Better Eating,
Better Health:

The Benefits of Good Nutrition

Photo: Vivian Howard Award-winning chef & author, co-creator of A Chef’s Life

Nutrition Counseling for Better Health

Eating healthy foods and well-balanced meals can help you live a longer, healthier life. Food is medicine! It fuels your body and can help you fight disease.

A Nutrition Counselor can help you eat healthier. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina understands the benefits of healthy eating. That’s why we have a large network of Nutrition Counselors, and their services are covered by many of our plans.

Why see a Nutrition Counselor?

Some people seek nutrition counseling to lose weight. But there are many other reasons to go:

  • To manage diseases and chronic conditions (like high cholesterol, heart disease, and diabetes)
  • To help with anxiety and depression
  • To have more energy throughout the day
  • To have fewer aches, pain, and joint issues
  • To address food allergies

At your visit, your Counselor typically will:

  • Ask about your medical history and any prescriptions or vitamins you’re taking
  • Ask you about what you eat in a day, and how often you eat
  • Talk with you about your health goals
  • Create a personal nutrition plan you can put into action every day
  • Give you the support and information you need to lead a healthier life

You can log into Blue Connect to look up your plan’s coverage and find a Nutrition Counselor. Use the Find a Doctor tool to search for a “Dietitian” or “Nutritionist.”

Check Your Plan’s Coverage

Healthy and Delicious Recipes

Enjoy these tasty meal ideas with family and friends, all designed with good health in mind.


Watermelon and Avocado Salad with Jalapeno, Lime and Basil

A light and refreshing salad that'll be a hit all summer long. And it takes just minutes to make so you can spend more time playing! Watermelon is packed with vitamin C, an antioxidant nutrient that may help prevent heart disease and arthritis.1

Learn more & get the recipe

Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges with Tahini and Sesame

Did you know, North Carolina grows 1.7 billion pounds of sweet potatoes every year (more than any other state)?3 Sweet potatoes are rich in fiber and potassium, which play a role in preventing heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke.4

Learn more & get the recipe

Everyday Stewed Tomatoes (Southern-style marinara sauce)

Vivian recommends you use this "Southern-style" marinara year-round. Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, an antioxidant linked to important heart benefits, helping to protect against high blood pressure and stroke.2

Learn more & get the recipe

Charred Cabbage Noodles with Szechuan Spiced Turkey

Breaking news: cabbage isn't just for coleslaw! Here, Vivian sautes this humble vegetable to make "noodles" and serves them with a spicy sauce of lean ground turkey. Cabbage is surprisingly rich in antioxidant vitamin C for good heart health.1

Learn more & get the recipe


Featured Recipes for the Month of October

Delicious crab cakes

This recipe packs 23 grams of delicious protein into just 208 calories for 2 crab cakes.

Lentil Soup

Want a bit of spice to go with your warming winter soup? This one’s for you, and it’s easy. Just place all the ingredients including lentils, carrots and five different spices into your slow cooker, and in a few hours, it’s soup!

Brownie bites on a plate

Dip brownies in chocolate for a decadently easy, low-calorie, heart healthy and diabetes-friendly way to treat your Valentine.


This classic, cheesy and slightly spicy dip is sure to become a crowd pleaser! It’s so easy to prepare using your slow-cooker to do the work for you.

Roasted cauliflower and dipping sauce

Better than buffalo wings, roasted cauliflower offers more fiber and just 66 calories per serving and still pairs well with your favorite ranch or bleu cheese dressing.

Fresh and Creamy Asparagus Soup

It’s a classic gourmet dish to delight your family and guests, and easy to prepare. Using light coconut milk is a neat and inventive way to add flavor and make this creamy soup lower in calories.

Black Beans

This one-pot meal is a great way to use up some pantry and freezer items. If you’re a some-like-it-hot kind of person, try the spiciest variety of salsa or picante sauce for this satisfying dish, use more crushed red pepper flakes or sprinkle with canned jalapeno slices.

Mushroom and Asparagus

An inventive take on pizza that adds healthy protein and vegetables to a traditional favorite. Great for lunch, dinner or a weekend brunch!

Tomato Basil Salmon photo

This recipe is so beautiful and yet so simple to prepare. Start with memory promoting omega-3 rich salmon, spread it with minced garlic, sprinkle with fresh basil, then layer sliced tomatoes on top. Put it on the grill for 10 minutes and you're done!


Eggs finished in the oven frittata-style is great for Sunday brunch or a family-pleasing dinner any day of the week. An easy-to-make egg dish packed with protein and vegetable nutrients.

Pot Roast Cacciatore photo

Slow-cooked tomatoes, onion, garlic and mushrooms make a heavenly sauce. Add a roast and some potatoes to the simmering pot and you have a rustic Italian feast. You’ll even have enough roast left for a second meal.


A cool and refreshing idea for salad, with just a hint of crunch and flavor from toasted sesame seeds. Fast, easy, delicious!


Cucumber salads are a refreshing and easy side for a cookout. This one, with Greek overtones, uses fresh mint, but you can substitute fresh dill for a northern European flavor.

Blueberries and Walnuts

Celebrate your love of blueberries with this light and delicious summer dessert. If you’re new to baking, you’ll find this tart surprisingly easy to prepare.

Mini pizzas

Get creative with toppings and serve this to your kids as a healthy lunchbox item. Let kids decide what toppings to add. Try broccoli and mushrooms or slices of deli ham and canned pineapple chunks.


This creative slow-cooker recipe will delight you and your guests with its flavors. Prep it, set it and forget it!

Tailgate shrimp packet

These are one of the easiest, tastiest summer dinners, and they’re perfect for tailgating. Tender shrimp, flavorful sausage, sweet corn cobs, baby potatoes and loads of veggies are all brightly seasoned and cooked together, which gives great flavor and means easy clean up!

zucchini noodles

Using fresh zucchini for the “noodles” instead of pasta cuts down on carbs and still satisfies cravings for a spicy dish. It’s altogether lighter than traditional pad thai and may well win over a lot of purists!

Napa Cabbage

Take your tastebuds to the West Coast with this tart heart-healthy dish.

Baby Back Ribs

A meat lover’s delight. It’s so easy to set the ingredients in your slow-cooker and let all these good seasonings seep into the ribs as they cook. Pretty much guaranteed to become a family favorite.

Turkey Stroganoff

Want a warming, hearty and healthy meal without working hard for it? Let your slow-cooker do the work for you. This is a surefire way to fend off the cold weather blues.

bok choy

A great side dish to accompany any main protein, the light bok choy will take on the flavors of garlic, lemon and tarragon to create a unique flavor that will wake up your taste buds.

Mac & Cheese

What if mac & cheese took on a caramel and nutty taste? That’s what you get when using unexpected butternut squash along with sharp and sweet Gouda cheese. Makes you wish for cold weather!

Apple Steel-Cut Oats

A refreshing twist on wintery oatmeal: You lightly toast the steel-cut oats before adding fresh apples into the mixture. Cinnamon and brown sugar, plus the protein of Greek yogurt for serving, makes for a well-rounded and satisfying breakfast.

View All Recipes

Swapping Recipes with Vivian Howard

The key to healthier eating can be as simple as swapping an ingredient or two.

Blueberry BBQ Chicken
All in the Family

Vivian helps her dad John Howard manage his diabetes with an inventive new dish – definitely not your father’s spaghetti and meatballs!

 | May 19, 2019 | Health & Wellness

Too Busy to Eat Healthy? Try Meal Prep Vivian Howard’s Way
Where’s the Fire?

How do you keep a bunch of hungry firefighters both well-fed and healthy? Here’s a whole new take on mashed potatoes and gravy.

 | May 16, 2019 | Health & Wellness

North Carolina Thrives on Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Old Friend, New Tricks

Vivian’s friend Miss Lillie has lived a long time without ever tasting zucchini. What happens when she finally tries it?

  | May 10, 2019 | Health & Wellness

Farmers Market

Shop Locally at Farmers Markets

Farmers markets are great places to find fresher and lower-priced fruits and veggies. Try visiting a farmers market the next time you’re shopping for healthy foods. You can talk with local farmers, try samples of foods and support your community.

Find a Farmers Market

Faces of Fearless

Leaping into a new venture. Facing challenges with bravery. There are many ways to Live Fearless, and we celebrate North Carolinians who live this philosophy day in, day out.

This award-winning chef is rediscovering and reinventing North Carolina cuisine. Read Vivian’s story

She’s set the table for all to enjoy the pleasure of dining out. Read Maggie’s Story

30 years after co-founding InterFaith Food Shuttle, this activist is not slowing down. Read Jill's Story