It’s National Salad Month

Posted on: May 1st, 2018 by manna

Trying to pack in some delicious nutrition without packing on the extra calories?

Salad is a convenient way to use the ingredients or leftovers you have on hand, and the recipes are limitless. Fruits and vegetables are naturally low in calories and fat, and offer a wide range of vitamins and minerals, while whole grains, nuts/seeds, and protein will help to keep you full and satisfied.

To get the most out of your salad greens and other produce, store them in the middle of a clean fridge away from the doors, with plenty of room for air circulation. To preserve greens, keep them stored in a dry, paper towel lined container. Keep fresh herbs and celery stored in water to make these last longer as well. Lastly, keep ethylene gas-producing fruits such as bananas, avocados, tomatoes and melon away from other produce; ethylene is a naturally occurring gas, but it can make some produce spoil faster.

When it comes to making healthy choices, salads can be a great option, but they don’t have to be boring! If you’re looking to swap out your salad staples for something new, give these mix-ins a try:


Vegetables – Asparagus, beets, mushrooms, corn, olives, radishes, carrots, broccoli, heart of palm, artichoke hearts, peas (try your vegetables grilled, marinated, raw, or pickled!)

Fruit (fresh and dried) – Oranges, pears, apple, berries, pomegranate, mango, dried cranberries, dried cherries

Whole Grains – Rice, bulgur, quinoa, farro, couscous

Nuts & Seeds – Walnuts, pepitas, sesame seeds, almonds

Fresh Herbs – Basil, mint, parsley, dill, chives, cilantro

Vegetarian Protein – Crispy baked chickpeas, black beans, lentils, edamame, tofu, seitan

Seafood – Salmon, tuna, shrimp, scallops

Meat – Chicken, turkey, steak (slice up some leftovers!)

Cheese – Parmesan, goat cheese, feta, mozzarella, cottage cheese

Other – Hummus, salsa, micro-greens, seaweed, avocado mash


Tabbouleh Salad Recipe


  • 1 cup uncooked bulgur
  • 3/4 cup chopped cucumber
  • 3/4 cup chopped tomato
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions or 2 tablespoons finely chopped sweet onion
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

Prepare bulgur according to package directions.

After the bulgur is ready, mix together bulgur, cucumber, tomato, parsley, mint, onions, and garlic.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice. Then combine with the other ingredients, mixing well.

Refrigerate and let chill for 2 hours before serving for the flavors to meld. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, before serving.


Spring into April with Fresh Fruits and Vegetables!

Posted on: April 1st, 2018 by manna

Spring is finally here and so are all of the delicious seasonal fruits and vegetables. Fresh produce is a great source of vitamins and minerals that are important for our health. In addition, fruits and vegetables provide powerful antioxidants, which have been shown to have protective effects against chronic illnesses such as heart disease and cancer. Some additional nutrients found in fruits and vegetables include:

Vitamin C: powerful antioxidant that helps the body to fight the effects of cancer-causing free radicals, helps form blood vessels, muscles and collagen in bones

Vitamin A: important for vision, growth, cell division, reproduction, immunity

Vitamin K: regulates normal blood clotting, supports cell growth and bone metabolism

Folate: essential for cell growth and nervous system functioning, fetal nervous system development

Fiber: promotes regular bowel movements, speeds up elimination of waste through the colon, improves digestive health

So what fruits and vegetables are in season this Spring?

Shopping for fruits and vegetables that are in season is always a great option. Locally grown fruits and vegetables are harvested at their peak, which means you are getting the freshest produce that are full of flavor and nutrients. Try stopping by your local farmers market to find great sources of seasonal produce, or check out which fruits and vegetables are in season before you head to the grocery store! 

Spring seasonal fruits and vegetables:

  • Apples
  • Avocado
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Collard Greens
  • Garlic
  • Peas
  • Radishes
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Turnips


Parmesan Carrots with Lemon-Parsley Dressing


  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup chopped shallots
  • 14 ounces medium carrots, cut diagonally into 1 1/2-in. pieces (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons shaved Parmesan cheese

How to Make It

Combine 1/2 cup water, shallots, and carrots in a medium skillet over medium-high; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, 6 minutes or until carrots are tender. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, uncovered, 4 minutes or until liquid evaporates. Add oil; cook 4 minutes or until carrots are lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Stir in parsley and remaining ingredients.

National Nutrition Month 2018

Posted on: March 1st, 2018 by manna

Get Ready Because March is National Nutrition Month®!

The theme of National Nutrition Month this year is “Go Further with Food.” Whether it is starting your day off right with a healthy breakfast, planning meals and snacks ahead of time to reduce food waste, or learning how to read a nutrition facts label, the foods you choose daily can really make a difference! There are several ways to explore a healthy lifestyle. Each day, during the month of March, challenge yourself to become a healthier you and experiment with ways you can incorporate a healthy lifestyle into your everyday life. National Nutrition Month® is encouraging you to experience the benefits of healthy eating habits and cutting back on food waste as you go further with food!

Here is what you can do to go further with food:

• Include a variety of fresh healthy foods from all of the food groups daily.

• Plan your meals ahead of time to reduce food waste.

• Use leftover ingredients to prepare meals for later in the week.

• Use good food safety practices to prevent food borne illness.

• Be mindful of portion sizes; eat the amount that’s right for you!


Tips while challenging yourself to go further with food:

• Are your favorite fruits and vegetables not in season this March? Don’t sweat it! Frozen fruits and vegetables are just as nutritious as fresh fruits and vegetables and can be stored longer. Challenge yourself to incorporate more of these foods into your daily diet.

• Plan your meals for the week before you go to the grocery store and make a list. Sticking to your list will eliminate impulse buys at the store so that you won’t purchase more ingredients than you need that could potentially go to waste.

• Unsure what to do with your leftovers from dinner? Try incorporating them into lunch for the next day or using them as an ingredient in another dish.

• Use sanitary practices while preparing food, avoid cross contamination. Make sure to use a thermometer if necessary to prevent any food borne illness!

• MyPlate is a great reference to use when preparing a meal. Use the MyPlate guidelines to help design your plate


Instead of the potato chips, start off National Nutrition Month® with this delicious and easy baked zucchini chips recipe!

1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 large zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds

1) Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat with non-stick cooking spray.

2) For the chips, pour milk in a small bowl. In a medium bowl, combine Parmesan, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper. Working one at a time, dip zucchini rounds in milk and then coat in the Parmesan mixture.

3) Lay crusted slices on prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Flip zucchini rounds and continue to bake another 10 minutes. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and serve.

American Heart Health Month

Posted on: February 1st, 2018 by manna

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States accounting for about 1 in every 4 deaths. However, heart disease is also one of the most preventable diseases. February is American Heart Health Month, which is a great time to remind everyone about the lifestyle changes that can be made to keep your heart healthy! By making healthy choices and knowing the risk factors, we can all work together to prevent heart disease.

Are you at risk for Heart Disease?

There are several factors that can increase someone’s risk for heart disease. These factors can include lifestyle choices, health conditions, age and gender as well as well as family history. More specifically, they can include:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Physical inactivity
  • Overweight and obesity

Tips for a Healthy Heart

  • Eat a variety of nutritious foods such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, nuts, and low-fat dairy products, and lean protein.
  • Reduce your saturated fat intake. Try cooking with olive oil, a heart healthy fat, over butter when possible.
  • Shake your salty habits! Try using a variety of herbs and spices to season your foods rather than using salt.
  • Increase your physical activity. The American Heart Association recommends to aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity and 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week for a healthy heart!


Did you know that February 4th is National Homemade Soup Day? Here’s a great soup recipe that is lower in sodium and packed with different spices!

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup:


1 ½ cups fat free, plain Greek yogurt

1 butternut squash, about 2 ½ lbs

1 Tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil

2 cups Vidalia onion, (peeled, chopped)

2 fresh garlic cloves (chopped)

1 tsp. fresh thyme (chopped)

1 bay leaf

1 quart water

1 pinch nutmeg

1 tsp. Salt

1/ tsp. Black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees convection.

Cut squash lengthwise and remove seeds with a spoon. Season both squash halves with one tsp. of extra virgin olive oil and ½ tsp. of salt. Wrap in foil and place in baking tray or dish.

Roast squash halves for one hour or until fork tender. Remove from oven and let cool enough to handle. Remove skin from the squash and set aside.

Place remaining 2 tsp. Of extra virgin olive oil, onion, carrots, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, and ½ tsp. of salt in a pot on medium heat. Cook. Stirring regularly, until onions are translucent and carrots are tender, about 10 minutes. Add 1 quart of vegetable stock and roasted squash, and cook on a low simmer for about 30 minutes with the lid on. Remove bay leaf from soup. Place soup mixture into a blender with nutmeg, black pepper and ½ cup non fta Greek yogurt. Blend on high until smooth, about one minute. Portion into 6 bowls, divide 1 cup of yogurt into 6 dollops on top of each soup and serve immediately.

January 2018 – Time to Focus on Health & Nutrition

Posted on: January 1st, 2018 by manna

Happy 2018 everyone! Now that the holidays are officially over, it’s time to get back into the swing of things, and buckle down and focus on your health and nutrition. It’s easy to make resolutions for the new year, but something else entirely to follow through. Incorporating small changes to start can make a huge overall impact and not feel tremendously overwhelming.

For starters, create goals, and not just any goals. Create realistic ones that you can actually follow. If signing up for a gym membership and exercising more is one of your resolutions, follow through. Then make a plan. Start small, maybe once a week, and then gradually build up once you know your schedule and what can be accommodated.

Create a timeline. Having an end date for a resolution or goal in mind makes it easier to achieve. For example, if you have a vacation coming up and want to look your best, or you simply have a goal weight in mind, a good motivator makes it easier for to you to accomplish these tasks.

Remember to reward yourself for achieving your goals along the way, but do it in healthier ways. Small or mini treats are a great way to emphasize your achievements without setting you back. If you’re not sure what a healthy reward is, make a list. This list can include anything from taking a nap to taking a selfie for progress. Whatever keeps you going, whether an end date or mini rewards, positive reinforcement will help you stay on track.

Lastly, find a support system. Whether it be a family member, coworker, or friend, having someone that has similar healthy goals in mind can improve your experience. Workouts and healthy meals plans more fun with one another, and a good way to keep encouraging each other to stick to the plan.

*Did you know that January 24th is National Peanut Butter Day? Packed with protein, peanut butter is a great snack and/or spread for anything from fruits and vegetables to sandwiches. Here’s a great recipe for delicious Peanut Butter Banana Muffins.

2 – Ripe bananas
1/3 – Cup Raw honey
1/3 – cup natural low fat peanut butter
2/3 – cup plain Greek yogurt
1 – teaspoon vanilla extract
1 – teaspoon baking soda
1 – teaspoon baking powder
1/4 – teaspoon salt
1/2 – teaspoon cinnamon
1 – tablespoon ground flax seed
1/4 – cup regular sugar or
2 – tablespoon Truvia Baking Blend
1 – cup all purpose flour
3/4 – cup whole wheat flour
cinnamon sugar (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin tins with baking cups or lightly spray with canola oil.
Mix the wet ingredients together, mashed banana, honey, peanut butter, yogurt, and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flours, salt, baking powder, baking soda, flax seed, Truvia baking blend, and cinnamon). Add the wet and dry together and stir until just combined.

Using a large ice cream scoop or spoon, add the batter into the muffin tin until the cups are 3/4 full, sprinkle with bit cinnamon sugar on each muffin, and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 15 – 20 minutes.

Staying Healthy During the Holidays

Posted on: December 2nd, 2017 by manna

Happy December!

Staying healthy during the holiday season may seem tough but, with our simple healthy eating tips, you can still enjoy the special holiday foods that you like to eat! Instead of feeling guilty for enjoying your favorite holiday dish, make some simple substitutions to decrease the fat, calories, and sodium in your recipes.

When baking, try substituting whole wheat flour for half of the called for all-purpose flour. Whole grains are full of nutrients like dietary fiber, B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and folate), and minerals (iron, magnesium, and selenium). Instead of topping off your holiday pies with whipped cream or ice cream, try using low-fat or fat-free yogurt to reduce the total amount of fat and calories with your desserts. Dairy products, such as yogurt, have calcium as well as important nutrients like potassium, vitamin D, and protein.

When making savory recipes that call for seasonings such as garlic salt, celery salt, or onion salt, try replacing salt with just the herb seasoning. These herb seasonings include garlic powder, celery seed, onion flakes, or use finely chopped herbs like garlic, celery or onions. By removing the salt from these seasoning, you are significantly lowering your sodium intake while still maintaining flavor.  Americans often consume almost double the amount of the recommended sodium recommendations a day. According to the 2005 Dietary Guidelines, a healthy adult should not have more than 2,300 mg of sodium a day, which is equivalent to only one teaspoon of salt per day!


Skillet Green Bean Casserole


  • 1 pound haricots verts (French green beans)
  • 2 (1-oz.) slices whole-wheat bread
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh garlic
  • 1 1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese (about 6 Tbsp.), grated and divided
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 4 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
  • 1/2 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

How to Make It

Step 1 – Preheat broiler to high.

Step 2 – Cook beans in a large saucepan filled with boiling water 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Plunge beans into ice water; drain well.

Step 3 – Place bread in a food processor; pulse until coarse crumbs form. Stir in parsley, 1 tablespoon oil, garlic, and 2 tablespoons cheese.

Step 4 – Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium. Add onion and mushrooms; sauté 8 minutes. Stir in flour; cook 1 minute. Stir in stock, milk, and sherry. Bring to a simmer; cook 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat; stir in remaining 4 tablespoons cheese, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add beans to pan; toss to coat. Sprinkle evenly with breadcrumb mixture. Broil 2 minutes.

November is National Diabetes Month

Posted on: November 1st, 2017 by manna

National Diabetes Month is a great time to spread awareness about preventative measures for high risk individuals and to reflect on disease management techniques for those living with diabetes.  Currently 1 in 10 Americans, more than 30 million people, have diabetes and another 84 million adults in the US are at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes.  People at high risk can make some simple changes to lower their risk by more than half!  Eating healthy, participating in more physical activity and losing weight are all ways to prevent the onset of diabetes.  These strategies also help control diabetes in those who have already been diagnosed. 

CLICK HERE to complete the American Diabetes Association Risk Test.

Healthy strategies include:

  • Filling half of your plate with fruits and vegetables
  • Participating in 30 minutes of physical activity each day
  • Making half of your grains whole grains
  • Decreasing sodium in your diet
  • Checking your blood sugar regularly or asking your doctor to check your A1c

National Diabetes Month is a good time to commit to new healthy habits. Here are some ideas that can help prevent or manage diabetes:

  • Get more sleep
    • Commit to going to bed at the same time each night. It helps to avoid screens, sound and light while trying to fall asleep.
  • Drink more water
    • Dehydration can leave you feeling hungry and make you fatigued. This can cause you to eat more and be less active.  You can also substitute water for sugary beverages to cut down on calories.
  • Move more
    • Physical activity can help control blood sugar and may result in weight loss
  • Try a new fruit or vegetable
    • Eating a wide variety of colors in your produce leads to increased nutrients in your diet

November 14th is World Diabetes Day.  Consider this as an opportunity to remind yourself to talk to your doctor about your risk factors or to reevaluate how you are managing your diabetes.  Joining a support group, gathering materials from an education program or swapping diabetic friendly recipes are all great ways to connect with others.  You can also take some steps to better take care of yourself:

  • Make a list of your medications and keep it in your wallet
  • Add an emergency contact to your cell phone
  • Put together a Sick-Day kit (this website will help show you how)

Try one of these diabetic friendly recipes:

Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Apple Cheddar Scones Sweet Potato Minestrone Mediterranean Turkey Burgers

October Nutrition Tip

Posted on: October 1st, 2017 by manna

October is Vegetarian Awareness Month

As the weather starts to cool down, many of us begin to crave hearty, fall dishes. The summertime abundance of fresh fruits and salads makes eating a vegetarian, plant-based diet easy. But sticking to this healthy diet is possible in colder months too, and you don’t need to avoid warm, comforting foods to maintain a vegetarian lifestyle.

The health benefits associated with eliminating or reducing meat intake are clear. When combined with other lifestyle factors, vegetarianism can help people avoid heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.  Thankfully, there are many easy ways to incorporate more vegetarian and plant-based foods into your diet.

  • Dried or canned beans are a great way to add fiber, iron, and protein to soups and salads.
  • Eggs are versatile and can be included in almost any dish to increase protein.
  • Fresh or frozen vegetables can be cooked together to make filling sauces and stir-fries that are delicious paired whole-grains like quinoa or brown rice.
  • Sliced mushrooms, eggplant and cauliflower can be grilled, roasted, stewed, marinated or sautéed to serve as flavorful substitutes for meat products in many of your favorite recipes.

Like any healthy lifestyle, vegetarianism is all about balance, and you can reap the benefits of a plant-based diet without necessarily eliminating meat. If you are not already a vegetarian, we encourage you this October to include several vegetarian meals throughout your week. Challenge yourself to use fruits, vegetables, whole-grains and calcium-rich foods to create high-fiber, high-protein meals. You may not miss the meat at all!

Try one of these healthy recipes and see just how easy it is to get more plant-based foods into your diet.

Fall Vegetable Curry

Eggplant & Chick Pea Stew with Couscous

Butternut Squash & Black Bean Enchiladas (featured below)


Meet Charles Williams, MANNA Intern

Posted on: September 4th, 2017 by manna


I began my schooling back in 2004 at the State University of New York in Plattsburgh. During my time at Plattsburgh I attained my Bachelors in Science in Nutrition and Dietetics. Following my graduation from SUNY Plattsburgh, in August of 2008, I began my dietetic internship at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. During my nine months at Stony Brook, I completed nearly 1,000 hours of supervised practice that allowed me to sit for my RD (Registered Dietitian) exam. In September of 2009, I became a Registered Dietitian. My first job after attaining the RD credential was at WIC (women, infants and children), which is a supplemental nutrition program providing food vouchers and nutrition education to pregnant and breastfeeding women, as well as children under 5 and infants.  After 14 months at WIC, in 2011, I moved to Philadelphia and began at my current employer. Currently, I work as a Long-Term Care clinical dietitian at Willow Terrace Nursing and Rehabilitation.  In 2014, I decided that it was time to start working towards advancing my education and career. At this point I enrolled in the Master’s in Public Health (MPH) program at West Chester University with a focus in nutrition. Earlier this year, after nearly three years of graduate instruction, it was time to find a place to put my attained skills and knowledge to the test. I had to find a site for my Applied Learning Experience. After considering what I wanted to get out of the Applied Learning Experience, I decided that I would look to MANNA for the opportunity. MANNA graciously approved my placement and it has been a wonderful experience thus far.

At MANNA, my number one priority has been to complete my major project. This project, which meets the needs of my schooling requirements and MANNA’s requests was to complete research into the Health-Related Quality of Life of MANNA participants. More specifically, how the MANNA meals program improves the Quality of Life of participants. Two different surveys were used, one created by myself and a team of people here at MANNA, and the other, the widely used SF-12 survey tool. This research is helpful to MANNA in determining if their current practices are helping to meet the mission of the organization. Results of these surveys can provide insight into potential improvements. The research has indicated that both surveys used are worthwhile to MANNA and evaluating the effectiveness of the meals program going forward. It is my hope that MANNA will be able to use this research as a starting point for future evaluation of their meals program. Much of MANNA’s funding comes from grants. In applying for grants, it is helpful to have data that shows that the meals program is improving participants health-related quality of life. If MANNA can show that their meals program works, it will be helpful in securing future funding, especially as MANNA plans to eventually expand its mission to serve more people.

In addition to my major project, MANNA has provided me with additional experiences. Working under the supervision of the MANNA Registered Dietitians, I have led discussions on vegetarian foods/vegetarian eating at two different HIV/AIDS support groups, I created monthly nutrition tips to accompany the meals deliveries, and helped the MANNA dietitians with their workload. These experiences were crucially important as I improved my public health skills. My Applied Learning Experience at MANNA was more than I could have imagined. In my brief time here, I feel that I have contributed to the future of this organization, and I couldn’t have asked for a more meaningful outcome. Thanks MANNA!

September Nutrition Tip & Recipe

Posted on: September 1st, 2017 by manna

By waking up to a healthy breakfast, you have taken the first step in providing your body with its daily nutritional needs to keep it in good health.  Breakfast provides your body with the energy it needs to start your day right!

Starting your day without breakfast is like trying to drive a car without fuel.  We have all been told, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” but, why is it so important for adults and children to have breakfast every day?

  • By the time you wake up in the morning, it has been 8-12 hours since you have last eaten and your energy levels are low. Breakfast provides your body with the energy it needs to start the day.
  • Breakfast helps you stay alert and can improve your mood and ability to pay attention.
  • Eating a well-balanced breakfast improves your overall health and well-being. You will be less tired and sleepy in the mid-morning hours.
  • Children that start their day off with a healthy meal are more creative, do better in class, perform better on tests, and have fewer behavior problems.
  • Adults who eat breakfast tend to do better at work, snack less, and get more nutrients each day than adults who do not eat breakfast.
  • Research shows skipping breakfast does not help you lose weight. In fact, people who skip breakfast are more likely to be overweight

Good Breakfast Tips

  •  Try to include foods from at least 3 different food groups for breakfast. Example: 1 cup low-fat yogurt (dairy group), 1 medium orange (fruit group), and 1 slice of whole-wheat toast (grain group).
  • Plan ahead by stocking health and quick options so that you don’t have an excuse to skip breakfast.
  • Make sure to include some protein to help keep you satisfied longer and to keep you mentally alert
  • Keep breakfast simple by eating a quick bowl of whole-grain cereal with a banana or a slice of whole-wheat toast with peanut butter.
  • Save some money be making your breakfast at home instead of eating out.

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The Steven Korman
Nutrition Center

420 North 20th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130
T: 215.496.2662

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