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 March

Delicious crab cakes

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

Black Eyed Peas

This is the definition of a warming winter vegetable stew — and it’s easy to prepare. The texture of black eyed peas and the addition of collard greens give this soup a memorable taste you’ll want to make throughout the winter months.

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.

Tuna Noodle Casserole

An old school favorite also known as Tuna Rockefeller. This casserole is plenty healthy with the protein of tuna and vitamin-rich spinach, combined with the creamy and crunchy goodness of a mac & cheese-like texture.

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.

Shrimp Alfredo

Your family will think you took some Italian cooking lessons! This is a classic, gourmet Alfredo dish that will sure to delight with its creamy texture — and it’s easier to make than you may think. Bon appétit!

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.

Asparagus and Radish

This is a light, crisp and refreshing salad to enjoy as a side dish or on its own. The flavor of ginger and scallions will wake up your taste buds without overwhelming.

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!

Kale and Leeks

Make a traditional vegetable dish healthy and delicious. Nutrient-packed kale is served up with a cream sauce that’s lower in fat.

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.


Enjoy the great taste of roasted fresh veggies with this fast and easy recipe that adds the richness of Parmesan cheese.


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.

BBQ Chicken

Using a slow-cooker makes it incredibly easy to prepare this barbeque chicken that features some rich and subtle spicing. You’ll love it — and the kids may find it a favorite too.

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.

Grilled Pork Loin

Bust out the grill and fire it up to make these oh-so-flavorful pork loins. The taste from the herb vinaigrette is sure to impress your family and guests.

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!


This is a light, cool and refreshing salad perfect for the late days of summer when the sun is still taking its time going down. Healthy, tangy and easy to make!

Napa Cabbage

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


As the weather starts to chill a bit, this elegant use of a common vegetable is a delicious and comforting side dish. Try it now — if you love it, make it again as part of Thanksgiving.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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