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Healthy Eating

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The holiday season is upon us! Soon your calendar will be busy with social events and your kitchen filled with baked goods. The holidays are a special time of year when opportunities to break good habits are everywhere you go. According to the National Institute of Health, the average American gains one or more pounds around the holiday, and that weight often doesn’t come off after the holidays are over. Here are some tips to stay health focused this holiday season:

 

  1. Plan ahead: Before heading to parties, enjoy a high-protein snack, and you’ll be less likely to overdo it on desserts. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated between cocktails, or offer to be the designated driver to avoid drinking your calories.
  2. Buddy up: Having a friend to schedule exercise with or discuss your weekly cravings will help keep you accountable and give you some added incentive to stay on track. If you’re competitive, you can work together to set some health goals to prevent holiday gains.
  3. Host a Healthy Holiday Party! Lead by example–fill the house with healthy and satisfying recipes. Nutritious swaps like low-fat dairy in dips with assorted veggies instead of crackers. Keep the focus off of food–plan a group activity and start a new, healthier family tradition.

 

Instead of stressing yourself by adding pressure to lose weight this time of year, focus on maintaining your current weight (and not gaining) to help you stay on track. Happy Holidays!

 

Humana is a Medicare Advantage HMO, PPO, and PFFS plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in a Humana plan depends on contract renewal. This information is not a complete description of benefits. Contact the plan for more information. Limitations, copayments, and restrictions may apply. Benefits may change each year.

 

This information is available for free in other languages. Please call Customer Care at the number on the back of your Humana member ID card. 

 

  Esta información está disponible gratuitamente en otros idiomas. Comuníquese con el Departamento de Atención al Cliente llamando al número en el dorso de su tarjeta de identificación de afiliado de Humana.

Photo used under creative use license courtesy of Chumsdock.

Guest post written by Anne-Marie Kovacs & Audrey van Petegem of The Succulent Wife.

The health benefits of tea have been well documented, but what most people don’t realize is that there are only four varieties of tea: green, black, white, and oolong. The leaf from the Camilia Sinensis plant must be present for that hot cup of brew to truly be considered a tea. Herbal blends can be added to any of the tea leaves for various effects.  Adding peppermint to your tea can potentially reduce hot flashes, while adding ginger could aid with digestion.  However, what is known as ‘herbal tea’ is not actually a tea at all.

All the teas contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Tea has less caffeine than coffee and zero calories.

So, how do you get four varieties from one plant? The diversity comes from how the leaf is processed—this makes certain teas stronger in specific health benefits than others. Here are some potential health benefits for each variety of tea. Check them out to see the possible benefits for your favorite, or a tea you haven’t tried yet:

  • Black Tea derives its dark color by going through a fermentation process that starts with the Camilla Sinensis leaves being withered, moistened and rolled up to promote the enzyme production. Next the leaves are oxidized, which turns the leaves from green to black. Due to this procedure, black tea has the highest flavonoid antioxidants, called thearubigins and theaflavins that may reduce the onset of Type 2 Diabetes by mimicking the action of insulin.
  • Oolong Tea uses partially fermented leaves and, next to black tea, has more caffeine than green and white tea. It contains theophylline and theobromine that may help stimulate the central nervous system. Theobromine, also found in chocolate, is considered a possible natural pick-me-up with no calories.
  • Green Tea is made from unfermented leaves. It is high in catechins that may act as a fat blocker and help the body break down and eliminate the fat. In addition, a recent study
  • White Tea, a relatively new variety, it is made with the immature tea leaves that are picked shortly before the buds open fully and is the least processed of the four. It has the least amount of caffeine with a lighter, sweeter flavor. Since white tea is considered to be the closest to its most natural state, it has the highest antioxidant of all variety. It may help boost a healthy immune system and guard against the common cold and flu. A study from the UK


For me, the greatest benefit of drinking a hot cup of tea is its ability to help me unwind and relax before dealing with the day’s stressors. How about you?


Humana is a Medicare Advantage HMO, PPO, and PFFS plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in a Humana plan depends on contract renewal. This information is not a complete description of benefits. Contact the plan for more information. Limitations, copayments, and restrictions may apply. Benefits may change each year.

This information is available for free in other languages. Please call Customer Care at the number on the back of your Humana member ID card. 13

 

Esta información está disponible gratuitamente en otros idiomas. Comuníquese con el Departamento de Atención al Cliente llamando al número en el dorso de su tarjeta de identificación de afiliado de Humana.

go365admin

Fall Superfood: Pumpkin

Posted by go365admin Sep 9, 2015

pumpkins.jpg

 

Fresh and canned pumpkins have many healthy uses in the kitchen. Complete with vitamins A, C, K, and plenty of fiber—pumpkin is a pantry staple that can be used in healthy cooking year-round. Here are some great ways to make the most of a HumanaVitality® fall favorite:

 

  1. This Pumpkin Pie Protein Shake is a great way to start the day or replenish your energy after tackling a tough workout.
  2. This slow cooker Pumpkin Oatmeal is a great morning treat for families who may be too busy to make a warm breakfast during the week. Simply put the ingredients into a slow cooker the night before, and enjoy a warm breakfast when you wake up. As an added bonus, your entire kitchen will smell wonderful.
  3. Need a pot-luck offering? This Pumpkin Hummus pairs well with veggies and makes for a healthy and delicious party appetizer.
  4. Who says hearty needs to be meaty? This Pumpkin Chili is packed with veggies and can be made vegan or gluten free!
  5. This Pumpkin Shrimp Curry is packed with bold flavors and would make a fantastic fall dish. Swap out the steamed basmati for brown rice or quinoa to make it even better for you!
  6. Cheesy Baked Pumpkin Pasta the colder weather definitely has our team craving warm and comforting classics. This cheesy baked pumpkin pasta looks promising.
  7. What’s for dessert? Cupcakes will satisfy your sweet tooth while helping with portion control. These Pumpkin Cupcakes are fun and festive for fall. Cheesecake lovers should try the Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake Yogurt Cupcakes.
  8. For those of you carving pumpkins with your family, don’t forget the seeds! Pumpkin seeds have a variety of nutrients, including protein, zinc, and heart-healthy magnesium. Here’s a tried and true recipe for delicious roasted pumpkin seeds.

 

Canned pumpkin is a versatile veggie that can be used for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert. It’s a powerful baking tool that can be used as a healthy substitute for eggs and oil. For even more ways to use the king of squash here are 53 more ways to sneak pumpkin into every meal.

 

Sources

http://lowfatcooking.about.com/od/fall/tp/top10lowfatpump.htm
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/04/pumpkin-health-benefits_n_1936919.html
http://www.superfoodsrx.com/superfoods/pumpkin/pumpkin-as-a-super-food.html
http://greatist.com/health/superfood-pumpkin

 

Photo used under creative use license courtesy of Mike Mozart. HumanaVitality is not an insurance product. This material is intended for informational use only and should not be construed as medical advice or used in place of consulting a licensed medical professional.

 

Humana is a Medicare Advantage HMO, PPO, and PFFS plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in a Humana plan depends on contract renewal. This information is not a complete description of benefits. Contact the plan for more information. Limitations, copayments, and restrictions may apply. Benefits may change each year.

 

This information is available for free in other languages. Please call Customer Care at the number on the back of your Humana member ID card. 

 

Esta información está disponible gratuitamente en otros idiomas. Comuníquese con el Departamento de Atención al Cliente llamando al número en el dorso de su tarjeta de identificación de afiliado de Humana.

Humana_Farm-2241.jpg

 

We know we’re not supposed to do it, but sometimes we still do it anyway. Come on, you know you’ve done it. Insomnia strikes and you end up in the refrigerator searching for a late night snack. You know that healthy habits are made by staying strong, even when no one is watching. But that leftover cake is looking mighty tasty. No one would ever have to know…

 

Hold it right there! Get it together. A healthy lifestyle is made by a series of small decisions; it’s not one potato-chip-bag-sized problem keeping you from your healthy goals, it’s hundreds of small “sneaks” adding up to bigger “cheats.”

 

Here are eight healthier alternatives we love that are quick, but will help you say sayonara to diet-wrecking sneaks:

 

  • Dried Fruit: By keeping a cache of raisins, pitted prunes, dried apples or apricots on-hand, you can curb your hunger without having to lift a pan (or even a fork!).
  • Popcorn: Tossing a bag of yellow popping corn into the microwave for an evening snack is not only a healthier alternative to sugary snacks – it also makes your kitchen smell awesome.
  • Snack Nuts: Another great snack to have in your emergency late-night kit. By grabbing a handful or two of whole natural almonds or unsalted roasted peanuts, you can still feel good about your choices.
  • Sugar Snap Peas: Try keeping a bag of these fresh, crisp delights in your fridge for when late-night takeout temptation strikes.
  • Instant Brown Rice: While it requires a little prep time, brown rice is a nice go-to. Try adding in some fresh fruit, too, like pineapple.
  • Natural Granola: Granola as a late-night snack is unbeatable – especially if you “must” sneak some dark chocolate in, the granola helps balance this out.
  • Oatmeal: Add cinnamon and a dash of sugar or honey along with blueberries for a taste that will make you forget about the cake!
  • Egg Whites: The amazing egg! You can eat them cooked with a little pepper, or add grilled chicken and 1% milk for a bit more protein.

 

These are just a few of our favorites to cease the late-night stomach growl. What are some of your recommendations for late-night healthy snacking? Share them in the comments so we can all learn new ideas to avoid sneaks!

 

This material is intended for informational use only and should not be construed as medical advice or used in place of consulting a licensed medical professional. You should consult with your doctor before making dietary changes.

 

Image used under Creative Commons License from Magic Madzik.

 

Humana is a Medicare Advantage HMO, PPO, and PFFS plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in a Humana plan depends on contract renewal. This information is not a complete description of benefits. Contact the plan for more information. Limitations, copayments, and restrictions may apply. Benefits may change each year.

 

This information is available for free in other languages. Please call Customer Care at the number on the back of your Humana member ID card. 

 

Esta información está disponible gratuitamente en otros idiomas. Comuníquese con el Departamento de Atención al Cliente llamando al número en el dorso de su tarjeta de identificación de afiliado de Humana.

Photo used under Flickr Creative Commons license, courtesy of CarolinesPlantBasedDiet.com.

 

Body: Spinach. Arugula. Butter. Romaine. Salad combinations are endless, especially when you consider the topping and dressing options. But one day it happens—you just don’t feel like eating salad anymore. With winter approaching, it’s natural to start craving warmer, heartier food. Roasting is a simple and fantastic way to heat up your lunch while keeping it healthy and full of veggies.

Here are some general tips for roasting vegetables:

  • Pre-heat your oven to 425°F
  • Place the vegetable on a baking sheet, cast-iron pan, or roasting pan. Don’t feel like dirtying up a pan? Use parchment paper or aluminum foil!
  • Toss or rub a spoonful or two of olive oil over your vegetables before roasting, just enough to coat.
  • The larger and firmer the vegetable, the longer it takes to roast. Whole potatoes and beets can take an hour or more, while cauliflower and broccoli florets will roast fully in about 15 minutes.
  • Poke with a fork or paring knife–if it’s tender, it’s ready!
  • Most roasted vegetables do not need much more than a pinch of sea salt. But a little lemon juice, olive oil, and sometimes even a bit of grated parmesan cheese go a long way.

Roasted vegetables can be dressed and packed for a lunch without getting soggy, and you can prepare extra to eat throughout the week. Best of all, when you’re ready for salads again, they make a fine fall salad topping. Heck, roasting can even jazz up your favorite fruit! So, go veggie crazy.

 

Resources:

 

The Kitchn, How to Roast Any Vegetable

 

 

Humana is a Medicare Advantage HMO, PPO, and PFFS plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in a Humana plan depends on contract renewal. This information is not a complete description of benefits. Contact the plan for more information. Limitations, copayments, and restrictions may apply. Benefits may change each year.

This information is available for free in other languages. Please call Customer Care at the number on the back of your Humana member ID card. 

 

Esta información está disponible gratuitamente en otros idiomas. Comuníquese con el Departamento de Atención al Cliente llamando al número en el dorso de su tarjeta de identificación de afiliado de Humana.

go365admin

Food and Your Mood

Posted by go365admin Sep 9, 2015

 

Whenever a bad day steers you toward a vending machine or drive-through window, the chances of that food improving your day are slim.  Research increasingly shows a link between the foods we eat and our moods—and the right foods can make all of your meals happy ones. 

Next time you’re feeling a little grumpy, use your Vitality HealthyFood Shopping Card to earn savings on healthier foods* marked with the Great For You™ icon at Walmart.®  These tips will have you feeling tip-top in no time:

“B”-Rich,B” happier
Maybe money can’t buy you happiness, but a diet rich in vitamin B may help you become a happier person.  According to a recent
study from researchers in Finland, foods rich in B vitamins may ward off depression and other mental problems.  Up the “B” in your diet by eating more spinach, beans, fish and lean poultry.  Try this Asian-Style Grilled Salmon and Veggie Packet , for a quick “B”-rich meal at home!

Be a PHAN
Tryptophan-rich foods naturally improve serotonin levels, which can play a role in improving your mood and can help you sleep better. Boost your tryptophan intake with cottage, cheddar, gruyere and Swiss cheeses; baked potatoes with skin, eggs, fish, milk, hummus, lentils, kelp, nuts (including peanuts), roasted pumpkin seeds, shellfish, soybean nuts, sunflower seeds, tofu, tuna, turkey and yogurt.  Introduce all the family sports fans to these Tryptophan-loaded Ground Turkey Bell Pepper Nachos for a great game-watching snack.

Satisfy your Sweet Tooth
According a 2011 review from Yale University researchers, eating chocolate in moderation can improve feelings of fullness, cognitive function and mood.  Get a healthy taste of sweet with these Fun and Flavorful Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins.  They’re so healthy, you’ll even want them for breakfast!

White and Wrong
Avoiding white pasta, bread, flours, and other simple carbohydrates is important for a good mood.  These foods cause your blood sugar to rise and fall quickly, causing a brief period of high-energy, followed by a “crash” that can leave you feeling cranky.

Omega-3s
Omega-3 fatty acids are heart-healthy and can also help brighten your day.  Sardines, salmon, flax seeds and walnuts are all excellent food sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Try this Grilled Wild Salmon with Spicy Peppers, Goat Cheese and Chives for a mega Omega boost!

Eat seasonally
Fruits and vegetables taste best and are better for you while they’re in season—they’re also less expensive while they’re in abundance. This better-for-you Cauliflower Mac n’ Cheese will warm you up as the winter winds down.

While healthy eating can improve your mood and help energize your day, the balances of a good night’s sleep and regular exercise are equally important.  Strive to be healthy in all aspects of your day, and you’ll feel great.  

Sources:

CNN
WebMd
FoxNews
WholeFoods
Gaiam
Healthy Life CT
LiveScience
Health Line

*For a list of all qualifying Great For You healthier food items, visit the Vitality HealthyFood page after signing in to HumanaVitality.com or check Walmart.com.  Vitality HealthyFood is only available at Walmart Neighborhood Markets and Walmart retail stores. Sam’s Club stores and Walmart.come are excluded from earning Vitality HealthyFood points. 

Humana is a Medicare Advantage HMO, PPO, and PFFS plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in a Humana plan depends on contract renewal. This information is not a complete description of benefits. Contact the plan for more information. Limitations, copayments, and restrictions may apply. Benefits may change each year.

This information is available for free in other languages. Please call Customer Care at the number on the back of your Humana member ID card.

 

Esta información está disponible gratuitamente en otros idiomas. Comuníquese con el Departamento de Atención al Cliente llamando al número en el dorso de su tarjeta de identificación de afiliado de Humana.

The products and services described are neither offered nor guaranteed under our contract with the Medicare program. In addition, they are not subject to the Medicare appeals process. Any disputes regarding these products and services should be addressed with customer care by calling the number on the back of their Humana member ID card.