Health e-News
November 2014
Diabetes Awareness
Battling the Holiday Bulge
Prevent Winter Blues
Should You Get a Flu Shot?
How to Help a Grieving Loved One
Holiday Volunteer Opportunities
Surviving the Holidays
Quick Links


November is Diabetes Awareness Month, a time to consider your health and well-being as well as how you can stay fit through the upcoming holiday season. 


This edition of Health e-News explores topics on nutrition, holiday coping strategies, mental health, and preventing seasonal influenza.     


Please share this newsletter with your employees. Their edition of this month's e-news is available at:


On behalf of the entire Employer Solutions team, I wish you and your workforce a very happy Thanksgiving season!


To your good health,   


Patti Groholski

Executive Director, Employer Solutions

Diabetes Awareness: Managing Sugar Top 10

By Ministry Medical Group Employer Solutions Wellness Staff 


Diabetes is a group of diseases marked by high levels of blood glucose resulting from defects in insulin production, insulin action, or both. If left untreated, diabetes can lead to serious complications and premature death. At present, type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented. The environmental triggers that are thought to generate the process that results in the destruction of the body's insulin-producing cells are still under investigation.


However, people with type 2 diabetes and those who are at risk for type 2 diabetes can take steps to control the disease and lower the risks. There is a lot of evidence that lifestyle changes (achieving a healthy body weight and moderate physical activity) can help prevent the development of type 2 diabetes. Among the many dangers for increased risk for type 2 diabetes, managing daily sugar intake is critical.


Sugar is found in many of the foods we eat today, whether it is in candy bars or soda. The challenge is finding ways to balance and enjoy these foods in moderation, without consuming too much and putting our health in jeopardy. In order to combat the onset of type 2 diabetes, we need to understand easy ways to manage sugar intake.


Here are ten important tips:

  1. Reduce the amount of processed foods you eat. Manufacturers often add sugar to pre-packaged and processed foods. Buy fresh ingredients and personally prepare your foods.
  2. Reduce the amount of sugar in recipes. Try to cut back the amount of sugar you use in recipes or look for an alternative such as honey or real maple syrup.
  3. Grab some fruit when you have a sweet tooth. Fruit is naturally sweet, so when you feel a sugar craving coming on, grab a piece of fruit. Snacking on fruit will give you that needed burst of flavor plus added nutrients.
  4. Buy fresh fruit rather than canned fruit. Fruit from cans often come with extra sugar added, so be wary. Fresh fruit only contains naturally occurring sugar.
  5. Moderate the amount of sugar you add to foods. Whether it's coffee, tea, cereal, etc., try to cut back on the amount of sugar you add to your food and drinks. Eventually, you may not need sugar for sweetening.
  6. Get rid of the candy jar. Eliminate temptations by removing the candy jar from your desk and other convenient places. Avoid places you know will have free treats on hand.
  7. Stay away from liquid calories (soda, sweetened drinks, teas or coffees). Sugary drinks are high in calories and many contain more sugar than what is recommended for an entire day. Drink water to quench your thirst.
  8. When you can't stay within the recommended values, make up for it with extra exercise. Exercise causes your muscles to use the extra sugar in your body as fuel and also increases efficiency of insulin within the body.
  9. Read nutrition labels and ingredient lists. There's no easier way to see how much sugar is in your food than to read the ingredient list. Be careful and aware of hidden forms of sugar (fructose, sucrose, syrup, etc.) and avoid foods that contain sugar within the first five ingredients.
  10. Be aware of portion sizes. Check the portion sizes of your food and beverages. For example, one serving of soda is 8 oz, but many people drink a 20 oz bottle in one sitting, at 2.5 servings per bottle.
santa-with-cookie.jpg Battling the Holiday Bulge

By Brianna Wolfe, RD, CD


With the holiday season fast approaching, we look forward to parties and celebrations, seeing family and friends, and of course, the food. However, all that delicious food often comes at a cost -- a few unwanted holiday pounds or inches around our waistline. Worse yet, studies show that those pounds tend to stick with us well past the holidays, or even permanently. Follow these tips to make the most of the holiday season, without tipping the scale.


If you're planning the meal:

  • Start light:  Most appetizers carry lots of calories in a small package. Avoid this by offering vegetables and dip, whole grain crackers and cheese, shrimp cocktail, or fruit skewers. 
  • Keep it fresh:  Make sure that plenty of fruits and vegetables are served, since they tend to be low in calories and fat and high in fiber. Try an autumn-inspired salad, sweet potatoes, or green beans without heavy sauces or toppings.
  • Go easy on the extras:  Don't overdo butter, gravy, cheese, salt, and cream sauces when cooking. Guests can always add more to their individual portion, if they would like.
  • Switch it up:  Swap recipe staples for lighter options, such as light cream cheese, skim milk, low-fat or lower-sodium soups, and so on. 

 If you're a guest:

  • Snack smart:  Eat a healthy snack shortly before a party or dinner, so as not to arrive ravenous. Try an apple and peanut butter, vegetables and dip, or a small portion of cheese and whole grain crackers. 
  • Scan ahead:  Before serving yourself, scan the buffet and plan to take some healthy options, such as fruits and vegetables, as well as some of your favorite foods. Savor each bite, and try to wait at least 20 minutes before going back for seconds.
  • Better beverages:  Choose calorie-free beverages whenever possible, such as sparkling water, diet soda, coffee or tea, as calories from beverages can add up quickly. Also, remember that alcoholic beverages can be high in calories, and that alcohol can increase hunger.
  • Focus on friends and family:  Once you're full, try to move away from the serving area to avoid mindless eating. Once finished eating, shift your focus to spending quality time with friends and family.
happy-winter-gloves.jpg Prevent Winter Blues

Fall is here, and daylight savings has expired. Seasonal affective disorder is a real and common form of depression spurred by lack of sunlight. Try these tips for beating the winter blues.


Let there be light. Get outside in the sun, even on chilly days. Take a drive and bask in the rays coming through your windshield, or sit near a window and soak up the daytime sun.


Chuckle! Laughter triggers endorphins, the body's feel-good chemical. Consider subscribing to a daily joke app, go to a comedy show, or swap jokes with co-workers over lunch.


Get physical. Exercise is good for your mind, body, and spirit. Take a walk. Join a gym. Play kickball with your kids. Anything that gets your heart pumping will also help battle the blahs.


Be friendly. Social interaction with colleagues and friends can help boost your mood and give you a break from stress. Organize a department potluck lunch or invite a group out for coffee after work.


Pay it forward. Volunteer during the upcoming holiday season to benefit your community and your spirit, too. Helping others can give your emotions a boost - a win-win situation for all.

doctor.jpg Should You Get a Flu Shot?


Is your employer offering flu shots this year? Be sure to get one!


Why get a flu shot?

Each year, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu-related complications, and about 36,000 people die of complications of the flu in the United States. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), influenza vaccination programs targeted to adults younger than 65 have demonstrated reductions of:

  • 34% to 44% in physician visits
  • 32% to 45% in lost workdays

If your employer does not offer flu shots at your workplace, call your primary care provider to ask about getting a flu shot. It's important for keeping yourself, your family, and your community healthy this flu season.

3-red-ornaments.jpg How to Help a Grieving Loved One This Holiday Season

By Leah Szemborski, EAP counselor

'Tis the season to be jolly--or is it? For some people the holiday season doesn't bring cheerful laughs and warm feelings. For some it brings tears of sadness and sorrow. Holidays can be a difficult time for those coping with grief. If you know someone who's grieving this holiday season, here are some ways you can help.


1) Let the person know it's ok to talk about it. Many grievers decide not to talk about their grief because they don't want to burden others, so you might take the lead in mentioning the deceased person's name or reminiscing about a favorite memory to show them you don't mind talking about it. Some people are afraid to do this in case it makes the griever cry; however, it's important to know that the grieving person probably thinks about the loss all the time anyway. If they cry it just means they feel comfortable enough to share their real feelings with you.


2) Let the person know it's ok NOT to talk about it. Sometimes grievers just need a break from feelings of sadness and loss. It's ok for them to laugh and be silly, and it's great if you can be the person that helps them feel comfortable enough to do that.


3) Let them take the lead. People deal with grief in a myriad of ways, and they are their own best judge of what they need at any given time. One minute they may need to cry and be sad, and another minute they may not want to think or talk about the loss at all. Sometimes grievers don't want to celebrate or just need time to be alone, while others may want to be surrounded by friends and family and celebrations. All is ok as long as the person isn't withdrawing from friends, family and usual activities for long periods of time (weeks or months), turning to alcohol or drugs to help them cope, engaging in risk-taking behaviors, or talking about harming themselves or suicide. When you're not sure what to do to help, it's always ok to ask. You might say something like, "What do you need right now?" or "How can I help?"


4) When in doubt, call EAP. EAP counselors are always willing to talk with you on the phone or in person to brainstorm ideas on how to help someone who is grieving, what to do if you suspect a loved one may be thinking of suicide, or to help you personally deal with grief and loss. 

soup_kitchen_volunteers.jpg Holiday Volunteer Opportunities


This year, instead of the usual office gift exchange or department after-hours cocktail party, why not rally employees around a good cause? It's a great way to build team morale while boosting the spirits of people in need this Christmas season.


Salvation Army Bell Ringers - All it takes is a couple hours of your time and a friendly smile to encourage store patrons to support year-round programs by donating to this annual charity drive.


Adopt-a-Family - Love to shop? Fill your cart with gifts and necessities for needy families in our area, or volunteer to sort and distribute packages.


Fill Their Plates - Several agencies and churches in our area need volunteers to serve holiday meals.


Party People - Many organizations invite volunteers to help with annual holiday parties for at-risk youth, seniors or disabled residents.


Crafty Christmas - Volunteers are needed to make hospital tray favors, sew quilts or decorate stores, to name just a few. 


For a complete list of volunteer opportunities available throughout our communities, and information on how to get involved, visit to download a holiday guide.

gingerbread-house.jpg Surviving the Holidays

By Leah Szemborski, EAP counselor 

With the holidays coming right around the corner, some people may already be feeling the impending busyness and stress upon them. It doesn't have to be that way! Make a commitment, right now, to focus on what's important and enjoy your holiday season.


1) Write down your holiday goals. Be clear with yourself what you want to get out of this holiday season. For some it might be "feeling relaxed when I go back to work on January 2," or "spending quality time with friends and family I don't see very often." I bet if you sit down and think about it you will realize there are only a few simple goals that you really want to accomplish this holiday season.


2) Evaluate what will help you achieve your goals, and what will detract from them. Holidays can get crazy, but do we do it to ourselves? Will sending out 50 Christmas cards help you achieve your goals of spending time with friends and family and making you feel relaxed? If yes, then great! Do it! But if not, let it go. Focus on what's important and be ok with saying goodbye to the rest.


3) Don't get mad at people whose holiday goals are different than yours. If your partner, child, or relative is going to be miserable during your holiday celebrations, then let them opt out. You will have a better time celebrating without the crabby-pants pouting in the corner, and they will have a better time celebrating their holiday the way they want to (even if that means not celebrating).

Contact Employer Solutions

To contact an Employer Solutions sales associate, call our office located in Menasha, at 1-800-541-0351, or e-mail, or