Champions for Meals Draws 45 VIPs!

Meals on Wheels for Western New York (MOW) serves meals to more than 3,400 homebound clients each year, helping the frail and ill elderly or disabled enjoy the highest level of independence possible.

Each year, MOW participates in “Champions for Meals,” a chance to share the meal delivery experience with government officials and local celebrities.

Champions for Meals 2018 is March 19 – 23 and MOW will host an amazing 45 VIPs during the period!  Thank you to all of our participating VIPs!

• Office of Congressman Chris Collins
• Office of Congressman Brian Higgins

• NYS Senator Timothy Kennedy
• NYS Assemblyman Michael Norris
• Office of Senator Patrick Gallivan
• Office of Senator Michael Ranzenhofer

• Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz
• Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns
• Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw
• Erie County Senior Services Commissioner Timothy Hogues
• Erie County Legislator April Baskin
• Erie County Legislator Lynne Dixon
• Erie County Legislator John Bruso
• Erie County Legislator Joseph Lorigo
• Erie County Legislator Barbara Miller-Williams
• Erie County Legislator Edward Rath
• Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard

• Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown
• Buffalo Comptroller Mark Schroeder
• Common Councilman Joel Feroleto
• Common Councilman Richard Fontana (regular volunteer)
• Common Councilman Christopher Scanlon
• Common Councilman Rasheed Wyatt

• Aurora Supervisor James Bach
• Boston Supervisor Jason Keding
• Cheektowaga Supervisor Diane Benczkowski
• Cheektowaga Senior Center Director Kerry Peak
• Cheektowaga Councilwoman Linda Hammer
• Cheektowaga Councilman Brian Nowak
• Cheektowaga Councilwoman Christine Adamczyk
• Colden Supervisor James DePasquale
• Depew Mayor Jesse Nikonowicz
• Elma Supervisor Dennis Powers
• Evans Supervisor Mary Hosler
• Hamburg Supervisor James Shaw
• Hamburg Director of Youth, Recreation & Senior Services Marty Denecke
• Lancaster Mayor William Schroeder
• Orchard Park Supervisor Patrick Keem

• Buffalo Bills Alumni Manager Jeremy Kelley
• Buffalo Sabres Alumni Craig Muni
• Buffalo Sabres Alumni Harry Neale
• Buffalo Sabres Alumni Derek Smith
• Buffalo Sabres Alumni Morris Titanic
• Cumulus Radio’s Chris Klein (weekly volunteer)
• John R. Oishei Foundation’s Curtis Robbins, Knowledge Management Officer
• WIVB’s Jordan Williams (weekly volunteer)
• WKBW’s Ashley Rowe (weekly volunteer)

“Champions for Meals is always an exciting event, with a wide array of different community supporters able to participate each year,” Chris Procknal, CEO and President, said. “It’s a great chance for our advocates to show their support of the work Meals on Wheels does and for our clients to meet some local celebrities. I’m pleased to report that we have a staggering 45 VIPs this year!”











The Power of Probiotics

By Jamie Vallone, RD, CDN

Probiotics are microorganisms that reside in your digestive tract. Although harmful bacteria can make you sick, probiotics are often referred to as good bacteria as they help your gut function properly.

Although researchers aren’t positive how probiotics work, it is thought they work by controlling nerves in your GI tract that affect movement and helping to control harmful bacteria in your GI tract. Probiotics are often known for their treatment of bowel disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome; however, some research suggests that probiotics may help with oral health and the treatment of eczema and urinary tract infections.

There are many different types of probiotics. The two that are most commonly used and found in food are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.

Probiotics are found in both foods and dietary supplements. Some foods that contain probiotics include:
• Yogurt
• Kefir
• Miso
• Kombucha
• Apple cider vinegar
• Sauerkraut
• Pickles

Although probiotics are generally considered safe for most people, there is a higher risk of infection for linked to people with weakened immune systems, and those recovering from serious illness or injury, as well as other health conditions.

Consult your doctor before taking probiotic food or supplements to see if they are right for you.

Go Further with Food!

By Dawna Bennett, MS, RD, CDN

March is National Nutrition Month®, an annual nutrition education and information campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and embraced by community organizations throughout the nation.

The theme this year is “Go Further with Food” and encourages people to develop sound eating and physical activity habits, learn how to manage food resources at home and find ways to cut back on food waste while saving both nutrients and money. The foods you choose can make a real difference in your life!

You can make a difference in your home and in the community by:
• Planning ahead. Prepare meals in advance to enjoy throughout the week or when you are on the go. Balanced meals that can easily be reheated throughout the week are a great way to eat healthy, save time and reduce food waste.

• Shopping with purpose. Always make a grocery list, comparing what you have at home with what you need. Buy only the amount that can be used or frozen within a few days based on your meal plan and include a variety of healthful options from all food groups.

• Maximizing leftovers. Cut out leftover meats and veggies. Transform leftover meals into soups, salads or sandwiches. Use them as a topping for salads or cooked grains. Or, wrap them in a tortilla or stuff them in a pita for a delicious sandwich.

• Freezing extras. Freeze extra food, such as fruits or meats to extend shelf life using heavy freezer paper, plastic wrap, freezer bags or foil.

• Reducing waste. Before going to the grocery store, check your refrigerator. Try to eat what you already have before buying more.

• Reducing waste even more. Make it a habit to date frozen foods and use the oldest food first.

• Donating what you can’t use. Donate unspoiled, healthy food to those in need. This is the goal of many food recovery organizations, like the Food Bank of WNY, who can take unused food and redistribute it to the community’s food insecure citizens.

• Inviting healthy habits. Wash fruits and vegetables right away and leave them out on your counter so you remember to eat them before they perish. Foods in sight invite you to eat healthy first.

• Recycling. Make sure you separate items for recycling and compost food scraps instead of sending them to a landfill.
Not sure how long food should be kept for? Download the USDA’s FoodKeeper App to determine how long an item may be kept in the refrigerator, freezer or pantry. Knowing this information helps you identify what needs to be used soon and plan your meals efficiently and safely.

Help the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reach their goal of cutting food waste in half by 2030. It requires some thought and planning but it’s an excellent choice for you, your family and the community. Together, we can all “Go Further with Food.”

Heart Smart Substitutions

By Jennifer Carland, RD, CDN

February is National Heart Health Month. Take care of your heart by making some simple substitutions on your plate!

Butter is high in saturated fats. These fats are unhealthy, and should be limited.

Instead, try swapping butter for vegetable oils such as canola or olive oil, which are higher in mono/poly unsaturated fats. These are healthier fats that can protect your heart.


Substitute your dessert for fruit or a frozen fruit bar.

Many desserts, including ice cream, are high in sugar and unhealthy (saturated) fats. Alternatively, fruit is packed with nutrients and can still satisfy that sweet tooth.


Fried Chicken (and other fried foods), are especially high in fats as the oils become absorbed into the food as it cooks. Consuming fried foods too frequently can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension and obesity.Try other methods of cooking, including grilling, baking, or roasting.

French Fries are also usually deep fried, thus, higher in unhealthy fats.

If you enjoy potatoes, switch to a baked potato or mashed potatoes. You could also try other side dishes such as rice or extra vegetables.


Although salt is a necessary mineral for the body to function, too much salt can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and kidney damage. The maximum daily sodium intake for most people is 2300 mg (1 teaspoon).

Try seasoning your foods with herbs, spices, lemon juice or vinegar instead.


Whole milk contains more fat than low-fat milk. However, moderate amounts of fat are necessary for energy and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K).The recommended daily amount of fat intake should only be about 20-35% of calories consumed. Try to stay within the limitations by consuming low-fat dairy products.

Snack Smarter!

Trade your bag of salty potato chips for a heart health snack like nuts and seeds. They are high in healthy fats, mono- and poly- unsaturated fats. These fats can lower your bad cholesterol while increasing your good cholesterol.

By making small substitutions to your diet, you can decrease your risk for heart disease. You can also protect your heart with physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, limiting stress, and by quitting smoking. Discuss your options for physical activity with your doctor before starting any exercise program. 

Buffalo Sabres, Walmart honor MOW volunteer Pat Boje

Pat Boje, volunteer at Meals on Wheels, accepting an award from the Buffalo Sabres.

The Buffalo Sabres honored Meals on Wheels for Western New York volunteer Pat Boje as one of their Walmart Community Playmakers. In a presentation at the February 6, 2018 game against the Anaheim Ducks, the Sabres and Walmart presented an award of recognition to Boje, acknowledging her hard work as a Meals on Wheels volunteer. Walmart and the Buffalo Sabres organization also made a generous donation of $2,000 to the Meals on Wheels Foundation of Western New York.

Boje volunteers 8-12 hours a week with MOW as a front desk volunteer. She also is involved with fundraising activities – volunteering for Plate Expectations, the National Chicken Wing Festival, and other foundation events.

Congratulations to Pat on being selected for this wonderful honor!


Cooking Healthy with 5-Ingredient Recipes

By Nicole Goben, MS, RD, CDN

We all know that cooking meals from scratch is nutritionally the best choice for our families, but in this day and age time tends to get in the way and convenient meal options are often chosen. Convenient foods such as frozen meals or fast food tend to be higher in sodium, sugar and saturated fats, which should typically be limited in a healthy diet.

Preparing meals at home doesn’t have to be a difficult or time consuming task when you choose recipes with minimal ingredients to keep it simple and reduce time and money spent in the grocery store. Below are some healthy, 5-ingredient dinners that can easily be prepared to please the whole family!

White Chicken Chili

• 6 cups chicken stock
• 4 cups cooked shredded chicken (about 2 chicken breasts)
• 2 15 ounce cans great white northern beans, drained and rinsed
• 2 cups salsa verde
• 2 teaspoons ground cumin
• Optional toppings: avocado, sour cream, crumbled tortilla chips, chopped green onions, cilantro

Add all ingredients (minus the toppings) to a large stockpot and heat over medium-high heat until boiling then cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for at least 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste and serve with desired toppings.

Tomato Basil Salmon

• 6 ounce boneless salmon fillets (1 per person)
• 1 tablespoon dried basil
• 1 tomato, thinly sliced
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Pre-heat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat with non-stick spray. Place salmon fillets on sheet, sprinkle with basil, top with tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
Bake in oven for about 20 minutes or until salmon reaches 145°F degrees and cheese is lightly browned. Serve with brown rice and veggies of your choice.

Tip: This recipe would work well with boneless chicken breast as well! (make sure chicken is cooked to 165°F) Source:

Slow Cooker Steak Fajitas

• 2 pounds beef, sliced
• 2 bell peppers, sliced
• 1 onion, sliced
• 20 ounce jar of salsa
• 2 tablespoons fajita seasoning


Add all ingredients to the slow cooker and mix well. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours. Serve with your favorite fajita shells.

Vegetable Frittata

• 4 large eggs
• 1 medium tomato, chopped
• 1 green bell pepper, chopped
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives, or 1 teaspoon dried chives
• ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
• ½ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400°F and coat a large skillet with a non-stick cooking spray.
In a bowl, whisk together eggs and salt, then add tomato, pepper, chives and ¼ cup cheese; whisk to combine. Pour into skillet and sprinkle remaining cheddar cheese on top.
Bake for 15 minutes then remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes, slice and serve.

Tip: feel free to play around with other veggies in this recipe such as broccoli, mushrooms, onions or spinach. You can also use different cheeses for variety like goat cheese, feta cheese, mozzarella or parmesan cheese.

These recipes can also be doubled or tripled to last for more than one meal. Try starting with these simple recipes to increase the amount of meals cooked in home; your wallet and your health will thank you!

Meals on Wheels welcomes Vatica Health for a Day of Volunteering

Fourteen representatives from Vatica Health joined Meals on Wheels for Western New York, Inc. today for a day of volunteering.

Volunteers learned about our meal delivery program and the homebound elderly and disabled individuals we serve throughout Western New York. The day concluded with a series of meal deliveries out of our Broadway site. In total, Vatica Health volunteers brought meals to more than 70 individuals across seven routes.

Thank you to Vatica Health for joining us for today’s day of volunteering!

If you would like to schedule a volunteer day for your own company or community group, contact Ashley at 716.822.2002 x21 or visit our volunteer page to learn more.

Pictures from this day of volunteering [slideshow via our Instagram]:

Meals on Wheels for WNY takes part in LTCOP January In-Service

Meals on Wheels for Western New York’s Jennifer Carland, Registered Dietitian, RD, CDN, joined local health and nutrition experts as a panelist in today’s Long Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP) In-Service. The event gave LTCOP volunteers the opportunity to ask questions regarding nutrition, weight loss, mental health, and dietary concerns on behalf of those they care for. The in-service also was broadcast to LTCOP volunteers attending remotely from Jamestown, NY.

Carland joined panelists representing local organizations, including the Alzheimer’s Association WNY Chapter and Brothers of Mercy Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

Elmwood Franklin School holds day of volunteering on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Meals on Wheels for Western New York welcomed more than 80 students and parents from Elmwood Franklin School today, celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day with an afternoon of volunteering. After a short presentation in the school’s theater, six buses of volunteers braved the cold and delivered meals from our Black Rock site.

The day of volunteering helped bring both meals and smiles to more than sixty of our homebound elderly and disabled neighbors. The event wrapped up with a pizza social held by the school.

Thank you to the amazing students, parents, and school staff who helped make today happen!

See the story on WIVB Channel 4:

Additional links and video from local media will be posted here when available.

Learn more about volunteering with Meals on Wheels by visiting our volunteer page.