Useful Information for Better Health from the Western Maryland Health System

Thursday, April 27, 2017

April Showers Bring May Delights

As we say good-bye to April and hello to May, it is with great anticipation of the fresh, local flavors that will soon be delighting our senses. My lettuce, onions, and herbs are already growing beautifully and soon the Allegany County Farmers Markets will be in full swing.

Some local, seasonal delights include strawberries, onions, ramps, lettuce and other greens, and asparagus. All support health and provide many nutrients with few calories.

If you’ve considered planting your own garden, now is the time! Gardening is a great form of exercise with healthy dividends.  Gardening provides aerobic, muscle-strengthening and stretching physical activity. Digging, raking, lifting, and squatting all burn calories and depending on the distance covered, gardening can add significant steps to your day.

Would you love to garden, but don’t have the room or knowledge? Consider a plot at one of the WMHS community gardens. This year, WMHS is expanding garden locations to include Fairmont Avenue, Sperry Terrace and Pine Avenue and space is available at no cost! Find more information here:

Individual 5 x 10 feet garden plots will be ready for planting. Tools, water and natural/organic fertilizer will be provided. Some plants will be provided.

For a garden plot application, call 240-964-SOIL (7645) or send an email to and include your name, phone number, mailing address and which garden location you would like.

Even if you don’t plant your own garden, you can still enjoy the fresh flavors of local produce. WMHS will again host a farmers market on the ground level of the parking garage every Wednesday from 2 pm – 5 pm beginning in June. Check out the other Allegany County Farmers Markets to be held in downtown Cumberland on Thursdays, at the Canal Place/Train Station in Cumberland on Saturdays, at Country Club Mall in LaVale on Tuesdays, and at City Place in Frostburg on Fridays. Find out more here:

For more information, contact Theresa Stahl, RDN, LDN, WMHS Outpatient Community Dietitian at or 240-964-8416.

Friday, March 17, 2017

National Nutrition Month Events and More

We have been celebrating National Nutrition Month (NNM) all month at WMHS and we still have some fun NNM activities ahead.

1. Coloring contest for children ages 2-12. Enter by March 24th Details here:
Download the coloring sheet here:

2. We had a lot of fun at our cooking demo on March 2nd and we still have seats left for our Lunch and Learn Cooking Demo on March 23 at 12:15 in the WMHS Auditorium. To register, call Elizabeth Kauruter, RDN, LDN at  240-964-2312. Click here for more information:

3. We are giving away beautiful National Nutrition Month gift baskets every week until the end of March - enter to win when buying fruits and vegetables at the WMHS cafeteria check-out registers. 
And be sure to visit the Western Maryland Health System's Facebook page to view many nutrition and exercise videos. 

Other upcoming nutrition programs include:

Change to Win – WMHS's 12-week nutrition and weight loss class will be starting April 11 or 12th.

Allegany College of Maryland, along with WMHS, will be hosting a bus trip to Wegman's Grocery Store in Frederick, MD on Saturday, April 29.  Theresa Stahl, RDN, LDN will be sharing nutrition information on the drive down and back. Registration is through Allegany College of Maryland’s Continuing Education Department at 301-784-5341.

In addition, the registered dietitian nutritionists of the AHEC West Dietetic Caucus and WMHS are excited to be offering a free downloadable Dietitian Favorites Cookbook, featuring almost 100 recipes, handy cooking tips and more. Download here:
For more WMH health and nutrition programs, click here:

Contact Theresa Stahl, RDN, LDN, WMHS Outpatient Community Dietitian, to learn more about any of these nutrition programs or with any nutrition-related questions at 240-964-8416 or at

For more information about National Nutrition Month, including recipes and videos, visit

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Are You Putting Your Best Fork Forward?

March is just around the corner and begins the month-long celebration of National Nutrition Month.  National Nutrition Month (NNM) is an annual nutrition education campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). This year’s theme, Put Your Best Fork Forward, reminds us that every bite counts. At home, at work, or in restaurants, the choices you make influence your health – one bite or one forkful at a time.

Small improvements in food choices add up over time. Progress, not perfection, is what matters most.  Here are some tips from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:

1. Eat meals together as a family.

2. Fill half your plate with vegetables and fruit.

3. Make at least half of your grain choices whole grain.

4. Talk positively about eating healthy food and try new foods prepared in new

5. Work with a registered dietitian nutritionist to help you establish
     personalized nutrition goals.

For more information, including recipes and videos, visit  

The WMHS Food and Nutrition Department will be celebrating National Nutrition Month with the following special events:
1. Coloring contest for children ages 2-12 (details will be announced)
2. Lunch and Learn Cooking Demos on March 2 and March 23 at 12: 15 in the WMHS Auditoriums. To register, call Elizabeth Kauruter, RDN, LDN at  240-964-2312.
3. Pay Day Display in the WMHS cafeteria, featuring nutrition information, recipes, snack samples, and infused water
4. National Nutrition Month gift baskets  - enter to win when buying fruits and vegetables in the WMHS cafeteria
Visit the Western Maryland Health System's Facebook page to view videos about healthy eating.

Allegany College of MD and the Western Maryland Health System will be hosting a bus trip to Wegman's grocery store in Frederick, MD on April 29.  Theresa Stahl, RDN, LDN will be sharing nutrition information on the drive down and back. Registration is through Allegany College of Maryland’s Continuing Education Department at 301-784-5341.

Contact Theresa Stahl, RDN, LDN, to learn more about any of these nutrition programs, including Change to Win, nutrition and weight loss program beginning in April at 240-964-8416 or

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Dietitian Favorites Cookbook

Introducing the Free Dietitian Favorites Cookbook

Every year, the registered dietitian nutritionists of the AHEC (Area Health Education Center) West Dietetic Caucus, celebrate National Nutrition Month with a community nutrition education project. A couple years ago, we began working on a cookbook containing some of our favorite recipes to offer to our clients and the community.

I’m excited to let you know that the Dietitian Favorites Cookbook is now available to download on Click here to download your free copy:

It is also available on the AHEC West website by clicking here:

The cookbook includes almost 100 recipes, including: appetizers, salads, soups, main dishes, vegetarian dishes and desserts. It includes handy kitchen reference guides for common cooking terms, substitutions and tables of equivalents.

It includes mostly healthy recipes to be enjoyed daily and some favorites that are recommended to be enjoyed occasionally or in moderation. All of the recipes include the nutrition analysis so you can evaluate the recipes to see how they fit into your personal meal plans. Throughout the book, you’ll find nutrition tips and healthy substitutes.

Here’s a recipe contributed by Linda Sweitzer, called Greek Yogurt Dip. This flavorful, tangy dill dip gets a nutrient boost by substituting plain Greek yogurt for the usual sour cream to provide protein, calcium, vitamin D and probiotics. This dip is similar to one of my favorite sauces used in Middle Eastern and Greek dishes, tsaziki. Tsaziki includes the same ingredients as this dip, with the addition of garlic and olive oil.

Greek Yogurt Dip

Serves: 4 - ½ cup servings
Submitted by: Linda S. Sweitzer RD LDN


½ cup Plain Greek yogurt
½  Cucumber, grated
1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
1 Tbsp. Dill, chopped
2 tsp. Vidalia onion, Chopped


1) Blend all ingredients together
2) Chill overnight
3) Serve with fresh vegetables

Nutrition analysis using fat-free yogurt: Calories 16 kcals  Total Fat 0 g   Sodium 19 mg   Carbohydrates 3.3 g Fiber 0 g Protein 1.2 g

We hope you enjoy trying the recipes in our new dietitian favorites cookbook. Please let us know your favorite recipes that you try from the book.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Upcoming Change to Win and New Change to Win Support Group

The next Change to Win session begins on Tuesday, January 10th at 12 noon or 4:30 pm or Wednesday, January 11th at 4:30 pm. This 12-week nutrition and weight loss program focuses on creating healthy habits, not on restrictions. Taught by a team including a registered dietitian nutritionist, and certified health and wellness coaches and certified personal trainers, the program uses a non-diet approach that helps participants eat well, lose weight and keep it off.  There are no special foods or pills to buy, instead, this program teaches practical skills to last a lifetime.

This approach yields great results. During 2016, 72 participants lost a collective 827 pounds! Some lost 40-75 pounds while participating in multiple sessions over the past year, and even after achieving their weight loss goals, continue to participate in order to help maintain their healthy weight. Some have lost as much as 100 pounds over the course of a couple years. And weight loss isn’t the only benefit. Many report other positive health changes including:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lower blood sugars
  • Lower Hemoglobin A1C levels
  • Lower total and LDL cholesterol levels
  • Decreases in waist circumference
  • Less knee and joint pain
  • Improved energy
  • Improved physical exercise skills
  • Improved mood
  • Decreasing or discontinuing medications, as ordered by PCPs  or specialists

All this and the cost cannot be beat! Participants pay $10 for the Real Solutions Workbook (published by The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) and $50 for the program.  Since we know that money is a great incentive, participants can earn $50 back by attending 9 of the 12 sessions and losing 10 pounds in 12 weeks or having a BMI below the obese range. If one loses 5 pounds in the 12 weeks, $25 is earned back. 

Some of the topics covered in the 30-45 minute sessions include nutrition basics, habits of people who have lost weight successfully and kept it off, goal setting, label reading, grocery shopping, food and exercise logs, fiber, portion control, mindful eating, dining out, exercise, emotional eating and stress management.

Change to Win Support Group

We are excited to announce the beginning of a new Change to Win Support Group to better meet the needs of participants who have already taken the Change to Win program in the past. The Change to Win Support Group will meet on Wednesdays at 3:00 pm beginning on January 11th. 

For now, we are planning an open forum discussion group, but the group will decide on the future direction.

To register for either the Change to Win program or support group, call Theresa Stahl, RDN, LDN, FAND, Outpatient Community Dietitian and Change to Win instructor, at 240-964-8416 or email

Wishing you a happy holiday season and a healthy, happy 2017!

Click here for more information on Change to Win.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Tips to Help You Resolve to Eat Well During the Hectic Holidays and into 2017


Remember to fill half of your plate with vegetables and fruit. Remember to drink water to stay hydrated.

Eat regularly. Eat mindfully. Eat well. Eat to nourish yourself, not just satisfy hunger. Exercise. 

Savor the flavor of your foods and beverages. Slow down your eating pace.

Organize your home and office to make healthy choices easy. Keep a fruit bowl on your kitchen counter or desk. Keep vegetables and fruits at eye level in your refrigerator.

Listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues. Love foods that love you back.

Visualize yourself relaxing in your favorite place when feeling stressed. Breathe deeply.

Every day is a new opportunity to improve your health. Enjoy! 

If you’re interested in learning more about upcoming WMHS Nutrition and Health Programs, visit or

Change to Win, a 12-week nutrition and non-diet weight loss class begins January 10 or 11. Find out more here:

For more information, contact Theresa Stahl, RDN, LDN, FAND, Outpatient Community Dietitian at 240-964-8416 or

Happy and healthy holidays to all!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Celebrating Real Food

Did you know that fewer than 1 in 10 Americans over the age of 12 consume the recommended levels of total fruits and vegetables? Since 1980, the percentage of American children aged 6-19 who are obese has tripled, while the percentage of adults who are obese has doubled and the estimated annual medical cost for obesity is about $150 billion dollars. These are some of the eye-opening statistics noted by the Food Day Campaign.

Food Day, October 24, is a nationwide celebration to inspire Americans to choose healthy and sustainably produced food and is a grass-roots campaign for better food policies. It aims to help people Eat Real, which means cutting back on sugar drinks and processed foods in favor of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and sustainably raised protein. To Eat Real:

1. Take advantage of local farmers markets and winter markets for fresh, local produce and sustainably raised protein.
2. Buy produce in season, which saves money and boosts flavor, but during winter months, canned, frozen and dried fruits and vegetables are great options. Choose those with no added sugar or salt.
3. Choose nutrient-dense vegetables, fruits, whole grains and protein foods for snacks instead of calorie-dense traditional snack foods such as chips and cookies.

WMHS and our community will celebrate Food Day with an Apple Crunch celebration in our cafeteria.

Apples are nutrition powerhouses. The old adage, “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away,” was written for a reason. Research links eating apples with reduction of complications or prevention of various diseases, including Alzheimer’s, asthma, cancer, heart disease and type II diabetes. The fiber in apples helps to control blood sugar levels and lowers cholesterol levels. Apples are low in calories and high in fiber.  One medium apple contains only about 80 calories and 5 grams of fiber.  

This season, try making your own apple chips. Preheat oven to 200-225 degrees F. Slice apples very thinly (mandolin works well, but not mandatory) and place in a single layer on baking sheets lined with parchment paper or silpat. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake for 1 hour, flip over and bake for another hour. Turn off oven and let cool in oven. Cooking times may vary depending on oven, so watch carefully towards the end.

For more nutrition information, contact Theresa Stahl, RDN, LDN, WMHS Outpatient Community Dietitian at or 240-964-8416.
For more information about Food Day, including ideas about how to celebrate at your organization, recipes, and a healthy Halloween kit, visit