Savor Health

Simple and Easy

How often have you had this thought? I’d really love to make a home-cooked meal to enjoy with my family, but I just don’t have time to stand at the stove and make it happen. If this is a frequent occurrence, you’ve most likely been duped by food marketers and media.

The processed food industry discovered decades ago that it could make a lot of money selling the idea that their products—frozen meals, canned soups, just-add-water noodle cups, and other “instant” meals—would give us more free time. And we fell for it hard. In 2016, Americans spent $372 billion on packaged foods. In truth, these foods do save a few minutes in the kitchen, but the small amount of time saved is not worth consuming foods stripped of most of their nutrients and laced with artificial ingredients, excessive amounts of sodium and sugar, and factory-made flavors.  

If the promise of time saving isn’t enough to keep us from our cutting boards, then the star-spangled food media scares us away. If you watch cooking shows, follow food blogs, or subscribe to food magazines, you’re aware that a lot of this food is unattainable without a team of chefs and food stylists. Complicated recipes using long lists of expensive and hard-to-find ingredients that take hours if not days in the kitchen are the norm. And we love to look at the vivid photography, watch the entertaining shows, and dream of making such spectacular meals ourselves. This is not cooking. This is competition fueled by chefs and food personalities to out-do each other and by our own desire to live vicariously by looking at their perfectly presented food.

There are times when cooking at home is not the best option. When you’re ill yourself, responsible for caring for someone else who is in poor health, when it’s Friday night and you’ve had an exceptionally rough week at work, or if you just want to go to a restaurant and have a good time with friends or family—absolutely let someone else man the kitchen. But if you make cooking for yourself and your family the norm on most nights, you’ll be healthier and happier.

Cooking a weeknight meal at home from fresh ingredients is possible in half an hour and it’s easier than you think. Here are some truths and tips about home cooking to inspire you to stock up, chop, sizzle, and savor in your own kitchen.


Tips to Cook at Home

Cooking at home is the best thing you can do for your health. Studies have shown that a healthy diet can prevent obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. And the easiest way to ensure you’re eating healthy is to take control of your kitchen and cook for yourself and your family. You’ll know exactly what’s in the food you’re eating and you—not the processed food industry—become the gatekeeper to your health.

There’s very little skill involved in cooking weeknight meals at home. If you choose simple recipes from a reliable source that you trust has prepared the dish and written the directions in a logical way, you’ll have success even if you’ve never cooked before. If you’re a beginning cook, it may take longer to gather the equipment you need, think through the recipe, and chop and prep ingredients. But, like any other skill, if you work your cooking muscle several times a week, you’ll pick up speed and confidence and soon you’ll cook with instinct without looking at a recipe.

You don’t need any fancy or expensive equipment.  With a couple skillets and saucepans in different sizes, a large rimmed baking pan, a couple large bowls, and a few small utensils like knives, spatulas, wooden spoons, measuring cups and spoons,  and a whisk, grater, vegetable peeler, can opener, and colander, you’re set to make almost any quick weeknight dinner.

Cooking is easier if you do some minimal planning. Nothing streamlines weeknight cooking like having food in the house and a plan for what you’ll make. Take a couple hours on the weekend to make a list of what you’d like to cook in the week ahead, taking into account nights when you’ve planned activities or dinner out. From this list, create your shopping list, including any pantry basics that you need. Go shopping, stock your pantry, and you’re ready to be a weeknight dinner warrior.

Shop smart and buy only what you’ll use. If you buy only healthy foods, you will eat only healthy foods. If you have trouble with temptation, don’t go down aisles with processed foods. When you can, buy organic foods to limit pesticides and growth hormones in your diet. To prevent wasting food, as close as you can, buy only what you’ll eat until the next shopping trip. There will be inevitable leftovers, but as you become more adept at cooking, you’ll learn how to use up foods during the week (use broccoli in a stir-fry and a slaw, roast a whole chicken for one dinner and use the leftovers in salads or sandwiches, use extra fruit to make smoothies, and turn extra veggies into a stir-fry).

Batch cook when you have time. If you have time on a weekend afternoon or a stress-free weeknight, make a big batch of soup, chili, or stew, separate it into portions and freeze. Or, mix up bean burgers or turkey burgers and freeze them with wax paper between each patty. Roast a turkey breast or a large salmon fillet to enjoy on the weekend, then have the leftovers in sandwiches or salads during the week. These instant options are great to have when you work late or you’re just too tired for more than 10 minutes of cooking.

Keep meals simple. Don’t try to recreate foods from your favorite TV chef or glossy magazine. Stick to the basics and don’t make more than you can confidently handle in one meal. Make a one-pan chicken and vegetable dish with a basic salad on the side. Broil some fish with olive oil and lemon and microwave a vegetable. Cook pasta, and while that simmers, make a super simple sauce to serve over it. Fresh fruit is a go-to healthy desert that requires minimal or no prep.

Who needs perfect? If your vegetables are not chopped to chef’s precision, the chicken is a little dry, the pasta is just slightly overcooked, so what? You’ve made an effort that comes from a place of love and generosity for yourself and your family, you’re spending time around the table with people you love, and you’re eating freshly made, healthy food that tastes better than take-out.

Find a few sources for recipes you love to cook. There are lots of great food bloggers, cookbook authors, and magazines who have the busy weeknight cook in mind and create quick, healthy recipes. Find a few that you click with who produce recipes that fit with your lifestyle. Whether you’re looking to explore new cuisines, eat vegan or vegetarian meals, or cook meals suitable for families with young children, you’ll find recipes to inspire you. Cooking Light and Eating Well are two fantastic sources with good-for-you recipes online and in their magazines and books. Three websites worth checking out for healthy weeknight cooking ideas are Naturally Ella, Figs in My Belly, and Sprouted Kitchen.

Attitude is everything. If your outlook on cooking is that it is drudgery, you don’t want to do it, or you feel put out, then it’s not a rewarding experience for you or your family. Be mindful of the magic of cooking and the gift that you’re giving to yourself and your family with every meal you create. Have gratitude for the farmers, truckers, and warehouse and supermarket workers whose hard work made it possible for food to get from the farm to your table. Be open to the magical transformation of food as it cooks. Foods as simple as baked potatoes, scrambled eggs, or dried pasta are wondrous as they change from raw to cooked. There are endless pleasures to sense and savor in cooking, eating, and sharing food with others, if you’re open and willing to look for them.  


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Susan started Savor Health after losing a close friend to a brain tumor and, through that experience, becoming aware of the significant unmet nutritional needs of people with cancer.  Struck by the fact that her friend was told “nutrition doesn’t matter” and “eat whatever you want,” Susan read the evidence-based literature on the subject, interviewed oncologists, oncology nurses and oncology dietitians, as well as patients and caregivers, and found that, in fact, nutrition does matter in oncology. Armed with solid scientific evidence supporting the clinical and quality of life benefits of proper nutrition, Susan left Wall Street and created Savor Health, an AI-based provider of personalized and clinically appropriate nutrition solutions for cancer patients, their caregivers and health enterprises. Susan brings to Savor Health over 25 years of industry experience in healthcare and business as well as expertise in strategy, finance and management.

Susan is an outspoken and tireless advocate for cancer patients receiving proper nutrition and nutrition support before, during and after treatment. She strongly believes that the U. S. healthcare system requires new innovation to transform it into a more holistic and integrated system of care whereby multiple disciplines coordinate care together for the benefit of the whole patient. As part of this, her goal is for nutrition to be an integral component of such an integrated cancer care delivery system.  Susan’s commitment to the field of oncology extends beyond Savor Health to volunteer work at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in pediatrics and as a runner for Fred’s Team to raise money for research at Memorial Sloan Kettering. Susan participated in the Cancer Moonshot in June of 2016 where she was a breakout session group “igniter” tasked with starting and leading discussion. Susan’s first book, the Meals to Heal Cancer Cookbook, was published in March 2016.

In addition to her role as CEO of Savor Health, Susan speaks nationally about the importance of ensuring proper nutrition in the cancer patient and on topics including leadership and startups. She has been a speaker at the Harvard Medical School’s Career Advancement and Leadership Skills for Women in Healthcare, ESMO World Congress on GI Cancer, BioPharm America, AARP Live @50+, Lake Nona Impact Forum, and IIR ePharma Summit.

Prior to starting Savor Health, Susan had a successful career on Wall Street as a healthcare services investment banker working at prestigious firms including Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, Wasserstein Perella and Robertson Stephens. Susan earned a B.A. from Duke University and M.B.A. from the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business.

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Marissa Buchan is a registered dietitian, with advanced practice certifications in Oncology Nutrition (CSO) and Clinical Research (CCRP). She received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Duke University, and Master’s of Science degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University. Marissa worked for 10 years at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in both the clinical research and nutrition departments.  In addition to counseling patients before, during, and after cancer therapy, she spearheaded nutrition-research efforts for the bone marrow transplant service. She has co-authored over 20 articles and has a particular interest in the role of nutrition on the intestinal microbiota and its impact on patient outcomes. When Marissa’s not wearing her lab coat, she’s in her apron whipping up healthy and delicious recipes that you can find on her blog, Get Off Your Tush and Cook.

Marissa is Chief Operating Officer of Savor Health where she leads operations working with the technology, clinical, and business development teams and management. Prior to assuming the role of COO in March 2020, Marissa was Vice President, Clinical Research and Operations at Savor Health where she worked closely with Savor Health’s Chief Medical Advisor, Scientific Advisory Board, and Clinical Operations Team to evaluate, design and conduct clinical research.  She also counsels patients on oncology nutrition issues and contributes to the Company website’s clinical content.

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Dr. DeFrance has a unique background including clinical interventional cardiologist, chief medical officer, educator, outcomes researcher and entrepreneur. He has expertise in Lifestyle medicine in which he was board certified in 2020 and is highly interested in the prevention and reversal of chronic disease. Dr. DeFrance also has expertise in appropriate utilization of technology in medicine, healthcare economics, value-based metrics, and educational design and delivery. He worked as Chief Medical Officer for HealthHelp, one of the largest specialty benefit managers in the US, and led large teams of healthcare professionals in writing evidence based appropriate care guidelines and rule sets which improve the quality and safety of medicine for over 20 million people in the US while also creating sustained savings in healthcare. He has also designed clinical decision support systems that are currently in use helping to improve patient care.

In 2018 Dr. DeFrance founded MedMentor Education, a company that provides state of the art CME content using the latest in eLearning science and online delivery platforms. Dr. DeFrance is also the founder and President of Digimedica, a consulting and educational design and delivery company for healthcare professionals, hospitals, and universities. He is passionate about creating systems to optimize knowledge transfer and has won numerous awards for teaching excellence during his career. He is an expert in cardiovascular CT imaging and has taught more than 3,000 physicians how to perform and interpret cardiac CT nationally and internationally and has lectured extensively on this subject.

Dr. DeFrance has a stellar reputation in the medical field and continues work to improve the quality and safety of patient care in the US.

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Alyson is a registered nurse and is certified in oncology nursing (OCN) through the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS). She also has her certification as an ONS Biotherapy and Chemotherapy Provider. Alyson studied nursing at Thomas Jefferson University where she obtained her Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN). Since starting her nursing career in 2004, Alyson has had a strong dedication and commitment to oncology patients. She has worked inpatient specializing in Bone Marrow and Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplantation. Alyson currently works in outpatient oncology at the North Shore-LIJ Monter Cancer Center. Alyson is part of the clinical team at Savor Health where she counsels patients on oncology and oncology nutrition issues and contributes to website and other Savor Health content.

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Chelsey is a Registered Dietitian and Board Certified Specialist in Oncology nutrition (CSO). She completed her Dietetic Internship at Northwell Health, received her BS in Dietetics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and her MS in Nutrition at Stony Brook University’s School of Medicine. Chelsey works as an outpatient dietitian at Mount Sinai covering all of the downtown cancer services at Mount Sinai Beth Israel and Philips Ambulatory Care Center. Chelsey works with patients and families before, during and after treatment to optimize their nutrition through dietary counseling and support. Chelsey has experience counseling clients with a variety of diagnoses including breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, head & neck cancer, and more. Chelsey also enjoys sharing nutrition knowledge with her peers by running a monthly Employee Wellness program that showcases healthy topics, recipes and food demos.

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Michelle is a Registered Dietitian specializing in oncology. She works as a clinical dietitian at an ambulatory cancer center in New York City and is a consultant for Savor Health. She is passionate about educating oncology patients on the importance of nutrition during their fight against cancer and helping them to optimize their nutrition through all phases of treatment. Michelle received her Bachelor of Science degree in dietetics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her Master of Science degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University.

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Denise Sievering is a Registered Dietitian who is board certified in Oncology Nutrition as well as Nutrition Support. A fluent Spanish speaker, Denise joined the Savor Health team to support Spanish speaking cancer patients and to continue to expand the Platform’s nutritional strategies and recommendations in Spanish. Denise holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Rutgers University, and completed her internship at New York Presbyterian Hospital (NYP). Denise started her career as a registered dietitian at NYP-Columbia University Medical Center, primarily covering inpatient Oncology units. Denise also holds a Master of Arts degree in Mental Health Counseling from New York University, and incorporates her advanced training in motivational interviewing and empathic listening in her patient encounters, particularly those whose lives have been forever changed by a cancer diagnosis. A New Jersey native, Denise now resides in sunny San Diego, CA where she works as a part-time outpatient Oncology dietitian at Scripps Health-MD Anderson Cancer Center, and also works as an inpatient dietitian at Kaiser Permanente. In her spare time, Denise can be found at a mom-and-pop taco shop, one of the many local craft breweries, and exploring her new city of San Diego with her husband and her rescue pup, Ripley.

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Karen is a Registered Dietitian, Board Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition and registered in New York as a Certified Dietitian Nutritionist. Fluent in Spanish, Karen joined the Savor Health team to support Spanish speaking cancer patients and to continue to expand the Platform’s nutritional strategies and recommendations in Spanish. Karen received her Bachelor of Science degree from Ithaca College and her Master of Science degree from Hunter College. She works as an outpatient oncology dietitian in New York. Karen often works with local community centers to host nutrition programs for cancer survivors and their families, leading classes on how to live healthier lifestyles throughout their continuum of care. The American Institute of Cancer Research selected to showcase one of her many programs at their conference in 2019. Karen has written for and lent commentary to various publications and truly enjoys teaching people how to eat better. She loves to cook and strongly feels that healthy food doesn’t have to taste bad.

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Allie is a Registered Dietitian and a Certified Specialist in Oncology (CSO). She joins Savor in 2023, bringing years of experience from the John Theurer Cancer Center in New Jersey, where she worked with patients with a variety of cancers. Her goal is to help people feel their best, both mentally and physically, when physical health challenges arise. She believes in the power of nutrition ever since the impact it made on her athletic career as a volleyball player during college. Allie graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree from University of Maryland-Baltimore County and has her Master’s degree in Human Nutrition from the University of Wisconsin Stout. She enjoys travelling, enjoying different cuisines, cooking, and hiking and other outdoor activities with her family and dog.

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Julia Penberg is a seasoned healthcare professional with more than 30 years of experience focusing on maximizing operational excellence, leading clinical program development and building strong cross-functional teams. Her previous roles include overseeing the performance of clinical managers and nurse practitioners across multiple markets within United Healthcare-Optum’s Medicare Advantage and dual-eligible special needs populations, payer outreach and program development at Mayo Clinic, ground level specialty hospital development and direct patient care as a family and dermatology nurse practitioner. Julia volunteered as an operating room nurse and nurse practitioner on several mission trips to Romania and was a support group leader for the Kansas City chapter of the International Myeloma Foundation. Her motivation throughout her career has been with wellness promotion, disease risk modification and ensuring the best patient experience across the health continuum. Ms. Penberg received an MBA from the University of Dallas; a MS in Nursing from the University of Kansas and a BS in Nursing from the University of Texas-Austin. She is board certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner.

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Rachel is a Registered Dietitian and Board Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition (“CSO”). She joined NYP-Columbia as the outpatient oncology dietitian in 2020 after working at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center for two years. Rachel completed her dietetic internship through Keene State College in 2017. She is pursuing an MS in Integrative Nutrition at Stony Brook University and has a BS in Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise from Virginia Tech. Rachel provides nutrition counseling to all types of oncology patients and helps them understand the mental and physical benefits of nutrition as an ally in their fight against cancer. In her free time she enjoys slow meals with family and friends, Pilates, and tending to her fire escape garden.

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Allie Werner is a Registered Dietitian at Fresenius Kidney Care where she provides medical nutrition therapy diet counseling to patients on Dialysis. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in nutrition from Indiana University and completed her Master’s Degree and dietetic internship at Loyola University Chicago. In her free time she enjoys spending time with friends and family, checking out the amazing food scene in downtown Chicago, and exercising on her Peloton bike.

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Immersed in the tech world for a decade, I've coded, led teams, and honed my skills in architecture and design. As a tech enthusiast, I've seamlessly woven through full-stack projects, fusing my love for code with the art of leadership.

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Mohit is a full-stack developer with expertise in Python and JavaScript, known for his efficient coding and ability to deliver scalable software solutions. His technical contributions are highlighted on GitHub and Stack Overflow, demonstrating his commitment to the tech community and problem-solving skills. With a solid educational foundation and a diverse project portfolio, Mohit excels at navigating complex challenges and is well-equipped to contribute to dynamic software projects.

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Rayna McCann is a Registered Dietitian and Board Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition. She is a Registered Yoga Teacher and yoga4cancer certified. She received her BS in Nutrition at Penn State University and her MS from Stony Brook University. For work, Rayna wears many hats in the world of nutrition and worked for years in clinical settings focusing on oncology nutrition. She is also an Adjunct Professor and passionate about inspiring the future of dietitians. Throughout her career, she has received awards recognizing her dedication to patient safety and her contributions to improving malnutrition awareness. In 2022, Rayna was proud to accept the ‘Dietitian of the Year’ award through the Long Island Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Rayna has co-authored abstracts for poster presentations within the American Institute for Cancer Research conference, as well as, the Nutrition and Dietetics Food and Nutrition Conference Expo and subsequent publication. She has enjoyed authoring articles, including an article for The Cure magazine regarding Multiple Myeloma and nutrition. When Rayna is not participating in nutrition related activities, she is dedicated to dog rescue.

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