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.
Source: https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/5-ingredient-easy-white-chicken-chili-recipe/

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: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/166624/tomato-basil-salmon/?internalSource=streams&referringId=17057&referringContentType=recipe%20hub&clickId=st_trending_b

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.
Source: https://fitslowcookerqueen.com/slow-cooker-steak-fajitas/

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.
Source: https://www.sweetphi.com/5-ingredient-vegetable-frittata/

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: http://wivb.com/2018/01/15/elmwood-franklin-school-students-give-back-through-meals-on-wheels/

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.


Donate Blood: Facts and Nutritional Tips

By Jamie Vallone, RD, CDN

Every January, the American Red Cross and other community blood banks celebrate National Blood Donor Month. Blood donors are important to the community as blood is vital for life and always needed. Blood donations are used for transfusions following trauma and surgery, treatment of anemia, and platelet transfusions for those with diseases like leukemia.

Here are some facts regarding blood donations:
• Blood is needed every two seconds.
• One in seven patients hospitalized will need blood.
• Less than 10 percent of the population eligible to donate blood is currently donating.
• Type O negative is often in high demand due to its ability to be transfused to all blood types and its use in emergency situations when blood type is unknown.
• The average blood donor gives 1 pint of blood. A car accident victim can need up to 100 pints of blood.

Diet is an important part of donating blood. Prior to donating, consume foods that are high in iron such as poultry, fish, beef, eggs, beans, peas, spinach, dried fruit and strawberries. (Consult with your doctor first if you have any dietary restrictions.) The American Red Cross tests for deficiencies in hemoglobin, an iron-rich protein found in red blood cells and you want to make sure your blood donation will be usable. Foods high in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits and juices, help your body to better absorb plant-based sources of iron.

On the day you are donating, the American Red Cross suggests eating a healthy, low-fat meal such as oatmeal with raisins or a sandwich with fruit and drinking 16 oz. of non-alcoholic and non-carbonated fluids such as water or orange juice. It is recommended to avoid high fat foods such as fried foods for 24 hours prior to donating as this can affect screening results. Having a snack or drink right after donating is suggested to decrease your chance of feeling sick. Plan to drink extra fluids and avoid alcohol for 24 hours after donating.

You can find more information on donating and local donation options at:
• American Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org/give-blood
• Roswell Park: https://www.roswellpark.org/donor-center
• UNYTS: http://www.unyts.org/services/community-blood-donation/where-do-i-donate-blood

Cold Weather Statement for January 5, 2018

Meals on Wheels for WNY will be serving meals today. It’s always a hard decision to make when weather is bad, as our top two priorities are client safety and volunteer safety.  We want to get meals to as many of our clients as possible before the frigid weekend.

Current volunteers – as always, if you don’t feel safe or comfortable delivering, please call your Site Manager so that other arrangements can be made.

For those who do not currently volunteer and may be looking for a one-off opportunity or a chance to try Meals on Wheels – please consider joining our “Save the Day” team.  If you want to volunteer, you’ll be placed at a site in need and will get a mini training before heading out.  Call Myndi Block at 822-2002, ext. 20 if you want to “Save the Day.”

Thank you to everyone who helps us serve our vulnerable neighbors – today and all year long.

Making 2018 the Best Year Yet!

A new year is upon us! The opportunities and challenges of the weeks and months to come are a mystery, but something to keep in mind is that we have control over our reactions to these things and their effects on us. This is one of the most powerful truths to remember all year round.

Some ways to make 2018 your best year yet:
Recognize the things around you that make you happy. Something as simple as the sun shining brightly on a winter day or squirrels playing in the tree outside your window is something to notice and appreciate.
Practice gratitude regularly. An easy way to do this is to write down three things you are grateful for each day. This can remind you that even during your most difficult times, you have good in your life.
Write down your goals. Research has shown again and again that by writing down your goals you are more likely to achieve them.
Acknowledge all you have accomplished already. Make note of the things you have accomplished throughout your life. If you have a specific goal or resolution for the New Year, remember any progress you have already made towards it.
Remember that what you focus on grows. Focus on the positive and you will experience more of it!
Cultivate connections with others. In our technology-based world, it is easy to lose sight of the importance of quality, undistracted time with those most important to us. Studies show those with a strong social support system are healthier, happier and more resilient. Make time for those that matter to you whenever you can.

Here’s to a fantastic year ahead!

Bishop Malone Delivers Meals, Hope to Homebound

Throughout the year, Meals on Wheels for Western New York is committed to providing nutritious food and a friendly visit to homebound clients around the region. In addition to helping meet these critical basic needs for their clients, the staff and volunteers at Meals on Wheels find ways to make birthdays and holidays a little more special for clients by sharing cakes, cards and other surprises throughout the year.

During the Christmas season, a tradition has developed in which Bishop Richard Malone and Father Ryszard Biernat join Meals on Wheels to visit numerous clients during meal delivery. For the fifth year, the pair were eagerly received by clients who wanted to share a prayer at Christmas-time.

Thank you to Bishop Malone and Father Ryszard for coming out to deliver meals once again today.  You delivered so much more than meals, including hope, comfort and smiles!