Nutrition In Motion

Stock Up On Flavor, Not Sodium

by Theresa on January 4, 2012

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourage us to cut down on sodium, whether this is done to control blood pressure or as a preventative step. According to a survey conducted by the American Heart Association, most Americans believe that salt added in cooking or at the table is the main source of sodium in the American diet. As a matter of fact, 70-80% of the sodium consumed in the US comes from processed foods (this encompasses most packaged foods and condiments, including products that might not taste salty, such as bread).

Stock (ready to use) is notorious for being very high in sodium. Although lower sodium options are now easier to find, preparing your own stock can eliminate sodium altogether from many of your dishes.

Stock facts: while most vitamins contained in the vegetables will be destroyed in the cooking process, minerals will remain in the stock. Stock nutrition: stock used in normal amounts can be considered a free food (source: Choose Your Foods: Exchange List for Diabetes, American Diabetes Association, 2008).

Read Stefania’s recipe for sodium-free stock and download this one-paged flyer here.

This Stefania’s last installment of her Nutrition in Motion Series. So many of us benefited from her helpful tips. We will be shifting our focus for 2012 on weight management with the Weigh Wise monthly series. Stay tuned for that. And here is a hearty dose of gratitude for her work. She volunteered to write this entire series.





A Cream of Squash Thriller

by Theresa on October 29, 2011

Squashes and pumpkins are common staples in the fall. Here is a recipe for a delicious and creamy butternut squash soup to try this fall.

Butternut squash is a winter squash: it ripens throughout the summer, and is harvested in winter. The carbohydrate content of winter squashes is higher than that of summer squashes (such as zucchini).

Native Americans called squash one of the “Three Sisters” (squash, corn and beans), i.e. crops usually planted together. The cornstalk provided support for the beans to climb, and shade to protect the squash. In turn, the vines of the squash prevented weeds from overgrowing, and damaging these crops. Finally, the beans supported the growth of corn and squash by increasing the availability of nitrogen (a natural fertilizer) in the soil.

Squash facts: this type of squash provides fiber, vitamin C, manganese, magnesium, and potassium. It is also an excellent source of vitamins A and E.

Squash nutrition: winter squashes are categorized as starchy vegetables, while summer squashes are non starchy vegetables (source: Choose Your Foods: Exchange List for Diabetes, American Diabetes Association, 2008).

Stefania has done it again with another fabulous issue of Nutrition in Motion. Download the full copy here.


Bollywood Style Cooking!

by Theresa on October 26, 2011

Indian cuisine is rich of flavors and spices and has its regional variations. One common staple is dahl, i.e. a legume-based vegetarian stew/ soup. Depending on the region, dahl can be made from lentils, garbanzo beans, yellow split peas or red lentils. Typically the legumes are boiled in water, while the seasoning (tadka) is cooked separately, and stirred in only at the very end.

Masoor dahl is made from red lentils. These lentils are generally sold without the husk, and look more orange than red. Contrary to other legumes, this type of lentils does not require soaking (McGee H. On Food and Cooking, 2004) and cooks fairly quickly (around 20-30 minutes).

Lentils are a great ingredient to cooking healthy on a budget. 1/4 cup dry lentils yields approximately 1 cup when boiled.

Stefania knocks another one out of the park with this edition…

Check out the recipe for Masoor Dahl (Red Lentil Stew)!






Polynesian Flavors

by Theresa on September 24, 2011

Stefania has created a new, yummy recipe to tie into our Tahitian dance.

The word Polynesia means “many islands” and refers over 1,000 islands in the Pacific Ocean. Some islands are independent, while others – such as Hawaii or the French Polynesia – are part of different countries. Although various groups of islands have their own specific culture, they also share similarities in terms of foods, language and customs.

Over time Polynesian cuisine has been influenced by explorers and travelers and the result is a blend of local, European and Asian ingredients and flavors. Fish is quite naturally a key ingredient in the Polynesian kitchen. A very popular dish is an appetizer made with marinated fish and vegetables, known as Lomi Lomi in Hawaii and Poisson Cru in Tahiti (French Polynesia).

Fish facts: research shows that consuming the right type and amount of fish oil – including in the form of fish – may lower triglycerides, slow the progression of atherosclerosis, and slightly lower blood pressure (source: “Omega 3 Fatty Acids”, Natural Standard, 2011 retrieved from

Fish nutrition: fatty fish include anchovies, bluefish, carp, catfish, halibut, herring, lake trout, mackerel, salmon, and


Ingredients for 4 starters:
1/2 pound sushi-grade ahi tuna, diced in 1/4-inch cubes
juice of 4 fresh limes
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 small hot chile pepper (optional)
2 medium tomatoes, seeds and liquid removed, diced
1/4 cup coconut milk
3-4 whole scallions, cut lengthwise and finely chopped
freshly ground pepper to taste

Preparation tips:
★ The tuna in the recipe can be replaced with salmon.
★ When using raw fish, select the freshest fish (sushi grade).
★ This recipe can also be prepared by cooking the fish first. Do not overcook, and allow to cool completely before marinading.
★ The longer you marinade the fish, the the more flavor you get, so plan ahead!

Directions: prepare all the ingredients as directed.
Mix in a medium size bowl, cover, and allow to marinade for at least 2 hours. Remove from the refrigerator 15-20 minutes before serving.

1 serv. contains: under 5 g carbs — 6 g fat

Suggestion: serve over a large, round lettuce leaf or on top of a mixed green salad, lightly seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice and pepper.

No 2 No 8 Polynesian fish salad of Nutrition in Motion. It is visually pleasing and handy to have in your kitchen.




Let Your Belly Dance with Hummus!

by Theresa on July 20, 2011

Hummus is a popular Middle Eastern / Mediterranean dip made from cooked garbanzo beans. It can be purchased in most supermarkets, but making your own will allow you to get the flavor just as you like it, and to avoid the sodium found in most ready-to-eat foods.

Garbanzo beans or chickpeas are legumes; they are high in protein and fiber. However, just like beans and lentils, they are starchy vegetables and should be consumed in the recommended amounts to control blood
glucose levels. Another key ingredient of hummus is tahini, a paste made from ground sesame seeds. Just
like flax seeds, sesame contains lignans, a compoud that can act as antioxidant, protecting the body from cellular damage.

Do you think Hummus is hard to make? Our in resident registered dietitian, Stefania Manetti shows you the way! Read the rest here.

What is your favorite way to enjoy hummus?


Pasta Salad That Rocks!

by Theresa on July 6, 2011

Pasta can be part of most healthy diets in the right amounts. Pick whole grain pasta as a healthier choice. Although the recommended serving size for pasta is not any larger for whole grain, this kind of pasta will help you increase your daily fiber intake.
 The word “pasta” is usually associated to Italian cuisine, but we have to say thanks to the Chinese for inventing noodles sometimes before 200 BCE. Italian chefs however developed its many shapes starting from 1200 (McGee H. On Food and Cooking, 2004).  
Is pasta fattening?
It all depends on the amounts eaten and on the condiments used. It is important to remember that weight gain is not necessarily linked to a specific nutrient, but rather to the consumption of excess calories.

Ready for a yummy recipe? Check out the rest of Stefania’s monthly Nutrition in Motion series.


Swing with Salmon

by Theresa on May 11, 2011

If you like fish, you might be pleased to learn that the American Heart Association recommends eating two servings of fish per week to maintain heart health in adults with no history of cardiovascular disease.

To visualize one serving of fish think of a deck of cards or the palm of your hand. Research shows that consuming the right type and amount of fish oil – including in the form of fish – may lower triglycerides, slow the progression of atherosclerosis, and slightly lower blood pressure (source: “Omega 3 Fatty Acids”, Natural Standard, 2011 retrieved from

Fatty fish is rich in omega 3 (EPA and DHA). If you do not eat fish, omega 3 supplements can be an alternative. Ask your healthcare team for dosage recommendations.

Read the full article and enjoy the recipe! (See an exerpt below.)


Preparation tips:

  • If you can, use fresh dill. Dried dill is also a good alternative. Dill tastes great with fish and eggs.
  • Save a little dill and a few thin lemon slices to garnish your dish before serving.
  • If you are cooking multiple servings, choose pieces of fish of similar thickness so that they will take the same time to cook.
  • To minimize added fats, use a non-stick pan lightly coated in spray oil.


Stay Hip with Squash

by Theresa on May 7, 2011

If you are you fond of noodle dishes, but conscious about your carb intake, try spaghetti squash.

The spaghetti squash is a type of winter squash. Winter squashes are harvested when fully ripe, and are suitable for long term storage. They tend to be higher in nutrients compared to their summer counterparts (such as zucchini).
 Once the spaghetti squash is cooked, its fibers can be separated with a fork into “noodles”. One cup of regular spaghetti (cooked) contains on average 200 calories and 43 grams of carbohydrates. One cup of spaghetti squash contains around 45 calories and 10 grams of carbohydrates.
Since the spaghetti squash is mildly flavored, it can be easily paired with Asian or Italian style noodlebased recipes.  Check out the recipe for Italian Style Spaghetti Squash.


Care to Mango Salsa?

by Theresa on March 7, 2011

Mangoes are tangy/sweet tropical fruits. Depending on their degree of ripeness, they can also be used for salads or stews. Mangoes are very nutritious, and can contribute fiber and vitamin C to your diet.

They also contain carotenoids. These are powerful antioxidants that can protect our bodies and improve our health. Although antioxidant supplements are available on the market, studies indicate these are not as beneficial as the antioxidants naturally occurring in foods (Bjelakovic G. et al, 2007, “Mortality in randomized trials of antioxidant supplements for primary and secondary prevention”, JAMA).

Mangoes can be used to make condiments, ideal to give flavor to chicken or fish dishes.

Continue reading and get a mango salsa recipe by our very own registered dietitian volunteer, Stefania Manetti!


Jammin’ to Gumbo

by Theresa on February 24, 2011

Gumbo originated in Lousiana, but is a very international dish mixing flavors from France, Spain and West Africa. The name is derived from ki ngombo, which is the West African Bantu name for okra, a key ingredient in African cuisine.

There are different styles of gumbo, depending on the ingredients used. The recipe varies from region to region. For example, the Acadiana gumbo is quite thick, whereas on the Gulf coast it might be cooked without any roux (mixture of flour and fat). The recipe below is rich in flavor, but lower in fat and starch compared to many traditional recipes. Okra is a key ingredient. Its “gooiness” is due to soluble fiber,
which can slow down the absorption of glucose, and help reduce cholesterol as part of a healthy diet.

Preparation tips:
★ Before you start cooking, chop/ dice all the ingredients.
★ Go low sodium for the canned diced tomatoes.
★ If you serve with brown rice remember that 1/3 cup cooked rice provides 15 g carbohydrates
★ Since this is a labor-intense recipe, make more and save the leftovers for a couple of days.

Ingredients for 6 servings:
4 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons white flour
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
2 large red bell peppers
2 celery stalks 1 bay leaf
1/4 cup minced parsley
3 oz extra-lean ham diced
6 oz boneless, skinless chicken thighs, quartered
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 lb or frozen sliced okra
2 cups canned diced tomatoes
1 lb medium deveined shrimp

Directions: Dice vegetables. Heat oil, mix in flour and stir constantly for 5 minutes. Add onion, garlic, bell pepper and celery. Cook until soft. Add ham, chicken, bay leaf, and cayenne pepper and stir for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and 1/2 cup cold water. After 5 minutes, stir in the frozen okra. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the chicken is well cooked. Stir in shrimp, wait 5-10 minutes. Sprinkle the parsley
before serving and enjoy!

1 serv. = 25 g carbohydrates

Okra facts: this plant originated in Africa, but is now grown around the world in many warm regions.

Cultural tip: Gumbo is a typical Creole Christmas dish, but in the
Cajun tradition gumbo is served for Christmas, Easter and other holidays as well (source: Cultural Food Practices, Diabetes Care and Education Practice Group, 2010).

Click here to see the full PDF file and get a Gumbo Recipe compliments of our volunteer registered dietitian, Stefania Manetti.