All posts by Health Alliance

We're a leading health insurer in the Midwest and your expert source for all things health and wellness, to help you be your best.
Fibroid Awareness Week

Fibroid Awareness Week

It’s Fibroid Awareness Week. Fibroids are muscular tumors, usually benign, that grow in the wall of the uterus for women.

Fibroids can be as small as an apple seed or as big as a grapefruit. 20% to 80% of women develop them by age 50.

Fibroid Size and Frequency

 

Not all women with fibroids have symptoms, but those who do can have pain, pressure on the bladder, frequent urination, or even a swollen abdomen.

Fibroid Symptoms

 

Risk factors for fibroids include age, family history, ethnic origin, obesity, and eating habits, like eating too much red meat. Eating plenty of green veggies is associated with a lower risk of fibroids.

Risk Factors for Fibroids

 

If you get pregnant and have fibroids, you might have more problems during your pregnancy. OB-GYNs are used to this situation, though, so talk to your doctor about your fibroids when you find out you’re pregnant.

Pregnant with Fibroids

 

Your doctor can diagnose you with fibroids through an exam or imaging tests like ultrasounds, X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans.

Diagnosing Fibroids

 

There are treatments for fibroids, including meds and surgery, if you have pain, they’re large, or you want to get pregnant.

Fibroids and Your Future

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National Soy Foods Month

National Soy Foods Month

It’s National Soy Foods Month, and even if you aren’t a vegetarian or don’t have food allergies, soy can be a great source of protein in your diet.

Make the long-time staple (especially for those with dairy allergies), Homemade Soy Milk.

Homemade Soy Milk
Image and Recipe via Light Orange Bean

 

This Sheet Pan Honey-Sesame Tofu and Green Beans is hearty, tasty, and easy.

Sheet Pan Honey-Sesame Tofu and Green Beans
Image and Recipe via The Kitchn

 

Skip the meat in one dish on your grill with Vegan Sweet Potato Tofu Burgers.

Appetizing Vegan Sweet Potato Tofu Burger {Gluten-Free}

 

This Vanilla Soy Ice Cream is perfect for warm days when you’re avoiding dairy.

Vanilla Soy Ice Cream
Image and Recipe via Food

 

Your perfect summer side dish awaits with High-Protein Edamame Mango Salad.

High-Protein Edamame Mango Salad

High-Protein Edamame Mango Salad

 

No one will know this Ultimate Chocolate Fudge Pie uses tofu to get its silky texture.

The Ultimate Chocolate Fudge Pie

 

Eat with your eyes and skip the fish or pork with this beautiful Sesame-Crusted Tofu.

Sesame Crusted Tofu

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National Library Week

National Library Week

It was National Library Week, and libraries transform minds with free access to books and online resources for your community.

Celebrate National Library Week

 

Tuesday was National Library Workers Day. Story hours and events for your kids are a great time to get involved and thank your librarian.

Thank Your Librarian

 

Wednesday was National Bookmobile Day. Your local library might be using one, or find stops near you on the Digital Bookmobile’s national tour.

Find a Bookmobile

 

Thursday was Take Action for Libraries Day. Learn more about protecting libraries and their funding.

Take Action for Libraries

 

Not sure where the local libraries are in your community? Enter your ZIP code to find libraries near you.

Finding Libraries Near You

 

Reading can have many positive effects on you. Here are 10 reasons you should stop by your library and grab a book.

Reasons to Read

 

Reading to your kids is not only a memorable experience, it’s also good for both of you.

Kids & the Benefits of Reading

Healthy Pecan Recipes

Healthy Pecan Recipes for National Pecan Month

It’s National Pecan Month. Ditch heavy pecan pie for lighter ways to love the nut with these healthy pecan recipes.

First up, make these Pecan Pie Energy Bites for snacking on the go.

Pecan Pie Energy Bites
Image and Recipe for Tastemade

 

Whip up Spiralized Apple Salad with Citrus Dressing with pecans for extra crunch.

Spiralized Apple Salad with Citrus Dressing

 

This Maple Pecan Crusted Salmon uses a maple marinade to flavor the fish.

Maple Pecan Crusted Salmon

 

Coconut Pecan Chocolate Chip Granola is a great replacement for your favorite candy bars.

Coconut Pecan Chocolate Chip Granola

 

This Triple Berry Spinach Salad with Candied Pecans is a perfect springtime lunch.

Triple Berry Spinach Salad with Candied Pecans

 

Whip up this Clean-Eating Cranberry Pecan Quinoa for a healthy picnic dish.

Clean Eating Cranberry Pecan Quinoa Recipe

 

Add flavor and crunch to bland chicken with Honey Pecan Chicken.

Honey Pecan Chicken

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Deciding on a Balanced Diet

Eating a Balanced Diet

Focusing on a balanced diet is one of the best ways to make healthy eating a part of your life.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans

The USDA sets Dietary Guidelines for Americans regularly to help guide balanced diet choices. While these guidelines can seem complicated, there are key takeaways from them you should know.

The Importance of Healthy Eating

Healthy eating helps prevent and slow the onset of diseases, like obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

Include in a Balanced Diet

A healthy and balanced diet, which for most people is around 2,000 calories a day, includes a variety of:

  • Vegetables, including a variety of dark green, red, and orange veggies, legumes, which include beans and peas, and starchy veggies, like corn and potatoes.
  • Fruits, especially whole fruits, like apples and oranges, which are the perfect serving  size.
  • Grains, at least half of which are whole grain.
  • Fat-free or low-fat dairy (like milk, yogurt, and cheese) or appropriate substitutes.
  • A variety of foods high in protein, like lean meats, poultry, eggs, seafood, beans,  soy-based products (like tofu), nuts and seeds.
  • Oils (like canola, olive, peanut, and soybean) or naturally occurring oils in nuts, seeds, olives, and avocados.

Limit in a Balanced Diet

  • Added sugars should make up less than 10% of your daily calories, which can be hidden in processed and prepared foods, like soda, cereal, cookies, and more.
  • Limit saturated and trans fats, which should make up less than 10% of your daily calories. Foods high in these include butter, whole milk, and palm oil. Replace with unsaturated fats, like canola and olive oil whenever you can.
  • Limit sodium to less than 2,300 mg per day. Processed foods, like pizza, and canned soup and sauces can be high in this salt.

A Balanced Diet with MyPlate

MyPlate replaced the food pyramid as the guide to making sense of servings. It helps you look at your plate and strike a balance with each meal.

This chart can help you divide your own plates appropriately: MyPlate

Fruits and veggies should make up about half of your plate, with just over a quarter filled with whole grains, and protein should be under a quarter. (A few ounces of meat, a piece about the size of the palm of your hand, is a good serving size for most people.) Also work in a small serving of dairy through milk, cheese, or yogurt to round out your meal.

Making Smart Choices

Combine these guidelines with smart choices, and you’ll be well on your way to eating a balanced diet. And making these smart choices doesn’t have to be difficult. There are lots of tips and tricks that can help you make a balanced diet a part of your daily life.

Tracking Your Food

Then, you can target the number of servings you should be getting of the different food groups.

These can help you figure out calorie counts and limit sodium and sugar.

This can help you understand how balanced your diet and food servings are and set and reach food goals.

Making and Meeting Food Goals

  • Start small.

Making small changes in your eating habits can have long-term effects:

  • Switch to high fiber, low-sugar cereals.
  • Give up soda with flavored sparkling waters.
  • When you’re hungry, try drinking a glass of water before you eat something.
  • Plan for all of the places you go in life:
    • Instead of eating out for lunch at work, start planning and meal-prepping ahead of time, and avoid the vending machines.
    • If you know your kids aren’t making great food choices at school, get them involved in packing lunches they’ll love ahead of time.
    • When you know you’ll spend the day at the mall, carry snacks and a water bottle, eat a healthy breakfast or snack before you head out, and skip the food court. If you just can’t avoid a meal or a snack while you’re out, find the healthiest option. Load up a sandwich with veggies, get frozen yogurt without all kinds of extra sweet toppings instead of ice cream, and choose hot tea or unsweetened iced tea instead of a frappachino.
    • Check menus for calorie counts when you’re eating out. Ask for salad dressings and sauces on the side, avoid fried foods, and keep in mind that alcoholic drinks can be full of calories.
    • Many communities have community gardens. Join in and help out to get moving and to grow things your whole family can enjoy in meals.

Results and Rewards

  • Don’t beat yourself up when you have missteps.

Everyone struggles with giving up the foods full of sugar and salt that they love, so it’s important to stay positive and get back on track.

  • Plan your cheat day.

Many people have found that planning a weekly cheat day can help them stay on course knowing they can treat themselves later. And once you get used to a balanced diet, you’ll find that you’ll cheat in smaller and smaller ways, even on the day you’re allowed to.

  • Find healthy ways to treat yourself.

For example, do you love watermelon or raspberries? Splurge on the healthy treats you love. Enjoy a piece of dark chocolate each day or a glass of red wine each week. Another option, reward meeting your goals with a treat that isn’t food-related, like a new outfit, book, or manicure.

Up Next:

Now that you know the value of a balanced diet, learn to prepare before you go grocery shopping and shop smart to meet your goals.

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Spring Cleaning Your Home

Spring Cleaning for National Cleaning Week

It’s National Cleaning Week and the perfect time for spring cleaning your life. And we can help!

Martha Stewart’s comprehensive spring-cleaning checklist can help you make a plan.

Spring Cleaning Checklist

 

Not a deep-cleaner? This Ultimate Spring Cleaning Guide can help you clean things you’ve never considered.

Deep-Cleaning Done Right

 

The kitchen is one place that needs lots of attention. These ideas can help you tackle it.

Hate cleaning? These spring-cleaning shortcuts can help speed up the process.

Speed Spring Cleaning Up

 

If doing a little a day will keep you motivated, this 30 days of spring cleaning guide is right for you.

A Little Cleaning Each Day

 

You might not think of cleaning outside your house, but it’s the perfect time before the weather heats up.

Tidying Outdoors

 

Take the time to clean things you’ve never thought of for a sparkling house.

Spring Clean Everything

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Healthy Peanut Recipes

Peanut Recipes for National Peanut Month

It’s National Peanut Month, and there are plenty of healthy peanut recipes to make the most of the popular nut in your diet.

Thai Peanut Chicken and Zucchini Noodle Bowl is a great substitute for Thai takeout.

Thai Peanut Chicken Zucchini Bowl

Thai Peanut Chicken And Zucchini Noodle Bowl

 

Make Homemade Peanut Butter with your food processor to ditch store-bought.

How to Make Homemade Peanut Butter

 

This Peanut Coleslaw will be a perfect side for upcoming spring barbecues.

Peanut Coleslaw

 

Get a taste of the world at home with this hearty West African Peanut Soup.

West African Peanut Soup

 

Peanut Tofu Bowls are a great way to go meatless without losing flavor.

Peanut Tofu Buddha Bowl

 

Spicy Peanuts are a great snack to munch on during afternoon slumps or on game day.

Spicy Peanuts

 

Thai Chicken Chopped Salad with Peanuts is a light lunch as the weather warms up.

Thai Chicken Chopped Salad with Peanut Dressing

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