Nutrition, summer grilling, and physical activity

Staff Perspectives

As a Diet Technician in the residences, wellness is promoted through improved eating, nutrition education, and training for staff and people we support.  I do on-site observations, collaboration with teams, and staff guidance. Nutrition plans are often tailored to treat particular diseases and conditions.  The ultimate goal is promoting health and healing to prevent illnesses, in tandem with administration, house managers and supervisors.

Antonietta and Arc of Monroe resident

Antonietta and Arc of Monroe resident

Diet and Nutrition

Many adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities have poor nutrition, low physical activity and weight fluctuations. I am always aiming to help the team strategize and evaluate a health intervention system to improve diet and physical activity. When on-site observations are being conducted, the data is analyzed to identify multiple opportunities to improve the nutrition program.

Physical Activity

Speaking of improving, there are ways to avoid sedentary movement. Guess what?! Let’s improve physical activity! After a long winter beautiful summer is finally here!

As a professional dancer, it is believed that the integration of music and dance are positive mediums that contribute significantly for the people we support emotionally, mentally and physically! Let’s dance and hope to see you dancing around this summer!  Get out there, get moving, and have fun!

Antonietta dancing

Antonietta dancing

Safe and Healthy Grilling

Did you know that there are some cancer-causing compounds that emit while grilling?  Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocyclic amines (HCAs). PAHs form when fat from the meat drips onto the hot coals/grill and there are flame-ups and rising smoke. Unfortunately, that delicious charring that forms on meat can contain PAHs as well. When red meat, poultry and fish meet high-heat cooking (grilling/broiling), it forms HCAs. So eat well-charred meat sparingly!

Try making a homemade marinade.  Marinate meats for at least 1-2 hours in the refrigerator.  It will make the meat taste better and and keep it moist.  It also makes them safer. In some studies, marinating meats in wines, vinegars, acidic juice, low-sodium soy sauces, honey, garlic, herbs and spices has been shown to reduce the formation of HCAs by as much as 92%!

Don’t baste the meat that is grilling with the juice it was marinating in (cross contamination). Set some of the marinade aside before adding the meat.

Please choose lean meat! At least 90% lean (turkey preferable) meats, and skinless chicken.

Finally, PAHs and HCAs don’t form on grilled fruits and vegetables! Some of the fruits and vegetables that is great to grill: Tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, zucchini, eggplants, endives, pineapple, mango, apple, and pears

Recipe for Antonietta’s Turkey Burger (serves 8)

Turkey Burger

Turkey Burger

2 pounds lean ground turkey

1 small onion

2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

2 oz. ketchup

1.5 Tsp salt


8 whole wheat hamburger buns (toasted!)



-Grate the onion (should have about 4 Tbsp of grated onion and discard the juice). Mix the rest of the ingredients together, make into patties, and grill.

-Dress the burger with tomatoes, kale/arugula/spinach/romaine lettuce, pickles, mustard, sliced bell peppers, cucumbers, avocado, hummus, and Greek yogurt mayo (50% plain non-fat Greek yogurt and 50% olive oil mayo).

Serve with music! Have a great, healthy and active summer!!


Antonietta Alfano

Antonietta Alfano

Antonietta Alfano is the Diet Technician for the Arc of Monroe.  When she’s not at work she can be found dancing, performing Reiki and massage, or spending time with her daughter.