Tag Archives: Healthy eating

Slow Cookers for Fast Movers

Posted on: October 4, 2016

We’re one month into the school year – between dropping the kids off at basketball practice, dance class or SAT Prep – it might feel overwhelming, or even impossible to squeeze in a healthy, home-cooked meal for dinner. Enter the slow-cooker. You’re new in-home chef, and my personal best friend when I need a pork shoulder to lean on for a weeknight dinner and don’t have the time to cook. Here, I’ll explain the many benefits of the Crock-pot and share two of my favorite slow-cooker recipes for a healthy autumn. By Jackie Farrall, RD, CDN, Northern Westchester Hospital.

Is Fresh Always Best?
Though it’s a slow cooker, you may want fast preparation. You can always throw in some canned veggies and let the slow-cooker work its magic, while you work yours – outside of the kitchen. Crock-pot meals are simple because they often contain canned produce, no need to peel, cut or dice ingredients. Sure, you can always use fresh produce and though some will argue that “fresh is best,” when it comes to produce – canned fruits and vegetables, free of added salt and sugars, have the same nutritional value.

Turn up the Heat, Without Losing Nutrients
Canned tomatoes are a staple ingredient in a variety of crock-pot meals. When tomatoes are heated, the powerful antioxidant lycopene – linked to heart health, cancer prevention and even improved mood – becomes more readily available to your body.

Vitamin C, Thiamin, Vitamin B6, Folic acid and water-soluble vitamins are sometimes lost during cooking. However, in a slow cooker, lost vitamins are incorporated into the cooking liquids within the crock-pot. You can even use the remaining liquid in the pot as a gravy or sauce to top off the meal. This is the best way to maximize vitamin retention.

An Expensive Taste for a Cut of the Price
Using low-temperature cooking, slow-cookers make less expensive cuts of meat unbelievably tender. In fact, this technique is extremely effective for tough cuts of meat as they typically contain more connective tissue, which remains tough unless cooked slowly. Cooking meat slowly at low temperatures causes less moisture loss than high heat – resulting in a moist, tender meal at half the price.

The Colors of Autumn Will Fill your Crock-Pot with this Sweet Potato Chicken Quinoa Soup

1 ½ lb boneless skinless chicken breast, remove fat
1 cup of quinoa, rinsed
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 15oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 14oz can of diced tomatoes
1 Tsp of minced garlic
1 ½ Tsp of chili powder
½ Tsp ground cumin
5 cups of low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
Nonstick spray

Spray slow cooker with nonstick spray. Add all ingredients – chicken breasts, quinoa, sweet potatoes, black beans, tomatoes, garlic, chili powder, cumin and chicken broth to slow cooker. Slow-cook on high for 3-5 hours.

Recipe adapted from Chelsea Messy Apron

This Apple Pie Oatmeal May Cook Slow, but Will Be Devoured Fast!

1 cup steel-cut oats
2 large apples, peeled, cored and chopped into roughly ¾ inch pieces
1 ½ cups almond milk, unsweetened
2 ½ cups of water
2 Tsp ground cinnamon
¼ Tsp ground nutmeg
1 Tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp hemp seeds (or flax seeds)
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp coconut oil/cooking spray

Use coconut oil or cooking spray to grease slow cooker. Add all ingredients – oats, apple slices, almond milk, water, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, hemp seeds and maple syrup – to slow cooker and stir. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours. Give this delicious oatmeal a good stir and serve!

Recipe courtesy of Domesticate Me

Brain-Boosting Nutrition for your Little Students

Posted on: August 30, 2016

Follow these tips to get your little ones excited about healthy eating and ready to conquer the school day. By Jackie Farrall, RD, CDN, Northern Westchester Hospital

Back to school – notebooks, pencils and a nourishing pantry help our children perform their best while in class and at the playground. You may be surprised to learn, however, that what’s making it into your child’s school lunch isn’t always the best option. In fact, a study from Baylor University College of Medicine reported that packed lunches were actually less nutritious than lunch served in the cafeteria. If you want your child to reap the benefits of “Brain Food” follow these tips and make sure to include all of the food groups- protein, dairy, grains, fruits and vegetables. This will help sustain your child throughout the school day and into their after-school activities. 

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Germ Buster Nutrition – Eating for a Strong Immune System

Posted on: October 13, 2015

Germ Buster Nutrition – Eating for a Strong Immune System

Prevent the flu with good nutrition. 

By Elisa Bremner

In anticipation of flu season, it’s time to talk about prevention. First and foremost, please remember: the best defense against the flu is a year-round offense. This means eating right, staying active (60 minutes every day), getting enough rest (7-9 hours!) and minimizing stress (we can’t avoid stressful events in our life, but we can make the decision to handle them better). That being said, several nutrients play a role in enhancing your immunity. Mild deficiency of even one nutrient may weaken your body’s ability to fight infection.

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Westchester Registered Dietitian on Helping Kids Make Healthy Food Choices

Posted on: June 25, 2014

Empower Your Child to Eat Healthy…For Life


By Elisa Bremner

Family All Together At Christmas DinnerYour child loves ice cream (who doesn’t?). You love your child. So how do you limit junk food or sweets to help them maintain a healthy weight? In this age of sedentary video game play and easy availability of high-calorie snacks, the challenge for busy parents is finding practical ways to help kids make good food choices.

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Westchester Hospital Dietician Discusses Healthier Halloween Candy Alternatives

Posted on: October 12, 2013

5 Healthier Halloween Candy Choices 

by Stephanie Perruzza, MS, RD, CDN, Northern Westchester Hospital

Jack-O-Lantern2Let’s be honest, when October rolls around we all know that we look forward to the large displays of Halloween candy in the supermarkets. This can be quite the competitive holiday for trick-or-treaters, challenging who can cover the most trick-or-treating ground collecting the most candy.  It’s no shock that Halloween candy can be high in fat and sugar, which is why it’s important to watch your portions so the calories don’t add up.  To stay on track keep in mind these simple tips when it comes to candy hunting:

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