Category Archives: Nutrition

Raising the Bar: Dietitian Approved Meal Replacement Bars

Posted on: September 13, 2017

Convenience is one of many instances when meal replacement bars can be helpful. They may also help with weight loss, especially if they help you avoid skipping meals, or worse, the drive-through. If you have food allergies, follow a special diet, or travel a lot for work, a meal replacement bar is a simple, non-perishable option. You can store bars anywhere – a diaper bag, gym bag, or desk drawer. Keep bars on hand to ward off hunger in a pinch, and to steer clear of less healthful choices. Read on for tips to choose the best bar, or follow these recipes to make your own. By Amy Rosenfeld, MS, RD, CDN

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A Gut Feeling about the Health Benefits of Probiotics and Prebiotics

Posted on: March 15, 2017

Are you familiar with kombucha, kefir, kimchi or tempeh? If these are just strange-sounding words to you, chances are you aren’t aware of the value that probiotic-rich foods can add to your digestive health. Read on to learn about the importance of probiotics and prebiotics and how you can take advantage of their immune-boosting benefits. By Brianna Farrand, MS, RD, CDN, Clinical Dietitian and Bariatric Dietitian, Northern Westchester Hospital.

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Local vs. Organic Shopping

Posted on: February 27, 2017

Are you a health conscious consumer wondering whether it’s worth buying local or organic food? It’s a valid question without a simple answer. By Caryn Huneke, MS, RD, CDN, Northern Westchester Hospital

Let’s start with what the terms local and organic mean. While there are no government regulations defining “local,” it is generally referred to as food purchased or consumed within 100 miles of origin. However, this is a loose definition, as the concept of local is relative to where you live and your access to farms and fresh or salt-water sources. Local can be used to describe food produced anywhere within ten to 500 miles of your town, county, state, or general geographic region.

With organic, it’s a different matter. The National Organic Program (NOP) within the USDA strictly regulates which foods can bear the official USDA organic seal. To meet its standards, food must be free of antibiotics, growth hormones, GMOs, irradiation, nearly all conventional pesticides, and fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewer sludge.

For many, the greatest value of locally sourced foods is fewer “food miles” from source to consumption. As a result, food is fresher, often tastes better, may retain more vitamins and antioxidants (as foods lose nutrients over time), and has a much smaller carbon footprint. Shopping locally also supports fairer farm practices and the local economy.

The benefits of organic foods are also compelling. By choosing organic, you avoid unnecessary exposure to antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, and other potentially harmful chemicals. And because the NOP emphasizes sustainable agricultural practices and bans most pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, it’s environmentally friendly as well.

While choosing local or organic has many advantages, they are often more expensive, subject to faster spoilage due to using fewer (if any) artificial preservatives, and they’re harder to find. Furthermore, local produce is seasonal so you have fewer options, and organic foods may be linked to more foodborne illness outbreaks. Finally, the research is still inconclusive (and ongoing) as to whether organically vs conventionally produced foods have a superior nutritive value.

Ultimately, choosing to eat local or organic is based on many factors, including cost, access, and personal values, so there’s no absolute right answer. While eating locally-sourced, organic food may be the ideal for many, it’s most important to eat a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables. There’s no free pass for organic chips and cupcakes; they’re still junk food and should be eaten in moderation. And remember, it’s not all or nothing. Start by visiting your local farmers’ market or only buying organic fruits and vegetables with the highest pesticide residue levels (hint: consult the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides).

What to Consider When Shopping, What’s Important to You?
• If health is your concern, pick organic over local to limit exposure to potential toxins.
• If you care about small business and the local economy, shop local at farmers’ markets, CSAs (community supported agriculture), or supermarkets that carry local farmers’ goods.
• If the environment concerns you, either one may be a good bet, but consider the overall carbon footprint. A local farm may use pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, but the energy spent shipping organic food across the country (or world) is often more harmful in the end.

Turnips and some mushrooms are still considered seasonal in February in New York – harvested in the fall but stored through winter, Try This Roasted Turnips and Mushrooms Recipe.


Ingredients: 1 pound baby turnips, halved
10 oz small white mushroom caps
2 tsp rosemary, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions: Toss 1 pound halved baby turnips and 10 ounces small white mushroom caps on a baking sheet with 2 teaspoons chopped rosemary. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Turn the turnips cut-side down, then roast at 425 degrees F until golden and tender, 25 to 30 minutes.

Recipe From The Food Network

Onions are also considered seasonal in New York in February, try this Baked Chicken and Onions Recipe (Serves 6-8)

Ingredients: 2 roasting chickens, cut up
Garlic Powder
1 large onion, sliced thin (or two small onions, sliced thin)
2 cups sweet wine

Directions: Put the chicken in a baking pan and sprinkle with garlic powder. Top chicken with onions and pour the wine over the chicken. Cover and bake at 350F for 90 minutes; then uncover and bake for another 30 minutes to get nice, crispy onions, and a lovely glazed skin.

Recipe from The Food Network


The Obesity Epidemic: Are We Addicted To Sugar?

Posted on: January 24, 2017

In my mind, as someone who has treated obesity for close to 20 years, the increasing consumption of simple carbohydrates leading to sugar addiction is a sentinel reason for the growing obesity epidemic. By Mitchell Roslin MD, Director of the Bariatric Surgery Program at Northern Westchester Hospital.

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Holiday Food Safety Tips: Don’t be a Germ Re-gifter

Posted on: December 12, 2016

Whether you’re a seasoned chef, a first-time dinner host, or simply bringing a dish to grandma’s house on New Year’s Eve, the holidays can shake up the nerves of even the most self-assured culinary geniuses. “How am I supposed to transport my dish? I hope it’s fully cooked…I hope Aunt Anne isn’t preparing the main course this year, I got so sick last year.” These are a few of the many thoughts that run through our minds during the holiday season. Feasting with family and friends is what holiday celebrations are all about. Try to keep your holiday festivities memorable in the right way this year. Follow these simple tips to keep you and your loved ones food-poisoning free. By Jackie Farrall, RD, CDN, Northern Westchester Hospital.

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