Spiced Pumpkin Stew

As mentioned in our blog post last month, when fall arrives, pumpkin based foods are everywhere! Pumpkins are rich in vitamin A as well as fiber, making pumpkin an excellent base for hearty stews like this one from the American Institute for Cancer Research.


1 Tbsp olive oil

1 medium green bell pepper, chopped

1 medium red bell pepper, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp ground cumin

15 oz. can pureed pumpkin (2 cups fresh may be substituted)

15 oz. can black beans, no salt added, drained

15 oz. can yellow corn kernels, no salt added, drained (1-1½ cups fresh or frozen may be substituted)

14 oz. can diced tomatoes, no salt added

2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (vegetable may be substituted)

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped, divided

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/4 cup plain, low-fat yogurt, optional


In large saucepan warm oil over medium heat. Stir in peppers, onion and garlic and sauté about 6 minutes until peppers and onion soften. Stir in cumin and continue to cook 1-2 minutes.

Pour in pumpkin, beans, corn, tomatoes and broth. Add 1 teaspoon cilantro and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to boil then reduce heat. Cover and simmer 25 minutes.

Divide stew among four bowls and garnish with cilantro and yogurt, if desired.

Per 2 cup serving (makes 4 servings): 301 calories, 5 g total fat (1 g saturated fat), 57 g carbohydrate, 14 g protein, 14 g dietary fiber, 307 mg sodium.

Source: http://www.aicr.org 

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3 Essential Tips for Your Next Business Trip

For many of Princeton Longevity Center’s clients, traveling for business is part of a normal work week. We’ve found that some simple tips can go a long way in improving and/or supporting one’s health on the road. Here is a small snap-shot of some tips we encourage our clients to focus on when traveling:

  1. Pack Snacks: Even if you don’t normally snack, packing snacks can help you to have a healthy option when meals are delayed, food choices are limited or time zone changes disrupt your usual eating patterns. Some healthy, portable ideas include the following:
  2. Use the HealthyOut app to quickly find (and even order) healthy restaurant dishes across the country. Check out their site or search “Healthy Out” in your phone’s “app” store. Another similar tool is www.HealthyDiningFinder.com where you can search using a zip code/town and the site will highlight “healthy” menu items at nearby restaurants; you can customize your menu item requirements (ex. low carb, low calorie, etc.) based on your needs. You can reference these resources ahead of time so that you have a plan for where you will eat and what you might order.
  3. Pack your medications: If you have prescription medications that you need to take, don’t forget to pack them so you take them as directed! It’s best to keep them in their original bottle and then put the bottle in a clear Ziploc bag in your carry on luggage. If you need to carry the medication with you during the day, you should bring an empty pill case that you can organize your medications into once you arrive at your destination so that you can carry it easily and discreetly during the day. Any supplements that have been recommended to you by your physician or dietitian should be packed as well.
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Southwestern Pumpkin Burgers


  • 6 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red or green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Tomato Salsa, optional (recipe follows)
  • 1/2 cup canned unseasoned pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack, or Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 6 8-inch flour tortillas, (soft-taco size)
  • 2 cups shredded lettuce
  1. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in bell pepper, corn, garlic, chili powder and cumin; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes more. Transfer to a large bowl; let cool to room temperature, about 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare Tomato Salsa, if using.
  3. Add pumpkin, cheese, wheat germ, breadcrumbs, parsley, salt and pepper to the onion mixture; mix well. With dampened hands, form the vegetable mixture into six 1/2-inch-thick patties, using about 1/2 cup for each.
  4. Preheat oven to 325 °F. Stack tortillas and wrap in aluminum foil. Place in the oven for about 15 minutes to heat through. (Alternatively, stack tortillas between two damp paper towels; microwave on high for 30 to 60 seconds, or until heated through.)
  5. Using 2 teaspoons oil per batch, cook 2 to 4 patties at a time in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until browned and heated through, about 4 minutes per side. Adjust heat as necessary for even browning. Wrap the patties in tortillas and serve immediately, garnished with lettuce and Fresh Tomato Salsa, if desired.
  • Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 3. Wrap patties individually and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before cooking.

Nutrition Information for 1 burger: 269 calories; 10 g fat(3 g sat); 7 g fiber; 41 g carbohydrates; 11 g protein; 98 mcg folate; 8 mg cholesterol; 6 g sugars; 5799 IU vitamin A; 31 mg vitamin C; 132 mg calcium; 3 mg iron; 620 mg sodium; 504 mg potassium

Recipe from EatingWell.com



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A Pumpkin Lover’s Guide to Fall Foods

by Mallory Spinelli, RDN

Fall officially kicked off on September 22nd, and already pumpkin season is in full swing. Pumpkin beer, pumpkin bread, pumpkin spice lattes (PSL). Pumpkin is virtually everywhere, and from a nutrition standpoint, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Cooked pumpkin is low in calories and packed with magnesium, iron, and fiber, as well as Vitamins A and C. Unfortunately, many of Americans’ favorite pumpkin flavored foods and beverages are loaded with excess calories, sugar, saturated fat, and cholesterol. Take Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spiced Latte for example. One Grande (16 oz.) serving packs a whopping 380 calories, 50 grams of sugar, and 8 grams of saturated fat. Ben and Jerry’s Pumpkin Cheesecake Ice Cream has 260 calories in ½ cup, and 7 grams of saturated fat *(35% of the Daily Value). Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Pie contains 10 grams of saturated fat in one serving, which is 50% of the daily value, and contains nearly 300 calories per slice.

Not to worry! We have a few solutions to make your pumpkin treats less devastating to your health and your waistline. First, consider portion size of items ladened with calories, saturated fat, sugar, and cholesterol. Instead of eating the entire piece of pumpkin roll, limit yourself to ½ or ¼ piece. When possible, opt for healthier choices. Substitute a pumpkin puree with canned pumpkin and yogurt for pumpkin pie. Consider replacing half the butter in baked good recipes with canned pumpkin.  Try making a pumpkin latte at home to cut calories and sugar. And if you really must have the PSL, modify your order to hold the whipped cream, opt for skim milk instead of whole, and limit the pump to one (the standard for a Grande is four). That will save you ~150 calories and ~13 grams of fat. Lastly, be sure to look for pumpkin phonies. Many “pumpkin products” contain no pumpkin at all. So select only products that list pumpkin as one of their first or second ingredients on the nutrition label, and beware of the pumpkin imposters this fall.

*Daily Values based on a 2,000 calorie/day diet.

Resources: RD.com, Health.com

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Bored of your Cardio Routine? Give the Stairmaster a Try!

Take a look around the cardio section of any fitness center and you’ll likely see rows upon rows of treadmills, ellipticals, and stationary bikes, most of them occupied. You then turn around and head back over to the stretching section, anxiously waiting for your turn. “30 minute limit?!?” you sarcastically mutter to yourself as you wait. However, over in the back corner, there stands one, or maybe two, large contraptions that never seem to have anyone using them. That large contraption is the Stairmaster, arguably the most underappreciated and underutilized piece of cardio equipment that many of us never even knew existed. Here’s a few reasons why you should give it a try!

  1. Joint-Friendly: Stair climbing offers a low impact form of cardio that is easy on the joints and does not force our bodies into positions that reinforce faulty movement patterns. Anyone with hip, knee, or lower back discomfort may find this mode of exercise to be beneficial. Just remember to stand up straight and not slump over the handrails!
  2. Total Leg Development: There may be no better piece of cardio equipment that requires the constant use of ALL the muscles of the lower body. Not just limited to the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves, stair climbing allows for proper weight shifting from hip to hip which utilizes the abductors and adductors, key muscle groups that contribute to pelvic and knee stabilization.
  3. Functionality: In this day and age of “functional training”, where we train ourselves in a way so that our gains will carry over to performance during activities of daily living, stair climbing is a must. Being able to climb stairs is a task that most of us have to do everyday without giving it much thought. However, as we age, maintaining this ability becomes more difficult, thus making the decisions on what type of exercise to perform even more important. If you believe in the “use it or lose it” approach, and I certainly hope that you do, the only way to get better at climbing stairs or maintain your ability to climb stairs is to….climb stairs!
  4. Effectiveness: I won’t lie to you; the Stairmaster is tough. Even climbing at relatively slow speeds will be sure to increase your heart rate and have you pouring sweat quicker than other forms of cardio you may be used to doing. And for those of you that are into high intensity interval training (and if you’re not, you should be!), it makes a great training tool for that as well.

So what are you waiting for? Don’t be stuck in the same boring cardio routine any longer. Give the ol’ treadmill, elliptical, or stationary bike a break, and start climbing!

Image result for stairmaster

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40 Things you can Do Today to End Mindless Eating

by Staci O’Connor MS, RD, CDN

Take a walk / Drink a glass of water / Chew gum / Call a friend / Make a “To Do” list / Floss and brush your teeth / Read a great book / Flip through a magazine / Give yourself a manicure / Write up a healthy meal plan for yourself and your family / Play a card game / Play a game on the internet / Take 5 slow, deep breaths / Cuddle with your child and read them a book / Start a new hobby / Knit / Shuffle cards / Dance / Make a healthy meal for your family / Walk your dog / Do a few push-ups / Clean out a junk draw / Take a hot soothing bath / Look at pictures / Fold laundry / Start a new project that you have been wanting to get to / Plan a date night for your significant other / Meditate / Help your child with their homework / Take a bike ride / Do some yard work / Clean out your closet / Do some stretches / Update your calendar / Set goals for yourself / Make a list that you can post of your “Top Reasons to Get More Active” / Practice an instrument / Pet your cat / Balance your checkbook / Get a massage

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Are you hungry or stressed?

by Staci O’Connor MS, RD, CDN

Have you ever noticed that when you get stressed out about work or with family life that you find yourself reaching for high-calorie, sweet, and fatty foods?  While some people may lose their appetite or may even get sick to their stomach, others might be conditioned to soothe themselves with food.  There are steps that you can take to regain control of your eating habits since stress eating is a learned response.

So you may ask be asking yourself…how can I break this habit?

Since stress eating is an emotional response that becomes automatic over time, to break the habit you are going to have to learn a new habit.  The next time that you feel stressed, try to feel the sensation, stop, sit down, try to engage in deep breathing, feel it, and see what happens.  It is important to stop and think, ask yourself are you actually hungry or just craving food in response to stress.  What will usually happen is the feeling will dissipate and you won’t feel hungry any more.  By repeating this pattern over time it will become a new habit.

Other food alternatives may include either regular exercise, which may help prevent stress, or exercising when you feel stressed to help manage the stress.  Instead of running into the kitchen or to the nearest vending machine, get up from your desk and go for a walk, or give yourself a break.  Take the time to stop what you are doing and step away from the situation for a while and distract yourself with a more pleasant topic.  Make a list of what is actually stressing you out and make a plan for the next time to control the situation.  Even consider keeping a journal and record your feelings.  This will help you make connections between what you are feeling and the choices that you make.  Consider trying meditation and visualize a peaceful place or listen to some classical music to calm yourself down. Finally, even consider trying something fun, play a game, watch a movie, call and hang out with a friend, or even dance!

It may take some time, but you can retrain yourself to eat only when you are hungry and not stressed.  Learning to tell the difference between hunger and stress is the first step and then finding other outlets to satisfy your emotional hunger is the next step.  Keep with it and you can regain control of your eating habits!

Resources:  www.webmd.com, www.everydayhealth.com


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