February Newsletter

In This Issue
Updates to Nutrition Energy
February is for Chocolate...AND Heart Health!
A Note from Lauren...
Nutrition Energy
In the News!

Lauren Antonucci, MS, RDN, CSSD, CDE, CDN

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Issue: #64February 2016
Time to Invest in a Slow Cooker!
Are you short on time but still crave a home-cooked meal that's both healthy and delicious? It's time to invest in a slow cooker! Ideal for those who need a quick, easy and healthy dinner, slow cookers take nutritious hardy grub to the next level. You won't have to spend hours in the kitchen in order to provide that nutritious, balanced dinner you always want. All you have to do is a few minutes of quick prep, throw everything in the cooker and anticipate a tasty meal a few hours later. Whether to go to work or to run some errands, you are free to leave the house and return to that fresh smell that makes everyone feel great.

Not only is the slow cooker a time saver, it allows for packing in extra veggies to your diet! Nutrition rich natural juices from the vegetables are retained due to slow cooking. Other forms of cooking including baking, steaming, blanching, boiling and broiling expose the nutrients to high amounts of heat possibly destroying some of the nutrients. The vegetables in slow cookers also absorb flavors from stocks and spices making them tastier than if just cooked traditionally.

The best part about slow cooker meals is that they usually make large quantities so you can re-heat leftovers for another meal. Now your short prep time is yielding two delicious and nutritious home-cooked meals! In addition, since everything goes in one pot cleanup is a breeze!

Try some of these recipes:

(from Damn Delicious)
Yield: 4 servings
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 8 hrs

  • 8 bone in skin on chicken thighs ( another option is to use boneless skinless chicken breasts if looking to cut calories and fat)
  • 16 oz baby red potatoes, halved
  • 16 oz baby carrots
  • 16 oz  green beans
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • Sauce- � c reduced sodium soy sauce
  • � c honey
  • 1.4 c ketchup
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • tsp dried oregano
  • � tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • � tsp ground black pepper


  1. In a large bowl, combine soy sauce, honey, ketchup, garlic, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes and pepper.
  2. Place chicken, potatoes, carrots and soy sauce mixture in the slow cooker. Cover. Cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. Add green beans during last 30 min of cooking.
  3. Serve immediately garnished with parsley if desired.
  4. Enjoy!
(from realsimple.com)
Serves 4
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 8 hrs
  • 1 medium red onion. Chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • � tsp ground cinnamon
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 1 28 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 15.5 oz can black beans
  • 1 15.5 oz can kidney beans
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into � inch pieces
  1. In a 4-6 quart slow cooker, combine onion, bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, cocoa, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Add tomatoes and their liquid, beans, sweet potato and 1 cup of water.
  2. Cover and cook until sweet potatoes are tender and chili has thickened (on low for 7-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours)
February is for Chocolate...AND Heart Health!

(Yes, you can have both)!

During the month of February, the topic of chocolate comes up often. Most of us love chocolate, and look forward to a treat now and again. However, it can become all to easy to go overboard especially during and after holidays where chocolate is often exchanged, and symbolizes love. In our office, we spend our days speaking about the truths, myths and facts regarding many foods, including chocolate.  Yes, chocolate contains a wealth of antioxidants, and therefore CAN be part of a heart healthy diet. It is also  enjoyable, makes us smile, and is just fine to eat in moderation. However this doesn't mean we can or should finish all of our leftover chocolate in just one sitting! You should certainly indulge in a piece or two, but vow to eat only 1-2 pieces per day...and let the pleasure last longer. Also consider sharing some with your family, friends and neighbors! At some point, when the urge to "just finish them all" strikes, consider these healthy alternatives....some chocolate, some not;
  1. Cocoa dusted almonds in 100 cal packs. Almonds are a good source of  vitamin E and magnesium that can help lower total and LDL cholesterol, and with a dusting of cocoa, they satisfy our needs both to crunch and for chocolate.
  2. Healthy Chocolate pudding; Mix 5-6 oz low-fat Greek Yogurt + 2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder. You'll get a creamy, chocolates taste plus flavanols which are good for vascular health! Add berries or nuts or seeds and enjoy.
  3. Chocolate chia pudding; combine 4oz chocolate soy milk with 1Tbs plus 1 heaping tsp chia seeds & cinnamon in tightly sealed container (I use ball canning jars). Shake vigorously! Refrigerate overnight and enjoy any time of day.
  4. Break out the baby carrots. Carrots contain beta-carotene, which is associated with lower risk of coronary heart disease, and crunching in these saved us from crunching in less healthy alternatives.
  5. Chew on Cherry Tomatoes. Tomatoes contain lycopene, which decreases levels of oxidized LDLs, improves inflammatory status and also has a modest lowering effect on blood pressure. These tasty produce treats can taste sweet as candy when in season.
  6. Reach for Raspberries. Another powerful source of antioxidants, plus, the fermentation of the raspberry seeds by our gut bacteria may help to lower serum triglycerides and cardiovascular disease risk.
  7. Dice up some cantaloupe. Cantaloupe contains potassium, which may help to lower blood pressure. We love eating it topped with low-fat cottage cheese and wheat germ. Try it for a perfect snack mix of sweet, creamy and nutty!
  8. Mashed avocado on whole grain crackers. Avocados contain heart healthy monounsaturated fats, are good for our hearts, and help keep us full between meals and snacks. Dietary fibers from whole grains as part of a healthy diet may help improve cholesterol levels. This snack is a one two punch of both heart health and lasting satiety.
You may want to save this article, and if , (or when!), you find yourself thinking of grabbing one too many chocolates, open this up to find a great, satisfying, heart healthy alternative! Here's to happiness AND health! 

A Note from Lauren...

I'm happy to announce I will be coaching Moms in Training this upcoming season!  We had a wonderful time last year, and look forward to seeing many familiar faces - and hopefully some new ones!  Registration has already begun, and practice starts in spring.  I will be coaching on Fridays at 9:30am in Central Park.  If you are interesting in joining Moms in Training, or would like to learn more, please visit their website HERE.

If you need any help with creating or altering a nutrition plan, please contact us via email or call the office at 646.364.6803 to schedule a consultation and we will get you on the right track!

Lauren Antonucci, Director
Nutrition Energy