How to Free Your Family From Sugar Without Losing Your Mind

Tips from celebrity nutritionist and mom Keri Glassman on changing your family’s food culture.

Begin with these five tips and incorporate them into your family’s lifestyle over the next 10 days or so. Breaking it down little by little will help you all ease into the process.

Tip #1: Ditch the nonsweet sweets

It begins in your own home. Get rid of anything that’s “sweet” and has added sugar but isn’t “sweet” at all.
Not sure what I mean? Open up the fridge and check out the salad dressing. Now check the labels on your sandwich bread. Go on, take a look at the box of “healthy” crackers you serve peanut butter on. Oh, and check that peanut butter while you’re at it. Sugar, fructose, corn syrup, brown rice syrup — it’s all sugar. Ditch all of this. They’re not worth it and can be easily replaced. Here’s a place to start:

Tip #2: Set your food culture

Chances are you have a food culture, but you just haven’t looked at it or talked about it openly. Meatless Mondays, grocery delivery, organic and unprocessed as much as possible, pizza and movie night, are just some food culture traditions and practices. But when you don’t set out with a plan or value system for food in your home, things often go awry — and fast, especially once kids come into the picture.

I’m not going to tell you that you should never have dessert, or that organic foods are always best. That’s something for you and your partner to decide together. If your kids are old enough, ask them what they think are family food values. Bringing everyone into the conversation, maybe at your next dinner, is one of the best ways to stay on track.

Tip #3: Plan your weeknight dinners

You’ve heard this one before: Planning is key to dinner success. But, in reality, when we’re running to pick our kids up from school and dropping them off and running errands ourselves, that’s easier said than done. One of the moms I work with makes planning meals for the week almost a game. At the beginning of each week, she takes out the calendar and her three kids go in order picking dinner for each day. They have mentally committed to the menu and are genuinely enthusiastic about it.

Tip #4: Snack time is nutrient time, not dessert time

Yet, it’s far too easy to get caught up in the “I just want them to eat and get calories in” so as not to mind the cookies. But the truth is, snack time is the perfect time to get in nutrients. Not just calories, but real nourishing nutrients. The trick isn’t to redefine or get rid of snack time, but to adjust it. So if that whole sandwich wasn’t eaten at lunch, serve the other half at snack time. Or, if lunch was finished, take a different approach with sliced turkey rolled up around a carrot or a sliced pear with almond butter.

Tip #5: Hydrate right, and don’t fall for ‘all-natural’ juice

Sugar is sneaky. It doesn’t just hide in foods, but in most beverages too. Read the label carefully and remember that If you’re consciously consuming it for the fruit benefits, know that one piece of fruit has approximately 15 grams of sugar. So perhaps you’d be better off eating a banana instead. And just say no to soda and fruit-flavored juice. Go for plain water or even seltzer with a spritz of lemon or a splash of 100 percent juice instead. Another key thing to remember is all rules apply for your kids too. Kids don’t come out of the womb asking for apple juice. We get this habit started and we can break it for them too, because if you’re sipping on water, then they’ll likely follow suit and do the same.

Written by Keri Glassman, MS, RD | Excerpted from › Food & Nutrition › #BreakUpWithSugar , October 24, 2016

Guide to Healthy Grilling

May is the month to break out the grill, marinate some fresh food and cook up something healthy. It’s also the month that the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is inundated with questions about potential cancer risks associated with grilling. Below is advice from the AICR when it comes to grilling.

The Research

AICR’s expert report and updates say there isn’t enough evidence to show that grilled meat specifically increases risk for cancers. But we do know that cooking meat at a high temperature – like grilling – creates cancer-causing substances, called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocyclic amines (HCAs). These carcinogens can cause changes in the DNA that may lead to cancer.
Risk of these carcinogens forming is higher from red and processed meats – like hamburgers and hot dogs. Smoke or charring also contributes to the formation of PAHs. Evidence is clear that diets high in red and processed meats contribute to an increased risk of colorectal cancer. Based on the evidence, AICR recommends limiting red meat to 18 ounces of cooked meat per week and staying away from hot dogs or other processed meats.

Guide to Safe Grilling

While there does exist limited but suggestive evidence that compounds produced in meat through the grilling process (HCAs) factor in human cancer, AICR has determined that top priority should be what you choose to cook, not how you cook it. AICR offers these guidelines for healthy grilling:

  • Studies have suggested that marinating your meat before grilling can decrease the formation of HCAs. To avoid food poisoning, be sure to discard the marinade in which you soaked uncooked meat, poultry and fish after you remove the food for grilling. If you want some for basting, set aside a bit – about one-third of a cup – before you’ve put the meat in to marinate.
  • Cutting meat into smaller portions and mixing with veggies can help shorten cooking time.
  • If you are grilling larger cuts, you can reduce the time your meat is exposed to the flames by partially cooking it in a microwave, oven or stove first. Immediately place the partially cooked meat on the preheated grill. This helps keep your meat safe from bacteria and other food pathogens that can cause illness.
  • Trimming the fat off your meat can reduce flare-ups and charring. Cook your meat in the center of the grill and flip frequently.
  • Grilling vegetables and fruits produces no HCAs and plant-based foods are actually associated with lower cancer risk.
  • Flip meats with a spatula or tongs to avoid piercing that lets juices run out.
  • Use tinfoil between the meat and the flames.
  • Keep a water spray bottle on hand to keep flames in check.
  • Don’t squirt starter fluid into coals while meats are cooking.

For winning marinade recipes to flavor your food, click here!



We are excited to introduce CareOptions, a new benefit that is available to City employees through the Minnesota Benefit Association (MBA). CareOptions is your go-to source for countless, valuable healthcare and wellness resources at no cost to you.

With CareOptions, you have immediate, unlimited access to an unbiased selection of health, wellness and care resources. With today’s changing insurance industry, it’s vital that you continue to be educated and informed about the changes that impact you and your loved ones. CareOptions is your go-to source for trustworthy, unbiased information at your fingertips and is accessible from any computer, smartphone or tablet.

After signing up for CareOptions, members will have access to:

  • Health, wellness and home safety assessments
  • Income and social security benefits calculator
  • Special services to assist with a short or long-term disability
  • Physicians, hospitals and other providers locally or nationwide, complete with background and quality of care information
  • Information about specific medical conditions and treatment options
  • Professional care managers and elder care attorneys in your area

Additionally, with CareOptions you can save hundreds of dollars on important document sets like Living Wills, Health Care Power of Attorney, and Caregiver Agreements. For more information and to sign up to begin receiving access to this valuable information, visit: and then click on the Member Benefits tab.

The MBA is looking forward to helping our members navigate their health and wellness.
Should you have any questions about this new tool please contact the Minnesota Benefit Association at 651.735.9874 or


Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting millions of people worldwide. It occurs when the protective cartilage on the ends of your bones wears down over time. Although osteoarthritis can damage any joint in your body, the disorder most commonly affects joints in your hands, knees, hips and spine.


Osteoarthritis symptoms often develop slowly and worsen over time. Signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis include:

  • Pain. Your joint may hurt during or after movement.
  • Tenderness. Your joint may feel tender when you apply light pressure to it.
  • Stiffness. Joint stiffness may be most noticeable when you wake up in the morning or after a period of inactivity.
  • Loss of flexibility. You may not be able to move your joint through its full range of motion.
  • Grating sensation. You may hear or feel a grating sensation when you use the joint.
  • Bone spurs. These extra bits of bone, which feel like hard lumps, may form around the affected joint.

Osteoarthritis symptoms can usually be effectively managed, although the underlying process cannot be reversed. Staying active, maintaining a healthy weight and other treatments may slow progression of the disease and help improve pain and joint function.

When to see a doctor

If you have joint pain or stiffness that doesn’t go away, make an appointment with your doctor.

For more information, visit:

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Chronic disease now kills more people than infectious disease

That’s a big shift. And a big deal.

In fact, three out of four Americans will die prematurely from a condition that is mostly related to lifestyle, to habit, or to circumstance. These are conditions that a pill or procedure can’t easily fix.

The City of Saint Paul has recently partnered with Omada Health to offer City employees and their adult dependents a way to reduce their risk for chronic disease. In the Omada 16 week program, positive behaviors are introduced and reinforced from week to week, transforming healthy choices into lifelong habits. The program has been used nationwide and has been very successful in helping people reach their goals.

To get started, take a one-minute survey at to see if you qualify. Based on your results, if you or your adult dependent(s) are at risk for Type 2 diabetes or heart disease and enrolled in HealthPartners coverage through the City, you will be offered the opportunity to participate in the Omada program (approximately a $600 value) which will be covered at no cost to you.

Omada combines the science of behavior change with unwavering personal support, so you can make changes that actually stick.

You’ll get:

  • A professional health coach to keep you on track
  • A wireless scale to monitor your progress
  • An interactive program that adapts to you
  • Weekly online lessons to educate and inspire
  • A small group of participants for real-time support

Take some time today to visit

Below is what some participants have said about the Omada program:

“I loved Omada because I could do it in the time I had.”

My mom, dad, sister and brother all have type 2 diabetes, and my doctor told me I had prediabetes. I needed to slim down. But you know how it is when you’re overweight – you don’t want to hear it. When I got a call about Omada, I said “yes” because I figured there was no harm in trying something that my health insurance plan was recommending.
Chanda 40, Tennessee

“These days we are not lethargic anymore. We feel energized”.

I was a truck driver for 25 years, and a balanced meal was never easy to come by on the road. Omada helped me get out of that rut. My wife joined right in – we started shopping together, eating balanced meals together and walking together.
Phillip 65, Minnesota

“It gave me a sense of healthy control over my own well-being.”

Omada was a real source of strength for me, and not just when it came to rethinking my relationship with food and losing 20 lbs. It gave me a sense of healthy control over my own well-being.
Diana, 59, California

Find out if you qualify and can benefit from the Omada Program. Visit and take the survey today.

Stay healthy. Get screened.

You change your oil and rotate your tires. All to make sure your car runs smoothly. Why treat your health differently?

Life is busy, but getting routine preventive care is worth the time. Even if you don’t have symptoms, regular health screenings are important. They find and stop health issues early, when treatment is most effective. Preventive care includes routine checkups, screenings and counseling.

And here’s some good news: most health plans cover preventive care at 100 percent.
That means you don’t pay out-of-pocket costs when you go to a clinic in your plan’s network. This includes:
• Vaccines
• Breast, cervical and colon cancer screenings
• Blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol tests
• Alcohol, tobacco and weight screenings
• Routine pre-and post-natal care
• Well-child visits

Wondering what care you need?

Talk to your doctor. Your family’s health history may affect what care you need. To see general recommendations for screenings and immunizations, visit and enter your age and gender. These recommendations are based on info from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and the Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement.

Schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor to get the care you need to stay healthy for years to come. If you don’t have a primary care doctor, log on to your myHealthPartners account at to search for one. You can also download the myHP mobile app to search for care on your smart phone.

Shoo The Flu!


Flu prevention and treatment

The following information was provided by HealthPartners.

How can I prevent the spread of the flu?

  • Get a flu shot
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when you cough or sneeze
  • Wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol hand sanitizer often
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Stay home when you’re sick

What are the symptoms of the flu?

  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle aches
  • Runny nose
  • Headache
  • Cough
  • Fatigue

If I get sick, how do I know when I’m contagious and when I can come back to work?

You’re contagious starting one day before your symptoms first appear. It’s recommened you stay home at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without using medicines, like Tylenol®, to help lower your temperature.

How can I take care of myself at home?

Get plenty of rest, drink lots of water and take medicines, like Tylenol®, to help lower your temperature.

Are antibiotics used for the flu?

No. Antibiotics are used for bacterial infections. The flu is caused by a virus. Doctors will sometimes treat the flu with antiviral medicine. But antibiotics can’t treat the flu.

Is there medicine available to treat the flu?

Yes, it’s called an antiviral medicine. Antivirals fight against the flu by keeping the flu viruses from spreading through your body. If you get sick, antivirals can make you feel better faster. They work best when started within 48 hours after your symptoms begin. Antivirals are usually given to people with severe illness or who are at risk for problems from the flu. Check with your doctor to see if an antiviral is right for you.

Should I be concerned about the flu?

Pregnant women and children, as well as adults who have asthma, diabetes or a suppressed immune system, are at high risk of developing problems from the flu.

Seasonal flu vaccines

Do I need more than one flu shot this year? No. The seasonal flu shot covers several strains this year. Everyone over age 9 only needs one shot.

If my child is under the age of 9, will they need two flu shots?

Everyone over 6 months old should get a flu shot each year. Children under age 9 may need two shots. Your doctor’s office can tell you if two doses are recommended this flu season.

Where do I get a flu shot?

  • HealthPartners clinics: Go to any HealthPartners clinic – no appointment necessary. You can also go to a HealthPartners urgent care clinic with no appointment and get a vaccine for ages 3 and up.
  • Other clinics: Contact your clinic to make an appointment or ask that the flu shot be added to your next visit.
  • Pharmacies, discount stores and grocery stores: Stop at a retail location like CVS/pharmacy®, Target®, Cub® and Walgreens.

Can I get the flu from a flu shot?

No. Some people may have some aches or a slight fever after a flu shot, but this is not the flu.

Can I have allergic reactions to a flu shot?

Serious allergic reactions to a flu shot are rare. But if you’ve ever had Guillain Barre Syndrome or a serious allergic reaction to eggs, thimerosal or a previous flu shot, check with your doctor to make sure a flu shot is safe for you.

When should I get a flu shot?

It’s a good idea to get your flu shot as soon as it’s available, so you can be protected right away. Remember, it takes about two weeks for your body to develop immunity from the flu shot.
Is the FluMist available this year?

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the FluMist or nasal spray not be used this season because it was proven to be ineffective the last few years. HealthPartners will not be offering the FluMist this flu season.

Are flu shots covered by insurance?

Flu shots are considered preventive care, which is fully covered by most HealthPartners plans. Check your plan information or call Member Services at 952-883-5000 or 800-883-2177 to find out for sure.

What do I wear for a flu shot?

A shirt or blouse that has short sleeves or is loose enough to roll up works best so that the shot can be given in your upper arm.
For more information about the flu, visit

It’s Time to Quit

Each year, tobacco kills more Minnesotans than alcohol, homicides, car accidents, AIDS, illegal drugs, and suicide combined.

Quitting tobacco may be one of the hardest things a person will ever do. If you are a smoker and have tried to quit in the past, you know that is true. Don’t give up though. Try again. Stopping smoking will be one of the best things you can ever do for yourself and the people you love. Need help quitting? We have put together resources to support you in this effort. From free nicotine patches to health coaching, phone apps and more, there are many options from which to choose.

Quit Tobacco: Free resources to help you quit.

Let HealthPartners match you up with a coach to help you through the quitting process. This website also has tools and information to help you get started.

Livestrong MyQuit Coach App:
This application creates a personalized plan to help you quit smoking. Through this physician approved, interactive and easy to use app, you’ll evaluate your current status, set attainable goals and adjust preferences according to your needs.

Quit Plan:
For Minnesota adults (18 or older) looking for support, the QUITPLAN Helpline offers four weeks of free patches, gum or lozenges. This program is for any Minnesotans who are uninsured or whose insurance doesn’t cover either phone coaching or these quit-smoking medications. To sign up, call 1-888-354-PLAN (7526).

What about e-cigarettes?
Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are battery-powered devices that allow users to inhale aerosolized liquid (e-liquid), which may contain nicotine and other potentially harmful chemicals. E-cigarettes are not regulated by the FDA and the health risks are unknown. Aerosols from some e-cigarettes contain chemicals known to cause cancer, as well as nicotine; there is no way for users to know how much nicotine or other potentially harmful chemicals they are inhaling. E-cigarettes are not FDA-approved smoking cessation aids, and there is no body of evidence that proves e-cigarettes help people quit smoking.


Early Detection Saves Lives

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. While most people are aware of breast cancer, many forget to take the steps to have a plan to detect the disease in its early stages. Following the screening guidelines from the American Cancer Society and performing monthly self breast exams can help save thousands of lives each year. Watch this video for more information:

Screening Guidelines

These guidelines are for women at average risk for breast cancer.

  • Women ages 40 to 44 should have the choice to start annual breast cancer screening with mammograms if they wish to do so. The risks of screening as well as the potential benefits should be considered.
  • Women age 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year.
  • Women age 55 and older should switch to mammograms every 2 years, or have the choice to continue yearly screening. Screening should continue as long as a woman is in good health and is expected to live 10 more years or longer.
  • All women should be familiar with the known benefits, limitations, and potential harms associated with breast cancer screening. They should also be familiar with how their breasts normally look and feel and report any changes to a health care provider right away.

For women at higher than average risk

Women who are at high risk for breast cancer based on certain factors should get an MRI and a mammogram every year. This includes women who:

  • Have a lifetime risk of breast cancer of about 20% to 25% or greater, according to risk assessment tools that are based mainly on family history (such as the Claus model – see below)
  • Have a known BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation
  • Have a first-degree relative (parent, brother, sister, or child) with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation, and have not had genetic testing themselves
  • Had radiation therapy to the chest when they were between the ages of 10 and 30 years
  • Have Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Cowden syndrome, or Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndrome, or have first-degree relatives with one of these syndromes.

Ordering shoes, checking your bank statements and booking flights. You can do pretty much anything online these days – including scheduling a mammogram.

Log on to your myHealthPartners account at to schedule an appointment or find a doctor. Or, download the myHP mobile app to search for care on your smart phone.

Once A Month

Adult women of all ages are encouraged to perform breast self-exams at least once a month. Johns Hopkins Medical center states,“Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important.”

While mammograms can help you to detect cancer before you can feel a lump, breast self-exams help you to be familiar with how your breasts look and feel so you can alert your healthcare professional if there are any changes. Watch this video to see how to perform a breast self-exam.

Diabetes prevention: 5 tips for taking control

Changing your lifestyle could be a big step toward diabetes prevention — and it’s never too late to start.

Consider these tips.

When it comes to type 2 diabetes — the most common type of diabetes — prevention is a big deal. It’s especially important to make diabetes prevention a priority if you’re at increased risk of diabetes, for example, if you’re overweight or have a family history of the disease.

Tip 1:

Get more physical activity: Research shows that both aerobic exercise and resistance training can help control diabetes, but the greater benefit comes from a fitness program that includes both.

Tip 2:

Get plenty of fiber: Foods high in fiber include fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds.

Tip 3:

Go for whole grains: Try to make at least half your grains whole grains. Many foods made from whole grains come ready to eat, including various breads, pasta products and many cereals. Look for the word “whole” on the package and among the first few items in the ingredient list.

Tip 4:

Lose extra weight: If you’re overweight, diabetes prevention may hinge on weight loss. Every pound you lose can improve your health, and you may be surprised by how much.

Tip 5:

Skip fad diets and just make healthier choices: Low-carb diets, the glycemic index diet or other fad diets may help you lose weight at first, but their effectiveness at preventing diabetes isn’t known nor are their long-term effects. And by excluding or strictly limiting a particular food group, you may be giving up essential nutrients. Instead, think variety and portion control as part of an overall healthy-eating plan.

When to see your doctor

If you’re older than age 45 and your weight is normal, ask your doctor if diabetes testing is appropriate for you. The American Diabetes Association recommends blood glucose screening if:

  • You’re age 45 or older and overweight
  • You’re younger than age 45 and overweight with one or more additional risk factors for type 2 diabetes — such as a sedentary lifestyle or a family history of diabetes.
  • Share your concerns about diabetes prevention with your doctor. He or she will applaud your efforts to keep diabetes at bay, and perhaps offer additional suggestions based on your medical history or other factors.

By Mayo Clinic Staff Excerpted