Category Archives: Nutrition

Get More Fruits and Veggies into Your Diet

Posted on: June 19, 2015

The Clever Cook:
How to Pack More Fruits and Veggies into Your Cooking

Fruit & Vegetable PlatterHave a picky eater at home? Or maybe you just don’t like fruits and veggies? Here are some “eat the rainbow” ways of sneaking fruits and veggies into your diet, making sure you get all your daily vitamins and minerals.


• Add fresh chopped tomatoes into your jarred tomato sauce.
• Bake with applesauce into your baked goods, pancakes, and waffles instead of butter or oil.
• Add red grapes, sliced radishes, pomegranate seeds, or sliced strawberries onto your salads.
• Make a smoothie with beets.
• Puree red peppers and add them to your tomato soup or sauce.
• Make a salad dressing using pink grapefruit.
• Add red chilies into your cooking for spice.


• Add sweet potato or butternut squash puree into cheese sauces such as for mac and cheese or morning oatmeal.
• Add carrot puree into tomato sauces.
• Add pumpkin puree or mashed bananas into your baked goods, French toast, pancakes, and waffles instead of butter or oil.
• Have spaghetti squash instead of pasta. Here is how to cook a spaghetti squash:
• Make a smoothie with carrots or pumpkin puree.
• Make homemade salad dressing with orange or lemon juice.
• Grill pineapple and peaches on the barbeque for dessert.


• Add a handful of chopped greens into your eggs or on top of your pizza.
• Puree a handful of spinach leaves and mix into your tomato sauce. Just a little won’t change the color!
• Use butter or romaine lettuce instead of bread for sandwiches.
• Add chopped greens or herbs into chopped meat for burgers and meatballs.
• Make low-fat zucchini muffins or pancakes, try this recipe:
• Bake with avocado instead of butter or oil.
• Add some zucchini puree into your cheesy pasta dishes (such as lasagna).
• Make a green smoothie with kale or spinach and citrus fruits.


• Mix in purple cabbage into your salad, tacos or stir-fry.
• Switch to purple potatoes for your mashed and add in pureed purple cauliflower.
• Grill plums on the barbeque for a sweet dessert or side dish.
• Cook with red onion instead of white or yellow.
• Add blackberries, blueberries or figs to your salads.
• Add pureed eggplant into tomato sauce or soup.
• Try sautéing purple kale or make kale chips.

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Kidneys: What do they do and How to keep them healthy

Posted on: June 5, 2015

Kidneys: Your Built-in Detox System

By Dr. Martin Saltzman

Your kidneys are easy to ignore. They purr away filtering your blood, eliminating toxins and impurities, and they rarely complain. However, you don’t want to take these vital Kidneyorgans for granted. When a kidney infection or chronic disease progresses too far, your kidneys can sustain permanent damage. Should something go wrong with your kidneys, your life can change dramatically for the worse. In fact, 90,000 Americans die each year from kidney disease.

Among the many duties of these unassuming organs, topmost is removing waste from your bloodstream for elimination from the body. Each day they filter up to 150 quarts of blood, producing about one to two quarts of urine. They also help maintain the balance of water and electrolytes like sodium and potassium in your body. On top of that important work, the kidneys also generate hormones that help regulate blood pressure and make red blood cells.

Kidneys accomplish this valuable work through the use of roughly a million filtering units per kidney known as nephrons. This is why kidney specialists are known as nephrologists, and the field of kidney medicine is called nephrology. A number of systemic, or underlying, conditions such as diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease can damage nephrons. A family history of kidney disease, autoimmune diseases – which can cause nephritis or vasculitis – allergic reactions to drugs and kidney stones can also damage your kidneys and place them at higher risk of failure. Behaviors that can damage kidneys include smoking or relying too much on over-the-counter NSAID pain medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen. When kidneys begin to fail, waste products build up in the body leading to very serious health issues.

Unfortunately, early kidney disease is difficult to spot. There are rarely obvious symptoms, so it’s important to check with your primary care physician if you notice any small changes such as discoloration of—or a decrease in—urine, or any swelling that may be due to the retention of fluids. If you’re under doctor’s orders to take large doses of NSAIDs, your kidney function should be closely monitored. When kidney disease is suspected, your primary care physician will refer you to a nephrologist for consultation and evaluation. A thorough examination, blood tests, imaging studies, and occasionally a biopsy are tools used to help uncover the underlying cause, which will guide treatment. It is also necessary to determine the stage of kidney disease if it is present.

Many people with CKD (chronic kidney disease) remain stable or progress slowly if their underlying condition is caught early enough and treated. However, in some instances kidney disease does progress, for those cases, renal replacement therapy (RRT) is available in the form of dialysis (hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis) or a transplant.

Preventing Kidney Disease
You can avoid trouble by making sure you control high blood pressure, or if you have diabetes, managing your blood sugar by being careful to take your medications. People at elevated risk due to chronic conditions like heart disease or diabetes should get blood tests and urine tests to screen for early kidney disease. Have a chat with your doctor about the health of your kidneys and whether it makes sense to have them tested. This organ is critical for life. You won’t regret it, especially if you’re able to catch any kidney damage early.

If you have chronic kidney disease, I strongly urge you to visit and find a FREE Kidney Smart® Class near you.

Be Kind to your Kidney’s
Maintaining a healthy weight, working with a renal dietitian and following a renal diet of kidney-friendly foods is vital for people with kidney disease. Try adding some of these to your diet each day and be sure to keep it colorful.*
Fruits & Vegetables
Red bell peppers
Red cabbage
Red leaf lettuce
Herbs & Spices
Curry powder

Editor’s Note: Martin Saltzman, MD is Chief of the Division of Nephrology at Northern Westchester Hospital.

What are the Health Benefits of Vitamin D

Posted on: May 20, 2015

Get the Details on Vitamin D

By Agnes Lu

Adequate vitamin D is important to your overall health for several reasons. It is essential for Grilled salmon with lemon isolated on whitestrong bones as it helps the body absorb calcium. It’s also needed for muscle movement, necessary for your nervous system and important to your immune system. Recent research shows that vitamin D may be key to the prevention of a number of long-term health problems such as cancer, type II diabetes and hypertension.


How much vitamin D do I need?
The amount of vitamin D needed depends on your age:
Birth – 12 months:                       400 IU/day
Age 1 – 70:                                     600 IU/day
Age 71 and older:                         800 IU/day
Pregnant and breastfeeding:     600 IU/day

How do I get vitamin D?
You can absorb vitamin D in three ways: through the skin, from diet, and from supplements.

Your body can produce vitamin D when your skin is sufficiently exposed to direct sunlight; however, unless you live in the South or Southwest, you are unlikely to get enough sunlight throughout the winter for your body to produce adequate amounts of vitamin D. Keep in mind, the American Academy of Dermatology does not recommend getting vitamin D from unprotected exposure to sunlight – which can increase your risk for skin cancer. Individuals with dark skin will absorb sunlight less efficiently.

There are a few foods that naturally contain vitamin D, and Americans get most of their vitamin D from fortified foods: milk, cereal, orange juice, and yogurt. If you’re looking for the natural sources of vitamin D, it can be found in fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel. In smaller amounts, it can be found in beef liver, cheese and egg yolks.

Am I at risk for vitamin D deficiency?
There are certain groups that have a higher risk of being vitamin D deficient:
• Breastfed infants
• Older adults
• Individuals with limited sun exposure
• Individuals with dark skin
• Individuals with inflammatory bowel disease and other conditions that cause fat malabsorption
If you think you might be vitamin D deficient, speak with your doctor.

Try these two salmon and egg dishes.

Lox, eggs and onions (Serves 4)

Modified from

1 large Spanish onion
1 tablespoons canola oil
3oz lox, chopped
8 eggs
Pinch of pepper

Cut the onion in half, then slice thinly. In a large saute pan, heat the oil over high heat, then saute the onions until lightly colored.
In a bowl, beat eggs with a fork, then add to the pan. When the eggs have set on the bottom, scramble in the lox and flip over.
Cook and scramble until just set.
Serve with fresh fruit or side salad for a complete breakfast or lunch.
Nutrition Facts (per serving): 220 calories, 14.1 g fat, 3.4 g saturated fat, 975 mg sodium, 4 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 19 g protein


Scandinavian Eggs Benedict with Yogurt Sauce

courtesy of Gooseberry Mooseberry
(Serves 2)

1 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
1/8 tsp powdered turmeric
1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp horseradish
A crackle of white pepper
2 whole wheat English muffins, halved and toasted
4 slices of smoked salmon
4 poached eggs
Optional: chopped chives for garnish

In a medium bowl, whisk together yogurt and turmeric until yogurt turns a pale gold color.
Then stir in dill, lemon juice, horseradish, and pepperuntil combined. Leave it at room temperature for a few minutes as you cook the eggs. If you would like the sauce warmer, put it in the microwave for about 30 seconds.
Top each toasted English muffin half with a slice of smoked salmon, a poached egg and a dollop of yogurt sauce. Sprinkle with chopped chives for garnish.
Serve with fresh fruit or side salad for a complete breakfast or lunch.
Nutrition Facts (per serving): 400 calories, 12 g total fat, 4 g saturated fat, 750 mg sodium, 51 g carbohydrates, 4.8 g fiber, 25 g protein

Editor’s Note: Agnes Lu, MS, RD, CDE, CDN

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

• 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

• 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)

• 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.

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

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

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

*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.

• 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

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 for possible inclusion on our website’s recipe page. Be sure to include your name for proper acknowledgement.