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What’s cooking?

New nutritional website helps you make informed decisions

Created date

February 21st, 2012

Planning meals and sticking to her diet is a cinch, now that Nina Griffith lives at Charlestown, the Erickson Living community in Catonsville, Md. Thanks to, a website designed exclusively for Erickson Living residents, Nina can plan her meals for the week and keep her diet on track, all at the click of a button. I go on the website every day to figure out what I m going to eat, says Nina, who moved to Charlestown from Pasadena, Md. I just love it! I joined Weight Watchers, and the information listed on the website helps me figure out how many points I ve used with each meal. It s so easy. I just click on the Charlestown restaurant where I want to eat, and the whole menu for the week pops up so I can plan out my meals and what my best choices would be.

Knowledge is power

Launched in November 2011, the website provides nutrition information to Erickson Living community members, empowering them to make informed food choices. Charlestown Director of Dining Services Robert Larry Snowberger says he is excited about the introduction of this new nutritional tool. The website features the same nutrition information you would find on grocery items, including the ingredients, calories, fat content, etc., says Snowberger. You can also search for foods according to a variety of different specialty options, including allergies such as milk, wheat, shellfish, or nuts, as well as diabetic, heart-smart, vegetarian, and gluten-free selections. Charlestown s commitment to good health doesn t stop there. The community recently partnered with nearby Samaritan Women s Farm to supply locally grown farm fresh produce in their on-site restaurants. We really make a conscious effort to educate our customers on what they re eating, says Snowberger. Our chefs make regular rounds in the restaurants to talk with our dining guests, and Charlestown residents often ask for recipes and nutrition facts so that they can be proactive about their health.

Step in the right direction

For Nina, an avid walker, eating well and exercising regularly go hand in hand. I ve always enjoyed walking, and it helps me keep my weight down, says Nina, who walks daily on her own and once a week with a walking group. I have an 11-year-old silky terrier named Marley, who I walk first thing in the morning and then again several times throughout the day. Then I usually go back out alone for a faster walk. The great thing about walking at Charlestown is you can walk inside or outside depending on the weather. Charlestown Medical Director Myla Carpenter, M.D., says she refers her patients to the website in an effort to help educate them on their eating habits. I think the website is a step in the right direction, says Carpenter. With all the information on TV regarding the increasing girth of America, people are more interested in learning about what they are eating. For example, if you are watching your weight, you might think eating cottage cheese is good for your waistline; however, if you have cardiovascular disease and need to watch your salt intake, you may not realize cottage cheese has a high sodium content. This website can educate you and help you keep track of these things. In addition to her regular walking routine, since moving to Charlestown in 2010, Nina has joined the on-site fitness center and bocce ball group. Moving to Charlestown has been the best thing I ve ever done. I love it! says Nina. Even Marley s health has improved from all the exercise. At his last checkup, the vet said he s in the best shape of his life.