The Dietician Chef: Eating Healthy During the Holidays

We all sat in our chairs giving full attention to Emily Doerman, registered dietician, who was about to give us tips for surviving the holidays without gaining weight. Like any good workshop presenter she first engaged her audience by asking: “Who had to go and put on elastic-waist pants after you ate your Thanksgiving dinner this year?”

A few hands timidly went up. We braced ourselves for the lecture from the dietician. Instead of a scolding we got something like this: “Thanksgiving is the one day of the year when it is acceptable and actually expected in some cases to overindulge. Eating like that just one day a year is not all that damaging to your waistline. However, proclaiming that you are so full multiple times per month, or per week, will have a negative effect on your waistline and weight. “

She gave the example if your stomach holds four cups of food and you continually eat five cups of food, your stomach will stretch and you will gain weight. Conversely, she said you can also shrink the size of your stomach by eating less.

Whew! No scolding, no food police, no finger pointing. Emily provided us with a reasonable approach to eating. She stressed moderation and said “moderation is not about eliminating foods from your diet, but watching how frequently you consume them. If you eat dessert once a week, that is moderation. If you eat dessert once a day, that is NOT moderation.”

Emily’s Holiday Party Tips

  • Eat before you go; don’t arrive at a party starving.
  • Don’t starve yourself during the day to save up your calories to use at the party.
  • If you arrive at the party hungry, fill up on fruits and veggies before moving on to other foods.
  • Scope out what types of foods are available before you begin eating.
  • Let your taste buds have high standards; if it tastes mediocre, don’t eat it.
  • Split something high calorie with a friend.
  • Enjoy the people you are with, not just the food.
  • Say no firmly if you don’t want a food that is offered.

Other Interesting Tidbits

If you are with someone who has two slices of pizza (or whatever the food), you will also have two (or three or whatever the amount).

If you eat in front of the TV, you will associate TV watching with eating and are more likely to snack when watching TV. If you have a cookie every day at 3 p.m., chances are that will be a habit that will be hard to break.

Get the book Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think by Brian Wansink.

Don’t forget to exercise. Even 15 minutes a day is beneficial.

Here’s the Fun Part

Emily is also a chef. After getting her degree and doing an internship to become a registered dietician, she went to the International Centre for Culinary Arts, Dubai. She said when she’s in the office counseling patients about nutrition there is a lot of calculations and planning specific eating programs for various health concerns like high cholesterol or diabetes. (She sees patients in her father’s internal medicine practice.) But she wanted to put all her textbook learning into action in the kitchen and make it relevant to her lifestyle.

With a quick change into her chef’s jacket she showed us how to make a tomato sauce. Did you know when you are cooking you should taste something seven times? We counted her taste tests as she sampled her sauce.

Did you know there is a proper and precise way to peel and slice an onion? You have no idea how intricate and practical that is! We also sampled her Kobacha Squash Quiche and her Cranberry Almond Oatmeal Bars.OnionEmily

Nutritious and Delicious is the name of Emily’s website where she writes a great food blog. Yesterday’s posting was Pecorino Truffle Oil Mac and Cheese. She starts out by saying, “Be warned, this is not a healthy recipe. But man is it good!”

Check out Emily’s website. I think you will see a lot of hospitality oozing from this delightful dietician chef.


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