Tag Archives: healthy

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!

Good Health at Any Age

Vantage Point: May Good Health Bless You this Holiday Season

Some of us were lucky to be born with good health, but keeping that health is a challenge, especially as we age. My coworkers recently invited me to do a “Maintain, Don’t Gain” holiday challenge. At first I thought I didn’t want to limit myself during the holidays—when good food, drinks, and sweets are everywhere—but as the days got shorter and I started making excuses to skip my workouts (too dark, too cold, too tired, etc.), the scale and my health started moving in the wrong direction.

Health Alliance Medicare is more than a health plan that covers our members when they get hurt or sick. It offers programs to manage chronic diseases and wellness benefits to help our members stay healthy all winter long—no matter how cold and dark the days get.

One of our most popular benefits is the SilverSneakers® fitness program that gives members free gym access at participating gyms or sends workout equipment right to their home. I have watched a SilverSneakers class at the Wenatchee YMCA. The participants there not only get a great workout that improves strength, balance, and flexibility, but they also have fun, laugh, smile, and socialize.

Health Alliance Medicare works to prevent illness, too. We offer our members flu and other vaccines. At the Ephrata Community Resource Forum, Jeff Ketchel, administrator of Grant County Public Health, highlighted the importance of the flu shot now that flu season is here. The flu shot is key to keeping you and your loved ones healthy through the holidays and beyond. Members can get the flu vaccine at in-network providers or pharmacies.*

Recently, one of our employees was sitting next to a gentleman making small talk, and he learned she worked for Health Alliance. He took her by the arm and said, “Thank you, we absolutely love your plan.”

In that same spirit, I thank all of you for allowing Health Alliance to partner with you to improve the health of the communities we serve, and I wish you and your families a healthy and happy holiday season.

*If a member gets the flu vaccine at a doctor’s office, an office visit copay may apply.

Thanksgiving Dinner

Healthy Thanksgiving

Save these healthy Thanksgiving tips and recipes we shared on social media this week, and always be prepared. You can also find healthy recipes year-round on our Pinterest!

Cooking fires double on Thanksgiving Day! Make sure you have a smoke alarm in your home, and that it is tested regularly.

Make sure you thaw your turkey safely, in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in a microwave oven, to keep it out of the temperature range where it grows bacteria!

If you’re baking things ahead, or making the bird on the big day, make sure you check on the oven regularly and use timers.

Don’t leave the kitchen unattended while your burners are going, and avoid loose sleeves while over the stove.

After your guests leave tonight, make sure you check the house to ensure all candles or fires are out. Start packing up leftovers within 2 hours.

Make sure you removed all the stuffing from the inside of your turkey, and store the two separately.

Don’t leave leftovers in their serving dishes with plastic wrap or foil coverings, transfer them to smaller, airtight containers.

Leftovers in your fridge are good for 3 to 4 days. If you have a lot, freezing leftovers is a great option, and they will keep for 3 to 4 months.

First, we had a savory recipe for Maple-Cider Brined Turkey with Bourbon-Cider Gravy.

Maple-Cider Brined Turkey with Bourbon-Cider Gravy

 

And Ciabatta Stuffing with Chesnuts and Raisins to go inside.

Ciabatta Stuffing with Chesnuts and Raisins

 

If you want something that will wow your guests, make this Truffled Pommes Anna instead of mashed potatoes.

Truffled Pommes Anna

 

And try this light Green Bean Casserole with Madeira Mushrooms that is only 173 calories.

Green Bean Casserole with Madeira Mushrooms

 

 

Make these delicious Meringue and Streusel-Topped Sweet Potatoes this holiday and skip the marshmallows.

Meringue and Streusel-Topped Sweet Potatoes

 

And whip up this Cranberry Sauce with Apple Cider with ingredients you already have on hand.

Cranberry Sauce with Apple Cider

 

Got leftovers? You can make this Sweet Potato Buttered Rum Flan with your leftovers and things in your pantry.

Sweet Potato Buttered Rum Flan

 

You can never have too many recipes for your leftover turkey. Try this Mexican Turkey Stew that won’t remind you of your holiday meal.

Mexican Turkey Stew

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A Good Night's Sleep Before the Holidays

My Healthy Journey: Progress and Prep for the Holidays

It’s that time of year when food is unavoidable. We’re just a week away from Thanksgiving, and a month away from Christmas. And while I have plenty of resolutions I could line up for the new year, there are a lot of things I’m trying to focus on to stay on a healthy track for the holidays.

It’s starting with healthier recipes. I love to cook, and I love the Thanksgiving classics, so finding ways to lighten those is definitely key. Luckily for me (and for you), finding those recipes on Pinterest is part of my job description. Check out our Holidays board and stay tuned on social media and on this blog all this month and in December for holiday food ideas. They can help make both lighter meals and menu planning easier.

Outside of trying to make healthy holiday choices, stocking my fridge and cabinets with healthy staples has been big for me this fall. Spinach, carrots, apples, juices, frozen peas and corn, and greek yogurt are my big staples. When it’s hard to pick out an unhealthy snack, it’s harder for my always-grazing habits to lead me off-course.

Being social again has also been helping with my feelings towards health. With my last job, I worked really crazy hours, and with this job, playing catch-up in a busy season has really cut down my social life. Recently, one of my neighbors died. He’d lived next door to me my entire life. And while he lived a full life and was rather old, those moments really force you to think about the moments you will remember. I won’t remember specific times that I snacked on an apple probably ever, but I will remember the times I went out and had a good dinner with friends and laughed over a bottle of wine.

I guess what I’m really saying is that I’m coming to terms with balance in my adult life in a way I never had before. I strive to make lots of little healthy decisions, but every once in a while, I throw those out for an evening in the pursuit of my happiness. And I think that’s okay.

Responsibility is a word I kick around in my head a lot these days. It’s something that sounds daunting, yet I find is getting easier with time. The stretching, meditating, and reading missions have all been going well, (although I usually forget to check in,) and I will be starting a planking challenge that you can do along with me on here tomorrow. But the place I’ve found the most success is with the bedtime routine. There is something about reserving a half hour every night to put away some clothes, clean my face, and brush and floss my teeth that really makes me feel like I’m taking care of myself.

(Side note: If you don’t floss, once your gums don’t bleed when you do it, it really is so great. And weirdly satisfying. When you get food out and know it would just rot in there if you didn’t, it suddenly looks super worth it.)

I know not everyone has the luxury of spending this much time on themselves, (I’m looking at you selfless parents,) but even just a few minutes on you can make a difference. And, I’ve noticed that after that and a little puppy cuddling, (and no caffeine in the evenings,) I sleep a lot better than I used to. The routine has been really great for winding down so I’m ready to go to sleep when I turn out the lights.

Join me again tomorrow as we kick off the planking challenge, and start your own bedtime routine for better sleep and less stress! And follow us on our new Instagram, where you can see more of my life and more of my healthy choices.