Maintain, Don't Gain Holiday Challenge

You can maintain your weight this holiday season. And, you don’t have to do this alone. Give yourself the gift of health and join Wellness Options at Work’s Maintain, Don’t Gain Holiday Challenge to help you stay on track.

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Flavor MyPlate

Join us each week to learn the culture and cuisine of a region using flavorful spices and herbs! Our UW Health Chefs will feature recipes popular in various regions of the world. Our next stop is India! Join us as we soon travel to Greece and Vietnam!

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Stairs for Wellness

Wellness Options at Work is pleased to offer a simple stair walking program to encourage UW Health faculty and staff to use the stairs and incorporate physical activity into the work day. Participate in climbing skyscrapers from all around the world.

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Wellness In Action

Check out our latest Fall 4 Walking testimonial:

“No danger of excitement wearing off! Just beginning to hit my stride (pun intended)! Going deeper into the relaxed pace and awareness of my surroundings. Love how the day just peels off! This has absolutely been the best wellness program I’ve participated in yet! I feel SO much better in mind, body and spirit after I walk mindfully – thank you for introducing this!” 

If you have a story to share demonstrating Wellness In Action, send a comment or photo to

Sleep, How Much is Enough?

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Do you really need seven hours of sleep each night? During the holiday season, getting sleep is even more important. According to Mary Kink, MD, sleep medicine specialist with Wisconsin Sleep, the right amount of sleep is best determined by how you feel the next day. Listen to your body; ideally, you should wake up refreshed and alert, not drowsy and fatigued and repeatedly hitting snooze. What does it take to get good sleep?

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Flavor MyPlate: Cleveland Clinic style

It seems our colleagues to the southeast have similar thoughts on the benefits of spices!  Check out the Daily Wellness Tip by by Cleveland Clinic Wellness.

Spice advice: Add chili pepper, oregano or cinnamon to your next meal to boost flavor and nutrition.

Adding herbs and spices is one of the easiest ways to add flavor to food, without the need for extra salt. What’s even better is that herbs and spices do more for your body than just please your taste buds! Here are a few of our favorites: 
Chili pepper. Chili pepper contains capsaicin, a compound that boosts metabolism. Chili pepper can also help reduce pain, boost immunity, and even fight stomach ulcers. Try: White Bean Chicken Chili.

Oregano. This herb, which means “mountain joy” in Greek, is rich in phytonutrients and antioxidant activity. Oregano also has powerful antibacterial properties, making it a strong weapon for fighting stomach ailments. Try: Baked Tomato and Feta over Mixed Greens.

Cinnamon. Cinnamon contains essential vitamins and minerals; it can also relieve indigestion, lower LDL (lousy) cholesterol, and improve insulin sensitivity to decrease blood glucose levels if you have pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes. Try a teaspoon in your Every-Morning Oatmeal.

Welcome to Maintain, Don’t Gain Holiday Challenge!

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Welcome to Wellness Options at Work’s 9th annual Maintain, Don’t Gain Holiday Challenge!  This seven-week challenge provides you with an opportunity to focus on five healthy habits throughout the holiday season and maintain your weight.

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Flavor MyPlate: Sneaky Sodium

Our Chicken Tikka Masala recipe surprised us when we calculated the nutrition analysis data.  Take a look. Chicken Tikka Masala Nutrition

In most recipes that call for a canned product, this will be the obvious Masalacontributor of excess sodium.  But, this recipe did not. However, when preparing the nutrition facts data canned tomatoes were selected as one of the ingredients.  This, in addition to prepared chicken, added sodium that was not actually intended to be a part of this recipe.  

A good take home lesson:  Be careful when using canned foods in exchange for fresh that you choose a no added salt option.  Also, season proteins or sauces at the end of preparation to gauge if you need “just a pinch” of salt.  Or, in the case of Chicken Tikka Masala, you could try extra cumin, coriander or black pepper to increase the flavor.  Enjoy!

Flavor MyPlate: Cayenne Pepper

*cayenne pepper Main Flavor: Spicy*

  • This spice comes from a hot pepper in the Capsicum family
  • Traditionally used in flavorful Southwest salsa, Indian chutneys, Thai curry, Mexican enchiladas and Asian stir-fry

Try it at Home: Spicy Indian SalmonRECIPESpicyIndianSalmon_NEW

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 pound salmon, skin removed
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
¼ teaspoon tumeric
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon garam masala (a blend of Indian spices)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Lightly coat a baking dish with olive oil and arrange salmon in the baking dish. Combine the garlic, ginger, and spices, and rub onto the salmon. Using a fork, poke several holes into the salmon. Cover and marinate for 20 minutes at room temperature or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake the salmon, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes. The salmon is done when it easily flakes with a fork. Squeeze lime juice over salmon before serving.

Serving size: 3 ounces cooked
Serves: 4
spicy indian salmon nutrition
Recipe modified from


Flavor MyPlate: Garlic Powder

Main Flavor: Pungent and Nuttygarlic powder

  • Not to be confused with “garlic salt,” this spice comes directly from garlic cloves that have been dried and ground into powder. Garlic is native to central Asian nations.
  • Can be used in Indian or Asian sauces, stir fries, Mediterranean hummus and Tzatziki sauce, Mexican Enchiladas, or guacamole
  • Western use: Sauces, soups, dressings, pasta, chicken, steak, vegetables, or spreads for sandwiches and bread

Try it at Home: Cinnamon Sweet Potato, Butternut Squash, and Apple Soup

3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and dicedcreamy-carrot-and-sweet-potato-soup
1 butternut squash, peeled and diced
3 medium apples, peeled and diced
5 cups vegetable broth
1 medium onion, chopped
¼ tsp. garlic powder*
1 large carrot, diced (optional)
1 stalk of celery, diced (optional)
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¾ cups light coconut milk
1- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon nutmeg
Black pepper to taste

Peel and cut the vegetables. Pour olive oil into in large pot and place on medium heat. Add the onion, celery and carrot.  Cook for about 15 minutes, until the onions turn translucent. Add 1 tsp of ground cinnamon and ½ tsp nutmeg to the pot, stirring and cooking for 30 seconds. Next, add the squash, sweet potatoes, apples and broth. Add enough water to cover the contents by 1 inch. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce to low heat, cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes. Let cool for 15-20 minutes. Puree using a hand mixer, food processor or standard blender.  Stir in the coconut milk. Add pepper, garlic and more cinnamon or nutmeg to taste. 

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: ~1 hour
*Garlic powder may be substituted with fresh garlic cloves using the following conversion: 1 clove equals 1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder
Cinnamon apple and sweet potato soup


Week 6: Maintaining Mindful Movement


The pauses between the notes—-ah, that is where the art resides!

Artur Schnabel


Week 6: Maintaining Mindful Movement

This is the last week of Fall 4 Walking. Please complete your participation by filling out the Fall 4 Walking survey. Your feedback drives program change.   click here to complete survey (survey no longer available) 

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Flavor MyPlate: Philippines!

Join us as we continue to travel the world with

LCD slide (2)Our next stop is the Philippines!

So far we have explore the cultures of Argentina and Mexico.  We will soon travel to India, Greece and Vietnam.  Join us each week to learn about the culture and cuisine using flavorful spices and herbs!

Our UW Health Chefs will feature recipes popular in these regions of the world.  Visit the events link to discover all that is happening with Flavor MyPlate!

Flavor MyPlate: Cinnamon

cinnamonMain Flavor: Sweet

  • Originating from China, India and Indonesia, this spice comes from the bark of Cinnamomum trees
  • In Mexico, cinnamon is used for Mole Poblano to create a rich, brown sauce with peppers, various spices, tomatoes, fruits, nuts, broth and chocolate. This sauce is often served over chicken.
  • Cinnamon is also found in the Jewish dish Kugel, German desserts and Indian curries.


Try it at Home: Lebanese Cinnamon-Poached Chicken and Rice Recipe

  • 4 bone-in chicken breast halves, skin removed
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 2 cups whole grain rice, uncooked
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamoncinnamon chicken
  • 2 Tbsp.butter 
  • 1 large white or yellow onion, thinly sliced 
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley 
  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
  • ¼ cup slivered toasted almonds


  1. Place the chicken breast halves in a stockpot. Add 6 cups of cold water, or enough to cover the chicken.  Add the cinnamon stick. Over medium-high heat, bring contents to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked.
  2. Remove the chicken, strain and set the liquid aside. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred it into large bite-size pieces and remove the bones.
  3. In the same stockpot, place the chicken, 4 cups of the strained cooking liquid, rice, pepper, cinnamon and butter. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. In small skillet over medium-high heat, saute the onion and pepper in olive oil. Mix the sauteed vegetables into the chicken and rice. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve on a large platter decorated with parsley, pine nuts and almonds.

Serving size: 1¼ cups 
Serves 8

Cook time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Cinnamon-Poached Chicken

Recipe modified from

Try Cinnamon Sweet Potato, Butternut Squash and Apple Soup for another seasonal recipe with cinnamon!











Food Day at UW Health

Food Day is a celebration of real food and sustainability efforts. It is also a day dedicated to inspiring Americans to support real, home-grown food and nutrition policies. Food Day is celebrated nationally on October 24th!



UW Health’s celebration of Food Day festivities were on Wednesday, October 21, 2015!


Ellen and Lisa

The celebration started at 11:30am near the Four Lakes Cafe and Mendota Market at UW Hospital with a cooking demonstration featuring a fresh and crisp Kale and Apple Salad with Cider Vinaigrette created by Executive Chef, Ellen and Sous Chef, Lisa. Did you miss this tasty salad? Make it at home with recipe featured in the link above!

Many joined senior leadership in celebrating with an Apple Crunch at Noon
outside of Mendota Market.


This Food Day tradition was started in New York City and participants organization-wide bit into a crisp apple [CRUNCH] at the same time. Local apples were donated by Sysco for this event.

Consider attending the Great Lakes Apple Crunch on October 22 at Noon!


We were also thrilled to see so many stop by the Q&A booth on UW Health Sustainability Efforts, hosted by Shannon Bunsen, Chair of Sustainability Committee, and Sarah Larson, REAP Food Group.



Thank you for your feedback on the new Sustainable Food Purchasing Policy.

If you missed this opportunity, we welcome any additional feedback via email at