Haunted or Healthy

By Maria-Elena Damasiewicz

Halloween can be a scary time for many of our diets!

Here are some tips to practice during this spooky season:

  • Practice moderation. Those “fun-sized” candy bars aren’t so fun if eaten in large portions. Each one can contain anywhere between 60-80 calories per bar, and can contribute to weight gain if eaten excessively. This is a great way to practice moderation!
  • Pick the lesser of the evils. Not all candy is created equal. If you can help it, try to go for dark chocolate candy. Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants and has heart healthy benefits to it, but remember- it is still candy and should be eaten in smaller doses.
  • Focus on other aspects of the holiday. There is much more to Halloween than candy and treats. Enjoy non-food related activities such as decorating with your family, attending parties, costume contests, and games.
  • Skip the clearance candy sale. Although discount candy is very tempting, it’s not worth it! It may seem like a “good deal”, but you will save money and your waistline by skipping the clearance candy section.
  • Enjoy the fall season. There are so many fun activities to do in the fall, like pumpkin picking, corn mazes, and haunted hay rides. Don’t stress, embrace the beautiful crisp air and colorful leaves, enjoy a few pieces of your favorite candy, and have a Happy Halloween!


“Wreaths on Wheels” orders due November 21, 2018

Order your holiday wreath or centerpiece, and support Meals on Wheels! Our popular “Wreaths on Wheels” event has returned.

Your wreath purchase helps provide holiday meals to those celebrating the season alone. Choose from a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and centerpieces to deck your halls.

Order options:

Pick up locations, and times:

Friday, November 30th – Noon to 6pm
Meals on Wheels for WNY
100 James E. Casey Drive
Buffalo, NY 14206

Saturday, December 1st – 8am to 11am
St. John’s Lutheran Church
4536 S. Buffalo Street
Orchard Park, NY 14127

Saturday, December 1st – 10am to 12pm
Clarence Senior Center
4600 Thompson Road
Clarence, NY 14031

Volunteers: Refer-a-friend returns October 15-26, 2018!

Volunteers: Meals on Wheels invites you to deliver your regular routes with a friend, relative or colleague! So many people are interested in learning what delivering with Meals on Wheels means, but won’t take that first step without an invitation or trial run with someone they know and trust. Simply bring along a friend who has never volunteered before.

Competing individuals will then fill out a Refer-a-Friend slip at their sites and each Friday that the competition is running, we will choose a few winners who will receive a prize! This contest is a win-win: it allows people to connect with their communities and give back, and helps MOW to potentially get some more volunteers that can help us out year-round. The event runs until Friday, October 26, 2018.

Check with your Site Manager for more information. Inquires also can be directed to Ashley Yerdon, Volunteer Relations Associate, at 822-2002 ext. 21 or by email at ayerdon@mealsonwheelswny.org

Facts about Iron

Jamie Vallone, RD, CDN

What is iron?

Iron is an essential mineral, meaning that the body does not create it on its own. Iron is needed to make hemoglobin, a part of red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body, including your muscles. Iron also contributes to healthy function of your immune system, as well as maintenance of healthy nail and skin cells.

What is iron deficiency?

Iron deficiency occurs when the body does not have enough iron. This can cause a decrease in the production of red blood cells, causing a condition known as iron deficiency anemia. This condition is typically diagnosed by your doctor with a blood test.

Some of the symptoms of iron deficiency anemia include:

  • Low energy levels/fatigue
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Pale skin and fingernails
  • Decreased appetite

(Consult with your doctor if you are concerned you may be iron deficient.)

Food Sources with Iron

Iron can be found in a variety of foods including lean red meat, chicken, turkey, seafood, beans and peas, dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds, and iron fortified cereals.

Plant based sources of iron are not absorbed as much by the body as animal sources of iron are, however eating good sources of vitamin C such as oranges and bell peppers can help your body absorb more iron from plants.



Volunteer with Meals on Wheels at the National Buffalo Wing Festival!

The National Buffalo Wing Festival is just around the corner! We’re looking for volunteers to join us at this year’s event!
Volunteers are needed to work the ticket tent on:
  • Sat 9/1 5:30-9:00

Volunteers will be given free admission and parking, as well as a select number of tickets to try some of the event’s wings!

To join our team, please contact Ashley at 716.822.2002 x21 or by email at ayerdon@mealsonwheelswny.org. Volunteer spots are first come, first serve.

New “Avoiding Gluten” diet option launched by Meals on Wheels for WNY

Meals on Wheels for Western New York, Inc. (MOW-WNY) has launched a new diet option for homebound elderly and disabled individuals suffering from gluten intolerance. The new “avoiding gluten” diet provides two meals each weekday to qualifying clients in Erie County.

“Gluten intolerance limits access to nutritious food for some of our community’s homebound neighbors,” Chris Procknal, President and CEO, said. “The addition of our ‘avoiding gluten’ diet provides a healthful option for those who have a gluten intolerance, helping to ensure that every member of our community receives a meal that meets his or her unique nutritional needs.”

Meals are prepared locally at the Meals on Wheels commissary in Buffalo. Food prepared as part of the “avoiding gluten” program is produced in a separate part of the commissary to avoid gluten-containing ingredients from potentially mixing with the new diet’s entrées. During delivery, meals of this diet type are stored and transported in their own cold chest, separate from food that may contain gluten. These meals are made without gluten-containing ingredients, but are not considered “gluten-free,” as the diet is produced in the same facility as other meals that may contain gluten. As such, the “Avoiding Gluten” diet may not be suitable for those with severe gluten intolerance.

“Avoiding gluten” meals are designed for those who qualify for MOW-WNY traditional programming, have a documented medical need for food with reduced gluten, and have a doctor’s prescription. This is the sixth diet option to be offered by MOW-WNY. The diet joins the regular (low-fat, low-cholesterol, low-sodium), calorie-counted (diabetic), ground, bland, and renal options. More information about our other home-delivered program diets can be found here.

Those interested in receiving Meals on Wheels, or interested in starting service on behalf of a loved one, should contact our intake department at 716.822.2002. Current Meals on Wheels recipients who think they would benefit from “avoiding gluten” meals can contact their Meals on Wheels social worker or dietitian for more details.

Attending Plate Expectations 2018? Here’s what you need to know!

We are looking forward to seeing you at Plate Expectations “The Supper Bowl XV” at the ADPRO Sports Training Center next to New Era Field (One Bills Drive, Orchard Park, NY 14127)! Below are a few reminders for the event:

Parking & Location

Please enter off 20A or Abbott Road. Parking will be available in Lot 1 and the Field House lot both of which are near the event space.

The event is located at the ADPRO Sports Training Center – 1 Bills Dr, Orchard Park, NY 14127.

Dress code

We recommend casual and comfortable clothes (shorts and short sleeve shirts). The event will take place on the AstroTurf, and guests will have an opportunity to try to kick a field goal or pass to a “receiver”, so please wear appropriate footwear.

Payment Options

Please remember to bring cash, checks, or a credit card, as we have many exciting auctions, raffles, and games of chance to participate in.

Latest Updates

For last minute updates, check here or visit our Facebook or Twitter page for the latest information.

Contact us

Thank you for supporting Meals on Wheels!

If you have any questions, please contact Lauren Hibit at lhibit@mealsonwheelswny.org or 822-2201 ext. 4.

Protein: Where is it found and how much should I eat?

By Nicole Goben MS, RD, CDN

Protein is a staple of a healthy diet. People of all ages require protein but it is especially important for older adults to eat enough protein to maintain strong healthy bodies and prevent muscle loss.

Why is protein important?
Protein is needed to maintain muscle mass, fight infection and help the body recover from events such as surgery or injury.

How often should I have it?
It is best to consume a source of protein with every meal and snack in order to meet daily needs. The body can only use about 30 grams of protein at a time so if you typically eat all of your protein at one meal it may not all be used, so be sure to spread it throughout the day.

How much protein should I have?
An older adult may benefit from increased protein to prevent muscle loss. A Registered Dietitian can help you figure out exactly how much protein you need. In general, getting 20-30 grams of protein with each meal is a good goal.

How do I boost my protein intake?
Simple changes to your diet will help increase protein intake. Add peanut butter or cheese to crackers, switch out regular yogurt for Greek yogurt, which has more protein. Cook with milk instead of water, such as in oatmeal. Use the chart to find foods you enjoy that are high in protein!

Protein Content of Common Foods
Average grams of protein Serving Size Food group
21 – 24 g 3 oz. Beef, chicken or fish, cooked. (3 oz. is about the size of a deck of cards)
20 g 3 oz. Tuna fish, packed in water
12 – 13 g 5.3 oz. container Greek yogurt
13 g 1/2 cup Cottage cheese
9 g 1/2 cup Dried beans, peas, lentils
6 – 9 g 6 oz. Yogurt
8 g 1 cup Reduced-fat milk
8 g 2 tablespoons Peanut butter
7 g 1 oz. Cheese, aged (cheddar, jack, swiss)
7 g 1/2 cup Canned beans: kidney, black, garbanzo
6 g 1 large Egg, whole
6 g 1 oz. Nuts: peanuts, pistachios, almonds

Our Registered Dietitians are an award-winning team!

Meals on Wheels for WNY is a great place to work – full of hard working, talented professionals. We regularly say that we have the best team around.

That’s why we were thrilled – but not surprised – that nearly our entire Nutrition team recently received a series of very impressive awards at both the local and state level.

The following Registered Dietitians (RDs) have been honored recently:
Jennifer Carland, RD, CDN, has been recognized as the Young Dietitian of the Year for the New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (NYSAND) as well as the Young Dietitian of the Year for the Western New York Dietetics Association (WNYDA). Jen was also recently named one of the “30 under 30” by Buffalo’s Business First.
Nicole Goben, MS, RD, CDN, received the Media Excellence Award from WNYDA.
Jamie Vallone, RD, CDN, received the Early Contributions / New Professional Award from WNYDA.

If you know any of these wonderful professionals, please be sure to congratulate them when you talk to them! And if you want to be a part of the wonderful Meals on Wheels for WNY team please check out our employment and volunteer opportunities

Tips and Tricks to Finding the “Ripe” Produce

Jennifer Carland, RD, CDN

Have you ever bit into a peach only to find that it wasn’t as soft and juicy as you hoped it to be? Or perhaps you experienced a “chalky taste” when you crunched on some corn on the cob? While summer offers us an abundant array of seasonable fruits and vegetables, they are best when you can identify whether or not they are ripe and ready to enjoy.

• Should be heavier in weight
• Smells sweet, but not too sweet (overripe)
• Should be able to gently push into the stem end

Corn on the Cob
• Husk should be green in color; if not, it may be dried out
• Kernels should appear to be “plump”

• May vary in both red and yellow colors; the red coloring signifies that it was the side facing the sun during growth
• If there is green around the stem, it is not ripe yet
• The fruit should “give a little” when you gently touch it

• Color should be golden-brown
• There should not be too much green at the bottom of the fruit
• Smell is important; it should smell sweet
• If you don’t smell anything, it is not ripe yet
• If it gives off a vinegar-like smell, it is overripe

• Smell is the best indicator of ripeness for a strawberry; it should smell the way you would like it to taste
• If you do not smell anything, it is not ripe yet
• Color is not always the best indicator for ripeness of strawberries

• The tomato should be able to “give a little” when you touch it
• If it feels too hard, it is not ripe
• If it feels too soft when you touch, it is overripe

• Should feel heavier in weight
• If you tap on the watermelon, it should sound hollow
• Look for a yellow spot on the bottom
• If stripes go all the way around the fruit, it is not ripe yet

Be sure to use this as a guide when grocery shopping or at your local farmer’s market. Find farmer’s markets close to your neighborhood.