Nutrition graduate student offers helpful tips for guilt-free holiday eating

Nutrition graduate student offers helpful tips for guilt-free holiday eatingTricia Bulatao, a nutrition specialist, provides general nutrition coaching and guidance to individuals, groups and businesses, and works with individuals who are looking to improve their health through good nutrition.  Bulatao analyzes what they are eating and then in a very client-centered way, helps them identify key areas for change that will improve their nutritional intake and support their short-term and long-term goals.  She also provides nutrition education and assists with menu planning for groups and businesses.

Bulatao is pursuing a master’s degree in Applied Nutrition at Sage and is also enrolled in the post-baccalaureate certificate program that prepares students to pursue the Registered Dietitian (RD) credential.

“I believe that with the right knowledge, motivation and commitment to health, we can each have the opportunity to live a long and full life,” Bulatao explains.  “There is so much evidence that supports the impact of nutrition on our health.  We handle food every day.  By teaching people how to meet their nutritional needs by being creative with food, I can help them develop lifelong habits to improve and maintain their good health.”   

Bulatao has given presentations at the YMCA in Guilderland to help people stay on track nutritionally as they navigate through the holiday season. She shares some of her best advice in her responses below.

What inspired you to give these presentations?  The holidays are marked as a time to enjoy and indulge as well as a time of increased demands.  Helping people to prepare for these increased demands by being well nourished will help them to enjoy this time of year to the fullest.  

Why these topics?  There is a lot of nutrition information in the news daily which makes it challenging to discern fact from fiction.  Clarifying and identifying the meaningful nutrition messages while also providing strategies to implement them can make a real difference.  Individuals will be better prepared to identify ways to meet their nutrient requirements which will translate into higher energy levels and better health.  A winning (and I believe necessary combination) for enjoying the holidays.

Diets Debunked: What’s the most important message within your diets debunked presentation?  There is no quick fix. Many diets will work for the short term but generally do not have a lasting effect on a person's weight.  It's important to pay attention to what you put on your plate and to develop lifelong dietary habits . . . portion control and making 1/2 your plate vegetables and fruit will be satisfying, healthy and help many reach and maintain their weight goals.   

Best tip for guilt-free holiday eating? Mingle first, eat later.  Holiday gatherings are really all about sharing the celebration with family and friends.  Before hitting up the appetizers and drinks, take time to connect with the people there.  As a result, you will eat less and enjoy the company.  There will still be time to enjoy the food, and when you do, start by filling your plate with vegetables & fruit first.  They'll fill you up, you'll feel good and still have enough room to enjoy other dishes without overindulging.

How have you seen good nutrition make a difference in your life or someone else’s? Is there one story that stands out among the others?  Yes, I have seen good nutrition make a big difference in the quality of my life and in the lives of others.  This past summer, I had the opportunity to work with a Mom who was looking to improve her nutritional intake.  Together, we addressed her challenges with eating well and developed a plan to improve her nutrition.  She went from eating just a 1/2 cup of fruit each day to eating 2-3 cups of fruits and vegetables each day.  Not only did she lose inches, but she also reported feeling happier and more energized as a result.  

Closing thoughts?  Little changes do add up to big changes.  Setting small goals to improve your nutrition can have a big impact on your long-term health.