Useful Information for Better Health from the Western Maryland Health System

Friday, November 17, 2017

Healthier Holidays

This holiday season, keep in mind what is on your plate. For a healthier lifestyle, it is important to practice portion control, make healthier options, and stay active. While it’s easier said than done, traditional holiday foods can be exchanged for their lower calorie and highly nutritious doppelganger.

These helpful tips will be heart healthy and increase vitamins and minerals:

·      Whole wheat/ whole grain stuffing instead of white bread stuffing
·      Mashed sweet potatoes or mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes
·      Cook with olive oil instead of butter
·      Bake the turkey instead of frying
·      Roast green beans in the oven with your favorite spices instead of making a casserole with cream

The most important thing to remember this holiday season is to make veggies the center of attention. The website encourages us to make half our plate vegetables. Vegetables contain dietary fiber, which may reduce the risk of heart disease, strokes, type 2-diabetes, and some cancers. Choosing a variety of vegetables increases the assortment of nutrients like vitamin A, C, and folate. Increasing the color of your plate increases the range of nutrients provided.

This holiday season, enjoy increasing overall health and tasting the rainbow. ​

Submitted by Mikaela Schmeider, B.S., Aramark Dietetic Intern

Monday, October 23, 2017

Healthy Halloween

Halloween is once a year, and the high calorie, sugar, and fat candy is making its way onto store shelves. When looking for candy, usually the last thing on people’s minds is “What are healthy choices?”

Some alternatives to traditional candy with no nutritional value:

·      Make chocolate covered fruit. This will increase vitamins and continue to hit that sweet tooth.

·      Cinnamon roasted pumpkin seeds are a good way to increase vitamin A.

Smoothies made from low fat yogurt, fruit, and/or vegetables are another good snack to celebrate this spooky season.  If smoothies aren’t your thing, try eating apple slices with a yogurt fruit dip. Some more ways to increase the nutrients in Halloween snacks is to shape fruits and vegetables into festive shapes. Mandarin oranges can be made into pumpkins with a chocolate covered pretzel made as a stem, fruit kabobs made with a marshmallow ghost face drawn on with icing, or even a cut banana with mini chocolate chip eyes can all be fun ways to increase the nutrients consumed during this candy crazed holiday.

Have fun with your food and enjoy one of these boo-tiful snacks this Halloween.

Submitted by Mikaela Schmeider, B.S., Aramark Dietetic Intern

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

October is Apple Month

Apples are nutrition powerhouses. An apple a day, may really help keep the doctor away. 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.  

According to the University of Nebraska Extension (, there are around 100 varieties of apples grown commercially in the United States, but only about 15 make up the majority of apple productions. Each variety is unique. The U.S. Apple Association has a useful guide to apple varieties.

Check it out at

Join us on October 19th in the WMHS cafeteria to celebrate Food Day Apple Crunch Day 2017. Stop by the cafeteria between 11:30 and 1 pm and bite into a juicy apple and show your commitment to eat well for better health.

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, FAND, WMHS Outpatient Community Dietitian at or 240-964-8416.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Family Meals Rate for Better Health

September is right around the corner and has been named National Family Meals Month by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI). This educational program of the FMI underscores the benefits of family meals - and there are many! Studies provide significant, scientific proof about the positive, lifelong benefits of family meals.

According to author Miriam Weinstein in her book, The Surprising Power of Family Meals, “Family meals are like a magic bullet – something that improves the quality of your daily life, your children’s chances of success in the world, and your family’s health. Something that is inexpensive, simple to produce, and within the reach of pretty much everyone.”

Here are some of the powerful benefits of eating together as a family from the FMI’s family meal website:
Regular family meals are linked to higher grades and self-esteem and delayed sexual activity.
Children who grow up sharing family meals are more likely to exhibit prosocial behavior as adults, such as sharing, fairness, and respect.
With each additional family meal shared each week, adolescents are less likely to show symptoms of violence, depression and suicide, less likely to use or abuse drugs or run away, and less likely to engage in risky behavior or delinquent acts.
Kids and teens who share meals with their family three or more times per week are significantly less likely to be overweight, more likely to eat healthy foods and less likely to have eating disorders.
Kids who cook are more likely to eat and enjoy the food they prepare.  And cooking reinforces skills such as math and science. As the new school year begins, remember the family that eats together, stays healthy together. As FMI points out, family meals nourish the spirit, brain and health of all family members.

For more nutrition information, recipes and more, visit these websites:
FMI Family Meals website -
Kids Cook Monday website -
Kids Eat Right website of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics –

For more information about upcoming programs at WMHS, visit or call Theresa Stahl, RDN, LDN, FAND, Outpatient Community Dietitian at 240-964-8416.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Eat More of These Foods for Better Brain Health

The wild, wonderful summer is the season to eat more of the flavors of the farm, garden and farmers’ markets.

The WMHS Food for Thought Book Discussion Group is currently reading a cutting-edge book, The Alzheimer’s Prevention Food Guide, by Registered Dietitian Nutritionists and researchers Sue Linja and Dr. SeAnne Safaii-Waite. The book highlights evidence-based research about foods that are good for brain health and may protect against Alzheimer’s.
Many of these foods are found in abundance during this wonderful growing season and include the following, among many others:
  • Leafy greens:  Including arugula, kale, spinach, and watercress
  • Herbs: Including mint, basil, and cilantro
  • Vegetables: Including beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, garlic, and red cabbage
  • Fruit: Including berries, cherries, grapes and melons

Farmers’ Market

The Farmers’ Market is at the WMHS parking garage every Wednesday from 2-5 pm. Stop by and pick up some sensational fresh flavors of the season and eat more of these foods to help improve your brain health.

Upcoming Programs

The next Change to Win session begins on Tuesday, September 5 at 12 noon or 4:30 pm or Wednesday, September 6 at 4:30 pm. This 12-week nutrition and weight loss program focuses on creating healthy habits, not on restrictions.
Besides weight loss, participants 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

Change to Win Support Group

The Change to Win Support Group, open to anyone who has completed the Change to Win program will meet on Wednesdays at 3:00 pm beginning on September 6th.  

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

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Food for Thought Book Club 2017

There are currently more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease. Registered Dietitian Nutritionists and researchers, Sue Linja and Dr. SeAnne Safaii-Waite experienced the progression of Alzheimer’s in their mothers. They have traveled the world researching longevity diets and have examined all of the evidence-based research on diet and Alzheimer’s in order to offer their simple and practical dietary approach to protecting the brain from Alzheimer’s. In their groundbreaking, newly-released book, they offer a realistic 2-week meal plan, profiles of more than 100 foods for brain health, and an easy-to-understand overview of diets being researched for brain health.

According to Dr. Rudolph E. Tanzi, Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School, “This is not a simple diet book – it’s a food bible that tells you all you need to know to start eating your way to a healthy brain, right now.”

The book discusses the Alzheimer’s-diet connection, brain-boosting diets in perspective, foods that nourish and protect the brain, and tips for a healthy lifestyle.

Join us as we explore the latest evidence-based research on eating for brain health and preventing Alzheimer’s disease.

We will meet in the WMHS Willowbrook Office Complex on the second floor, beginning July 11 or 12th and continue until August 15.  Optional days and times are either on Tuesdays at noon or Wednesdays at 4:30.

For more information please contact Theresa Stahl, RDN, LDN, Outpatient Community Dietitian, Western Maryland Health System at 240-964-8416 or