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5 Tips for Packing a Healthy Lunch

How many times have you complained to yourself about not bringing a healthy, packed lunch to work? I know the feeling — I’m sure that everyone knows that feeling well. Below are five tips to help make packing lunch easier and not an experience that deserves avoidance and excuses. Getting lunch delivered to your office or from a place nearby is an easy and mindless habit to fall into without even noticing. Even when you try to order healthy (such as salad), the reality is that it will never be as healthy as something you prepare yourself.salad, sandwich, wellness, healthy eating

  1. Plan ahead: One of the best things about getting delivery or takeout at work is the minimal amount of effort required to feed yourself — one of the main issues with preparing a packed lunch. Plan ahead and prepare all of the necessary ingredients and packing items so that you can cut down on the work you need to do. Cook enough food to have leftovers for the next day or dedicate an evening to preparing lunches in advance; just plan ahead!
  2. Keep it simple: Healthy doesn’t have to mean complicated. Keep simple healthy ingredients on hand so that you can whip up simple and healthy meals without needing to think so hard.
  3. Add variety: They say that variety is the spice of life and healthy food has the potential for so much variety! Avoid getting bored of your lunch by paying special attention towards trying new recipes and using new flavors in interesting ways. There are so many delicious ways to eat healthy — can you find them all?
  4. Partner up: They say that misery love company! That’s a joke! But seriously though, company makes everything better and that includes eating healthy and packing lunch. Get your partner or spouse to join you in preparing lunches for the week. Turn it into a fun bonding ritual that also helps keep you in better shape.
  5. Stock up at work: Do you like snacking at work? Stock your desk with healthy snacks and options so that you can pack less for lunch and just supplement your lunch with snacks throughout the day.

These are just five ways to make packing lunch easier than it is. Use these tips to double down on your healthy routine and keep moving towards the improved you that you’re aiming for! Click here for the article.

Essential Packing Tips For Travel to Hawaii

Hawaiian Dress Code
The hardest part of any vacation tends to be when packing for one. Packing sounds like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be! In this article, I wanted to share my best wellness and packing tips to help prepare you for your next trip to Hawaii. “Hawaiian Dress Code”: Most places use “Resort Wear” as standard dress code throughout Hawaii. For men, this includes dress-shorts or khaki trousers and a collared shirt. For women, this includes casual skirts, maxi dresses, capri pants, dress shorts, rompers, etc.

What to Bring: A General Packing Checklist

  1. Shorts & T-shirts for daytime wear.
  2. Bathing suit & cover-up (most resorts request that you cover up in lobbies and common areas other than the pool and beach).
  3. Flip-Flops or other water shoes.
  4. Long trousers, for Hawaii activities (like horseback riding, zip lining, hiking over lava, ATV tours, etc).
  5. Sunglasses.
  6. Sunscreen & lip balm with high SPF (WebMD recommends looking for a sunscreen that contains any of the following: ecamsule, avobenzone, oxybenzone, titanium dioxide, sulisobenzone, or zinc oxide).
  7. Hawaii travel map and/or guidebook: Oahu Vacation GuideMaui Vacation GuideKauai Vacation GuideHawaii: The Big Island, Vacation Guide.
  8. Cameras, batteries, and/or other charging devices.
  9. Binoculars and a lightweight backpack.
  10. Personal medicine prescriptions and first aid kit  (“Suggestions for medical supplies you may need on your Hawaii vacation”).
  11. Rain jacket/poncho and hat/visor.
  12. Light sweater – especially if you are staying in any of the uplands/upcountry areas like, Koele, Lanai City, Kula, Volcano and Waimea.

If you plan to hike:

  1. Mosquito repellent.
  2. Hiking shoes or sneakers.
  3. Camelback/water bottle.
  4. Quick-dry clothing.
  5. Some energy bars for fuel.

If you plan to visit high elevation zones:

  1. Thermal underwear.
  2. Windproof gloves.
  3. Windproof jacket.
  4. Winter hat, headband, or earmuffs (guided tours to Haleakala or Mauna Kea will most likely provide a parka & gloves).

Lava in HawaiiIf you plan to watch lava flow:

  1. Hiking shoes & hiking poles.
  2. Hiking pants.
  3. Flashlight.
  4. Gloves.

See more advice for seeing lava activity in Hawaii.

How to Deal with Stress in the Workplace

Dave Pflieger Wellness in the WorkplaceThe stress Americans feel every day can be largely attributed to the pressures and demands of the workplace. Every company should ask itself if it doesnt enough for its employees to assure a positive work atmosphere. Labor itself, along with limited body movement (being sedentary for long periods of time), and a strenuous work environment are all factors that contribute to feelings of tension and general negativity. Of course, over time, stressors begin to take a toll on employee happiness and productivity. It is a company’s responsibility to provide a satisfying work environment for those who work for its success. So, doesn’t it make sense for a company to supply its employees with its own form of stress-reducing exercises and wellness plans?

Roughly one in ten companies, only, has spent time designing a comprehensive wellness program for its employees, offering employees methods for stress reduction including yoga classes, meditative techniques and exercise. Beyond this, companies can introduce educational seminars and more long-term programs to advocate healthy practices. A few companies offer weight-loss and cholesterol management programs, healthy meals in vending machines and cafeterias, and even classes to help quit smoking. This is an intelligent way of addressing the many facets of a single issue: many workers smoke and overeat directly because of the stress they feel. Lowering stress helps twofold. Many of these programs raise feelings of positivity, well-being, and belonging, and inspire group activities, which means group progress. Members of a group do well to inspire each other to work for and maintain good habits. Aspects of a program can be as simple as reiterating good sleep and hygiene patterns. Often, it takes only a reminder and some repetition to instill values pertinent to good health, and one advocate often contagiously affects others around him with good habits.

Healthier workers simply feel better about what they do, and are more likely to come to work with a smile on their face than workers who feel they must sacrifice their priority on health for the sake of their employer. One company, Draper Inc. exceeded any expectations by organizing a team-based weight-loss program and awarding the winning team a prize for its success. What’s more is Draper honors employees monthly who display and encourage healthy lifestyles. It’s no surprise, Drape saw increased worker satisfaction and productivity. Other examples of going beyond the base level would be offering classes that help workers develop new skill, for example, cooking, music appreciation, or learning new computer applications. These give employees a chance to communicate and share experiences with each other in a different light. Positive feelings between co-workers engenders a free and transparent workplace, which helps all to feel more comfortable, appreciated, and motivated to work.

A company’s care for its employees is evident in all aspects of its conduct. Companies must understand their own culture to know how employees feel belonging to them. Jason Lang of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention expresses that a company’s concern for its employees’ wellness should be evident in everything the company does. Wellness is, ultimately, a question of lifestyle choices not of occasional beneficial activity. A company truly succeeds if it can make its impact last outside of the workplace.


A Breakfast Worth Waking Up For

Dave Pflieger Breakfast

We’ve all heard it: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It starts you off with high energy, an alert mind, and a general feeling of well-being. Starting your day on the right side of the bed makes adapting to daily demands much easier and you’ll be thankful you have the fuel to power you through a difficult morning.

But what’s the right thing to have for breakfast? How do put together the right meal? Is there something light enough to not bog us down for the hours after, but substantial enough to keep us energized?

Most experts agree that eliminating simple sugars and instead eating foods high in protein and complex carbohydrates is the way to go. This means no partaking in iconic traditions like pancakes and waffles, and you’ll want to skip that side of bacon with the omelette.

One classic combination that has become a recent trend is a bowl of greek yogurt with fruit and granola. Greek yogurt provides a substantial amount of protein while fruit adds a series of vitamins and minerals that are difficult to find elsewhere. They are also low in fat and do not add any extra cholesterol to your diet. (Certain fruit like avocado mimic the nutritional value of nuts—reputably high in protein, fiber, and good fats—and makes it easy to switch out certain fruits and nuts for others.) With the sheer number of granolas and nuts available on the market and the colorful variety of fruits, it’s easy to form a reliable and healthy habit that never becomes monotonous. Switch up your fruits, switch up your nuts. Just make sure to avoid nuts that are cooked in oils or are otherwise flavored as they often carry unwanted extras like sugars and saturated fat.

Another excellent option for protein is the egg. Eggs are a staple breakfast food ranking as one of the most nutritious foods out there. Authority Nutrition says it better than anyone: “A whole egg contains all the nutrients required to turn a single cell into a baby chicken.” Loaded with proteins, fats, and vitamins, the egg is indubitably the most well-rounded single contributor to a healthy breakfast. They also raise good cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. The versatility and ease in preparing eggs also makes them one of the more fun foods to eat. Omelettes, for example, open up many options as they can be carriers of meats, vegetables, and cheeses, and healthy fats like avocados.

Breakfast starts every day so try and start your day with positivity. Establishing a good routine doesn’t mean leaning on a boring routine. The variety of fruits and nuts and egg preparations gives you endless options for creative cooking. Enjoy!


The Benefits of a Lunch-Hour Walk

Do you have Corporate Wellness?

Many corporations are beginning to offer Corporate Wellness initiatives to help improve their health, fitness, overall well being, morale and productivity of employees. This is a win-win for employers and employees if executed successfully. As a big result, the employees demeanor and health often improve, thus in turn improving productivity in the workforce, which helps the corporation’s success.

Providers are beginning to work very closely with corporations by providing health fairs, lunch n learns, shoe fitting clinics and even partnering to provide fitness solutions for organizations. The scope varies between companies depending on size and budgets. It’s no secret, though, that having a Corporate Wellness Department or even a single Coordinator is an expense that is difficult to justify in some work situations. However what some have witnessed is that organizations that have a dedicated entity towards employee health are able to provide a prolonged and sustainable benefit to employees.

Dave Pflieger – Virgin Biking

Dave Pflieger was a Senior Executive at Virgin America and was committed to helping his employees, customers, and citizens at large remain emotionally and physically healthy.  One of the initiatives that Virgin engaged in that no only helped the environment but also helped people’s health was the Bike ‘n’ Ride program Virgin Trains created.

In the UK, Virgin Trains helped be one of the first flagship Bike ‘n’ Ride companies after a $1 million pound funding deal with the Department for Transportation through its Cycling England Campaign.  More than 500 parking spaces are shared between Stafford, Stoke-on-Trent, Macclesfield, Stockport, and Manchester Piccadilly train stations for bikes.

Virgin Trains will also be supporting Manchester in its development of a rental bicycle system to help workers commute by bike.

Dave Pflieger Wellness with Xterra

Dave Pflieger and Island Air feel very strongly about encouraging wellness and healthy living in their community.  Island Air has partnered with Xterra to help them fulfill their mission.

In mid 1990s,  mountain biking and  a triathlon met on the island of Maui, Hawaii. The race was named Aquaterra. It combined an open-ocean swim, a race on mountain bikes, and also a trail run.

What the founders didn’t realize, is that this one event ushered in a new type of racing format that helped people become more active. The mountain bikers who were attracted to the event brought their laid-back style and bold self-assurance. The triathletes who participated brought their training style and dedicated personality. 

The typical XTERRA is comprised of the following:

1.5K swim
30K mountain bike
11K trail run

Island Air is a proud partner to help Xterra put together races and benefit their community.

Reach and Influence: Why Corporate Wellness Programs Really Do Work

Taken from

Workplace wellness programs are our biggest hope for fixing our national healthcare crisis because they have a unique power to shift employee mindsets around health. As designers and researchers who have spent the better part of two years creating a system of healthy living for a huge national populous, we’ve read a lot about what companies need to do to move their populations towards health, but not enough about why corporations are in a unique position to effect change so powerfully, and we think it’s important to share this deeper understanding.

Working to design a wellness system for the Department of Defense, the nation’s largest employer, we learned the power an organizational community can have on influencing individual behaviors, what we termed an organization’s “reach and influence.” But when it comes to health behaviors, not all organizations have the right combination of reach and influence for sustained change. Consider two of the most prominent health focused organizations in our country: the federal government and medical institutions.

Cortney Rowan

Our government wields both reach and influence. It has a strong voice in the national health conversation, writing healthcare policies that impact the nation. But the government has a weak connection to the community it serves. While the information it provides is important, it often feels disconnected from our day-to-day lives. Our medical institutions also have reach and influence. With doctors seeing multiple patients a day, they have the ability to move individuals toward health. But because they see patients at single points in time, they can’t create an ecosystem around them. And their influence erodes quickly beyond the office walls.
So, why is the workplace in a unique position?

At work we are surrounded by a pre-established culture — a common set of values, norms and a language system that employees align with. When organizations meld their messages to their culture, tapping into the values employees have already internalized, our research shows that they can have a powerful influence. At the Cleveland Clinic, for example, employees are bound by a common purpose of providing patients leading healthcare and research. To connect with their employees, who are medical professionals that view health in clinical outcomes, the company links health behaviors to concrete biological outcomes, showing their direct impact on organs through simulated videos.

Influence also stems from an organization’s ability to create an ecosystem of health around an individual. While a doctor’s advice often fails to stick because it gets drowned out in our hectic lifestyle, workplaces can support an individual’s adherence to health everyday by surrounding an employee with a physical and social environment that makes health the simple and meaningful choice. At USAA, it’s hard to ignore the physical representation of health. The company has made it so convenient it’s become part of the fabric of the organization with amenities, such as bike stations, BMI testing rooms, indoor and outdoor walking paths, stairway signs estimating calories burned for use, energy rooms, healthy food and a massive gym. Culturally at USAA, health has been woven in, with departments competing to collect healthy points. The reward—a sense of group pride—is a compelling force to action and holds people accountable. When we bump up against these attitudes and resources day in and day out at the workplace, they influence our perspectives on health.

By reach, we are not talking about getting your message out with a top down communication approach or a deluge of marketing material. Reach works best, according to our research, when organizations communicate health messages through multiple pathways and decentralize the message. People have different health engagement triggers, and you’ll never reach everyone through one path or point of communication. While some people respond to leadership messaging and company values, others connect with co-worker encouragement and coaching.

The best wellness programs lean on both formal and informal roles within their populations to achieve this layered approach to reach. The roles create what we termed the Human Architecture of an organization. The first formal role is that of the Beacon, usually a senior leader within an organization with high visibility. He or she elevates health to a core business value, setting a vision and committing resources to make it a reality. The next formal role is that of the Stewards. They are the gatekeepers—most often the wellness managers—designing interventions and crafting health messages that resonate with employees. But the Stewards can’t do it alone; they need to broaden their reach. This is where the formal role of the Advocate comes in. They are the eyes and ears on the ground. Without them the Stewards can’t drive relevancy. Advocates can be managers or even employees in different departments or locations. Finally, there’s the informal role of the Champion, which emerges organically over time. They have lived the program and have had a personal health journey, increasing reach by inspiring others around them with their stories.

Each of the distinct roles in the Human Architecture has a differentiated and compounding value on employee engagement. The more people that are pulled into the architecture, in the various roles, the more people they activate, building pockets of healthy living and creating a culture of health. Ultimately, the goal of tapping this architecture is to create a self-sustaining wellness system—moving beyond organizational push to employee pull. Susan Tufts, the wellness manager at L.L. Bean, says that the best indication of success is when programs come from employees—who create their own running groups, coordinate lunch-learns, and even set up farmers’ markets on site. The program then becomes part of the fabric of the organization, living beyond any one leader’s vision.

We spend the majority of our waking hours at work. The office environment has a great deal of influence over the shape and structure of our lives. While the doctor’s visit is where many health conversations start, it is rarely where they continue to live. Workplaces have the opportunity to keep this conversation going. As Catherine Baase, Global Director of Health Services for The Dow Chemical Company, states, “The workplace, through its established culture, can have greater long-term impact than the visit with your doctor, the reach of government and even the sphere of your family.  It is the secret sauce to driving outcomes — and an essential factor in achieving population health.”

Office Décor Crucial to Office Happiness

In a world where the average employee spends just under six hours sitting at their desk every single day, wellness and contentment can be hard to come by.  According to an article recently completed by The Huffington Post, personal touches and accessories can work wonders in producing a happier feeling at work.

First, note the choice in colors.  Angela Wright, renowned color psychologist, claims that highly saturated, brighter colors work to stimulate, whereas muted colors move to relax and sooth.  Choose colors that correspond to the work you are expected to produce.  Light can also be astronomical in its effect.  Studies show that exposure to natural light increases energy, creativity and productivity.  Artificial light, on the other hand, induces fatigue and stress.  If there is no window available in a workspace, seek out a lamp that can imitate natural light.  Along similar lines, adding a plant within the line of sight can be beneficial.  Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, plants work to improve a variety of useful components to produce productivity; creativity, wellbeing, concentration and focus are all increased under the presence of a plant.  It also produces clean air; Gerber daisies, spider plants and English ivy are particularly productive in this aspect.

Smell is the strongest sense; and, yet, it is horrendously underutilized in terms of inspiring accuracy and productivity.  Lemon, jasmine and lavender have all been show to reduce number of errors in work.  Comfort of temperature can also be a factor; where some consider cold environments to work to keep employees more alert, the article states that the opposite is true—cold temperatures induce higher levels of errors and cut back on productivity.  The optimum temperature is between seventy to seventy-seven degrees.

Moving around can be helpful as well.  Desk chairs can be comfortable, all the while wreaking havoc on the employee’s joints and body.  If bound to a chair for the bulk of the workday, insure that the chair is positioned centered in front of the monitor and keyboard; feet should be touching the floor and the knees should be level with hips.  If it is possible, move around during the course of the day.  This can be particularly beneficial if the office space is designed to be an open-plan workspace; designs such as these can prompt distractions and reduce productivity of the easily diverted.  Don’t be afraid to move about and seek other workspace to meet needs.