Category Archives: Nutrition

Healthy Snacks On-The-Go

Posted on: April 6, 2015

Nutritionist Approved:
Healthy snack products to look for on your next grocery trip

By Elisa Bremner, RD
This is the first edition of a series of nutritionist-approved food products on the market.

Snacks are an important and useful way to stave off hunger, bolster nutrient intake, keep energy up and satisfy the occasional craving (for emotional health!). But the best food is always the whole food. For snacks, I recommend fruit, vegetables and “mini meals” like a bowl of soup or ½ sandwich.

Processed, packaged food can fit into your balanced diet, but should never become the basis of your diet. Unfortunately, it’s just not possible for most of us to prepare fresh, whole-food snacks every time we get hungry. Practically speaking, when we’re running around all day, a packaged snack food may be the only option. We have choices. Here are five of my faves:

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Simple, Slimmed-down Slow Cooking

Posted on: March 18, 2015

Simple, Slimmed-down Slow Cooking

By Caryn Huneke

In theory, I love the idea of using my Crock Pot to help get dinner on the table during the busy pulled-porkworkweek (or weekend for that matter). But with the exception of chili and soup, my track record for finding timesaving, healthy, and delicious recipes wasn’t exactly stellar. Over time, I noticed there were three main culprits robbing me from slow-cooking culinary success:

1) Time: Is it really going to save me time or will I have to prep a ton of ingredients or remember to brown the meat first?
2) Nutrition: Is it going to be laden with butter, cream-of-anything, and flavor packets, piling on the calories, fat, and sodium?
3) Taste: Will it actually be a satisfying meal that I’d want to make again?

Turning to cooking blogs, Pinterest, and family and friends, I started gathering (and tweaking) recommended recipes. Below you’ll find four easy slow-cooker recipes that you can feel good serving to your family. (Disclaimer: I’ve yet to try each one, but they all come on excellent authority to be foolproof and tasty.)

• Filipino Adobo Pulled Pork
• Flank Steak Fajitas
• Brown Sugar Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloin (
• Beef Stroganoff

Filipino Adobo Pulled Pork
Adapted from Skinnytaste.com

Ingredients
• 1.75 lb lean pork center loin or tenderloin
• 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
• 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
• 1/2 cup water
• 5 cloves garlic, crushed
• 6 ground peppercorns
• 4-6 bay leaves
*Optional: 1 jalapeno, chopped; 2 tablespoons chopped scallions for garnish

Directions
• Place pork, soy sauce, vinegar, water, garlic, peppercorns and bay leaves (jalapeño if using) in the Crock Pot.
• Cover and cook at low heat 6-8 hours turning over half way through cooking (note: I did not do this and I cooked it closer to 9 hours).
• Remove the pork, shred with two forks and put it back in the Crock Pot.for one more hour to let the flavor get into the meat (note: I probably only left it for another 15-20 mins).
• Discard bay leaves and serve over brown rice and top with chopped scallions.

Slow-Cooker Flank Steak Fajitas
Courtesy of Against All Grain, by Lisa Leake (link from Lisa’s 100 Days of Real Food website)

Ingredients
• 1 ½ lbs flank steak
• 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
• 1 teaspoon cumin
• 1 teaspoon coriander
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ¼ teaspoon black pepper
• 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
• 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 4 – 5 bell peppers, sliced, any color
• 1 onion, diced
*Optional fajita fixings: whole-wheat flour tortillas, reduced-fat grated cheese, fresh sliced avocado, cilantro, lime slices, fresh spinach leaves, reduced-fat sour cream, hot peppers, etc.

Directions
1) In a small bowl, mix together the chili powder, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper.
2) Rub the spice mixture over all sides of the flank steak and place it in the bottom of the slow cooker.
3) Pour the reduced-sodium soy sauce on top of the steak and add in the diced jalapeno and minced garlic. Slice the bell peppers and onion and throw those on top of the steak.
4) Cook on high for 5-6 hours or low for 8-9 hours, until the steak can easily be shredded with two forks.
5) Drain the meat and peppers and serve with the optional fajita fixings listed above.

Brown Sugar Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloin
Courtesy of Food52.com

Ingredients
• 2 pounds pork tenderloin
• 1 teaspoon ground sage
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ¼ teaspoon pepper
• 1 garlic clove; crushed
• ½ cup water
Glaze
• ½ cup brown sugar
• 1 tablespoon cornstarch
• ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
• ½ cup water
• 2 tablespoons soy sauce

Directions
1) Combine sage, salt, pepper and garlic and rub over pork tenderloin.
2) Place 1/2 cup water in slow cooker and add the tenderloin on top.
3) Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
4) About 1 hour before roast is done, combine ingredients for the glaze in small saucepan. Heat and stir until mixture thickens.
5) Brush roast with glaze 2-3 times during the last hour of cooking. (For a more caramelized crust: remove from crockpot and place on aluminum lined sheet pan, glaze, and set under broiler for 1-2 minutes until bubbly and caramelized. Repeat 2 to 3 more times until desired crust is achieved.)
6) Serve with remaining glaze on the side.

Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff
Adapted from FiveHeartHome.com

*Note: Five Heart Home’s recipe for beef stroganoff doesn’t use cream-of-mushroom soup so you have to add a few more ingredients to make up for it, but it’s worth the sodium savings. To make it even healthier and easier, this modified version trims more calories and extra ingredients.

Ingredients
• 1.5-2 pounds lean beef stew meat (or lean beef round steak)
• 12 ounces white mushrooms, cleaned and pre-sliced
• ½ – 1 cup diced yellow onion (adjust the amount based on preference)
• 2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic (frozen or jarred would work too)
• 1 1/2 cups fat-free, low-sodium beef broth
• 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
• 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
• 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
• 6 tablespoons whole wheat flour
• 4 ounces Neufchâtel cheese or one-third less fat cream cheese, at room temperature
• 8 ounces light sour cream
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• Bag of whole wheat egg noodles

Directions
1) Place beef, mushrooms, and garlic in Crock Pot.
2) In a medium bowl, mix together beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, thyme, and flour. Whisk mixture until flour is dissolved. Pour into Crock Pot and stir all ingredients until coated.
3) Place lid on Crock Pot and cook for 8-10 hours on low (or 4-5 hours on high).
4) About 20 minutes before serving time, start boiling water to cook whole wheat egg noodles according to package directions.
5) Also add cream cheese to Crock Pot, replace lid, and after 10 minutes stir warmed/softened cream cheese into sauce, pushing with the back of a spoon to break it up and incorporate it into sauce.
6) Stir sour cream into sauce. Replace lid and cook on low for a few more minutes until heated through.
7) Season beef stroganoff with salt and pepper as desired and serve over hot egg noodles.

Editor’s Note:
Caryn Huneke is a Registered Dietitian at Northern Westchester Hospital.

If you have any tried-and-true Crock Pot recipes, please send them to nwhealth@nwhc.net for possible inclusion on our website’s recipe page. Be sure to include your name for proper acknowledgement.

 

African Americans and Heart Disease

Posted on: February 20, 2015

Beating Heart Disease When the Risks are High

By Dr. Robert Pilchik

Heart disease is the number one killer of Americans, according to the American Heart Association. It takes more lives than all cancers combined. For African-Americans,

Robert Pilchik, MD, FACC Chief, Cardiology Northern Westchester Hospital

Robert Pilchik, MD, FACC
Chief, Cardiology
Northern Westchester Hospital

the disease is particularly deadly: Before the age of 50, African-American’s rate of heart failure is 20 times higher than Caucasians, according to research published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Despite the grim nature of these statistics, there is hope.

Many of the major risks for African-Americans are modifiable with lifestyle changes and, when warranted, drug treatment. African-Americans tend to have higher blood pressure on average than other populations; they are also more likely to have dangerous cholesterol levels, suffer from chronic kidney disease, and struggle with weight issues.

“Just losing five to 10 percent of your bodyweight
can significantly reduce your risk for heart disease.”

One well-established cause of high blood pressure is sodium—salt—in the diet, and research suggests that African-Americans may carry a gene that makes them more salt sensitive. By choosing low-sodium foods and eating more fruits and vegetables, blood pressure can be lowered.

Regular exercise—even daily walks—can also reduce blood pressure. If a patient’s blood pressure doesn’t respond to lifestyle changes or is already dangerously high, it can be controlled with safe and proven medications.

African-Americans also tend to have lower levels of the ‘good’ HDL cholesterol. Again, a healthy diet with lots of produce and lean protein such as poultry along with regular exercise can have a significant impact in improving cholesterol numbers. What’s more, statin drugs are very effective in lowering ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol.

Weight, another risk factor for stroke and heart disease, can also be managed with lifestyle changes. Just losing five to 10 percent of your bodyweight can significantly reduce your risk for heart disease. Shedding pounds can also lower the risk of diabetes, which also increases the likelihood of suffering a stroke or heart attack. Diabetes is another chronic disease that is higher in African-Americans: Their risk is about double that of non-Hispanic whites.

Visit your physician to learn more about your risk for heart disease and stroke. Understand your factors and put a plan in place to address them. Northern Westchester Hospital offers programs on a variety of chronic diseases as well as FREE tobacco cessation programs (smoking can dramatically raise your risk of heart problems and stroke) that can be incorporated into your personal healthcare plan. Give yourself the gift of health this year – even a few simple improvements will make a big difference to your wellbeing.

Stop heart disease before it’s started. Visit www.mylifecheck.org and get an assessment of your heart health.

Editor’s Note:
Robert Pilchik, MD, FACC is Chief of Cardiology of Northern Westchester Hospital. He is known for his compassion and for helping patients understand their cardiac health. In addition to clinical cardiology, Dr. Pilchik performs diagnostic cardiac catheterizations; cardioversions; transthoracic, transesophageal and stress echocardiograms; transvenous pacemakers; cardiac CTA/calcium scoring; and nuclear stress testing. Dr. Pilchik is a member of Westchester Health with offices in Mt. Kisco, Yorktown Heights and Valhalla.

Read more blog posts on heart health.

Northern Westchester Hospital
offers a Tobacco Cessation Clinic — at NO Charge — to all community memebers. Please call
Jennifer Lucas at 914-6666-1868 for more information.

Learn about cardiac rehabilitation services at Northern Westchester.

Heart-Healthy Treats for You and Your Valentine

Posted on: February 11, 2015

Heart-Healthy Treats for You and Your Valentine

By Pat Talio

I hope this headline caught your attention. I know most people feel not snacking should have been a one of your New Year’s resolutions but in contrast, snacking can be an important part of a heart-healthy diet.
Consider this, if there is more than 3 hours between your meals there are benefits to adding a snack.
1) to avoid being over hungry at meal time, which often leads to overeating at your next meal,
2) better blood sugar control, and
3) sustained energy.

The keys to picking a heart-healthy snack are portion size and quality.
Portion Size:  200 calories or less
Quality:  Be high infiber, contain lean protein (preferably plant-based), be low in sugar and sodium, and have no saturated or trans fat

The results are in; here are the Top 10 Heart-Healthy Snacks for 2015!
Number 10 - 6 ounces of plain Greek yogurt with ¼ cup of fresh or frozen blueberries and 2 teaspoons of chia seeds with an optional garnish of chopped fresh mint
(144 calories, 3 g fiber, 2 g fat, 18 g protein)
Number 9 - Roasted Chickpeas with Parmesan Cheese (see recipe below)
Number 8 - 3 cups popped popcorn, jazzed up with 1 teaspoon of canola oil and a sprinkle of ground cinnamon, cayenne and unsweetened cocoa powder
(129 calories, 3.5 g fiber, 5 g fat and 3 g protein)
Number 7 – 1.5 cups steamed Edamame in the Pod
(160 calories, 12 g fiber, 15g protein, 3 g fat)
Number 6 – 2 ounces of hummus (try a white or black bean hummus for variety) with 1 cup crudité
(158 calories, 6 g fiber, 4 g protein, 5 g fat)
Number 5 - ½ apple with 1 tablespoon of natural almond butter
(145 calories, 9 g fat, 4 g fiber, 3 g protein)
Number 4 - ½ cup low fat cottage cheese with ¼ cup of raspberries and 1 tablespoon of slivered almonds
(153 calories, 15 g pro, 6 g fat, 2 g fiber
Number 3 – 1 tablespoon of natural peanut butter on 2 whole grain crisp breads (Wasa High Fiber Crisp bread)
(167 calories, 6 g protein, 6 g fiber, 8 g fat)
Number 2 - 30 unsalted pistachio nuts
(102 calories, 4 g protein, 8 g fat, 2 g fiber)
And the Number 1 Heart Healthy Snack for 2015 is…
strawberry_chocolate covered w Walnuts 4 large, whole strawberries dipped in ½ ounce of melted dark chocolate topped with 1.5 teaspoons of chopped walnuts
(187 calories, 2g pro, 12 g fat, 3.5 g fiber) !

 

Spicy Roasted Chickpeas
Courtesy of eat-yourself-skinny.com

INGREDIENTS
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
2 (15.5 oz.) cans chickpeas, rinsed, drained and patted dry

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Arrange racks in top and bottom thirds of oven. Stir together oil, chili powder, cumin, salt and cayenne in a large bowl. Add chickpeas and toss to coat.
3. Divide chickpeas between two large rimmed baking sheets. Bake, shaking pans occasionally and rotating pans from top to bottom shelves after 20 minutes, until chickpeas are browned and crisp, about 35 to 40 minutes.
4. Serve warm or at room temperature.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION
Serving Size (serves 6): 1/3 cup • Calories: 141 • Fat: 4 g • Fiber: 5 g • Protein: 6 g

Find more delicious and nutritious recipes check out www.nwhc.net/recipes

For more information on heart health, read blog posts from NWH’s Chief of Cardiology, Dr. Robert Pilchik.

Editor’s Note:
Pat Talio, MS, RD, CDE, CDN, is the Outpatient Nutrition Program Coordinator at Northern Westchester Hospital.

 

Plant-based Diet Considered Healthiest by Dietitian

Posted on: January 28, 2015

Healthful Eating: The Plant-based Diet

By Jill Ashbey-Pejoves

As a dietitian I am often asked what I consider to be the healthiest diet. This is an easy question to answer because the research is fairly clear that a plant-based diet is best for farmers market 2overall health. You may be wondering exactly what a plant-based diet is. Well the definition ranges from one in which no animal products are consumed, a vegan diet, to one in which some animal products are consumed and not others, a vegetarian diet, to one in which all foods are consumed, but plant foods comprise the majority, a flexitarian or Mediterranean diet. A well balanced plant-based diet provides all the essential amino acids necessary for adequate protein and is high in fiber.

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