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Eating Healthy

A Protein Packed Parfait

by Molly Capito 22. May 2016


2 tablespoons **Powdered Peanut Butter

6 oz Fat Free Vanilla Greek Yogurt

1 banana

Handful of blueberries (or your favorite berry) 

Powdered Peanut Butter (PB2) Vanilla Greek Yogurt (Chobani 0% Fat) Total
1.5 g Fat 0 g Fat 1.5 g Fat
5 g Protein 16 g Protein

21 g Protein

1. Fold powdered peanut butter into Greek yogurt until you get a smooth consistency

2. Mash the banana and place on top of the yogurt (I prefer mashing the banana; you could always slice the banana if you do not prefer to mash the banana)

3. Throw on a handful of blueberries for added antioxidants



Healthy bacterial growth for intestinal tract

Banana-Prebiotic: helps to promote healthy bacterial life in your gut

Greek yogurt-Probiotic: provides live and active bacterial cultures to aid in digestion

Good serving of protein

Helps you feel satisfied longer

Protein is lower in calories per gram than fat (4 calories vs. 9 calories per gram)


**Powdered peanut butter is a great alternative for spreadable peanut butter; When compared to spreadable peanut butter per 2 tablespoons, a powdered peanut butter has 45 calories with 1.5 grams of fat per serving as opposed to a spreadable peanut butter which is about 190 calories with a fat content ranging from 15 to 17 grams per serving! You can save 145 calories with this simple swap. Mix the powdered peanut butter with water to create a spreadable low-fat peanut butter.



Fads Aren't Fab, Balance is Best!

by Molly Capito 4. April 2016


With spring here and summer approaching, many are looking to lose those couple of pounds that have been gained in the cold winter months.  Although everyone's weight loss plan is individualized based on one's health history, age, and current health status, fad diets are not encouraged for anyone to follow.  A fad diet is a nutritional regimen that is meant to allow the person who is on it to lose a considerable amount of weight in a short period of time.  This weight lost is typically water weight, and not the fat people are looking to lose.  Fad diets typically eliminate one or more of the essential food groups, such as carbohydrates or fats, making it easy to miss out on key nutrients.  Consuming all food groups (protein, carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, dairy) provide you with the necessary macro and micronutrients for your body to function healthfully and optimally.  Below are some simple facts and tips to steer yourself away from fad diets and get yourself ready for summer, and a healthier you:

  • Don't skip meals! 
  • 3,500 calories are equal to one pound- to lose one pound of weight a week, aim to burn 250 calories in your workout and eliminate 250 calories from your diet each day
  • An hour walk at 3.5 mph can burn about 250 calories; A 40 minute bike ride burns about 250 calories; A 20 minute run can burn about 250 calories at 5 mph
  • Work on portion control-  For breakfast, incorporate protein into your breakfast and healthy fats to keep you full until lunch! For lunch and dinner, practice the concept of MyPlate- half your plate fruits and/or vegetables, about a quarter of our plate protein, and a quarter whole grains
  • Be sure to get 3 servings of low-fat or fat free dairy per day- yogurt, milk, low-fat cheeses, low sodium cottage cheese; if you are lactose-intolerant or do not like milk, try almond milk to get 50% of your daily calcium recommendation in one serving!  
  • Remember to practice balance in your diet, not elimination! 
  • Write out a list of goals and set up rewards for yourself if you meet those goals you set- rewards being non-food related 

Don't forget that fads aren't fab! For a more fabulous you, finding balance in your diet ("meal plan"), developing workout habits, and setting positive goals for yourself will help you prepare for a summer that includes a healthier, more positive you! 


Healthy Tips

Heart Healthy Grilling

by Melissa Stopera 14. March 2016

With spring rapidly approaching, I decided to share a photograph from what I had cooking this weekend.  As pictured below, I made salmon kabobs with fresh salmon and vegetables (I used 8 ounces of salmon, 1 red pepper, 1 yellow pepper, 1 onion, 1 lemon, 1 lime, and 1 zucchini).  This is a great way to meet the recommendation to consume two 4 ounce servings of fatty fish per week.  Salmon contains EPA and DHA, which are also known as “long-chain omega-3 fatty acids.” They seem to provide the most benefit for the heart, and may help reduce the risk of heart disease.  This made more than 2 servings.  Using lemon and lime is a great alternative way to flavor the fish with natural seasonings.  I recommend placing them next to the cubes of salmon on the kabob to enhance the flavor.

If you have never used a grilling basket (pictured on the left), these are great for grilling vegetables.  I decided to grill brussel sprouts with some onions, olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper (if you are trying to minimize your sodium intake, skip the salt).   I would recommend halving the brussel sprouts and tossing them in a small amount of olive oil prior to placing them in the grilling basket.

Overall this is an extremely simple heart healthy meal rich in omega 3's and micronutrients.  It is visually appealing, and quite delicious! 


Hospital dietitians talk new federal dietary guidelines

by Melissa Stopera 10. March 2016

Check out the blog post below, which I recently participated in and was interviewed for!



The Perks of Prunes

by Molly Capito 28. November 2015

Not a fan of pitted prunes or prune juice?  I am currently studying to become at dietitian at SUNY College at Oneonta and an experiment that I took place in tested whether prune puree is a reliable replacement for butter to create a more heart healthy, lower fat acceptable cookie.

With our variable batches of Betty Crocker’s double chocolate chip cookie recipe, it was found that pureed prunes provide cookies with a richer, thicker consistency.  With the added fiber from a natural source, such as a pureed fruit, it allows for the cookies to bake and not flatten out as much as a regular cookie with butter normally would.  Also, for you chocolate lovers, adding prune puree to double chocolate chip cookies brings out the chocolaty flavor one would expect from a cookie, while getting vitamin A and fiber you would regularly not get from a cookie!                                          

Thickness increases as pureed prune content increases in picture below. (From left to right- 0% pureed prune, 50% pureed prune, 75% pureed prune, 100% pureed prune)

How to make your own prune puree-

Add in 6 tablespoons of hot water to 8 oz of whole pitted prunes.  Puree in a food processor until a smooth consistency results. 

To replace butter, add in an equal amount of pureed prunes.


Double chocolate chip cookies with pureed prunes



Packed brown sugar

½ cup

Butter, unsalted


Prune Puree

¼ cup

Vanilla extract

½ tsp

Egg whites

1 egg white

All-purpose flour

½ cup

Unsweetened baking cocoa

3 T

Baking soda

½ tsp



Semisweet chocolate chips

½ cup




Preparation Instructions

1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, beat brown sugar and pureed prunes with an electric mixer on medium

speed until light and fluffy, or mix with spoon. Beat in vanilla and

egg white.                                                                                                                                        



2. Stir in flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Stir in chocolate chips. Onto an ungreased cookie sheet, drop dough by teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart.




3. Bake 7 MINUTES. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookies sheet onto a wire rack.


Next time you bake, whether it is for a weekend event or for the holiday season, consider swapping butter for a healthy fruit puree such as this!





Wake Up with Pumpkin

by Kim Peck 18. October 2015

Pumpkin spice deliciousness is in high demand once the weather turns cool and the leaves begin to change.  But how often do you add fresh pumpkin to your meals?  

Not just a coffee flavoring, pumpkin can now be found in the supermarkets as an addition to breakfast cereals, yogurts, and even tortilla chips!  This bright orange winter squash is full of vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and is also a good source of fiber.  Specifically, one cup of cooked pumpkin contains over 200% of the daily recommendation for vitamin A, an important nutrient in our diet.  The National Institutes of Health list the benefits of vitamin A as including a critical role in vision, immune function and cell growth.  

Pumpkin can be easily added to recipes by mashing, pureeing or baking.  The seeds can be spiced and roasted for a fulfilling snack.  One easy way to start adding pumpkin into your day is with a morning smoothie. Listed below is an easy recipe to try; I used 100% pure canned pumpkin for my puree to save time.  

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie (2 Servings)

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 ripe banana

1 cup* unsweetened soy milk, or milk beverage of choice

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

4 ice cubes

Combine all listed ingredients into a blender and blend to desired consistency.  Pour into glasses and serve.

*This produces a very thick shake.  If a thinner consistency is desired, add another 1/2 cup of unsweetened soy milk/milk beverage to thin the shake out.

Nutrition Facts, per serving:  166 calories, 5 g protein, 33 g carbohydrates, 2 g fat, 5 g fiber

Recipe adapted from Whole Foods Market recipe:  Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

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Farewell: Carolyn DePuy

by Melissa Stopera 15. October 2015

It is with regret that I am writing today to announce the resignation of Carolyn DePuy, effective 10/16/2015.  Carolyn has been a vital member of our Clinical Nutrition team at Ellis Medicine and has made multiple contributions to her patients, the community, and her colleagues.  It is hard to summarize all the accomplishments that Carolyn has made during her time with us at Ellis, but I will outline the most memorable:

·        Build and implemented a 28 day cycle menu in Computrition at Ellis Health Center

·        Helped implement tray in motion application using iPods to track patient tray location in real time

·        Acted as superuser/on site expert for Computrition

·        Designed back up menus with enhanced safety procedures (food allergies) for coordinating meal service to patients in the event of an emergency

·         Preceptor for Sage graduate students

·         Presented at Medical Grand Rounds

·         Multiple committee involvements

·         Attended ASPEN conference with Ellis Nutrition team in 2015

·         Pursing advanced practice certification in Clinical Nutrition Support

We wish her well in her future endeavors and hope that our paths will cross again.  She is an inspiration, and we can’t wait to see where her future takes her.

Thanks Carolyn!


Evaluating the Processed Foods in Your Diet

by Molly Capito 5. August 2015

What is a processed food?

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Spokesperson Andrea Giancoli, MPH, RD, processed foods fall into a spectrum ranging from minimally processed to heavily processed:

  • Minimally processed foods-foods that are simply pre-prepped for convenience, such as bagged spinach, cut vegetables, and shelled, roasted nuts
    • encourages those "busy-bees" to eat healthier due to convenience
  • Processed foods also include canned or frozen items, such as canned beans, tuna, tomatoes or frozen choices such as fruit and vegetables
    • locks in vitamins and nutrients when they are at their peak freshness; more cost friendly; can be sold and eaten when fruits and vegetables are out of season
  • Ingredients can be added for flavor or texture such as oils, sweeteners, vitamins and spices
    • Breakfast cereals can have added fiber; milk and juices go through fortification to add in calcium and vitamin D
  • Ready to eat foods- crackers, granola, deli meat- these such foods are more heavily processed
    • One of the main contributors to one's daily sodium intake, is the added salt found in deli meats and other food items to assist in preservation of the product; trans fats can be found in crackers, increasing shelf life but are also shown to raise your bad cholesterol
  • Heavily processed foods- frozen or pre-made meals including microwavable dinners and frozen pizza
    • A huge contributor to increased sodium consumption-potentially leading to high blood pressure; trans fats are only found in processed foods as they assist in the preservation of a food, therefore increasing shelf life

While some processed foods should be consumed with caution, such as the heavily processed foods, there are many minimally processed foods that should have a definite place in a balanced diet!

What kind of processed foods do you consume?






Healthy Tips

3 Stove 'less' Meals to help you Beat the Summer Heat

by Molly Capito 5. August 2015

We all know with nice weather can come that dreaded humidity.  When it comes to meal preparation, finding ways to eliminate that added heat from your home can be quite a relief with some creativity.  The following three meal ideas incorporate the idea of a healthful, well balanced diet, having the components of a MyPlate setup.  In addition, the recipes encompass the use of locally grown items such as tomatoes, broccoli, salad greens and many others. 

Microwave Stuffed Potatoes

Utilize your microwave for easy stuffed potatoes.

  • Prick medium russet or sweet potatoes with a fork and microwave on high power 6-8 minutes or until tender
  • Split potatoes and scoop out some of the flesh
  • Add your favorite seasonings, mix and spoon back into potato shells (I recommend using a product off of the Mrs. Dash line, salt-free seasoning)
  • Top baked potatoes with guacamole, chopped tomato and cilantro, or stuff sweet potatoes with broccoli, walnuts and dried cranberries
  • Sour cream lover?...to eliminate that unnecessary saturated fat to the top of a potato, try dolloping plain, low fat Greek yogurt for a similar taste- bringing a healthful source of added calcium and protein to your dinner

Mexican Black Bean Salad

Mix up this Mexican meatless meal.

  • Toss canned (drained and rinsed) low sodium beans with fresh corn and diced tomato, bell pepper and red onion
  • Add diced avocado, jicama or diced mango for more adventurous eaters
  • Toss with lime juice and olive oil
  • Serve over crunchy romaine lettuce with crushed whole-grain tortilla chips

Chicken Salad Sliders

A "kid pleasing" meal without the stove.

  • Mix together chopped chicken (rotisserie chicken), toasted and chopped pecans or walnuts, quartered seedless grapes, light mayonnaise or plain Greek yogurt, chopped tarragon and salt and pepper to taste
  • Serve on whole-grain slider buns, bread or in pita pockets

Try to steer clear of those fast-food salads and sandwich favorites.  They may bring convenience but they also bring unnecessary added sodium, hidden in even those healthier salad options at local fast-food restaurants.  Reserve those stops for once or twice a month.  Take that extra time to go to your local farm stands, and choose locally grown produce. Finally, I encourage you all to try one, or all of these recipes, and get creative with what this summer season has to offer us, while beating that summer heat!




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