Useful Information for Better Health from the Western Maryland Health System

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Loving Foods That Love You Back

February is American Heart Month. Here are some foods to love for a healthy heart:
1. Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, that helps promote healthy blood pressure. Their high water and fiber content helps you feel full on less calories.
2. Whole grains like oatmeal contain fiber that helps decrease cholesterol levels.
3.  Fish, such as salmon, contain omega-3 fats that help lower cholesterol. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish twice a week.
4. Beans, such as kidney and soy, are high in protein and fiber, making a great substitute for meats at meals.
5. Nuts and seeds contain heart healthy fats and help you feel satisfied between meals, helping to control appetite and weight.  But eat in small portions of 1-2 tablespoons if trying to control weight. Sprinkle on salads, cereal and yogurt.

Today, WMHS is offering a free program on how lifestyles affect both cancer and heart disease prevention called Prevention is Power: Take Control of Cancer and Heart Disease. Dr. Blanche Mavromatis, Medical Oncologist will speak on cancer prevention and Dr. Michael Curran, Cardiologist, will speak on heart disease prevention.  Presentation will be from 5:30-6:30 pm and from 6:30-7:30 pm there will be exhibits including:
BMI/body fat analyzer
Sit risk assessments
Blood pressure checks
Food demos of affordable and healthy foods with samples and recipes
Stretching and movement
(a breath test that detects carbon monoxide levels for smokers and those exposed to secondhand smoke)
The latest on e-cigarettes, and much more.
Visit for full details. Registration is not required; however, those that pre-register will be entered in a drawing for a door prize.  To pre-register or for more information, please call Carey Moffatt at 240-964-8418.

And every month, WMHS offer free Heart Healthy Nutrition classes.  The next one will be on Tuesday, March 17 at 1:00 pm.  For more information, contact Joni Brode, RDN, LDN at 240-964-8677 or to register, contact WMHS Food and Nutrition at 240-964-2303.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Kale Chips

Kale chips are simple to make and an instant hit, even with kids. Kale is in season during winter months, so the flavor is at its peak. Kale is a member of the cabbage family and is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium. It’s a good source of calcium, iron and folate and contains phytochemicals, including lutein, which helps improve vision and fights against cancer.  With about 160 calories in 15 potato chips, kale chips make a great substitution with only about 50 calories per cup.

To make kale chips, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Tear the kale leaves off of their stems and into chip size pieces. Wash and spin dry in a salad spinner or dry with a towel. In a large bowl, add kale, 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil, salt-free herb seasoning and/or fresh minced garlic. Using your hands, coat each leaf. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil and spread kale pieces in a single layer and bake for 10-15 minutes until edges are light brown and toasty. Watch carefully at the end, as they go from lightly brown to too brown very quickly. Add a sprinkle of sea salt, if desired, after taking out of oven. Enjoy!!

-Theresa Stahl, RDN, LDN

Monday, December 22, 2014

Gifts that Keep on Giving

During this holiday gift giving season, it is sometimes challenging to know what to give to the people on your list. Cookbooks are great gifts for the seasoned cook, as well as the beginner and everyone in-between. They are gifts that keep on giving, meal after meal. They inspire adventurous eating and if chosen well, healthy eating.
Here are a few of my favorite cookbooks:

1. No Whine with Dinner by registered dietitians Liz Weiss and Janice Newell Bissex.  The Meal Makeover Moms, Liz and Janice who also have a wonderful blog and website,, are experts in family nutrition. Every recipe in this book was tested by moms and tasted by kids, ensuring great family friendly recipes. This book is sure to please any mom of picky eaters and, in my opinion, anyone who loves healthy, creative recipes.
2. Cooking Light’s The Food Lover’s Healthy Habits Cookbook by registered dietitian Janet Helm. Author of the award-winning blog, Nutrition Unplugged, Janet Helm’s book combines 250 recipes with tips and solutions for living a healthy life from more than 50 nutrition and fitness experts, bloggers, chefs and Cooking Light readers.  This is a treasure trove of information and great recipes. This makes a great book for anyone looking to improve their lifestyle and make sense out of the ever changing nutrition headlines.  One of my favorite resources,, is a trusted website for healthy recipes and makeovers of favorite high calorie treats.
3. Weeknight Wonders: Delicious, Healthy Dinners in 30 minutes or Less by Ellie Krieger. This one is currently on my wish list.  You might wonder why I would recommend a book I don’t have yet. The reason is because I have every other cookbook by registered dietitian and Food Network Star, Ellie Krieger, and I love them all. She is trustworthy for serving up great recipes that are delicious and nutritious. And who doesn’t want to get dinner on the table in 30 minutes or less?  I am drawn to cookbooks that provide quick, easy recipes that can be made after a long day of work or school or the usual action-packed day.

Merry Christmas and Happy, Healthy New Year to all! WMHS offers wonderful nutrition education programs, many free.  One upcoming program in the New Year is Change to Win, a nutrition and weight management program. The next session starts January 13th or 14th and runs for 12 weeks. For more information, call me at 240-964-8416 or email me at

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