Stay Active During Winter Months

Posted on: January 10, 2019 by Healthy Lives No Comments

The chill in the air can make it hard to keep moving toward our exercise goals. Don’t let old man winter slow you down! Here are five ideas for staying active in winter weather:

  • Bring the fun inside! You can enjoy a brisk walk at a local shopping center or play some indoor sports. Find places in your community that offer indoor activities such as rock climbing, aerobics, volleyball or basketball.
  • Exercise at home. Set up a workout area in your home with some inexpensive equipment like light weights and stretch bands. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends strengthening activities 2 or more days per week. This can include lifting light weights, doing full or modified push-ups or working with resistance bands.
  • Take the stairs. Stair climbing is a great fat-burning workout that will keep your heart rate up.
  • Keep an activity log. Hold yourself accountable by keeping an activity log. It will also help track your progress as your work toward your wellbeing goal.
  • Spread the love. If your time is limited, do 10 minutes of exercise at a time. Spread these bursts of activity out throughout the day.

Holiday Family Fitness

Posted on: December 13, 2018 by Healthy Lives No Comments

Looking for a family fun activity to get hearts pumping during the holidays? Don’t let the holidays stop you from getting in physical activity. You might find that it’s much easier when you include the entire family!

Six ways to get moving!

  • See how many steps you can get on your pedometers while cleaning your home after all the holiday festivities have ended.
  • Plan a post-holiday walk or nature hike.
  • Create a scavenger hunt and have a race to see who can find everything.
  • Dance the night away while playing upbeat music as you and your family complete chores.
  • Play four square and organize a fun family tournament.
  • Create a family video of exercise routines.

Five Holiday Survival Tips for Diabetics

Posted on: December 4, 2018 by Healthy Lives No Comments

Holidays can be a difficult time for people with diabetes. Food is plentiful, and spirits are bright! Family gatherings, parties and holiday travel can disrupt daily routines, but there are ways to manage your diabetes and control blood sugar levels during the festive season. These 5 tips can help:

Plan food selections. If you’ve had your eye on that pumpkin pie all day, skip the dinner roll or serving of sweet potatoes during the main course. Enjoy your pie!

Control portions. Instead of a full-size plate, grab a smaller plate and fill it with the foods you like best. Be sure to start with vegetables to take the edge off your appetite.

Bring your own healthy dish. If you are going to a gathering, bring your favorite healthy dish. Spread the love by helping to create healthier habits.

Nibble away! Fill a platter with raw veggies and your favorite low-calorie dip. Snack on the veggies while you cook or wait for dinner to be served.

Compensate with exercise. If you ate a little more than you should’ve, don’t beat yourself up. Get moving! Invite your family and friends to take a walk after dinner or start up a game of frisbee or touch football.

Always plan to stay on top of your blood sugar. Check it more often during the holidays, and if you take medicine, ask your doctor if the amount needs to be adjusted.

A Holiday Ham to Remember!

Posted on: November 29, 2018 by Healthy Lives No Comments

Tis the season for a delicious spiral-cut glazed ham! If you’re looking for a tender, juicy dish that will WOW your guests at your next holiday feast, this ham is sure to please the crowd! Servings: 12-14

What you will need:

  • 1 (7- to 10-pound) spiral-sliced bone-in half ham
  • 1 large plastic oven bag
  • 1 recipe glaze (recipes follow)

Leaving ham’s inner plastic or foil covering intact, place ham in large container and cover with hot water; set aside for 45 minutes. Drain and cover again with hot water; set aside for another 45 minutes.

Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 250 F. Unwrap ham; discard plastic disk covering bone. Place ham in oven bag. Gather top of bag tightly so bag fits snugly around ham, tie bag, and trim excess plastic. Set ham cut side down in large roasting pan and cut 4 slits in top of bag with knife.

Bake ham until center registers 100 degrees, 1 to 1 1/2 hours (about 10 minutes per pound).

Remove ham from oven and increase oven temperature to 350 F. Cut open oven bag and roll back sides to expose ham. Brush ham with one-third of glaze and return to oven until glaze becomes sticky, about 10 minutes (if glaze is too thick to brush, return to heat to loosen).

Maple-Orange Glaze:

Makes 1 cup

  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup orange marmalade
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine ingredients in small saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 1 cup, 5 to 10 minutes; set aside.

Nutrition information: 390 calories; 7 g carbohydrate; 6 g sugar

Cherry-Port Glaze:

Makes 1 cup

  • 1/2 cup ruby port
  • 1/2 cup cherry preserves
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Simmer port in small saucepan over medium heat until reduced to 2 tablespoons, about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 1 cup, 5 to 10 minutes; set aside.

Nutrition information: 463 calories; 25 g carbohydrate; 23 g sugar


Five Tips to Reducing Holiday Stress

Posted on: November 19, 2018 by Healthy Lives No Comments

Planning for the holidays can leave us feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. There are some key things you can do to minimize the stress that comes with the holidays.

Try these five tips from the American Heart Association:

1. Keep up healthy habits.
Make a pact with yourself during the holidays. For example: “For the next three weeks I will move more and do something active every day, have a healthy breakfast and limit the sweets, and get at least seven hours of sleep each night.” If you don’t completely give up your healthy habits, you won’t feel like you have to start over once the holidays are in the rear-view.

2. Beware of party perils.
Special holiday events often serve up extra helpings of less-than-healthy foods. If you’re a guest, eat a healthy snack before you go to avoid overdoing it at the event. If you’re the host, challenge yourself to offer some delicious and healthier options using our recipes and cooking tips. Your guests will thank you.

3. Stay active — even in the hustle and bustle of the season.
A full holiday social calendar might lead to some missed workouts. Instead of beating yourself up about it, sprinkle some healthy activities into your daily routine. For example, if the weather isn’t too frightful, ride your bike to work or school. If dinner is going to be a feast, opt for a light lunch, then take a vigorous walk. And keep the family moving. When the kids are home from school, squeeze in some active chores and trips to the park.

4. But not too active.
Give yourself the gift of peace. When the invitations pile up, don’t be afraid to say no to some of them. If you need some down time to recharge for the next big party, declare a me-treat and do something that relaxes you. Try yoga, meditation or spending time in nature.

5. Make a plan for the new year.
Your poinsettia’s pooped and the gifts are all gone. Now what? It’s a great time to reset for the new year — but don’t go dashing through your to-do list too fast or you might not stick to your plan. Lay out realistic, sustainable steps for the months ahead. For example, start a daily walking routine and sign up for your local Heart Walk before you set your sights on that marathon!

Thanksgiving Dinner on a Budget

Posted on: November 12, 2018 by Healthy Lives No Comments

Thanksgiving is just around the corner! That means it’s time to plan your holiday feast. If you are on a budget, don’t worry! There are some thrifty ways to create the perfect Thanksgiving dinner party.

Follow these five steps for a delicious holiday feast without breaking the bank.

Visit your local farmer’s market. Seasonal ingredients are often cheaper and almost always better quality than what you’ll find at your local grocery store. While you’re at the market, load up on herbs! They’ll pack stocks with flavor, add nice garnishes and give an extra layer of flavor to your dishes.

Take an inventory. Before you head to the market, be sure to take an account for what you already have in stock. You may have several canned goods leftover from last year’s dinner preparations.

Shop around. Several markets and grocery stores will offer discounts during the holiday season. Start your planning by checking out the sales online. You might find a great bargain for a turkey at one store and another sale on all the fixings at another.

Buy in bulk. When you can, purchase pantry items like flour, salt, olive oil and the like in bulk. If you cook regularly, do the same for onions and garlic, which are often cheaper by the bag. You can also look out for co-ops and large supermarkets that sell grains, nuts and dried fruit by the weight, allowing you to buy as much or as little as you want.

Make it a family and friends affair! You can always opt to have a potluck dinner party. Plan your meal and let your guests prepare and bring entrées, appetizers and desserts. Be sure to plan carefully and ahead of time so you don’t end up with double dishes.

Bounce Back After the Holiday Feasts

Posted on: November 8, 2018 by Healthy Lives No Comments

We often indulge during the holiday season. From turkey dressing to that sweet, creamy pumpkin pie, it can be difficult to stay on track with diet and exercise. Avoid sinking into a slump after the holidays and boost your energy with exercise.

Try these three tips to help you get back into your fitness routine.

Take it one step at a time! After the holiday festivities, try to ease back into your routine by taking brisk walks. Walking is the most convenient and affordable form of aerobic activity. Studies have shown that brisk walking for at least half an hour, five times a week, has nearly the same health benefits as more vigorous exercise. People who take brisk walks have a lower risk for heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, colon cancer, osteoporosis, and perhaps other diseases. Even mental health problems are less frequent in regular walkers.

Invite a friend! An exercise buddy can provide you with the social and emotional support you need on your wellbeing journey. They are also there to hold you accountable for what you are eating and how often you exercise. The motivation can help you to maintain focus and reach your wellbeing goals.

Choose an activity you enjoy and breathe! Rhythmic, repetitive activities such as walking, jogging, swimming or bicycling can be calming and relaxing. Once you get under way, become aware of how your breathing complements the activity. Breathe rhythmically, repeating a focus word, phrase or prayer you’ve chosen. Remember to adopt a passive attitude. When disruptive thoughts intrude, gently turn your mind away from them and focus on moving and breathing.

Four Ways to Tackle Your Emotions

Posted on: October 24, 2018 by Healthy Lives No Comments

Negative emotions like fear, sadness and anger are a basic part of life. Sometimes we struggle with how to deal with these emotions effectively, but there are ways to respond and cope with negative feelings in productive way.

Try the four steps to tackle negative emotions.

1. Pause. 
Instead of acting on feelings right away, stop yourself and think things through. Count to 100 or say the alphabet backwards.

2. Acknowledge what you’re feeling. 
Are you mad at someone or are you sad because your feelings were hurt by what they did? Whatever it is that you are feeling, it is ok to feel that way.

3. Think. 
Now that you have taken a few moments to figure out what exactly it is that you are feeling, think about how you can make yourself feel better.

4. Help. 
Take an action to help yourself based upon what you came up with in the “Think” step.

~Mental Health America

Is Your “Sweet Tooth” Really a “Fat Tooth”?

Posted on: October 18, 2018 by Healthy Lives No Comments

Think your diet is suffering from your persistent “sweet tooth”? Think again. Our brains are designed to prompt us to seek out natural sources of sweet carbohydrates and foods containing fat. These naturally higher calorie foods were necessary for survival in times when food was scarce. Now we have 24/7 access to foods manufactured to be highly desirable and loaded with sugar and fat.

Food manufacturers continuously come up with new combinations of sugar and fat that are cheap and easily accessible. The more we eat, the more we crave. Most people who think they have a “sweet tooth” often desire cookies, cake, ice-cream, donuts or chocolate that contains more fat than sugar. These cravings add up to more calories and 12-14 more grams of fat per day compared to people who avoid these sweets.

Take control of your “fat tooth” by cutting back on sugar and processed fats. If you get a craving, grab a fat-free sweet, like hard candy and ride your “crave wave” for 15 minutes until the desire subsides. You can also give your body natural sweets like fruit. If you have diabetes, the trick is to figure out how to satisfy your “sweet tooth” and stay within your carbohydrate budget. Over time, your “sweet tooth” and your “fat tooth” will calm down.

Butternut Squash Fries

Posted on: October 4, 2018 by Healthy Lives No Comments

Get the most out of seasonal vegetables! Try these crispy, nutrient-rich fries made from butternut squash.


  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon homemade Cajun
  • Spice blend (see recipe below)


  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients in a jar. Shake well. Store in an air tight container for up to one year.

Preheat oven to 450°F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Use a large spoon to remove all of the seeds. Peel the squash with a sharp knife or vegetable peeler. Slice into french fry shapes. Try to keep the fries all the same size for even cooking. In a large bowl, toss the fries with the olive oil and Cajun seasoning. Place fries on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Make sure the fries are in a single layer and try to keep them from touching. Bake for 20 minutes. Flip fries and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until browned.

Nutritional Information (Per 1 cup serving):
Calories 66
Total Fat 1.9g
Sodium 5mg
Carbohydrates 13.3g

Nikita G. Patient Transport Supervisor, Baton Rouge, LA

I would like to thank the Healthy Lives team for coming up with Go Healthy! and setting guidelines for participants to get involved. The webinar gave me so much knowledge on different ways I could approach making healthier choices. I have applied all the knowledge I’ve learned from the program and my wellness coach, and I am extremely proud and excited about my life changes. I am constantly motivating others to start their own weight loss journey.

Dr. John Knapp Internist and Pediatrician, St. Elizabeth Physicians, Gonzales, LA


Staying healthy can be difficult. Most people live busy lives and have a limited amount of time and money to dedicate to their health. Many people leave my office motivated and seem to know what they need to do to take care of themselves, but once they get home, life gets in the way or they have questions. That’s when they need help. If I learn from a wellness coach’s report that a patient is having difficulty walking every day, I make notes in their chart and focus more of my time talking about the importance of exercise than diet since they need more guidance with that part.


Jeffrey N. Physician Practice Office Supervisor, Baton Rouge, LA

The results from my health screening prompted me to take action to improve my health. I started seeing a primary care physician and began working with my Healthy Lives wellness coach. The combined education I received from my physician and wellness coach helped to motivate me to do better.