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Eating Healthy

Enjoying ice cream without giving your diet the “cold-shoulder”

by Ashley Willson 9. July 2015

With the sunshine and warmer temperatures finally setting in, I could not resist the urge to celebrate with a trip to Stewart’s for a Make-your-Own Ice Cream Sundae (Yes it’s true, some dietitians do eat ice cream)!   As delicious as it was, I couldn’t help but think of how much I might be breaking the “calorie bank” for that day (even with the mile I walked to get to the ice cream.) According to the USDA’s website, www.choosemyplate.gov, the average hot fudge sundae using soft serve ice cream and a whipped topping has greater than 400 calories, and that’s not counting nuts, sprinkles, and of course a cherry!  Toss on a few extra toppings-caramel, peanut butter, marshmallow, etc., and your frozen treat is now a frozen dinner with well above the daily recommended amount for saturated fats and added sugars. Not to mention, I probably ‘burned’ less than 100 calories round-trip with my walk.

So how can we solve the summer-time sweet tooth dilemma without the sacrifice of never stepping foot into Stewart’s or Jumpin’ Jack’s again?   Here are a few ‘cool’ suggestions to try:

1.       Portion control is the key.  Try to order a single scoop or ‘kiddie’ size serving when asked.  Keep in mind, a ½ cup ice cream can provide anywhere from 150-300 calories!!  If it is a self-serve (such as frozen yogurt shops), choose the smallest container available.  Think smaller bowl, smaller portion. Skip the cone (especially the chocolate dipped waffle cones) to cut back on unnecessary calories. 

2.       Choose fresh fruit as toppings.  If fresh fruit is not available, pick one topping and keep it to no more than a tablespoon.  Remember, whip cream is heavy cream and sugar, and it is NOT calorie free!

3.       Share your ‘splurge!’  With following tips 1 and 2, grab an extra spoon and offer to share your treat with a friend (even if they have four legs and a wagging tail-just remember, no chocolate for our furry friends.)

4.       Walk or ride your bike! Even though you may not burn as many calories as your treat contained, it can always put a dent in it. Besides, we could all use a little more vitamin D rightjQuery152027445818829247287_1436468951874

At the end of the day, there is no better season than summer to enjoy a delicious ice cream sundae.  Savor those treats only once in a while!

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Healthy Tips

A Meal to Please with Omega-3’s

by Carolyn DePuy 18. June 2015

Salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fats are considered “heart healthy” and have been shown to help lower triglyceride levels, reduce the risk of blood clots, reduce the overall risk for heart attacks, and lower blood pressure levels. Omega-3’s also reduce inflammation, which plays a major role in heart disease. The Heart Healthy Diet guidelines recommended two, four-ounce servings of fish per week.

Add salmon into your diet by trying this easy and delicious recipe -

Honey Dijon Glazed Salmon


4 (4-5 ounce) Wild Caught Salmon Fillets

2 Tbsp. Honey

2 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard

1 Tbsp. Low Sodium Soy Sauce

1/4 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

1/8 tsp. Freshly Ground Black Pepper

2 tsp. Olive Oil

1 (5 ounce) Package Spinach




1.    Preheat oven to 400ºF.

2.    In a small bowl, whisk honey, Dijon mustard, soy sauce, red pepper flakes and black pepper; set aside.

3.    Add olive oil to a large, oven-safe skillet over medium heat.

4.    Place salmon fillets into skillet, skin-side up, and sear 4-5 minutes or until golden brown.

5.    Turn fillets over and spoon 1 tablespoon of glaze evenly over each.

6.    Transfer skillet to oven and bake 15 minutes or until fillets are cooked through and flake easily with a fork.

7.    Top with remaining glaze if desired; serve.


Recipe Note:  No oven-safe skillet? Transfer seared fillets to a baking dish and bake as directed.




Recipe Source: Weis Markets Healthy Bites Magazine




Gluten Free Diets: A Special Report

by Melissa Stopera 13. May 2015

Good Afternoon,

I am writing today to share a story that was recently run on Channel New 10, which I am featured in.

This segment is informative & aims to dispel a common misconception that following a Gluten Free diet automatically results in weight loss and or increased energy levels. 

This is a common source of confusion for people, and I believe the news10 video sheds light on the reality behind this popular recent diet craze.

Check it out!




A Family Meal Has Health Appeal

by Carolyn DePuy 19. March 2015

For most busy families, sitting down together for a healthy meal can be a challenge. Balancing work and personal life is hard enough. Now add children with competing schedules including sports practices, music lessons, dance lessons, and after school activities and the combination makes sharing a daily meal nearly impossible. However, there is strong evidence to support that making an effort to have family meals is worthwhile.

Research has shown that family meals promote healthier eating as well as a variety of other benefits. One specific outcome suggests that children who frequently engage in family meals achieve higher intakes of calcium, iron, fiber and many vitamins overall. It has also been shown that kids who eat regular family meals are less likely to be overweight or obese. And it doesn’t end there.

Other benefits of having family meals include:

Ø  Sitting down for meals as a family teaches children social skills and manners.

Ø  Teenagers who eat with their families are less likely to use drugs, alcohol or cigarettes.

Ø  Kids who have family meals are less likely to suffer from mental health issues.

Ø  Because mealtime is a time to reconnect, families who eat together tend to be closer.

Ø  Some studies have found that more meals at home is the single strongest factor in better achievement scores and fewer behavioral problems in children of all ages.

Although family meals can’t guarantee your family a lifetime of health and happiness, they can certainly contribute to the cause.

So now that you have incentive to commit to family meals, it’s time to establish a strategy. Start by identifying obstacles to mealtime. Coordinating schedules can be tough, but it’s possible. Despite hectic lifestyles, many families are still able to make dinnertime a priority. Make a schedule. Set the expectation that family members will gather at specific times during the week for mealtime. These meeting times should be considered as important as other obligations. Additionally, getting your kids involved in meal planning and cooking can help keep them engaged and committed.  Keep mealtimes interesting by using them as an opportunity to teach your children about good nutrition. And remember, you are your child’s biggest role model, so be sure to stay dedicated to family mealtime as well.

Ultimately, now is the time to make a commitment as a family. Get the whole group together and promise each other to share mealtime as a family. Live up to that promise and watch your family grow closer and stronger.


Watch the Game and Your Waistline

by Carolyn DePuy 22. January 2015

The holiday season may be over but that doesn’t mean the end of opportunities to overindulge. Fast approaching is Super Bowl Sunday and a super bowl meal is usually SUPER sized. For example, two slices of pizza, four Buffalo wings, and a handful of chips can add up to over 1,000 calories, 50 grams of fat, and 2400 mg of sodium. This meal contains approximately the amount of sodium recommended for an entire day – so  it’s not just the game that’s raising your blood pressure! This year, try a different approach to the super bowl with tasty snacks that won’t sabotage a healthy diet. Here’s an RD approved recipe to try:

Buffalo Chicken Jalapeno Poppers

Serving Size: 2 Poppers

Calories: 92; Carbohydrate: 5 gm; Protein: 7 gm; Na: 173 mg; Cholesterol: 14 mg



10 jalapeño peppers, sliced in half lengthwise

1/2 cup - 1/3 less fat cream cheese

3 medium scallions, green part only, chopped

2 oz shredded low fat sharp cheddar

4 oz shredded chicken – (Note: Boil chicken breast and shred with fork)

1 Tbsp cup hot sauce or to taste (Note: This product is high in sodium so reducing as much as possible to taste will help to decrease sodium content)

1/2 cup egg whites, beaten

3/4 cup whole wheat panko crumbs

1/8 tsp paprika

1/8 tsp garlic powder

1/8 tsp chili powder

Serves 10



Preheat oven to 350°F

Cut peppers in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds

Combine cream cheese, cheddar and scallions in a medium bowl

Mix in shredded chicken and hot sauce

Combine panko, paprika, chili powder, and garlic powder in a separate bowl

Fill peppers with chicken filling with a small spoon or spatula

Dip peppers in egg whites, then in panko mixture to coat

Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper

Spray the peppers with small amount of cooking spray
Bake until golden, about 25 to 30 minutes

Remove from oven and serve immediately


Warning: Recipe is spicy!


Vary Your Veggies: Cauliflower

by Melissa Stopera 14. January 2015

It’s 2015.  I am not quite certain what your New Year’s resolution was, but hopefully you are still diligently attempting to accomplish and work towards your goals.

Personally, I am working on increasing the amount of vegetables in my diet.  This can be very challenging, and at the beginning of 2015 I was working to accomplish this goal by eating more salad.   Singularly incorporating one technique is not a recipe for success, and after eating salad many days in a row, I grew weary.  This led me to start thinking outside of the box to continue to work towards my goal.

Which leads me here today to blog about my new favorite vegetable: CAULIFLOWER.  Cauliflower is an extremely versatile cruciferous vegetable that is a good source of vitamin C.  One cup of steamed cauliflower contains roughly 25 calories, and 5g of Carbs (roughly half the carbs are fiber, and cauliflower is a very low glycemic index food).

My favorite new recipe is “cauliflower fried rice”.  It is extremely easy to make.  I simply took a head of cauliflower, and “riced” it in my food processor on the pulse setting.  After ricing one head of cauliflower, I cooked it for 3-5 minutes on high heat (stirring continuously) in a small amount of olive oil.  This turns the cauliflower rice golden brown, and gives it a rice-like flavor and texture.

In a separate pan, I sautéed onions, peppers, and broccoli.  Some of the recipes I reviewed online suggested peas and carrots.  Whichever vegetable(s) you prefer will work.

After cooking all the cauliflower rice, I mixed it in with the sautéed vegetables.  I created a hole in the middle of the mixture and cracked 2 eggs.  I mixed the eggs into the mixture until they were cooked. 

Voila!  There you have it.  Cauliflower Fried Rice.  It is delicious.  One head of cauliflower produced roughly 4 servings. I opted to add tofu to make this a complete meal, and encourage adding any lean protein of your choice to make this an enjoyable dish.  I also added calorie free/carb free Asian sauce for flavor.  You could certainly use reduced sodium soy sauce (sparingly, this is usually still high in sodium) as an alternative.

Producing this in bulk has made it significantly easier for me this week.   I can simply grab it and reheat it.  There are numerous other ways to utilize cauliflower, and this is just one small example of how a little effort can go a long way!


80/20 Eating

by Yvonne Best 22. December 2014

Ever wonder how a registered dietitian eats? I know that when people see me eating, I get questions such as… “Is that healthy?” “How many calories are in that?”, “Are you REALLY going to eat that? But you’re a dietitian!”

You would be correct in assuming that I have a very healthy diet… Most of the time. Myself and many dietitians that I know DO have a healthy diet overall. But, we are all human too! Many people are surprised to find that I love sweets and pizza. The keys are… moderation and portion control.

A majority of the time, your diet (“diet” meaning what you eat) should look like MyPlate and consist of healthy foods: lean protein, fruits, veggies, whole grains, and low fat or fat free dairy. Foods like sweets, desserts, fried foods, fast food, and sugary drinks such as soda, juice, and energy drinks should be considered as treats and consumed in moderation. I like to point out that a dietitian’s definition of “moderation” may differ from yours or someone else you may know.

When a dietitian says unhealthy foods in “moderation”, we mean a treat once or twice a week, or depending on how unhealthy the food is, we mean only once or twice a month. You can also spread your treats out throughout the week (e.g. one cookie a day for dessert). I myself like to have two days per week where I consume a meal that I consider a treat. I affectionately refer to these as my “pig out days”. Think of it as an 80/20 rule… 80% of your diet should be healthy foods; unhealthy foods can fit into 20% of your diet.

Admittedly, eating healthier does take some planning and can be difficult at first, especially around the holidays. Be realistic with your healthy eating goals and don’t be too hard on yourself if you “fall off the wagon”. When choosing foods, eat for your health and remember how much good nutrition can impact both your physical and mental health. You are what you eat and we only get one body!


Healthy Tips

Five Steps to Smarter Snacking

by Carolyn DePuy 11. November 2014

Worried your next snack attack will sabotage a day of healthy eating? Don't be! Snacking isn't about vending machines and mindless eating in front of the TV; when done right, snacking can boost your energy, keep your blood sugar steady between meals and help you meet your daily nutrient needs.

1.       Plan Ahead

Don't let hunger catch you off guard. Pack a snack when you know you will be out of the house for more than a few hours. Grab-and-go fast food will be far less tempting if you have a healthy snack in your bag.

2.       Time it Right

Does your energy level plummet in the late afternoon? A balanced snack bridges the energy gap between lunch and dinner. Prevent an energy crash by eating a 200-calorie-or-under snack when you start to feel hungry, but don't wait too long. If you're too ravenous you'll be tempted to raid the vending machine for a sugary fix instead of eating the nutrient-filled snack you brought from home.

3.       Mix it Up

Aim to incorporate two food groups into each snack. For example, mix vegetables with protein, or fruit with dairy. Try pretzels with low-fat string cheese, peanut butter spread on an apple or hummus on a whole-wheat tortilla. Snacks are a great way to incorporate more fruits, vegetables and whole grains into your diet.

4.       Read the Label

Snacks like energy bars and trail mix can contain a lot of calories, fat and sugar. Read the nutrition facts label before eating and adjust your portion size accordingly.

5.       Practice Mindful Snacking

Don't multitask when snacking—this can easily lead to eating more than you need. Take time to enjoy your snack, and listen to your body's cues that you've had enough. Use snack time as a mini-break in your busy day.

RD Approved Snacks:


Dijon Pretzels: Two pretzel rods with one tablespoon Dijon mustard


Carrots & Hummus: Ten baby carrots with two tablespoons hummus


Chocolate Trail Mix: Eight almonds, four chocolate chips, and one tablespoon raisins


Cottage Cheese Melon Boat: One cup melon balls with one-half cup non-fat cottage cheese


Apple Slices & Peanut Butter:  Small apple, sliced and dipped in teaspoon peanut butter



Reference:  http://www.eatright.org


Healthy Tips

The Scoop on Gluten-Free Diets

by Ashley Wojcicki 7. September 2014

It seems like every week you hear about a new “fad” diet that promotes weight loss and improved health. The gluten-free diet, in particular, has been getting increased attention especially in social media with celebrity endorsements and Pinterest recipes popping up on your Facebook timeline. With most people having heard of a gluten-free diet, you would expect everyone would know what gluten is. However, try asking someone on this diet “What is gluten?” and you might be surprised that they don’t even know what gluten is or why they are avoiding it.  So what’s the scoop on gluten-free?

Gluten is a protein composite found in some grains (such as wheat, barley, rye, and some oats), that help give the grain elasticity and texture when cooked.  People with the genetic, autoimmune diseases such as Celiac’s are advised to avoid foods with gluten because of a negative response by the body’s immune system when it’s consumed.  Those with diagnosed gluten-intolerances and wheat allergies, also are likely be advised by their doctor’s to follow gluten-free diets.

In regards to gluten-free diet for those without intolerances, many people embark on the gluten-free lifestyle to hop on the weight-loss band wagon.  By eliminating gluten-containing products such as breads, pastas, baked goods, and many of the processed/packaged food items (you’d be shocked to see how many products have gluten added), people may experience quick weight loss related to overall decreased calorie consumption especially from high fat, processed foods. It’s also suggested that people may be displaying a heightened awareness of their food choices, and making more healthful choices such as low calorie fruits and vegetables.  More healthful food choices can lead to improved nutrient intake and energy levels.

So where can we go wrong with this diet?  Gluten- free does not necessarily mean fewer calories. Gluten-free products such as breads or other packaged items can be substituted with increased amounts of added sugars and fats for taste and texture. Therefore, these products still contain calories (possibly more than the gluten-containing product), and excess calorie consumption from gluten-free products can still cause weight gain!  

In addition, gluten-free diets can also lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies, such as essential B vitamins, iron, and calcium that are found in enriched/fortified grain products.  It’s important to discuss with your doctor or registered dietitian if you are following a gluten-free diet, as a daily multivitamin may be warranted.

All in all, a gluten free diet is an overall lifestyle change. Here are a few basic tips for following a gluten free diet:

  1.  Read food labels- Any products labeled “gluten-free” can be included as part of your healthful diet.  If there is no label, read the ingredient list and the “contains” statement on the label. Products with ingredients such as wheat, barley, rye, oats (unless marked GF), and malt (unless a gluten free source is mentioned such as corn-malt) will contain gluten. If you are still unsure, consider contacting the manufacturer.   Sometimes the products may not contain gluten, but are processed in a plant where cross-contamination may occur.  People with celiac’s disease or gluten-allergies should be more mindful of these precautions.
  2. Incorporate gluten-free grains into your diet- Grains such as quinoa, wild/brown rice, buckwheat, amaranth, and sorghum millet are all good gluten-free replacements.  Look for enriched or fortified gluten-free grain products at the market such as bread, pasta, and cereals. Not only are they gluten free, but contain essential vitamins, minerals. 
  3. Invest in a gluten-free cookbook.  Many of our favorite dishes can be made gluten-free.  Convenience foods such as breads, baked goods, sauces, and dressings can be made in bulk and frozen for later use. This can help keep your budget under control by saving specialty gluten-free items for special occasions or if needed in a pinch. 
  4. Look for gluten-free labeling on restaurant menus. Don’t be scared to ask if a gluten-free menu is available.
  5. For additional gluten-free resources, check out www.eatright.org for reviews of gluten-free book, cookbooks, and apps.

No matter what dietary lifestyle you choose to follow, always take the time to discuss with your doctor and registered dietitian to ensure you are meeting your nutrient needs for optimal health benefits.


Kids Eat Right Month

by Carolyn DePuy 20. August 2014

August is Kids Eat Right Month - a new nutrition education campaign created by Kids Eat Right, an initiative of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This month is dedicated to promoting nutrition to our youth which will help ensure they live happy and healthy lives!

Ways to promote nutrition to children include:

1. Teach your children about healthy choices. Talk to them about “Superstar Foods” like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low fat dairy versus “Sometimes Foods” like snacks and treats high in fat or sugar.

2. Introduce your children to a variety of foods every day. Stay away from only providing “kid foods,” such as macaroni and cheese or chicken tenders - there’s no reason children cannot have quinoa or bok choy!

3. Encourage your children to help plan meals, from developing the menu to shopping, preparing and serving the meal. Getting children involved provides a hands-on learning experience and they may be more likely to try dishes they helped create.

4. Grow a vegetable garden and have your children help take care of it. They may be more likely to try different produce if they see it grow.


Ultimately, the more exposure children have to good nutrition the more likely they will carry healthy dietary habits throughout their lives.


One of the biggest challenges you may run into is getting youngsters to eat at least three servings of vegetables a day. If your kids won’t go near them, then disguise them! Here is an easy, kid-friendly recipe that will help kids get in their veggies:


Zucchini Pizza Bites





1 large zucchini

Olive oil spray

2 tbsp marinara sauce

1/4 cup shredded part skim mozzarella


Pepper to taste

Parmesan cheese to taste


Cut zucchini about 1/4 inch thick. Spray both sides lightly with oil and season with pepper. Broil or grill the zucchini for about 2 minute on each side. Top with sauce and cheese and broil for an additional minute or two. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top if desired and serve.