Healthy ways to sastisfy your sweet tooth by Bella Yzerman, dietetic intern

Now for the fun stuff . . . it is summer after all. Read below for some light, healthy, and refreshing dessert ideas to enjoy at the beach, around the pool, or any time with friends!


Coconut Mango Chia Pudding


14-ounce can of coconut milk

6 teaspoons of chia seeds

5 tablespoons of shredded coconut

5 tablespoons of maple syrup

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 refrigerated mango


Whisk the coconut milk, chia seeds, shredded coconut, maple syrup and vanilla extract in a bowl.

Let the bowl sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Mix again, then cover and refrigerate for at least three hours.

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt  

ice cream


4 cups of frozen strawberries

3 tablespoons of agave nectar or honey

½ cup vanilla yogurt

1 tablespoon of lemon juice


Add the frozen strawberries, yogurt, lemon juice, and either agave nectar or honey into the bowl of a food processor until smooth and creamy.

Place in freezer until serving time.

Melon Flowers






Using metal cookie cutters, cut flower shapes and circles out of the fruit.

Place the circles in the center of the flowers.

Stick lollipop sticks in the melon flower.

Start a new 4th of July Tradition by Isabella Yzerman

Fourth of July Snacks

The weekend of July 4th is rapidly approaching, what dish will you be contributing to this year’s holiday get-together? Just because this celebration is tradition does not mean that you need to follow in the footsteps of Fourths past and gorge on hot dogs and burgers. Celebrate the long weekend, no cheat day included! Enjoy these fun, easy, and healthy snacks not just this weekend, but all summer long. Start new July 4th traditions by giving your family and friends treats that taste great and are great for your body too.

Fruit pops with coconut water

Fill Popsicle molds ¾ of the way full with your favorite fruits.

Fill the rest of the mold with your chosen brand of coconut water.

Place in the freezer for two hours or until partially frozen then insert the Popsicle sticks into the molds.

Continue freezing for three more hours or until your pops are fully frozen.


Zucchini chips


4 cups of thinly sliced Zucchini

  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon of pepper
  • ½ teaspoon of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar


Whisk salt, pepper, olive oil, and vinegar in a bowl.

Add thinly sliced zucchini, the thinner the crispier!

Toss the crisps until they are fully covered in the dressing.

Place the slices on dehydrator trays and dehydrate at 135 degrees for 5-6 hours.


Burrata tomato bites 

Cut the tops off cherry tomatoes and scoop out the insides.

Fill with a small spoonful of burrata or mozzarella cheese.

Drizzle balsamic vinegar over top.



Frozen Yogurt Blueberries

Use a toothpick to dip blueberries in Greek yogurt.

Place on a baking sheet and freeze until ready.

Try using different types of Organic Greek yogurt (like Siggis, Fage, Stoneyfield, Chobani, etc) to create a combination of flavors.


For dessert! Fruit pizza



  • 1 package of sugar cookie dough
  • Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • ¼ cup of granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup of apricot preserves
  • 1 tablespoon of water



Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Bake the cookie dough as usual for 13-14 minutes on a prepared pizza pan.

In mixing bowl use an electric mixer to whip the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until light and smooth.

Spread the “frosting” over the crust when cool and arrange the fruit however you would like!

Optional: whisk the preserves and the water and brush it over the fruit then refrigerate until serving time


Summer is Ripe for Healthy Eating by Isabella Yzerman

 photo 1    tomatoberry_vine

You’ve heard it a million times (probably from your mother) – eat more fruits and veggies! Well, this time of year, there are no excuses not to fill half your plate with the rainbow of produce. Though you can purchae produce in cold-weather states like Michigan year round, what you are getting is produce that is grown thousands miles away and that can have a negative effect on not only the taste of your produce, but also its nutritional value.

During the spring, summer and autumn months, however, we can take advantage of the bounty of locally grown produce. The taste of these dietary staples, as they reach the peak of their ripeness, is unrivaled. That is why we decided to kick off this summer with a quick guide to the fruits and veggies that are optimal during this time of year. We all know how essential the second tier of the food pyramid is to our overall health, but here are some less well-known benefits to keep you feeling your best during the best time of the year.


Tomatoes are one of the fruits containing the highest amount of lycopene. Lycopene has been linked with lower levels of cancers, especially prostate cancer.


Whether eaten plain, spread on toast, or mixed in with scrambled eggs, avocados are one of the best ways to satisfy your body’s healthy fat needs. Avocados are considered to be a monounsaturated fat, the kind that’s good for you, and can lead to an overall lower body weight. 


Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries all have more in common than their shared suffixes. Berries have compounds that deter the natural decline of mental processes and help to preserve cognitive abilities during aging.



In addition to being key in fighting off dehydration cantaloupe is also full of antioxidants, especially zeaxanthin. Zeaxanthin has been linked reducing the risk for age-related macular degeneration, a condition that is the leading cause in the loss of vision.



Eating just one sweet, juicy peach can benefit your bones, your nervous system, and your red blood cells. How? Peaches are storehouses for an impressive variety of minerals, including potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, phosphorous, and manganese.



Not only does watermelon nearly taste too delicious to be good for you, but it is also comprised of about 92% water, making watermelon slices a hydrating, nutritious, and sweet snack to keep hydrated in the summer heat.



Having trouble sleeping at night? Instead of adding melatonin pills to your nightly routine, try incorporating more cherries into your diet. Cherries are one of the rare natural sources of melatonin and can help you get those extra few hours of sleep needed to fuel your day.



Cucumbers have the highest water concentration of all fruits and veggies, adding up to about 96% water. They’re also easy to incorporate into your diet, whether in a salad, sandwich, or a wrap.


For those of you who want to experience a little more of what summertime produce has to offer, check out the following more adventurous fruits and herbs.



By inhibiting the same enzymes as anti-inflammatory medications, basil has anti-inflammatory health benefits for those suffering from the pain and swelling of arthritis. Basil is also noteworthy in its versatility; it can be added to nearly every dish! Try mixing some in with the some seasonally ripe tomatoes, either into a fresh tomato sauce or a mozzarella salad.



Don’t be misled by the sweetness and dessert-like qualities of figs. One serving of these pear-shaped fruits has about one quarter of your daily fiber needs, essential for healthy digestion and in curbing those unnecessary between-meal cravings.



Mint is incredibly beneficial for helping along healthy digestion as well as other stomach or bowel ailments. Mint also can relieve nausea. Try adding crushed up leaves to hot water to make refreshing homemade mint tea.


Key Limes

These small, yellow-green limes can be used for more than making delicious pies. They are also a great source of vitamin C, which is necessary for a healthy immune system, promotes youthful skin, and lowers risk for cardiovascular diseases and stroke.


DASH Diet rated top diet for health and weight loss

By: Lisa Warren, MS, RD

Keep that New Year’s Resolution and DASH into Good Health!

For many Americans, their 2015 resolutions to lose weight and eat healthier have been forgotten.  But it doesn’t have to be like that – in fact, good health can be just a DASH away!  Every year, US news and World Report ranks diets for ease in following, safety, efficacy, and sound nutrition. The Dash Diet has been ranked number 1 for the past 4 years!  Originally developed to help control blood pressure (hence the name Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), it was found that this diet can also help lower blood lipids and result in weight loss.  So, why not try it—what do you have to lose besides a little weight?

Here are some key points to get started:

  • Eat lots of vegetables and fruits ( 4 – 5 servings of each)
  • Include fat free or low fat dairy products (2-3 servings)
  • Make whole grains part of your daily intake (6-8 servings)
  • Pump up muscles with protein foods like legumes, fish, poultry, nuts and seeds (6 ounces or less of meats and legumes, nuts, seeds 4 – 5 times/week)
  • Limit sodium to 1500 mg , but no more than 2300 mg daily

It’s Easy!

  • Increase fruits and vegetables in your daily diet by adding an extra serving at lunch or dinner or for a snack in between meals. Remember, ½ cup of cooked vegetable or 1 cup raw, 1 medium size piece of fruit (size of a tennis ball), or ¼ cup dried fruits all equal a single serving. The fiber will help fill you up and is naturally low in sodium.
  • Make a meatless dinner twice a week – use dried beans or legumes as your protein source.
  • Watch those labels for sodium content. Fresh is best whenever possible! Boost the flavor in your food with spices or herbs that don’t contain sodium or learn to enjoy the natural flavor of foods.

Don’t give up!

Whatever you do, don’t give up!  If you go off track, don’t abandon the whole plan.  Take it one step at a time and incorporate one new thing a week.  Need a little help?  Take a look on line at or National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute website or ask a registered Dietitian. Check out this delicious recipe:


Quinoa Spinach Patties

1 cup cooked quinoa

4 eggs, whisked

1/3 cup parmesan cheese

3 large scallions, sliced thin

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup steamed, chopped spinach (frozen can be used)

1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs

1 teaspoon olive oil

Rinse quinoa with water and then place in a medium saucepan with 2 cups water.  Bring water to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook until quinoa is tender and has absorbed liquid – about 20 minutes.  Cool.

Combine cooked quinoa, eggs, parmesan, scallions, garlic, steamed spinach and breadcrumbs.  Let liquid absorb before shaping into patties using ¼ cup of mixture for each patty.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium low heat.  Cook patties covered for 8 – 10 minutes on each side or until golden brown.  Makes 14 patties

Serving size 2 patties:  200 calories, 6 g total fat, 26 g carbohydrates, 11 g protein, 4 g fiber, 140 mg sodium, 245 mg potassium


Try a plant-based diet

Diets rich in delicious whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes can help prevent or actually reverse heart disease. That’s huge!

Over 83 million American’s have some form of heart disease that can be directly related to unhealthy eating.   Our typical Western diet is to blame, laden with animal meats, fat, and sugars.  Several authors have touted plant-based eating over the years such as Ornish and Esselstyn as a way to reverse damage in the blood vessels and prevent recurrences.  Even though it will require a commitment to a specific way of eating, the rewards can be tremendous!

Other benefits to plant based eating include prevention of:

  • diabetes
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cancer


Get Started!  Too Strict?   Don’t Depair!

  • Take a look on the internet at sites such as 21 vegan kickstart ( ) or in books by Esselstyn, Pritikin, or Ornish to get started. There are many recipes online and in published books on the topic that can make this way of life enjoyable and delicious.

If you feel like the plant based diet is too strict for you, maybe you can consider becoming a Flexitarian.  That’s a flexible vegetarian diet with an occasional animal protein.  It is often called the 3-4-5 way of eating – that is 300 calories at breakfast, 400 calories at lunch, and 500 calories at dinner with 150 calorie snacks depending on the calorie level you need.  Any way you look at it, eating more vegetables can be a great way to much healthier you!  Need a little help?  Ask a registered Dietitian.

Snack Like a Red Wing Today!


Come sample delicious oat/cherry energy bars at the Farmer’s Market today between 11-1 courtesy of Chef Carly. This is such an easy recipe to make and requires no baking. These energy bars are a favorite snack of the Detroit Red Wings because the preparation time is under five minutes. Check out the recipe below and try a batch at home. The great thing about this recipe is how easy it is to individualize the ingredients to whatever you like. These are a great recovery snack after a long run or bike.


2 cup organic oats

1/3 dried tart cherries

½ cup all-natural peanut butter or almond butter

3 Tablespoons honey (I like Manuka honey best)

1 tsp vanilla optional add ins: chia seeds, hemp seeds, dark chocolate, nuts, dried fruits, coconut, ground flax, etc.


  1. Mix ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Either roll into balls or fill small containers and freeze for 30 minutes.

Shop Smart and Eat Healthy!


By: Elizabeth Dreyer, Lisa Junk, and Elizabeth Lorenz (Dietetic Technicians at SJMH)

Are you trying to eat a healthy diet on a tight budget?  Are you looking for ways to save money at the grocery store?  Eating well while watching your budget can be challenging, but it is possible!  Below, you will find tips and suggestions to help stretch your dollars and buy quality, healthy foods for you and your family.

  • Check your pantry, plan your meals, and make a list before you head to the store
  • Use coupons from the newspaper, your mailbox, or the internet, and check store ads for sales
  • Join store loyalty programs for added savings (i.e. Kroger, Meijer)
  • Have a snack before you shop so you are not hungry and tempted to buy junk food
  • Leave the kids at home and shop at off times so you are less distracted and can stick to your list
  • Shop at discount stores (i.e. Aldi, Randazzo) when able, but not at convenience stores (i.e. 7-11)
  • Seek out farmers markets for fresh, local produce, prices may be marked down close to closing time
  • Many grocery stores have organic foods that are less expensive than specialty stores
  • In general, the most expensive items are at eye level, so look at the higher and lower shelves
  • Generic or store brands are usually less expensive than major brands
  • Stock up when the foods you use often are on sale and you can use or freeze them before they spoil
  • Use cash, you will spend less than if you use a credit, debit card, or check
  • Drink water instead of pop and other sugary beverages
  • Prepared foods cost more (i.e. chicken pieces, shredded cheese, cut up veggies)
  • Buy fresh produce in season, it is usually less expensive
  • Look for canned veggies with no salt added and canned fruit in water or juice (not syrup)
  • Buy plain rice, oatmeal, pasta, and grains to avoid expense, salt, and sugar
  • High fiber healthy cereals are a low cost snack or quick meal
  • Cook larger quantities of nutrient rich lentil, bean or veggie soups and casseroles and freeze the leftovers for a convenient meal later
  • Plan some vegetarian meals like spaghetti with marinara sauce, baked potatoes filled with veggies, or a tofu stir fry, and have “breakfast” for dinner with eggs to keep costs down
  • Try inexpensive protein choices like beans (i.e. pinto, black, navy, kidney, garbanzo) , eggs, and nut butters
  • Be careful with condiments—the cost adds up and so does the added salt and sugar (try vinegar & oil instead of salad dressing)

Summit the Stairs for a Chance to Win a Nalgene Water Bottle From The Farm

We know exercise is the best medicine. Sometimes the day can go by with very few steps taken. In an effort to challenge yourself to take more steps, we are offering everyone an opportunity to meet us at the sumit.

On Wednesday, March 18th (from 11 AM – 1 PM) climb to the top of the stairs in the patient tower to enter your name to win a water bottle from the Farm at St. Joes.


  • Studies have found that people who spend more time each day watching television, sitting, or riding in cars  have a greater chance of dying early than people who spend less time sitting.
  • Researchers speculate that sitting for hours on end may change peoples’ metabolism in ways that promote obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions. It is also possible that sitting is a marker for a broader sedentary lifestyle.
  • In sum, a morning jog or brisk lunchtime walk brings many health benefits—but these may not entirely make up for a day spent in front of the computer or an evening in front of the television set. So as you plan your daily activity routine, remember that cutting down on “sit time” may be just as important as increasing “fit time.”


Come taste samples from Boar’s Head at Market Today! Celebrate Nutrition Month and learn about keeping antibiotics out of food!

By: Abigail McCleery, MPH, RD

There is a growing body of evidence linking antibiotic resistance to the overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture, presenting a serious risk to human health.  It is estimated that antibiotic resistant infections cost the U.S. health care system of over $20 billion each year, and close to 19,000 deaths occur annually from methicillin-resistant Staphyloccocus aureus (MRSA).  To combat this antibiotic resistance crisis, forward-thinking hospitals are expanding their roles as stewards of antibiotics by using their purchasing power and moral authority to change both markets and policies to support suppliers who don’t misuse these medicines.  Here at St Joes, we are proud to serve Harvestland chicken raised without the use of sub-therapeutic antibiotics in The Market Cafe as well as in patient meals.  We also use Boar’s Head all-natural beef, turkey and ham in the sandwiches and salads for our patients.  We will soon propose the phase out of all procurement of meat produced with the use of sub-therapeutic antibiotics.  We encourage you to vote with your wallet, and reduce or eliminate your purchases of meat raised with sub-therapeutic antibiotics!   If you would like to learn more about this subject, please explore the following links:   To find sustainable food in your area, search the Eat Well Guide:

Come celebrate National Nutrition Month at the Farmer’s Market

Enjoy the delicious samples at the Farmer’s Market throughout the month of March and visit with a registerd dietitian to learn about healthy eating tips each week at the market.


March 4th – Come enjoy a taste of fruit-infused waters and learn strategies for eliminating  soda in your diet. Sugar-sweetened beverages are filled with empty calories and have been linked with obesity, type two diabetes, and dental decay. These empty calories from sugar quickly add up and are the largest contributor to the problem of pediatric and adult obesity. Our dietetic interns calculated how many flights of stairs you need to climb and steps you need to walk to negate the empty sugar calories from soda. We will also be selling our reusable water bottles at the Market. They are Nalgene brand, BPA-free, 1-Liter bottles in various colors. While you are visiting the market, pick up our handouts on healthy beverages and take home recipes for delicious fruit, veggie, and herb-infused waters.

March 11th – Enjoy samples of antibiotic-free meats. Be sure to check the blog next week for information regarding what St. Joe’s is doing to eliminate food that has been raised with non-therapeutic antibiotics. We are proud to serve poultry that has been raised without antibiotics.

March 18th – Come learn about all the great opportunities around campus for physical activity. Take the summit climb, walk the outdoor path, and even consider signing up for the Ann Arbor 5k run which will be held at the Farm on April 25th.

March 25th – Stop by the market to sample a healthy sweet treat. We are busy trying out new recipes for a healthy dessert that will satisfy your sweet tooth. We will share our recipes which have delicious ingredients like oats, dried cherries, dark chocolate and honey. Simple, no-bake desserts that are low in calories but high in flavor. Our own St. Joe version of an energy bar cannot be missed.

Mercy High School Girls Make a Difference on The Farm!

 Girls helping water seedlingsFarmer Dan, U of M intern Courtney with our young ladies from Mercy High School The lone male volunteer amongst the group of girls! Enjoying the camarederie What a nice group of volunteers. Ginger Raymond leading the group. Mercy girls helping in the hoop houseCleaning up in the hoop house Look at the bounty for the patient menu Working hard to make a difference Endless weeding Harvesting carrots for market Girls pulling out the old plants getting ready for new plantings Harvesting tomatoes for the Farmer's Market and patient menus Digging in the dirt Girls weeding by the imaging center Farmer Dan guiding the girls Mercy girls helping our Sisters of Mercy Helping remove the old tomato plants to make room for winter planting Great weather for our helpers Mercy High School at the Farm


Last week, The Farm at St. Joe’s celebrated ‘Mercy Make a Difference Day’ with numerous volunteers (students and teachers) from Mercy High School in Farmington Hills, Michigan. As part of the schools mission, all students are deployed throughout the community to ‘make a difference.’ We enjoyed every bright smile and eager attitude. In the past, Farmer Dan’s mother would come and help him remove the old tomato plants to get ready for winter planting. This year, the yound ladies did the same work in a matter of hours. They all worked so hard to clean up the Farm, harvest vegetables for farmer’s market and the patiet menu, clean up at Sisters’ house, and weed by the Imaging Center. We thank our crew, which also included Robin Damschroder’s son, Ginger Raymond, teachers, parents and students from Mercy High. These are future leaders who understand how food is grown and they will make a difference with the lessons learned at our farm. Thanks to all!