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Practicing Healthy Living & Mindfulness in the Kitchen

July 25, 2016

Healthy living education and counseling are integral parts of clients’ overall treatment plan at Skyland Trail. Clients meet individually with our nutrition and wellness counselor and learn healthy living skills through cooking classes and other hands-on group activities.

“Our cooking groups take place in the Life Skills room, a learning kitchen where we teach basic cooking skills and nutrition. Clients have time to work on recipes and cooking techniques to gain the skills and confidence to prepare these foods when they return to independent living.  We select recipes to promote mental health, improve mood, and combat medication side-effects,” explains Hannah Sabella, MS, RDN, LDN, registered dietician. “We often take recipe requests from clients who want to prepare a favorite dish, a tricky recipe, or a “social recipe” that can be made with friends.   On occasion, we turn the groups over to a client who wants experience with peer leadership.  As we taste our meals, we practice mindful eating by turning our intent towards enjoying food as it fuels our body and emotions as well as supporting a positive relationship with our food and our bodies.”

Each week in “Cooking for Your Health,” clients have the opportunity to cook a new recipe with guidance from our registered dietician, Hannah Sabella.  Recently in our “Cooking for Your Health” group, clients made California Rolls. See the recipe below.

California Roll

Prep Time: 1 Hour | Serves: 8 Rolls


  • 6 cups prepared sushi rice
  • 9 oz (255 g, or 2 cans) cooked crab meat
  • 6 Tbsp. Japanese mayonnaise
  • ½ English cucumber
  • 2 avocados
  • ½ lemon for avocado
  • 8 sheets nori
  • ¼ cup white sesame seeds


  • Ikura (salmon roe)
  • Tobiko (flying fish roe)

You will need:

  • Bamboo mat, covered with plastic wrap
  • Tezu (vinegared hand­dipping water): ¼ cup water + 2 tsp. rice vinegar



  • Crab meat: combine the crab meat with Japanese mayonnaise and mix together.
  • Cucumber: Peel and remove seeds. Cut into thin long strips, same length as the nori sheet.
  • Avocado: Peel, pit, and cut into ¼” (0.5 cm) thick slices (See How To Cut Avocado). Squeeze the lemon juice over the avocado to prevent browning.
  • Nori: Cut off ⅓ and use ⅔ sheet of nori.
  • Prepare the bamboo mat, covered with plastic wrap and Tezu (vinegared hand­dipping water).


  • Lay a nori sheet, shiny side down, on the bamboo mat. Wet your fingers in tezu and spread 1 cup of the rice evenly onto nori sheet.
  • Sprinkle the rice with sesame seeds or tobiko.
  • Turn the nori sheet over so that the rice is facing down. LIne the edge of nori sheet at the bottom of the bamboo mat. Place the cucumber, crab meat, and avocado at the bottom of the nori sheet.
  • Grab the bottom edge of the mat while keeping the fillings in place with your fingers, roll it into a tight cylinder, tucking the fillings in firmly.
  • Lift the edge of the bamboo mat slightly and roll it forward while keeping gentle pressure on the mat.
  • With a very sharp knife, cut each roll in half and then cut each half into 3 pieces. Remember to clean the knife with a damp cloth after every few cuts.
  • You can use the left over ⅓ of nori sheet to make Ikura Sushi. Cut the nori sheet into half lengthwise. Make small balls with sushi rice and wrap it with nori sheet. Place ikura on top

Learn More

Other Healthy Recipes >
Primary Care and Wellness >