Useful Information for Better Health from the Western Maryland Health System

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.


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.