Useful Information for Better Health from the Western Maryland Health System

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Savor the Season without Gaining Weight

At this time of year, indulgences seem to be around every corner. Tips to indulge without gaining weight include:

1. Eat mindfully. Many people eat mindlessly. 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. Are you taking time to chew thoroughly?  Are you sitting down and focusing on your meal?  It means paying attention to your hunger and fullness cues.  It means savoring, with all your senses, the flavors and tastes.  It means eating to nourish your hunger and not out of boredom or stress.

Research by Dr. Brian Wansink, PhD, professor and director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab and author of Mindless Eating and Slim by Design, showed that people can be just as satisfied with ¼ portion of chocolate, pie or chips as they can from 4 times as much. So, downsize your portions of holiday treats. You won’t miss the larger portion if you savor each bite. And with so many options available, if it isn’t a favorite, pass it up.

2. Eat half plate healthy. Fill your plate with ½ non-starchy veggies and you will eat less of the rest. Veggies are nutrient dense meaning they provide a lot of nutrients without a lot of calories.

3. Exercise. Keep moving. Exercise is a great stress reliever. Do things you enjoy and have fun.  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.  And remember, a gym membership, exercise equipment, or exercise DVDs are gifts that keep on giving.

Change to Win is a nutrition and weight management program led by Theresa Stahl, RDN, LDN, Outpatient Community Dietitian. The next Change to Win session starts January 13th or 14th and runs for 12 weeks. To register or for more information, call Theresa at 240-964-8416 or email her at

The Weight Management Support Group meets from 5-6 pm on the second Tuesday of every month.  Beginning in January, they will meet from 5:30-6:30. The next group will be held on December 9th at 5 pm. in Auditorium Room 3.  Call Carey Moffatt, Certified Health and Wellness Coach at 240-964-8418 for more information.

For a complete list of our nutrition programs, call Theresa Stahl, Outpatient Community Dietitian, at 240-964-8416 or email

Friday, November 14, 2014

Happy World Diabetes Day

November is National Diabetes Month and November 14 is World Diabetes Day. The National Diabetes Education Program ( has provided 50 Ways to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes, emphasizing the importance of healthy eating, fun fitness and stress management to help decrease risk of developing type 2-diabetes or help control type 2 diabetes if you’ve already been diagnosed.  Some of the 50 ways include:

1. Put less on your plate, Nate.
2. Eat a small meal, Lucille.
3. Dance it away, Faye.
4. Snack on a veggie, Reggie.
5. Cook with care, Claire.
6. Eat healthy on the go, Flo.
7. Rethink your drink, Linc.
8. Eat smart, Bart.
9. Keep track, Jack.
10. Read the label, Mabel.
11. You can exhale, Gail.

The Western Maryland Health System has a specialized diabetes center at their Center for Clinical Resources.  They provide a 6-hour diabetes class, Living Well With Diabetes, individual Medical Nutrition Therapy and a Diabetes Support Group that meets on the first Tuesday of each month from 5:30-6:30 pm in Auditorium Room 6.  For more information, call the Center for Clinical Resources at 240-964-8787 or at

Monday, October 13, 2014

October is Eat Better, Eat Together month

Has it been awhile since you have sat down and shared a meal as a family? With today’s fast paced lifestyle and on-the-run meals, finding time to sit down to a family meal can seem challenging. There just doesn’t seem to be enough time to shop, cook, get everyone together, and clean it all up before bedtime!  Here are some tips to make family meals a staple in your home:
Plan your mealtimes to best suit everyone’s schedule.  If breakfast is the best meal, go for it!  It doesn’t have to be dinner.  To start, try getting together at least once a week.  Once that’s rolling, try for more. 
Pre-plan meals for the week and do the shopping all at once, so you have everything you need on hand.
Prepare meals as much as you can in advance.  Precut tomorrow night’s veggies after dinner or assign one of the kids the task after school.  Divide and conquer! Everyone can contribute, even the youngest.  From grocery shopping to cutting the vegetables to setting the table.  Working together teaches responsibly and teamwork.
Making family meals a priority shows children not only that nutritious meals are important but taking the time to prepare and enjoy it with your family teaches them healthy lifelong habits.  After a hectic day at work or school, take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy it with your family.
Stir-fries are my go-to favorite.  The meat and veggies can be prepped in advance and it literally takes minutes to cook.  So, when those planning days evade you, you can make a stir fry with whatever is on hand: with or without meat; canned, frozen or fresh veggies; beans; eggs. Served with rice, noodles or potatoes the combinations are endless.

Here’s a tasty one for you to try.

Beef with Broccoli
1 (1-pound) flank steak
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons sherry
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons sambal oelek (chile paste with garlic)
1 tablespoon peanut oil
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 1/2 cups vertically sliced onion
1 (12-ounce) package broccoli florets
3 cups hot cooked brown rice

1. Freeze steak 30 minutes. Cut steak across grain into 1/4-inch-thick strips.
2. 2. Combine brown sugar and next 5 ingredients (through chile paste) in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.
3. 3. Place a wok or large frying pan over high heat until very hot. Drizzle oil around sides of wok to coat sides and bottom. When oil is very hot, but not smoking, add garlic; stir-fry 30 seconds or until golden. Remove garlic using slotted spoon; drain on paper towels. Add ginger, onion, and broccoli to pan; stir-fry 2 minutes. Add steak; stir-fry 2 minutes or just until no longer pink.
4. 4. Stir in soy sauce mixture. Cook 1 minute or until sauce thickens, stirring constantly. Serve over rice. Top with garlic slices.

Source:  Cooking Light
Nutritional Information:  Calories: 291, Fat: 7.6g, Saturated fat: 2.2g, Monounsaturated fat: 2.9g, Polyunsaturated fat: 1.4g, Protein: 21.5g, Carbohydrate: 32.6g, Fiber: 4g, Cholesterol: 25mg, Iron: 2.3mg, Sodium: 378mg, Calcium: 69mg

- Stacy Dunn, Dietetic Technician Intern

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Demo and Dine serves up last meal for the year on October 29th

Do you wish you were a better cook? Clients often express frustration about their lack of cooking skills. For many, it seems easier to eat out than to prepare meals at home. But eating out too frequently may contribute to obesity, high sodium and low nutrient intakes.

Since September 19, 2013, the WMHS Food and Nutrition Department’s Brenda Ridgway, RDN, LDN, Clinical Nutrition Manager and Chef Pete Lippold, have been dazzling diners with their program, Demo and Dine, which aims not only to teach cooking skills, but also to give participants a healthy, delicious and fun dining experience.

And they have done just that, nine times, with topics including “Quick and Easy Meals,” “Eat Right so Your Clothes don’t Fit Tight,” and “Dietitians’ Summer Favorites.”  Their last Demo and Dine, “Full on Fiber,” will be held in the WMHS auditorium on October 29th. For $15.00, participants receive a delicious healthy meal, see how to prepare all the dishes served, from appetizer to dessert, learn interesting nutrition nuggets, and take home all the recipes prepared and more.

According to Brenda Ridgway, “My goal for the program was to get people to try new foods and to realize that cooking healthy can be easy and reasonable. I have attempted to choose recipes with ingredients that can be found in most grocery stores, recipes that have 10 or less ingredients and are not majorly time consuming. I feel that if we want people to eat healthier we have to show them it may require less effort and expense than they realize. I also wanted the demo to be somewhat entertaining as well as informative. I have found many of the recipes from Eating Right, Cooking Light, American Institute for Cancer Research, The Well Fed Heart, Meal Makeover Moms, and even Bon Appetit.  Additional recipes and nutrition information relevant to the topic are provided at each class.”

Thank you to Brenda and Pete for providing such tasty edutainment. They have opened up a world of new foods to many and all of us who have participated appreciate their hard work. There are still openings for October 29th. To register or to request more information, call Brenda at 240-964-2312. But call soon, seating is limited and fills up quickly.

Here is a recipe that got rave reviews from the August Demo and Dine:

Chicken & Asparagus with Melted Gruyere

Number of Servings: 4                Serving size: 4 oz chicken and ½ cup sauce
· 8 oz. asparagus trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
· 2/3 cup reduced sodium chicken
· 2 teaspoons plus 1/4 cup all-purpose flour divided
· 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 lb)
· 1/4 teaspoon salt
· 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
· 1 tablespoon canola oil
· 1 shallot thinly sliced
· 1/2 cup white wine
· 1/3 cup reduced fat sour cream
· 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon chopped or 1 teaspoon dried                        
· 2 teaspoons lemon juice
· 2/3 cup Gruyere cheese
1. Steam asparagus for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside
2. Wisk broth and 2 teaspoons flower in a small bowl until smooth. Set aside.
3. Place the remaining 1/4 cup flour in a shallow dish. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and dredge both sides in the flower, shaking off excess.
4. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until golden brown (3 to 4 minutes per side). Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm.
5. Add shallot, wine in the reserve broth mixture to the pan; cook over medium heat, stirring, until thickened about 2 minutes.
6. Reduce heat to medium-low, stir in sour cream, tarragon, lemon juice, and the reserved asparagus until combined.
7. Return the chicken to the pan and turn to coat with the sauce. Sprinkle cheese on top of each piece of chicken, cover and continue cooking until the cheese is melted, about 2 minutes.

Nutrition information per serving: 306 calories; 15 g fat (6 g sat, 6 g mono); 7 g carbohydrates; 31 g protein; 1 g fiber; 298 mg sodium    Recipe Source:  Eating Well  May-June 2007   Recipe Submitted By: Kay Leigh

Friday, August 29, 2014

Favorite Dietitian Snacks

Thinking snacking is a bad thing? Think again. While snacking on the wrong things or eating too much can add unwanted calories and pounds, healthy snacking can be a great way to meet your daily nutrient needs and give you the boost you need to get through the day or help you unwind at the end of the day.

Here are some of the WMHS and area dietitians’ favorite snacks:
Allison Lutz : Vanilla low fat yogurt with frozen blueberries or a chocolate chip Fiber One bar (140 calories, 4 gm fat, 9 gm fiber , 2 gm protein) with a layer of peanut butter spread on top!

Tonya Sherrill-Kuhn: Low Fat or Fat Free Cottage Cheese with canned pineapple or Low Fat Cheese cubes with Low Fat Crackers

Brenda Ridgway: Skinny Cow Chocolate Truffle Ice Cream  (100 calories, 2.5 gm fat, 19 gm CHO, 3 gm fiber, 3 gm protein); Light and Fit Raspberry Chocolate Greek Yogurt (80 calories, 0 gm fat, 8 gm CHO, 12 gm protein) and Sunsweet Cherry Essence or Orange Essence prunes 3 pack (100 calories, 16 gm CHO, 2 gm fiber, 1 gm protein, O gm fat)

Hana Smith: graham crackers with cream cheese and strawberries on top (like a mini cheesecake) or Popcorn with melted peanut butter drizzled over it

Liz Kauruter: Cottage Cheese, cinnamon, and peaches; Low Fat Milk and cookies; Popsicles

Theresa Stahl: Nut butter (peanut or almond) - 1 Tbsp. (90 calories)  on whole grain gluten-free crackers such as Mary’s Gone Crackers Original  or Crunchmaster Multi-Seed Crackers – 6 crackers ( about 70 calories) or a Kind Bar (180 calories) or Greek Activia yogurt – ½ cup ( 60-70 calories) with ¼ cup fresh fruit (30 calories) or 6-12  almonds (45-90 calories) or Yonanas frozen fruit ice cream substitute – ½ cup (60-100 calories)

Meredythe Barrick: Almonds with a glass of chocolate skim milk and also an apple with peanut butter, sometimes with a couple of chocolate chips sprinkled on top. I don't have actual serving sizes, but probably an 8 oz glass of milk, a serving of almonds, a small apple with 1-2 tbsp peanut butter
Jennifer Perrin: Dark chocolate flavored strawberries or bananas.

Linda Sweitzer: Jolly Time 100 Calorie Healthy Pop Butter Popcorn (3 weight watcher points - 2 gms Fat, 25 gms CHO, 5 gms Fiber)

Kristin Wilkins: Low fat chocolate milk or beef jerky

Alice Corle: Chocolate covered pretzels and Kettle Corn

-Theresa Stahl, RDN/LDN

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Coming Soon … Smoothie & Juice Bar

Many people fall short of the recommended 5-9 servings of fruits and veggies per day. Smoothies offer a refreshing way to quench thirst and boost nutrition. Soon, you’ll be able to purchase healthy smoothies and fresh-squeezed juices in the WMHS cafeteria at the Smoothie & Juice Bar.

The WMHS Smoothie & Juice Bar will offer a variety of healthy smoothies including:

Power Smoothie - spinach and mixed fruit
Twisted Berry – 3 kinds of berries and Greek yogurt
Blueberry Burst – a blend of blueberries and Greek yogurt
Simply Strawberry – a blend of strawberries and Greek yogurt

You may choose to substitute green tea or water instead of yogurt and add chia or flax seeds or protein powder. In addition to the smoothies, fresh juices will be made right at the bar, including orange, apple, pear and carrot.

Look for the new Smoothie and Juice Bar and stop by for a refreshing way to eat more fruits and veggies.

Try this “green machine” smoothie, taken from It’s easy to make – 3 simple ingredients (honeydew, spinach and Greek yogurt) and a blender – and is refreshingly delicious!

To make this delicious and healthy smoothie combine in blender:
1 cup of fresh baby spinach leaves
1 ½ cups of fresh honeydew melon
1/3 cup of nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt

Blend until smooth. 162 calories, Source:

Honeydew is an excellent source of vitamin C and potassium and has only 60 calories per cup. Spinach, also nutrient rich, provides only 7 calories per cup raw, and is especially high in vitamin A and other carotenoids, such as beta carotene and lutein, which are great for healthy eyes. It is a good source of potassium, fiber, vitamin K, folate, iron and other phytonutrients that help reduce risk of diseases such as cancer. Greek yogurt has about twice as much protein as regular yogurt, and is lower in lactose and carbohydrates. It has a rich and creamy texture that is great for smoothies and for freezing. It is an excellent source of calcium, potassium and is considered a probiotic if it contains live and active cultures. Probiotics help improve immune function, enhance intestinal tract health, decrease symptoms of lactose intolerance and reduce the risk of certain cancers.

I recommend refrigerating the honeydew to get it good and cold prior to making the smoothie for better flavor. Enjoy!

-Theresa Stahl, RDN, LDN

Monday, June 30, 2014

Farmers' Market at WMHS

Now’s the time to savor the flavor of fresh fruits and veggies!  Even if you don’t grow your own garden, you can enjoy produce fresh from the farm to your table by shopping at local farmers’ markets.
And beginning July 9, the Allegany County “Mountain Fresh” farmers’ market will be at WMHS between 2 pm – 5 pm every Wednesday. Local farmers will set up in the parking garage across from the Medical Arts Center entrance.  Employees will be provided with zip lock bags so the produce can be brought into WMHS buildings.
Eating fresh locally grown produce helps YOU:
• Save money – fresh, seasonal foods are less expensive
• Save energy – less gas used to move the food
• Support local growers – buying at local farmers markets
• Be healthy – fresh, seasonal foods are more flavorful, encouraging increased intake of fresh  fruits and veggies, which increases your intake of healthy vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that fight disease and promote health

Other local farmers’ markets include:

Tuesdays: 9:30 am – 2 pm at the Country Club Mall (center court), LaVale
Thursdays: 10 am – 1 pm at the Downtown Cumberland Pedestrian Mall
Fridays: 9:30 am – 2 pm at City Place in Frostburg
Saturdays: 10 am – 1 pm at Canal Place in Cumberland
To find farmers’ markets in your area, visit  or

Here’s a neat map to find out what’s in season in your area:

- Theresa Stahl, RDN, LDN