Section: Clara Maass Medical Center News

Clara Maass Medical Center Presents Holiday Nutrition Tips and Nutritional Support Group


Good nutrition is critical to an individual’s overall health. Eating well means eating a variety of foods to get the right nutrients your body needs to stay healthy and fight serious illnesses. According to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, a healthy diet combined with physical activity can help you reach and maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of chronic diseases and promote your overall health.

To help make smarter eating decisions, Clara Maass Medical Center presents the Nutrition Support Group on Thursday, January 7, at 6 p.m. and the first Thursday of every month at Clara Maass Medical Center, Cancer Center Conference Room, One Clara Maass Drive in Belleville. This support group, led by a Registered Dietitian, will discuss several topics including the importance of nutrition, as well as the role it plays in relation to a cancer diagnosis and treatment-related side effects. Other nutrition related topics will be covered, so all are welcome. Please register at 973-844-4150. Refreshments will be served. Bring in the New Year by following these nutrition tips.

“During the holiday season, it’s easier than ever to surpass your typical calorie intake,” said Elizabeth Nossier, M.S., R.D., a clinical nutrition manager at Clara Maass Medical Center. “Whether you’re burning less calories because you’re not as active or just eating more treats, your calorie intake could be more than your output which adds up to extra pounds. There are a few effective strategies you can use to maintain healthful eating habits and weight loss, while avoiding holiday weight gain.”

In an effort to help those make smarter, more nutritious eating decisions, Nossier offers the following tips:

  • Consider Swapping – Decrease sugar and calories by making a few swaps. Consider swapping one whole egg for two egg whites; whole milk or cream with evaporated skim milk, skim milk or non-fat dry milk added; or, when baking use ¼ cup oil and ½ cup applesauce instead of one cup of oil.
  • Skinny Up on Drinks – Place a limit on how much you will drink and hold fast to that rule to avoid over indulging on high calorie drinks. Try adding sparkling water to turn a drink into a spritzer, or enjoy a 5 oz. glass of wine for 100-125 calories. Make every other drink a glass of water or sparkling water. Avoid alcoholic drinks containing syrup, sour mix, sugary fruit juices or creamy additives. You can also volunteer to be the designated driver!
  • Position Yourself to Succeed – Sit with your back to the buffet. Avoid standing by the kitchen door. Take actions that require more effort to go get “seconds.” In some cases, out of sight is out of mind – in sight, in stomach. Changing your environment is more effective than relying solely on your own willpower to resist unhealthy foods. Lose the candy dish and replace it with a bowl of fruit. Spend more time staying active on the dance floor than in the kitchen!
  • Don’t Be Negative – No food should be totally off limits. Cut off a thin slice of your favorite pie, savor the first bite and as soon as the pie stops tasting as good as that first bite, put the fork down. Go for a bathroom break or mingle with friends and family.
  • Choose Wisely – Fill up on lower calorie, nutrient dense offerings first. For example, cocktail shrimp vs. cheese balls, or hummus or salsa rather than creamy dips.
  • Avoid Temptation – Don’t go grocery shopping on an empty stomach or bring foods home you should not be consuming every day. Avoid bringing junk food home – you’re likely to eat it every day if it’s in view. Make these foods an occasional treat to be enjoyed outside the home. Bake a batch of cookies or cupcakes, keep one or two and give the rest away.
  • Be Mindful – Enjoy and savor every bite; slow down and make spending time with loved ones the goal, not the food. Eating slower gives time for the “fullness” signal to kick in, which usually takes about 20 minutes. People who eat slower (30 minutes) tend to consume significantly less calories than those who eat faster.
  • Stay Active – Try to avoid sitting for prolonged periods of time, such as when watching football games or eating. Research shows that getting up for just five minutes every 30 to 60 minutes and performing light activity (say, pacing around the house or performing simple squat exercises) reduces the risk of diabetes and other heart disease risk factors. As much as you can, wear running or comfortable walking shoes so you can get moving whenever there’s an opportunity. Build activity into family visits and outings- go skating, hiking, or skiing. Take the stairs when you can. Clean your house. Download an app(s) or video(s) for your mobile device (iPad, iPhone, etc.) or watch an online video that will help you get moving and aim for at least 15-30 minutes of cardiovascular activity daily.

About Clara Maass Medical Center
Located in Belleville, NJ, Clara Maass Medical Center, a Barnabas Health facility, provides a complete continuum of care to residents of northern New Jersey. Clara Maass’ centers and services include The Health and Wellness Center, Nuclear Medicine, The Cancer Center at Clara Maass, Adult Cardiac Services including Diagnostic Services, Cardiac Catheterization, Elective and Emergency Angioplasty and Rehabilitation, The Pain Management Center, The Joint & Spine Institute, a Vascular Center, Same Day Surgery, The Wound Center at Clara Maass, The Center for Sleep Disorders, The Bariatric Surgery Center, Rehabilitation Services, The Eye Surgery Center, Maternity Services and Parent Education, as well as Pediatrics. Clara Maass is an eight-time recipient of the “A” Hospital Safety score from The Leap Frog Group, an independent national nonprofit group measuring hospital safety and quality. For a physician referral or more information about Clara Maass, call 1-888-724-7123 or visit

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