Section: Clara Maass Medical Center News

Belleville Medical Center Offers Helpful Tips for Eating Healthy Throughout the Holiday Season


Belleville, NJ -- Special occasions such as parties, celebrations, or holiday meals can make it challenging to eat wisely. Often times, when surrounded by high calorie and enticing dishes, the desire to fulfill cravings become a priority.

“Do not despair – there are several simple strategies to remember that can keep you and your family on the right track to healthy eating throughout the holiday season.” says Elizabeth Nossier, Registered Dietitian at Clara Maass Medical Center. “It is far more important to focus on quality time with loved ones rather than food as the center of the occasion” Nossier says. Nossier also suggests being creative with leftovers and use them to create your next healthy dish; her favorite is Sweet Potato, Egg White and Ground Turkey Hash.

At its Nutrition Support Group meeting on December 7th at 6 PM in the Resource Room in the Cancer Center at Clara Maass Medical Center, 1 Clara Maass Drive in Belleville, attendees will learn how to creatively substitute holiday recipes with healthier options. They will also swap healthy holiday recipes and learn expert advice on food and nutrition.

Nossier offers the following healthy habits to incorporate as part of all upcoming holiday celebrations:

  • Don’t go hungry! This includes to the grocery store. At social events where there will be mass amounts of food/buffets, we tend to ‘eat with our eyes’. Having a satiating snack like a Greek yogurt or low fat cottage cheese with fruit, an ounce of nuts with fruit, or a protein shake satisfies hunger, prevents overeating and helps control food portions.
  • When you arrive at a party, quickly skim over all food options and aim to fill your plate with lean proteins like turkey and high fiber vegetables like green beans and squash.
  • If you are not hosting the celebration, take a healthy dish to the party so you know that there is at least one healthy food choice like an autumn harvest salad or turkey meatballs.
  • Drink a calorie-free drink, such as water, flavored water, or fruit infused water. If you do drink alcohol, limit yourself to 1 serving (females) or 2 servings (males) and consume two glasses of water for every serving of alcohol. Don’t deny yourself.
  • Important of all, be sure to take part in activities that get you moving and having fun with friends and family. Get out on the dance floor – be active!

If you’re hosting a celebration, practice these simple strategies to create meals that are delicious and nutrient dense:

  • Instead of one whole egg, use two egg whites
  • Instead of whole milk or cream, use evaporated skim milk or skim milk with non-fat dry milk added
  • Instead of sour cream, use Greek yogurt, or fat free sour cream
  • Instead of using 1 cup shorting or lard, use ¾ cup canola or olive oil
  • Instead of 1 cup of oil in baking, use ¼ cup oil and ½ cup applesauce
  • Use blends of sugar and non-nutritive sweeteners like stevia for baking to cut back on half the calories in your baked goods.
  • Choose lean cuts of meat, poultry, fish like Chicken and Turkey Breast, Sirloin Steak or Filet Mignon
  • Roast meat with a roasting rack to drain the fat and remove all visible fat instead of fried or breaded meats
  • Congeal and remove fats from soup, sauce and gravy (prepare ahead of time, refrigerate and then skim the hardened fat off the top)
  • Serve fruit and vegetable trays (crudité) for appetizers
  • Add beans to your dishes for more satiating protein and fiber
  • Serve whole grains or whole-grain blends for stuffing or alongside appetizers to boost fiber intake
  • Roast Sweet potatoes with cinnamon instead of brown sugar
  • Switch to plant based oils rich in heart healthy omega 3 fats like olive and canola oil (more neutral flavor than olive) instead of butter for baking or sautéing
  • Use evaporated non- fat milk in place of heavy cream for creamy sauces and be light handed with cheese (try using shredded cheese )

For more information regarding the monthly Nutrition Support Group meetings, call 973-450-2328.

Contact: Stacie Newton
Office: (973) 450-2989
Mobile: (201) 424-9678

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