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  • Healthy Eating Tips

    January 24, 2022

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    It can some­times feel as if we’re bom­bard­ed with infor­ma­tion about the lat­est eat­ing trend or buzz­wor­thy ingre­di­ent. But good nutri­tion is real­ly about hav­ing a well-round­ed diet, and it’s eas­i­er to do than you may think. In fact, liv­ing a nutri­tious lifestyle can be easy and fun.

    Nutri­tion is about more than vitamins—it also includes fiber and healthy fats. Now is a per­fect time to learn sim­ple ways to help your whole fam­i­ly eat healthier.

    Need tips specif­i­cal­ly for young chil­dren? Learn how to intro­duce kids to healthy foods.

    Add healthy fats.

    Not all fats are bad. Foods with monoun­sat­u­rat­ed and polyun­sat­u­rat­ed fats are impor­tant for your brain and heart. Lim­it foods with trans fats, which increase the risk for heart dis­ease. Good sources of healthy fats include olive oil, nuts, seeds, cer­tain types of fish, and avocados.

    Try this:

    • Top lean meats with sliced avo­ca­do, or try some avo­ca­do in your morn­ing smoothie.
    • Sprin­kle nuts or seeds (like sliv­ered almonds or pump­kin seeds) on soups or salads.
    • Add a fish with healthy fats, like salmon or tuna, into your meals twice a week.
    • Swap processed oils (like canola or soy­bean oil) for oils that are cold-pressed, like extra-vir­gin olive oil and sesame oil.

    Cut the sodium.

    Good nutri­tion is about bal­ance, and that means not get­ting too much of cer­tain ingre­di­ents, such as sodi­um (salt). Sodi­um increas­es blood pres­sure, which rais­es the risk for heart dis­ease and stroke. About 90% of Amer­i­cans 2 years old or old­er con­sume too much sodi­um. For most peo­ple ages 14 years and old­er, sodi­um should not exceed 2,300 mg per day.

    Try this:

    • Avoid processed and prepack­aged food, which can be full of hid­den sodi­um. Many com­mon foods, includ­ing breads, piz­za, and deli meats, can be sources of hid­den sodium.
    • At the gro­cery store, look for prod­ucts that say “low sodium.”
    • At restau­rants, ask for sauces and dress­ings on the side. Get more tips for low­er­ing sodi­um while eat­ing out.
    • Instead of using salt, add deli­cious fla­vor to your meals with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a dash of no-salt spice blends, or fresh herbs.

    Bump up your fiber.

    Fiber in your diet not only keeps you reg­u­lar, it also helps you feel fuller longer. Fiber also helps con­trol blood sug­ar and low­ers cho­les­terol lev­els.3,4 Fresh fruits and veg­eta­bles, whole grains, and legumes (beans and peas) are good sources of fiber.

    Try this:

    • Slice up raw veg­gies and keep them in to-go bag­gies to use as quick snacks.
    • Start your day off with a high-fiber break­fast like whole grain oat­meal sprin­kled with pecans or macadamia nuts.
    • Steam veg­gies rather than boil­ing them. When buy­ing frozen veg­gies, look for ones that have been “flash frozen.”
    • Add half a cup of beans or peas to your sal­ad to add fiber, tex­ture, and flavor.

    Aim for a variety of colors on your plate.

    Foods like dark, leafy greens, oranges, and tomatoes—even fresh herbs—are loaded with vit­a­mins, fiber, and minerals.

    Try this:

    • Sprin­kle fresh herbs over a sal­ad or whole wheat pasta.
    • Make a red sauce using canned toma­toes (look for “low sodi­um” or “no salt added”), fresh herbs, and spices.
    • Add diced veg­gies like pep­pers, broc­coli, or onions to stews and omelets to give them a boost of col­or and nutrients.

    Are you eat­ing healthy to help you get to a healthy weight? Learn more about bal­anced eat­ing.

    Orig­i­nal­ly post­ed on Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion (CDC)

  • Healthy Teeth, Healthy Mouth, Healthy You!

    January 18, 2022

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    Did you know that prob­lems in your mouth can affect the rest of your body? Or that your den­tal health offers clues about your over­all health?  Poor den­tal health con­tributes to major sys­temic health prob­lems. Con­verse­ly, good den­tal hygiene can help improve your over­all health.  As a bonus, main­tain­ing good oral health can even REDUCE your health­care costs!

    Researchers have shown us that there is a close-knit rela­tion­ship between oral health and over­all well­ness. With over 700 types of bac­te­ria in your mouth, it’s no sur­prise that when even one of those types of bac­te­ria enter your blood­stream that a prob­lem can arise in your body. Oral bac­te­ria can con­tribute to:

    1. Endo­cardi­tis—The infec­tion of the inner lin­ing of the heart can be caused by bac­te­ria that start­ed in your mouth.
    2. Car­dio­vas­cu­lar Dis­ease—Heart dis­ease, as well as clogged arter­ies and even stroke, can be traced back to oral bacteria.
    3. Low birth weight—Poor oral health has been linked to pre­ma­ture birth and low birth weight of newborns.

    Over $45 bil­lion is lost in pro­duc­tiv­i­ty in the Unit­ed States each year because of untreat­ed oral health prob­lems.  These oral dis­eases can result in the need for cost­ly emer­gency room vis­its, hos­pi­tal stays, and med­ica­tions, not to men­tion loss of work time. The pain and dis­com­fort from infect­ed teeth and gums can lead to poor pro­duc­tiv­i­ty in the work­place, and even loss of income. Chil­dren with poor oral health are more prone to ill­ness and may require a par­ent to stay home from work to care for them and take them to cost­ly den­tal appoint­ments.  In fact, over 34 mil­lion school hours are lost each year because of emer­gency den­tal care.

    So, how do you pre­vent this night­mare of pain, dis­ease, and increased health­care costs? It’s sim­ple! By fol­low­ing through with your rou­tine year­ly den­tal check-ups and dai­ly pre­ven­ta­tive care, you will give your body a big boost in its gen­er­al health. Check out these tips for a healthy mouth:

    • Main­tain a reg­u­lar brushing/flossing routine—Brush and floss teeth twice dai­ly to remove food and plaque from your teeth, and in between your teeth where bac­te­ria thrive.
    • Use the right toothbrush—When your bris­tles are mashed and bent, you aren’t using the best instru­ment for clean­ing your teeth. Make sure to buy a new tooth­brush every three months. If you have braces, get a tooth­brush that can eas­i­ly clean around the brack­ets on your teeth.
    • Vis­it your dentist—Visit your den­tist for a check-up every 6 months. He/she will be able to look into that win­dow to your body and keep your mouth clear of bac­te­ria. Your den­tist will also be able to alert you to prob­lems they see as a pos­si­ble warn­ing sign to oth­er health issues, like dia­betes, that have a major impact on your over­all health and health­care costs.
    • Eat a healthy diet—Staying away from sug­ary foods and drinks will pre­vent cav­i­ties and tooth decay from the acids pro­duced when bac­te­ria in your mouth comes in con­tact with sug­ar. Starch­es have a sim­i­lar effect. Eat­ing healthy will reduce your out of pock­et costs of fill­ings, hav­ing decayed teeth pulled, and will keep you from the increased health costs of dia­betes, obe­si­ty-relat­ed dis­eases, and oth­er chron­ic conditions.
    • Drink more water—Water is the best bev­er­age for your over­all health—including oral health. Drink­ing water after every meal can help wash out some of the neg­a­tive effects of sticky and acidic foods and bev­er­ages in between brushes.

    A healthy oral hygiene rou­tine will do won­ders for your teeth, mouth, and smile from a den­tal per­spec­tive.  Oral health is also a key indi­ca­tor of over­all health and well-being.  That should keep the rest of your body smil­ing as well!

  • How to Make (and Keep!) a New Year’s Resolution

    January 10, 2022

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    Ever won­der why the res­o­lu­tions you make in Jan­u­ary don’t stick around after March? You aren’t alone! Stud­ies show that only 8% of peo­ple keep their New Year’s res­o­lu­tions. Why? And how do peo­ple achieve their goals set at New Year’s? We’ve bro­ken it down for you so you can iden­ti­fy your goal-break­er as well as give you some tips on how to make those res­o­lu­tions stick.

    There are three main rea­sons that New Year’s res­o­lu­tions fail. The first goal-break­er is tak­ing on too much (too big of a goal) and expect­ing it to hap­pen too fast. Researchers have found that it takes 66 days to break a habit. That’s much high­er than the pre­vi­ous­ly pub­lished 21 days. It con­verse­ly means that it also takes 66 days to form a new habit. So, bat­tle your goal-break­er by set­ting small­er, achiev­able goals to focus your ener­gies on rather than spread­ing your­self too thin on lofty goals.

    The sec­ond rea­son you fail to keep your res­o­lu­tion is you don’t have any­one sup­port­ing you. This could be because you sim­ply didn’t tell any­one that you have new life goals. It could also be due to fear of account­abil­i­ty. You need some life-cheer­lead­ers that root you on to vic­to­ry. These cheer­lead­ers also call you out when you are rid­ing off the tracks. Their sup­port isn’t tied to your achieve­ment of your goals but instead their sup­port is firm­ly tied to you and they want to see you succeed.

    The last goal-break­er set­ting a goal that is too vague.  You can’t get to your des­ti­na­tion if you don’t know where you are going.   A goal like “I want to try hard­er at work” or “I want to save more mon­ey this year” is too gen­er­al a notion that does not give you some­thing spe­cif­ic to work towards or a well-defined path to fol­low.  And if you can’t pro­vide spe­cif­ic bench­marks, you can’t mea­sure your progress.

    Now, let’s steer this ship back on course with some tips on KEEPING your New Year’s resolutions.

    Plan Ahead

    To ensure suc­cess, plan ahead so you can have the resources avail­able when you need them.  Then, you won’t have excus­es for why you can’t fol­low through.  Here are a few things you can do to prepare:

    • Read up on it – Get books on the sub­ject. Whether it’s tak­ing up run­ning or becom­ing a veg­e­tar­i­an, there are books to help you pre­pare for it.
    • Plan for suc­cess – Get every­thing you need so things will go smooth­ly. If you are tak­ing up run­ning, make sure you have the clothes, shoes, and playlists so that you are ready to get started.
    Reward Yourself Along the Way

    Small rewards are great encour­age­ment to keep you going dur­ing the hard­est first days.  After that, you can try to reward your­self once a week with a lunch with a friend, a nap, or what­ev­er makes you tick.  Lat­er, you can change the rewards to month­ly and even pick an anniver­sary reward!

    Write Your Goals Down on Paper

    Writ­ing estab­lish­es inten­tion but action needs to be tak­en to achieve your res­o­lu­tion.  Have a writ­ten account of your goals is a con­stant reminder to take action.  Mark Mur­phy says Writ­ing things down doesn’t just help you remem­ber, it makes your mind more effi­cient by help­ing you focus on the tru­ly impor­tant stuff. And your goals absolute­ly should qual­i­fy as tru­ly impor­tant stuff.” 

    Start When You’re Ready

    When you launch your res­o­lu­tion on Jan­u­ary 1st, you are mak­ing a change based on a cal­en­dar date.  What are the chances that you’re going to be ready for a life change at exact­ly the same time the cal­en­dar rolls over to a new year?  There’s no need to launch your res­o­lu­tion on Jan­u­ary 1st or even in Jan­u­ary.  Start work­ing on your goal when you’re ready.  That’s not to say that you need to wait until you feel ful­ly con­fi­dent before start­ing (that may nev­er hap­pen).  Delay­ing your goal a few weeks or a few months is bet­ter than aban­don­ing it altogether.

    Identify Your Purpose

    Know­ing your “WHAT” (goal) is impor­tant but know­ing your “WHY” can be just as impor­tant when it comes to fol­low­ing through on your inten­tions. Why do you want to lose weight in 2022? When you put the why to the what, you are tru­ly focused on what mat­ters. “I want to lose weight so that I can play with my chil­dren with­out get­ting tired and show them that hard work is worth it.”  Now, THAT’S a great goal.

    Iden­ti­fy­ing goal-break­ers and goal-mak­ers are equal­ly impor­tant pieces to achiev­ing what you set out to accom­plish, espe­cial­ly with regards to New Year’s res­o­lu­tions. Com­mit to mak­ing this year the year that your res­o­lu­tion is going to stick!

  • HR Trends to Watch in 2022

    January 5, 2022

    Tags: , , ,

    Human Resources lead­ers are always being asked to look into a crys­tal ball and pre­dict the future. You prob­a­bly don’t have any super pow­ers. But your Spidey sense might be telling you that a few trends that are sur­fac­ing are like­ly to stick around through the new year, 2022.

    The coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic has changed your work and life. Slow­ly, things are improv­ing and you’re get­ting your orga­ni­za­tion (not to men­tion your­self) used to the new nor­mal. While you’re set­tling in (and still hav­ing an occa­sion­al pan­ic attack, no judg­ment), you might want to pay spe­cial atten­tion to what’s com­ing next.

    Transformation of Human Resources

    There’s no doubt that the biggest sto­ry of 2021, the Great Res­ig­na­tion, will spill over into 2022. When the pan­dem­ic began in 2020, HR lead­ers sud­den­ly had a seat at the table. You were charged with being the light as peo­ple nav­i­gat­ed safe­ty pro­to­col and tran­si­tioned to remote teams in the dark­ness. Your stature only con­tin­ued to grow.

    Then, peo­ple start­ed quit­ting jobs in droves. In 2021, you fig­ured out why this was hap­pen­ing. Peo­ple were tired of low wages, lack of child care and health­care, and an over­all malaise about the kind of work they were doing. Some renamed the era the Great Reshuf­fling because peo­ple were seek­ing a bet­ter fit in their work and more work-life bal­ance. In 2022, you will be deter­min­ing the best ways to recruit and retain top tal­ent. These strate­gies won’t be as basic they once were. It will def­i­nite­ly be a case of out with the old and in with the new.

    Four-Day Workweek

    In the wake of the pan­dem­ic, employ­ees learned how to be ultra-pro­duc­tive at home. They used the extra time that remote work afford­ed (with­out a com­mute) to enjoy their fam­i­lies, pur­sue their hob­bies, and get in a lit­tle me time. Peo­ple don’t want to give that up. Employ­ees have the lever­age now, and they are ask­ing for more flex­i­bil­i­ty in their sched­ules. While that’s already hap­pen­ing, some are talk­ing about tak­ing flex­i­bil­i­ty even further.

    All this prompt­ed dis­cus­sions about the four-day work­week, a con­cept that has come up before. The debate will con­tin­ue on into 2022, and some com­pa­nies may adapt to this sched­ule to woo recruits and retain employ­ees dur­ing what con­tin­ues to be an his­toric labor shortage.

    Mental Health and Wellness

    The pan­dem­ic revealed that men­tal health and well­ness is impor­tant to every­one. No one is immune to stress, espe­cial­ly dur­ing uncer­tain times. Busi­ness­es are rec­og­niz­ing this fact and pro­vid­ing employ­ees with tools for reliev­ing stress, address­ing men­tal ill­ness­es, and pre­vent­ing burnout. Some com­pa­nies are offer­ing more flex­i­bil­i­ty, but they also pro­vide pro­grams. Maybe the employ­er offers a yoga class or med­i­ta­tion time. Some pro­vide men­tal health days as part of paid time off (PTO). Employ­ers are going to get more cre­ative and pay more atten­tion to the men­tal health of their employ­ees mov­ing for­ward. This will only become a big­ger part of HR leadership’s responsibilities.

    Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

    At the height of the pan­dem­ic, the world watched the Black Lives Mat­ter protests unfold before their eyes. Many demand­ed that busi­ness­es take a stand and show their sup­port for the move­ment. By putting the spot­light on injus­tices relat­ed to polic­ing, peo­ple began rec­og­niz­ing the lack of rep­re­sen­ta­tion in lead­er­ship and man­age­ment and even at junior levels.

    While diver­si­ty had been on the minds of HR lead­ers for some time already, DEI strate­gies have risen in terms of pri­or­i­ty. In 2022, you can expect DEI to remain at the fore­front of recruit­ing and reten­tion strategies.

    The Possibility of More Variants

    The Omi­cron vari­ant swept the nation dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son, and it upend­ed plans for a return to the office for many employ­ers. While some tra­di­tion­al­ists are hold­ing out for in-office-only work­ers and some occu­pa­tions require going to a phys­i­cal loca­tion to get the job done, the real­i­ty is that most com­pa­nies will have to keep some lev­el of remote work as an option because of the var­i­ous COVID vari­ants that might sur­face. Until the pan­dem­ic turns into an endem­ic, some com­pa­nies will be remote only. Oth­ers will remain hybrid workplaces.

    Com­ing up with suf­fi­cient strate­gies on how to col­lab­o­rate, forge bonds, con­duct per­for­mance mea­sures, and attain desired results is a must. Of course, there are dread­ed con­ver­sa­tions to be had about mask­ing up and get­ting vac­ci­nat­ed. Take a holis­tic approach, make sure the strat­e­gy match­es your val­ues, and con­sid­er the risks asso­ci­at­ed with what­ev­er deci­sions you make.

    Generational Differences

    For the first time in his­to­ry, four gen­er­a­tions (Boomers, Gen­er­a­tion X, Mil­len­ni­als, and Gen Z) are in the work­force at the same time. The dif­fer­ences among the gen­er­a­tions – from pop cul­ture ref­er­ences to tech savvy – pop up at the water cool­er on a dai­ly basis. The real­i­ty is that Mil­len­ni­als and Gen Z hold most of the pow­er. The Boomers are retir­ing and Gen Xers are the small­est group and often get ignored or forgotten.

    In any case, many HR experts focused on the gen­er­a­tional dif­fer­ences that influ­ence the suc­cess of orga­ni­za­tions. The pan­dem­ic real­ly brought out some of the pro­found dis­agree­ments, like whether to per­mit work­ing from home in any city you choose or push­ing or a return to the office. Gen Z report­ed­ly del­e­gates to their old­er supe­ri­ors, while Mil­len­ni­als take a more mid­dle-of-the-road and even prac­ti­cal approach as they gain esteem and rise to pow­er. These gen­er­a­tional gaps will con­tin­ue into 2022, and you might notice more dif­fer­ences. Cer­tain­ly, HR lead­ers are going to be work­ing hard to unite all these groups. After all, DEI efforts should include age vari­a­tions, too.

    By Francesca Di Meglio

    Orig­i­nal­ly post­ed on HR Exchange Network

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