Tag Archives: healthy

Packing Healthy Lunches

Healthy Lunches

This week in food, we featured hearty, healthy lunches to help you keep your resolutions on track.

First up was a Harvest Cobb Salad, the perfect lunch with a creamy poppy seed dressing.

Harvest Cobb Salad

 

Try this Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Panini with Balsamic Syrup for a healthier grilled cheese.

Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Panini with Balsamic Syrup

 

This Cranberry, Cherry Chicken Wrap is a quick and easy lunch any day of the week.

Cranberry, Cherry Chicken Wrap
Image and Recipe via Menu Musings of a Modern American Mom

 

Try this Herbed Shrimp and White Bean Salad for a protein-packed midday meal.

Herbed Shrimp and White Bean Salad

 

This Greek Yogurt Egg Salad lightens up the classic lunchbox favorite.

Greek Yogurt Egg Salad Sandwich

 

Try making this homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup for a hearty winter-weekend meal.

Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup

 

These Open-Faced Chicken Sandwiches with Artichoke Pesto are delicious and less than 300-calories.

Open-Faced Chicken Sandwiches with Artichoke Pesto

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Intro to Health

Chasing Health: New Year, New Intro

It’s been a while since my last post, and I’m guessing my flu shot isn’t at the top of your mind anymore (just let me think it was at some point), so here’s a bit of a re-intro.

I’m a Health Alliance project coordinator-turned-copywriter, who sometimes follows her own advice to get healthy. I usually lay off red meat, except for the little-more-than-occasional hamburger; I don’t drink, smoke, or do drugs, and sometimes I even exercise. I think coffee is gross, and I rarely have soda. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have my own unhealthy vices.

I’m a self-diagnosed candy addict (hey, at least I realize I have a problem), and I’m not very good at avoiding cakes, cookies, or brownies, either. I don’t get a lot of sleep because I feel like I’m just starting to hit my stride at about 10 p.m. I like fast food more than I’d like to admit, and I choose TV or Netflix over exercise about nine times out of 10.

(OK, maybe I’m exaggerating a little. I can do sit-ups and squats while watching my favorite shows, but I tend to skip the working out part more than I should.)

I’m a wellness writer at a health insurance company, surrounding myself with fitness tips and disease info every day, and I still don’t care enough about my health. If I struggle with it, I’m sure you do, too.

So here’s my plan for 2015. I’m not going to pretend I set a bunch of health-related New Year’s resolutions because I didn’t. Instead, I’m going to start making better lifestyle choices overall.

It’s time to take action, like cutting back on sweets, exercising more during TV time, going back to Zumba class, and starting to cook at home (more than my usual menu options of spaghetti, fish sticks, and frozen pizza). Maybe I’ll even use my crockpot that’s still in its box from two Christmases ago. (Sorry, Mom!)

I might not meet every goal, but I will start taking little steps now so that someday I might be able to quit talking about my unhealthy quirks and start giving advice I actually follow.

Will I stop eating bite-sized chocolates or jelly beans? No. (Are you insane?) Will I stop eating the entire bag in two days? That sounds doable. Bring on 2015.

Time Is Up: Make Healthy Resolutions

Making Healthy Resolutions

It’s that time again to start picking out your New Years Resolutions. If you always go too big and forget about them within the month, each day this week we gave you some little changes and healthy resolutions you can stick to.

The hardest one is to quit smoking. It’s hard to do, but it’s standing in the way of your healthy life. We can help members connect to resources and support with our Quit For Life program.

Quit Smoking Resolution

 

Today’s resolution is to get more sleep. Sleep is when your body and mind heals and prepares. Find more info about sleep on our Pinterest.

Getting Enough Sleep

 

Stress has been linked to big health problems, like heart disease, diabetes, and depression. Find info on ways to relieve some of your stress on our Pinterest board.

Managing Stress in the New Year

 

Resolve to get yearly checkups with your main doctor and dentist. It helps catch problems early and keeps you up-to-date on things like shots.

Regular Checkups for Your Health

 

Floss your teeth! It sounds simple, but only half of Americans do it. Yet smiles are the first feature we notice. Take the time on your teeth, and people will notice.

Flossing for Your Future

 

Dieting sounds like a lot, so instead, focus on only eating healthy portions this New Year and watch your health improve!

Portions

 

Make a routine and stick to it. A routine in the morning can help you get up to workout, and one at night can help you go to sleep.

Building a Healthy Routine

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Party Food Service

Healthy Party Food

We know that the final party of the year was coming up, so this week in food we gave you light party food recipes to get a jump start on your resolutions.

First up was advice on how to build the perfect Cheese Platter.

Cheese Platter

 

Try making this people-pleasing Caramelized Onion Spread for just 98 calories for your party.

Caramelized Onion Spread

 

Watch this video for an impressive Smoked Salmon Bite appetizer tonight.

Smoked Salmon Bite

 

Try this easy Pomegranate, Pear, and Goat Cheese Crostini as an appetizer or as a snack.

Pomegranate, Pear and Goat Cheese Crostini

 

Make these Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms for a fan favorite at just 48 calories.

Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms

 

This Dark Chocolate and Cinnamon Fruit Dip seems decadent, but is actually made with Greek yogurt.

Dark Chocolate Greek Yogurt Dip for Fruit

 

Make these Spicy Shrimp Cakes with Corn and Avocado Salsa as an impressive appetizer or a light meal.

Spicy Shrimp Cakes with Corn and Avocado Salsa

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Healthy Life Choices

Being the Healthiest Version of Yourself

As you make your New Year’s Resolutions this year, we want to help! Not only do we help you get the medical care and preventive care that keep you healthy, we also want to help you make healthy life choices. 

Eating Healthy

A healthy diet and good nutrition can both help you be the best that you can be, a key part of making healthy life choices.

  • Eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits can reduce the risk of heart disease, including heart attack and stroke
  • Eating a diet rich in certain vegetables and fruits may protect against certain types of cancer
  • Diets rich in healthy fiber can reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, and Type 2 diabetes
  • Eating vegetables rich in potassium can lower blood pressure, decrease bone loss, and the risk of kidney stones

We know that knowing what to eat or finding healthy recipes can be hard. But making small changes in diet can affect your health in a big way, and we have people to help.

Members can call our Quality & Medical Management Department at 1-800-851-3379, ext. 8112 for more information. You can also check this blog regularly, follow our Twitter and Facebook for weekly recipes, or look at our Pinterest for hundreds of recipes and resources.

Getting In Shape

Exercise is also an important part of being the healthiest you can be. Regular physical activity provides a variety of benefits, like:

  • Controlling your weight
  • Reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Reducing your risk of Type 2 diabetes
  • Reducing your risk of some cancers
  • Strengthening your bones and muscles
  • Improving your mental health and mood
  • Improving your ability to do daily activities or prevent falls as an older adult
  • Increasing your chance of living longer

Clearly fitness can improve your health, but we know that gym memberships and workout equipment can be expensive.

That’s why we have teamed up with a number of gyms and fitness locations to give our members discounted memberships and rates. Look at that list and find a location that fits into your budget.

Learn more about health and wellness with Health Alliance.

Christmas Breakfast and Coffee

Healthy Christmas Breakfast

While most of your holiday food is pretty standard, seize the unique opportunity for family Christmas breakfast with these recipes.

First up, is a cozy Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal that you can make ahead in your slow cooker.

Pumpkin Spice Slow Cooker Oatmeal + A Double Giveaway!

 

These Cranberry Chocolate Biscotti are a great breakfast treat with coffee, and make good gifts.

Cranberry Dark Chocolate Biscotti
Image and Recipe via Pinch of Yum

 

These Savory Breakfast Pizzas are quick to make, and sure to be a family hit.

Savory Breakfast Pizzas
Image and Recipe via 7970 Miles

 

These Linzer Muffins are perfect for the holidays and will be good made in advance or the morning of.’

Linzer Muffins

 

This Berry, Banana, Quinoa, and Steel Cut Oats Bake can be made in advance and is healthier than coffee cakes.

Berry Banana Steel Cut Oats and Quinoa Breakfast Bake

 

This Asparagus Quiche has a secretly healthy crust, and your family will never know.

Asparagus Quiche
Image and Recipe via Tasty Kitchen

 

These Whole Wheat Apple Pancakes look fancy and tasty, but are healthy!

Old Fashioned Whole Wheat Apple Pancakes

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Lemon Water for the Holiday Season

My Healthy Journey: Fighting the Holiday Season

While I think most people find the holiday season the hardest to stick to their healthy plans, I’m actually feeling really ready to kick off the new year the right way.

I haven’t exactly decided on my resolutions yet, I’m sure that is coming in the next few weeks, but I have found it much easier to stick to my guns now that the Halloween candy and Thanksgiving leftovers are out of my house.

I have also started using the MyPlate app. It asks you a series of questions, and then it calculates what is probably a healthy number of calories for you to be eating each day for your weight and your goals.

My favorite thing is how easy it is to track food with it. You can scan barcodes or search by names and brands to find all the things you ate. And I mean all the things. Did you eat a piece of candy? Cream in your coffee? It can help you track every detail.

Is it probably accurate down to the calorie? No. Is it controlling your portions? No. But it does make it really easy to put a real number on how many calories you’re eating in a day, a thing I had never done before.

It also helps remind you what a proper portion is, which you don’t always think about just because the package is in your hand. Did you know you can have 7 pixie sticks for 60 calories? Yeah, I didn’t either.  And while I’m not endorsing you eating pure sugar, with my sweet tooth, I’m not going to completely cut it out of my life forever. So now, I actually know what a serving is and what it costs me out of my day.

And while I’m usually within or close to my calorie goals without making changes, the app does a really good job of making me think about how wildly my diet swings. One day I’m 300 under, the next I’m 200 over. Maybe that’s not the worst thing in the world, but it does make me a lot more aware of the fact that I’m 200 over because I had a Coca-Cola that day. Now the mental downside that I’m trying to stay away from is when I’m 300 under, saying “Oh, what in my house can I eat because I’m under!”

And even though it’s just an app, having to check in every little thing I ate does make me want to eat healthier; like if I’m embarrassed to document it, I probably shouldn’t eat it.

It also gives you a breakdown of how much protein, fat, and carbs you’re eating, which I love. If at dinner, my diet has been mostly carbs that day, it’s no wonder I’m hungry, and I try to up my protein.

It also has a place where you can track the ounces of water you drink in a day. I am unfortunately still failing dismally at drinking enough, but having a place I look at everyday with a glaring empty if I don’t drink water unbelievably does make me want to drink more. There’s something about the satisfaction of that bubble being colored in, like a mental check, that gives me the drive to actually strive for results. (I like mine with just a squeeze of fresh fruit juice, so I feel like I’m drinking something tastier.)

I wouldn’t say it’s giving me concrete weight-loss results, but I actually love the feeling of control and monitoring it’s giving me, and I do think it could become a significant tool in my healthy journey progress. And, it’s on my phone, which makes it so easy to do any time.

As for the plank challenge, I really enjoyed this one! It’s almost over, and I think I might actually keep doing it. It takes very little time out of your day, literally a few minutes, and I have felt the improvement. Now if I can just get my flexibility up, I think 2015 could be my year to actually take on yoga!