Healthy Food Habits

Healthy Food Habits for the New Year

It’s a new year, and instead of setting huge dieting goals, we recommend focusing on small healthy food habits that will improve your relationship with food.

First, make sure you’re drinking your daily recommended water, six to eight 8-ounce glasses a day. Not only is preventing dehydration good for you, but it can help reduce hunger between meals.

Drink Enough Water

 

Don’t give up your favorite foods. Instead, focus on smaller quantities and servings.

 

Cook your veggies in tasty ways. Steamed veggies are easy, but usually bland. Try roasting, sautéing, or spiralizing your veggies, and don’t forget the seasonings and herbs!

Flavorful Cooking

 

Food prep has been linked to better eating because it’s convenient to grab when you’re hungry. Prep after you get back from the store.

Food Prep Is Key

Keeping Things Fresh

 

Eat filling lunches that can help you get through the rest of the work day, and then eat smaller dinners to avoid feeling too full and sleepy early in the evening.

Strive to eat fruits and veggies across the color range each day. Not only will it help you get in all your servings of veggies and nutrients, but the variety has been shown to help people eat bigger meals without increasing calories.

Eat the Rainbow

 

Don’t focus on perfection. Everyone splurges on food sometimes, but the key is to get back to healthy eating after that rather than spiraling out of control.  

Splurging Doesn't Ruin Your Diet

New Year's Reset

Long View & Vantage Point: New Year’s Reset

Happy New Year, everyone! Here is hoping that 2019 is your best year yet. Now, I am sure my readers are thinking my next line will be something about what my New Year’s resolution is going to be. No, not this year.

I have a different take on 2019 that I would like to share. Resolutions make us obsess about outcomes. The outcomes are sometimes tied to successes, but they’re also sometimes tied to failure. So this year, I am substituting the term “New Year’s resolution” with “New Year’s reset!”

It seems like every year, many of us find a way to ring in the new year, like watching the ball drop on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” with the countdown “3-2-1, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!” Or maybe we skip staying up all together because this whole New Year’s Eve thing is overrated. Nevertheless, the next day, we close the book on last year, and just like that, we are on to a brand-new year and a brand-new start.

Starting that diet? Setting the goal for financial freedom? Both? These are the good old New Year’s resolutions, the imagined future, where we all vow to make a change. Our minds are set and ready to move on to a better us! “This is the year that you are going to do it,” we tell ourselves.

What I have learned over all the years is that my ready-set-go approach is good for maybe the first week or two (maybe the first month or two if I’m lucky). The adrenaline is high. I go out and buy all the organic fruits and veggies and local health food to fill the fridge. Then, I head out to the mall to find sweatpants and a matching headband, maybe even a new pair of shoes to walk and exercise away all those pounds (all on sale of course because I am trying to cut down on spending, too!). Now, it’s all set, and I can’t wait to start!

Next thing you know, good intentions are interrupted. In the mail, there’s an invitation to the wedding event of the year (with of course, lots of food and drinks to be served), and no doubt, I have to find the perfect dress and accessories to wear to the big gala. Or maybe it’s the annual Super Bowl party invite with more food and drinks (at least sweatpants are fine for this occasion). There go the resolutions, just like that! And here come the struggles and guilt with all kinds of mixed feelings! What about the diet and saving money? Why do I do this every year?

Why put yourself through that?

This year, wouldn’t it be easier if we lived in the moment and not the imagined future? If each day, we took a short, mindful pause? Stop and reset? What is going on around you right this minute? You might see the most wonderful sunset or maybe kids sledding down a hill. Maybe you hear the humming sound of the fan or just that peaceful serenade of silence.

You don’t have to worry about the entire year or even tomorrow, just be in the moment. Mindfulness is putting the attention on the present, and doing it purposefully. You aren’t imagining it, you are living it! Go out for a walk or take that spare change to the bank. Make it intentional! It’s that small space in time that you can slow down, replenish, and reset your mind and body.

In 2019, maybe we can all learn to hit the reset button and find how the power of taking just a few minutes of each day can lift your spirit, boost your mind, and achieve successes! Here’s to a wonderful start for 2019!

Jessica Arroyo, born and raised in the Wenatchee Valley, is a Medicare community liaison for Health Alliance Northwest, serving Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan counties in Washington. During her time off, she enjoys spending time with her husband and infant son.

Mervet Adams is a community liaison with Health Alliance. She loves her grandson, family, nature, and fashion.

Happy Medicare New Year

Steps to a Happy “Medicare” New Year

Winter preparations are done. Winter festivals have ended, and end-of-year holiday celebrations are over. Just when you think you can sit back and relax, there is still one last item you may need to consider.

If you made any Medicare changes during the past Annual Enrollment Period (October 15 to December 7), there are some actions you can take that may help you have a happy Medicare new year.

If you enrolled in a new plan or your plan had changes during the Annual Enrollment Period, you should make sure you’ve received your new member ID card. This card contains the newest info for your 2019 care. Be sure to show your new ID card to the doctor’s office and pharmacist on your first visit of the new year so that they have your newest information on file. It’s also worth mentioning that with the new cards for the new year can come new deductibles (depending on the plan you choose), which start over at the beginning of the year.

If you decided to stay with Original Medicare, you’ll still use your Medicare card for hospital and doctor services. If you have not received the new Medicare card that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services began issuing in April 2018, be on the lookout because they are all scheduled to be mailed by April 2019.

If you joined a Medicare prescription drug plan that works with Original Medicare, then the plan will mail you a card so you can fill your prescriptions. If you joined a Medicare Advantage plan (like an HMO, PPO, or POS), you’ll also get a new card to use for both healthcare visits (doctor and hospital) and for picking up your prescriptions.

If you need medical care or need to fill a prescription before you receive the ID card but after the effective coverage date, you may be able to use other proof of plan membership. Some examples are the welcome letter you got from the plan or even your enrollment confirmation number and the plan name and phone number.

If you elected to have your plan premium withheld from your Social Security check, don’t be alarmed if you don’t see it deducted right away. It may take up to 3 months from the time you made the premium withhold request before you start seeing your premium withheld from your Social Security payment.

The 2019 year is a great time to take advantage of your one-time “Welcome to Medicare” or annual wellness visit your plan offers to you. This benefit is usually no cost to you! It is designed as a preventive measure to help you take charge of your health, be advised of future needed preventive services, and establish a baseline for personalized care. And speaking of preventive measures, many Medicare Advantage plans come with a fitness benefit or provide access to physical fitness activities at no cost to you.

I wish you all a happy and healthy 2019!

Morgan Gunder is a community and broker liaison for Reid Health Alliance. Born in the South and raised in the Midwest, she is a wife and mother with a passion for traveling, learning, and technology.

Holiday Party Food

Holiday Party Food

It’s time for nonstop holiday get-togethers, and if you’re trying to be healthy, it can be a challenge. These healthy holiday party food recipes can help.

Assemble this Overnight Breakfast Casserole with Bacon and Sweet Potatoes tonight for an easy breakfast tomorrow morning.

Image and Recipe via Sweet Peas and Saffron

 

This Caprese Christmas Wreath is a cinch to whip up for a last-second dish to bring to today’s holiday gathering.

Caprese Christmas Wreath

 

Need a healthy treat for the kids to snack on at get-togethers this week? Try this Christmas Frozen Yogurt Bark.

Christmas Yogurt Bark
Image and Recipe via Healthy Little Foodies

 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts Quinoa Salad is a beautiful holiday lunch or party side.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts Quinoa Salad

Roasted Brussels Sprouts Quinoa Salad

 

Snack smart at your gatherings with these Crispy Cinnamon Roasted Chickpeas.

Crispy Cinnamon Roasted Chickpeas

Crispy Cinnamon Roasted Chickpeas

 

Whip up Wild Mushroom Crostini for easy and healthy party finger food.

Wild Mushroom Crostini
Image and Recipe via Fitness Magazine

 

Skip the antipasto platter and serve these Antipasto Salad Kabobs at your party.

Antipasto Salad Kabobs

Holiday Safety Travel Tips

Holiday Safety Travel Tips

As you gear up for December travel, these holiday safety travel tips can help you stay healthy as you visit loved ones.

Stay healthy before, during, and after your travel with these simple healthy holiday tips.

‘Tis the Season to Be Merry and Healthy with Healthy Holiday Tips!

 

Making a drive this holiday season? Make sure you’re prepared.

Vantage Point: The Gift of Preparedness

 

Sudden snowstorm popping up on your holiday drive? Be prepared and know how to drive in the snow with these winter driving tips from AAA.

Fly nonstop whenever you can. People are more likely to get stranded at airports during holiday storms in layover cities. If you’re worried about being stranded, book a hotel reservation you can cancel ahead of time so you’re not scrambling when the storm hits.

Don't Get Stranded During Holiday Travel

 

Keep your phone or devices charged so that you can keep track of delays and the weather, call loved ones for help, or book emergency hotel reservations. Keep your chargers and a charging battery handy if you have battery issues.

Traveling with Your Charged Device

 

Follow the airline and airports on social media and check their feeds before and during your travel. You’ll be the first to get info about delays and gate changes, and they may be able to help you if you contact them with travel issues.

Airline and Airport Social Media Help

 

If you have an emergency while traveling this holiday season, know that you’re covered as a Health Alliance member with our partner Assist America.

Covered During Emergencies While Traveling

Gluten-Free Baking Week

Gluten-Free Baking Week

It’s Gluten-Free Baking Week, and if you or a loved one has a wheat allergy or Celiac disease, these light gluten-free recipes are perfect for the holiday season.

Get started with going gluten-free while baking with this Beginner’s Guide to Gluten-Free Flour.

Beginner’s Guide to Gluten-Free Flour
Image and Recipe via Potluck at Oh My Veggies

 

Gluten-Free Vegan Garlic Herb Focaccia Bread is perfect for munching before the big meal.

Gluten-Free Vegan Garlic Herb Focaccia Bread
Image and Recipe via Sarah Bakes Gluten-Free

 

Lighten up the holiday cookies you share with these Gluten-Free Snickerdoodles.

Gluten-Free Snickerdoodles
Image and Recipe via Fake Ginger

 

Gluten-free Chai Spiced Quick Bread is a cozy sweet treat, perfect for serving with tea.

Chai Spiced Quick Bread

 

Hearty holiday breakfast is covered with this gluten-free Broccoli Quiche with Bacon.

Broccoli Quiche with Bacon
Image and Recipe via Paleo Running Mom

 

This gluten-free Cherry and Almond Cake with fresh cherries is perfect for your family potluck.

Cherry and Almond Cake
Image and Recipe via Kitchen Sanctuary

 

Get ready to impress guests with this gorgeous gluten-free Vegan Gingerbread Bundt Cake.

Vegan Gingerbread Bundt Cake

AIDS Awareness Month

AIDS Awareness Month

December is AIDS Awareness Month, and more than 1 million Americans are living with HIV, but 1 in 5 aren’t aware they’re infected.

Learning About AIDS

 

HIV has not disappeared since it was an epidemic. Every 9.5 minutes, someone in the U.S. is infected. It’s important to continue to raise awareness and fund education.

Continuing to Educate About AIDS

 

HIV is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system. Eventually, it can destroy enough T cells that the body can’t fight off infections or other diseases.

Attacking T-Cells

 

The worst version of an HIV infection is AIDS, and those suffering from it get severe illnesses because their immune system is so damaged.

Damaged Immune Systems

 

In the 1980s when the AIDS epidemic began, those who contracted HIV weren’t likely to live more than a few years. Now, thanks to antiretroviral therapy, their quality of life is much better.

Improving AIDS Quality of Life

 

Antiretroviral therapy helps stop HIV from multiplying. Patients’ immune cells can then live longer and reduce the risk of transmitting HIV to others.

People at high risk for contracting HIV/AIDS can take PrEP to help prevent infection.

Protect Yourself with PrEP

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