Archive - November 2016

Tips for Healthy Eating During the Holidays
Create a Winter Safety Plan
Holiday Drug Safety

Tips for Healthy Eating During the Holidays

By: Rorie Dunphie


Traditionally, the holiday season is full of rich, buttery comfort food shared with family and friends. Although it is important to celebrate and treat ourselves to an array of delicious food, it does not mean that binging on holiday favorites is the best idea. Holiday weight gain is common, but it can be minimized or avoided if you consider a few tips during the season.

1. Pace yourself: When eating a meal with your family or enjoying appetizers at a party, slow down and eat consciously. Try not to race through the food on your plate. Instead, chew slowly and enjoy the conversation around you. You’ll also be more aware of when you start feeling full.

2. Limit your indulgences, but don’t eliminate them altogether: Sweet and savory treats during the holidays are abundant and inevitable. You don’t have to completely omit desserts and treats during the holidays, rather try to be selective and limit your portion size. You’ll find that even a small bite can satisfy your sweet tooth and may help stop a binge later on.

3. Drink more water: Water is essential for healthy body functions, including metabolism. Dehydration negatively affects your muscle tone, slows the fat-burning process, and inhibits digestion. Also, try to stay away from liquid calories.

4. Get enough sleep: Studies show that lack of sleep can cause hormonal changes, which can then lead to craving more calories per day. Although the holiday season is busy, don’t compromise your nighttime rest.

5. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day: If you can’t possibly fit longer exercise into your routine, try to split it up into shorter chunks of time. Also, mix aerobic activity with strength training and flexibility for a complete exercise routine.

Have a happy and healthy holiday season!

Rorie Dunphey works under Vermont’s Blueprint for Health as the RN Chronic Care Coordinator at Family Practice Associates in Cambridge. She works one-on-one with people and also leads classes to promote health and help people better manage their chronic diseases. She also assists patients in accessing community and state resources to better coordinate their health and wellness needs. Rorie has a particular passion for promoting a healthy diet and exercise routine to inspire people to live their best life.

Create a Winter Safety Plan

By: Valerie Valcour

winer preparednessWe have had our first reality check of the coming winter season. With the first snow of the season, I am reminded of the importance of creating my winter safety plan for this year.

What always comes to my mind first is getting my car ready for the winter. When will I put on my snow tires? Do I have a blanket, water, granola bars, window scraper and shovel in the trunk?

What about my house? What will I do if I lose power for an extended amount of time? What if I get snowed in? Are my older family members set up for an extended power outage?

These are all things we need to plan for now and communicate with our family and friends. The Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security has a website with helpful tips to creating your Winter Safety plan. Check it out here.

Planning is the key to being prepared. Creating a plan with your family and workplace is the first step. This plan can include:

  • what to do in various situations, such as an extended power outage or deep snow or ice,
  • what you will do about your pets,
  • which important documents should be protected from floodwaters,
  • what medications you should have with you, and
  • where you will store non-perishable foods and water.

You can find a checklist for your planning here.

Communicating your plan is the next step. Be sure all the people who need to know your plan have a copy of it and know how to reach in you in an emergency.

Vermont Emergency Management has many ways to help us stay informed about all hazard or emergency events:

Don’t let this winter take you by surprise. Be prepared. You can always contact your local Vermont Department of Health, 802-888-7447 for more information.

Valerie Valcour is a Public Health Nurse and specializes in chronic disease prevention and emergency preparedness at the community level for the Department of Health in Morrisville. Valerie has lived in Lamoille County most of her life. She graduated from People’s Academy in 1983 and worked as a nurse at Copley Hospital for several years. In addition to her work, she volunteers as a board member of both Community Health Services of Lamoille Valley and the Lamoille County Planning Commission.

Holiday Drug Safety

By: Jessica Bickford

Holiday drug safety

With the holidays quickly skipping in our direction through autumn’s gloriously, crunchy carpet, we will most likely soon have visitors or be a visitor in someone’s home. This is a prime time to think about medication safety. The majority of us have over-the-counter and prescription medicine in our homes. The question is, “How do we ensure they are secure and only taken as designed?”

Here are a few thoughts:

  1. Keep all medicines secured and out of reach of children. The medicine cabinet is not a good place, as it gives unrestricted access to anyone who visits your bathroom… including curious, climbing children. Locked boxes or closets are considered optimal for many prescription drugs, but well-monitored, high-up, out-of-sight areas will work too. Basically any area that can easily be supervised, but not on display.
  2. If traveling with medicines, consider asking your host the best place to safely store them while visiting.
  3. Clean out your medicines regularly keeping only what is needed in your home. This is especially true of prescription medications. Take a few moments to go through your medicines, checking for expired or unwanted leftovers. The Hardwick Police Department, Lamoille County Sheriff’s Department, and Morristown Police Department are all equipped to take unwanted prescription medicines year-round, no questions asked.

Parents have an added need for vigilance. When my kids were younger we visited my husband’s grandparents for Thanksgiving and our kids discovered a dropped pill under the television stand. It was just a Tylenol and we were able to dispose of it, but it illustrates the need for added attention. Here are a few tips for parents:

  1. Talk to your host about the importance of making sure their medicines are secured.
  2. Before you arrive, talk with children about safe medicine use and the need to be given medicines by a parent or caregiver. Also share the importance of not eating “candy” without checking in with an adult first – many medicines and prescriptions may look like candy, especially to a younger child. Another good conversation to have is about staying in well-supervised areas. For example, “Grammy and Grampa’s bedroom is their space, and we want to respect their privacy.”
  3. If you have younger children who may be playing on the floor, sit with them and play. While playing, scan the lower half of the room to discover any wayward pill or other small objects that may present a risk.
  4. Monitor your children and teens. Have fun, but know where they are and what they’re doing. is a great resource with tips for conversations and ideas for checking in with children and teens.

A few minutes spent thinking about medicine safety may help your upcoming holiday visits stay merry and bright!

Looking for more resources on prescription drug safety? Here are helpful resources:

Jessica Bickford has worked as Coordinator of Healthy Lamoille Valley for a little over two years, where she has enjoyed writing for their blog. Writing for Copley’s community blog is a natural extension of this experience! Healthy Lamoille Valley focuses on making healthy choices easy choices, realizing that when we have access to healthy options we are less likely to choose behaviors that are harmful. Prevention is really a lifestyle of wise choices that enable us to live life to the fullest.