Health e-News
March 2014
Healthy Eating at Work
On-site Dietitian and Nutrition Services
Interactive Nutrition Displays
What's Happening at Affinity?
Emotions Lead to Lifestyle Choices
Top 3 Strategies for Healthy Families
Breakfast on the Go
Breakfast With the Experts
Quick Links

What did you eat for breakfast this morning? In honor of National Nutrition Month, we're talking all about healthy eating habits. What goes into our bodies has a huge impact on how our bodies function, and on how healthy we are not only in the long run but also on a daily basis.


Employers can influence employee health and productivity by encouraging good nutrition. This month's edition of Health e-News is filled with practical tips and helpful programs dedicated to eating right. 

Please share this valuable information with your employees. A version of today's e-news designed just for them is available at:  


To your good health,   

Linda Hale-Graves

Director, Wellness and Employer Solutions

Affinity Health System

Healthy Eating at Work

By Heidi Hayes, wellness account specialist

While it's very important for employers to provide a safe and healthy workplace, it's also important to encourage healthy lifestyles among employees. Healthy eating programs can be a great first step. They help bring employees together to learn how to improve their health both at work and at home. Here are some ideas for encouraging healthy eating in your workplace.
Implement a food journaling initiative so employees can track what and how much they eat.
Once a month have a speaker/dietitian come in to present topics on nutrition, recipes, and healthy eating during a lunch hour where a healthy lunch is provided.
Create an online document or blog where employees can share ideas on healthy cooking, recipes and places to purchase healthier foods. This not only garners support among employees, but also helps build morale.
Hang up nutritional posters in the break rooms and lunch rooms with catchy titles to draw attention, and continually switch them out with new material to keep things updated and fresh.
When company leaders get involved in healthy eating and nutrition programs, employees are much more likely to participate. One of the smartest steps you can take is to make healthy food options available at work. Instead of offering donuts, soda and pizza at meetings, offer healthier alternatives such as fresh fruit, vegetables, pretzels and hummus, fresh water, tea and 100 percent juice. If vending machines are available at your locations, fill them with healthy snacks instead of chips and candy.
Here is a list of healthier eating options:
  • Fresh water
  • 100 percent fruit juice
  • Lower-fat milk (2 percent, 1 percent or skim) for drinking or as a substitute for cream in coffee/tea
  • Whole grain breads, bagels, muffins, pitas, tortillas, rolls
  • Lower-fat muffins
  • Lower-fat cheeses (20 percent or less)
  • Lower-fat yogurt (2 percent or less)
  • Pretzels, granola bars
  • High-fiber crackers
  • Variety of lower-fat sandwich fillings (tuna, salmon, lean roast beef, turkey, chicken, ham, pastrami, lower-fat cheese). Also include some sandwiches with vegetarian fillings such as grilled veggies or hummus.
  • Offer light mayonnaise or margarine, and lower-fat salad dressings on the side.
  • Offer lower-fat spreads (such as hummus, light cream cheese, jam).
  • Fruit and vegetables (offer fresh, locally grown produce when possible)
  • Lower-fat dips, made with plain yogurt or light sour cream
  • Whole grain high fiber cookies (such as oatmeal)
Note: A vegetarian option should always be made available.

On-site Dietitian and Nutrition Services


Rachel Johnson is an Affinity Occupational Health wellness account specialist and registered dietitian with a special interest in nutrition coaching. She is passionate about helping others improve their health and well-being through sustained healthy lifestyle habits. Rachel works with employers throughout Northeast Wisconsin to develop and implement effective worksite wellness programs, and she is available to come on-site to work individually and collectively with your employees.


On-site dietitian services include helping individuals establish personal health goals and nutrition plans for improved health. Rachel will work with employees to develop weight management goals or work through special nutritional needs for medical conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, food intolerances, and diabetes. Rachel is also available to conduct testing for body fat, weight, and blood pressure.


Rachel earned her bachelor's degree in nutrition from the University of Wisconsin Green Bay and completed an accredited dietetic internship program through the University of Alabama at Birmingham.


Affinity Occupational Health offers a variety of programs to help encourage healthy eating among your workforce.


Eat Well, Be Well
Eat Well, Be Well is a 10-week nutrition and weight management program that invites your employees to learn about healthy habits in a group setting, as well as during one-on-one coaching sessions with a registered dietitian. Eat Well, Be Well covers healthy living tips including nutrition basics, mindful eating, fitness, and preventing relapse.


The program includes three group learning sessions and two nutrition journals with Eat Well, Be Well tips, journaling pages, and healthy recipes. Two full days of one-on-one on-site dietitian time is also included with the Eat Well, Be Well intervention. In addition, employees will receive supplemental program materials and exercise bands to keep motivation high!


On My Weigh
On My Weigh is a 10-week program that allows participants to gather for a confidential meeting led by an Affinity wellness specialist. The group learns how to create a 500 calorie daily deficit along with other important lessons to become an informed consumer and lead a healthier lifestyle. The wellness specialist keeps everyone motivated with regular group and personal e-mails.


On My Weigh holds participants accountable with weekly weigh-ins and offers three- and six-month post-program weigh-ins. Participation is a key element that separates this program from others. One of the greatest takeaways comes from participants sharing their successes and barriers with the rest of the group. The group works as a team to create lifestyle changes to live better!


Nutrition Presentations
Affinity Occupational Health also offers a variety of one-time nutrition presentations such as:

  • Decoding Food Labels
  • Hot Topics in Nutrition
  • On My Way to a Healthy Weight
  • Grocery Shopping Secrets
  • Super Foods and Salads

For more information or to schedule services, contact Tammy or Cindy at 1-800-541-0351. 

Interactive Nutrition Displays
Want to help your employees "see" what they're really eating? Our interactive display programs are a clear, educational visual of portion size and sugar/salt/fat content in the food we eat. These fun and informative displays are available to impact employees at your work site.
Portion Distortion
Portion Distortion is an interactive four-week series of displays with a weekly theme. These include: Defining Serving Sizes, Time Warp, Building a Balanced Meal, and Eating Out. The Portion Distortion program includes weekly table tents, educational handouts, interactive displays, and a weekly quiz.
Salt, Sugar, and Fat Stacks Display
Each of the stacks booths--Salt Stacks, Sugar Stacks, and Fat Stacks--are interactive health displays that show the salt, sugar, or fat content in common foods eaten by some Americans daily. Some foods are obvious sources of the less healthy nutrients, while other foods shock people to discover the high amount of salt, sugar or fat. All stacks displays also include foods, interactive nutrient displays, table tents, educational handouts and a quiz.
For more information or to schedule displays for your workplace, contact Tammy or Cindy at 1-800-541-0351.  

What's Happening at Affinity? 

Heartburn and Acid Reflux: Causes and New Treatment Options
Monday, March 10
5:30 - 7 p.m.
Radisson Paper Valley Hotel
333 W. College Ave
Appleton, WI 54911
What may have seemed like science fiction, surgery without an incision, is now a reality that is making lives better for patients suffering from chronic acid reflux also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). At this seminar, Dr. Peter Janu, general surgeon, will provide educational information about GERD, as well as common treatment options including the new TIF (transoral incisionless fundoplication) procedure.
Light refreshments will be provided. The seminar is free, but registration is required. Click here to register online, or call Affinity NurseDirect at 1-800-362-9900. 
Bone & Joint Wellness Series: Shoulder Injuries and Treatment Options
Tuesday, March 11
5:30 - 7 p.m.
St. Elizabeth Hospital
1506 S. Oneida Street
Appleton, WI 54915
The Affinity Medical Group Orthopedics and Sports Medicine providers will be hosting a Bone and Joint Public Talk Series quarterly in 2014. Our upcoming topic, presented by Dr. Joe McCormick, orthopedic surgeon, is "Shoulder Injuries and Treatment Options."
The seminar is free, but registration is required. Click here to register online, or call Affinity NurseDirect at 1-800-362-9900.
We Are What We Eat - a Gastroenterologist's Perspective
Wednesday, March 19
6 - 7 p.m.
Bridgewood Conference Center
1000 Cameron Way
Neenah, WI 54956
Dr. Sudeep Sodhi will share helpful information on how stress and what we eat can affect the way our gastrointestinal system functions. Dr. Sodhi is board-certified in internal medicine, gastroenterology, integrative medicine and nutrition, and offers a holistic approach to diet and overall health.
The seminar is free, but registration is required. Click here to register online, or call Affinity NurseDirect at 1-800-362-9900.  

Emotions Lead to Lifestyle Choices           


Have you ever wondered why people overeat, smoke, or dabble in "recreational" drugs? "Many of these unhealthy behaviors stem from underlying emotional or mental health issues, which we develop in order to cope with stress or some other negative feeling," says Kadihjia Kelly, Affinity EAP counselor.


Food, smoking, risky sexual behavior, alcohol and many drugs (legal and illegal) affect our brain in such a way that the physiological symptoms of stress are reduced. For example, depression is lifted, anxiety is lowered, and mood is improved. "So basically," Kadihjia says, "these behaviors lead to feeling better."


Unfortunately, however, unhealthy behaviors do nothing to reduce the internal or external factors that actually cause the stress. And in some cases, the behaviors lead to more stress. Caught in a cycle, people can lose hope. "They tell themselves, 'I can't lose weight, so I might as well eat,' or 'I'll never be able to quit smoking,' so they continue the pattern of unhealthy habits in order to feel good in the short-term," Kadihjia says.


Next, people may begin to justify their choices. Have you ever heard someone say, "I know lots of people who smoke their whole lives and never get sick"? Their motivation to change is reduced as they deny they have a problem: "I only drink on the weekends," or "Pot is legal in Colorado so it must be okay to use. It's Wisconsin law that is the problem."


Not everyone who struggles with overeating, smoking or other substance abuse engages in these negative patterns of thinking or behavior, but in many cases emotions play an influential role in why we do things that are not good for us. If you suspect you or a loved one is dealing with underlying emotional or mental health issues that lead to unhealthy behaviors, see a qualified counselor or EAP professional for insight and help.

Top Three Strategies for Healthy Families   

By Julia Salomón, MS, RD, CD


If you want to improve your family's health and well-being, try these three key healthy habits.

1. Eat breakfast. No matter how rushed you are in the morning, try to eat something within an hour or so to jumpstart your metabolism. Breakfast gives you energy to start the day, but it does much more than that. Here are a few reasons why breakfast is so important:

Breakfast improves diet quality. Research shows that breakfast skippers are less likely to meet recommended levels for important nutrients like folic acid, calcium, etc. In addition, breakfast helps with glucose control by literally breaking the fast and providing your body with the fuel it needs to function properly.

Breakfast helps with weight control in both adolescents and adults, making it easier to maintain weight loss, and it decreases the risk of being overweight.

Breakfast improves behavior and increases the ability to learn and focus. It provides improved concentration in the classroom or board room. Studies show that students who eat breakfast perform better on tests of math, matching, memory and creativity. Children who eat breakfast experience less behavioral problems, report being in a better mood and tend to miss school less.

2. Make family meals a priority. Commit to sitting down to a family meal at least four times a week if not more. A family meal could be a dinner, breakfast or lunch. Families that eat together consume less fried foods, soda, fats and foods with added sugar. Families who eat together consume more fruits, vegetables and fiber and meet other nutrient needs. Indeed, studies show that children and adolescents who share family meals at least three times per week have healthier weights and eating patterns and are socially, emotionally and physically healthier.

Turn off all electronics at family meal times (no cells phones, iPads, e-readers, etc.)

3. Limit screen time. This means TV, computers, Wii games or other video or screen-based games. Health professionals recommend no more than one to two hours a day of screen time for children over the age of two (none for children under 2). Research shows that sedentary activities such as watching TV increase the risk of becoming obese and make it harder to fall asleep at night. In addition, TV commercials and other ads may not be appropriate for all audiences. Ads or commercials for food usually promote foods high in sugar, salt or fat, and some studies show that these do have an influence on our shopping and eating patterns.

Here are some ways to limit screen time:

Have a rule that there will be no TV watching on school days. Limit TV and other screen time to one to two hours on non-school days.

  • Do not allow TV watching during meals or homework time.
  • Remove TVs from all bedrooms.
  • Do not eat while working on a computer or other similar device.
  • Challenge your family to go one week without watching TV or doing other screen time activity.
  • Find activities to do instead of engaging in TV or other screen-based activity. Go for a walk, play a board game, etc.

While there may be other behaviors that help families be healthy, these are a good start. Breakfast sets the tone for the rest of the day and can motivate you to keep eating healthy throughout the day. Family meals provides an opportunity to reconnect with your family, and limiting screen time may serve as an impetus to discover new ways to have fun with the entire family.  

Breakfast on the Go

By Julia Salomón, MS, RD, CD


Mornings are rushed. You have to drop the kids at school and get to work on time. Often there seems to be no time for breakfast! Yet breakfast is, indeed, the most important meal of the day. So what can you do?


One strategy is to get the basics done the night before. Set the breakfast table the night before, have an idea of what you will eat for breakfast, and make sure you have the ingredients to make it.


Another strategy is to pack a to-go breakfast much like you would pack your lunch bag. Keep it in the fridge and simply grab it and enjoy it later that morning.

Consider these grab-and-go breakfast ideas:

  • Fresh fruit
  • Healthy breakfast bars
  • Nuts
  • Yogurt
  • Sandwiches
  • Smoothies
  • String cheese with whole wheat crackers
  • Hard-boiled egg
  • Whole grain English muffin with peanut butter
  • Single serving of cottage cheese; enjoy with fruit
  • Bran muffins
  • Breakfast trail mix: whole wheat cereal, nuts and dried fruit
  • Bagel with hummus
  • Whole wheat pita filled with cottage cheese and fruit like peaches or pears
  • Instant oatmeal that you can prepare at work
  • Pre-packaged servings of ready-to-eat cereal (you can get the milk at work)

Whatever your favorite breakfast-on-the-go items are, remember to eat your breakfast slowly and enjoy it. 

Breakfast With the Experts 
The Latest Tobacco News - New Products and New Legislation
Presented by Brian Harrison, MD, medical director of Health and Productivity Management

Wednesday, March 12
7:30 - 9:30 a.m.
Bridgewood Resort and Conference Center
1000 Cameron Way, Neenah

Tobacco never really leaves the news, considering that 18.5 percent of the population remains addicted to it, the leading preventable cause of death. But you need to know the latest about three hot tobacco topics--Obamacare's tobacco surcharge, electronic cigarettes, and dissolvable products--to further reduce its health and safety burden on your company. And, per Dr. Harrison, "what's old is new again" in terms of corporate tobacco's recycled lies about their latest products. With this awareness, you can help your employees from losing the ground they've gained in freeing themselves from tobacco addiction.


To register for this free seminar, please contact Stefanie Armstrong at

Your Affinity Occupational Health Sales Team 
Holly Tomlin, manager of wellness and employer solutions for Affinity Occupational Health, enjoys building relationships with clients while finding creative solutions for their needs.  Holly's background includes 15 years of experience in the health care field, with a strong background in employee assistance programs and occupational health. As a certified massage therapist, Holly has a special interest in educating others on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, including wellness and prevention initiatives. 

Tammy Davis, account manager for Affinity Occupational Health, provides corporate clients with valuable information regarding services offered through Affinity Occupational Health. She works closely with clients to determine their specific needs for health and wellness services. Tammy has a bachelor's degree in business administration from UW Oshkosh and over 20 years of experience in marketing, sales, and customer service. 


Cindy Budiac
, account manager for Affinity Occupational Health, is available to help clients determine the right services and programs for their needs. Cindy has more than 15 years of experience in clinical health care, sales and business development. As our newest account manager, Cindy looks forward to meeting you and partnering on all your occupational health needs. 

To contact Holly, Tammy or Cindy, call the Affinity Occupational Health office located in Menasha, at 1-800-541-0351, or e-mail, or