From Hudson Star Observer, December 18 2008, Jon Echternacht staff writer
As visions of sugar plums dance in our heads during the holiday season, local nutritionists call for moderation.
Trudy Kapaun and Cheri Rott, registered nutritionists at Hudson Hospital, caution against letting it all hang out at Christmas dinner or the New Year’s Eve buffet. They even have a few suggestions to help hold down waistline expansion.
“Eat from a plate, don’t stand at the buffet. Sit down and eat,” said Rott.
“Don’t starve yourself before you eat and go on a holiday binge. Have a small snack before,” said Kapaun.
They both suggested going with your favorites at the big Christmas spread and passing on the things that are always there. “If Grandma’s fudge is your favorite, have that and pass up the potato chips and soda,” said Rott.
“Alcohol has a lot of calories, so use water in drinks,” she said.
Another trick is to eat with your non-dominant hand. If you are right-handed, eat with your left. It slows down the process and helps reduce intake, Rott said.
Overindulgence of food and drink is a common sin during the holidays that can be avoided, they said.
T he nutritionists experience a surge in their business after the holidays when many people make New Year’s resolutions to lose weight.
Rott and Kapaun counsel people on losing weight and developing healthy eating habits, but contrary to popular opinion, they are not the “big bad food police.” “We love food,” they said.
A big concern with a rise in economic hard times is people think they can’t afford to prepare fresh at home and therefore opt for fast foods and processed foods. These foods are higher in fat and salt, they said, and contribute to the obesity problem in America that has claimed one-third of the population.
“About 77 percent of the sodium we eat is in the food already,” said Kapaun and not from the salt shaker on the table.
To illustrate a food economy point, Kapaun assembled a container with eight servings of potato chips and eight servings of brown rice. The potato chips were priced out at $4.50, conservatively, and didn’t look like much volume while the rice cost 8 cents and filled up the container.
Similarly 15 servings of lentils cost 32 cents and provide fiber and protein. A three-ounce portion of chicken costs 90 cents; hamburger, 51 cents; and fish, $1.32, thus illustrating the point that healthy food portions can be less expensive than a trip to the drive-through window.
When you create a healthier dinner and bring the leftovers to work for lunch the next day, that makes two good meals for one stint in the kitchen, said Kapaun.
Another little trick to keep track of the waistline is, “Dress for success,” said Rott, “Don’t wear sweatpants or loose clothes when preparing for a meal.”
“Wear your jeans,” said Kapaun.
The presumed idea is when your pants get tight it’s time to take off the feed bag.
The nutritionists’ mission is to teach healthy eating habits for a lifetime. “It’s doable,” said Rott.
“Take baby steps. Learn to enjoy the process,” said Kapaun. “You can safely lose 1 percent of your starting weight a week.”
Their key pieces of advice for the holiday season?
“Everything in moderation and don’t skip exercising,” said Rott.
“If you do slip up, you can recover; forgive yourself,” said Kapaun.
Rott and Kapaun are conducting the seminar Healthy Habits for Life Jan. 28 at 5:30 p.m. at Hudson Hospital. The session is free, but reservations are requested. Interested persons should call the nutrition care and wellness line at the hospital, (715) 531-6464, to make arrangements.
About Hudson Hospital
A non-profit community hospital since 1953, Hudson Hospital and Specialty Clinics are located just off Interstate I-94 in Hudson, Wis. The hospital campus is designed with the latest technology and amenities to support whole health and healing for patients and their families. Specialty services include inpatient and outpatient services in heart care, orthopaedic care, maternity and birth, emergency care, rehabilitation, medical imaging and more.
Founded in 1957, the HealthPartners (www.healthpartners.com) family of health care companies serve more than one million medical and dental health plan members nationwide and is the largest consumer-governed, nonprofit health care organization in the nation, providing care, coverage, research and education to improve the health of members, patients and the community.
HealthPartners includes Regions Hospital, a Level I Trauma Center and teaching hospital serving Minnesota and western Wisconsin for more than 130 years. Regions is a premier, full-service, private hospital providing outstanding medical and surgical care with special programs in heart, women 's care, cancer, orthopedics, neurology, burn and emergency care. HealthPartners Medical Group and Clinics is a 700 physician multi-specialty practice serving patients at more than 50 HealthPartners, RiverWay and North Suburban clinics and at Regions and Westfields Hospital.