Girls enjoying the pool.

Healthy Holiday Recipes

Setting a Healthy Holiday Table

It’s that time of year again to start planning your holiday meals. Whether you are hosting or heading to a friend or family member’s house with tasty dishes in tow, you are probably starting to think about what dish (or dishes) you are going to serve.  Here are some recommendations to serve up festive fare that is both light and delicious! No matter your traditions, these adored and time honored dishes can be made with less fat, fewer calories and a reduced amount of sugar. The best part is that these recipes skimp on fat, but not on taste!

Although there are plenty of holiday foods that are actually healthy and full of nutritional benefits, the problem is that we go about preparing them the wrong way. Adding cholesterol, fat and sugar to healthy foods is counterintuitive but common around the holiday season. If you prepare these holiday table staples in a healthy way and watch your portion size, you and yours will gain numerous nutritional benefits!

Turkey – Is an excellent, healthy source of protein. That is of course, if you prepare it properly and don’t take the deep fried and covered in gravy approach! A 3 to 4 ounce healthy serving of turkey is a great source of folic acid, vitamin B, zinc and potassium. These nutrients have been proven to help keep cholesterol down and protect against heart disease or cancer while providing a boost to the immune system. If you are watching your weight, stick to the white meat and skip the skin as this will save you hundreds of calories. The best news is that turkey will fill you up without all the calories. It is one of the best lean proteins and should be a staple of your holiday diet if weight loss and fitness are a goal. Recipe idea

Sweet potatoes – Are arguably some of the healthiest veggies around. However, most holiday recipes don’t exactly translate the healthy nature of this yummy vegetable. This holiday season, try roasting your sweet potatoes as it keeps the flavor without adding the fat. Sweet potatoes are full of fiber, vitamin A, potassium and phytochemicals and all help promote a health body while staving off arthritis and aging. These spuds are also very filling, saving the need for an overloaded plate or seconds! Recipe idea

Cranberries – Cranberry sauce is a go to garnish for many Americans during the holidays. However, most of us don’t realize that our antioxidant packed berries are pumped with sugar because of their less than sweet nature. Cranberries are naturally low in sugar, which has many recipes calling for large doses of added sweetener to combat bitterness. Avoid all that sugar by sticking to a healthier option like Stevia or maple syrup. Recipe idea

Stuffing – This starch rich side is often regarded as one of the holiday’s most fattening and filling dishes. However, at its heart it is satisfying side that just needs a makeover. With a few minor changes, stuffing can be made into a healthy holiday staple. Consider packing it with nuts, carrots, celery, and dried fruit to add a range of vitamins and a dose of fiber. In addition, substitute low sodium chicken broth or oil (coconut or olive) instead or butter. Recipe idea

Gravy – The quintessential Thanksgiving staple. Sadly, a single serving of homemade gravy can added 200 to 300 calories to your holiday meal. Rather than cutting the gravy altogether, instead opt for substituting ingredients. Using coconut oil instead of butter and almond milk instead of cow’s milk while eliminating the meat drippings altogether will help shave calories from your holiday gravy. Upgrade your gravy with these substitutes or cut half the fat with this recipe. Recipe idea

Bread – Do we really need more carbs on our holiday plates? Probably not. Between stuffing and potatoes, do we really need rolls that are slathered in butter? Instead, opt for a crisp and flavorful flatbread that doesn’t require a creamy spread. Recipe idea

Potatoes – This simple way to cut carbs will have your guests wanting the recipe! Try this mashed cauliflower dish as a fantastic substitute to traditional spuds. This is a great way to avoid the food coma that can be caused by over indulging in copious amounts of Thanksgiving Day carbs. With a dish so tasty, your guests will be hard pressed to believe they are eating cauliflower instead of potatoes! Recipe idea

Pumpkin – Let’s be honest as nothing says Thanksgiving quite like pumpkin pie. This heart-healthy veggie is packed with vitamin A and rich in fiber. A big plus is that pumpkins are naturally moist, so you don’t need to add a lot of unhealthy ingredients to make this dish tasty. Substitute almond milk for cow’s milk and egg whites whenever possible. Cut back or even eliminate white processed sugar and opt for Stevia instead to provide a healthy twist on a classic Thanksgiving dessert.  Recipe idea

Take some stress out of holiday planning by ensuring that the meals you prepare are healthy and filling while maintaining personal traditions. Remember that by looking at food from a healthy perspective, you will be able to make it through the holidays without wishing you hadn’t had that last piece of pie!

The holidays are a time to indulge, but do it the right way. Indulge in love, laughter, time with friends and family, and perhaps one extra side of your favorite dish.

How To Make Running Fun

Stay the course and get in stride! Continuing a healthy fitness routine doesn’t require a gym membership or fancy gear and over the top classes. All anyone needs is a desire to improve themselves and a great way to keep fitness in your daily routine is running. Running might not be on the top of everyone’s go to fitness routine, but it should be.

Running solo isn’t typically considered the most exciting or motivating way to work out, but there is a solution, or solutions rather. Here is a list of things to do when running to break up, what some think is monotonous.

  1. Make a Race Out of it – For example, when you see a car coming, increase your speed until it passes you. If you aren’t near traffic, compete against yourself by timing the amount of time it takes you to run to and then from a fixed spot. This is a great way to set small goals for yourself by seeing if you can shave some time off your return trip. 
  2. Smile – Seriously, smile while you tread. Putting on a happy face embodies the “fake it til you make it” mentality. This might sound ridiculous, but studies show that through the simple act of smiling you can actually improve your mood (even if smiling is the last thing you feel like doing). Researchers at the University of Kansas asked subjects to submerge their hands in ice water. Half of the test group they asked to smile, the other half remained straight faced. The smiling group showed faster drop in heart rates after the test. Whereas the other, non-smiling, group took longer for their bodies to recover from the stress of the freezing water. The researchers concluded that smiling was a helpful coping mechanism for stressful situations. Running is beneficial in a number of ways, but it is still a source of stress on your body. 
  3. Become an Action Hero – No, you don’t need a bat cave or cool gadgets, all you need is a little imagination. Not many things beat boredom like turning yourself into a comic book hero, enter free running (or Parkour). Free running revolves the most efficient way to move from one place to another, no matter the obstacle. This is a great way to forget about looking cool or normal and is a wonderful way to express yourself without fear of embarrassment. Some key advice is to start small, jump over a puddle or a log. But think big in terms of energy, embody your inner super hero (anyone that looks at you awkwardly is just impressed or fascinated). If you enjoy it, consider taking a class where you will learn safe techniques for advancing your newly found craft. 
  4. Run with your Dog – Research shows that dog owners are more likely to make healthier lifestyle choices than their non-dog owner counterparts. Dog just want to have fun and there are many breeds that make excellent running mates. A dog’s enthusiasm can be contagious, so let it inspire you to take on that challenge of the extra mile! Say you are pup-free, no worries, ask a friend if you can start training with his. Better yet, ask him to join you. A good rule of thumb is that most dogs, like people, need to ease into running longer. 
  5. A Different Method of Running – Skip, hop or jump your way into a fitness routine! Swap out your traditional running intervals with these playful moves. Not only is it fun, these movements help build bone density, improve agility and coordination and increase your cardio intensity. Plus, is it possible to feel badly while skipping? I think not. 
  6. Get your Social on – Run with a group or get involved in a running club. This is a great way to not only learn new routes, but is a great way to meet running buddies that will help you keep accountable for your fitness goals. If there aren’t any running clubs near you, create one with family and/or friends. 
  7. Run to Your Favorite Music – Sometimes it is challenging to push ourselves outside of our fitness comfort zone. When you run to music, it helps you focus on the beat rather than the run itself. For an extra dose of awesome, create your own inspirational running play list. 
  8. Run for a Cause – it is as simple as that. Find a cause that you feel passionate about and run for them, this is a good place to start Crowdrise. Crowdrise allows you to raise money for any cause! Plus, you can get a team together to make it more fun. 
  9. Walk – Remember to cool down after you run. This gives your legs a chance to recover before you come to a complete halt. This is a good practice while on your run as well. Every few minutes take short walking breaks.     

Gear up! Running, as mentioned earlier, can put some stress on your body, especially your legs. So it is important to have the right kind of gear to keep your body safe. Make sure you have proper shoes, clothing and compression gear. Though compression gear isn’t necessary for a great run, compression socks and leg wear can help support your legs, keeping them strong and healthy.

Remember, start slow. It is awesome to start a new workout plan and to be excited about the next step, but don’t push yourself beyond your limits. Push yourself to beat your goals and continue to set new goals for yourself, but don’t go so hard that you cause yourself injury and setbacks. Happy striding!

Family Weight Loss Camp

Perhaps you would like to get fit with the family. Enrolling in a family weight loss camp provides guidance and inspiration for kids and adults alike. Our camp is a great way to make a healthy lifestyle part of your routine. Our family programs are structured, but there are plentiful options to add customization in order to create a unique family fitness plan. Everyone in your family will be put on a healthy meal plan, as well as participate in nutrition and cooking classes. Along with learning these healthy new recipes, you will have fun in the kitchen with family!

Get the most out of the rest of your summer by cultivating healthy habits in your family. This task might seem overwhelming, but here at Camp Pocono Trails we are there to help establish healthy and attainable goals for you and your family. By creating a supportive environment and making your family’s health a priority you’re instilling values that you all will carry throughout life.

Our Camp Pocono Trails Family Camp includes all the great activities and facilities that are offered through our summer programs. These great facilities and activities include our private lakefront, two heated outdoor pools, zipline, climbing center, sports, arts, drama, weight training and much more. The Family programs are designed to leave room for choice as families are able to sign up for activities throughout the day.

At Camp Pocono Trails, we help families create a backbone for a lifestyle that is both healthy and engaging. It is well known that if something isn’t fun, the odds of engaging in the task are slim. We give families the health and fitness tools to build on; but it is up to the family and the individuals to keep it up after weight loss camp is done. Here are some tips to remaining healthy long after you and your family leaves weight loss camp:

Getting the Family involved after Weight Loss Camp:

  1. Take a Walk: Build walking into your daily schedule.
  2. Have a Dance Night: Make it something that your children will look forward to. For example, create a disco night and invite the neighbors over to share in the fun. The kids can dress up and boogie down all while dancing their way to fitness.
  3. Make Household Chores a Game: This largely depends on the age of your children, but creating a game around simple cleaning tasks is a great opportunity to get them moving while helping out along the way. For instance, have your children save their toys from the lava (floor) by putting them safely into the toy box.
  4. Sneak Workouts into Other Activities: This is probably the easiest way to get small amounts of exercise into every day. For example, take the stairs instead of the escalator, pick up your kids from school by parking a few blocks away and walking to meet them, or park far away from the door at the super market or mall.
  5. Make TV commercials into Fitness Breaks: Invent fun names for basic exercises like princess crunches, or superhero push-ups.  Commercials last about 12 minutes per hour, so try to maximize that time by creating short little routines that will benefit the whole family.
  6. Weekly Activity Night:  The activities that you choose should reflect your children’s age and skill level. Don’t choose an activity that is too challenging or not challenging enough. There is no need for unnecessary frustration. For younger children, consider creating a game where they act out the specific actions of an animal, or a relatively simple obstacle course. For older children, have them participate in an activity that requires more hand eye coordination and dexterity.
  7. Get Fit While Giving Back: Choose (or have your child choose) a cause that resonates with the family. Select from causes that have events in your area and that welcome children. For inspiration, check out some of these charities; Breast Cancer, Metal Illness or Leukemia & Lymphoma.
  8. Have Fun with Yard Work: In the Spring/Summer, have your children help you with planting and watering flowers. As the cooler months move in, have them help with raking the leaves and shoveling snow. Remember to make these activities a game, not a chore. For example, have fun getting messy in the dirt, jump in big piles of leaves and make snow angels. Play outdoors whenever possible.

Just a few tweaks to your family’s current routine and everyone will be on their way to the healthiest versions of themselves. Remember the health guidelines provided in our Family Camp and make them work for your family. Each family is unique and should structure their fitness activities according to a schedule that works best for them. Get everyone involved and create a schedule that is unique to your family!

Camp Pocono Trails Post Camp for campers from 8/21-8/28

Help your children continue their summer fitness goals with Camp Pocono Trails Post Camp happening August 21st through the 28th. This special addition to our summer program will offer a “flex program” in which campers will have the ability to design their own schedule. Campers are still required to choose two of our exceptional fitness activities as well as participate in our wellness classes. Like any other session at Camp Pocono Trails, this program will further instill the priceless values that help shape the foundation for your child to grow into a healthy adult.

Camp Pocono Trails has a private lake front, swimming pools, tennis courts, soccer fields, an archery range, a climbing wall, an obstacle course, an indoor hockey rink, beach volleyball courts and so much more! There is always something that will speak to each camper and their individual interests. Along with our awesome fitness activities, Camp Pocono Trails also has an arts and crafts studio, miniature golf course, campfire get-togethers, camp newspaper reporting and more!

New Image Camps provides our campers with the tools to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but campers always need support and positive reinforcement to attain their lifelong goal of a healthy weight. It is very easy to slip back into old habits, due to the ease of a lifestyle becoming one of convenience instead of fitness and weight loss. Help your child continue to succeed with their fitness goals by focusing on these seven steps to healthier living.

Great Ways to Keep Healthy After Camp:

  1. Eat Well: Eating a variety of foods gives the body the nutrients it needs to function. It is important to eat mainly fruits and veggies and to limit the amount of meat consumed. When eating meat, stick to organic, wild and grass fed animals.
  2. Drink More Water: Water helps to flush metabolic waste from the body to keep the metabolic system functioning. Sometimes, the body can think that it is hungry when it is actually thirsty. When possible, try to drink purified water. Tap water often contains chemicals like chlorine and fluoride.
  3. Sleep: Depending on age, most school-aged children need 10 to 11 hours of restful sleep a night. To help get restful sleep, eliminate the amount of light in the room or wear an eye mask.
  4. Exercise:  Find the right routine and stick to it. Try to alternate between an aerobic workout and one that improves flexibility (such as yoga or dance).
  5. Listen to Body Clues: When there is pain, stop the activity. When full, stop eating. Be mindful of the clues your body is sending! Remember that nobody knows your body better than you!
  6. Keep your mind Limber: Reading, solving puzzles and playing strategy games help to improve memory and mental acuity.
  7. Limit Screen Time: The more time you spend sitting down, the less time you spend doing fun and active things. Try to limit screen time to 2 hours per day. This doesn’t count computer time used for school related tasks, but it does include time with a tablet, video games, and watching TV.

The steps above provide general recommendations and steps to a lifelong goal of health and weight loss. Whether for yourself, your children, or your family, the tips above contain great advice for a healthy, active lifestyle with the goal of maintaining a normal weight.

Enrollment for our Camp Pocono Trails Post Camp is happening now! Space is limited so sign up today! You can enroll online at our website www.camppoconotrails.com

Fun Kids Activities Away From The TV

At times, motivating your family to peel themselves away from the TV can seem like an uphill battle. But don’t lose hope! We have come up with a list of fun, engaging activities that will keep your children away from the TV and having fun.

Summer is a great time to establish a healthy lifestyle for you and your family. Cultivate a supportive environment for summer weight loss by making your kids health a priority and keeping track of how your family is spending their free time. You will be able to develop a healthy lifestyle by making a few small changes to your routine.

The most important thing to keeping your kids off the couch has to be something that they enjoy. At first, there might be a little resistance but if you continue to give your children stimulating and creative ways to play the TV will become an afterthought.

Fun ways to play:

  1. Tightrope Tollbooth: With a piece of sidewalk chalk (using the side of the chalk) draw a 3-inch-wide, 50-foot-long chalk line (making the line as straight or as squiggly as you would like) on the sidewalk or driveway and challenge bikers to keep both wheels on the line at all times. Add another dimension by giving each participant the same number of pennies and place an empty soup can at the line’s midpoint. The rider that drops the most pennies into the can, and completes the course, is the winner.
  2. Sponge Relay: Start with two buckets (one for each team), have at least one sponge for each time and one large container of water. Divide the kids into two teams and have them line up across from their bucket. One by one, each team member grabs a sponge and runs to their bucket and squeezes as much water out of the sponge as possible. One at a time, each member of the team grabbed a sponge and ran to their bucket. Then the team member runs back to their team (with the sponge) so the next kid can have a turn. When time runs out (you can determine this based on children’s age and number of participants) measure both teams buckets to see who got the most water in their bucket. For older children, it is fun to add math into the mix by getting exact measurements with measuring cups or beakers and graduated cylinders.
  3. Sponge Bullseye: Draw a bullseye with sidewalk chalk and assign points to each circle of the target. Have the kids stand on the starting line and toss their wet sponge at the target. This game can be played in teams (to build social skills) or individually. Add up the points after everyone has had a turn and the team (or child) with the most points wins!
  4. Bossy Ball:  This game is played like regular catch, but with a slight twist. Randomly stick 7 to 12 strips of masking tape on a playground ball with different rules on each strip. For example you can have the kids throw the ball overhead, backwards, underhand, between the legs, mid-jump, while singing, eyes closed and anything else the springs to mind. Once the first player picks up the ball, he or she must look at the words under their right hand. Have the first player throw the ball according to what the words say. The second player has to try to catch the ball in the same manner in which it was thrown (for example, if the first player has to throw the ball while singing, the second player has to catch the ball while singing). The second player then looks at the words under his or her right hand, and so on. Make the game more challenging by trying to catch the ball as many times as possible and then try to beat your record.
  5. Nature Scavenger Hunt: It is as simple as it sounds! Create a list of things that are (relatively) easy to find and create a list for your children. Be sure to outline the rules for your kids too, give them a time frame and a safe area where they can look for the things on their lists.

It is vitally important that kids weight loss is a priority. Create an environment where your kids can make healthy choices easily. Lead by example. Encourage healthy habits in your children by setting a good example. By doing this you are creating a foundation for the best opportunity for your child to grow into a healthy adult.

If you’re feeling like you need a little bit of help in the healthy family arena, you can help jumpstart your new routine by enrolling in a family weight loss camp. Enrolling in a weight loss camp provides guidance and inspiration for kids and adults alike.  Camps are a great way to put a healthy lifestyle in a positive light, especially if you come across more than just a little resistance.

No matter how you approach these games and general tips to a healthy family lifestyle, you are fostering your child’s self growth and decision making skills. By cultivating an environment where your kids can easily make healthy choices you are reinforcing a lifelong healthy relationship that your child will carry with them the rest of their lives.

For more fun ideas check out these websites:

http://www.sixsistersstuff.com/2013/05/50-outdoor-summer-activities-for-kids.html

http://www.thetaylor-house.com/nature-scavenger-hunt-for-kids/

7 Tips To Get Kids To Move

Exercising is a vital step in safeguarding your child’s health. Simply put, movement is a key ingredient for a healthy lifestyle. It sounds simple, but like most things, it is easier to say that you will create a fitness routine than to actually implement one. But there is hope! We have created a short list to help you get your child moving. 

One of the most important factors to developing a new routine is staying in the right mind-set. It is important that you, as a parent, approach this new routine with excitement, positivity and patience.

  1. Incentivize. Motivate your child to exercise by finding incentives that are special to him or her.
  2. Set a realistic goal. Set smaller goals that build into an overall greater goal for your child to get fit. If the goal is too large it could become discouraging and overwhelming.
  3. Don’t approach it as exercise. Have your child choose a movement centered activity that he or she enjoys.
  4. Make time for your fitness routine. Everyone is busy, so it is important to make a schedule for your routine.
  5. Encourage your child after setbacks. Life will get in the way and cause your routine to get out of whack every once in a while. So it is important to bounce back from setbacks and encourage your child to stay committed to the goal even when faced with obstacles.
  6. Make a game out of it. For example, when outdoors at a park or while on a walk, take a few different leaves from different trees and ask your child which trees they came from. Make sure to do this when your child isn’t looking.
  7. Take advantage of nature. Take advantage of natural resources in your area. For example, go fishing, canoeing or kayaking at a local lake.

Summer is an excellent opportunity to create a new routine and to establish a healthy lifestyle. Encourage healthy choices and create a supportive environment for summer weight loss by making your child’s health a priority.

Lead by example. When children see their parents making healthy choices it is easier for the child to follow suit. If you, as a parent, aren’t practicing what you preach there won’t be a lot of incentive for your child to either.

You and your family can develop a healthy routine by making just few changes to your existing routine. Providing a strong foundation is the best opportunity you can give to your child to help them grow into a healthy adult. It is so important that kids weight loss is a priority to parents and you can help by creating an environment that enables your kids to make healthy choices easily.

You can jumpstart your new routine by enrolling in a family weight loss camp. Enrolling in a weight loss camp provides guidance and inspiration for kids and adults alike.  Camps are a great way to put a healthy lifestyle in a positive light, especially if you come across more than just a little resistance.

Whether you are getting help from professionals at a camp or using a self directed approach to wellness, you are supporting your child’s self growth and decision making skills. By cultivating an environment where your child can easily make healthy choices you are reinforcing a healthy lifestyle that your child will carry with them the rest of their lives.

10 Diet Tips For A Healthier Family

A Healthy Diet:

Summer is the perfect time to get back in shape and establish a healthy lifestyle. Foster a supportive environment for summer weight loss by making your kids health a priority. You and your family can develop a positive relationship with food by making a just few changes to your routine.

It is so important that kids weight loss is a priority to parents. Create an environment where your kids can make nutritional choices easily.

Lead by example. When parents encourage healthy eating habits in children it can build into a wholesome lifelong relationship with food. This relationship can provide a strong foundation and the best opportunity to grow into a healthy adult.

Here are a few tips to help cultivate healthy eating habits in children.

  1. Have regular Family meals. Have an approximate time that you have dinner as a family each night. Having dinner as a family doesn’t just foster healthier eating habits; it is also a time where the family can reconnect.
  2. Never use food as a reward. This could cause children to develop a weight problem later in life. Instead, incentivize them with something fun or physical like a trip to the park or game night.
  3. Praise healthy choices. It is so important to praise children when they make good decisions. Give them the pride in ownership of that good choice.
  4. Don’t ridicule unhealthy choices. Remember the power of positive reinforcement. You’re your children choose unhealthy options, suggest healthier alternatives. For example, instead of regular potato chips and dip, offer tortilla chips with salsa. Instead of purchasing French fries, opt for cut up roasted potatoes with a bit of olive oil. For children with a sweet tooth, pick up some dried fruit or dip strawberries in dark chocolate for a fun and fresh treat.
  5. Keep healthy food on hand. We all eat what is available, so keep healthy snacks easily accessible. Children can only choose from what is stocked in the house.
  6. Set a good example. Children love to imitate, so it is important to set a good example for them. Parents shouldn’t be asking their children to eat fruits and veggies when they are gorging themselves on potato chips and soda.
  7. Get the kids involved. Make going to the grocery store fun by allowing children to help choose healthy options to add to their lunch boxes. This also can be used as an educational opportunity for parents to teach children about the nutritional values of different foods.
  8. Limit portion sizes. Put the right portions on everyone’s plate by assembling them in the kitchen and don’t ever insist that your child cleans the plate.
  9. Don’t label foods as good or bad. Connect healthy foods to things that your child cares about, such as sports or doing well in school. Teach your child that lean protein and calcium can help build strength for sports or that a well balanced breakfast can help them to stay focus and alert in class.
  10. 10.   Avoid placing restrictions on food. Restricting food can often have a negative effect when most parents think that they are doing the right thing. When a parent restricts food, it increases the possibility of that child growing to develop an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia. Talk to your child about all the healthy options and don’t make food the enemy.

You can help jump start your new routine by enrolling in a family weight loss camp. Enrolling in a weight loss camp provides guidance and inspiration for kids and adults alike.  Camps are a great way to put a healthy lifestyle in a positive light, especially if you come across more than just a little resistance.

No matter how you approach these steps to health, whether it is with the help of professionals at a camp or self directed, you are supporting your child’s self growth and decision making skills. By cultivating an environment where your kids can easily make healthy nutritional choices, you are reinforcing a healthy relationship with food that your child will carry with them the rest of their lives.

New Image Camp

Come join us at our summer weight loss camp retreat! New Image Camps is the premier weight loss destination with two private lakefront weight loss camps for kids; Camp Pocono Trails in Pennsylvania and Camp Vanguard in Florida. Children ages 7-21 are invited to a summer they will never forget.

Our camps, which have been featured on MTV, are packed full of all types of summer camp activities and fun! All are aimed toward a successful summer of weight loss, new friendships, and a healthy lifestyle. We invite you to compare camps and see why we are the most successful weight loss summer camp!

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