November Food of the Month - Carrots


November Food of the Month - Carrots!!

While carrot season peaks in early fall, these nutritious orange delights are available locally from cold storage throughout the winter months and make an excellent side dish to a hearty winter meal!  Carrots are an excellent source of Vitamin A, which is a crucial nutrient for healthy vision.  Some people worry about the sugar in carrots, but carrots are actually a low sugar food.   One half cup of carrots has only 2-3 grams of natural sugar, an amount only slightly higher than most vegetables and significantly lower than the average fruit.  Additionally they are high in fiber, which prevents the sugar from spiking your blood sugar, and low in calories.  So this November relax and enjoy your carrots!


Article written by Spectrum nutritionist Christina LiPuma, RDN, LDN



October Food of the Month - Butternut Squash

As the weather turns chilly, winter squashes take center stage!  These hearty vegetables have a long shelf life and before modern refrigeration were a staple that helped feed people through the cold winter months.  Butternut squashes are long and pale in color (pictured above), have a sweet flavor similar to pumpkin and sweet potato, and taste great roasted both in salads or alone as a side dish.  They also make a colorful, healthy addition to any chili or soup and are an excellent source of Vitamin A.  The recipe below for roasted butternut squash was featured at Spectrum’s Plant Based Nutrition Class and our participants loved it!


Roasted Butternut Squash with Cinnamon and Vanilla

Serving size: ½ cup

Makes ~ 6-8 servings



            1 large butternut squash

            1 ½ tablespoons olive oil

            1 ½ tsp vanilla

            Cinnamon (to taste)



1)    Peel and dice butternut squash (may buy diced and skip this step if desired)

2)    In a large bowl, combine diced butternut squash, olive oil and vanilla

3)    Spread out over cookie sheet and sprinkle with desired amount of cinnamon

4)    Bake in oven on 450 ̊ F for 20-30 minutes or until fork tender and slightly browned


Nutrition Info:

Calories: ~105

Carbohydrates: ~15 gm

Protein: ~1.5 gm

Fat: ~4 gm

Fiber: ~1.5 gm

Sodium: 0 gm


Article written by Spectrum nutritionist Christina LiPuma, RDN, LDN



September Food of the Month - Apples


With summer wrapping up and school starting, September is a time for new beginnings for many people.  It’s an excellent time to reflect on your current health habits and set goals for improvement if needed! 

Did you know that less than 15% of Americans meet the recommendation for fruit intake? While 1 ½ to 2 cups are recommended, a majority of Americans are falling short.  Apples, which are in season in Pennsylvania now through the end of October, are a low cost, convenient way to add an extra serving of fruit to your day!  One medium apple is the equivalent of one cup and makes a great lunchbox snack or salad topping.  They can also be used to add natural sweetness to breakfast items such as yogurt, hot cereal, pancakes, and waffles.  Try buying in bulk (for example the bag of apples instead of the individual ones) to get the most apples for your dollar!

Article written by Spectrum nutritionist Christina LiPuma, RDN, LDN


August 2018 Food of the Month - Cantaloupe

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August in South Eastern Pennsylvania heralds the beginning of harvest season which brings a bounty of delicious local fruits and vegetables to supermarkets and farmer’s markets throughout Philadelphia!  This is a great time to choose locally grown produce because the taste is great and the price is right.  Cantaloupe is highlighted this month as our “Food of the Month”, but be sure to enjoy a variety of fruits and vegetables this harvest season!

Did you know cantaloupe is a good source of vitamins A, C and potassium?  The average American gets less than 60% of the daily recommendation for potassium which is a key nutrient for bone health, muscle function, and even plays a role in maintaining healthy blood pressure.  While some fruits have little variation in taste year round, cantaloupe is significantly more flavorful when purchased in season, so this month try cantaloupe slices as a snack or added to fruit salad for a tasty potassium boost!

Article written by Spectrum nutritionist Christina LiPuma, RDN, LDN




Add Sweetness to Your Summer!

Healthy, hot weather sweet treat tips from Spectrum's nutrition expert, Christine LiPuma, RDN, LDN. To schedule a nutrition counseling session, contact 215.471.2761 or join us for our monthly Food as Medicine cooking demonstrations!

July 2018 Food of the Month - Blueberries


Looking for a way to cool off in the July heat?  Fresh blueberries straight out of the refrigerator make a great summer snack!  Luckily, blueberry season lasts from early July to mid-August to help you through the hot weather.  Blueberries contain beneficial plant chemicals called anthocyanins, which give them their blue color and help protect your body’s cells from damage. 


They are also an excellent source of Vitamin C and taste great in yogurt, oatmeal, salads, smoothies and more.  Get them at your local farmers market, super market or, if you’re up for an adventure, pick your own and get a variety of shapes, sizes and varieties (as seen above).


Photo and article written by Spectrum nutritionist Christina LiPuma, RDN, LDN

June 2018 Food of the Month - Strawberries



Now that June is upon us it is officially strawberry season!  Fresh local strawberries at great prices will soon start popping up everywhere you shop, from farmers markets to grocery stores, so now is a great time to add some of this colorful fruit to your diet.  

These red gems have over half your daily needs of Vitamin C in just one cup and make delicious additions to oatmeal, yogurt, cereal, smoothies, and salads.   Whether in a mixed dish or just washed and eaten straight out of the carton, the flavor this time of year will not disappoint!  



Written by Spectrum nutritionist Christina LiPuma, RDN, LDN

May 2018 Food of the Month - Collard Greens

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Collard greens can be an incredibly nutritious dish, but how they are prepared is important.  Collards are an excellent source of Vitamins A and C and, as part of the cruciferous vegetable family, can help your body produce compounds that cleanse your liver!  However, when greens are cooked in leftover animal grease or stewed with ham hocks, bacon, or turkey necks, they become a significant source of unhealthy saturated fat.  Try sautéing greens in oil instead of animal grease or butter and adding leaner cuts of meat such as skinless chicken or turkey.  Small changes to traditional preparation will allow your body to enjoy collard greens as much as you do!  Click here for a healthier collard green recipe (try it with low sodium vegetable broth for healthiest option).




Written by Spectrum nutritionist Christina LiPuma, RDN, LDN


April 2018 Food of the Month - Spinach

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Did you know that more than 80% of American’s don’t meet the recommendations for vegetable intake?  It’s recommended that adults eat a minimum of 2-3 cups of vegetables each day and spinach is a great way to meet this goal.  Spinach is high in Vitamins A and C and also contains fiber and iron.  This versatile green can be used in salads, stir fry’s, smoothies, side dishes and more! 

Try the spinach containing green smoothie recipe below as a way to get vegetables some greens in at breakfast!

Basic Green Smoothie
(makes 2 servings)

  • 2 cups spinach
  • ¾ cup frozen berries, apples, or peaches
  • 1 cup chunks of frozen bananas or mangoes
  • 1 ½ cups liquid (i.e. 1% milk, almond milk, water)

 Directions: Blend all ingredients together.   If too thick, add water to thin.

For more information or to suggest other complementing recipes, please contact our nutritionist at 215.471.2761 or send us a message!




Written by Spectrum nutritionist Christina LiPuma, RDN, LDN


March 2018 Food of the Month - Asparagus


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In March, when few vegetables in the North East are in season, asparagus hits its prime.  This unusual vegetable comes in both green and white varieties, grows directly out of the ground, and comes back each year without having to be replanted.  To learn more about how asparagus grows click here.

Asparagus is packed with fiber and is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, K and folate.  It tastes great sautéed or oven baked and makes a perfect side dish for chicken, fish, and beef.  See the recipe below for a quick, easy way to prepare delicious baked asparagus!

Garlic Parmesan Asparagus


  • 1 Bundle of asparagus
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp garlic (minced fresh or powder)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (optional)
  • 1-2 Tbsp parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Rinse asparagus in cold water and let dry.  Lightly coat asparagus spears with olive oil and spread out on cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with garlic, pepper, and salt if desired.   Bake for 5 minutes.  Remove from oven, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bake for another 3-5 minutes (until asparagus is fork tender).

Tip: To best store asparagus, place the bundle in the fridge standing upright in a bowl with ½ to 1 inch of water.  This will keep the spears fresh until you are ready to cook them, especially if you plan to wait a few days!



Written by Spectrum nutritionist Christina LiPuma, RDN, LDN

Happy Valentine's Day to the City of Brotherly Love

#HealthTip : #DarkChocolate (not the sugary-filled milk chocolate) is filled with #antioxidants which can improve #bloodflow, lower #bloodpressure, and lower risk of #heart disease.

LOVE - valentines dark chocolates.jpg

source: Kris Gunnars,

#happyvalentinesday and much #LOVE to the entire #CityofBrotherlyLove
#PreventiveHealthCare is a #FamilyAffair

February 2018 Food of the Month: Walnuts

Photo by

Photo by

With 16 grams of heart healthy unsaturated fat per ounce, walnuts are a great food to eat in celebration of American Heart Health month.  They also contain twice the recommended daily amount of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) for females and over one and a half times the recommended amount for males.  ALA is an anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acid that can help protect against heart attack and stroke.  Have a small handful as a snack, toss them into a trail mix or try them chopped up in a bowl of salad, yogurt, or oatmeal!


New Year’s Nutrition Tips

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Looking for a New Year’s resolution that will help improve your health?  Here are three simple ideas for resolutions to make 2018 your healthiest year yet!

1) Rethink Your Drink

It’s recommended that you drink 64oz (about 8 cups) of water each day.  Try to increase your intake of water and cut back on soda, juice, and other sugar-sweetened beverages.  Sugary drinks tend to add a lot of calories but provide very little in the way of nutrition!  Not drinking enough water can lead to headaches, difficulty concentrating, constipation, and even bad moods.   If you don’t like water plain, try adding lemon, lime, or cucumber as flavoring.

2) Get Moving

Everyone should aim to exercise at least 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week.  If you’re trying to lose weight the recommendation is twice that amount!  In addition to promoting a healthy weight, exercise improves mood, energy levels, and reduces your risk of chronic disease.  Whether you prefer to play sports with friends, hit the gym, or go for a brisk walk, any type of exercise will benefit your body.   Not big into exercise right now?  Start small then gradually work your way up to the goal—every little bit counts!

3) Add Color

Colorful fruits and vegetables are packed full of fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.  They’re also low in calories but still give you that full feeling, which can help you lose weight.   Aim for a minimum of 3 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruits daily.  To maximize the benefit, try to eat a variety of colors each day.  Vegetables taste great in soups, salads, pasta, stir-fried, on pizza and even on their own.  Fruit makes a great snack or topping for your favorite breakfast food.  So get creative and eat the rainbow!

Christina LiPuma, RDN, LDN


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December 2017 Food of the Month: Clementines

Photo courtesy of @snapfitness

Photo courtesy of @snapfitness


Season: November through February

Clementines may be small, but they pack a powerful nutritious punch.  On top of other vitamins and minerals, a single clementine has only 35 calories and contains 36 mg of Vitamin C.  That’s over half of what is recommended for you to get in a day! 

While there is no evidence that Vitamin C can help cure a cold, research shows that if taken before symptoms of a cold begin, then it may shorten the duration and severity of a cold.  Include clementines in your diet for a low calorie source of Vitamin C.  They make convenient snacks and go great in salads!  Delicious and nutritious, consistent intake of clementines and other Vitamin C-containing foods may help you get over your next cold a little faster.

Christina LiPuma, RDN, LDN
Spectrum Health Services, Inc.


January 2016 Food of the Month


Acorn squash are a great source of potassium, vitamins A and C, and fiber!  These nutrients can help keep your eyes and skin healthy.  They can also help to prevent diabetes and high blood pressure.  

Acorn squash were named because of their acorn-like shape.  They are in season all winter in this part of the country.  Use in soups, pastas, pies, ravioli, or stuff with brown rice and veggies.  And don’t toss the seeds.  Roast them in the oven with some herbs for a nutritious snack!

Colleen Forrest, RDN, LDN
Spectrum Health Services, Inc.


December Food of the Month


Mushrooms are rich in various vitamins and minerals we don’t hear about too often.  In addition to being high in fiber, omega 6 fatty acids, and potassium, mushrooms also contain a notable amount of riboflavin, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, copper, niacin, and selenium.

These nutrients are important for metabolism and energy, healthy skin, maintenance of hemoglobin and blood vessels, and preventing oxidation.  Depending on which type of mushrooms you choose, the nutrient content will vary.  But feel free to experiment with any mushrooms from the store!  They’re all great options!

Mushrooms are a rather versatile food.  They serve as great toppings/sauces for pasta, bases for vegetarian dishes such as veggie burgers, and hearty additions to soups, salads, breakfast eggs and omelets.  Of course they’re also a great option to munch on plain!

Colleen Forrest, RDN, LDN
Spectrum Health Services, Inc.

November Food of the Month

Fennel is a deliciously unique plant.  Both its bulb and its seeds are often used in cooking, yet have completely different tastes.  While the bulb is actually a member of the carrot family, its flavor and aroma resemble that of licorice!  The seeds, on the other hand, are often used in Italian cooking, such as sausages.

Just as both have different tastes, both have different nutritional contents.  The bulb is a good source of fiber, folate, potassium, and vitamin C, while the seeds are a good source of omega 6 fatty acids and manganese.  Therefore, to say fennel is a super food is an understatement!

Never tried fennel?  Now is the time to change that.  Fennel is at its seasonal peak in this part of the country in November.  Therefore, it should be abundant, fresh, and affordable!

Colleen Forrest, RDN, LDN
Spectrum Health Services, Inc.

October Food of the Month


Pumpkin is a seasonal favorite for many, and not only as a decoration!  Pumpkin drinks, pumpkin desserts, pumpkin soups… the list goes on, but it is certainly a staple in the fall.  The nutrients contained are reason enough to consider it a staple, let alone the flavor.  Pumpkin is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium.  In fact, 1 cup of cooked pumpkin contains nearly two and a half times the amount of vitamin A the average person needs in one day!  Vitamin A is an essential nutrient that benefits our skin and vision.  This fall, serve up pumpkin frequently to get those extra servings of vegetables in.  That’s right, enjoy the pumpkin spice phenomenon!  Just be careful with portion sizes on the sweets.  Most anything in moderation.

Colleen Forrest, RDN, LDN
Spectrum Health Services, Inc.

Keep Your Brain Active


This week is Active Aging Week, a week dedicated to encouraging older Americans to remain active.  However, activity is not limited to physical activity.  As we get older, it is important to stay mentally active as well.  Studies show that practicing brain-boosting activities can help to prevent Alzheimer's disease and dementia.  Here are some ideas of activities to do this week and keep your mind active!  Learn a new language or musical instrument, do puzzles, brain teasers, or strategy games, and practice memorization: maybe the 50 state capitals or the US presidents.

Colleen Forrest, RDN, LDN
Spectrum Health Service, Inc.

Cut Back, Don't Cut Out


Trying to eat healthy doesn't mean you have to give up the foods that you love.  In fact, many people who try to completely cut out one of their favorite "bad" foods (such as bacon, oreos, Pepsi, etc.) end up overindulging during a stressful situation, which then leads to feeling guilty or discouraged.  Don't kid yourself.  Life will give you stress.  It's better to allow yourself a cookie or a soda every now and then to satisfy that craving than to completely deprive yourself and then later overindulge.

Colleen Forrest, RDN, LDN
Spectrum Health Services, Inc.