Useful Information for Better Health from the Western Maryland Health System

Thursday, January 31, 2019

New Year – New You!

At the beginning of each New Year, we see opportunity to press the “reset” button to make healthier changes, lose weight, and exercise often. As we approach the end of January, how many of us have already found ourselves off track? It may seem unrealistic at this point and you may be missing those old familiar late night snacks. When the tiredness sets in and our bodies become overwhelmed with making new, sudden changes, maybe it becomes most ideal to set realistic goals to progress into a healthier lifestyle.

Food and nutrition is heavily relevant in day-to-day life. An initial step to healthiness can start with being more mindful about food choices. Start by planning your first meal of the day; breakfast. Make it hearty and fulfilling to reduce late morning snacking and hunger. For example, oatmeal is a quick and easy fix that can be topped with peanut butter, fruit, and fiber-rich flax or chia seeds. In one meal you have incorporated whole grains, healthy fats, antioxidants, and a sustaining heart healthy choice.

When the clock strikes noon sometimes we feel the work day to be overwhelming, leaving us with no personal time during the day. Plan lunches and pack your own meals a few times a week to reduce the likelihood of reaching for unhealthy snacks at your desk or going through a fast food drive-thru. Not only will you recognize what you are eating when you make it yourself, you will also save money by not going out to eat several times a week.

It is fact that not many people want to end a day cooking a full course meal after a long day. Focus on providing a protein, vegetable, and a carbohydrate for dinner time. Cooking in abundance to meal prep will save time on busy days while staying true to a healthy diet. Cook a large chicken breast and shred some for the following days, steam vegetables and seal them in a container for freshness, pop  quick-cooking rice or pasta in the microwave for a fast carbohydrate serving.
 In addition to meal planning and mindful eating, physical activity helps us reach our health goals by keeping our bodies moving, and increasing energy and alertness throughout the day. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity weekly. Get outside and take a walk, park your car extra far from the store, do sit-ups and push-ups during commercial breaks of your favorite show. Listen to your body and give it rest when needed to refrain from burning yourself out completely and losing sight of your goals in the bigger picture.

It’s 2019 – a year to recognize mindful eating and the long-term benefits associated with it. Plan meals ahead of time, don’t eliminate your favorite foods and eat them in moderation, exercise often, stay hydrated, and most importantly, listen to your body. The results of a long-term healthy lifestyle will be more rewarding than any quick-fix diet.

For information about WMHS Nutrition and Health Programs, visit our website here:  For more information, contact Theresa Stahl, RDN. LDN, Outpatient Community Dietitian at or 240-964-8416.
Contributed by Morgan Roberts, B.S., Aramark Dietetic Intern at Western Maryland Health System.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Eating the Mediterranean Way and Upcoming Programs

The Mediterranean diet was selected as the best diet overall in the U.S. News and World Reports 2018 rankings. 

The WMHS Food for Thought Book Discussion Group is reading the Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Dummies by Meri Rafetto, RDN and Wendy Jo Peterson, RDN, MS. The group meets on Tuesdays at noon or Wednesdays at 4:30 beginning July 10 or 11 through July 31 or August 1st.

This book features tried and true advice on transitioning to this healthful lifestyle, provides meal planning tips, and more than 160 tasty, nutritious recipes.
Some tips for eating the Mediterranean way include:

·         Eat seasonally and locally.
·         Eat more fish.
·         Focus on healthy fats, such as olive oil
·         Eat primarily plant-based foods
·         Punch up flavor with fresh herbs and spices

To be part of the book group, call Theresa Stahl, RDN, LDN at 240-964-8416 or email

And remember to pick up your local produce every Wednesday from 2-5 pm at the WMHS Farmers’ Market in the parking garage. And look for our videos on the Western Maryland Health System’s Facebook page to learn more about the fresh, flavorful, local produce and for recipes.

And the next Change to Win, 12-week nutrition and weight loss class, will begin August 28 or 29 and end the week of November 13 and 14. Class times are Tuesdays at noon or 4:30 or Wednesdays at 4:30. Each class lasts approximately 45 minutes – 1 hour. For more information or to register, please contact instructor, Theresa Stahl, RDN, LDN at 240-964-8416 or email

Friday, March 9, 2018

March is National Nutrition Month

March is National Nutrition Month and this year, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages everyone to “Go Further with Food.” This includes choosing foods that are healthful to both you and to the environment. Shopping locally is a great way to add healthful foods to your meals, while conserving natural resources.

Take advantage of local farmers’ markets, including the Frostburg Winter Market being held the first and third Saturdays at Mountain City Traditional Arts from 10 am – 1 pm.  The Allegany Farmers’ Markets will be resuming, beginning May 3rd in downtown Cumberland and May 4th in Frostburg at City Place. Check out their other locations and times on Facebook or their website:

Now is a great time to think about planting your own garden in your yard or in pots. There’s nothing as tasty as picking produce from your own back yard! And if you don’t have your own garden space, Western MD Health System has some community garden spaces. For more information about availability, contact Vicky Metty at 240-964-2303. Frostburg Grows also has community garden spaces. Contact them at (301) 687-3136.

WMHS Food and Nutrition Department is celebrating National Nutrition Month in the cafeteria. Beginning Monday, March 5th anyone purchasing a serving of fruit or vegetable in the cafeteria will get an entry for a drawing to win a themed basket at the end of each week. At the end of the month, all of the names will go back into a final drawing to win a Fitbit.

Aramark Dietetic Interns will share practical nutrition information ainteractive games in the WMHS dining room the following days:

March 14 – Full on Fiber
March 21 – Smart Sipping
March 27 – Herbs for Health

On March 11, the University of MD Extension (UME) and Frostburg Grows are sponsoring a Community Seed Exchange from 2-4 pm at City Place in Frostburg. For more information call UME at 301-724-3320.

Reducing food waste is another way to “Go Further with Food.” As a founding member of Further with Food Center for Food Loss and Waste Solutions, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is committed to cutting food loss and waste in the United States in half by 2030. 

For more information, visit

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

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

Be sure to visit the Western Maryland Health System's Facebook page to view many nutrition and exercise videos.

Happy National Nutrition Month! Eat well for better health!

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Roasted Chickpeas

Trying to find something new to do with that can of chickpeas sitting in your cabinet? Look no further than this roasted chickpea recipe from the Dietitian FavoritesCookbook. Chickpeas are a good source fiber and protein, so you can fill up quickly with this crispy, savory snack. These chickpeas can also be tossed in salads or even sprinkled over soup.
Serves 8
·       2-15 oz. cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
·       Cooking Spray
·       1 Tbsp. Cajun Seasoning
·       1 tsp. garlic powder
·       1 tsp. onion powder
·       Dash of cayenne


1)   Spray rimmed cookie sheet with cooking spray. Pour chickpeas on and spread them into a single layer. Take a few sheets of paper towel and gently press over the top of the beans to remove any excess liquid.

2)   Spray the tops of beans with cooking spray and sprinkle seasonings over. Shake pan to help distribute seasoning.

3)   Place pan in an oven at 350 degrees (no need to preheat) and cook until the beans are browned and crispy. Shake the pan every 15 minutes so that nothing burns.

4)   Remove from oven and let cool. Store in a covered bowl to maintain freshness.

For more great recipes, you can download the Dietitian Favorites Cookbook for free.

Find “Nutrition Services” Under “Our Services”
Click on link to download cookbook

Provided by Meredythe Barrick RDN, LDN, WMHS Outpatient Dietitian

Friday, December 15, 2017

Scrumptious, Easy Holiday Side Dish

Quick, easy, flavorful, and nutrient-rich, this satisfying sweet potatoes and spinach recipe provides vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and fiber. The roasted onions and dried cranberries add a delicious sweetness to every bite.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Baby Spinach
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 sweet onion, preferably red
  • 1/2 -1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 – 1 Tablespoon sodium free herb blend or substitute your favorite herbs:  ½ – 1 tsp dried thyme or 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme, 1 tsp dried rosemary or ½ Tablespoon fresh, and dried garlic to taste or 1-2 cloves minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 ounces baby spinach
  • ¼ – 1/2 cup dried cranberries, as desired

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Scrub and cut sweet potatoes into ½ by 1 inch cubes. Chop onion.
In a bowl, mix olive oil and seasonings with sweet potatoes and onions and spread on large baking sheet in single layer.
Roast 25 – 30 minutes, until brown.
Remove from oven and toss in an oven proof bowl with spinach and dried cranberries.
Put bowl in oven for a few minutes to further wilt the spinach.