Elisabeth Offenberger ‘16HS Shares Tips for Staying Healthy this Holiday Season

December 11, 2015

Elisabeth Offenberger

Elisabeth also talks about her passion for community nutrition and what brought her to Simmons.

What are you studying?

I am a full-time graduate student in the MS in Nutrition and Health Promotion program and I completed the Dietetic Internship at Simmons in May 2015.

What drew you to the field of Nutrition and Dietetics?

From second grade through my senior year of high school, I danced at a dance school and ballet company in my hometown. These experiences sparked an interest in the amazing ways in which our bodies function. When I was considering what I might study in college, I thought about combining this interest with my passion for helping others. I easily deduced that I should look in the health professions. I came across dietetics and decided that since I enjoy food, and don't do well around blood, that this could be a good opportunity. My first undergraduate class in nutrition/dietetics sealed the deal. I fell in love with the field and the ability to support others through fueling their bodies with food.

What made you choose Simmons for your Dietetic Internship program and master’s program?

I learned about Simmons Dietetic Internship through the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo my junior year of college. At this convention’s internship fair, I met Dr. Lisa Brown. I was excited talking to her about Simmons program as it focuses on community nutrition, a niche within the field in which I have always been interested. Dr. Brown’s description of the program resounded what I hoped to get out of an internship.

When it came time for me to apply to internships, I knew that I wanted to get my master’s as well. This level of education is an upcoming requirement in the field, and I felt that having a master’s would open some doors for jobs that I may want in the future. I saw that Simmons master’s degree program had an emphasis in both research as well as health promotion and community applications. It seemed like a great fit for me.

What was the highlight of your Dietetic Internship?

For me, the highlight was being in Boston. This city is a hub of education and research in the health professions. Being in the midst of that, while working in community-focused placements in the field of nutrition provided me with so many unique experiences. All of those experiences helped me to see the opportunities in the field of nutrition as well improve and begin to define my personal counseling technique.

Congratulations on passing the Registered Dietitian (RD) Exam. What was the process like?

Thank you! The process was definitely a little stressful, simply because I had five years of knowledge and experience on the line. After five to six weeks filled mostly with studying and reviewing, I felt prepared to do my best on the exam. It was a relief to walk out of the testing center knowing that I had passed!

What's been the most rewarding part of the Simmons MS program so far?

The two courses that culminate with the completion of an individual or group thesis project. It has been quite a learning experience. I am excited to continue going through the process next semester!

What’s your dream job?

To work with a community organization that provides resources or services to disadvantaged populations to encourage and empower them to live healthy lives. It could be at community health centers, community centers and through non-profit organizations. I truly think that any of them would be a dream job for me.

What are your top tips for staying healthy during the holiday season?

  1. Keep eating those fruits and vegetables! They are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that will help keep you healthy throughout the year.
  2. Always remember to wash your hands before preparing or eating food! Sing the first two stanzas of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer as you wash to stay in the holiday spirit and make sure your hands are clean! 
  3. As hard as it can be during this time in the semester, try to get 7-8 hours of sleep! 

What are some eating habits or foods to avoid during the holidays?

The biggest eating habit to avoid is to skip a meal (like breakfast) in order to consume more at a holiday meal. Try to keep your meal and exercise patterns as consistent as you can throughout the holidays. Allow yourself to enjoy special holiday meals and favorite holiday foods, but try to consider your portions and still try to keep your normal routine outside of these meals.