SMART Goal Setting

It’s that time of year again. A fresh start in 2021. Did you have a resolution? How’s it going so far? 

Change and self-improvement are HARD. Being healthy looks different for every single person. There is no one size fits all. If you were able to incorporate 10 healthy lifestyle habits this year, wouldn’t you consider that great progress? 

Time, energy, and finances are just a few of the many barriers we face when attempting to improve our lifestyle habits. Just 10 minutes of practicing your goal setting skills can increase your chances for success exponentially. Set aside time to think about what you want to accomplish and the steps it will take to achieve. 

Leading a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be spending countless hours doing cardio and/or in the kitchen meal prepping to eat the same boring chicken, broccoli and rice all week. Rather than the “all-in” approach where you unrealistically attempt to drastically change every aspect of your lifestyle to a HEALTHY one, consider setting a series of small, realistic, and sustainable goals. If the lifestyle habit isn’t sustainable, neither are the results. 

SMART Goals 

Smart goal setting is a well-established approach to ensure goals are clear and reachable. Each goal should be:

  • Specific (simple, sensible, significant)
  • Measurable (meaningful, motivating)
  • Achievable (agreed, attainable)
  • Realistic (relevant, reasonable, results-based)
  • Timely (time-based, time-bound, time-sensitive)


  • Instead of “I will work out more,” try “I will move my body for 30 minutes 3x/week or more for the month of February.” 
  • Instead of “I will eat healthier,” try “I will include at least 5 colors of the rainbow in fruits and vegetables on weekdays for 1 month,” or “I will scratch make a dinner meal 3x/week for 6 weeks.”
  • Instead of “I will spend more time with family,” try “I will turn off all screens 3 nights a week for 1 hour in the evenings after dinner until daylight savings.”

Choose 3 small goals to work on over the next month and leave room for growth! Divide the goals up so that you start with the easiest. After 10 days, incorporate the 2nd goal and 10 days after that, the 3rd goal. If you haven’t achieved a goal after 10 days, give yourself some grace. Maybe the goal needs to be adjusted to make it more achievable or maybe the goal just needs more time. Find a place to keep track of your progress for increased accountability. Look for an app on your smart phone or keep a journal.

Having an end date for your goal will help it seem more achievable and increase accountability. Chances are, if the goal you set was SMART, you’ll end up adopting the healthy lifestyle habit on a more permanent and sustainable basis. 

By Alison Fenske, MS, RDN. 


Keeping Kids Active in the New Year

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted team sports and fitness centers, limiting many options for physical activity. Winter weather can also make it a challenge for children to get the recommended amount of daily exercise.

The beginning of a new year is a great time to focus on physical activity for the entire family. Regular physical activity has many benefits for overall health. Exercise can improve sleep, help with concentration, and reduce stress. Exercise has also been shown to lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some types of cancers.

To stay healthy, children should be physically active for at least 60 minutes every day. Keep in mind that these minutes do not have to be completed all at once and can be broken down into smaller periods throughout the day.

There are many ways to incorporate exercise into your family’s daily routine:

  • There is an ever-increasing amount of virtual exercise options available online. GoNoodle, Cosmic Kids Yoga, and Get Moving with Disney Family are all engaging ways to get kids excited about exercising. Both the YMCA and YouTube have free online workout videos. With so many choices, you’re sure to find something that interests everyone in your family.
  • A daily walk (if the weather allows) is a great way to stay active and get out of the house while also practicing social distancing. In winter, snowball fights and sledding can be a fun way to get moving.
  • At home, families can be active together by having a dance party or playing a game of tag. Yardwork and household chores can also count as physical activity.

The most important thing to remember is to be creative and have fun! If exercise is enjoyable, it will be much easier to make it a regular part of your family’s routine.

by Autumn Barbero, ARNP, Certified Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner


Season’s Eatings…oops, Greetings!

Hot cocoa with whipped cream and warm apple filling

Simmering recipes and foods meant for grilling

Warm cookie packages tied up with strings

These are a few of my favorite things

Tis the season for some of the most delicious foods and flavors of the year. And for some of us, these foods also bring with it stress and anxiety; the stress and anxiety of the “all or nothing” thoughts that can sabotage our efforts of healthier eating during the holiday season. It is much healthier to separate ourselves from this way of thinking and aim to have more realistic goals and expectations during this time. Having a collection of tips and tricks to manage our holiday eating habits, can also help to lower the level of stress and anxiety we may experience. Read on to find some tips that may work for you.

  • Be sure to continue efforts of eating regularly. It is best not to skip regularly planned meals and snacks in an attempt to enjoy your favorite meals or treats. Enjoy your regularly planned meals and snacks AND your favorite treat or meal too. Depriving yourself of food leading up to the meal or snack will often result in slow metabolism, difficulty controlling blood sugars, unpredictable moodiness, increased fatigue, and possible overeating. Also be sure to keep yourself well hydrated throughout the day.
  • Try to avoid overeating. Listen closely to your body’s cues and practice mindful eating. Keep in tune to how your stomach is physically feeling throughout the meal and aim to stop eating when you begin to feel satiated or satisfied. Another part that is helpful in avoiding overeating is being mindful as to what you fill your plate with and making smart choices.
  • Make smart choices. Before beginning to fill your plate at the meal, take a moment to consider all the food choices. You may decide to completely forgo your least favorite foods and opt to take smaller portions of your favorites. You might also think about filling half your plate with fruit and/or vegetables first. When also considering your meal choices, think about what you might like to have after your meal too. Dessert is often a wonderful treat that all should take the pleasure in enjoying this time of the year, should they want to. To practice mindfully, do you take a smaller slice of pie? Go without whipped topping? Create a healthier concoction all your own? Or perhaps dessert is the “crème de la crème” for you and you made smarter meal choices so that you can enjoy dessert to the fullest…then you should do just that.
  • Enjoy your meal, your company, and your blessings. After an interesting 2020, take the time to enjoy the meal and time with your loved ones or whomever you may be spending your time or meal with. Slow down and “drink it all it”, put your fork down between each bite, partake in the conversations with others, and if able, wait about 15 minutes before deciding if you want to return for second helpings of food. Let your digestion begin its work. 
  • If possible, include exercise as part of your holiday fun/plans. Not a requirement but a gentle suggestion. Finding a way to move often makes anyone feel a little cheerier, due to the release of endorphins (the “happy” hormone). During this holiday season, consider taking a walk, seeking out the nearest sledding hill, trying ice skating, building a snowman, trying yoga/Pilates/qigong at home, or playing some basketball.
  • Enjoy the holidays! At the end of day, if concerns about healthy eating during the holidays is too overwhelming for you, then let it be. Always remember that one of the most important parts about this season is enjoying the memories you make with loved ones (even when the memories of this year look quite different from others). 

By Keri Smith, RD


CHAS Health Homeless Memorial 2020

Each year on December 21st, CHAS Health hosts a Homeless Memorial to remember those who have died during the year while experiencing homelessness.    The memorial is held on the Winter Solstice, which marks the first day of winter and the longest night of the year.  This event serves as an opportunity to raise awareness of the struggles of those who are experiencing housing insecurity and is also a call to action to help end homelessness.  Traditionally, over 150 communities across the nation hold similar events. 

Studies across the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, and Australia have confirmed a relationship between a lack of housing and increased mortality rates. Homeless persons are 3-4 times more likely to die than the general population. On average, people with housing in the U.S. can expect to live to age 78. Our long-term homeless neighbors can expect to live to about the age of 50. This day focuses attention to collectively recommit efforts to prevent unnecessary deaths among our homeless neighbors.

In a typical year, this memorial would gather community leaders, clients, and CHAS Health staff to honor these lost lives.  This year, we are sadly unable to hold an in-person event with our community due to the current healthcare crisis.  In lieu of an in-person remembrance, we are taking this this ceremony online.  The CHAS Health Homeless Memorial includes a visual representation of those members of our homeless community who have died this year with individual names placed on a tree outside the downtown CHAS Health Denny Murphy Clinic located at 1001 W. 2nd Ave.

We ask that those who would like to join us in remembrance take a moment to reflect on this day of the lives lost in the past year and consider the challenges that our homeless population faces. 

CHAS Health is proud to have a homeless outreach team that spends their time working with this community.  This team works to stay connected with this vulnerable population and spends their time checking on the wellness of others, providing much needed support, and handing out supplies. CHAS Health employees recently donated more than $7,000 to purchase warm winter gear including gloves, socks and sleeping bags to support members of our homeless community this year.   The outreach team will be passing out lunches and winter survival items to the homeless around its Denny Murphy Clinic throughout the day.

If you have any questions regarding our memorial or outreach efforts, please contact us at communications@chas.org

Thank you for your support of this very important cause. Please help us spread the word by sharing this video or blog.    


CHAS Health Opens Centralized Testing at Spokane Arena

CHAS Health remains committed to serving our community by providing robust COVID testing access in our area.  Due to increased volumes and fixed capacity, CHAS Health is streamlining its testing in the city of Spokane by establishing a centralized drive-through testing location at Spokane Arena.  The centralized drive-through testing location at Spokane Arena will open on Sunday, December 6, 2020.

At this time, CHAS Health is offering COVID testing to community members who meet the following criteria:

  • Have COVID symptoms; or
  • Do not have COVID symptoms but have had  direct COVID exposure; or
  • Are nursing home employees.

Those exposed and without symptoms may be tested 5-7 days after exposure, but not earlier.

As testing demands grow due to increasing COVID rates in the area, patients should be prepared for longer than usual wait times at testing locations.  Staff will be working as quickly as possible, but wait times could be as long as 2-3 hours depending on the day or time. COVID testing at all CHAS Health locations is on a first-come-first-serve basis, but for those who plan to visit the Spokane Arena Centralized Testing Location, they can notify CHAS Health what time they plan to arrive and begin their registration paperwork online before they leave home.  This will help registration when they arrive at the Arena to go more quickly.  For Arena arrival times, current testing locations, times, and the latest updates on testing protocol, visit https://chas.org/health-alerts.  Current turnaround time for testing results is 1-3 days.

CHAS Health COVID Testing Locations & Hours Beginning Sunday, December 6, 2020:

Spokane Arena

720 W. Mallon Ave., Spokane, WA 99201

Monday – Sunday: 9am – 3pm

North County Clinic

401 S Main St, Deer Park, WA 99006

Monday – Friday: 9am – 3pm

Lewis & Clark Health Center

1203 Idaho St, Lewiston, ID 83501

Monday – Friday: 9am – 3pm

Latah Community Health

803 S Main St, Suite 120, Moscow, ID 83843

Monday – Friday: 9am – 3pm


Making Your Eating Mindful

To say 2020 has been different than most years is putting it lightly.  Maybe you’ve found your eating habits have changed.  Maybe you’re eating different foods, eating more than usual, or maybe you’re eating less.  Or if you’re like me, you’ve made more batches of peanut butter cookies than you can count.  Sometimes we find our eating is not always related to our hunger.  Often times our eating is driven by emotions such as boredom, stress, or the array of emotions we experience when living through a pandemic.  During times of increased stress, our need to soothe feelings with food can increase.  And sometimes we find the opposite is true, during the time of increased emotions we lose our appetite. 

So how do we know if we’re eating due to hunger or some other reason?  There are a few things that differentiate true hunger from emotional-based hunger.  Often when we’re eating due to uncomfortable emotions, our hunger comes on quick versus if we’re truly hungry. True hunger usually comes on slower and we feel that familiar grumble in our stomach telling us it’s time to eat.  Usually, if we’re truly hungry and we eat, the need to eat is gone.  Typically when we eat as a result of emotions, food never fills the void.  It’s like the itch you can’t scratch.  There are several things we can do to help us recognize and reduce some of our emotional eating such as:

  • KEEP A FOOD AND FEELING JOURNAL:  Write down what you plan on eating before you eat it.  Also, write down how you’re feeling at the time.  Food journaling can help you recognize patterns in your eating such as frequent nighttime eating related to boredom or going too long between meals.
  • TAKE 5:  When you recognize you’re about to eat due to a reason other than hunger, take a 5-minute pause.  Choose something else to do during this time such as drinking some water, clean a small area of your home, or just step outside and change your environment.  Often doing another activity can distract us when we’re not truly hungry.  Sometimes just hitting the pause button before turning to food can give us time to step back and reevaluate why we’re eating and if we really need to eat.  And sometimes we need that food!   
  • EAT CONSISTENT MEALS EVERY DAY: Try to eat three meals every day and don’t go long periods without eating.  Eating regular meals helps us distinguish between true hunger and emotional hunger.

It’s not bad to use food to ease our emotions.  Many of us can think of a time we ate outside our hunger. Like snacking on a bag of chips during a TV show or indulging in some ice cream because it was a bad day.   However, if you find food tends to be your main coping mechanism and you’re having difficulty navigating your emotions, consider reaching out to a mental health professional.  At CHAS we have behavioral health specialists at our clinics that are here to help you.

One way we can recognize emotional based eating is to practice mindful eating.  Eating mindfully involves an awareness of our eating, recognizing in the moment without judgment what, why, and how we are eating.  The Center for Mindful Eating describes mindful eating as being aware of the nourishment opportunities available through food, acknowledging our food likes and dislikes in a nonjudgmental way, and honoring our physical hunger and fullness cues.1   Sounds pretty good but how do we start?  Below are some ways you incorporate mindful eating into your meals during the day.


  • HUNGER CHECK:  Before you start eating ask yourself how hungry are you?  Maybe you ate recently and aren’t really that hungry.  In this case maybe you don’t need to eat as much as a full meal would provide. 
  • SLOW DOWN: When we slow our eating, we can enjoy our food and pay attention to when we’re getting full.  Try sipping water throughout your meal, chewing your food well, and setting your fork down between bites to help extend your mealtime.
  • TAKE A MEAL HALFTIME: Checking in with our hunger throughout our meal helps us recognize when we’re getting full.  One way to do this is to take a pause when you’re halfway done with your meal.  I like to call this a meal halftime report.  Halfway through your meal take a minute to put your fork down and sip some water.  Ask yourself how full you feel.  Do you need more and if so, how much?  Maybe you just need a few more bites or maybe you need the rest of your meal. 
  • ENJOY YOUR FOOD: Take time to slow down and truly enjoy the taste and feel of the food in your mouth.  Most of us can think of a food we truly enjoy and can imagine how that food smells, tastes, and feels in our mouth.  Take time to appreciate these aspects of your food in the moment when you are actually eating it.

Like anything else in life, eating mindfully takes practice.  Consider starting by picking one meal each day to focus on your mindful eating practice.  You may forget one day and that’s okay!  One of the main principles of mindful eating is nonjudgment and this applies to the actual practice of mindful eating.  The next meal or the next day is another opportunity to practice your mindful eating.

1. https://www.thecenterformindfuleating.org/

Jen Loweree, RD


Falling into Seasonal Produce

Falling into Seasonal Produce

Fall.  Autumn.  The change of seasons is marked by changing leaves and Pumpkin Spice flavored…..everything?  This year, don’t let pumpkin spice flavored oreos be your only seasonal food experience.  There are many seasonal vegetables and fruits that can help welcome the feeling of the cooler temperatures into our homes. 

There are benefits to eating produce when it’s in season beyond helping to usher in a new season.  When we choose in season produce we get the maximum nutritional benefits of those foods.  When foods are picked at the peak of ripeness, they contain their peak content of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.  Some phytonutrients in foods decline when stored for long periods of time. Phytonutrient is just a fancy word for the naturally produced chemicals from plants that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.  Antioxidants prevent or delay cell damage. This means that they keep us healthy for longer and also looking vibrant.  They reduce inflammation which contributes to chronic illness. Vitamin C is an anti-oxidant.  Many of us know that Vitamin C can also be important in reducing the length of a cold or other winter illnesses.  Vitamin C is jam packed into many of our Fall grown produce.  All plants contain phytonutrients.  This includes whole grains, nuts, beans and vegetables and fruit.  Examples of seasonal vegetables and fruits are below, but including a variety of plant foods daily is good for overall health and wellness.

Fruits and vegetables are less expensive when purchased in season.  It takes less time and money for them to get to the store and that savings is passed onto the consumer.  Eating seasonally is one of the best things you can do to reduce your grocery budget while bulking up your nutrition. 

When trying to eat healthier, the most valuable thing we can do is make sure that our food is delicious! Eating delicious food every day helps us to sustain our healthier habits.  Eating produce in season is a way to ensure that your fruits and veggies taste their very best.  Lastly, eating in season also provides the opportunity to support local producers.  Supporting local farmers allows for more sustainable food production and also reduces fossil fuels used to transport items from across the world.  Below are some options for including seasonal produce that are usually available locally.  Enjoy the season this year by trying something new or by having a familiar food prepared in a way that is new to you.

Acorn Squash

One serving of Acorn Squash is an excellent source of Vitamin C.  The easiest way to prepare all your winter squash is to halve, scoop out seeds and then bake in the oven until soft.  The tender flesh can be scooped out of the shell and used as a side dish as is.  The shape of the acorn squash also provides the perfect bowl shape for stuffing with goodies such as a combo of Italian sausage and wild rice.  Winter squash is also wonderful for roasting.  Acorn squash can be sliced in strips and roasted with a drizzle of olive oil and seasonings to taste.  

Butternut Squash

Another delicious and slightly sweet winter squash, one cup has more than 100% of the daily value of Vitamin A along with being another excellent source of Vitamin C.  After baking, butternut squash makes a delicious, creamy soup.  It’s also wonderful roasted or topped with cheese and whole wheat breadcrumbs in a casserole.

Sweet Potatoes

Swapping a baked potato for a baked sweet potato is an easy way to increase your Vitamin A and Vitamin C intake for the day.  If you’re looking for more ways to include this versatile vegetable into every day eating, try slicing them thin and using as “toast” substitute or dicing and making a sweet potato hash. 

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts often get a bad reputation for being a least favorite food.  However, when not over-cooked, most people are able to change their opinion of this notorious vegetable.  If you’ve tried Brussels Sprouts before and found them mushy, try a dry heat for cooking.  Slice in halves and roast with olive oil.  You can also try parboiling (boiling for 1-2 minutes and then immersing in cold water to stop the cooking process) and then sautéing.  They can also be steamed, but careful not to overcook. Nuts are a perfect addition to Brussels Sprout.  Try toasted walnuts or almonds on top.


Parsnips look like a white (possibly more boring) carrot and are often overlooked.  Despite their similar shape, they are not from the same family of vegetables.  Parsnips have a lightly sweet flavor but with more of a spiced taste than their orange counterpart. When paired with carrots in a rich beef stew they can add depth of flavor.  They are also delicious when roasted with other fall/winter vegetables. 

Cool weather Greens (Kale, Chard, Spinach, etc)

Many dark greens such as kale and spinach get an improved, sweeter flavor when exposed to frost.  This makes them a perfect fall, winter and early spring vegetable.  We all have heard of the benefits of brightly colored greens and now is a perfect time to add them to the rotation.  A more hearty, winter salad can be assembled by starting with kale and adding toasted walnuts, goat cheese, dried cranberries, topped with sliced steak.  Add Kale or Spinach to smoothies or toss greens into soups for a nutrition boost.


Pears are an excellent source of fiber with a good mix of both soluble and insoluble fiber.  Getting enough of both fiber types can help regulate blood sugar, increase satiety, improve bowel regularity and keep Cholesterol in a healthy range.  Pears make for a perfect snack on their own anytime but also can be added to smoothies, as a topping for oatmeal or as a salad topping.   And don’t forget pear desserts such as crisps or carmelized pears as a topping for ice cream.


It would not be the Fall season without trips to the pumpkin patch and apple picking.  The Northwest is home to many apple varieties.  Apple cider simmering on the stove immediately makes the home feel like Autumn.   This year, try apple chips baked in the oven at a low temperature until they dry and crisp.


Cranberries are always featured on the Thanksgiving table but not given much thought the rest of the year.  Washington and Oregon are two of only about five states that grown cranberries in the U.S.  Fresh cranberries can be added to baked goods and in crisps.  Dried cranberries are wonderful in fall-themed salads and as a topper for oatmeal.  They can also be tossed into savory dishes such as stuffed squash to add a hint of sweetness. Cranberries are a phytonutrient rich berry in the same family as blueberries.  Their bright red color signals hidden nutrition benefits. 

Aren’t we glad to live in a world with fall and all the bountiful produce that it delivers to our tables?

by Heather Blazier, RD, CDE


Why get a flu shot?

CHAS Health recommends that everyone ages 6 months and older get an annual flu shot to lower the risk of getting the flu and limit flu exposure to others.

Seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and continue as late as May. People of all ages can catch the flu, and now more than ever, no one wants to expose others to illness-causing germs.

Drive-up Flu Shot Clinics

This year CHAS Health will be hosting Drive-up Flu Shot Clinics on Saturdays in the months of October and November for you and your kids. These Drive-up clinics are available for patients and non-patients of CHAS Health. It is as easy as driving to the location for that Saturday and receive your flu shot. All from the comfort of your car! Dates and locations are as follows:

CHAS Health Drive-up Flu Clinics (Washington)

October 10thValley Clinic9:00am – 1:00pm
October 10thMaple Street Clinic2:00pm – 5:00pm
October 17thNorth Central Clinic9:00am – 1:00pm
October 17thDenny Murphy Clinic9:00am – 5:00pm
October 24thNorth County Clinic9:00am – 1:00pm
October 24thMarket Street Clinic9:00am – 5:00pm
October 31stValley Clinic9:00am – 5:00pm
October 31stPerry Street Clinic9:00am – 5:00pm
November 7thSouthgate Clinic9:00am – 12:00pm
November 7thMarket Street Clinic9:00am – 5:00pm
November 7thCheney Health Center2:00pm – 5:00pm
November 14thMaple Street Clinic9:00am – 5:00pm
November 14thValley Clinic9:00am – 5:00pm
November 21stMaple Street Clinic9:00am – 5:00pm
November 21stDenny Murphy Clinic9:00am – 5:00pm

CHAS Health Drive-up Flu Clinics (Idaho)

October 17thLatah Community Health9:00am – 1:00pm
October 17thLewis & Clark Health Center2:00pm – 5:00pm

If you are unable to make one of our Saturday Drive-up Flu Shot Clinics you can stop by at your medical primary care clinic beginning October 1st. Simply drive up and follow the directions.

COVID-19 & Influenza

Influenza kills and hospitalizes thousands of adults and children every year. COVID-19 can also be deadly and there is no vaccine available at this time. Both viruses are respiratory pathogens. It is possible to be infected with both influenza and COVID-19 at the same time, a situation to be avoided for everyone, not just the elderly or those with chronic diseases. If you have questions about whether or not you or your child should stay home due to any illness, please discuss this with your healthcare provider.

Telling the Difference Between a Cold & the Flu

Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between a cold and the flu, but there are some symptom differences:


Often the flu includes a fever while a cold does not. A fever is the body’s way of fighting infection. Fever is the most common reason adults stay home from work and why most parents keep their children home from school. The definition of a fever is a temperature of 100.4 or higher, however some schools and daycare centers have their own standards. The general rule of thumb is to stay away from work or school until the fever is gone and the ill person’s temperature has returned to 98.6 degrees.

Upper Respiratory

Adults and children may contract several different cold viruses each winter. Typical cold symptoms include a runny nose, sore throat and cough. Most people with these symptoms can participate in school without restrictions. Coughs may linger for several weeks after the other symptoms have resolved. It is important to remember the importance of coughing or sneezing into an elbow or a tissue, and to practice proper hand washing techniques to limit the spread of germs.

The flu is similar to a cold, but is accompanied by high fevers and body aches. It can also include extreme fatigue, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, or other symptoms that diminish the body’s ability to function normally. If an adult or child has the flu, they should stay home until their symptoms have disappeared.

Vomiting and Diarrhea

When the flu brings vomiting and diarrhea, both adults and children should stay home until these symptoms have resolved. Adults and older children with only mild diarrhea (who are able to use the toilet and wash their hands on their own), may go to work and school if they don’t have other symptoms.

Illnesses are a normal part of life for both adults and children, but they are no fun to experience. We can’t keep ourselves or our children home for every sniffle and sneeze, yet we want to minimize the spread of germs to others. That’s why getting an annual flu shot is so very important.

For more information about the 2020-2021 flu season, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)


Remote Learning | Tech Tips from IT

What the heck is “remote learning” anyways? So many new terms, so many new letters (oh yeah, acronyms) like WFH, Wifi, hotspot, Ethernet cable, signal strength, MS Teams, Goggle Classroom. When did we become so dependent on our internet connection and the speed of our signal?  Right… since COVID locked everything down, including schools.

So, if I have to work from home (WFH), do I have to also teach my kids from home?  Well, I really don’t have it too bad. My oldest in high school can really manage for herself; she’s responsible. My youngest, that’s another story. ADHD also makes is extremely difficult for someone to sit at a computer for 6 hours and rarely leave the bedroom. As a parent, how can I help my kids be successful in school while learning on-line?  How can I be a real contributor at the office if I’m not “in-person”? Do I have to be “tech support” for my kids?

And, don’t experts say that “too much screen time is not good for your kids”?  But now, they are asking them to sit on 5 different zoom classes a day with a 30 min lunch over a 6 hour day.  Just checking to see if anyone else thinks that’s odd too.

Here are a few things that I have picked up that might help us ROCK this school year… well, at least make the best of it. 

  • There are really no school supply lists like before, so just make sure they have a notebook and pencils to make notes. Everything else is on-line.
  • Invest in good internet!  Email or google searching over your home internet take up only a small bit of data, but streaming audio and video uses more data and is much less forgiving when its interrupted. So, consider contacting your local internet provider (Comcast, CenturyLink, etc) to see if you can get at least 10 MB download speed and at least 5 Mb upload speed with a low “ping time” (50ms or less).  Use www.speedtest.net to check your speed.  If you are rural, you may not have many options, but you can try to get a Verizon hotspot or jetpack.  It’s a device that uses the cellphone data network, but this is often capped at 15-30Gb per month before you get throttled down to slower speeds. (so no Netflix on the hotspot).
  • Set an alarm for 2-3 mins before each class to remind your kid of the next online class.
  • Lunch – get them a good lunch. Even if they are home, they may need some help so they don’t eat only junk food.

Well, we are all “learning from home”, each and every day.  Its gonna be okay, just be patient with yourself and your teachers.  They are doing the best they can.

by CHAS Health IT dept.


What does a Dietitian eat in a day?

Ever wonder what a dietitian eats in a day?

From people wondering how to improve their diets and eat healthier I get this question a lot- what on earth do I eat? The answer is that it’s going to look very different from person to person! There is no “one best way” to eat or any such thing as a “perfect diet”.

In general a healthful diet:

  • is abundant in a wide variety of fresh vegetables and fruits
  • contains foods from different food groups including vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, whole grains, legumes, proteins, dairy, and healthy fats
  • provides enough calories for an individual to thrive and maintain a healthful bodyweight
  • is tasty and enjoyable
  • is sustainable long term
  • focuses on water as the primary source of hydration
  • limits highly processed foods

Combining foods in different ways to make them tasty and enjoyable is one of the best ways to prevent food boredom and truly enjoy a healthy diet! One of my best pieces of advice is to get in the kitchen. The best, most nutritious meals can be made right at home using whole food ingredients and simple techniques.

Here is an idea of what I eat in a day- this is by no means prescriptive but instead a source of idea/inspiration on how fun and tasty it can be to eat healthy!

In the morning, the first thing I like to do is make myself a big jar of ice water and chug some. A couple of ways to make water more enjoyable:

  • make it extra cold by adding lots of ice!
  • add fresh or frozen fruit to add flavor- like strawberries, lemon, pineapple, mango, kiwi, limes
  • add fresh herbs like basil or mint
  • add a reusable straw (IDK why this helps me drink more but it does!)


Next comes arguably the most important meal of the day- breakfast! I hear from quite a few people that they don’t enjoy breakfast or don’t feel hungry in the morning. I’d encourage you to take a look at what other times of day you are feeling hungry. Are you extra hungry for dinner? Or find yourself snacking late in the evening? Evidence shows that eating a balanced breakfast every day can help prevent these feelings of “hangriness” later in the day. Breakfast eaters also have a lower incidence of obesity, heart disease, insulin resistance, and high blood pressure. Score!

For breakfast- I recommend including quality protein, heart-healthy fat, filling fiber and fruit, or vegetables! My breakfast this morning was (my fave!) a slice of toasted sourdough bread with smashed avocado, chopped green onion, red pepper flakes, a sprinkle of feta, and a fried egg. On the side, I enjoyed some blueberries and strawberries and of course, coffee. This is brewed black coffee with about ¼ cup frothed oat milk to give it a bit of creaminess.

This breakfast covers all of the previously mentioned bases:

  • Protein- egg
  • Healthy fat- avocado
  • Fiber- berries and toast
  • Fruit or vegetable- strawberries, blueberries, green onion, avocado
  • And also, it was DELICIOUS.


After a few hours of work and a hard workout, I was more than ready for lunch. Today’s lunch is another one of my standbys and perfect for the approaching fall weather.

For those of you who have gotten tired of steamed, mushy veg may I strongly suggest roasted!? Drizzling veggies with olive oil and seasonings and roasting them at high heat (425) for about 25 minutes gives them crispiness and deeper flavor that is simply irresistible!

Today’s lunch bowl included:

  • quinoa (a fabulous high-protein grain)
  • roasted sweet potatoes and broccoli (roasted with olive oil, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and kosher salt)
  • 1/2 of an avocado and a handful of Kalamata olives (gotta love that healthy fat!)
  • a sprinkle of dried cranberries for chew and roasted pumpkin seeds for crunch
  • a vinaigrette made with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon honey, and a pinch of salt and pepper


An afternoon of work flew by and I was feeling quite hungry by 4:30 pm. I knew I would be over-hungry if I didn’t have a little snack to tide me over till dinner so I snacked on some grapes and a Kombucha tea while making dinner. Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage that is very low in sugar and calories and rich in probiotic bacteria- aka those friendly little critters that promote gut health!


For dinner, I made a delicious lemongrass noodle salad! Tons of fresh veggies like bell peppers, carrots, cucumber, and scallions, tossed with thin brown rice noodles, peanuts, crispy tofu, basil, cilantro, and a zippy lemongrass dressing. I will link to the recipe below, I highly recommend- it was so flavorful and filling!

Recipe from Pinch of Yum


I almost always save a little room at the end of the day for a small sweet snack like a piece of dark chocolate, some toasted coconut chips or a few chocolate covered almonds. Today was a little more indulgent with a homemade chocolate chip cookie.

I strongly encourage including portion-controlled sweet snacks in your diet. Including these foods instead of restricting can:

  • help you feel more satisfied
  • prevent the urge to binge
  • promote a way of eating that feels sustainable and realistic
  • I ate this cookie and enjoyed every single bite!

And that’s a wrap! A full day of eating. I didn’t show it in every picture but I did keep refilling my yummy fruit-infused water all day long and ended up drinking 90oz. The recommended minimum water intake is 64oz/day but it is certainly okay to exceed this, especially if you are active!

My motto in life is to “count colors not calories”. Mindful eating, appropriate portions, and an abundance of colorful veggies and fruits is how I stay on track and lead a balanced lifestyle. I hope this visual and comprehensive day of eating helps picture what types of foods and meals you’d like to incorporate into your day-to-day.

Drop any questions you have in the comment section- we love questions!

by Erica Baty, RDN, CDE