Featured Posts

UW Hospital's Farmers Market

UW Health is proud to host a Farmers Market every Thursday, July 30 - October 1 from 11am-2pm, on the outdoor patio near the Four Lakes Cafe at the CSC. Support our local farmers and UW Health entrepreneurs.

Read More

Fall 4 Walking

Fall 4 Walking is a stress management program with a physical activity twist. We will use walking as the gateway to studying mindful movement for stress reduction.

Read More


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?

Read More

Wellness In Actionman_woman_on_bikes_250

Check out your colleagues at the Madison Surgery Center!

In June, a small group of employees decided to participate in their own Bike to Work challenge. In an effort to promote staying active and going green, employees were encouraged to log miles on their bikes that were achieved from commuting to and from work. Over the month of June, this group collectively biked 693 miles!

The challenge was a huge success and they surpassed the number of miles they initially thought they could achieve.

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

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.

Unwrapped (Week 2): Not a Veggie Fan? Here are 5 Quick Tips to Add them to Your Day

Wellness Workshop


The Unwrapped Fruit and Vegetable Challenge is well underway! Perhaps the first week was a breeze and you quickly adapted to a serving of fruit at breakfast, plate full of veggies at lunch and dinner, and a few servings as snacks, too. Or, perhaps you did very well at achieving your daily servings of fruit, but are struggling with vegetables. If you are finding that you, or your family, are simply not veggie fans this post is for you!

Here are 5 quick tips to get to 5 servings of vegetables per day!

  1. Choose recipes where vegetables are sneaky additions.

Chili, meatloaf, casseroles, and pasta are great entrees that allow for a serving or two of vegetables with little notice. For example, shredding a zucchini or carrot into pasta, chili or meatloaf is a great way to add both fiber and another serving of vegetables. Or, consider tossing frozen peas or green beans into your latest casserole.

  1. Make stock from your trimmings.

If soup or stew is on the menu, don’t toss away the tops of carrots, spinach or broccoli stems, or even the wilted lettuce. Instead, save them to make a delicious stock or broth. Save these trimmings in a large container in the freezer. When the container is full, pour the contents into a large pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and let it cook away for up to 12 hours, adding water as needed. You will be left with a savory and aromatic broth for a variety of uses.

  1. Create a vegetable buffet.

People, especially kids, love to have a choice in what they eat. When serving pizza, kebabs, tacos, sandwiches, or salads lay out an assortment of vegetable toppings such as lettuce, tomatoes, green onions, colorful bell peppers, zucchini and summer squash, and fresh herbs. Check out more family-friendly recipes from UW Health or KidsEatRight.org.

  1. Make it fun!

Create vegetable recipes with colorful and fun shapes. Consider using cookie cutters to slice cucumbers, squash and peppers in creative shapes. Try to find a vegetable of every color of the rainbow to keep mealtime appealing. Or, consider a container garden with summer vegetables like tomatoes, peppers and fresh herbs.

  1. Add friendly flavors!

Remember that it takes 10 to 15 tries of a new food or vegetable to learn to like it. So, hang in there if you have only tried a certain vegetable 2 or 3 times. In the mean time, pair new vegetables with flavors that you enjoy.

  • Shred cheddar cheese over broccoli and cauliflower
  • Dip Carrots and Celery in peanut butter
  • Create a ranch or dill flavored dip for other raw vegetables with plain Greek yogurt and a flavoring packet.

If you have tried all of these tips, perhaps all you need is a little motivation. Seek out some friendly competition at home or at the office and share your progress. The Unwrapped Challenge tracker is available online in the Library. Looking for more family-friendly trackers? Try the UW Health 5210 tracking sheet or one from Fruit & Veggies More Matters.

For suggestions on what to count as one serving of fruit or vegetable consider the following:

1 Serving of Fruit equals:

  • 1 Cup 100% Fruit Juice (Try not to exceed 1 cup per day)
  • 1 Cup Fresh Fruit
  • ½ cup Frozen or Canned Fruit
  • ¼ Cup Dried Fruit

1 Serving of Vegetables equals:

  • 1 Cup 100% Vegetable Juice (Try not to exceed 1 cup per day)
  • ½ cup Cooked (Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes and Corn do not count)
  • 1 Cup Raw Vegetables, including Raw Leafy Greens

Unwrapped (Week 1): Start small on your way to 6 a day!

Wellness Workshop

Are you ready to prepare your plate and palate for a delicious new approach to nutrition? Over the next six weeks we will explore the health benefits that come from eating a variety of fruits and vegetables as well as, fun and tasty ways to add them to your day. Join the Unwrapped challenge to start your journey to six servings per day!

Or, perhaps you need a nudge? Let’s start by learning why fruit and vegetables are so healthful.

  1. Fruit and vegetables are nature’s multivitamin.

They are nutrient-dense which means that are loaded with vitamins and minerals. These vitamins and minerals are involved in almost every process and step in metabolism. We need vitamins and minerals to:

  • Help convert fat, carbohydrates and protein into energy
  • Build and maintain our body structure from bone and muscle to hair and nails
  • Help fight disease and support our immune system
  • Provide necessary fibers to keep aid digestion
  1. Fruit and vegetables also are a great way to create a balanced plate.

The USDA’s MyPlate program recommends one-quarter to one-half of the plate filled with vegetables and one-quarter or less of the plate with fruit. This is because fruit and vegetables are relatively low in calories and high in water and fiber, which can help to fill you up. Consider 200 calories of broccoli versus a 200 calorie donut; the volume is significantly different.


  1. Every color counts.

In addition to vitamins and minerals, fruit and vegetables have a variety of phytochemicals. A phytochemical is a plant-based antioxidant. Most phytochemicals are associated with the color, or pigment, of the skin or flesh of the fruit and vegetable. Consider tasting the rainbow with a variety of fruit and vegetables!

  • Red (apple, cranberries, tomato): Lycopene
  • Orange and Yellow (citrus, melon, carrots, squash): Carotenoids, Lutein
  • Green (leafy greens, broccoli, kiwi, avocado): Chlorophyll
  • Blue and Violet (berries, eggplant, beets, red grapes): Anthocyanin, Flavanoids

Consider this your gentle nudge to think about adding a serving (or extra serving) of fruit or vegetable to your day. Remember, small steps lead to big changes. By adding one serving per day each week of the Unwrapped challenge, you will be eating 6 servings of fruit and vegetables by July!

For additional details on the Unwrapped Challenge and to register click here! If you are still looking for ways to support local farmers and get your weekly share of fresh fruits and vegetables UW Health CSA vendors: Wholesome Harvest and Vermont Valley Farm still have shares available!

Add flavor to enjoy healthier meals

The McCormick® spice company has partnered with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the USDA and ChooseMyPlate to develop recipes and resources identifying ways to add flavor to our everyday meals without adding sodium or unhealthy fat.Flavor my plate image

Starting with just 10 basic everyday herbs and spices, you can create countless healthy and delicious meals.  Adding herbs and spices are a healthy and cost effective way to enhance vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins.


Flavor MyPlate

Unwrapped: Nutrition. Naturally.

Wellness Workshop

Prepare your palate for a tasty new approach to nutrition with the Unwrapped challenge!

Throughout the 6 week challenge, Unwrapped will show you how to enjoy nutrition naturally.  You will track your intake of fruits and vegetables with web-based tracking. The online features include FREE mobile access, Unwrapped Buddies, message boards, an activity tracker and more!

Your goal is to improve your intake of fruits and vegetables to ensure that your body receives the nutrients it needs to remain healthy and strong.  A bonus, for most individuals, is maintaining a healthy weight and boosting your immune function! 

Unwrapped Challenge Schedule

Monday, 6/22/2015 to Sunday, 8/2/2015


1.  Go to UW Health Unwrapped Challenge. 

2.  On the left navigation bar, find Click Here to Register.  Accept the Terms of Service.

3.  Enter our company password UWHealth2015. Note: The password is case-sensitive.

4.  Create a user profile.  Do not use your UW Health username and password!

Frequently Asked Questions

Kick Off Rallies

June 11, 11:30a-1:00p – CSC booth in H elevator lobby near cafeteria

June 12, 11:30a-12:00p – 8501 Excelsior, room 113

June 16, 11:30a-12:30p – walkway between 1 and 20 S Park Street

June 18, 11:30a-12:00p – AOB, room 116

June 19, 11:30a-12:00p – ASB, room 160.5