Skinny Barbecue

Monday, 15 August 2011 14:28 Taghira Herrar
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Having a healthy barbecue does not mean getting rid of everything you enjoy. Small changes can make a big difference. For example, having fat-free or reduced fat versions of cheeses, mayonnaise, and spreads can help in the battle of the bulge. When making burgers, try having veggie burgers or lean turkey burgers available for your guests. There are several brands out there - just make sure you read the labels. The best burger patties can be the ones you make yourself. Purchase minced beef that is no more than 95 percent lean to cut fat and maintain moisture for tasty burgers. Making your own patties can be healthy and cost-effective; try adding beans or veggies such as mushrooms, zucchini, or carrots. This not only adds fiber and protein to your burgers, but also allows you to make more (which can come in handy when your guests bring unexpected extra mouths to feed). Marlene Carneiro, Outpatient Dietician at Lawrence Hospital, encourages incorporating vegetables into your barbecue.

“Take advantage of the summer’s seasonal fruits and vegetables,” Carneiro said. “They are full of nutrients and flavor and can be purchased at low prices. Be creative and add fruits and veggies to your meals and snacks they’re all natural and delicious!” “In August, Cantaloupes are at their peak. Being naturally high in water makes them great for cooling off and re-hydrating in the summer heat.”

The extra veggies can reduce the number of calories you take in. Try grilling them or adding them to kebabs.

Of course with all this healthy food comes the concern about taste: after all, no one goes to a barbecue to eat bird food. “Healthy doesn’t have to mean bland,” Carneiro added. “Try using herbs, spices and dry rubs, also grilling fruits can add great flavor to your meals.” Desserts can be tricky, but fresh fruit is always a great alternative. Try freezing bananas and dipping them in dark chocolate for a quick, and easy treat.

Healthy barbecue is not only what you eat, but in the preparation. Food should be kept chilled until it’s time to be served or prepared. Always avoid cross contamination, especially when using cutting boards for meats and veggies. Lastly, it may seem safe to char food to avoid salmonella poisoning, but according to the National Cancer Institute, charred meats have a higher concentration of HCA (Heterocyclic amines) which have been found to be carcinogenic in animals and a potential threat to humans.

Barbecues should be enjoyable for all who attend. Sanjeeta Ahuja, Director of Nutrition Services at Mt. Vernon Neighborhood Health Center, believes that moderation makes a big difference. “Just because a barbecue is four hours doesn’t mean you need to eat the entire time you are there,” said Ahuja. “A barbecue is not a food marathon. Make sure you keep hydrated with water, and control your portions.”  Ahuja also encourages people to shop smart and prepare a menu beforehand: “Planning can also be helpful as everyone can participate in preparing a dish for the family function.”

If you make a few changes to your menu and follow these tips, you are sure to avoid bursting out of your bikini. Read below for a few fat-busting recipes.


Using a high flavor-rub (a mixture you rub on meat before grilling) can add a punch of flavor with out all the salt. Try this high-flavor rub on skinless chicken breasts, fish steaks, pork tenderloin, or lean beef steaks. Rub some of the spicy mixture on food and cook like usual.


In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients;

Store in a cool, dry place, in an airtight container or sealable plastic bag.



1/4 c. paprika

1 Tbsp. cayenne pepper

2 1/2 Tbsp. black pepper

2 Tbsp. oregano

2 tsp. chili powder

1/2 tsp. red pepper

3 Tbsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. dry mustard

1 1/2 Tbsp. onion powder

1 Tbsp. salt

1 1/2 Tbsp. dried thyme


For a healthy, low-fat alternative from the usual beef burgers, try these tasty and flavor packed herb chicken burgers. Serve with a salad to make this a really healthy treat!

Herb Chicken Burgers

*   1 pound lean ground chicken

*   1 sweet onion, chopped

*   2 garlic gloves, minced

*   1/4 cup of mixed fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary, chives)

*   1 large egg, beaten

*   1/2 cup plain bread crumbs

*   salt and black pepper to taste



1. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat and lightly oil grate.

2. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, sweet onion, garlic and fresh herbs. Add the egg, bread crumbs and seasonings to taste. Mix all together well and form into 4 patties.

3. Grill over medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes per side, or until no longer pink. (Internal temperature should be 165 degrees F)


Note: You can grill, broil or pan-fry these burgers.


Beating the Heat

Saturday, 13 August 2011 09:25 Stephanie Reed
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Summer – time to hit the beach, attend barbecues, and get a nice tan if one feels inclined to. But higher temperatures can be quite the buzz kill as extreme heat can wear down even the most energetic person. The month of July provided some scorchers, here are some tips to staying cool for the rest of the summer season as more hot days are ahead.


Apply sunscreen! SPF 15 to 30 is recommended. Sunburns not only hurt, but can also increase the risk of developing skin cancer. To treat sunburn: apply a cool compress to the infected area and keep the area moisturized (avoid products containing alcohol). See a doctor if you don't see improvement within a couple of days, or if it is accompanied by a fever.

Stay hydrated! It's important to replenish lost fluids from exercise, sweating, or other strenuous activity. The Institute of Medicine advises men to intake three liters (approximately 13 cups) of liquids; women 2.2 liters (approximately nine cups) of liquids.

Stay informed! Look up the temperature and UV Index in your area daily and dress accordingly – wear hats to protect hair and scalp from the sun's rays, and sunglasses to protect your vision.

Wear comfortable, breathable clothing (cotton material is adequate) to absorb and minimize body moisture from sweating.

Retreat to cool buildings and locations such as malls and local club centers.

Recognize symptoms of heat-induced illnesses: heavy sweating, dizziness, vomiting, and exhaustion are typically characteristics of heat exhaustion. High body temperature, hot skin, weak pulse, and shallow breathing are signs of possible heat stroke, which must be tended to immediately!


By following these simple tips, you can better enjoy your days in the sun! Enjoy the rest of the summer!


Last Updated on Saturday, 13 August 2011 09:55

Food For Thought: Childhood Obesity

Thursday, 04 August 2011 13:55 Ana Sofia Huertas
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National Trend of Epidemic Proportions Hits Close To Home

Before video games, satellite TV with 700+ channels, and multimedia mobile phones, playing a game of ball and a full day of outside play occupied the lives of kids and teens as a past time. It’s no secret that kids spend more time putting their fingers to work by clicking channels rather than dribbling or passing a ball against the concrete, but as Dr. Lori Semel, a pediatrician with offices at 559 Gramatan Avenue in Mount Vernon, puts it: less activity among children today has led to more overweight and obese children. She goes on further to add that childhood obesity has put her patients at an alarmingly high risk of type 2 diabetes, or adult onset diabetes, recently diagnosed in more children by the National Health Association.

With 85 percent of her patients coming from Mount Vernon, Semel was curious to test the growing obesity trend in patients as young as 10 years old and decided to conduct her own statistical study. “A large percentage of kids I was testing were over a 6 percent level of hemoglobin in their bodies and in danger of being at high risk of diabetes,” says Semel of local pre-teens noting one ten year old patient was 30 pounds over the normal weight for her age and had a 6.2 percent hemoglobin level.

While the wonders of modern digital technology have stolen the precious attention of our youth, and adults for that matter, society’s reliance on fast food and quick meals stand as equally or even more responsible for poor eating habits leading to obesity and diabetes.

“A lot of kids hang out in the street after school and grab fast food instead of a home cooked meal,” added Semel.
According to registered dietician Katie Neumayer, one out of three meals is eaten outside of the house and contains high levels of fat, salt, and sugar.

“That amount of take-out is horrific. Our society depends a great deal on fast foods and restaurants. Most people don’t realize that fruits and vegetables are fast foods also.” Neumayer has had both adult and child patients during her years a dietician. She calls fruits and vegetables the fast food of nutrition for a reason, “All you have to do is wash them.”

With a heavy reliance on commercial food, the world of snacking and portioning food also plays a heavy role in malnutrition. Take movie night for example. While many of us associate food with emotions and feelings, according to Neumayer, snacking while watching a two hour film leads to excessive eating. “You have consumed two hours’ worth of food in one sitting. Parents and children need to take a step backwards and get back to basics.” More so, many kids eat the same amount of food as their parents do.

By getting back to basics, she means having family meals around the table and not in front of the television as this affects proper portion levels. When eating at the table, parents can moderate portion sizes, there is a higher likeliness of realizing when they are full and, as Neumayer puts it, there is a lot less mindless eating as there would be eating in front of the television.

The most important method of maintaining constant activity, Neumayer says, is to keep children distracted by increasing activity levels and limiting the television as much as possible. Both Semel and Neumayer recommend children get at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day after school or during their lunch hour aside from daily walking to and from school as old habits die hard. Neumayer adds that parents can kill two birds with one stone by involving their kids in household chores such as yard work to keep them active.

With more and more children sluggishly surfing through hundreds of channels and yearning meals that aren’t so happy, it’s easy to point the finger at multi-billion dollar food corporations or modern technology for bringing us convenience. Perhaps instead of blaming what comes into the home via satellite or take out, we should focus on bringing the right kind of fast food to the home, the fresh kind, and discovering what can be done outside in the park or in your very own backyard. Not all hope in modern technology is lost. Hey, there’s always the Wii.

Last Updated on Thursday, 04 August 2011 14:02

Data Shows More African-Americans Face Depression

Wednesday, 13 October 2010 17:45 administrator
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DepressionAll Americans experience tough times. But mental health screening data collected in 2005 as compared to 2010 shows an increase in the number of Americans reporting symptoms of depression and other mood and anxiety disorders. The data, collected and analyzed by Screening for Mental Health, Inc.*, a nonprofit organization that provides mental health education, screening and treatment resources, also showed a 14% decrease in the number of Americans who are currently being treated for depression or who have received treatment in the past.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 October 2010 17:58

Free prostate cancer education & screenings

Monday, 27 September 2010 20:06 administrator
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October 1, 12:30 to 5pm at the Westchester County Center

Please forward the attached flyer to men 40 years of age and older who could benefit from attending.
Free prostate cancer education & screenings will be provided at the event, which is occurring the same day as the Baseball Card Show at the County Center.
The event will also include a special prize drawing & a live segment of “Talking Baseball” with WFAN/Sirius radio host Ed Randall.
Thank you.

Click here for Flyer

Last Updated on Monday, 27 September 2010 20:18