Flavor MyPlate: Register Now!

During October, resources and events throughout UW Health will provide you the tools to incorporate spices from many cultures. Discover versatile seasonings to expand your cooking skills, recipe box and excite your taste buds.

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Exercise Classes

Working out with colleagues is a great way to stay motivated and energized. Wellness Options at Work offers classes to all UWHC, UWMF and SMPH employees.

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Stress seems to cascade from one encounter into another -Wouldn’t it be helpful if we could hit a “re-start” button and keep each encounter separate, unique and contained?

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Wellness In Action

The Security Department has continued to pass their BOP techniques onto the rest of the Security Department, and have had their own group B.O.P.ing sessions.


If you have a story to share demonstrating Wellness In Action, send a comment or photo to wellness@uwhealth.org.

Week 3: Walking for Stress Management

I stroll serenely,week3walkingforstressmanagementpicture

     With my eyes,

         My shoes,

            My rage,

                Forgetting everything.  

                                                        -Pablo Neruda (translated)


Anatomy of WalkingGraphic_AnatomyofWalking_final


This graphic says it all!

(click on picture to enlarge)

Yet, even though we know that walking is good for us, many of us still don’t walk.  Why?


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Flavor MyPlate: Register Now!

Click here to register NOW!

By registering you will receive recipe ideas, event information, resources and education. *This program is free of charge and will be $0.00 when ‘added to your cart’. 

Cooking with Flavor to Reduce Sodium and Fat

The latest research shows flavor may be an effective – and enjoyable – way to reduce sodium and fat.  Simply adding more spices and herbs to the foods we eat could get us closer to meeting the recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.  

Making healthier, home cooked meals doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice flavor. Herbs and spices are packed with flavor you can add to your favorite meals every day. They make it easier to enjoy more of the foods you want to eat, like vegetables, fruits and whole grains, and less of the ingredients you want to avoid, like fat, salt and sugar. It’s that simple.


View these practical uses for basil, oregano, bay leaves, dill, parsley…and more!

During October, resources and events throughout UW Health will provide you the tools to incorporate spices from many cultures.  Discover versatile seasonings to expand your cooking skills, recipe box and excite your taste buds. Your favorite whole grains, fruits, vegetables, meat and fish will never be bland again!

Week 2: Mindful Movement


Our true home is in the present moment

To live in the present moment is a miracle

The miracle is not to walk on water

The miracle is to walk on the green Earth-

In the present moment.

Thich Nhat Hanh


Week 2:  Mindful Movement

Being Mindful  addresses deeply rooted human desires to regulate our emotions, reduce stress, to quiet the nagging voice in our minds that is repetitive, to improve our focus, to allow us to be fully engaged in what we are doing, and to UNPLUG from overwhelming input and calm ourselves.

Improved immunity, improved memory and focus, reduced stress and depression, more compassion? Are these claims substantiated? Check out the e-newsletter from the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California-Berkeley to see the research.



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Week 1: The Labyrinth:

week1labyrinth picture

A Path is made by walking on it….Chung Tzu


Welcome to Wellness Options at Work’s Fall 4 Walking program.  Today we start our six week journey into stress management. We will use the labyrinth to track our individual progress during Fall 4 Walking.

A labyrinth is a symbol, a pattern or an energy field that contains a single pathway which turns back into itself many times before leading to the center. When the center is reached, the pathway out includes the same turns onto itself. 

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UW Hospital’s Farmers Market

July 30th – October 1st, 2015Capture

Calling all locavores! UW Health is proud to announce that we will be hosting a Farmers’ Market at the UW Hospital on Thursdays, July 30-October 1, 11am-2pm, on the outdoor patio near the Four Lakes Cafe. We will be featuring farmers from the Farley Center, Farmers from UW’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) partnerships and our very own employees. This market will be a celebration of fresh food, good nutrition, as well as, an opportunity to support our local farmers and UW Health entrepreneurs! 

*Farmers Market Extends its Hours: 

  • Thursdays, 2pm-6am (Friday) in the Mendota Market (limited selection of produce)

Unwrapped Challenge (Week 6): It’s More Than a Challenge

Wellness Workshop

We have arrived at the last week of the Unwrapped Challenge. During the last six weeks we have explored:

This week we are going to dive into how to make the Unwrapped challenge more than a challenge, but a habit. Small changes become lifestyle habits via the following steps:

Start small. The goal would be to start so small and make it so easy that you can’t say no. Perhaps, this was one extra serving of fruit and/or vegetables daily.

Increase the habit in very small ways. These small steps are more small changes, so this may have been the addition of one fruit or vegetable serving per day each week. This may have looked like one serving of fruit and vegetable each day during week 1 and now in week 6 you are up to 2-3 servings of fruit per day and 3-5 servings of vegetables daily.

As you build up, break up. In the beginning, we were striving to simply eat more fruit and vegetables, but after recognizing the differences between these two food groups we needed to divide these into fruit servings and vegetable servings. This is an important step to keep the habit reasonable and prevent burn-out.

When you slip, get back on track quickly. Rather than striving for perfection, set yourself up for success with realistic goals. Try to expect bumps along the way and ignore that all-or-nothing attitude. If you didn’t eat any fruit or vegetables today, make tomorrow a new day.

Make it sustainability. Seek out resources early and often that can help to support this new healthy habit. This may be a buddy who you share a CSA share with, a community garden or a local Farmers Market experience. In fact, the UWHC will be launching its Farmers Market this Thursday, July 30th.

The UWHC Farmers Market will be on Thursdays, starting July 30 through October 1 from 11am to 2pm, on the outdoor patio near the Four Lakes Cafe. We will feature farmers from the Farley Center, farmers from UW Health’s Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) partnerships and our very own employees!  This market will be a celebration of fresh food, good nutrition, as well as, an opportunity to support our local farmers and UW Health entrepreneurs! It also is a fantastic resource to sustain your efforts from this Unwrapped Challenge.


Unwrapped (Week 5): Perk Up Your Produce

Wellness Workshop

Welcome to week 5 of the Unwrapped Challenge. There are two more weeks in the challenge and we are hoping to help you keep this habit strong with tips for perking up the flavor in your produce. 

The average American consumes about 3,400 mg of sodium everyday. This is nearly 150% of the recommended intake. The American Heart Association and Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourage Americans to strive for no more than a teaspoon of salt per day, or 2,300 mg. By choosing salt-free flavors one can:

  • Lower their blood pressure.
  • Decrease their risk of heart attack.
  • Lower their risk of stroke.

A person can also liven up the same produce day-after-day with new flavors! Read on for new ways to enjoy your favorite veggies.

Ground spices and seeds.

  • Consider coriander seed for Beets and Cauliflower.
  • Look to cumin for a new way to spice up sautéed peppers and onions.
  • Fennel is a delicious compliment to beets, celery, peas and winter squash.
  • Caraway seeds help to add appeal to cabbage, carrots and turnips.

Dry herbs.

  • Eggplant and summer squash are great partners for Italian herbs including oregano, thyme, basil and rosemary.
  • Sage can perk up tomatoes, onions, lima beans and carrots.
  • Dried parsley is also a flavorful addition to root vegetables including parsnips, potatoes, beets and turnips.

Fresh herbs.

  • Mediterranean salads often use fresh herbs as greens, such as parsley in Tabbouli salads.
  • Fresh basil is the star of pesto.
  • Chives provide a light onion flavor for fish, chicken, dressings and salads.
  • Try green beans or asparagus sprinkled with fresh thyme.


  • Assorted vinegars are a great base for dressings but also can raise the flavor from dull to delicious.
  • Consider raspberry or balsamic vinegars for dressings.
  • Explore other infused vinegars, too!


  • Fresh lemon, lime and orange juices are a fresh way to brighten a dish. Don’t stop at the juice but consider the zest, too.
  • Lemon juice will perk up the color and flavor of dark green vegetables like broccoli, green beans, asparagus and spinach.
  • Lime juice provides preservation and flavor for guacamole and tomato dishes.
  • A splash of orange juice is perfect for spring salads with fresh, tender greens or crunchy jicama.

Looking for more ideas?

  • Join UW Health’s dietitians for a fresh vegetable cooking demonstration this Thursday, July 23 from 11am to 1pm outside the Four Lakes Café. The demo will feature seasonal salads bursting with flavor.
  • Follow the Flavor MyPlate series in the Nutrition section of the UW Health Wellness at Work Blog.
  • Stay tuned for future UW Health cooking demonstrations at the new UWHC Farmers Market starting on Thursday, July 30th!

Unwrapped (Week 4): Decode the Lingo around Fruit and Vegetables

Wellness Workshop

Local, organic, and GMO-free! What do you think of when you hear these words? Most people think of a food that is healthy. These words are often used to describe fruit and vegetables, but what do they mean? Are local, organic and GMO-free fruit and vegetables more healthful than the alternatives? Let’s decode this lingo and face the facts in week 4 of the Unwrapped Challenge. 


Being green, getting sustainable and saving the environment have become more than trends and hobbies. Reducing waste and pollution has become everyone’s business and can truly benefit not only the globe, but individuals. Locavores have sprouted up as part of this movement. Locavores are persons who consume food that is locally produced. “Local foods” are currently not defined and thus they are self-defined, meaning that individuals can define what they believe is local. Some organizations say that it is regional, others say it is within 100 miles, etc. The closer the distance the more fresh the food; the more fresh the food the higher the nutritional quality because farmers and manufactures do not have to artificially ripen the fruit and vegetables, or utilize as many preservatives. Therefore, local fruits and vegetables are not necessarily healthier than their long-haul counter-parts, but they do often have higher amounts of vitamins and minerals. Buying local also helps to support the local economy and save the environment.


4colorsealJPGMany consumers often confuse the terms “local,” “organic,” and “natural.” “Natural” foods should not be confused with organic foods, as the term “natural” is currently un-defined. Organic refers to how foods are grown and processed. Organic techniques encourage soil and water conservation, reduce pollution and are considered sustainable practices. For example, conventional farming would use synthetic (man-made) fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, as well as, antibiotics to protect the food.  Organic farmers would use natural fertilizers (manure), encourage beneficial insects and birds and rotate crops to protect them and encourage growth.

Additionally, organic meat and poultry are fed organic feed and allowed more room to roam with access to the outdoors to minimize illness.  Organic foods that are at least 95% organic bear the certification seal from the USDA.  Current researchers demonstrate that organic foods and conventional foods contain a about the same amount of nutrients (calories, vitamins, minerals). However, the research remains inconclusive on if non-organic foods lead to health ailments due to the pesticide content.  To be on the safe side, consider purchasing non-organic fruit and vegetables known as the “clean fifteen” and save your money to purchase organic varieties of the “dirty dozen.”

Clean Fifteen

  1. Avocado
  2. Sweet Corn
  3. Pineapple
  4. Cabbage
  5. Sweet peas
  6. Onion
  7. Asparagus
  8. Mango
  9. Papaya
  10. Kiwi
  11. Eggplant
  12. Grapefruit
  13. Cantaloupe
  14. Cauliflower
  15. Sweet PotatoDirty Dozen plus Greens
  1. Apple
  2. Peach
  3. Nectarine
  4. Strawberries
  5. Grapes
  6. Celery
  7. Spinach
  8. Sweet Bell and Hot Peppers
  9. Cucumbers
  10. Cherry Tomatoes
  11. Snap Peas
  12. Potatoes
  13. Collard Greens


Non-GMO-projectGenetically Modified Organisms (GMO) are foods that have had a gene inserted via a laboratory process to alter the original food with a desired characteristic. Most GMO produce is altered to help:

  • Increase growth and yield.
  • Enhance the flavor or texture.
  • Increase resistance to bugs and pathogens.
  • Increase tolerance to harsh environments (temperature).

The research is inconclusive on whether or not GMO foods are less healthful than non-GMO foods. At present, both GMO and non-GMO foods are safe for consumption. Therefore, neither is healthier to eat than the other. If you would prefer to avoid, GMO foods it is best to choose organic produce because organic fruit and vegetables cannot be genetically modified. For more information on GMO-free foods visit NonGMOProject.org

Unwrapped (Week 3): Budget-Friendly Tips for Eating More Fruits and Vegetables

Wellness Workshop

A common perception is that it costs more money to eat healthy. Is this true? Let’s explore this popular barrier to eating well in week 3 as well as share budget-friendly tips for eating more fruits and vegetables.

In 2013, a meta-analysis and systematic review was published in an effort to explore if healthier foods and eating habits cost more than the less healthy alternative. The researchers concluded that based on current prices, it costs $1.50 more per day to eat “healthy.” This additional cost can be a true barrier to healthy eating, but also may be trivial in comparison to the financial burden of nutrition-related chronic diseases including obesity, diabetes and heart disease. At present, these diseases account for costs of $393 billion per year, or about $1200 per American per year. Therefore, the decision is up to you. Do you want to pay more now, or pay more later?

Practice the following penny-pinching tips to help enjoy plentiful produce today.

  • Shop from a list. Craft a grocery list based on your home’s fruit and veggie must-have’s and the meal plans for the week. Then, in the store stick to the list and keep your cart free of impulse purchases.
  • Use the unit price. Check out the unit price on the shelf price sticker which will tell you how much you are paying per the weight of the object. This can be very helpful when comparing apples to apples. 
  • Use the produce scales. Often times the price of fresh produce can be quite appetizing, but don’t be fooled by the per pound price. Be sure to weigh your produce that is listed per pound to avoid surprises at the register.
  • Garnish your knife skills. The more packaging and preparation done for the consumer, the higher the cost of the food item. Consider making time for weekly slicing and dicing, to prepare fruit and raw vegetables for the week.
  • Opt for store brands. Store and generic brands may not have fancy packaging, but can save up to 50% on any item. Don’t stray away from canned and frozen fruits and vegetables. During the winter these can be great ways to still achieve your daily servings. Choose those frozen without extra seasonings and sauces and canned varieties with no added salt or sugar.
  • Celebrate the season. Seek out produce that is in-season to save extra dollars. A seasonal produce guide can be a helpful tool. Summer produce includes bell peppers, berries, carrots, melon, cherries, corn, cucumbers, green beans, peaches, plums, summer squash, and tomatoes. You will see all of these fruits and veggies now at local farmer’s markets. Look no further than UW Hospitals and Clinics on July 30th for our very own farmer’s market! More details to come.
  • Join a CSA. Community support agriculture, can save you money while supporting a local farmer. While the cost can be high up front, it can save you money throughout the season. Also, some insurance providers provide reimbursement for this cost. Check out UW Health’s CSA partnerships.