Useful Information for Better Health from the Western Maryland Health System

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Celebrating Taste in Style

Last month, dietitians from the Western MD Area Health Education Center celebrated National Nutrition Month (NNM) and national Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day at Allegany College of Maryland’s Culinary Café. 
Dietitians joined Debra Frank, RDN, LDN, Director of ACM’s Hospitality Management program in preparing a variety of recipes that featured unique ingredients, herbs and spices, and/or alternative cooking methods that support a journey to health. Dietitians were given recipes to make in the beautiful kitchen of the Culinary Café (see photo) and then enjoyed eating them together. 

I cooked with Liz Kauruter, RDN, LDN, clinical dietitian at the WMHS.  We made Spicy Rice, Bean and Lentil Casserole. I’ve had numerous requests for the recipe, so here it is:
Spicy Rice, Bean, and Lentil Casserole
Yield: 4 servings
2 tsp. olive oil
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 cup chopped onion
¾ cup chopped green pepper
3 + ¾ cup vegetable stock
¾ cup brown rice
½ cup green or red lentils
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. chili powder
1 – 19 oz. can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 cup mild or hot salsa 

In a nonstick pan, heat the oil over medium high heat.
Add garlic, onions and green pepper. Cook and stir for 3 minutes.
Sir in stock, brown rice, lentils, basil, and chili powder.  Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium low and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, for 30-40 minutes or until rice and lentils are tender and liquid is absorbed. 
Stir in beans, corn and salsa.  Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until heated through.  
Here’s another recipe made that day.
Quinoa and Black Bean Salad
Yield: 4-6 servings
1/3 cup quinoa
1 cup water
1 tsp olive oil
4 tsp. fresh lime juice
¼ tsp. cumin
¼ tsp. coriander
1 Tbsp. fresh minced cilantro
2 Tbsp. minced scallions
1-15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups diced tomatoes
1 cup diced bell pepper
2 tsp. minced jalapenos
Salt and pepper to taste 
Cook quinoa in water, as per package directions. Allow to cool slightly
In a large bowl, combine the oil, lime juice, cumin, coriander, cilantro and scallions.
Stir in the beans, tomatoes, bell peppers and chilies.
Add cooled quinoa.
Season lightly with salt and pepper. Serve cold.

Hope everyone enjoys the taste of eating right this month and all year round!  Special thanks to Debra Frank and her students, Taylor and Allison, for hosting such a wonderful event. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

March is National Nutrition Month

Even though I often hear people joke, “If it tastes good, it can’t be good for you,” I believe that healthy and tasty DO go together.  March is National Nutrition Month, sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), and this year’s theme is, “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right.”  See below for some our exciting upcoming events.
Taste rules when it comes to food choices. If it doesn’t taste good, you won’t eat it, even if it’s nutritious. So, try experimenting with new flavors and new tasty combinations of healthy foods. Preparing healthy foods in ways that promote their best flavor is of the utmost importance. Some tips to help maximize both flavor and nutrition include:
1. Purchase fresh fruits and vegetables in season. Produce purchased in season is less expensive and more flavorful. Visit for a list of what’s in season.

2. Roast vegetables. Roasting brings out the sweet and smoky flavors of vegetables. Toss in a very small amount of olive oil and roast in a 350-450 degree F oven for 20-45 minutes.

3. Season foods with fresh herbs to add maximum fresh flavor. Start now to plan your herb garden. There’s nothing like picking fresh herbs straight from your own garden. If you don’t have garden space, that’s no problem.  Fresh herbs are easily grown in containers. And most grocery stores now sell fresh herbs in the produce section.

4. Experiment with spices, such as fresh ginger, for lively sauces. And expand your taste palate by adding healthy curry powder to poultry and soups.

5. Finish off a dish with freshly-squeezed citrus, such as lemon, lime and orange. Grate fresh citrus peel to add vitality and flavor. A microplane is a handy tool for easily grating citrus peels.

6. Experiment with different vinegars, such as balsamic, rice and raspberry. These add flavor without a lot of calories.

7. When roasting or cooking meat in a crock pot, sear on all sides in a skillet first to intensify flavors.
There are many ways to bring out the best flavors of fresh, healthy foods.  For more information, including recipes and videos, visit  For more about National Nutrition Month, visit  To contact Theresa Stahl, RDN, LDN, about nutrition programs to help you stay healthy, call 240-964-8416 or email at
Please join us for some of our upcoming events:
1. Weight Management Support Group – meets Tuesdays March 11 and 25th.  On Tuesday, March 11 the topic is food addiction 101 with guest speaker, Crystal Condry, therapist at the WMHS Behavioral Health Department. For questions, call Carey Moffatt, MS, Certified Health and Wellness Coach at 240-964-8418.

2. National Nutrition Month Event - Join WMHS Dietitians on Wednesday, March 12 at the LaVale Martin’s from 10:00 am – 12 noon for lots of nutrition information, recipes, and coupons.  Tour the store at 10 am.  Please call 240-964-2303 to register for the tour.

3. Grocery Store Tour - Join a WMHS RD for a grocery store tour at the Cresaptown Food Lion on March 20 at 7 pm.  Call the above number to register.

4. WMHS Cafeteria National Nutrition Month Promotion – Purchase fruits or vegetables in the WMHS cafeteria all month and enter to win one of four weekly healthy basket give-aways!  Join WMHS Registered Dietitians the week of March 17-21 for a weekly focus on how a registered dietitian can help you.  Every day, we will focus on a different area, so come by daily for nutrition information, tastings and healthy give-aways.
5. Bariatric Support Group – meets March 27at 5:30. Contact Kay Leigh, RDN. LDN at 240-964-8617

6. Change to Win Nutrition and Weight Loss Program – 10 week session begins Tuesday, April 1 at 12 noon or Wednesday, April 2 at 4:30.  Call Theresa Stahl, RDN, LDN, Outpatient Community Dietitian, at 240-964-8416 for more information or to register. Class size is limited, so register now. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Free Cancer Prevention Festival & Cancer Fighting Foods

Every day, we seem to hear mixed messages about how eating one food will cause cancer while eating another will cure it.  This can be quite confusing and discouraging. It doesn’t help that many in the media often report the most sensational part of a research study without including all of the important details. It’s good to have trusted resources to help interpret the research.
To help answer your questions, WMHS is hosting a free
Cancer Prevention Festival
When: Next Thursday, February 20, from 5-6:30 pm
Where: The WMRMC on Willowbrook Road in auditoriums 1-4.
Information includes:
  Let’s Get Physical-Health and Wellness Coaching
Eat Clean, Get Lean-BMI, Body Fat Analysis, Nutrition Tips
Smoking Cessation-Quit For The Health Of It
Skin Cancer Awareness-Spot Watch
Stress Management-Don’t Worry, Be Happy
Local Cancer Resources-You Are Not Alone
Pharmacology-Preventive Medicine
Clinical Trials-What Is On The Horizon

Exhibitors include:  Community Health & Wellness, Food & Nutrition, Schwab Cancer Center, Pharmacy, and McCagh, Roberts and Herring Dermatology

Also, Dr. Blanche Mavromatis, Medical Oncologist, will present on Breast Cancer Risk Factors and Prevention at 5:30 pm and Dr. Matt Alloway, Urologist, will present on Prostate Screening and Prevention at 5:45 pm.
There is no cost to attend and we hope to see you there!
For more information, call Community Health & Wellness at 240-964-8424.

Cancer Fighting Foods
Although we can’t control all the factors in our lives that may increase cancer risk, there are three areas we can control. These are:
1.    How much we move
2.    How much we weigh
3.    What we eat
According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, carrying excess body fat can increase cancer risk. So it is important to be lean and as close as possible to our healthy body weight.  Exercise helps us achieve this goal, as does eating a healthy diet, with plenty of fruits and vegetables and whole grains.
The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) recommends we fill at least 2/3 of our plate with plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans. The USDA recommends we fill ¾ of our plates with plant based foods, so the message is clear: eat plenty of plant-based foods.  These are rich in nutrients and low in calories.  For more information on cancer fighting foods, visit the AICR website at  

Hope to see you at the Cancer Prevention Festival on Thursday, February 20 at 5:30! 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Foods to Love for Heart Month

February is Heart Health Month. Include these heart-loving foods for heart health. These recommendations are from Dr. Janet Bond Brill, PhD, RD, LDN, author of Cholesterol Down, Blood Pressure Down and Preventing a Second Heart Attack and David Grotto, RD, LDN, author of The Best Things You Can Eat. 

Foods with recommended serving sizes include:
  1. Almonds and walnuts – 1 ounce
  2. Apples, figs and other fruit – ½ -1 cup
  3. Flaxseeds – 2 Tablespoons
  4. Garlic – 1 clove
  5. Oatmeal – ½ cup (uncooked)
  6. Extra-virgin olive oil – 1 Tablespoon
  7. Soybeans – 1 cup (cooked)
  8. Avocados – 1/5
  9. Dark Chocolate/cocoa – 1 ounce
  10. Salmon – 3 ounces
  11. Pumpkin seeds – 1 ounce
  12. Wine – 5 ounces
  13. Spinach and other greens and vegetables – 1 cup cooked or 2 cups raw
  14. White beans and other legumes – 1 cup (cooked)
  15. Yogurt and Milk – 1 cup 
  16. Psyllium husks – 6 grams (1 tsp.)
If you’re interested in learning more about heart healthy nutrition, WMHS Food and Nutrition Department offers a free class taught by clinical dietitian, Joni Brode, RDN, LDN, who specializes with patients with cardiovascular disease.  Classes are offered twice monthly.

Upcoming Classes:
February 11 at 1 p.m.
February 25 at 6 p.m.

Classes are held in conference room 1 and 2 on the first floor of the WMRMC. Additional information is available by calling Joni R. Brode, RDN, LDN at 240-964-8677 or emailing her a  To register, please call WMHS Food and Nutrition at 240-964-2306.

Also, join WMHS Chef Pete Lippold and Clinical Nutrition Manager, Brenda Ridgway, RD, LDN for Demo and Dine on February 18 “Cooking for a Happy and Healthy Heart.” Learn the importance of heart – healthy nutrition and take home great recipes and ideas to try at home. The cost is $15.00 per person and is held from 5-6:30 pm at the WMHS auditorium.  Space is limited to 20 participants. To register, contact Brenda Ridgway, RDN, LDN at 240-964-2312.  

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Savor the Season

At this time of year, indulgences seem to be around every corner. Tips to enjoy your favorite treats but eat less include:

 1.      Eat mindfully. Many people eat their way mindlessly through their days and nights. I interview people all the time who cannot remember what they had to eat the day before. This is one of the reasons keeping a food diary can be such a powerful tool.  It helps you pay attention to what you eat.  But mindful eating goes beyond knowing what you’re eating.  Mindful eating also means focusing on how you eat. Taking time to chew thoroughly. To sit down and focus on your meal. It means paying attention to your hunger and fullness cues.  It means savoring, with all your senses, the flavors and tastes.  Eating to nourish your hunger and not out of boredom or stress.  The first few bits provide the ultimate pleasure so keep this in mind and learn to be satisfied with a few bits of your favorites.  If it isn’t a favorite, pass it up.

2.     Choose nutrient dense foods instead of calorie dense foods. With over 40 different nutrients required by our bodies daily, what you choose to eat will either nourish you and help meet those needs or simply provide calories that fill you up without meeting nutritional requirements. High fat and high sugar foods such as fried foods, sweet drinks, cookies, candy and pastries are calorie dense foods that supply a lot of calories with little nutritional value.  Nutrient dense foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meats and dairy foods, without added sugar or fat, provide the nutrients we need without a lot of calories. Fill your plate every meal with these nutrient dense foods. 

3.     Exercise. People who exercise regularly, pay more attention to the way they eat. Research proves that exercise has a role in the treatment and prevention of more than 40 chronic diseases including diabetes, heart disease, obesity and hypertension.  So get moving and make it a priority.  Get dates on your calendar.  Do things you enjoy and have fun and you will be more likely to stick with it.   

Upcoming programs to help you stay or get healthy include:

Change to Win is a nutrition and weight management program taught by Theresa Stahl, RD, LDN and a team of registered dietitians. The next Change to Win session starts January 7th or 8th and runs for 10 weeks. To register or for more information, call Theresa Stahl, RD, LDN at 240-964-8416 or email Theresa at

Weight Management Support Group meets from 5-6 pm on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month.  This will be January 12th and 26th in Auditorium Room 3.  Call Carey Moffatt, Certified Health and Wellness Coach at 240-964-8418 for more information.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Happy, Healthy Holidays!

On November 12, the WMHS Weight Management Support Group met and enjoyed a wonderful food demo by Registered Dietitians Hana Smith and Liz Kauruter.  Hana and Liz not only shared tips to make your favorite holiday meals healthier, they prepared a very interesting and delicious hot cocoa recipe made with sweet potatoes and shared two other dishes, roasted root vegetables and mac n’ cheese made with pumpkin puree. (see the recipes below! Click on them to view larger and to print!)  They got rave reviews from all there, including me!  I thought they were all delicious! 
Some of the tips shared include:
1    Using less bread and more veggies in your stuffing.  To increase flavor and add extra     vitamins and fiber add whole grain breads, celery, mushrooms, onions and carrots. Other options for a sweeter stuffing include apples, currants, raisins, apricots and cranberries. 
     Skip the skin on the turkey and save 11 grams of saturated fat per 3 oz. serving.
     Move your socializing away from the food table to minimize unconscious nibbling.
     Don’t starve yourself before the big meal.  Eat something small before, so you aren’t tempted to overeat at meal time.

More ideas for making the holidays healthy will be shared at the next Weight Management Support Group that meets from 5-6 on Tuesday November 26th in Auditorium Room 3 at WMHS. 
For more information, call Carey Moffatt, Certified Health and Wellness Coach at 240-964-8418 for more information. Read more about the Weight Management Support Group here:

Happy healthy holidays to all!

-Theresa Stahl, RD, LDN 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Holiday Eating Season ….Tips to Prevent Weight Gain

Here we go...Halloween, Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas, New Year’s…let’s face it…the season of eating is upon us.  Research shows that weight gained during the holiday season is often not lost and accumulates through the years and may be a major contributor to obesity later in life. 
According to researchers at NIH, the biggest factors that influence weight gain are level of hunger and level of activity. Participants in a study at NIH who reported being less active and more hungry had the greatest holiday weight gain.  So, the two most important tips to prevent holiday weight gain are: 
    1.   Control your hunger and
    2.   Stay physically active
To control hunger, eat within the first hour after you wake up and try not to go longer than 3-5 hours without eating. This is challenging with busy schedules, but planning ahead makes all the difference. Include lean protein-rich foods, whole grains, and fruit and veggies with meals and snacks. 
Plan to exercise most days of the week. Don’t let cold weather keep you from getting outside. Research shows that fresh air and exercise may help prevent and treat the winter blues as well as the more serious seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is a clinical depression brought on by short days.  And remember we “fall back” next weekend as daylight saving time ends on Sunday, November 3, at 2 a.m.
Exercise is a great way to control holiday stress while burning calories, both of which will help to prevent weight gain. A gym membership may be the healthiest gift you could ask for this year and the benefits would last all year long.  Or how about treating yourself to one or more sessions with a personal trainer who can tailor a workout just for you?
Also, other tips include:

·       Use small plates which can actually help you eat less.
·       Remember to enjoy rich holiday treats in moderation and realize that the first few bites are the most satisfying and learn to stop with a few bites. Savor each bite and you will be satisfied with less. 
·       Stay hydrated.  Drink plenty of water and try sparkling water or club soda with a slice of lemon, lime or orange for holiday parties.

Western Maryland Health System has some programs that will help you stay on track, too:

Weight Management Support Group meets from 5-6 pm on Tuesdays, November 12th, November 26th and December 10th in Auditorium Room 3.  Topics include Healthy Holiday Eating and A Plan of Attack for the Holidays.  Call Carey Moffatt, Certified Health and Wellness Coach at 240-964-8418 for more information.

Demo and Dine meets Wednesday November 20th from 5-6:30 at WMHS and features Chef Pete Lippold will prepare a delicious meal for you to enjoy while Registered Dietitian Brenda Ridgway provides nutrition information and healthy recipes. Contact Brenda Ridgway, RD, LDN at 240-964-8912 to register.  Registration is required and space limited to 20.

Change to Win is a nutrition and weight management program taught by Theresa Stahl, RD, LDN and a team of registered dietitians. The next Change to Win session starts January 7th or 8th and runs for 10 weeks. To register or for more information, call Theresa Stahl, RD, LDN at 240-964-8416 or email Theresa at tstahl@wmhs.comWith careful planning, you can prevent the usual holiday and winter weight gain. I’d love to hear your tips and what works well for you.  

Theresa Stahl, RD, LDN – Outpatient Community Dietitian