Expert Guidance

5 Healthy Eating Habits for Busy People

Designer Creative - Sunday, June 25, 2017

If only eating healthy according to your healthcare provider’s standards was as easy as she made it sound. Unfortunately, many will say there is just not enough time in the day to eat well. Fast food tastes great, can be addictive and is easy when other priorities keep us from making time for better meals.


Sundays make great days for meal prepping. For example, you could make 14 breakfast burritos all at once and freeze them. One person could have a filling and quick breakfast out of the microwave for two weeks, or a couple could have a quick breakfast every day for a week.


However, many spend weekends away from home, attending events or relaxing and dread the idea of spending hours in the kitchen with a hot oven, cooking the same meal over and over. While it makes the following far more convenient, there’s no arguing the process is time consuming and can quickly get overwhelming without help.


We strongly urge you to give meal prepping ahead of the week a try, but if you’re not ready to take the dive just yet, that’s OK. We have some great tips to help you tackle every meal in the meantime.


1. Choose natural foods.

“Natural” has become a bit of an ambiguous term, but when we say natural, we mean as it appears in nature. For example, go for an apple over applesauce, grilled chicken breast over chicken nuggets or a baked potato with skin instead of French fries.


2. Eat regularly.

Our bodies like routines, and through repetition, healthy habits can be easy to develop and sustain. Starting healthy habits and following through is the hard part. They say it takes 21 days for a healthy habit to stick, so if you’re someone who tends to put eating on the back burner in favor of work or other activities, consider setting a schedule and planning healthy food and snacks around that schedule. If you know you’ll be on the road when you’ll be hungry, pack a quick snack like an apple, or eat something with a lot of fiber or protein before you head out. This will help satisfy your appetite and keep you from feeling the need to stop by the drive-thru.


3. Chew gum.

Research shows chewing gum can reduce your desire for food. Often, when we’re bored, food becomes an easy way to activate endorphins and accumulate pleasure. Chewing gum can help activate the same sensations without adding calories.


4. Drink more water.

Are you hydrating yourself? Many Southeast Missourians struggle to make sure they’re drinking. Any nonalcoholic liquid will do, but you’ll find your body and skin are much more satisfied with regular water. There are zero calories, and you can usually find an affordable source. Aim to drink a full glass every couple hours. Sometimes when we believe we’re hungry, our bodies are severely thirsty instead. If you’re still hungry fifteen minutes after drinking a full glass, feel free to eat your meal.


5. Go small and eat slowly.

With so much going on, it’s tempting to rush through food and get back to our regularly scheduled events. However, eating quickly can lead to overindulging and stomach pain. Instead of packing your plate full, keep it small. Space bites out with plenty of drinks. Wait fifteen minutes after eating your small plate before going back for more



If you’d like more in-depth education on satisfying your hunger, check out this interactive guide from the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

4 Communication Tips for People Living With Chronic Conditions

Designer Creative - Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Have you ever tried explaining your condition or symptoms to a friend or family member only to meet blank stares or rolling eyes? There isn’t much we can do about those who refuse to try to understand your circumstances; however, there are a few techniques you can use to bridge the gap between you and those who want to understand and seemingly cannot.


1. Speak plainly.

It can be overwhelming to start talking about your symptoms, but try to avoid being vague. You may think some of your symptoms are embarrassing or gross, but you must be honest, especially with your healthcare provider, or the severity of your condition could get brushed off. If a friend asks you how or in what ways you can be helped, be specific with your answer: “Could you take out the garbage?”


2. Be patient but assertive.

Comprehending the causes and pains associated with your symptoms near the level you feel them can take some time and dedication. It is critical to remain respectful as you describe your symptoms. At the same time, avoid using “you” sentences where your speech may indicate the other person is to blame. Focus on using “I” statements even when the other person has made you angry: “I feel frustrated by my lack of willpower when I smell food I shouldn’t eat. I also feel disrespected when you bring good-smelling food around me that I cannot eat.”


3. Try the spoon theory.

Plain language won’t work for some. For example, if you’re trying to describe your limitations to children, it may be easier to use a basic metaphor with which they can relate, like the spoon theory. Draw comparisons to the other person’s life so he or she can more easily form connections.


4. Understand the other party.

There are many individuals who have not had a lot of life experience and simply do not have the empathetic capacity to see the world from complex viewpoints. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do in these situations to help them understand the details of your condition.


Finally, ask yourself if the person you’re trying to talk with seems to care. This is no doubt one of the hardest truths to face when examining friendships. But having people in your life who do not seem interested in helping you cope with your chronic condition can be toxic to your mental well-being.


Does your friend


  • - change the subject when you bring up your condition, symptoms or goals?
    • - seem to give you false or empty encouragement?
    • - tell you not to worry?
  • - give you “solutions” without knowing the intricacies of your illness?
  • If you answered “yes” to these questions, you may be relying on the wrong person to help you cope with your chronic condition. That’s not to say you cannot have a relationship with this person, but you need to realize that he or she may not have the ability to give the support you want and need.
  • For more techniques to communicate about chronic conditions, sign up for a free Chronic Disease Self-Management Course – no insurance required. Many health departments and health centers across Southeast Missouri are starting courses throughout the summer.



Let’s Get Physical: How Those With Arthritis Can Work Out

Designer Creative - Sunday, April 30, 2017

No excuses

 Believe it or not, even those with arthritis or other rheumatic conditions benefit from regular physical activity. Research shows that those who participate in moderate-intensity, low-impact exercises have less pain, better movement control and a happier, healthier life.


Get your heart pumping

Cardio or aerobic activities that make your heart beat faster and increase your breathing do wonders for your lungs and heart. Consistent aerobic exercise will help you move better, could improve joint discomfort and boost bone density, all without worsening your symptoms or disease severity.


Low-impact cardio activities to try


-Brisk walks

-Cardio machines


To reach a safe and moderate-intensity workout, use the talking test. If you are moving so much talking takes too much work, you should lower your effort level. Remember, even ten minutes of moderate-intensity exercise is better than nothing.


Strength and balancing activities

If you are prone to falling, you should consider adding activities that improve balance to your exercise regiment. At least three days per week, warm up for cardio by stretching and practicing balancing techniques.


Balancing exercises

-Balancing on one foot

-Tai chi

-Heel-to-toe walking


Health departments/centers across Southeast Missouri are hosting workshops designed to help those with arthritis or limited mobility enjoy a more active lifestyle. You will learn even more endurance activities, balancing exercises, stretches and relaxation techniques.

Find your location and register for a class today.



How to Get the Medicine You Need

Designer Creative - Thursday, April 06, 2017

The average American spends about $1,000 on prescription drugs each year. Unfortunately, many in Southeast Missouri cannot afford to spend nearly that much for the medicine they need. If you have a chronic condition like diabetes or hypertension and you have to choose between medicine or fresh fruits and vegetables, we urge you to apply for the Prescription Drug Assistance program.


The Prescription Drug Assistance program is designed to help those who cannot afford medicines gain access to them through patient assistance programs. Enrolling in the program is easy. Just call our office at 573-624-1607 to have an enrollment packet mailed to you ,or you may download the enrollment forms and instructions.


After completing the forms, mail them and the required documents to our office:

Regional Healthcare Foundation
Prescription Drug Assistance (PDA) Program
215 W. Grant
Dexter, MO 63841

If approved, you will be sent an application for your medications. All you need to do is sign and date your application and mail it back. We will communicate with your healthcare provider to finalize the rest of the paperwork.

Depending on the medicine companies’ guidelines, your medication will either be delivered to your home or available for pickup at your healthcare provider’s office.

Most applications we submit are for a 90-day supply of medication.


  •      - You should apply if
  •      - You don’t have prescription drug insurance coverage.
  •      - You’re underinsured.
  •      - You meet the pharmaceutical company’s income guidelines.
  •      - You’re a U.S. resident.

*Minimum financial guidelines apply.


Do not delay receiving the medication you need. We can help you be healthy.

4 Steps to Take When You’ve Been Diagnosed with Diabetes

Designer Creative - Sunday, March 19, 2017

Learning that you have diabetes isn’t easy. But the faster you understand your condition and start managing your symptoms, the better. Here are four steps to get you started on the right track.


1. Manage your diet.

Learning to manage what you eat is the most important part of controlling your diabetes. Unfortunately, it can also be the most stressful, and with good reason. You’re likely transitioning from putting little thought into everything you eat, beyond whether you’re hungry for it, to thinking through every bite and what it means for your body. The good news is, you’re not on your own. M Power offers resources, education and classes to those living with diabetes and their loved ones to help you manage your condition and maintain the lifestyle you enjoy.


2. Monitor your blood sugar.

Monitoring your glucose levels is a critical tool in treating your disease. Through the results, you’ll begin to understand how your food choices and activity levels affect your condition, and monitor the effectiveness of your medications. Your healthcare provider will advise you on how often you should check your blood sugar levels. Be sure to record the results each time, to better track results.


3. Cope with symptoms.

Just learning about your disease can be overwhelming and stressful, which is why it’s important to cope with both the physical and emotional symptoms that come with your diagnosis. You don’t have to do that alone. Find resources and education for both you and loved ones to better understand diabetes.

4. Communicate with your healthcare team.

Your treatment will only be as effective as the information your share with your medical provider. That makes it critical to communicate your symptoms, side effects and concerns at your appointments. Be sure to bring your blood sugar test results with you, and it may help to have a list of questions to ask your provider.


Interested in information about diabetes classes and screenings? 


How to Fight This One Powerful Craving

Designer Creative - Tuesday, February 21, 2017

You have most likely heard that consuming too much salt is bad for you, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, many Americans are just not taking the advice. In fact, nine out of 10 adults still consume too much salt.


Why is eating too much salt bad?

Ingesting too much salt can lead to many health and performance issues with your mind and body. Salt causes blood pressure to rise, and high blood pressure can lead to type 2 diabetes, kidney failure, heart disease and stroke. An overabundance of salt intake can also increase your likelihood of developing stomach cancer, osteoporosis and obesity.


Many believe the best way to combat salt intake is to simply limit the amount of salt you put on food, but limiting yourself at the dinner table is only part of the change you need to make to have a successful diet with lower sodium. Many popular food items have too much salt before you ever have the chance to add your own personal flair.


Do you enjoy any of these foods?

Lunch meat

Soy sauce


Cured meats

Salted nuts

Frozen entrees

Fast food or takeout

Canned soups



Potato chips

Processed foods


Many of the listed favorites have a lot of sodium per serving, and many adults and children do not stick with serving size recommendations. Often, we think something is healthy just because it has few calories. For example, a pickle might have fewer than 10 calories; however, that same pickle most likely has well over 500 milligrams of sodium. That’s one-third of what the American Heart Association recommends of sodium per day.



The American Heart Association recommends adults consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium on a daily average, but the ideal limit is closer to 1,500 milligrams a day. These numbers vary based on a variety of personal factors. If you’re not sure how this applies to you, contact your local health department for a free consultation with a registered dietitian.


Unfortunately, many favorite foods in America have too much sodium. This does not mean we must cut them out completely, but it does mean as a collective, we need to practice more moderation for processed foods.


Instead of seasoning with salt, try

● Garlic powder

● Pepper

● Lemon zest

● Onion powder

● Red pepper flakes


Instead of chips for snacks, try

● Unsalted nuts

● Apples and peanut butter

● Low-fat yogurt

● Fresh fruit

● Baby carrots


Instead of TV dinners or frozen entrees, try

● Preparing fresh or frozen vegetables without added sauce

● Slow cooking chicken, so it’s ready when you need it

● Cooking in bulk one day a week and freezing your own meals for later

● Steaming lean meats with whole grain brown rice and vegetables


For one to two weeks, keep a journal of your daily salt intake to get a clear picture of just how much salt you’re consuming. Change does not happen immediately, and once you begin cutting down on salt, your cravings for it may skyrocket. Instead of trying an all-or-nothing approach, start cutting out and replacing salt one step at a time.



Chronic Disease Self-Management Class Preview: Action Plans

Designer Creative - Wednesday, February 15, 2017

To successfully manage your chronic disease, you must start with wanting to change, to feel better and to be better. The road to managing your chronic disease will never be easy, but there are tools and techniques you can use to aid in your journey to good health.


Part of the curriculum within the M Power Chronic Disease Self-Management Workshop is learning how to set up and implement successful action plans.


A program coordinator will help you choose something about your habits you want to improve. The key is that you agree with the final choice and want to follow through with whatever this action plan entails. If you set a goal just because someone suggested you do it, you may not have the motivation you need to succeed.


On the same page, whatever you want to do must be possible. Deciding to do something impossible will set you up for failure and could hurt your self-esteem for pursuing further goals. Before you commit to your action plan, evaluate its difficulty and your mindset. Are you ready for something really challenging, or should you start smaller?


Your action plan should answer very specific questions: what is it, how much, how often and when? How will you know you’ve succeeded?


Example: I will be a more active person by walking 15 minutes at least three to four days a week this month.


Once you have an action plan, write it down and post it around your living area. Ask those who support you to check in on you. Make daily notes of your moods and energy levels. Did you skip your walk last week because you were too tired? Did you find you didn’t have time to go on your walk? Why is that?


Making daily notes about your action plan, positive or negative, will help you discover what you are doing successfully and where you might improve. You may also discover hiccups you didn’t anticipate. By taking notes, you can brainstorm methods to deal with those hiccups.



The M Power Workshop will also help you develop the confidence you need to embark on your action plan on your own. You will learn the best way to reward yourself and how often. If you want the best path to success, sign up during the next open enrollment period in your region.

You deserve to be happy and healthy. Let us show you the quickest way there. 


Please share this article on Facebook to help us reach those who need us most.

Every Project Has a Beginning. Welcome to Ours.

Designer Creative - Monday, January 23, 2017

Missouri is ready for growth.

Southeast Missouri is a wonderful area. Boasting an array of features and opportunities, many find it easy to make their home here in the quaint towns scattering the countryside. The landscape is perfect for raising a family, and the improved economic outlook makes it ideal for those looking to start a business. In addition, community members are often welcoming and warm to new and old friends alike.


However, for too long Southeast Missouri has been an underserved region in many aspects. Those suffering from chronic disease symptoms deserve a better support system, so M Power is initiating chronic illness support programs throughout Southeast Missouri.


We can help those with chronic disease and reduce the onset of chronic disease throughout the area.

M Power is regionally situated within Missouri’s Bootheel with goals dedicated to

• Improving the health of those with chronic diseases through the teaching of evidence-based self-management programs

• Caring for individuals diagnosed with diabetes in Southeast Missouri’s rural counties

• Bettering cardiovascular health and quality of life throughout the region with prevention education

• Promoting healthy choices that lead to individuals living with a reduced risk of developing a chronic disease 

Ensuring those with or at risk for chronic diseases have access to the necessary prescription medications and support they need

  • Through a coordinating effort among health departments and social agencies across Missouri’s Bootheel, M Power will contribute to the improvement and quality of life of those throughout the region.
  • Even if you believe you’re healthy, you could be at risk for developing chronic health conditions. Find out if you’re at risk for diabetes, obesity complications or heart disease.
  • We need your help.
  • To reach your coworkers, neighbors, friends and family, we need you to share our content on your Facebook page, in an email or over the phone. Our programs are free because we are grant funded. We have no sponsorship and we are not selling anything.



This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $1,754,999 with 0 percentage financed with non-governmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit

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