At first I did not think that making a towel animal would have any meaning to patients. When I saw the reactions of the patients and how it made them feel by receiving a towel animal I was immediately touched. I actually have patients who get upset when someone takes their animal apart to use!
These patients eagerly ask me to do another one when I return. Over several weeks I worked with several co-workers to learn how to make different types of animals. I am now always looking to find those patients who will be impacted by such a simple gesture. It makes me feel good to do something for them.
This cat is an example of a towel animal which helps brightens the spirits of patients. Click on the kitty for more towel art!
Why do I spend time creating towel animals? In short, I do it because I like to brighten people’s day and make them happy. I also do it because it makes me feel good to see them react to such a simple gesture. You really never know how it will affect people to receive an elephant or a puppy dog made from a towel, but it is gratifying when I see the smiles on their faces – I know for that moment, I have helped put a smile on their face.
Busy schedules at work and home, late meetings, client dinners, travel…I know we have all heard them before; excuses why we never have time to eat well and exercise. Actually, we can – and so can everyone else, but you must track what you eat and practice what you preach.
It’s the tracking that I recently learned is critical and it’s what an app by the name of MyFitnessPal, has in spades. When I found out Sodexo was entertaining a partnership with the wildly-popular app I knew I was no longer going to have an excuse.
This app, which would hold thousands of recipes from our collection in its database, would make it a no-brainer for me to track what I eat everyday when in the various Sodexo locations. So I downloaded the free app on iTunes and ordered aFitBit to integrate the tracking of my physical activity inside the app. I even talked three other Sodexo team members in my region to join me. If I was going to do this, I was going to be ‘all-in’ as they say.
In the past 12 weeks I’ve lost 29 pounds and counting — and better yet, I am feeling great! The practice what you preach side of me is here to tell you this concept is easy. It’s doable for even the busiest of schedules. But to be fair it’s challenging. Yes, I said it, it’s hard…you didn’t fall into these habits overnight and you won’t fall out of them overnight, but what I will say is that the awareness tools like MyFitnessPaland FitBit brings to your journey is overwhelming, like learning the difference an office day can make in my daily physical activity for example (which I now compensate for with a nice, mind-clearing walk). Another lesson: fact that the medium pizza that is just “easier” to order but could have up to 8,500 calories - Ouch! What are we doing to ourselves?
Millions of people have downloaded health and fitness related mobile applications for their phones and research predicts there will be more than 1 billion annual health-related app downloads by the year 2016. But it’s the approach that’s critical – I can now say that I practice what I preach with confidence because even as I juggle a hectic travel schedule, family and life in general, technology has helped with integrating healthy living into all aspects of life—at work, home and play.
Adam Malinger is a senior vice president for Sodexo’s Corporate Client Segment.
Jessica Crandall, Sodexo Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator & National Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Even though summer is winding down, your schedule probably isn’t. Between work, camp, play-dates and summer school, healthy, lifestyle routines can become lost in the shuffle. As our routines change, we can often lose sight of our established, healthy living routines. So how do we ensure we pack healthy options regardless of our hectic schedules?
Breakfast: Don’t start the day without it!
Breakfast is by far the most important meal of the day. Even if we are running late it is important to fuel our body before we begin our day. Check out these quick fix ideas for breakfast on days when we need to eat and run..
• Grab an apple, cheese slices and 2 oz. of nuts. The cheese and nuts can be prepackaged the night before for a quicker exit in the morning.
• Peanut butter waffles. Face it the kids like those frozen waffles. Start with a whole grain version of their favorite waffle, and rather than drenching it in syrup try adding 1-2 tablespoons of peanut butter. Need something sweet? Add a few raisins. This makes for a fast, healthy breakfast option; and one kids will enjoy.
• Breakfast smoothie. The extra time this one takes in preparation is offset by the fact you can drink it in the car. A healthy fruit smoothie can be blended using Greek yogurt, milk and frozen fruit.
• Fresh fruit salad. You can make this ahead of time by combining your favorite fruits and adding a few drops of lemon or lime juice. You don’t want to forget the protein. Pair this with a cheese stick or cup of cottage cheese and you are set!
Have any other fun, creative and healthy ideas for your busy schedules? I would love to hear them!
By Jennifer K. Willoughby, RD, LD
August 8th, 2012
Jennifer K. Willoughby, RD, LD
Being a new mom to a healthy 10-month old active baby; her eye health and safety is very important to me. The recommended frequency for eye exams for children are at 6 months of age, again at age two or three and before kindergarten. This is a very important screening for your child as 80% of what babies learn is through their eyes. Children and adults need to have their eyes examined once every year. Annual eye exams can detect serious eye conditions early when they are more treatable.
“Young children with vision problems often do not know that the way they see the world is not the way everyone sees it. Yet vision problems affect one in 20 preschoolers. They also affect one in four school children. Without early detection and treatment, children’s vision problems can lead to permanent vision loss and learning difficulties.”
It’s especially important to protect our children’s eyes from the sun every day. Just like adults, children can wear a hat or proper sunglasses to protect their eyes. Children are more susceptible to UV damage than adults because they tend to spend more time outside than adults. According to Prevent Blindness America, here are some things parents can do to help protect children’s eyes:
Only purchase sunglasses that offer UV protection.
Make sure the sunglasses fit the child’s face and shield the eyes from all angles.
Choose lenses that are impact resistant and made of polycarbonate, never glass, unless prescribed by a doctor.
Always insist that children wear a brimmed hat in conjunction with their sunglasses.
Teaching children to protect their eyes is an important early step toward a lifetime of healthy vision.
Dieting can be a very overwhelming idea when you start to think about eating boring, tasteless food. And I’m sure it doesn’t help to think about giving up all of your favorite foods either. First of all, dieting doesn’t have to mean “boring and tasteless” — and you don’t have to give up your favorite foods either. Moderation is one of the most common words dietitians use in the field. We like to teach people the healthy and happy way to go about dieting. Let me give you a little perspective.
Low carbohydrate diets like Atkins and South Beach will help you lose weight. They will. But do you think you’ll be able to avoid simple and refined carbs (like white bread, sodas and candy) for the rest of your life? Possibly…but unlikely.
In order to make a lasting change, you’ve got to be able to adopt a lifestyle that makes you happy. And by happy I don’t mean eating cheeseburgers and drinking soda at every meal. You’ve got to be realistic and you need to want to make a change.
Moderation is such a powerful word. Think about what might happen if you avoid your favorite foods all of the time. You’ll likely explode from frustration and resentment towards your dieting. Treat yourself every once in a while. I tell my patients that I like to eat “healthy” 80% of the time so that I can enjoy my “not-so-healthy” treats the other 20% of the time.
Remember…always keep your eye on the size. Practicing moderation with an eye toward portion size will leave you feeling satisfied and guilt-free because you’ve treated yourself within reason.
mmmmmm...donut -- in moderation!!
More Tips on Achieving Healthy Weight Loss
◦ Exercise. We’ve all heard it until we’re blue in the face. And that’s because it’s true. Try to be physically active for 30-60 minutes per day.
◦ Don’t starve yourself. When you feel hungry eat a smart snack like fruit, nuts or veggies with dip. The longer you go without eating, the more likely you are to overeat at your meals.
◦ Drink water. Water is calorie-free. Plus, it helps to cut the hunger feeling for a small amount of time.
◦ Eat breakfast. Your metabolism has been “sleeping” all night. Wake it up as soon as possible so it can get to burning those calories.
Danielle Townsend is a Sodexo Registered Dietitian.
Crystal Cates details healthy and safe summer grilling - click to view the clip. Screen Grab from WMBF TV.
Grilling is a healthy way to prepare foods and is popular during the summer months.
Be aware of how to avoid the cancer causing compounds associated with grilling. The carcinogens, Heterocyclic Amines (HCA) and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH), form when fat from meat is heated to high temperatures or when the fat drips into the flames.
To minimize this risk, have lean cuts of meat, poultry or fish and trim away excess fat before grilling. To lessen how long the meat stays on the grill, pre-cook it in the microwave for up to one minute. Marinade helps blunt the heat from grilling so fewer cancer-causing compounds form.
Select healthy meats like lean or extra lean ground beef (90 – 95% lean), lean turkey burger (be sure it’s all white meat), veggie burger, or nitrate free turkey dogs. Remove the skin on poultry to reduce fat content by half.
To keep lower fat beef moist, grate small amount of a potato and add it in the center of the burger before grilling. The burger stays moist but the flavor does not change. Adding BBQ sauce, sautéed mushrooms or onions into the beef before cooking are other good ideas.
The summer grilling season has begun - see below for a great marinade.
Fatty fish selections include salmon, tuna, mackerel, trout, and herring. Have these grilled twice each week, and enjoy the heart health benefits from the omega 3 fatty acids.
Marinating meats before grilling provides flavor and tenderizes meats. Also, marinades may reduce the amount of carcinogens that can form on meat exposed to high cooking temperatures.
The enzyme bromelain, found in pineapple, and the enzyme papain, found in papaya, naturally tenderize meats.
Homemade marinades can be inexpensive, usually less processed and are easy to make. Add an acid ingredient such as lemon or lime juice, wine, vinegar or yogurt, and mix with your favorite herbs and spices such as garlic, red pepper flakes, green onions, fresh herbs, onion, or ginger. Allow for enough time for the two items to work. The acid tenderizes the meat on the surface and adds flavor while the herbs and spices add flavor and zest. Dairy products — like buttermilk and yogurt — are the only ingredients that seem to tenderize meat all the way through while keeping its texture mostly the same. The calcium activates enzymes that begin to breakdown the protein.
For store-bought marinades, select lower sodium options. Select those with 350 mg Na or less per serving, and try to avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).
Sodexo, a world leader in food service, is pleased to share the following video and recipe for a delicious Guajillo Adobo (a chile based marinade & sauce) by Roberto Santibañez, world-renowned Mexican chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author.
There is no question in today’s facility and corporate real estate environment technology, sustainability, economics, and a myriad of other factors are driving trends that shape the facilities management business, but let’s not forget the people. Creating an unparalleled workplace experience for staff is not only a differentiator as an employer, but more so a critical imperative which effects the health and happiness of your greatest asset, your human capital.
Improvements in technology, as well as HR policy have now created a viable “third space” for many employees. People can work 24/7 — at their home office, Starbucks, or anywhere there is Wi-Fi access. Improvements in space planning have created open office plans that reduce your footprint and enhance collaboration. But, how does that affect the employee? How do you ensure work-life balance for those utilizing home office? How do you encourage and celebrate an introvert in an extrovert-driven open office?
The office space is now defined by work style versus the antiquated status ideal. Evidence-based design tells us that space goes beyond the end users and into the core of your business. It’s about retention, engagement, productivity, and let’s be honest, health. From the person on the phone all day at a call center, to the patient for whom an R&D team is developing life-saving pharmaceuticals – effective technical planning and design is dramatic and impactful.
Effective facilities management solutions deliver innovation, significant operating cost savings and more importantly, the ability to effectively create space that delivers a personalized approach to each employee that effects engagement, productivity and health. Today, we join the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) for World FM Day, a virtual event on Twitter. For a longer discussion, check out the LinkedIn Workplace Experience group to engage in some thought provoking discussions with industry leaders.
Dave Love is a vice president for Sodexo Facilities Management Solutions.
When Chris Colfer, star of Glee, came out publicly as gay, he described being bullied relentlessly in high school, just like his character Kurt on the show. His only friends, he said, were his co-workers in the cafeteria, the “lunch ladies” who made his days more bearable.
As Executive Director of GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, my job along with my colleagues is to end the bias, bullying and violence faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in our K-12 schools nationwide. Sadly, Chris Colfer’s experience in high school is all-too-common: research demonstrates that LGBT students are disproportionately at risk for bullying and violence at school, and hence more likely to skip school, suffer depression, and do less well academically. Indeed, the potentially tragic consequences of unchecked bullying have been squarely in the public eye for the past two years.
GLSEN’s work is designed to save lives, bring hope, and transform hostile school climates into healthy learning environments for all students, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender expression or gender identity. The first step in that effort is to ensure the safety of every child who walks through the schoolhouse doors. To do so, we must enlist the partnership of all adult members of the school community. The presence of supportive adults is one of the most important factors in an LGBT student’s personal well-being and sense of connection to their school. One supportive adult can save a life. Six or more can transform a culture.
But far too few are acting to play a role in ending the problem. Eighty percent of LGBT students report that teachers and other school staff who witness anti-LGBT name calling do little or nothing to stop it. And more than a third of the students who have reported incidents of anti-LGBT bullying or harassment to school officials say that nothing happens in response. Whatever one’s opinions about the rights of LGBT people, surely caring adults can agree that all students deserve to be safe at school and be afforded a basic measure of respect.
I am honored to serve as a member of Sodexo’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board (DIAB), and I am impressed by Sodexo’s commitment to the diversity journey. I also know that Sodexo’s 16,500 team members in K-12 schools nationwide are a potential army of allies to students who are cast out, isolated or picked on, whatever the reason. Indeed, Sodexo’s worksite employees are among the most critical adult allies to those students – because of the nature and location of their duties. LGBT students report that they are most afraid of locker rooms, bathrooms and cafeterias. Indeed, they avoid these spaces out of fear of victimization. Each of them needs the friendship and support of those school staff most likely to be in those spaces, many of whom are likely to be representatives of Sodexo.
Sodexo has been a great partner to GLSEN as a sponsor of our efforts and as the presenter of GLSEN’s Educator of the Year Award for the past two years. I look forward to the further deepening of that partnership, which I believe will continue to be of tremendous benefit to Sodexo’s employees and the many young people across the nation who are looking for support and help.
Eliza Byard is the Executive Director of GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network.)
Jessica Crandall, Sodexo Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator & National Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Whether you are looking to stay in shape, increase energy and performance, lose excess weight, or delay the effects of aging and prevent diseases such as diabetes and heart disease there seems to be a supplement marketed toward you. Supplement manufactures tell you to take protein shakes to build muscle or fish oil to improve heart health, but how do you know what you should or should not take?
What is a supplement?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines a supplement as: “a product taken by mouth that contains a “dietary ingredient” intended to supplement the diet. The “dietary ingredients” in these products may include: vitamins, minerals, herbs or other botanicals, amino acids, and substances such as enzymes, organ tissues, glandulars, and metabolites.” Supplements are intended to supplement nutrients missing in your diet, not replace them.
How do I determine if a supplement is right for me?
You first need to ask yourself if you really need to be taking a supplement. You can generally achieve all of the health benefits promised by a supplement by simply eating a healthy balanced diet. For example; a protein shake label may tell you that you need to drink their shake after every work out to build muscle and improve performance and recovery time. While it is true that eating some protein after a workout is good for you, you probably do not need the amount they are suggesting in the supplement, plus you can easily meet the increased protein needs eating a healthy balanced diet. Not to mention save a lot of money! To determine your protein and calorie needs speak with a registered dietitian.
Vitamins and Minerals
Despite popular belief here in America, more is NOT better, especially when it comes to vitamins and minerals. Taking excessive amounts of vitamins and minerals not only creates expensive urine, but high amounts of certain nutrients can cause harm. Your doctor and dietitian can help you determine if you are deficient in a certain vitamin or mineral. Another misconception about vitamins and minerals is that they give you energy. Energy only comes from calories, not vitamins and minerals. The best way to increase your energy and to meet all of your vitamin and mineral requirements is to exercise regularly, get adequate sleep, and eat a balanced healthy diet.
Which supplements are safe to buy?
Sodexo intern and avid biker Chris Logan rounds a corner.
The FDA does not regulate supplements sold in the U.S. to verify their safety or efficacy. Some supplements do not even contain the main ingredient(s) listed on the label. Not only can supplement labels be deceiving, but some supplements can cause harm. Many performance enhancing supplements are even banned by the NCAA and professional sports like the NBA and NFL.
Some tips for determining if a supplement is safe:
Do your homework. Before ingesting a supplement which may contain “organ tissues” or other strange ingredients, research the product. Find out if the supplement is safe and the claims are supported by evidenced based research.
When buying supplements only buy from reputable sources. The supplement manufacturer can put almost anything he wants in that bottle, if you are buying supplements at a grocery store/pharmacy speak with the pharmacist to help identify which supplement sources are the safest.
Only take the recommended dose. Again, more is not better especially when it comes to supplements. Too much may cause you harm.
Remember, before taking any supplement, even a multivitamin; speak with your dietitian and doctor, they can help determine your need for supplements and how much should be taken, if any at all.
Jessica Crandall is a Sodexo Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator & National Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Requirements from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act have some hospitals turning to Human Resources with a focus on employee engagement as a way to help boost their patient satisfaction goals. The federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act require Medicare to associate a dollar figure based on patient satisfaction as part of the value-based purchasing initiative. Therefore, higher satisfaction scores from patients will translate to higher Medicare reimbursements for hospitals nationwide.
With this heighten interest in patient satisfaction; hospitals administrators have taken a keen eye to the effectiveness of their employee recognition and reward programs and the engagement of their employees. As Harvard Business Review states, employees who are described as ‘thriving’ demonstrate 16% better overall performance (as reported by their managers) and 125% less burnout (self-reported) than their peers. The Harvard article defines the thriving workforce as one in which employees are not just satisfied and productive but also engaged in creating the future—the company’s and their own. The benefits of having solid recognition and reward programs in place to develop ‘thriving’ employees are imperative to achieving and maintaining high patient satisfaction scores and engagement.
Effective employee recognition and reward programs can result in increased patient satisfaction.
“One of our strategic pillars is people; it’s just as simple as that. People – we consider that to be a strategic differentiator.”
Effective employee recognition and reward programs can directly impact the satisfaction of physicians and employees to result in increased patient satisfaction; reduced employee turnover; higher emphasis on delivering value and service; achieving performance targets for HCAHPS; and reduced employee injury. To examine the current state of healthcare recognition and rewards practices, Sodexo Motivation Solutions commissioned a study that resulted in the Recognizing And Rewarding Hospital Employees whitepaper. The study revealed that while reward and recognition programs were viewed by hospital administrators as critically important to the success of the hospital, program implementation and participation varied across hospitals and between departments.
Furthermore, the study identified the need for a technology platform that could effectively manage and easily administer recognition and rewards programs. Therefore, an impressive opportunity exists for professionals tasked with improving patient satisfaction scores to work with a qualified recognition partner to address unifying multiple programs, uneven participation, and tracking and comparing program results for the long-term benefit of both employees and the organization. Technology partners today offer robust real-time data, multi-program capabilities and secure spending controls for total program management.