January 31, 2017

Diet-Friendly Menu Ideas for the Big Game

Hosting a party for the big game may seem stressful when trying to maintain a healthy diet; however, serving foods that taste good and make you feel good is possible. Follow these party menu tips to help simplify healthy eating.

Minimize the calories while maximizing the health benefits.

By serving veggies rather than cheeses, you can cut a ton of unwanted calories. Include vegetables like celery, which has high water content and is great for your skin. Rather than going with a ranch dip, try something healthier, like a low-fat yogurt dip or hummus.

Prepare individual servings.

Portioning snacks not only helps with portion control, it also helps reduce the spread of germs! Try making convenient and easy hummus and veggie cups; it’s easier to follow a serving size when you don’t have the entire container of dip sitting in front of you. Slice carrots, celery and other veggies into spears and place them in a small plastic cup vertically with a single serving of hummus at the bottom. Yum!

Find more fun game day recipes on our Pinterest board!

Have a tasty alternative to alcoholic beverages.

Not only are alcoholic beverages high in calories, they’re also harmful to your body when consumed excessively. Consider serving a beverage that doesn’t contain any alcohol but is still appealing to people, like a fruit punch made with freshly squeezed juices.

Practice safe and healthy food preparation.

Remember to wash your hands thoroughly and often. The surfaces on which you prepare your food are also prone to harbor unwanted germs, so wash the cutting boards and other surfaces frequently to avoid cross-contamination. Be sure to cook foods to proper temperatures and refrigerate promptly after preparation.

Use your doctor as a resource.

The HMR weight management program available at CHI St. Joseph Health focuses on making healthier food choices and consuming more fruits and vegetables as well as increasing physical activity. Your physician can give you healthy eating tips that may work for your particular diet.

Learn more about the HMR weight management program. To make an appointment with your primary care physician, visit SJapptasap.org.


CDC – How to Use Fruits and Vegetables to Help Manage Your Weight

CDC – Holiday Food Safety Twitter Chat

CDC – Fact Sheets – Binge Drinking


January 25, 2017

MatureWell: Medication Management Tips

Adults 65 and older account for over 177,000 emergency room visits due to medication-related problems every year. They are twice as likely as the younger population to experience these complications and are seven times more likely to be hospitalized because of them. That’s why it’s important for maturing adults to manage their medications diligently.

Use your physician and pharmacist as resources.

Ask your physician or pharmacist any questions you may have regarding your prescriptions. Feel free to ask them to write down specific instructions. “You can request larger bottles with larger labels from your pharmacist for easier reading,” said Leena Kodali, M.D., medical director for the MatureWell Lifestyle Center. Make sure to review all the medicines you take with each of your doctors at every appointment, and don’t stop taking prescriptions until your doctor says you can, even if you feel better.

Create a list and set up a system.

Keep a few copies of your medication list at home and on yourself just in case. Record the name of the prescription, how much to take, how often to take it, and how it should be taken, whether it needs to be taken with food, chewed or swallowed whole, etc. Set alarms to remind yourself to take each medication, and check it off your list after taking. A pill organizer may be helpful in keeping track of your doses.

Properly store your medications.

Store each medication in its proper location away from children and pets. This may be in the refrigerator or a cool, dry area. Never store them in the bathroom cabinet; showers often create a warm, humid environment that can break down medications. Keep prescriptions separate in their original bottles or use a pill organizer. Be sure to keep the original bottles and instructions on hand if you decide to use an organizer.

In the event of an overdose, call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222.

The CHI St. Joseph Health MatureWell Lifestyle Center, in collaboration with Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, is a new concept that focuses on the health and wellness of adults 55 and older.


CDC – Adults and Older Adult Adverse Drug Events

NIH Senior Health – Managing Your Medicines

December 22, 2016

Holiday Feast Safety Tips

“Food poisoning outbreaks increase during the holiday season, most cases attributed to meat,” said Eric South, D.O., primary care physician with CHI St. Joseph Health. Take note of the proper food safety precautions so your guests can stay comfortably stuffed.


If your holiday feast involves a turkey, handle it with care from thaw to finish. Defrost your turkey in the refrigerator, using the microwave, or by soaking it in cold water that is changed out every half hour. Never leave a turkey out to thaw at room temperature; it can quickly reach an unsafe temperature that promotes harmful bacterial growth.

Separate and Clean

Always disinfect any surface that comes into contact with raw meat; this includes countertops, hands, and utensils. Before preparing the next portion of your meal, put all utensils and dishes that touched the raw meat into the dishwasher, disinfect anything you or the meat may have touched, and wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and antibacterial soap. Use a new, clean set of utensils and preparation ware to cook your side dishes. Keep your raw meats away from your raw produce at all times.


If you’re stuffing your turkey, cook the stuffing in a separate dish before filling your raw turkey with it. Then, immediately place the turkey into an oven set at 325 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Cooking time depends on the size of your turkey, but you can figure out if your turkey is fully cooked using a food thermometer. Make sure the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit by inserting the food thermometer into the very center of the turkey and into the thickest sections of meat. Wash the thermometer with warm, soapy water after every use. Let the turkey cool for 20 minutes before carving.


Within two hours of preparation, put all leftovers into a refrigerator set at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Use clean, shallow containers to store your leftovers, and try not to overfill your fridge. Throw away any food that sits out longer than two hours. Cooked meats can be stored for only three to four days before it’s time to throw it out.

Symptoms of food poisoning include cramps, fever, vomiting and diarrhea. If you experience symptoms of food poisoning, visit your CHI St. Joseph Health primary care physician. Severe cases can include bloody stool and dehydration, in which you may need to visit your nearest emergency room.


CDC – Food Safety Tips for your Holiday Turkey

CDC – Food Safety

FoodSafety.gov – Clean

FoodSafety.gov – Cook

FoodSafety.gov – Storage Times for the Refrigerator and Freezer


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