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Healthy snacking is an important part of a well-balanced diet; but if you're not careful, bite-size snacks can become full-size meals. When calories are concerned, it’s a good idea to limit snacks to 200 calories or less.  Start by choosing snacks that have emphasis on a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, seeds, nuts and legumes.  Choosing these types of healthy snacks will satisfy your cravings and keep you feeling fuller longer.

 Try out some of these favorite snack recipes for you and your family!

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bites    

PB bites


1/2 cup Chocolate chips

1 cup Oatmeal, dry

1/3 cup Honey or agave nectar

1/2 cup Peanut butter

1 tsp Vanilla extract

2/3 cup Coconut flakes, toasted

1/2 cup Flax seed, ground


Place all ingredients into mixing bowl and mix well. Roll into 2” balls and chill for one hour.

Nutritional Information

Serving Size: 1 Bite, Calories: 112, Fat: 7g, Carbs: 10g, Protein: 4g


Apple Cookies                         


1 apple

¼ cup peanut butter

¼ cup almonds, sliced

¼ cup walnuts, chopped

¼ cup shredded coconut

¼ cup chocolate chips


Slice apple into thin rings and remove core.

Spread peanut butter over one side of ring. Top with almonds, walnuts, coconut, and chocolate chips.

Nutrition Information

 Serving Size: 3 slices 200 calories, 8g Fat, 3g Protein 


Fresh Homemade Avocado Salsa       



2 Tomatoes, diced

½ Vidalia onion, diced

1 Whole Cucumber Peeled, diced

1 Avocado, diced

1 Whole Lemon Squeezed

6 Fresh Basil Leaves, chopped

4 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 T. Balsamic

2 T. Red Wine Vinegar

2 T. Honey


Dice tomatoes, onion, cucumber and place into medium mixing bowl. Dice avocado, add into mixing bowl and immediately squeeze lemon onto avocado to avoid browning. Add remaining ingredients; mix well, salt and pepper to taste and refrigerate 30 minutes or until serving. Serve with whole grain tortilla or pita chips.

Nutritional Information

Serving Size: ½ Cup, 120 Calories, 8g Fat, 3g Protein

 12 Whole Grain Chips 130 calories



More snack ideas:

·          ¼ cup dried fruit and nut mix

·          1 small apple or orange

·          3 cups light popcorn

·          1/3 cup hummus + 1 cup raw fresh cut veggies (green peppers, carrots, broccoli, cucumber, celery,

           cauliflower or a combination of these)

·          ¼ cup cottage cheese + ½ cup canned or fresh fruit

·          1 cheese quesadilla (made with one 6-inch corn or whole wheat tortilla + 1 oz shredded cheese)

            + ¼ cup salsa

·          2 rice cakes (with a 4-inch diameter) + 1 Tablespoon peanut butter

·          5 whole wheat crackers (or ¾ oz) + 1 piece of string cheese

·          ½ turkey sandwich (1 slice whole wheat bread + 2 oz turkey + mustard)

·          ½ cup tuna salad + 4 saltines

·          1 medium banana + 1 tablespoon peanut butter

·          Protein shakes/smoothies (1 cup low fat vanilla yogurt, 1-2 cups of berries)

·          Cucumbers sandwiches, filled with roast beef/turkey and low fat cheese

·          Whole grain tortilla chips and salsa

·          ¾ cup whole grain cereal with low fat milk


picnic basket


As the temperatures outside begin to warm-up, it’s time to start planning fun outdoor activities.  As we begin to dream of beach towels and waves, hiking and waterfalls, and just lounging out by the pool, we also need to consider how we are going to keep our body nourished, energized, and refreshed.  This can easily be accomplished by packing a healthy picnic basket for all those fun times.  Traditional picnic foods have normally included things like fried chicken, hamburgers and hotdogs, macaroni salad, potato chips and brownies.  These high calorie foods can definitely cause trouble for your diet, but the good news is that with a little substituting and making healthier choices we can enjoy a wonderful picnic without sacrificing our health.


Check out these three tips for preparing for a nutritious and healthy picnic:


1.  Start with the basics of Nature (Fruit and Vegetables)

Pack your basket with fresh produce including grapes, apples, bananas, peaches, berries and melon.  These fresh fruits will bring lots of flavor and refreshment on hot weather days.  Don’t forget to pack the veggies!  Vegetables can be consumed raw with  dips such as hummus or a lite veggie dip, or they can be used in some delicious recipes.  Try choosing a healthier version of macaroni salad or tossing together a nutritious version of broccoli slaw.  Many of our starchy mayonnaise based salads can be improved nutritiously by substituting colorful veggies for some of the starchy ingredients and substituting Greek yogurt for mayonnaise.


2.  Rethink your main dish

Instead of picking up the usual Fried Chicken and French Fries, try planning ahead for a healthier meal option.  If you are in a hurry, try picking up a baked rotisserie chicken or some sandwich wraps or subs.  If you are thinking about grilling at your picnic site, then try turkey burgers and chicken, rather than the normal hamburger and hotdogs.  Both turkey burgers and grilled chicken will provide you with good protein and are a lower fat option.  To add to your main dish, don’t forget that you can grill some tasty veggies also.  Slice up some mushrooms, squash, onions, peppers and zucchini to make some tasty skewers that will add both nutrients and flavor to your dish.


3.  Finishing Strong 

 Most staple desserts for cookouts normally include cookies, brownies, cakes or something with chocolate.  First try substituting some of these high calorie choices out for a colorful fruit tray.  If you and your guests must have something sweet to finish off your tasty meal, then first remember portion sizes count.  Cutting that nice slice of cake in half saves not only calories, but your waist line.  Also, try baking healthier recipes for dessert, such as an angel food cake with sliced strawberries and lite whipped cream.  



 Healthy Picnic Food Ideas from WebMD



     Did you know that little calories you eat here and there, without even thinking about it, could be adding up on your waist-line? Did you also know that it is not just hunger or even emotions that drive us down the path to overeating? Our surroundings can actually encourage us to eat more. In his book, Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More than We Think, Brian Wansink, Ph.D. points out that the average person makes over 200 food-related decisions every day. What drives those decisions is not always easy to explain.  Why do we choose to eat what we do? What controls the amount we eat?

            Dr. Wansink is the Director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab.  He and his team have done extensive research to find out what influences people to eat the way that they do. What his research has uncovered could help you eat less, eat healthier and maybe even enjoy your food more. On the other hand, without paying attention, you may be at the mercy of your environment when it comes to food choices. Did you know the size of the plate, characteristics of the food packaging, and even the smells, colors and lighting in the dining room influence what and how much we eat?  Food companies, restaurants and marketers utilize these principles every day to boost their business, whether they are promoting healthy foods or not. Therefore, it makes sense to be an informed consumer if we want to make healthier choices.


            In the meantime, try these tips to help you take better control of your food choices and the amount you eat…

1.      Start with smaller plates. Use a 7-9” plate rather than a 10-12”. The smaller the plate, the less food it will take to make the plate look full.  When the plate looks full, we tend to think we have more to eat and feel more satisfied even if there is less food.

2.      Don’t go back for seconds and don’t be a member of the CYPC (Clean Your Plate Club). Leaving a small amount on the plate at each meal can save you lots of calories over time. This can lead to gradual, yet significant, weight loss

3.     Fill ½ your plate with non-starchy vegetables. Items like broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, greens, mushrooms, onions and peppers are low in calories but help you feel full. They are also a great source of vitamins and minerals.

4.      Pace yourself. Try putting the fork down between bites. Take time to actually taste and savor each bite

5.      When snacking, portion out what you are eating and stop with one serving. Don’t sit down in front of the TV with an entire package. Eat items like nuts, trail-mix or popcorn one piece at a time rather than by the handfuls.

Remember the best way to avoid “mindless eating” is to pay attention and be aware of what you are doing. Take the time to be a “mindful” eater. You might be surprised to find what a weapon the mind can be in the battle against the bulge.


nourish blog post - Paul H. Broyhill Wellness CenterBreakfast is the most important meal of the day. It provides you with the energy you need to start your day and can also provide many other health benefits including weight control. Studies have shown that when people eat breakfast in the morning, they are less likely to eat a larger amount of calories during the day.

The ideal breakfast contains a good balance of carbohydrates, healthy fats and protein. Carbohydrates provide fuel for your brain, healthy fats enhance absorption of the fat soluble vitamins and protein provides a feeling of fullness.

Try these quick breakfast ideas to start your day the right way:

  • Oatmeal with a dash of raisins or dried cranberries and walnuts
  • Low-fat plain yogurt layered with your favorite whole grain crunchy cereal and fruit
  • Breakfast smoothie made with low-fat milk and your choice of fresh or frozen fruit or a combination of both
    • If you want a thicker smoothie add an extra banana or extra frozen fruit
    • You can also use low-fat or Greek yogurt
  • Top a whole grain waffle with low-fat yogurt and your favorite fruit
  • Breakfast sandwich with scrambled eggs and turkey bacon on whole wheat toast and your favorite fruit on the side

Don’t delay – eat your breakfast today

I'm Blogging National Nutrition MonthMarch is National Nutrition Month®. This is a campaign to raise awareness about the importance of making healthy nutrition and lifestyle choices.  Join us to “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right.”  How, when, why and where you eat is just as important as what you eat. It’s all about finding ways to enjoy making healthier choices. After all, if you don’t like doing something, you are not as likely to stick with it.

Make a point to slow down and savor each eating experience. Take time to sit down at the dinner table to eat and make the environment pleasant. Things like setting the table, playing soft music, or lighting a centerpiece with candles helps focus attention on the meal. Believe it or not, this can help you manage your weight. When you eat too fast, it is easy to consume more calories than you realize. If you are not paying attention, you can quickly eat a large meal and still not feel satisfied. It really is true that it takes several minutes for the brain to receive fullness signals from the stomach. Rushing meals, eating in front of the TV, or anything that causes distractions while eating, can lead to overconsumption of calories and weight gain.

Do you or your family do things to make mealtime special? We would love for you to post your ideas.

*Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is hosting the National Nutrition Month Event


We are very excited to share with you our new blog!  We will be discussing various nutrition topics in relation to wellness, health, and working out.  We hope to also provide you with easy recipes.  Please leave us a message in comments regarding any topics you would like more information about.  We hope to nourish your mind with great nutrition topics, so you can nourish your body to stay healthy and well.

April Wiles MA, RD, LDN

April-WilesIt has been my pleasure to work for Watauga Medical Center and Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) since May, 1995. I earned my Master’s degree in Family and Consumer Sciences with concentrations in Foods and Nutrition and Education in 1994 from Appalachian State University. Prior to becoming a dietitian, I was a teacher. I taught for a short time in the public schools and was later an instructor in the Family and Consumer Sciences Department at ASU from 1994-1999. I became a Registered Dietitian in 1995. During my employment with ARHS, I have had the opportunity to serve patients, residents, clients and their families in a variety of settings. In the past I have worked with participants in cardiac rehabilitation, medical and radiation oncology and kidney dialysis. I have also obtained a level 2 Certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management and a Certificate of Training in Childhood and Adolescent Weight Management from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

In 2011, I became the Clinical Nutrition Director for Appalachian Regional Healthcare System. In addition to management duties, I continue to provide Medical Nutrition Therapy in a various settings including acute care, long-term care, employee wellness, community weight management, and the Diabetes Self-Management Program.  I also provide nutrition classes for kids in our Ad-Fit Summer Camp. I have enjoyed working in each of these areas. I especially like helping people with diabetes and those with weight issues learn to incorporate healthier habits into their everyday lives.

In addition to being a full-time dietitian, I am also a full-time wife and mother. My wonderful husband and I were married in 1993. He is a special education teacher. We have been blessed with two beautiful teenage daughters. Our family also includes four dogs, two cats, a hedgehog and a variety of fish. My favorite activities involve spending time with my family.  We enjoy serving our church, going for walks with the dogs, riding bikes, taking trips, etc. I treasure every moment with my family, and I also love helping other families become healthier through better nutrition.

Heather Casey MS, RD, LDN

Heather-CaseyIn 2007 I received a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics at Appalachian State University.  I also received a Master’s Degree in Nutrition from East Carolina University in 2010 and afterwards, completed my Dietetic Internship through the University of Delaware. 

I have worked for the Appalachian Regional Healthcare System for over 8 years, serving first as a Nutrition Therapy Assistant and currently as a Clinical Dietitian and Director of the Adolescent Fitness Program (Ad-Fit).  During my time here at ARHS I have worked with many nutrition programs including Cardiac-Pulmonary Rehab, Employee Wellness, Thrive, the Seby B. Jones Cancer Center and Ad-Fit.  I continue to work with many of these programs and devote a large amount of my time to working in Medical Nutrition Therapy at Watauga Medical Center. 

In addition to patient care and outpatient programs, I also am a professor at Appalachian State University, where I teach Nutrition Counseling and Nutrition Assessment.  Over the last 8 years, I have enjoyed sharing my knowledge and experiences with a large number of Exercise Science and Nutrition and Dietetic undergraduate and graduate interns.

In my leisure time, I enjoy being active through hiking and running, and enjoy participating in, and watching sports.  My ultimate joy comes from being a mom of two amazing little boys.  My desire as a Registered Dietitian is to help teach, encourage and motivate each individual on their journey towards wellness. 

Allison Caudill MA, RD, LDN

Allison-CaudillI became a member of Appalachian Regional Healthcare System in September 2013. Prior to coming to work here, I worked as a clinical dietitian in Elkin, NC. I graduated in 2002 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics and 2004 with a Master’s Degree in Family and Consumer Sciences with an emphasis in Foods and Nutrition from Appalachian State University. I recently completed the second level of the Certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management.  I have over 11 years of experience in the field of nutrition in various areas including; management, acute and long-term care, kidney dialysis, oncology, cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation, and weight management. I have also been an adjunct instructor for Appalachian State University. 

I am currently involved in the Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation and the Thrive Fit for the Future programs here at the Wellness Center. I enjoy meeting new people and I am committed to helping people make lifestyle changes that promotes overall health without feeling deprived. It is a rewarding experience when I am able to be a part of helping other people meet their personal goals and become healthier.

In addition to being a registered dietitian, I am a wife and mother and have been married since 2002.  I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, being outdoors, hiking, photography, and leading worship at church.

Laura Shroyer, RD, LDN

Laura-ShroyerI have worked for Appalachian Regional Healthcare System since 2006 and I have over ten years of experience in the field of nutrition. I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics at Appalachian State University and completed a graduate internship and coursework at Meredith College.

Prior to obtaining my RD license, I worked as a Registered Dietary Technician for five years dedicating my life to the dietetics field and to the well-being of the Appalachian community. During this time, I also directed healthy cooking classes at the YMCA, taught Zumba and obtained my CNA license. 

I am currently involved in a variety of community nutrition programs throughout ARHS including; Cardiac-Pulmonary Rehab, Thrive, and the Seby B. Jones Cancer Center.  I also devote a large portion of my time working in Medical Nutrition Therapy at Watauga Medical Center and Cannon Memorial Hospital.

I relocated to Boone in 2002 from my hometown of Troy, Ohio. My family and I love the Appalachian Mountains and the scenery that surrounds the high country.  I am thrilled to be doing what I love while helping to make my community a better place.