Back Away from the Holiday Buffet!

It doesn’t have to be this way. That “ahh, what the heck, I’ll just finish it because it’s the holidays” moment I’m talking about when faced with a pile of your aunt’s renowned creamy potato casserole. I say, “Put down the fork!” and practice these easy survival tips at your next gathering – and throughout the New Year:


Appetizers & Cocktails:

  • Watch out for a little nibble here and there…the calories, fat, and salt add up quickly! A handful of almonds is about 170 calories, a handful of chips is about 140 calories, and a handful of chex mix is about 140 calories. Snack smarter by having fresh veggies and dips, veggie centered appetizers, shrimp cocktail, fresh fruit.
  • Use a small plate for appetizers instead of mindlessly grabbing items.
  • Be mindful of liquid calories. Save calories by choosing warmed apple cider over eggnog. Specialty cocktails tend to be loaded with sugar and extra calories. Try to limit your portion to one, then switch to light beer, sparkling wine, or club soda.
  • When it comes to dips, choose salsa and bean-based over creamy ones like crab and artichoke to save around 50 calories per serving.


The Main Event:

  • Before you dig in, pause and skim over the available selections so you can make the smartest choices and still indulge in 2-3 options you can’t do without!
  • On Thanksgiving, opt for white meat with no skin to save over 100 calories per serving.
  • It’s okay to say, “No thank you” when offered seconds.
  • Keep an eye out for creamy dishes as these are high in fat and salt. Keep your portions smaller than what you would normally take and savor the flavor.
  • Holiday dinners tend to be heavy on starch and meats. Change it up and bring a dish that emphasizes non-starchy vegetables like roasted chestnut and Brussel sprouts or chilled asparagus in a vinaigrette dressing. 
  • Bulk up half of your plate with vegetable options and focus on having a colorful plate. Instead of rack of lamb, have a fish dish or instead of ham, try tenderloin.


The Finale 

  • Enjoy desserts but try to pick options that are smaller in size or fruit-focused, like bite- sized cheesecake or baked apples.
  • The thickest part of a slice of pie should be no larger than a business card.
  • Cut the dessert in half and resist the temptation to eat the whole helping.
  • Leave the crust of desserts to save 2 tablespoons of butter or 200 calories.
  • If you had your share of dessert, but are still eyeing the table, grab a tea or coffee instead.
  • When baking, replace oil with unsweetened applesauce in recipes. This trick hasn’t failed me yet!


Overall Guidance for Party Smarts:

  • Don’t save all your calories for the buffet. Make sure to eat beforehand. You can choose to eat a lighter fare like Greek yogurt and fruit, egg and toast, vegetable soup, or a salad. When we save our calories, we tend to overeat because we are so hungry!
  • Focus on the people and activities rather than the buffet.
  • If you notice you are always hovering around the food, consciously decide to move somewhere else.
  • Scout out what you really want, and make sure to have it, but also load up on the fruit and veggie options. Set a goal to eat at least two different vegetables.
  • Eat when you are hungry. Really. Don’t eat because you feel obligated or don’t want to offend someone.


Robyn Beechuk is one of the registered dietitians on the HealthEase Your Fuel team who provides nutrition counseling to our corporate clients’ employees. For more nutrition tips and recipes from Robyn, visit her website:




Snack Smarter

You may be hurting your energy levels and your weight loss efforts by choosing the wrong snacks. Your snacks should be viewed as nutritious mini meals. Try pairing your carbohydrate foods with a protein or healthy fat. This will make you feel fuller and also balance blood sugar levels. Here are some smart choices:


Apple + 1 tablespoon peanut butter

Whole grain crackers + 1 oz cheese

Orange + 1 hardboiled egg

Plain Greek Yogurt + fresh fruit

Whole-grain pita chips + guacamole

Whole-grain English muffin with hummus

Trail mix with dried fruit and nuts


Be sure to keep your portions in check! Adding too many calories to your snacks can easily put you over your daily caloric needs.

Inquire about the HealthEase Your Fuel program, a nutrition counseling program provided at your workplace and covered 100% by most health insurance plans. Contact us at: 


Author: Nicole Bergoine, RD, Your Fuel registered dietitian

Achieve Weight Loss from Clever Calorie Cutting

In order to lose weight, we must consume less calories, burn more calories through exercise, or do a little of both. Many people believe they need to go on a strict diet in order to lose weight but that is not the case. Small, consistent changes can make a huge difference on the scale. Try cutting back on some of these high calorie foods if you’d like to lose weight without feeling deprived:

Peanut Butter (not more than 2 tablespoons)
Pancake Syrup
Cheese (not more than 1 oz.)
Coffee Creamer
Dried fruit (not more than ¼ cup)
Fried foods

Simply cutting out 1 tablespoon of fat can eliminate 100 calories daily, leading to weight loss overtime. Focus on a sustainable healthy lifestyle rather than a diet. It will pay off in the long run!


by Nicole Bergoine, RD, Your Fuel registered dietitian


Stop Wasting Food – Here’s How!

Often, the 2-for-1 specials at the grocery store are quite enticing. Who wouldn’t want two packages of chicken breast for the price of one? Unfortunately, these discounts are not always the best “deal” for our environment.

Food waste contributes to the world’s carbon footprint. According to an article on Politico’s site, “1.3 billion tons of food are wasted or lost worldwide. Saving just a quarter of this food would feed the 795 million people going hungry and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 3.3 giga-tons.” (Barilla. 12/8/16. “The Food Sustainability Index: Establishing a more sustainable food system.”) Click here for the full article.

Here are a few tips to help reduce food waste in your home:

1. Shop smarter. Avoid buying in bulk if you know you won’t be able to eat the food before it expires. Studies have shown that nearly 80% of people buy extra when the item is on sale and end up with more than they need. Try planning one or two meatless meals per week – they are cheaper to make and lower in greenhouse gas emissions. Consider Cuban beans and rice with a side salad or try a tofu or edamame stir-fry!

2. Plan your menu ahead of time. Take a few minutes to think about your week before going to the store. Will you be dining out with friends? Are you planning on cooking a large crockpot meal, which will give you leftovers for a few nights? Peek in your pantry, freezer, and refrigerator before you venture out to the grocery store. Knowing what you already have will reduce food waste and cut down on your food bill. Get in the habit of making a grocery list (I use the notes app on my phone.)

3. Baby your bananas. Bananas can cause other nearby fruits to ripen quicker leading to spoilage, so keep your bananas separate. To prevent your bananas from ripening too quick, keep them all together and wrap the stems with plastic wrap to maintain freshness. Overripe bananas can be peeled and frozen for later use in smoothies, banana bread, or a quick dairy-free ice cream blend. Click here for the recipe!

4. Be besties with your freezer. Did you buy two loaves of bread? Freeze one! Depending on the item and type of freezer you are using, most items can last between 3 – 6 months and sometimes a year in the freezer. Going longer than recommended, however, puts your food at risk of freezer burn (FDA Freezer Chart). If the bread has gone stale, you can make homemade croutons or a delicious Panzanella salad. If you purchase bulk meats, take them out of the packaging and place each piece in individual freezer bags. That way, you can grab what you need and keep the extra for another day.

5. Take up pickling. If you bought a lot of produce, look for a simple canning recipe online to make pickled vegetables. Make sure you have ample storage containers. If you have kids, get them involved in breaking cauliflower apart, measuring out spices, or cleaning jars. Make it a family event!

6. Get in the habit of FIFO. This stands for First in, First out. Get in the habit of moving older produce to the front (or take it out of the produce drawer and place it in sight) while placing newer produce in the back of the refrigerator.

7. Donate. Think about donating to your local food bank or soup kitchen. If you have nonperishable items you know you will not be using anytime soon, send them off to a family in need.

And remember…think globally. Act locally.


Ask us about the Your Fuel nutrition counseling program by HealthEase – offering private sessions at your worksite – and, most health insurance plans cover the cost 100%!
For info, contact HealthEase at


This blog is by: Robyn Beechuk, MPH, RD, LDN, a Your Fuel Dietitian
Tel: 484-569-2491

For her recipes:

Nutrition Counseling through TeleHealth

Imagine having access to a registered dietitian for one-on-one nutrition counseling via your mobile phone or laptop? Telehealth is a way to conveniently access personalized healthcare from the comfort of your home or office by using a HIPAA-secure online platform.


Now HealthEase offers telehealth as an option for companies who sign up for our exclusive Your Fuel™ nutrition counseling program. Your Fuel is led by a team of registered dietitians who can provide private nutrition counseling sessions at the worksite for FREE to the employer and the employees because the sessions are covered by many health insurance providers, including Independence Blue Cross and Aetna.


The secure telehealth platform used by HealthEase dietitians for virtual nutrition counseling is called Healthie. This valuable tool, which includes a mobile app and personal online portal, offers important benefits:
 Convenience – it’s accessible anywhere and eliminates the need to travel for appointments
 Ongoing support from the dietitian in between regular appointments
 View uploaded documents, such as meal plans, recipes, and educational materials
 Exchange messages with the dietitian, so you can ask questions or send updates on your progress or challenges
 Track your health activities by maintaining a photo food log, recording and updating metrics (weight measurements, etc.), and logging exercise – all of which the dietitian can view and provide feedback
 Schedule, cancel, or reschedule appointments and receive reminders
 Video chat with the dietitian through your mobile app or computer
 Integrate with wearable devices like Fitbit


If you or your company is interested in learning more about the Your Fuel program and the new telehealth option, contact HealthEase at


By Rachel Hudes, Registered Dietitian for HealthEase