Monday, January 6, 2014

It's official ...

Pioneer Valley Nutrition, Inc. has closed it doors.  I, founder Polly Normand, am no longer primarily offering individual nutrition counseling or employing other dietitians and staff.  Please note that the remainder of this website still needs to be updated in order to reflect these changes.   

I am grateful to have been able to help so many people in my offices and I wish you all the best.  I know that the dietitians and staff who have worked with me over the past 10 years have enjoyed helping you improve your health and learning from all of you as well. 

So what are my plans?  I have gotten more involved in nutrition and wellness consulting over the past year and am closing my private practice to make more time to focus on in-house nutrition services.  I now provide a variety of corporate wellness programs for businesses within a 60 minute driving radius of Northampton.  I give presentations, lead small group discussions, and provide on-site individual nutrition counseling and Diabetes education.  If you are a referring physician, psychologist, or other health professional, I also offer staff training seminars in nutrition counseling and/or Diabetes education.  This is customized to your needs and may involve teaching you, your nurses, and/or your MAs some basics, offering a refresher, or updating you or your staff on the latest in Nutrition and Diabetes education and counseling.  Examples of other groups I have worked with include schools (from preschool to college, students, teachers, and teams), large companies (McDonald’s), a variety of smaller companies, and area medical practices.  Please contact me if you are interested in learning more.  The best way to reach me is via email

I am still seeing a limited number of patients in my home office, however I no longer accept health insurance (self-pay clients only, seen weekly or bi-weekly only).  If you are interested in this option or participating in phone consultations, please email me at the address above.

If you were a patient of ours and need a copy of your medical records or if you are looking for another Dietitian who accepts health insurance, please call Nancy Dell & Associates at (413) 786-2957.

Happy New Year!
Be well,

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


Spending time with family and friends, relaxing, having some fun, and for many ... indulging.  Yup, it's that time of year when hopefully you get to take a vacation.  Maybe this year you should consider not taking a vacation from your healthy habits.  You don't need to deprive yourself, but if historically you overindulge in decadent foods on vacation, this year consider doing things a different way.
When presented with a food choice, you may find yourself saying (as many of us do), "Whatever, I'm on vacation."
This is not a good reason to eat something. 

Good reasons to eat something:
  • You are hungry 
  • It is not available very often and you really enjoy it
  • You have decided (before choosing to eat it) that it is worth eating (worth the calories and their affect on your body weight)
  • It is healthy for you and you are hungry
  • It is something you have never tried before (but don't finish it if it's not as delicious as you imagined)
Not-so-good reasons to eat something:
  • You are on vacation
  • You are not hungry, but it's there
  • You are overtired
  • You are emotional and need comfort, reward, entertainment, etc.
  • You feel like you should because someone made it for you
  • Everyone else is doing it
If you are trying to lose weight, take a vacation on vacation.  Decide not to try to lose weight while on your trip, just try to maintain your body weight while you are gone.  If you are trying to maintain your figure and just don't want to gain weight on your trip, accept that if you are eating differently and in a different routine, your weight may go up, but if you make smart choices it will go right back down (usually within a week or sooner) once you get home and back into your usual routine.

Ten tips for maintaining your weight on vacation:
  • DON'T LET YOURSELF GET TOO HUNGRY - It will make it easier to make poor choices and once you do eat, you will likely eat too fast and too much.  So ...
  • KEEP SNACKS WITH YOU - single servings of almonds, a yogurt, a protein bar, a cheese stick, fruit (preferably something that is high is protein and/or fiber and well-balanced to keep you full longer)
  • CHEW WELL AND EAT SLOWLY - this practice often results in people eating less
  • STAY ACTIVE - if you exercise regularly, keep it up!  Try to workout at least every other day on vacation.  You know you'll feel better if you do!
  • THINK AHEAD - before making a food choice, ask yourself, "Is this really worth the calories?"  "How will I feel after I eat this?"  Also, be mindful of when you may eat next to help determine portion size.
  • DON'T LOSE FOCUS AT THE END - Many of my clients report that they do well for most of their trip and then let themselves go at the end.  Perhaps it's like a reward to them.  However, they all say that they regret doing it, so it really wasn't a reward.
  • STAY HYDRATED - drink plenty of water and alternative a glass of water for every alcoholic drink if you drink it. 
  • CHOOSE LOWER-CALORIE ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES - If you drink, opt for light beer, wine spritzers, or mixed drinks made with calorie-free mixers.
  • LIMIT SUGAR - Try not to indulge in too many sweets, it will just make you crave more.
  • BE PROUD - Remember that if you indulge less than the people you are with, you are not depriving yourself, you are empowering yourself to make the choices that you truly want to make.
When you get home, get right back into your eating and exercise routine and if you weigh yourself, don't weigh in for a week.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

BLOG POST: Your new fall food plan

Now that Labor Day has come and gone, most of us find our schedules changing.  Whether you are getting your kids off to school, attending it, teaching it, or working around colleagues' new family schedules, many of us end up with a new routine that affects our meal times and exercise patterns at this time of year.
Make the best of your new routine!

Try to implement the following tips into your day in order to optimize your health and feel your best:
  1. Commit to going to bed at a specific time and getting up at a specific time. Most people need 7-9 hours of sleep nightly. Catching up on the weekend and changing your sleeping pattern has been shown to negatively affect food choices.
  2. Eat breakfast, or at least something within 2 hours of waking up. If you're not a big breakfast person, at least have a snack to get your body going and then follow it up with another snack a few hours later.
  3. Pack your lunch. Food you bring from home tends to have less calories, be more balanced, and be more affordable than meals you buy out.
  4. Plan ahead to avoid getting too hungry or too full. Try to eat something at least every 4 hours. For example, if your lunch was a reasonable size and you ate it at noon, you will probably be hungry again by 4:00, so have a snack ready.
  5. Keep food at work or bring balanced snacks. Depending on when you eat meals, you may need an additional 1-3 snacks during the work day.
  6. Incorporate a high-protein food into your meals and snacks. Foods that are high in protein include yogurt, milk, eggs, cheese, nuts, nut butters, soy products like veggie burgers, beans, meat, seafood, and poultry.
  7. Eats lots of vegetables. They are low in calories, high in fiber, and packed with vitamins and minerals. Strive to eat a variety of different colors.
  8. Limit sugar. Sugar can spike and drop your blood sugar causing spikes and drops in energy, prematurely age you, and make you crave more food when you don't need it.
  9. Drink plenty of fluid, preferably water. Try to stay hydrated by drinking throughout the day. Shoot for drinking half of your body weight in pounds. If you weigh 150#, that's 75 oz or about 9 cups (4 2/3 pints) a day.
  10. Take steps to destress. Whether it's meditating, reading, journaling, yoga, knitting, or going for a walk, incorporate time to wind down daily.
Happy fall!


Before making changes to your diet please contact your physician. Pioneer Valley Nutrition and/or Polly Normand, MPH, RD, LDN, CDE are not responsible for changes you make to your diet unless you are an active patient of ours. Call 413-584-2200 to set up an appointment.