My Time at Meals on Wheels San Antonio

Provided by Kristen Keith, Dietetic Intern
University of Texas at San Antonio

My name is Kristen Keith and I am a student in the Coordinated Program in Dietetics at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Over the course of this program I have had countless opportunities to learn, grow, and better myself as an individual and as a curious student. My time here at Meals on Wheels, San Antonio has made Fall 2016 one of the most impactful experiences of my dietetic career, and my life in its entirety.

I remember learning that Meals on Wheels San Antonio would be my site; I was over-the-moon excited to work with an organization that has such a lasting impact on the older adult community. Any chance that I can get, I make my presentations and projects on my grandfather, Carl Keith. The older adult population is near and dear to my heart, so the opportunity to impact their nutrition was incredibly exciting. Knowing that they would be my target population for the semester genuinely gave me so much fulfillment, purpose, and the determination and motivation to do my best work.

My activities this semester were diverse and eye-opening. Rhaizza Velasquez, my preceptor and the Registered Dietitian for Meals on Wheels, helped me understand the intricacies of large-scale menu planning. There are special diets, food preferences, and ease of preparation factors to keep in mind when crafting the perfect healthy menu for approximately 3,600 clients. Rhaizza makes it look easy! She has taught me that you can make a delicious and healthy meal for any person on any diet. We would search and search for the perfect recipe to add to the menu for the month. Once we would find a recipe, the modification process could begin. We would start to modify the recipe in order for it to be healthy for renal, gluten free, diabetic/heart healthy, bland, and other clients’ dietary needs.

Not only did I get a front row seat to observing the menu process, but I also experienced a taste of the other operations at Meals on Wheels. I traveled to clients’ houses with a case worker, observed the special diet preparation with Chef Mary, delivered meals with Monica, presented to companionship services training attendees, observed food service meetings with the manager Vince, wrote a holiday themed blog, conducted a community needs assessment project, implemented supplement changes, and observed the cooking process bright and early at 4:00am. Every single person I came into contact with at Meals on Wheels impacted my learning in numerous ways and angles. Not only did I learn more about community nutrition, but I gained more knowledge about the impact of community services on our population.

I look forward to applying the semester’s lessons to my future coursework and time in the professional workforce. Learning from all of the wonderful and dedicated Meals on Wheels employees has been, and will always be, an integral part of my success as a dietetic student.


10 Ways To Eat Healthy On A Budget


Eating healthy on a budget could be difficult especially after the Holidays. The following are some tips to make it possible.

  1. Buy fresh produce when it is in season and freeze it
    Eating fresh produce is great, but buying fresh produce off-season could be super expensive. Only buy what is currently on season.
  2. Look for sales and plan meals accordingly
    If your local store provides a saving-card make sure you sign up for it and check the weekly circular to see what’s on sale.
  3. Try less expensive cuts of meat and enjoy different cooking methods
    For example, baking your chicken or pork.
  4. Eat more whole grains and legumes
    Legumes are healthy and inexpensive. They will fill you up with fiber and protein.
  5. Plan your meals ahead
    It is easy and convenient to always have something ready in your refrigerator and it helps to minimize waste.
  6. Broaden your horizons
    Try different cuisines. Indian and Mexican cuisines rely on inexpensive ingredients. Mediterranean cuisine relies more on vegetables.
  7. Keep an organized fridge and pantry
    This could help you to avoid waste. Make sure the newest products are always on the back. If you freeze your meals make sure you periodically go through your freezer and eat what you have in there.
  8. Re-purpose leftovers
    Instead of eating the same meal from yesterday try to create new recipes using your leftovers. Look for recipes online.
  9. Go to the farmers market at the end of the day
    In some areas you might find great deals if you go to the farmers market an hour before they closed.
  10. Shop in different supermarkets
    Compare prices and look for the best deal.

High Fiber Foods!

As you get ready to stock your fridge for the New Year once you run out of holiday leftovers, think about getting some of these goodies packed with fiber to help you feel full and satisfied to tackle your 2017 to-do list…


Tips for Holiday Eating

Provided by Kristen Keith, Dietetic Intern
Coordinated Program in Dietetics at the University of Texas at San Antonio


Can we get through the holiday season free of guilt, weight gain, or negativity towards our self-esteem? (Hint: the answer starts with Y and ends with S).

The holiday season is notorious for its numerous tasty food options. Between family gatherings and the office party, there seems to always be a temptation right behind your shoulder. Although it seems like a daunting task, you have the power to make this holiday season a joyful and healthful experience. By setting realistic goals, applying proper planning and employing smart tips, you can emerge into the New Year even happier and healthier than the year before.

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” – Benjamin Franklin


  • Refrain from “saving” your calories throughout the day by skipping meals1
  • Avoid overeating by using a smaller plate2
  • Survey the buffet/table before getting a plate and choose your favorite foods and skip the others3
  • Keep each food separated from each other for portion control (ex: keep mashed potatoes from touching the stuffing)
  • Make healthy food swaps by categorizing foods into eat, sample, and skip foods1
  • Choose healthy and filling foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to aid in satiety2
  • Eat until you are satisfied, not “stuffed”3
  • Wait 10 minutes before going back for seconds in order to give your body time to process what you have eaten2
  • Always have a glass of tea or water with you at all times. Stay hydrated!
  • Get the most satisfaction from every bite! Employ slow and mindful chewing1
  • Share the health! Bring a dish to the gathering that highlights one of your favorite vegetables
  • Post-meal nap? Position yourself at an incline to reduce your risk of reflux
  • Shift the focus of the holidays to socializing with old friends and family



  1. Helpful tips for holiday parties. Eat Right Website. Published January 31, 2014. Reviewed December 2013. Accessed November 18, 2016.
  2. Kohn, MS, RDN, LDN J. ed. How to enjoy the holiday without the weight gain. Eat Right Website. Published November 24, 2015. Accessed November 18, 2016.
  3. Macaire, RD G. ed. Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating. Sutter Health CPMC. healthy-holidays.html. Published 2015. Accessed November 18, 2016.

The holidays are the perfect time to share the love


Meals on Wheels San Antonio joins Meals on Wheels America and Subaru in Sharing the Love this Holiday Season

Subaru Share the Love Event ® helps deliver nutritious meals and compassion to San Antonio’s seniors

San Antonio, TX (November 17, 2016) – Meals on Wheels San Antonio is proud to announce that it will be participating in the annual Subaru Share the Love Event as a member of Meals on Wheels America – one of four national Share the Love charitable partners for the ninth year running. From November 17, 2016 to January 3, 2017, Subaru will donate $250 for every new Subaru vehicle sold or leased to the customer’s choice of participating charity.

Participating Meals on Wheels America members, like Meals on Wheels San Antonio, will receive a share of the revenue raised by Subaru in their state. Meals on Wheels San Antonio has partnered with North Park Subaru and North Park Subaru Dominion to raise awareness for the popular year-end sales and giving event, and drive support for Meals on Wheels through a blanket drive for our seniors and a pet food drive for their companion animals.

“It is a true testament to the value of Meals on Wheels and the strength of our nationwide network that Subaru of America and its customers choose to give back to this vital service year after year,” said Ellie Hollander, President and CEO, Meals on Wheels America. “Since its inception, Share the Love has helped deliver more than 1.4 million meals to seniors served by Meals on Wheels. It is our hope that this year’s event ensures that even more seniors receive the nourishment they need to continue living independently at home.”

This year, for the first time throughout the life of the program, there will be no cap on the total donation from Subaru of America to its Share the Love charitable partners. By the end of this year’s event, Subaru hopes to exceed a grand total of $90 million donated since the creation of Share the Love.

“We at Subaru are thrilled to support our national and hometown charity partners for the ninth consecutive year,” said Alan Bethke, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Subaru of America Inc. “Through the Share the Love platform we are proud to continue our commitment to the causes our customers care about most and look forward to exceeding a grand total of $90 million donated through this initiative

 By purchasing or leasing a new Subaru during the Event and selecting Meals on Wheels America as your charity of choice, you can help deliver nutritious meals and other important services to seniors right here in San Antonio.

For more information, visit

Meals on Wheels San Antonio
As a Christian Senior Services program, Meals on Wheels of San Antonio prepares and delivers hot, nutritious meals each weekday to homebound seniors living in Bexar County. A registered dietitian on staff ensures all meals meet nutrition standards for older adults. Older adults at least 60 years of age who are homebound, unable to cook for themselves, and lack outside support are eligible for services at no charge. On a limited basis, disabled individuals under 60 may be eligible for meals if funding is available.

About Meals on Wheels America
Meals on Wheels America is the oldest and largest national organization supporting the more than 5,000 community-based programs across the country that are dedicated to addressing senior isolation and hunger. This network exists in virtually every community in America and, along with more than two million staff and volunteers, delivers the nutritious meals, friendly visits and safety checks that enable America’s seniors to live nourished lives with independence and dignity. By providing funding, leadership, education, research and advocacy support, Meals on Wheels America empowers its local member programs to strengthen their communities, one senior at a time. For more information, or to find a Meals on Wheels provider near you, visit


Healthy Holiday Snacks

We know that everyone gets the opportunity to enjoy their share of sweet treats in October! With the holiday season approaching, you might be wondering about about some quick, healthy snack options that will keep your energy up for all of the festivities. Below are some options we think anyone can enjoy and they taste great too!


Feel like trying something new in the kitchen, or want a treat to bring to all of your holiday gatherings? Check out this recipe for Easy Homemade Hummus:

Yield: 1 ½ cups


  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeashummus
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons water


  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the tahini and lemon juice and process for 1 minute, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl then process for 30 seconds.
  2. Add the olive oil, minced garlic, cumin, and a ½ teaspoon of salt to the whipped tahini and lemon juice. Process for 30 seconds, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl then process another 30 seconds or until well blended.
  3. Open, drain, and rinse the chickpeas. Add half of the chickpeas to the food processor and process for 1 minute. Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl, then add remaining chickpeas and process until thick and quite smooth (approximately 1 to 2 minutes).
  4. If too thick or still have tiny bits of chickpea, slowly add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water until you reach the perfect consistency.
  5. Enjoy with fresh fruit, vegetables, or crackers!

Recipe adapted from

Umm, what? Allium!

Allium is a type of flowering plant that includes the cultivated onion, garlic, shallot, leek, and scallion. These versatile vegetables contain sulfur compounds that are responsible for the rich flavor and aroma. The Allium family has been studied for several years. Here are some of the benefits:


In conclusion, these vegetables provide cardiovascular benefits and many anti-inflammatory compounds that could easily help you treat or prevent other conditions. Without a doubt, Allium is a must in your kitchen and it should be included in all your meals.

If you cannot think of a recipe with those ingredients. Included below is a simple recipe for sautéed greens. The recipe is super easy to make and it shouldn’t take you more than 15 minutes to prepare. The recipe also contains Kale, one of the healthiest green leafy vegetables available in the supermarket. You could easily add more ingredients if you like or just make it the way it is. Remember the more the merrier!

Healthy tip: add the olive oil at the end to increase the flavor.

Sautéed Greens

1 cup sliced Leeks
4 cups chopped Kale
1 TBSP + ¼ cup Low-sodium Vegetable broth
3 medium cloves Garlic
1 tsp fresh Lemon juice
1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste


  1. Heat 1 TBSP broth in a skillet.
  2. Add leeks to broth and sliced over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add kale and ¼ cup broth.
  4. Cover and simmer on low heat for about 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Toss with pressed garlic, lemon juice, soy sauce (optional), olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  6. Enjoy!


Source: The World’s Healthiest Foods

Benefits of Blueberries

Being proactive about your health is one of the best methods to help prevent the development of a chronic disease. One way to do this is to be mindful of your diet and to choose foods that are full of nutrients that benefit your overall health. Fruits and vegetables are great staples to have during the summer months, and now is a great time to take advantage of the varieties of produce that are available. One of my favorite seasonal foods is blueberries. This little berry is full of nutrients that are known to have a host of health benefits. Plus, it is a very versatile food.  It can be incorporated into every meal in various forms or can be consumed alone as a snack.


It may be puzzling that something so small can be so powerful, but this little fruit could decrease your risk of getting cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease and even wrinkles! On top of that, blueberries reduce the risk of getting urinary tract infections, which are very common in women. A component found in their juice prevents bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall. Blueberries are so unique because of their blend of phytochemicals. These components found in fruits and vegetables have been shown to have positive health effects in the body! Blueberries have carotenoids, folate, fiber, vitamins E and C, iron, phytoestrogens, polyphenols and potassium  just to name a few. All of these nutrients help the body run optimally. Perhaps the most significant nutrient is a type of flavonoid known as anthocyanin.

Anthocyanins are what give blueberries and other blue and purple foods their deep colors.  They are responsible for the fruit’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory abilities. Antioxidants are important compounds because they neutralize the free radicals in our bodies. Free radicals damage the healthy cells and make us more prone to developing diseases like cancer. This is why blueberries are so important.  Research has also found that anthocyanins work with other nutrients and can help strengthen our cardiovascular health.

In addition to being low in calories and providing all of these health benefits, blueberries taste delicious!  They come in many varieties such as fresh, frozen, or dried, and often are added to certain foods like waffles and cereals.  Now that you know many of the benefits of blueberries in your diet, add some today!

Here is one great recipe to try. It is super easy to make and you could enjoy it for breakfast or as a snack.

Overnight Blueberry Oats

overnight oatsIngredients:
½ cup of quick oats
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 tbsp of peanut butter
½ cup of low-fat milk (or Almond Milk)
Cinnamon (optional)


1.Add all the ingredients in a small container like a mason jar. Start with the oats and add the milk as the last ingredient.
2. Mix well with a spoon.
3. Cover and refrigerate overnight (or for 5 hours).
4. Oatmeal is ready to eat or you can warm it up in the microwave and enjoy!
Nutrient Info: 360 kcal, 51 g of carbohydrates, 15.5 g of protein, 11.5 g of fat, 105 mg sodium, 310 mg potassium, 10 g of fiber, 16.6 g of sugar

The Power of Potassium

By Heather Jewett, BHS Dietetic Intern

Potassium is a nutrient that is often overlooked, and it is essential to understand where to find it and why it is important in our diets.

Potassium is an electrolyte that acts opposite of sodium in our body’s cell membranes. Too much sodium in the diet is known to increase blood pressure, and adequate potassium intake can help maintain a healthy vascular system and heart.

Potassium is found in a variety of foods. Foods high in potassium include:

  • Fruits like bananas, kiwis, cantaloupe, avocados, prunes and apricots
  • Vegetables like broccoli, tomatoes, potatoes, peas, lima beans, sweet potatoes, leafy greens, and winter squash
  • Dairy products like milk and yogurt
  • All meats (red meat and chicken) and many types of fish.
  • Other plant based proteins like nuts, beans, legumes, soy products, and veggie burgers

potassium source image

Potassium is important as we get older because we need it to build proteins and muscle, to control the electrical impulses that make our hearts beat, to use carbohydrates in the body, among other functions. Most people do not eat enough potassium. In severe potassium deficiency, symptoms of weak muscles, abnormal heart beat, and an increased blood pressure can occur.

A diet rich in potassium has the potential to improve health outcomes for a longer, healthier, and happier life. There are some cases where people may have to restrict potassium, as in kidney disease.  If you fall into this category, follow the advice of your doctor or dietitian on what foods to limit.  When it comes to potassium-rich foods, don’t be shy! Pile your plate high with potassium-rich fruits and veggies and enjoy the reward of a happy heart.