rosemary. Focusing on what’s fresh and fitting for the season is a great way to create a vibrant, colorful dish. Gather pumpkin, carrots, garlic cloves—and any other vegetable you may enjoy—and drizzle them with a touch of olive oil and rosemary. Place them in a single layer on a baking pan, then into a 200-degree oven for about 45 minutes. Top the vegetables with crumbled feta and roasted pumpkin seeds, and feast! <br>
Cinnamon Dusted Butternut Squash. Squash is a great alternative to starchy potatoes, and doesn’t need a lot of accouterment to bring out its natural sweetness. All you need to do is take a butternut squash, peel and cube it, then toss it with a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper and cinnamon. It will smell just like the holidays after about 30-40 minutes in a 400-degree oven! <br>
Tofu Mexican Chocolate Pudding. Looking for a protein-rich treat to enjoy with your family outside of delicious, lighter cookies? All you need is a pound of silken tofu, cinnamon, vanilla extract, honey and a half-cup of melted chocolate chips and a food processor or blender. Once you puree the mixture, transfer it to a container, seal the lid and let it chill for 30 minutes. This makes a lovely end to a meal, especially when paired with a cup of coffee or a small hot chocolate for the kids.
For those following the Jenny Craig program, here are a few delicious options:
Balsamic Kale and Cranberry Salad. Cranberries are a staple during the winter with their bright color and tart bite. This warm salad takes only 15 minutes to prep and 15 minutes to sauté! Begin by sautéing an onion for 3-5 minutes, then add kale, dried cranberries, water and a dash of salt to cook for another 3-6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, drizzle with some of our Jenny Craig Balsamic Vinaigrette and prepare to dig in! <br>
Curried Cauliflower. Curry powder is a beautiful spice blend that gathers coriander, cumin, ginger, dry mustard and turmeric, among other spices, to achieve its rich color. When tossed with lemon and olive oil onto cauliflower florets and roasted in a 425-degree oven for about 30 minutes, the florets will come out looking golden, just like the rich yellow of a comfortable fire.
These are just a few of the healthy holiday sides we’ve come up with, and there are plenty more to be had! Discover other delicious inspirations, like this Velvety Chocolate S’Mores Shake, and healthy holiday eating tips by looking through the Perfect Portion, Jenny Craig’s blog where we like to focus on foods trends and ideas to help you stay inspired and joyful about your weight loss journey. Happy holidays, and may your festivities be filled with bright flavors that celebrate your health and happiness!
Unwanted weight gain is frustrating at any age and if you’re approaching or have reached menopause, you may feel the deck is stacked against you. However, there are several changes that you can make in preventing weight gain from menopause.
What is Menopause & How Does It Affect Your Body?
Menopause is a normal condition that all women experience, and it usually occurs between the ages of 40 and 50. “Menopause” describes all the symptoms that occur right before and after a woman stops menstruating. These arise from the change of hormones in your body.
There are a limited number of eggs stored in your ovaries, and once your supply has been diminished, your ovaries stop releasing an egg every month. Since your ovaries are also responsible for making the female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone, as you get older, your body sees a drop in the level of these hormones, which can cause a number of different symptoms. Some women can experience intense symptoms that start even before menopause. However, others go through menopause without experiencing any noticeable changes.
Menopause occurs in three stages. First begins perimenopause, which typically occurs several years before menopause when the ovaries are making less estrogen. Menopause then follows once a woman has gone a year without her last period. Finally, there is postmenopause, the years following menopause. During this time, symptoms begin to ease up.
Decreasing hormone levels with perimenopause (pre-menopause) can last years before menopause is complete. Many women experience mood swings, slowed metabolism and sometimes depression.
Stress from daily life, inadequate sleep from night sweats and hot flashes can also contribute to mood changes and fatigue. All of these changes combined can make menopausal women prone to weight gain, especially in the abdomen region. However, never fear, there are strategies that can help improve your quality of life and maintaining a healthy weight during this transition. Additionally, adopting an active lifestyle and a healthy diet can help a woman feel more in control during this stage of her life.
How to Lose Weight During Menopause & Prevent Weight Gain
Men and women naturally lose muscle mass as part of the aging process. This process will affect the percentage of body fat compared to lean tissue. Less muscle mass could also slow the metabolic rate (the rate at which calories are burned). Here are some tips that can help combat menopause weight gain and stay on track with your weight loss goals:
Staying active throughout life is one of the best ways to retain more muscle mass, and burn more calories. Incorporating more invigorating activities as a part of a daily routine can ease many of the menopausal symptoms women experience. Finding more ways to be active throughout the day can add up quickly.
Strength or resistance training exercises are especially helpful, not only with retaining muscle mass, but also helping to slow mineral loss in bones which can lead to osteoporosis. Incorporating aerobic exercise is important for heart health, brain function and helps some women sleep better at night.
Here are a few examples of good workouts that not only can help with weight loss, but also help ease menopause symptoms.
Swimming is a great way to get your cardio in without getting too hot, as the pool can help ease any potential hot flashes.
Yoga can not only help improve your body, but it can do wonders for your mind as well, alleviating some of the potential mood swings and stress that can come with menopause. Restorative yoga can also help alleviate hot flashes, fight fatigue, and help with irritability.
Tai Chi is all about balance, and it’s important to improve your body’s stability as aging can affect balance. This can help with muscle coordination as well as injury prevention.
Biking is another aerobic activity that can help boost your cardiovascular health and shed that unwanted menopause weight. It can also help fight off some of that anxiety associated with menopause.
*For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends moderate aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, for at least 150 minutes a week or vigorous aerobic activity, such as jogging, for at least 75 minutes a week. In addition, strength training exercises are recommended at least twice a week. Be sure to contact your doctor to discuss any changes to your activity routine.
Menopause & Diet Changes
Once you start menopause, it’s important to adjust your diet to help your body better adjust to its changes. Making healthy eating choices can help make this transitional time easier and ease your symptoms.
It’s important to watch your weight when you go through menopause because weight gain may increase risk with other health issues such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and insulin resistance.1
There are many nutrients that are especially important to consume during menopause, as they can help with any natural deficiencies, as well as help prevent or ease certain conditions. Another bonus is the boost you may experience with your weight loss! Here are the common types of nutrients you’ll want to make sure you include in your diet:
Calcium: Women tend to be deficient in calcium, which makes it very important to ensure you’re getting enough in your diet. Calcium is important to maintain bone mass as well as prevent osteoporosis. Because your body isn’t producing as much estrogen, it makes it harder for your body to retain calcium.2
Vitamin D: Vitamin D can help with the absorption of calcium to ensure it is deposited in the bones. It can help prevent fractures as well as bone pain.3
Vitamin C: In addition to boosting your immune system, Vitamin C is also an antioxidant that can help protect the body from free radical damage. It can also assist with bone health.
Vitamin A: Another important antioxidant, vitamin A is an essential nutrient to help maintain your bone health.4
Vitamin E: Vitamin E is also an antioxidant that can help prevent oxidative stress in the body as well as mental stress and depression. It can also fight off cell damage and ease inflammation.
Vitamin B-6: This vitamin can help combat mood swings as well as depression that results from menopause. This is because Vitamin B-6 helps make serotonin, and levels of the feel-good hormone drop naturally as you age.5
Vitamin B12: As you age, your body loses some of its ability to absorb this vitamin, which can leave you feeling fatigued, weak and down. Vitamin B-12 is important to help boost your energy and improve neurological function.6
Magnesium: During menopause Magnesium levels tend to wane, so it’s important to eat foods that contain the nutrient to keep your levels up. Magnesium not only helps with bone health, but can reduce symptoms of menopause such as insomnia, mood swings, anxiety and more.7
Keeping these nutrients in mind, it’s important to eat a balanced diet to not only help you feel your best but to prevent weight gain during menopause. There are some foods you’ll definitely want to include in your diet along with some foods you’re better off skipping.
Foods To Consume:
Water: First and foremost, don’t forget to drink water. It will not only help fill you up so you don’t overeat, but it can help boost your energy levels, improve your mood and can even prevent dried out skin. Try these tips to drink more water every day.
Leafy Greens: Eating leafy greens such as kale, spinach, and broccoli can help ensure you’re getting your fair share of iron, calcium, and fiber. This can help prevent bone loss as well as menopausal weight gain.
Whole Grains: Whole grains are a good source of fiber, which can not only help you manage your weight by keeping you full, but can help prevent against heart disease as your risk goes up as you age.8
Fish: Options such as salmon, tuna and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help combat your risk of anxiety, depression or potential heart problems.
Foods To Avoid:
Sugar: Controlling your blood sugar is important to minimize excess weight gain as well as fight fatigue. Try to avoid processed sugars and stick to naturally sweet foods such as fruit.
Caffeine: There’s nothing like a good cup of coffee in the morning, but research shows that women who consume caffeine during menopause are more likely to suffer from hot flashes.
Alcohol: Drinking alcohol can increase your risk of breast cancer, heart disease, and even hot flashes. It’s okay to indulge occasionally, but keep it to no more than one drink a day.9
Your body goes through many changes during and after menopause, and initially, you might find it can be difficult to adjust to these differences and figure out your body's new needs. However, you can get back to feeling normal and like yourself if you take the right steps for your health. This includes maintaining a regular exercise routine, eating a well-balanced diet and avoiding certain foods that could make your symptoms worse. It’s important to talk to your doctors, but there’s no reason you should let menopause interfere with living your best life or attaining the body you deserve.
1https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/health-risks-overweight<br style="background-color:#ffffff; color:#586471; font-size:12px; text-align:start">2https://www.webmd.com/menopause/guide/staying-healthy-through-good-nuitrition#1<br style="background-color:#ffffff; color:#586471; font-size:12px; text-align:start">3https://www.vitamindcouncil.org/health-conditions/vitamin-d-and-osteoporosis/<br style="background-color:#ffffff; color:#586471; font-size:12px; text-align:start">4https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/bone-health/nutrition/vitamin-and-bone-health<br style="background-color:#ffffff; color:#586471; font-size:12px; text-align:start">5http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/vitamin-b6-pyridoxine<br style="background-color:#ffffff; color:#586471; font-size:12px; text-align:start">6https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/<br style="background-color:#ffffff; color:#586471; font-size:12px; text-align:start">7http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/magnesium<br style="background-color:#ffffff; color:#586471; font-size:12px; text-align:start">8http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/HealthyDietGoals/Whole-Grains-and-Fiber_UCM_303249_Article.jsp#.WaRgW3eGPOQ<br style="background-color:#ffffff; color:#586471; font-size:12px; text-align:start">9https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/diet-physical-activity/alcohol-use-and-cancer.html
The smells and sights of the holidays are all around you; from holiday feasts to pumpkin pies, savory & sweet high calorie treats are in every corner! Many people may give up on eating healthy for the holidays since it’s a time to indulge and celebrate, but who said you can’t still celebrate and indulge in a healthy way? Here are some tips for eating healthy during the holidays so you can enjoy the occasion and still stay on track during your weight loss journey:
Substitute your holiday favorites.
Holiday drinks, from hot chocolate to apple cider, are being promoted and poured left to right. If one is calling your name, find out what substitutions you can make. Whether it’s low-fat milk, no whip cream or half/quarter of the mix, you can find ways to get a taste of a classic holiday treat or mocktail.
Lighten up your flavor.
Instead of going for the butter and salt, why not look at other classic herbs and spices for your meals? Rosemary, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg are classic holiday flavors and can lead to surprising pairings, like steamed carrots and cinnamon or beets and nutmeg!
Know your portions.
Part of eating healthy for the holidays is keeping yourself in check to make sure you don’t overeat. When putting your plate together, go for vegetables and lean meat. Take your time eating. Once you’re done, drink some water and enjoy the conversation around you, as the feeling of being full settles in about 20 minutes after you eat.
Keep an arm’s length.
Once you have your plate, or if you’d like to wait for the main meal, keep at least an arm’s length away from the table. You can then focus on what’s in front of you versus standing near the food and experiencing temptation.
A little goes a long way.
This applies to both alcoholic beverages and desserts! Many alcoholic beverages around the holidays tend to have mixers filled with sugar, and desserts tend to be luxuriously lathered in frosting and butter. Having one sip or one bite of a dessert allows you to sample, know what it tastes like and feel satisfied that you got to take part in the festivities.
Keep it small.
In line with portion control, one way you can feel satisfied is by using a smaller plate or glass. Seeing the glass or plate full allows you to control your portions while also tricking your mind to seeing that you have enough of a serving to start off the festivities.
Be part of the planning committee.
If the event is a potluck, volunteer to bring a vegetable tray, salad or lean lunchmeat. There is always a surplus of desserts, and many people will be happy to have some nutritious options available!
Use the buddy system.
When you find someone else who wants to eat healthy during the holidays or simply wants to support you, stick with them during the party! That way you can keep each other accountable and feel empowered to make healthy choices.
Eat before you go.
One of the top tips for eating healthy during the holidays is to show up having already eaten your own food! Instead of heading straight to the hors d’oeuvres, you can make the rounds saying hello to and catching up with everyone. Having already eaten gives you a better chance of not overeating later. Keep your party plans in mind throughout your day, too, and carry a snack with you just in case.
We hope that these tips for eating healthy during the holidays help you feel empowered on your weight loss journey. When you have a plan, you can feel confident as you dash from each event to the next.
When you're trying to lose weight, tiny hunger cues can make a small craving seem like a giant temptation. Transitioning into a healthy eating style isn't about total avoidance—in fact, completely disallowing your favorite foods can make it highly unlikely that you'll stick to a weight loss plan over the long term.
Typical restaurant or fast food burgers are a common diet no-no if you're trying to trim your waistline, but most of us simply can't resist indulging from time to time. Not to worry! If you must sink your teeth into a juicy, delicious burger, there are plenty of healthy burger options and healthy toppings to please your palate.
Alternatives to Red Meat
Poultry is often healthier than beef burgers in terms of calories and saturated fat. Ground turkey provides a taste similar to ground beef with much less guilt. Your best bet is to look for ground turkey that is labeled as lean (93%) or extra-lean (99%). As ground turkey breast contains very little fat, it can sometimes taste dry. Keep it moist and tender by adding diced veggies like celery, green pepper and onion into the burger recipe. The high water content of the veggies will keep your turkey burger patties juicy. Or if turkey isn’t your preference, a chicken burger is another healthy burger option if you are looking to cut the calories and fat.
Black bean burgers
Whether you're vegetarian or not, it's difficult not to like the taste of a well-made black bean patty. Bonus? Black beans are loaded with fiber, low in cholesterol and contain protein. Just stick to a homemade version so you can control the ingredients, or check out the nutrition facts on store-bought brands and ask your server about the ingredients in restaurants to keep your burger consistent with your weight loss plan. Next time you are craving a juicy hamburger, grab a veggie burger instead!
Portobello Mushroom Burgers
You know those giant 'shrooms that span the width of a burger bun? Those are Portobello mushrooms, and they are surprisingly delicious! They have a meaty texture, which substitutes well for a burger. They are uniquely delectable. The best part is that a large one is only 30 calories and contains no fat or cholesterol!
Healthy Burger Bun Options
Regularly consuming hamburger buns served in restaurants is akin to sabotaging your weight loss plan. Buns are often drenched in butter, salt and artificial flavors, not to mention the size is often HUGE.
A great way to cut calories is substituting a lettuce wrap for your bun—try Bibb or Boston lettuce (also known as butter lettuce) which is large and sturdy enough to use as a wrap. For another fun and healthy way to enjoy your burger, toss the bun and instead deconstruct your burger and turn it into a salad.
If you are preparing your own burger at home, look for a smaller-sized whole-grain bun, or try a whole-grain, low-fat flatbread. You can even skip a ‘holder’ and enjoy your burger with a fork and knife.
Top it off: Healthy Burger Toppings
Burgers can be delicious on their own, but it seems like they always come dripping with toppings these days. From fried eggs to sauces, adding on the toppings can also add on the calories. The always popular topping of bacon is laden with saturated fat. The all-American favorite, regular mayonnaise, can be just as bad since it’s typically made with eggs and oil. Even a topping as simple as ketchup or barbecue sauce contains added sugars. Consider these weight-loss friendly topping alternatives to finish off your healthy creation:
Pickles, cucumbers, jalapeños or pineapple
Tomatoes, roasted red peppers or grilled yellow or red onions
Spinach or watercress—while traditional iceberg lettuce certainly isn't calorie-dense, it isn't nutrient-dense either. Sub in some spinach or watercress for beneficial vitamins and minerals.
Chipotle mayo substitute—rather than fatty mayo, create a delicious Tex Mex burger by blending a half cup of Greek yogurt with two chipotle chilis.
Avocado or turkey bacon
Mustard, chutney, or salsa
Don’t Forget About The Healthy Sides
When most of us think about burger’s we automatically think of french fries too. But, these delicious potatoes are fried in fatty oil and are usually loaded with salt, creating quite the unhealthy dish. If you are craving a side dish for your burger, swap the traditional french fries with bell pepper sticks, green beans sticks, sweet potato fries, carrot fries, or zucchini chips. These healthy alternatives will give you the crunch you are looking for without the heavy calories.
By using some of the hamburger alternatives above, you can satisfy your burger craving with much healthier ingredients. When chosen wisely, indulging in a burger won’t derail your diet.
Jenny Craig members can enjoy perfectly portioned versions of their favorite foods such as a delicious classic cheeseburger without the high calorie and fat content found in typical fast food. Are you ready to start losing weight? Contact us for your free appointment today to get started!
Board member, Augie Nieto has been living with ALS for over 11 years and in October, we worked with his organization, Augie’s Quest to raise money for ALS research. We not only wanted to support Augie’s cause, but also honor VP of Operations Lauren Witsenburg who passed away in 2013, and our Jenny Craig employees and community members who have shared their experiences regarding ALS. Each Jenny Craig center and the corporate office set a donation goal, and we’re thrilled to report that we were able to raise over $75,000 to Augie’s Quest. All donations directly fund the ALS Development Institute, whose sole focus is finding a cure for ALS.
ALS, which is the abbreviation for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, affects nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain, which leads to muscle weakness and eventual loss in control of muscle movement.
Augie is also the subject of a documentary, titled “Augie.” Filmed by “Walk the Line” director James Keach, “Augie” follows Augie and his wife, Lynne, as they discuss living with ALS and fight to find a cure. With “Augie” having a successful run in the 2017 film festival circuit and set to premiere in theaters 2018, we are empowered to continue focusing on causes that are near and dear to our community. To find out more about ALS and ways to get involved, visit Augie’s Quest’s official website.