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!
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.”
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
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
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
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
Featured Recipes for the Month of December
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.
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.
An ol’ 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.
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.
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. Buon appetito!
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.
An inventive take on pizza that adds healthy protein and vegetables to a traditional favorite. Great for lunch, dinner, or a weekend brunch!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
Lycopene (found in grapefruit) and cruciferous vegetables (including cabbage) both appear to reduce the risk of some types of cancer.
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.
Want a warming, hearty and healthy meal without working hard for it? Let your slow cooker do the work for you. This is a sure-fire way to fend off the cold weather blues.
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.
What if Mac & Cheese took on a caramel and nutty taste? That’s what you get with this delicious mac & cheese for grown-ups, using the unexpected ingredient butternut squash, along with sharp and sweet Gouda cheese. Makes you wish for cold weather!
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.
Swapping Recipes with Vivian Howard
The key to healthier eating can be as simple as swapping an ingredient or two.
Vivian helps her dad John Howard manage his diabetes with an inventive new dish – definitely not your father’s spaghetti and meatballs!
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.
Vivian’s friend Miss Lillie has lived a long time without ever tasting zucchini. What happens when she finally tries it?
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.
Faces of Fearless
This award-winning chef is rediscovering and reinventing North Carolina cuisine. Read Vivian’s story