Why Good Nutrition Should Matter to You

A Strong Immune System, More Energy and a Reduced Risk in Chronic Diseases Are Just A Few Benefits to a Healthy Diet.

Good nutrition is an important part of living a healthy lifestyle. The food choices you make affect your health as well as how you feel. When you combine a well-balanced diet and physical activity, you can maintain a good weight and reduce your risk of chronic diseases.

How Nutrition Impacts Your Overall Health

Unhealthy eating habits have greatly contributed to obesity in the United States with about one-third of U.S. adults (33.8%) being obese and approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2—19 years being obese.1 A poor diet is associated with major health risks that includes heart disease, type 2 diabetes, heart attack, stroke and hypertension. When you eat healthy foods, you are protecting yourself from these health problems as well as nourishing your body. Making small changes to your diet can go a long way and put you on a path to better health. Now that you know the impact that nutrition has on your body, you can enjoy the many benefits of having a healthy diet.

The Benefits to Good Nutrition

Maintains Your Immune System
A healthy diet keeps your immune system strong, balanced and ready to fight against viruses and infections such as colds and flu. Some nutrients to support immune function are vitamin A, C, D, E, Iron and Zinc that are found in various foods such as strawberries, oranges, salmon, spinach and poultry.

Improves Your Well-Being
Eating a well-balanced diet reduces physical and mental health because good nutrition enables people to be more active. You can protect your health and well-being by ensuring that your diet has the essential fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.  

Gives You Energy
Our bodies get their energy from the foods and liquids we ingest. The main nutrients our body uses for energy are protein, fats and carbohydrates found in whole-grain breads and starchy vegetables. Water is just as important to prevent dehydration that causes a lack of energy.

Increases Your Focus
Food affects the way we think. When your body is low in glucose, the brain does not receive the energy it needs to remain focused and sharp. Eating fruits and vegetables throughout your day will keep your mind engaged.

Positively Affects Your Mood
A diet rich in protein, carbohydrates and low in fat have a positive effect on your mood because it provides a supply of iron and omega-3 fatty acids. When people feel happy they are more likely to make healthy food decisions.

To learn more tips and information, contact WellSpark Health at 1-877-224-7350 or [email protected]


[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. U.S. Obesity Trends. 2011. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/databases.html

Five Simple Ways to Eat Your Way Healthy

Transform Your Eating Habits with these Easy Tips.

Eating right can control weight and reduce your risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Even losing just a few pounds can benefit your health. Make smart choices to adopt an overall healthier eating plan. A well-balanced diet provides energy to keep you active through your day.

Not sure where to start? Eating healthy does not have to be complicated or expensive. There is a lot of information on how to eat healthy and we understand it sometimes can feel like too much to think about. Healthy eating starts with consciously making healthy food choices. You do not need to be a chef to create healthy meals. Good nutrition is about having a well-rounded diet. Here are some tips to eating healthy in a way that’s easy to understand.

Try These 5 Simple Tips When Planning Your Next Meal

Plan meals to include different colored vegetables throughout the week. Be sure to include vegetables from all five vegetable subgroups to mix up the nutrients and vitamins you can get from each group – dark-green, starchy, red-orange, beans and peas and other vegetables. Most vegetables are low in calories and fat. Vegetables are rich in potassium which will decrease bone loss. Keep meals simple and economical. Shopping Tip: Buy fresh vegetables in season since they cost less.

Choose fruit not only as your snack but try it for dessert instead of sugary sweets. Make most of your choices whole or cut-up fruit rather than juice to ensure you are getting the dietary fiber they provide. Most fruits are low in calories, sodium and fat. Fruits provide various nutrients such as vitamins C and A and folate as well as dietary fiber and potassium. Cooking Tip: Use fruits to sweeten a recipe instead of adding sugar. 

Try brown rice instead of white and whole grain bread for sandwiches. Shopping tip: Look for words “100% whole grain” or “100 whole wheat” on the food label. Whole grains provide more nutritional value such as fiber than refined grains. Cooking Tip: Cook extra brown rice when you have time to meal prep for the work week. Refrigerate half the portion and serve later as a side dish or in a salad.

Protein foods include both animal (meat, poultry, eggs and seafood) and plant (beans, nuts, peas, soy products and seeds) sources. Vary your protein food choices and eat plant protein foods more often. Adding plant-based proteins into the rotation, like chickpeas, lentils, red and black beans, quinoa, tofu and almonds will help with fiber intake. Plant-based proteins are naturally low in saturated fat and high in fiber. Meal Prep Tip: Add a half cup of beans or peas to your salad plate to add texture, flavor and fiber.

Make low-fat or fat-free milk or yogurt part of your meal. Dairy products provide calcium, vitamin D, potassium and protein. These nutrients work together to strengthen our bones and teeth. When milk products are adequately consumed they can decrease your risk of osteoporosis, a condition where bones become brittle and weak. For those who are lactose-intolerant, then choose lactose-free alternatives. Meal Prep Tip: Try adding fresh fruit to plain low-fat yogurt for breakfast instead of buying the flavored/sweetened variety.

Want more info or tips like these? Contact WellSpark Health at 877.224.7350 or [email protected].


Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, http://eatright.org

United States Department of Agriculture, https://www.myplate.gov/

CDC, https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/index.html

The information provided is NOT intended to be medical advice and should not be treated as a substitute for professional medical advice and care. Contact your physician when seeking any medical advice.

Why Living a Sedentary Lifestyle Might be Putting your Health at Risk

Not Getting Enough Physical Activity is a Major Cause of Chronic Disease that Comes with High Health and Financial Costs

It’s easy to fall victim to a sedentary lifestyle when much of your daily activities involve little to no physical effort on your part. Think about how much sitting you do in a day: sitting at the breakfast table, sitting for your commute to work, sitting at your desk job for eight hours and then sitting on the couch at the end of a long work day to relax. That’s a lot of sitting. What we aren’t thinking about in these moments is how unhealthy all this inactivity is for us.

According to the World Health Organization, one in four adults aren’t moving enough. Thanks in part to the convenience of modern technology and an increase number of sedentary jobs, we’re becoming more inactive than ever. The American Heart Association found that only 20% of the current workforce have physically active jobs. Plus, sedentary jobs have increased by 83% since 1950. Sedentary lifestyles are becoming increasingly widespread and a serious health issue. So much sitting around can lead to many health risks.

How does leading an inactive lifestyle put your health at risk?
Living an inactive lifestyle affects your body in several ways including weight gain, bone loss, negative impact on your mental health, poor immune support and blood circulation. Most importantly, physical inactivity or lack of exercise is one of the major causes of many chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke or diabetes. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), six in ten adults in the US have a chronic disease and four in ten adults have two or more. Not getting enough physical activity comes with high health and financial costs. Chronic diseases are conditions that generally require ongoing medical attention making them the leading drivers of the nation’s $3.5 trillion in annual health care costs. When you live an inactive lifestyle, you raise your risk for the following:

  • Heart diseases including heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • High Blood Pressure
  • High Cholesterol
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

How to Start Moving Towards an Active Lifestyle?
If you are not getting enough physical activity in your day, it’s not too late to change and significantly reduce your risk of chronic health conditions and premature death. Make a conscious effort. Whether you are stuck behind a desk all day or just struggling to get motivated for exercise, here are just a few ways to help you get moving at work and during your leisure time.

Increase Your Physical Activity at Home and at Work
If you have been inactive, start off slow and add more exercise gradually. If you have a health condition, we recommend you speak to your doctor before you start any new physical activities. Try not to feel overwhelmed. Remind yourself that getting some exercise is always better than getting none. Work to reach a goal or use the CDC recommended amount of exercise guidelines.Ways to be more active at work:

  • Go for a walk in the parking lot or around your office complex. Ask a co-worker to join you that shares your passion to get fit for additional support.  
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Stand up periodically while at your desk. Find out if your company will invest in a stand-up desk that allows you to adjust the height, so you sit or stand throughout the day.
  • Get up from your chair and move around your office building
  • During you break or lunch hour, commit to getting out of the office to walk around or run errands allowing you to be active.
  • Instead of sending an email or calling a co-worker, walk to their office and have a face-to-face chat.

Ways to be more active at home:

  • Stretch during commercial breaks
  • Go for a walk or light run in your neighborhood
  • Invest in some less exercise equipment such as hand weights, exercise mats, yoga balls and stretch bands to start your own workout.
  • Try a physical activity tracker. If you’re already using WellSpark Health to track your daily movements then you know how helpful they are to boost your motivation to work out which in turn makes you healthier.
  • Household chores, gardening and yardwork can also help with physical activity. Try doing them at a vigorous pace.

These are just some ways you can incorporate more physical activities in your daily routine. There are many ways to get exercise but only you can determine what method works best for you. Keep reminding yourself that getting some exercise is always better than getting none.  

Start Feeling the Benefits of Physical Activity
Make physical activity a priority. Incorporating physical activity into your daily routine will improve your quality of life in addition to lowering your risk of chronic diseases.  Physical activity and exercise can have immediate and long-term benefits.  You’ll start to feel better and have a healthier state of mind.

  • Manage and lose weight
  • Reduce your risk for Type 2 diabetes and heart disease
  • Lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Lift your mood and get better sleep
  • Increase your ability to perform everyday activities
  • Improve your cognitive thinking skill

To learn more tips and information, contact WellSpark Health at 1-877-224-7350 or [email protected].

How Employers Can Provide Effective Leadership & Take Care of Their Workforce During COVID-19

Proactive Tips Employers Can Take to Keep Employee Morale and Engagement Up During the Crisis.

Whether you’re the owner of a mom-and-pop shop or a decision-maker at a larger company, it’s important to know the different structures for group health insurance plans. Knowing these differences can help you and your business find a plan that works best for your employees and your bottom line.

By now, most of the workforce has shifted to working remotely from home during the pandemic. This change can cause serious declines in employee productivity, engagement and overall team performance. Gallup has found that universally employees look to leaders for trust, compassion, stability, and hope. These needs are especially needed during a crisis such as COVID-19. It’s crucial for employers to maintain and strengthen employee communications to bolster morale and continue to provide effective leadership. Just as business operations have been severely impacted so has your workforce. Employers can continue to maintain a company culture of positivity and productivity through weekly check-ins digitally and telephonically sharing events and uplifting stories. Keeping your office culture intact, helping to keep employee morale up and easing mental and financial strains are just a few ways to reduce stress for you employees.

Here are some proactive tips employers can take to improve overall team performance during COVID-19:

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Have a plan.
Make sure employees have access to the materials and equipment they need to do their jobs from home. Technology and communication provide the stability employees need.1

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Set “office hours.”
Designate specific working hours. For example, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00p.m.

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Communicate Expectations Early.
Communicate the level of communication you are expecting from your employees. Set guidelines on responsiveness and preferred method of communication.2 If your office hours are 9-5, employees should be available for meetings and working during the allotted hours. It is also important to communicate the expectations of your employees. For example, we are working on “X,” “Y” is needed, and the deadline is “Z”.3

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Engage Regularly.
Established regular check-ins with your team. Each employee is different, take time to understand how often your employees need you to check-in with them.

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Remind them of the resources available to them.
It is especially important during this time to remind employees of the resources available to them. Employees will want to know that the organization cares about their well-being during a crisis. Especially during these uncertain times.4 For example:

  • Do your best to provide useful information about COVID-19.
  • Work policies, such as paid time off and leave.
  • Connect with your organizations health plan to see what they are doing for your employees and communicate that.
  • Telehealth
  • TalkSpace
  • WellSpark resources such as Coping During COVID-19 content videos available in our Health Video Library.
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Take advantage of technology.
Use technology to build and maintain a community with your employees Use a web bases video conference services such as Zoom to host virtual celebrations. For example, birthdays or team victories. This allows teams to connect “face-to-face.”

Heart Hand Empathy

Show empathy and be available.5
During this time employees may be feeling overwhelmed and anxious. Let your staff know you are to them to talk about fears, to answer questions and to reassure them about work and other issues that might come up when working remotely.


[1] Gallup. https://www.gallup.com/workplace/304607/remember-needs-followers-during-covid.aspx

[2] Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2018/05/30/top-15-tips-to-effectively-manage-remote-employees/#1e2266e6503c

[3] Gallup. https://www.gallup.com/workplace/288956/covid-teams-working-remotely-guide-leaders.aspx

[4] Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/alankohll/2020/03/22/how-to-help-employees-cope-with-covid-19/#452acd584cbd

[5] American Psychiatric Association. http://www.workplacementalhealth.org/Employer-Resources/Working-Remotely-During-COVID-19

How WellSpark Health is Addressing the Coronavirus with our Loyal Customers & Partners

We’re dedicated to Supporting Our Customers & Partners at this Critical Time of COVID-19 Outbreak.

Every day our mission is the same. To tackle the fight against chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension so our members can live better and make healthier lifestyle choices. Today, in these surreal times while the world is facing the Coronavirus pandemic, WellSpark Health remains dedicated to supporting our customers and partners who like us are at great risk of becoming seriously ill due to COVID-19. We want to let you know our commitment is to you at this time. You have our support at this critical time in our nation’s health.

The WellSpark Health COVID-19 Response Plan

Here are just a few steps we are taking to support our customers and partners:

Online and Telephonic Health Coaching
Providing online and telephonic health coaching in Connecticut and New York, now with COVID-19 guidance, advice, and grief counseling. WellSpark coaches help to manage diet, exercise, sleep, pain, and stress, while WellSpark nurses provide disease management strategies for those with chronic conditions. However, both coaches and nurses noticed their normal education and coaching sessions got interrupted due to a greater need in COVID-19 related issues. Nurses and coaches are now assisting members by sharing relevant information to help them better understand COVID-19. Members are also learning how to cope with grief and loss and how to encourage self-care, all while continuing to support those managing a chronic condition such as diabetes. WellSpark is also taking care of its members and employees by offering a variety of helpful resources such as eMindful, a mindfulness app for managing mental health, and video content on how to cope during this difficult time.

Worksite Health & Employee Safety Precautions
We look to the CDC for guidance and their current recommendations to protect our employees’ health and safety in these unpresented times. We continue to operate remotely for the time-being. Our team of medical doctors, coaches and nurses along with the WellSpark administrative staff is still available to you at normally scheduled business days and working hours. Our business operations efficiently allow us to work via online or telephonically.

Constant Participant Communications & Engagement
We are in constant communication and engagement with our customers and partners by providing relevant and important up-to-date information. Our team of medical doctors, coaches and nurses continue to support participants either digitally or telephonically with questions they may have. Our participants health and well-ness journey continue to be our priority.

Product & Services Availability
We do not anticipate having any delays, shortages or issues with our portfolio of well-being products and services. Spark Life Worksite Wellness, Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) and Help 364 Chronic Care Self-Management are still in use by program participants. Medical advice, mentorship and lifestyle coaching are still available to participants telephonically or digitally.

Maintaining a Company Culture of Positivity and Productivity
COVID-19 had us rapidly shift to the way we traditionally work with staff having to work for the first time both at home, and physically separated. While our initial focus will be maintaining our customers and partners, it’s also critically important that we support our staff that have been impacted. We continue to maintain a company culture of positivity and productivity through weekly check-ins digitally and telephonically sharing events and uplifting stories.

Answers to Your Top 6 Questions About Managing Your Diabetes During COVID-19

Taking Extra Pre-Cautions, Practicing Social Distancing, Stocking Up on Diabetes Friendly Foods and Staying Active Are Just A few Of Our Recommendations for Diabetes Patients.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) older adults who have chronic medical conditions including diabetes are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Chronic diseases can compromise the immune system and make people more vulnerable to serious complications. That’s why it’s so important for people with diabetes who are at high risk take extra precautions during this time. Our team of expert medical doctors, coaches and nurses have compiled your questions and prepared answers to help you take the necessary pre-cautions during this time.

Managing Your Diabetes During COVID-19

Q: I have diabetes. Am I more at risk of getting COVID-19?
A: There is not enough data to show that people who have diabetes are more at risk of getting COVID-19, however, if someone has a serious underlying condition, such as diabetes they are at a higher risk of having complications if they become sick with coronavirus.1

To help keep yourself healthy and safe during this time we suggest taking every day pre-cautions;

  • Keeping a safe space between yourself and others around you.
  • Avoiding contact with those who are sick.
  • Avoid crowds as much as possible.
  • Wash your hands often. The CDC suggests washing your hands for up to 20 seconds. If you do not have access to soap and water, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Wipe down highly trafficked areas of your home including, counter tops, door handles, and light switches.

Q: Will COVID-19 impact my access to insulin and other supplies?
A: Currently leading manufacturers are reporting that COVID-19 is not impacting access to insulin.2 The American Diabetes Association is continuing to monitor access to insulin and providing updates. You can find updates at Insulinhelp.org.

Q: How can I manage my diabetes while I practice social distancing?
A: It is recommended that someone with diabetes plan what to do if they become ill during the COVID-19 pandemic;

  • Make sure to have an adequate stock of medications and supplies for monitoring blood glucose at home.3 If possible, take advantage of having prescriptions delivered to your home. 
  • Continue to manage your nutrition. Eating a well-maintained diet is critical to your diabetes management and keeping your immune system strong.4 While you are home, we suggest;
    • Sticking to your diet and preparing a meal plan that includes your healthy carbohydrates, fiber rich foods, and good fats. You can create a sample menu for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner to help you stay on track.5
    • Take advantage of home delivery services if possible. 
    • Being home all day can mean feeling the urge to snack, try to stick to a routine and eat your meals and snacks at structured times.

Q: How can I stock up my kitchen with diabetes friendly foods?
A: When planning meals, avoid trans fats, saturated fats, foods with high amounts of sodium or cholesterol. 

  • Try to avoid canned vegetables with lots of added sodium.
  • During the pandemic you may feel the need to have foods that won’t perish easily. Some suggestions are; 6
    • Frozen vegetables
    • Dry kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, and garbanzo beans.
    • Salt free seasonings.
    • Whole grains such a quinoa, brown rice, and whole oats.
    • Healthy fats such as assorted nuts and peanut or almond butter.
    • Canned tuna.
  • Healthy eating is very important for managing your diabetes.  Visit the CDC for some resources on healthy eating and cooking for people with diabetes.

Q: I am not feeling well, what should I do?
A: Even if your blood sugar is within your target level, you should practice the “sick day” guidelines suggested by the CDC;7 

  • Continue taking your diabetes pills or insulin as usual.
  • Test your blood glucose every four hours and keep track of the results.
  • Monitor your ketone levels.
  • Drink plenty of calorie free fluids. It is suggested that you drink 4 to 6 ounces every half hour to prevent dehydration.
  • Try to eat as you normally would.
  • Weigh yourself every day. Losing weight without trying is a sign of high blood glucose.
  • Check your temperature every morning and evening. A fever may be a sign of infection.

You should call your doctor if;8

  • Your symptoms worsen
  • You have moderate to high ketone levels in your urine.
  • You lose 5 pounds or more during the illness.
  • Your blood glucose is lower than 60 mg/dl or remains over 250 mg/dl on 2 checks.
  • You feel tired or can’t think clearly. If you cannot think clearly or are tired have someone else call your doctor or bring you to the emergency room.
  • Your temperature is over 101 for more than 24 hours.

Q: How can I stay active while I am at home?
A: Daily physical activity is an important part of diabetes managementThere are several ways you can stay active while self-quarantining at home. Make sure to adapt your routine and work out intensity to your fitness level;9

  • Stretching exercises such as yoga.
  • Body weight exercises including pushups, squats, stationary lunges, jumping jacks, and sit-ups.
  • Take a walk. Make sure to practice social distancing while doing so. 6-feet apart is recommended.
  • If you have a stationary bike or treadmill in your home;
    • A one hour walk on the treadmill
    • Two 15-minute intervals on the stationary bike.
  • Use light weights, kettle bells, or workout bands for a total body workout.
  • Staying physically active is very important for managing your diabetes and maintaining a healthy weight. Visit the CDC for some resources on being physically active for people with diabetes.


[1] American Diabetes Association. https://www.diabetes.org/coronavirus-covid-19. Accessed March 23, 2020.

[2] American Diabetes Association. https://insulinhelp.org/. Accessed March 23, 2020.

[3] International Diabetes Federation. shorturl.at/vwACV. Accessed. March 23, 2020.

[4] Harvard School of Public Health- https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/2020/03/25/food-safety-nutrition-and-wellness-during-covid-19/. Accessed March 24, 2020.

[5] Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/in-depth/diabetes-diet/art-20044295. Accessed March 24, 2020.

[6] WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/features/stock-your-kitchen-for-diabetes-health#1. March 25, 2020

[7] Center for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/managing/flu-sick-days.html. Accessed March 23, 2020.

[8] Center for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/managing/flu-sick-days.html. Accessed March 23, 2020.

[9] International Diabetes Federation. https://www.idf.org/aboutdiabetes/what-is-diabetes/covid-19-and-diabetes/home-based-exercise.html. Accessed March 24, 2020.

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