Diet Detective: Eight summer foods and how to make them healthier

By Charles Platkin

We eat differently during the summer. We're outdoors more, so we're grilling, picnicking, drinking, hanging around and sometimes eating on the run, all of which can contribute excess calories. With a little help, you can redo some of those fattening summer recipes without sacrificing taste.

• Barbecue spareribs
Typically made with sugar, barbecue sauce, honey and other fattening extras, you can be getting in about 650 calories for five medium ribs. The fat on the ribs, plus the sauce, slathered on in layers, adds up.

Nutrition fix: First of all, use babyback ribs. They're the smallest, which helps with portion control. Place them on the grill without any barbecue sauce; just season with kosher salt, fresh pepper and garlic powder. Cook for 30-40 minutes, watching carefully so they don't burn. Serve with barbecue sauce or hot sauce on the side.

If you must have regular ribs, be sure to trim off the visible fat and only use one coating of sauce.

• Burgers
A 6-ounce burger has about 500 calories without the bun. Mayo (1 tablespoon) and cheese (a deli slice) will add about 100 calories each. Don't forget about the bun: It has about 120-150 calories.

Nutrition fix: Skip the cheese. Use lettuce and tomatoes, instead. Stick to ketchup, mustard, pickles and veggies for extra flavor. Use lean ground beef instead of regular, and spray the pan or grill with cooking spray to compensate for the lack of fat. Give your burger extra texture and flavor by mixing the meat with chopped mushrooms, water chestnuts, peppers and onions. You'll have the same size burger, but it will be much lower in calories.

For even fewer calories, you can make white meat-turkey burgers. Mix the meat with egg whites (two per pound), water, salt, pepper and onion powder.

• Frankfurter
An average 2-ounce beef hotdog has 150 calories, but that can vary depending on the ingredients and the brand. Add 120 calories for the bun, and you're already at almost 300 calories per dog. Add another 75-100 calories for an ounce of cheese, 30 calories each for 2 tablespoons of ketchup, mustard or sweet relish, and 60 more for 2.5 ounces of chili. You also have the preservatives, nitrates and all the other

Nutrition fix: Stick with sauerkraut, ketchup, mustard and relish. Stay away from cheesy sauces and chili. Choose Applegate Organic Uncured Hot Dogs made from 100-percent-organic grass-fed and finished beef or a similar type of hot dog. Make sure they are free of preservatives and nitrites. Instead of a bun, see if you can buy 100 percent whole-wheat buns or wrap it in a piece of whole wheat bread.

• Fried chicken
Deep-fried chicken with the skin can be very costly calorie-wise. Just one 3.5-ounce fried breast is about 250 calories, and one drumstick with skin is about 200 calories.

Nutrition fix: Dunk skinless chicken into a bowl of beaten egg whites and then into a bowl of breadcrumbs. Coat the pieces lightly with cooking spray, and bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes at 350-400 degrees. This saves more than 75 calories per piece of chicken.

• Pasta salad
Pasta or macaroni salad generally has, in addition to the pasta, some type of creamy or fattening dressing made with mayonnaise or olive oil, plus cheese, nuts, vegetables, ham, eggs, chicken, tuna and even pepperoni. For 1 cup, depending on ingredients, you're looking at 500-650 calories.

Nutrition fix: Use 100 percent whole-wheat pasta — the increased fiber content will fill you up faster. Fill the bowl with mostly vegetables; they're low in calories. Most salad dressings are packed with calories. Use light vinaigrette or one made from a light mayonnaise base. Or use an olive oil mister and season the salad with spices such as pepper, garlic, oregano or basil to liven things up without extra calories.

• Coleslaw
Coleslaw is basically cabbage, mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar, but some also add olive oil and other ingredients. The end result can be more than 350 calories per cup.

Nutrition fix: Make it yourself. You can find coleslaw mixes in the vegetable section at the grocery store that make it simple. Use light or non-fat mayonnaise, replace the sugar with honey and add some green and red peppers to increase the yield while cutting calories.

• Ice cream
One cup of premium ice cream can have more than 500 calories, and you probably eat 2 cups, plus toppings.

Nutrition fix: Use a cup, not a cone, and save anywhere from 20 calories (for a wafer cone) to more than 300 calories (for a waffle cone with chocolate). Avoid nut toppings and sprinkles. Try to go with an ice cream bar — the low-cal versions, such as Fudgsicle — or a frozen fruit bar (approximately 70 calories, make sure it's all fruit). They're portion-controlled, and you can't add toppings. Avoid gelato and stick with sorbet to save a couple hundred calories. Or try Italian ices at only 100 calories per cup. Frozen yogurt (regular or soft-serve) can be just as high in calories as ice cream. Always choose fat-free kinds and watch portions.

• Lemonade
On a relaxing summer day, a pitcher of lemonade on the front porch sounds good, but if it's made with sugar, it can also be very high in calories, especially when it's hot outside and we drink a lot. Just a few glasses could cost about 600 calories.

Nutrition fix: Make it yourself and squeeze real lemons. Three ounces of lemon juice have about 30 calories. Use about 1/3 juice and 2/3 water and add agave or honey to taste.

Charles Platkin, Ph.D., is a nutrition and public health advocate and founder of, and the director of the New York City Food Policy Center at Hunter College. Copyright 2017 by Charles Platkin. All rights reserved. Sign up for the free Diet Detective newsletter at

  • Category: Health

Valley Vision and the Mount Washington Supports Recovery Coalition to conduct interviews on the street about recovery

CONWAY — On Saturday, June 24, starting at 10 a.m. Valley Vision and the Mount Washington Supports Recovery Coalition will be holding man-on-the-street interviews asking people to speak up on the subject of opioid addtion.

They will have a crew on the street in North Conway Village interviewing people and asking the question: "Are you open to recovery?" People will be asked to give their first name, town and comments.

This event is being held in conjunction with The Partnership For A Drug Free New Hampshire's campaign, "Speak Up NH," to erase shame and stigma and change the language around addiction.

There will be also be stickers/bracelets and a resource table sponsored by Mt. Washington Valley Supports Recovery Coalition.

People are encouraged to look for the table or roving interviewer and share their thoughts on recovery in the Mount Washington Valley. Organizers are hoping the interviews will send the message that people are supporting those in or seeking recovery.

Businesses wishing to allow their employees to express their views will be asked permission.

Excerpts from the interviews may be used for an upcoming documentary project titled "Frost Heaves: A struggle for recovery in the Mt. Washington Valley."

For more information call MWV Supports Recovery at (603) 662-0668 or visit the group's Facebook page.

  • Category: Health

Justine Fierman, Memorial Diabetes Provider, Receives Advanced Diabetes Care Recertification


CONWAY — Justine Fierman, has earned a five-year national board recertification in advanced diabetes management.

Fierman, a family nurse practitioner specializing in diabetes, is one of 1,051 professionals to hold this board certification. The BC-ADM certification validates a health-care professional's specialized knowledge and expertise in the management of people with diabetes.

Practicing within their discipline's scope of practice, health-care professionals who hold the BC-ADM certification credential adjust medications, treat and monitor acute and chronic complications, provide medical nutrition therapy, help patients plan exercise regimens, counsel patients to manage behaviors and psychosocial issues, participate in research and mentor.

The depth of knowledge and competence in advanced clinical practice and diabetes skills affords an increased complexity of decision making which contributes to better patient care.

Fierman is also a Certified Diabetes Educator. The BC-ADM certification differs from the CDE certification which involves diabetes education rather than the BC-ADM focus on management of diabetes.

A Certified Diabetes Educator is a health professional who possesses comprehensive knowledge of and experience in prediabetes, diabetes prevention and management. The CDE educates and supports people affected by diabetes to understand and manage the condition. A CDE promotes self-management to achieve individualized behavioral and treatment goals that optimize health outcomes

To renew the board certification in advanced diabetes management, a candidate must have a minimum of 1,000 practice hours related to the role as an advanced diabetes manager within the five years preceding the renewal. They must also complete two of five professional development categories in their certification specialty. Professional development categories include: continuing education, academic credits, presentations, publication and research, preceptor and professional service.

In April 2009, Fierman was one of three nurse practitioners to serve on the standard-setting panel for the American Nurses Credentialing Center and participated in the development of the next national certification exam in advanced diabetes management for nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, pharmacists and registered dietitians. She was chosen as an American Association of Diabetes Educators content panel expert and test item writer for the board certification in advanced diabetes management in the spring of 2011.

Fierman said, "Diabetes can affect every aspect of life for a person with diabetes. My goal is to help people manage their diabetes versus having diabetes manage them. Every person is different. I seek to understand my patients, what their needs and goals are, and to work individually in partnership them. I explain to patients that diabetes is a lifelong journey that requires changes in medications and tools over the course of a person's life. I assist the patient in acquiring the education, tools and health-care needed to help them regain control in their lives and to maintain that control throughout the journey, preventing complications of the disease."

Fierman is the director of the Miranda Center for Diabetes at Memorial Hospital. The staff of the Miranda Center at Memorial Hospital is a multi-disciplinary team dedicated to the evaluation, treatment and education of patients with diabetes and endocrine disorders. The Miranda Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology has been recognized nationally by the American Diabetes Association since 2002. For more information, visit them online at



  • Category: Health

Home Care Matters: VNHCH Celebrates The Art of Caring

VNHCH Celebrates The Art of Caring

A study by the American Association of Retired Persons shows that nearly 90 percent of seniors want to stay in their own homes as they age, often referred to as "aging in place." However, as we age, our needs for assistance may increase. How can we continue to age in place and enjoy our independence? By asking for help.

This week is National Nursing Assistant week and the theme is "Nursing Assistants: Specialists in the Art of Caring."

"We are proud to celebrate our nursing assistants at the Visiting Nurse Home Care and Hospice," said VNHCH Executive Director Sandy Ruka. "They truly are specialists in the art of caring."

Just ask Tamara Sayers of Tamworth. who worked as a licensed nursing assistant with VNHCH since moving to New Hampshire from Michigan 10 years ago. Sayers started as a personal care service provider. Finding her passion, she went on to pursue her LNA license.

"I love people. I feel like I'm a natural caregiver," she said. Sayers went on to explain that some of the people for whom she provides care don't see other people most days. "I feel fortunate to have that opportunity to connect with people. I love when they are laughing and smiling by the time I leave." Sayers added. "I love that the most — being that person they can talk to."

Licensed nursing assistants offer a wide variety of services, depending on needs, working under the supervision of a registered nurse. Sayers explained some people need help with light housework or grocery shopping while others may need help with personal care.

She enjoys cooking and will help with meal preparation or even just baking some cookies. Some days Sayers may help people with their exercises, go for a walk with them or help them take their dog for a walk. LNA's also provide valuable respite for caregivers who may need a break.

Sayers enjoys the variety of her LNA work. She describes being an LNA as a good way to get yourself into health care to see if this is what you want to do.

"You work with so many different people; physical and occupational therapists, doctors, and nurses," she said. "It's a great way to see what you may want to do later."

As a mother, Sayers says that the flexibility of her work has given her time to spend with her daughter, now a teenager. "I may consider becoming an occupational therapy assistant someday," said Sayers. "But for now, I love my work as an LNA and it fits in well with my schedule while my daughter is still at home."

For more information about services offered by the Visiting Nurse Home Care and Hospice of Carroll County and Western Maine, call (603) 356-7006 or visit the website at

"Our goal is to keep people where they want to be, at home," said Sayers. "People do better at home. It's nice to be able to help them stay where they want to be."


  • Category: Health