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Mardi Gras Time-Let the Good Times Roll!!

February 27th, 2014 Yolanda Posted in Nutrition and Recipes No Comments »

mardigrasAhhh, Mardi Gras!  Draped in tradition and filled with fun, it’s an annual Carnival  where thousands of people come out in droves from all over the world to don festive beads, dance in the streets, and enjoy traditional Cajun food.  Here are a few of our favorite Mardi Gras inspired recipes from Pinterest to help get you in the mood to party…

Laissez les bons temps roule


Sausage and Mushroom Etouffee- Made with fat-free roux and brown rice, this healthy spin on a Creole classic will have your friends coming back for more!


Cajun Canapes- This delicious Mardi Gras appetizer will get the party started!  Substitute the pork sausage for leaner meat if you like.  


Red Beans and Rice- A must have for any Mardi Gras inspired meal

red beans and rice

Pineapple Black Bean Salsa- Perfect for Mardi Gras and super healthy!

pineapple salsa

Traditional Queen Cake- A Vegan version that’s just as good as the original

queen cake

And last but not least, SENSA’s own recipe for Gumbo with Shrimp over Rice….ENJOY!

Gumbo with Shrimp over Rice
(For 6 servings)

Prep time: 25 min
Cooking Time: 1 h 45 min
Difficulty: medium

Ingredients:Gumbo and Shrimp
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, rinsed; seeded and chopped
1 rib celery, rinsed and finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 can diced tomatoes, drained (14.5 oz)
3 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup fish sauce
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 bone-in chicken thighs, rinsed; skin and fat removed
1/2 pound andouille sausage, sliced in half lengthwise and cut into bite-size pieces
2 cups frozen okra, thawed
2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined (21-25 per pound)
Salt, to taste
6 cups cooked brown rice

1. Preheat oven to 350º F. Position oven rack to lowest position.

2. Toast the flour in a Dutch oven, set over medium heat, stirring constantly, until flour turns a light golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat source, and whisk in oil, until smooth. Cover and transfer to preheat oven, and cook until the mixture is deep brown and fragrant. about 40 to 45 minutes.

3. Remove roux from oven and transfer to stove top, whisk to combine. Add onion. bell pepper, and celery and cook over medium heat, stirring, until vegetables have softened, about 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon flour, garlic, thyme, cayenne pepper and for about 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add tomatoes and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly add broth and fish sauce; whisk until smooth. Season to taste with pepper. Add chicken and bring to a boil.

4. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Skim any fat from the top and transfer chicken to a plate. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, pull the meat from the bone and cut into bite size pieces and return to the Dutch oven. Discard the bones.

5. Stir in the sausage and okra, and simmer for about 5 minutes, or until heated through. Add shrimp and simmer for an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Taste; season with salt and pepper as necessary.

6. Serve over brown rice.

Nutritional information:  Calories: 634, Fat: 23g, Sugar: 3.9g, Fiber: 3.7g, Carbohydrates: 69g

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Angel Food Cake with Fresh Berries

February 4th, 2014 Kelsey Posted in Main, Nutrition and Recipes No Comments »

This recipe from Reader’s Digest calls for egg whites only to keep the calories and cholesterol low.  Garnished with fresh berries and a dollop of vanilla yogurt, this skinny dessert will be a family favorite for years to come!  Enjoy and don’t forget to sprinkle!

Vanilla Angel Food Cake and Fresh Berries

1 cup sifted cake flourangel food cake with berries
1/3 cup sugar
8 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


8 ounces strawberries, cut into quarters
8 ounces (1/2 pint) raspberries
8 ounces (1/2 pint) blueberries
1 container (8 ounces) light vanilla yogurt


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Sift the flour and 1/3 cup sugar onto a large plate and set aside.  Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl and whisk until frothy. Combine 1/2 cup sugar and salt and add to the whipping egg whites in a slow, steady stream. Add the vanilla extract, and continue whisking until the mixture forms stiff peaks.  Sift the flour mixture over the egg whites and fold in very gently with a large metal spoon until well blended.  Spoon the mixture into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan, gently smoothing the top. Bake until golden brown and cake springs back when lightly touched in the center, about 35 minutes.  Invert the cake, still in the pan, onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely, upside down. When it is cool, slide a long knife around the side of the pan to loosen the cake, then invert it onto a serving plate. (The cake can be kept, wrapped in plastic or stored in an airtight container, for 1 to 2 days.)  Just before serving, mix together the strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries.  Spoon the fruit into the hollow in the center of the cake or cut the cake and use the drizzle the fruit juice all over the cake for extra flavor. Serve each slice with a dollop of vanilla yogurt.

Nutritional Info: Cals-133, Cals from fat- 2 g, Fat-0 g, Carbs- 29 g, Sugar-17 g, Protein-4 g, Fiber-2 g, Cholesterol-0 mg




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Ditch the Reservations—Get Active with your Valentine!

February 4th, 2014 Yolanda Posted in Fitness, Main, Nutrition and Recipes No Comments »


Exercise produces chemicals in your brain that make you happier and decreases your stress—what better way to spend quality time with that special someone? Choose a unique, challenging and fun activity will build excitement in your relationship and help you form a deeper bond this Valentine’s Day. And since this love holiday falls on a Friday this year, you have all weekend to plan something fun. Here are some ideas for you and your Valentine to enjoy. Play like a kid, get sweaty and try something new!

Take It Outside

If weather allows you, enjoy the fresh air and get outside with your date.

Bike Riding + Froyo

Hiking + Trail Mix

Frisbee + Sandwiches

Kayaking + Smoothies


The Great Indoors

Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean you can’t get active. Enjoy these fun indoor activities.

Indoor Rock Climbing + Sushi

Bowling + Cupcakes

Ice Skating + Hot Chocolate

Batting Cage + BBQ


Looking for something more to do with your loved on on Valentine’s Day?  Well, nothing says romance like chocolate!  Work up a sweat in the kitchen making these Chocolate Zucchini Brownies, cut them into bite-sized pieces, and spend the evening feeding each other these tasty treats….don’t forget to sprinkle!

Happy Valentine’s Day!!  ENJOY!

Recipe and photo courtesy of Crazy for Crust

Recipe and photo courtesy of Crazy for Crust

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Happy Chinese New Year!!

January 16th, 2014 Yolanda Posted in Nutrition and Recipes No Comments »

Spring Festival, aka Chinese New Year to us Westerners, falls on January 31, 2014 and is one of the grandest and most important festivals for Chinese People.  This colorful festival is full of rich color, celebrates family and friends, and helps usher in spring.  Let’s not forget all the yummy, traditional Chinese food that comes with the party!  In honor of this sacred celebration that dates back over 4,000 years, I’ve put together a menu from our “Year of the Horse”  Pinterest board that will bring you good luck during the Year of the Horse, but not wreak havoc on your waistline.

Enjoy, and don’t forget to sprinkle!!

Tangerines and Oranges- Displaying and eating tangerines and oranges will bring wealth and luck and giving them to elders is a mark of respect.  According to the Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco, the tradition stems from the way the Chinese words for gold and orange sound alike, while the word for tangerine echoes luck. Pick tangerines with leaves to symbolize longevity but don’t group them in fours, as that number is associated with death.  Load up on tangerines and oranges to help you feel fuller longer between meals and to get a healthy dose of vitamin C.

oranges chinese

Boiled Chinese Dumplings- This recipe is easy and can be made ahead of time.  Dumplings resemble Chinese currency and eating them is said to bring prosperity.

chinese dumplings

Brothy Chinese Noodles-  Long noodles represent a long life in Chinese tradition.  This recipe is light enough to be an appetizer yet filling enough so you won’t overeat on starch laden rice.

chinese noodles

Stir Fried Chinese Long Beans with Garlic- Eating leafy greens and long beans for Chinese New Year brings good luck to all the parents out there, so eat up!

chinese green beans

Pan Fried Whole Fish- Some of you might feel a little squeamish when it comes to eating a whole fish, but Chinese New Year will give you a reason to face your fears.  The Chinese word for fish is similar to the word for abundance, eating whole fish will ensure a good start and finish and to avoid bad luck throughout the year.  Make sure the head and tail are intact when you serve it!

pan fried fish

Chinese New Year Cake- Last but definitely not least is the Chinese New Year Cake.  Eating a piece is supposed to improve luck in the coming year.  This cake is super light and very moist, plus since you’re using rice flour, it’s gluten-free!

new year cake

Here’s a cute little infographic for more food you can eat for luck, abundance, fertility and overall good times.

things to eat

福壽雙全Fúshòushuāngquán – “May your happiness and longevity be complete”



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Shrimp Pho Noodle Soup

January 8th, 2014 Kelsey Posted in Nutrition and Recipes No Comments »

Pho (pronounced “Fuh”) is a traditional Vietnamese soup made with beef or chicken broth.  Every bowl of pho will taste different depending on who prepares it.  Here’s an easy recipe, perfect for weeknights that’s low in calories and high in taste.

Shrimp Pho Noodle SoupPho Shrimp Recipe


  • 6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 3 large shallots, sliced (1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 3 Tbs low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbs ground ginger (or 12 1/4 in. thick coins fresh ginger, if you want it more gingery)
  • 1 Tbs brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 star anise
  • 5-6 fresh basil leaves, reserved for soup
  • 5-6 cilantro stems, reserved for soup


  • 1 8-oz. package rice noodles
  • 8 oz. shrimp
  • 2 cups soybean sprouts
  • 2 cups watercress
  • 4 green onions, sliced (1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges


1. To make broth: Place all ingredients in a large pot with 8 cups water. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to med-low and simmer, covered, for 1 hour. Strain broth and return to pot. Discard solids.

2. To make Pho: Cook rice noodles according to package directions. Drain, and rinse under cold water.

3.While pasta is boiling, cook shrimp, you can either boil or stir fry it with Pam or a little olive oil (if you don’t mind the added oil, which isn’t counted in the nutrition info.) Season with soy sauce.

4. Divide the cooked noodles among 6 large soup bowls. Ladle broth over noodles and top with shrimp, sprouts, watercress, and green onions. Serve cilantro, basil, and lime wedges on the side to be stirred into the soup.

Number of Servings: 6

Nutritional info (per serving): Calories 172.7, fat 1.0 g, sodium 585.3 mg, carbs 30.4, fiber 4.4 g, protein 11.9 g

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Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies

November 26th, 2013 Kelsey Posted in Nutrition and Recipes No Comments »



3/4 cup soft butter

1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

1 large egg

1½ cups Whole Wheat Flour

1½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant or quick cooking)

½ cup whole flax meal

¼ cup whole flax seeds

1½ cups dried cranberries or raisins



1.Line your baking sheets with parchment.

2. In a large bowl beat the brown sugar, vanilla, butter, cinnamon, salt, egg and baking soda together until fluffy.

3. Add in all the remaining ingredients.

4. Make small balls of dough and place on parchment paper. Once complete flatten dough with the back of a spoon.

5.Place into the oven for 10-12 minutes until golden brown

6. Allow to cool for 15 minutes. Serve and Enjoy!

The recipe produces 3 ½ dozen cookies.

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Breakfast Sundae

November 18th, 2013 Kelsey Posted in Nutrition and Recipes No Comments »

breakfast sundae

Breakfast Sundae

Prep Time: 5 mins


Handful fresh blue berries

6 oz fat free vanilla yogurt
1-cup bran flakes
½ banana sliced


Place yogurt in bowl or Tupperware if you want to make ahead to take on the go, top with fruit then flakes keep chilled until ready to eat.

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Spicy Edamame Guacamole

November 13th, 2013 Guest Blogger Posted in Nutrition and Recipes No Comments »

Spicy Edamame Guacamole

















This delicious recipe comes from MySENSA Community User LindaMM gal

Pack some more protein into party food by adding in edamame. Serve it with fresh, crunchy veggies like sliced peppers, carrots, celery, or cucumber to keep it under 200 calories .

1 medium ripe avocado
1 cup shelled frozen edamame
2 cloves of garlic
1 jalapeno pepper, washed and seeded
juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp fresh cilantro leaves (approx 5-6 sprigs)
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper

In a medium saucepan, boil the frozen edamame for 4-5
minutes, until bright green. Drain and set aside to cool (you can skip this 
step if you decide to use fresh edamame instead). In a food processor, combine garlic cloves, cilantro, jalapeno and lime juice and puree. Add cooled edamame and puree until smooth. In a mixing bowl, add avocado flesh to the edamame mixture and mash to combine thoroughly. Serve chilled with fresh

Per serving (1/2 cup):
110 calories
6.3g fat
5.3g fiber
6.8g protein

Makes 4 servings

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Skinny Soups You’ll Love!

October 28th, 2013 Yolanda Posted in Nutrition and Recipes No Comments »

Hey Sprinklers!

green soupIT’S FALL!  I’m super excited since that means I get to break out my cute boots and trench coats to help make those chilly days a little warmer.  When I think of fall, I also think about hearty soups and stews that will help fill me up and keep me warm.  But did you know that eating soup can actually help you lose weight too?  I know many of you have heard of or even tried eating soup to lose weight with the cabbage soup diet and other fad weight loss programs, only to find that the weight you may lose comes back on pretty fast and usually brings a few friends with it.  That’s because you are ONLY eating soup, which is not a realistic way to lose weight.  You have to eat to lose weight…no way around that, and eating soup 3 times a day isn’t giving you enough calories to burn for energy throughout the day or nutrients for sustainable weight-loss.  So, instead of trying to lose weight quickly by eating soup, try switching out one meal a day with a soup that is chock full of nutrients, low in calories, and heavy on the greens.

What are the benefits for eating soup to lose weight?  Soup helps you feel full faster, which stops you from overeating throughout  the day.  You’ll also notice that the right soup will help improve your digestion and hydrates your body since it is usually broth or water based.  If you’re trying to lose weight and get rid of belly fat, avoid soups that are cream based or uses lots of cheese, as these soups contains tons of saturated fat or calories.  Or, if you just must have a creamy soup, try using Greek yogurt instead of cream or cheese.  If you are going to make a Green Soup, make sure to include olive oil, as your body needs to the fat to absorb the nutrients in the greens.  Here are a couple of amazing soup recipes courtesy of Pinterest.  Check out our Soups and Stews board for more yummy, belly-fat busting recipes.  Have a soup recipe of your own you’d love to share?  Please share it in the comments below.  Enjoy!

DETOX GREEN SOUP-Pureed Asparagus, Broccoli, and Kale


CLEANSING GREEN SOUP- Peas, Dark Leafy Greens, Dried Seaweed, and Miso


GREEN SOUP WITH GINGER- Chard, Spinach, Leeks, Ginger


TOMATO, BASIL, AND CHEDDAR SOUP- Tomatoes, Greek Yogurt, Basil, and Reduced Fat Cheddar Cheese 


ITALIAN WEDDING SOUP- Chicken breast, Spinach, Whole-Wheat Pasta

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Nutritious Halloween Treats For Big People’s Parties

October 3rd, 2013 Guest Blogger Posted in Nutrition and Recipes No Comments »

Autumn leaves are falling and Halloween is here again. Trick-or-treaters will be knocking on doors and going to school in their favorite costumes. And many adults will be having Halloween parties too. Because it is jack-o’-lantern time, you can plan to have wholesome treats instead of unhealthy snacks for your next get-together. Here a few suggestions for serving your guests other than candy, fattening foods and calorie loaded drinks. These will satisfy their appetites and sweet tooth too.

  • Every party should serve string cheese—which is low in calories and filled with both protein and bone building calcium. One stick of mozzarella or a mozzarella-cheddar cheese mix contains 80 calories and fulfills 20 % of the daily recommended serving of calcium in a 2,000-calorie diet. The protein and fat in string cheese slows down the metabolism of sugars and carbohydrates found in treats such as candy and starches.


  •  Many of us love to munch on nutritious trail mixes—which come in many varieties. Remember, only one ounce of a trail mix with almonds, cashews, peanuts, raisins and sunflower seeds will give you 8 % of your recommended daily intake of protein. Trail mixes are also low in carbs and loaded with both essential minerals and omega-3 fatty acids. And giving your guests just one ounce with chocolate chips added will also provide them 10 % of the copper, manganese, magnesium and phosphorus needed for adults’ diets


  •  Set out some multigrain and whole wheat sandwich crackers. Then layer a variety of them     with a cheddar cheese spread, an onion, low fat, lox-cream cheese and a natural smooth peanut   butter.


For your main course, make some wraps with ether flour tortillas or whole-wheat flatbread. Then spread with either hummus or layer thinly sliced mesquite deli turkey. Add avocado, tomato, shredded cheddar and fresh raw spinach leaves. For dressings, use either a lite Cesar or low-fat mayo. Then roll them up and slice into sandwich size servings. You can also make separate pitas filled with lettuce, tomato, tuna salad and sliced avocado.


For desert, my father prepares this to-die-for raspberry sorbet in champagne glasses and then drizzles strawberry liquor over the sorbet. Next, he stores the glasses in the freezer, before presenting these frosty goblets to guests. Sorbets are fat free and rich in rich in antioxidants, carotenoids, fiber and essential vitamins.

And lastly, be creative when it comes to presenting a punch bowl! This is one of my favorites. I mix two parts tangerine juice, one part orange juice with pulp and one part pineapple juice. Then I add several splashes of Angostura bitters to taste. For sweetening, if necessary, I prefer to use one that is natural like either Agave syrup or coconut sugar. Shots of either vodka or a dark rum are optional. Then, when guests arrive, throw in lots of ice cubes. Your witch’s brew will be loaded with antioxidants, fiber and Vitamin C.

Excuse me, I hear the door bell ringing. “Trick-or-treat, we’re hungry!”


Lisa DeFazio,MS,RD

Media Nutritionist,Dietitian & Host




Follow me on twitter @lisadefazioMSRD

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