As the Holidays Approach, Healthy Eating still an Option

As the Holidays Approach, Healthy Eating still an Option According to Nutrition Counselor Roufia Payman DT, CDN

Nutrition Counselor Roufia Payman DT, CDN, supervisor of outpatient nutrition education at Nuvance's Northern Dutchess Hospital in Rhinebeck, is a veritable wealth of knowledge when it comes to healthy food strategies. This should come as no surprise considering Mrs.Payman’s thirty-eight years as a nutritionist, more than twenty of which have been spent in outpatient nutrition counseling.

As a professional- and a self-confessed vegetarian, Payman is keenly aware of how difficult it can to avoid overindulging in our favorite holiday treats time of year . Her encyclopedic knowledge of alternative meal options was on full display at Noble Horizons on Tuesday, December 10.

Nutritional counseling is a vital component of maintaining good health and Mrs.Payman covered a variety of topics ranging from exercise and healthy activities, to of course, how to maintain healthy habits during the holidays. When holiday events fill the calendar and the temperature drops managing time for physical activity can be a challenge. Payman made sure to emphasize to the crowd that physical health can be easily maintained through the simple act of walking. “Ridiculously simple, astonishingly powerful.” Just four hours a week of walking can improve everything from bone strength to your mood.


Of course, no matter how practiced we are in physical motion, it can be difficult for most of us to walk away from the holiday buffet table. To help ease us through holiday temptations and the urge to overindulge, Mrs. Payman shared her Ten Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating, listed below. She also distributed a wealth of helpful materials; please contact Noble's Director of Community Relations to receive your own copies.

  1. Be realistic. Don’t try to lose pounds during the holidays, instead try to maintain your current weight.
  2. Plan time for exercise. Exercise helps relieve holiday stress and renew your energy level. If you exercise regularly, stick to your routine-don't let a busy calendar derail this vitally important habit. Even moderate and daily increase in exercise can help offset increased holiday consumption and burn up a few calories. Try 10 or 15 minute brisk walks twice a day.
  3. Don’t skip meals. Before leaving for a party, eat a light snack like raw vegetables or a piece of fruit to curb your appetite. You will be less tempted to over-indulge.
  4. Survey party buffets before filling your plate. If your favorite holiday foods are indulgent, select moderate portions and include fruits and vegetables to keep your plate balanced.
  5. Eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed. Savor your favorite holiday treats while eating small portions. Sit down, get comfortable, and enjoy.
  6. Be careful with beverages. Alcohol can lessen inhibitions and induce overeating; non-alcoholic beverages can be full calories and sugar.
  7. If you overeat at one meal go light on the next. It takes 500 calories per day (3,500 calories per week) above your normal/maintenance consumption to gain one pound. You will not gain weight from one piece of pie!
  8. Take the focus off the food. Turn candy and cookie-making time into non-edible projects like making wreaths, dough art decorations or a gingerbread house. Plan group activities with family and friends that aren’t all about food. Try serving a holiday meal to the community, playing games or going on a walking tour of decorated homes.
  9. Bring your own healthy dish to a holiday gathering.
  10. Practice Healthy Holiday Cooking. Preparing favorite dishes lower in fat and calories will help promote healthy holiday eating. Incorporate some healthy holiday tips in traditional holiday recipes.

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