Nutrition, Food and a Healthy You

Nutrition at PEHS

The Nutrition Program at the Proviso East High School (PEHS) Student Based Health Center (SBHC) offers individual nutrition counseling as well as a variety of other programs and services. The goal of the Nutrition Program is to provide activities that assist students in the development of optimal dietary patterns and nutrient intakes through health education, medical nutrition therapy services and improved access.

Nutrition Counseling/Medical Nutrition Therapy

The Registered Dietitians at the SBHC work with students on an individual basis to develop a personalized healthy eating plan that will help them achieve their personal wellness goals.

Nutrition Counseling Available For:

- Overall Wellness/Preventative Health
- Weight Management (loss or gain)
- High cholesterol/Dyslipidemia
- Diabetes
- Sports nutrition/Athletes
- Pregnancy
- Vegetarianism/Veganism
- High Blood Pressure/Hypertension
- Eating Disorders
- Food Allergies
- Lactose Intolerance
- Gastrointestinal Disorders

How to Schedule an Appointment

Walk into the Student Based Health Center located on the 1st floor of PEHS next to the Nurse’s office or call (708) 449-9522 and ask the receptionist, Mrs. Araceli McBeth, to request an appointment with a Registered Dietitian.

Click here for delicious, healthy recipes!

Recent Posts

  • Good Fats, Bad Fats, and Very Bad Fats It was once thought that fat in the diet was a bad thing. Fat has been deemed responsible for a range of diseases from cardiovascular disease to diabetes. It is ...
    Posted Mar 20, 2012, 7:03 AM by
  • Vitamins & Minerals 101 The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans were developed with the ultimate goal to improve the health of our Nation by promoting healthy eating and physical activity. Important information regarding our ...
    Posted Mar 5, 2012, 7:24 AM by
  • Energy Balance Jennifer Hudson lost weight using Weight Watchers and looks amazing.  What’s the secret behind Jennifer’s success and the key to why Weight Watcher’s works? It’s all ...
    Posted Feb 20, 2012, 10:57 AM by
Showing posts 1 - 3 of 21. View more »

Good Fats, Bad Fats, and Very Bad Fats

posted Mar 20, 2012, 6:50 AM by   [ updated Mar 20, 2012, 7:03 AM ]

It was once thought that fat in the diet was a bad thing. Fat has been deemed responsible for a range of diseases from cardiovascular disease to diabetes. It is true that over consumption of certain fats may lead to some diseases, but not all fats are created equal. That is, there are good fats, bad fats, and very bad fats. Let’s take a look:

The Good: Unsaturated Fats

These healthy unsaturated fats help fight the very diseases that the bad fats can cause. They are divided into monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and both types are shown to have beneficial effects on cholesterol levels. Unsaturated ‘heart-healthy’ fats are found in cold-water fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel), nuts, seeds, olive oil, canola oil, and avocados. Just remember that although these foods have healthy fats, they still have calories so follow their serving size!

The Bad and The Very Bad: Saturated Fats & Trans Fats

These are what we know as the artery clogging fats that have been shown to raise cholesterol levels. Saturated fats are found in meat, poultry skin, dairy, chocolate, and coconut and palm oil. Saturated fats should be less than 10% of our total fat intake. Trans fats are the very bad fats as they not only raise the bad cholesterol but lower the good cholesterol. You can find Trans-fats not only by looking on the label, but looking for the word ’hydrogenated’ in the ingredient list. They are usually found in commercially processed products, fried foods, and bakery goods. These fats should be avoided as much as possible.

Moral of the story is to choose your fats wisely. Our body needs fat in the diet, so make the most of fats and be heart-healthy! For more information, check out:

By Anne Lorenc, Loyola University Dietetic Intern

Vitamins & Minerals 101

posted Mar 5, 2012, 7:20 AM by   [ updated Mar 5, 2012, 7:24 AM ]

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans were developed with the ultimate goal to improve the health of our Nation by promoting healthy eating and physical activity. Important information regarding our nation’s current health is pointed out in the guidelines, including the fact that many children are consuming too many calories and not enough nutrients. This issue remains a primary focus due to the overwhelming evidence that proper nutrition, including adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals, is vital at every stage of life.

One of the many approaches taken to promote healthier eating included a section titled “Foods and Nutrients to Increase.” This section emphasized including more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, beans and peas, soy products, unsalted nuts and seeds, and oils into the diet. Maintaining this balance of food groups will ensure adequate vitamin and mineral intake for proper body functioning. This section also discusses nutrients of public health concern, including potassium, dietary fiber, calcium, and vitamin D.

There has also been emphasis on obtaining all necessary nutrients from whole foods for many reasons:

  • Whole food provides greater nutrition than supplements. Whole foods are complex and contain many micro-nutrients that your body needs.
  • Whole foods, including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes contain essential fiber. High fiber foods are also packed with essential nutrients.
  • Fruits and vegetables contain protective substances called phytochemicals. These substances may help protect against cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 2010. Available at: Accessed February 28, 2012.

Supplements: Nutrition in a pill? Mayo Clinic. 2011. Available at: Accessed February 27, 2012.

Energy Balance

posted Feb 20, 2012, 10:38 AM by   [ updated Feb 20, 2012, 10:57 AM ]

Jennifer Hudson lost weight using Weight Watchers and looks amazing.  What’s the secret behind Jennifer’s success and the key to why Weight Watcher’s works? It’s all in understanding energy balance.

Unfortunately, the American population hasn’t seen the results that Jennifer’s seen. The obesity epidemic is increasing in America with every year that passes. What’s worse is that the epidemic is now affecting our youth.  In 2008, approximately 20% of children between the ages of 6-19 were considered obese.

So what’s behind our growing waistlines? Obesity and overweight are the result of an energy imbalance; the energy we take in exceeds the energy we use up.

Where does the energy come from? The energy that we need to perform our activities of daily living comes from our food and is measured in calories (kcal). Calories are found in carbohydrates, protein and fat. Out of these three, fat contains the greatest number of calories per gram (g). 

Carbohydrates provide 4 kcal/g

Protein provides 4 kcal/g

Fat provides 9 kcal/g

Now let’s try and make sense of this caloric imbalance. When people gain weight the amount of calories consumed exceeds the number of calories used.

For example, imagine eating 2 slices of regular cheese pizza. Your body has just consumed about 550 calories. If you decide that for the rest of the night you’ll sit on the couch and watch television, the amount of calories you spend in activity is zero.  Now you have an excess of 550 calories. Since you aren’t using the calories your body decides it will store the energy for later, as fat. The more calories stored (fat accumulating) the more weight you’ll gain.

Although, if after those 2 slices of pizza you decide you’ll go for a swim, you could potentially use up all those calories, meaning you wouldn’t gain any weight.

The idea is as follows:

If calories in > calories out → weight gain

If calories in < calories out → weight loss

If calories in = calories out → weight maintenance

By now you must be asking what can we can do in our lives to encourage weight loss for those that are overweight or obese or to maintain a health weight?

1) Increase your physical activity: It is recommended that the average person exercise at least 30 minutes daily.

2) Reduce our calories in: By choosing foods that are lower in calories (reduced fat or skim milk as opposed to whole milk), limiting or eliminating high calorie foods (i.e. pastries, chips, etc.). Also consider decreasing portion sizes or making low calorie substitutions (low fat cheeses, applesauce in baking rather than oil, broth instead of cream soups).

3) Cook Smart: Bake and broil instead of fry.

Recipe of the Week:

Tuna and Edamame Bagelwich

Serves: 1


-    3 ounces low sodium white tuna, in water, drained

-    2 Tablespoons of mayonnaise

-    1/8 cup of edamame (edamame is a softer version of the soybean and is often used in Asian foods. You can buy them fresh or frozen)

-    2 Tablespoons of red onion, chopped

-    2 Tablespoons of cilantro, chopped

-    1 teaspoon of lemon juice

-    Dash of hot sauce

-    Bagel Thin (Thomas' 100% Whole Wheat Thins Bagel)


-    Lettuce, Tomato, and Cucumber

1.    Combine all ingredients except for the Bagel Thin and the toppings.

2.    Spread tuna mixture on bagel and top with lettuce, tomato and cucumber.


Get the Scoop on Salt

posted Feb 15, 2012, 12:06 PM by   [ updated Feb 15, 2012, 12:28 PM ]

Salt is the main source of sodium in the diet.

Too much sodium can negatively impact heath by increasing blood pressure and risk for heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. Recommendations are to eat less than 2300mg of salt daily, only one teaspoon!. Most people eat more like 2-3 teaspoons of salt daily. Be careful, sodium comes from more than just what is added to food during cooking. More than 90% of the sodium we eat comes from processed foods and prepared meals eaten away from the home.

Limit Your Intake

  • Whenever possible buy fresh or frozen foods such as fruits, vegetable, meats, poultry, and fish
  • Rinse canned foods such as vegetables and beans to wash off ~40% of the sodium
  • Cook rice, pasta, beans and hot cereal without salt, adding flavor with herbs and spices
  • Flavor with herbs, spices, lemon, wine, or vinegar in cooking or at the table instead of salt
  • Taste food before salting
  • Limit smoked, cured, or processed beef, pork, or poultry (such as ham, sausage, bacon, lunchmeats)
  • Limit condiments (such as ketchup and mustard), salad dressings, bottled sauces and marinades
  • Limit salty snacks (such as crackers and chips)
  • Limit intake of fast food
  • At restaurants, choose smaller portions
  • Read food labels to make healthier choices
  • Make Good Choices by Reading the Food Label

Check the Nutrition Facts Panel to identify how much sodium is in the food, aim for <300mg per serving

Note: if you eat more than the serving side listed you are also eating more sodium

Look for terms such as sodium-free or salt-free, very low sodium, low sodium, reduced sodium or less sodium, and no-salt added or unsalted as they have less sodium

For more information visit:

American Heart Association -
The Center for Disease Control -

Low-Sodium Fruit and Veggie Dip

Try a new and tasty dip for your fruits and vegetables!

Cinnamon Almond Butter Dip


3/4 cup natural almond butter (natural peanut butter can also be used)

1/2 cup skim milk (can also use non-dairy milk – almond, soy, rice, hemp, etc)

1 TBSP pure maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp ground cinnamon, or to taste

In large bowl, whisk together almond butter, milk, maple syrup, vanilla, and cinnamon (also can use a blender), until mixture is combined and smooth. Store in fridge in sealed container. Serve with sliced apples, carrots, celery or other favorite fruits and vegetables.

Yield: 1 1/4 cup

Serving Size: 2 TBSP

Nutritional Info (per 2TBSP serving): 93 kcals, 7 grams fat, 2 grams sugar, 3 grams protein, 1 gram fiber

Food Allergy Awarness Videos

posted Dec 7, 2011, 7:03 AM by   [ updated Dec 7, 2011, 7:06 AM ]

Here are several videos about food allergies in the school community.

Food Allergy Awareness for All Parents in the School Community.

This 6 minute slideshow highlights basic facts about food allergies and the constant need for prevention and preparedness.

How To Prevent Food Allergy Reactions.

This 8 minute slideshow with audio outlines strategies to avoid exposure to food allergens in and out of the school setting. The presentation discusses the importance of label reading and avoiding hidden allergens and cross-contact.

How to Prepare for a Food Allergy Reaction.

This 6 minute slideshow with audio discusses the importance of being prepared to recognize and treat severe allergic reactions.

Weight Maintenance

posted Nov 15, 2011, 3:42 PM by Jeanna Tachiki   [ updated Nov 15, 2011, 3:48 PM ]

Maintaining a healthy weight is important for your health. However, how to achieve your best weight might not always be so clear, especially among teens. Most high school girls interested in losing weight exercise, yet they still tend to drink pop everyday and boys interested in weight loss are more likely to be sedentary. Here are some helpful/healthful tips to help you jump-start on the path to achieve and maintain your best weight!

1. Reduce or eliminate the amount of pop and juice you drink everyday. You have to walk three miles to burn the amount of calories in one 20 oz soda or juice! In fact, just having one pop a day for a year could result in a 15-pounds of weight gain. A single can of pop has 10 teaspoons of sugar in it... Would you add that much to your own drink?

Instead...try drinking more water, low or no-calorie beverages (tea, crystal light, sltezer water, diet beverages) and milk.


2. Choose whole, unprocessed foods as much as possible. Eating whole foods boosts energy expenditure. Your body can break down processed foods much easier than un-processed foods. This means you will burn fewer calories after eating white bread, than you would after eating whole wheat bread. Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean meats and vegetable oils will give you the beneficial essential nutrients you need with the added bonus of increased calorie burn after you eat them!


3. Eat more. Your body gets full from the amount of food you eat, not the amount of calories. So switch higher calorie (energy-dense foods) for lower calorie, nutrient dense foods and get more food for less calories! Focus on whole foods, fiber and practice substitutions. Try switching to non-fat milk, only using the egg white, and bulking up dishes with veggies!


By Annica Shumny, Loyola University Dietetic Intern



posted Nov 3, 2011, 6:53 AM by Jeanna Tachiki

There is a common belief that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but is that really true? Well, research supports that breakfast is indeed the most important meal of the day. There are many reasons why breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

            Breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it replenishes your fuel after a night of sleep. When we sleep, our body is still working by using energy to keep the heart beating and the lungs working properly. However, when we sleep we do not replenish this energy that the body uses. Hence, in the morning when we wake up we have to make sure that we replenish our energy sources in order for all of the body organs to work properly. A major organ that needs fuel in order to work properly is the brain. Again, after a night’s sleep energy levels are low, specifically glucose. The main fuel used by the brain is glucose. By eating breakfast, you are replenishing your glucose stores which are then used by the brain to work throughout the day.

            The dietary guidelines for Americans recommend variask us to get many different nutrients during the day, but do not always tell us how to go about and get all of the needed nutrients. A great way to get all of the nutrients needed in a day is to eat breakfast. Eating breakfast allows you get more of the vitamins and minerals needed. The reason for this is simple, when you eat a healthy breakfast, you eat more foods that contain those nutrients. When you skip breakfast, you lose out on the chance of getting your nutrients for the morning.

            Weight loss is an issue that many people deal with in today’s society. Eating breakfast is one way to lose weight. Now wait, it does not make sense. How can you lose weight when you are EATING? Well, the answer is that when you eat breakfast, you get energy to move during the day. This energy can be used to exercise and burn calories. The other reason why breakfast may help you lose weight is because when people skip breakfast in the morning, they tend to compensate later on during the day with high caloric snacks. These snacks are high and calories ultimately lead to weight gain. Eating breakfast prevents you from eating these high caloric snacks.

            Eating breakfast has its many benefits; it can help you replenish your energy, get all of the nutrients needed in a day, and may help you lose weight. Now you know some reasons why breakfast is called the most important meal of the day. Can you think of other reasons?
By Cristian Mendoza, Loyola University Dietetic Intern

First Ever Food Day

posted Oct 25, 2011, 8:05 PM by Jeanna Tachiki   [ updated Nov 3, 2011, 6:54 AM ]

October 24th, 2011 marked the first celebration of “Food Day” in America. Food Day is a grassroots movement designed to achieve 6 goals which include:


1.       Reducing diet-related disease by promoting safe, healthy foods

2.       Supporting sustainable farms & limit subsidies to big agribusiness

3.       Expanding access to food and alleviate hunger

4.       Protecting the environment & animals by reforming factory farms

5.       Promoting health by curbing junk-food marketing to kids

6.       Supporting fair conditions for food and farm workers


On Wednesday, October 26th, Loyola’s School Based Health Center Registered Dietitians and Interns facilitated assemblies at Proviso East High School during students P.E. periods to promote awareness of Food Day principals. Short films were shown with well-known celebrities such as Cameron Diaz and Jamie Oliver, along with discussions pertaining to the issues of diet-related disease, junk-food marketing to kids, and the importance of urban farming. 


You can view the short movie clips by following the links provided below:


  1. Opener by Cameron Diaz. This 8 minute clip explores the way that food/people are interconnected. The entire clip is not available to view on u-tube, but a quick preview can be found by following the link:


2. Supermarket Secrets. 1:30 minutes. This clip is presented by Michael Pollen and discusses the way we are influenced in buying foods. The concept of shopping the perimeter is discusses as well as hidden marketing strategies of unhealthy foods. Entire clip can be viewed at:


  1. Urban Farms. 1:52 minutes. This clip is presented by chef Bryant Terry. He talks about the importance of community and roof top gardens and how this makes healthy foods available in the city. Entire clip can be viewed at:


  1. Wake Up! 1:59 minutes. This clip is presented by Natalie Burke. She discusses how eating unhealthy foods can lead to diabetes, high BP, and increased cholesterol in a way that will be easily understood by the students. Link:


  1.  Try Something New. 2 minutes. Jamie Oliver discussions the fun of trying new vegetables. He shows some different types of veges, such as purple potatoes (and suggests making purple mashed potatoes!)  Fun video. Link:


For additional information on Food Day, you can go to
By Rosalyn Masi, Loyola University Dietetic Intern

Sugar Sweetened Beverages and Weight Gain

posted Oct 25, 2011, 7:30 AM by Jeanna Tachiki   [ updated Nov 3, 2011, 6:55 AM ]

Consumption of sweetened beverages by youth increased significantly over the past decade contributing to the increase in overweight and obesity in youth.  In order to burn enough calories to make up for drinking one 20 ounce bottle of regular soda, an average weight person would have to walk at least 46 minutes at a moderate pace.  Most Americans do not meet the recommended physical activity level of at least 30 minutes per day.    

How many calories are in the beverages you drink every day?  To find out, take a look at the Nutrition Facts label.  Below is an example of how calories from beverages can really add up with alternative options to help reduce the number of calories you drink.   


Instead of….




Mourning coffee shop run

Medium Coffee latte

(16 ounces) made with whole milk


Small coffee latter (12 oz)made with fat-free milk


Lunchtime combo meal

20- ounces non-diet soda with your lunch


Bottle of water or diet soda




Sweetened lemon iced tea from vending machine  (16 ounces)


Sparkling water with natural lemon flavor

(not sweetened)


Dinner time

A glass of nondiet ginger ale with your meal (12 oz)


Water with slice of lemon lime, or seltzer water with a splash of 100% fruit juice


Total beverage






(USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference)


This table shows that you can cut 650 calories per day just by choosing low calorie drinks in place of sugar-sweetened beverages. One 20-ounce soda contains about 250 calories, which is equal to17 teaspoons of sugar.  An extra 250 calories per day can lead to an extra 24 pounds of weight gain per year!
On top of providing extra calories leading to weight gain, sugar sweetened beverages like soda do not provide other essential nutrients.  Studies have found that people that drink soft drinks consume less milk, which means less calcium, protein, vitamin D and other nutrients. 


Reading labels can be tricky since sugar and other calorie containing sweeteners have many names!  Look in the ingredients list for calorie containing sweeteners other than sugar like honey, high-fructose corn syrup, fructose, fruit juice concentrates, syrup, corn syrup, sucrose and dextrose.
By Ioulia Klemens, Loyola University Dietetic Intern

Game Day Provides Interactive Learning about Nutrition to Lunch Bunch Participants at PEHS

posted Oct 11, 2011, 11:03 AM by Jeanna Tachiki   [ updated Nov 3, 2011, 6:56 AM ]


is perhaps best achieved when the methods and tools being used are engaging and appealing to the targeted audience.  For high school students trendy topics, such as nutrition, may spark feelings of interest, a sense of perplexity or intimidation due to the endless supply of internet accessible materials out there.
However, in environments such as the classroom, teachers and other qualified facilitators play the important role of disseminating this abundance of information, and must provide the facts to students through various teaching techniques.

Providing interactive learning experiences to teens, through use of media clips, games, computer software and cell phone technology, (e.g. the new weight watcher’s app) can be both stimulating and valuable. For students at Proviso East High School, Lunch Bunch, an alternative lunch open to all students, provides free nutritious lunches and health education sessions Tuesday through Thursday.

On October 12, 2011, Lunch Bunch pariticipants will continue to be provided with interactive health and nutrition education sessions as they compete in teams to win nutrition jeopardy. For more information about Lunch Bunch visit the Provios East School Based Health Center. And as always, continue to keep checking the website for new nutrition tips and tools!
By Lucy Hoard, Loyola University Dietetic Intern

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