Healthy for Life!

How to Live Your Healthiest Life – Adding Positive Habits and Breaking Bad Habits, Part 2: Eat Vegetables and Fruits (4 or more servings of vegetables and 3 or more of fruits) and Avoid Added Sugars

Fresh vegetables and fruits are the foundations of a healthy diet and successful weight loss. Most processed foods, sweets and non-diet sodas contain a lot of calories in just a small portion. Vegetables and fruits are the opposite – they have lots of bulk (fiber) and few calories. You can eat a lot, consume fewer calories and feel full at the end of your meal. The American Heart Association recommends eating 4 servings of vegetables and 3 servings of fruit every day.

Your first reaction to seeing how many servings of vegetables and fruit you should eat might have been, “I can’t do that!” Hold on – you may be confusing servings with portions. A portion is the amount of food YOU put on your plate and a portion of food may contain many servings. This is one of the reasons many Americans today are overweight or obese. Portion sizes have increased, especially in restaurants. We’ve become accustomed to eating large amounts of food at our meals – far more than we need. To lose weight, and keep it off, you need to learn how to estimate servings so you can control portions.

American Heart Association Servings Sizes

This month, the challenge is to eat more servings of vegetables and fruits. You may find that focusing on eating more veggies and fruits (a very positive, health-improvement habit) will distract you from having to say NO to highly processed, high-calorie junk food. Use the following tips to plan how you can increase your daily vegetable and fruit intake:

  • Be selective. Eat only those vegetables and fruits that you like, but don’t be afraid to explore different types and varieties. You may be surprised.
  • Make them number 1. Vegetables should take up the largest portion of your lunch and dinner plates, with fruits trailing close behind. Eat these foods first, rather than reserving them for the end of the meal.
  • Consider them a priority. When planning meals, think of dishes that contain vegetables and fruits as the centerpiece and build the rest of your meal around them.
  • Mix it up. Try both raw and cooked vegetables. Lightly cook, steam or roast vegetables for a softer texture.
  • Grab-and-Go. When you’re in a hurry, have ready-to-eat vegetables and fruits on hand. Buy fresh vegetables and fruits that require little preparation, such as baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, bananas, apples and grapes.
  • Think toppings. Add bananas, strawberries or other fruit to cereal or yogurt.
  • Visit local farmers markets. The freshness and variety may encourage you to try new kinds of produce.
  • Find ways to incorporate vegetables with other foods or in existing recipes. Add them to soups, casseroles, pizzas and sandwiches.

Stay on track with your vegetable and fruit intake each day to avoid added sugars found in processed foods. Added refined sugars contains extra (unwanted) calories, has no nutritional value, and negative health effects such as tooth decay and an increase in blood sugar (glucose) associated with diabetes. If you want something sweet use the natural sweetness of fruit. Instead of sugar on your cereal add banana, blueberries or strawberries. Blend fresh (or frozen) fruit with frozen yogurt and ice for a refreshing and naturally sweet treat and for dessert, prepare baked apples or grilled pineapple.

Upcoming Healthy for Life Educational Experiences

Food Label Smarts
Thursday, October 10
12:00 – 1:00 PM
Henrico Training Center

Understanding what’s in our food is a critical part of choosing healthier options. Learn how to read nutrition labels by comparing similar products. Apply your new knowledge of calories, sodium, sugar, saturated fat and protein in a mock grocery store. Participants will enjoy taste testing black bean tacos.


Eat A Rainbow
Thursday, October 24
5:00 – 6:00 PM
Henrico County Training Center

Make life more colorful with fruits and vegetables. Eat healthier one plate at a time by adding a little color to every meal and snack. Learn tips on how to eat with the seasons and how to incorporate more produce into your meal plan. Participants will enjoy a seasonal vegetable salad with roasted sweet potatoes, quinoa and black beans.

To register for a Healthy for Life! Educational Experience, contact the Fitness/Wellness Office at 501-7559 or Liz Stovall at [email protected]



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New Year, New Opportunities

Open Enrollment for 2020 Benefits

Open Enrollment will be Saturday, October 5 through Friday, November 1, 2019. This is your chance to enroll or drop benefit coverage, change plans, or add/drop dependents. Changes made during Open Enrollment will be effective on January 1, 2020. Outside of Open Enrollment, changes can only be made within 60 days of a qualifying event.

Review plan comparisons, rates, benefit details and enrollment instructions on the HR Employee Portal at the start of Open Enrollment October 5th. Consider attending an Open Enrollment Information Session (dates below) to learn more about our plans and speak with benefits staff and some of our vendors.

  • October 10 & 17: Eastern Government Center (3820 Nine Mile Rd.) Multipurpose Room from 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm
  • October 21 & 29: Henrico Training Center (7701 East Parham Rd.) from 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Pierce Insurance, who manages our voluntary benefit offerings, will have benefits counselors onsite during open enrollment to help you enroll in voluntary benefits. And, if you did not meet with a counselor during the initial enrollment period, please do so during open enrollment. A donation of $10 will be made to Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU for each person who meets with a voluntary benefits counselor to learn more about the Lifetime Benefit Term with Long Term Care plan. Let’s beat our previous donation of $13,300!

What do you need to know?

  1. Anthem will continue to administer our health care benefits. Anthem will be moving to a new claims platform and plan participants will receive new medical insurance cards for 2020. Please make sure you use the new card for services starting January 1, 2020.
  2. There are no changes to the High Deductible Healthcare Plan (HDHP) with a Health Savings Account (HSA) plan. The rates have been the same since the plan was introduced in 2015! Attend a session to explore why this may be the right plan for you.
  3. Delta Dental will continue to offer the same plan options for 2020 with a slight change in rates.
  4. MetLife will continue to provide disability coverage with a slight change in rates.
  5. Navia will also continue to provide Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs). This year there will be a $50.00 increase to the Health Care FSA, the new limit will be $2,700. The Dependent (Day) Care FSA limit will remain at $5,000.

What do you have to do as an employee?

  1. Re-enroll for Flexible Spending Accounts if you wish to participate in 2020.
  2. Review your current plan and dependents to see if changes need to be made.
  3. Note: Health care, dental and short-term income protection enrollments will rollover for 2020, unless you change them during Open Enrollment.

Now that you have the overview, attend one of the scheduled Open Enrollment sessions to learn more or contact HR Benefits at 501.7371 or [email protected] .

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October is National Energy Awareness Month

October is National Energy Awareness month.

Are you energy aware? Take our quiz to find out!

Fact or Fiction: Energy Edition

  1. Turning lights off and back on takes more energy than just keeping them on when leaving a room.
    Answer: Most lights do not use a significant amount of energy to turn on. LED lights are not affected at all by being turned on and off. Fluorescent lights that do require a small surge at start up use less than 15 minutes of electricity while turning on.
  2. Plugged in electronics do not use power as long as they are turned off.
    Answer: Up to 75% of the energy electronics and appliances use can be drawn while they are off but still plugged in.
  3. Setting your thermostat back when you are not home uses less energy than keeping it at a constant temperature.
    Answer: It takes less energy to reheat/cool a room than to maintain a constant temperature. Smart thermostats can help with scheduling setbacks when you plan to be away.
  4. Replacing old inefficient windows with energy efficient windows is the best way to save money.
    Answer: Fiction (usually). It may not always be worth it to replace windows because of their high cost. Window film, outside awnings, sealing leaks, and thermal curtains are good first strategies to improve efficiency for a lower cost, before replacing the windows.
  5. Ceiling fans can make a room feel up to four degrees cooler.
    Answer: Ceiling fans use much less electricity than air conditioning and can help keep you cooler while saving energy. However, note that fans do not actually cool the air down so they are only useful if a room is occupied.
  6. LED light bulbs are not worth the higher price compared to incandescent or compact fluorescent bulbs.
    Answer: LED light bulbs last up to 25 times as long as traditional incandescent bulbs and use much less energy (they are 80% efficient while incandescent bulbs are only 10% efficient). The slightly higher cost of LED bulbs will quickly be paid back in savings.
  7. Using the microwave to cook uses less energy than the stove or oven.
    Answer: Microwaves not only use less energy but they also do not heat up the home like ovens and stoves do. Use your microwave or outdoor grill in the summer to keep the house cooler.

You can learn more about energy conservation and efficiency at the 17th annual Henrico County Energy Fair to be held Friday October 4th from 11 AM – 1 PM in the Administration Building Courtyard. Find more details at

Have any more questions? Contact your county Energy Manager Carrie Webster at 501-5763 or [email protected].


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Collaboration using Cisco Webex

Cisco Webex is a wonderful technology tool available to our Henrico County users. To promote usage, the Department of Information Technology (IT) held a Cisco Webex Demo Day in September. There was a great turnout which allowed IT to talk to employees across the County about how they can use Webex.

Some of the use cases discussed with attendees included:

  • Henrico County Police: share videos with dispatch or their supervisor;
  • Building Inspections: share video and exchange content from mobile devices with a supervisor or coworker;
  • Information Technology: communicate via video and audio with employees who are having trouble with IT solutions or need help troubleshooting a problem;
  • Human Resources: using Webex to host secure, high quality video and audio interviews for a more personal touch when an applicant cannot be there in person;
  • Training: host Webex training with coworkers, utilizing screen share so attendees can see the training; answer questions real-time by a panelist and record the entire event; share it with others who may have missed the training;
  • Multi-office locations: host weekly meetings between the Western Government Center, Eastern Government Center, Woodman Road, or any other location where workers may be located.


That’s not all! Webex also includes a Personal Room feature. A Personal Room is YOUR own virtual conference space that’s always available. It has its own Personal Room link and video address that you can share with anyone, at any time, for quick, impromptu meetings that are safe and secure.

To create your first Webex meeting, go to

  1. Click the blue ‘Sign In’ button located in the upper right of the screen.
  2. Enter your log-in credentials and select the blue ‘Sign In’ button again.
  3. Now, click the green ‘Start a Meeting’ button located in the center of your screen.

Your screen will quickly flash signifying that Webex is starting.

  1. The Audio and Video Connection dialog box is how you will connect audio and video (if you have video capabilities) to the Webex meeting. Select options from the dropdown menus and click the green ‘Connect Audio and Video’

Congratulations, you just created a Webex meeting! Next, you will need to invite others to join the meeting with you.

  1. Go to the ‘Participant’ tab and navigate to ‘Copy Meeting Link.’

  2. Open a new email and paste the link into the body of the email to share with everyone you would like to invite. Send it out to your recipients list and wait for them to join. You will see participant names on the left as they join.

Now that you have participants, you can explore some of the other settings across the bottom screen and the dropdown menu across the top. There are many different options to utilize such as sharing content, record meetings, chat, and more.

To end a Webex meeting, click the red circle located at the bottom of the session and you are done. It is that simple.

As you can see, the possibilities are endless. Webex allows us to bring offices together, educate the employees and public, share information, and improve customer service. The County has even started purchasing Cisco Spark Rooms and other intelligent devices for conference rooms. For Webex possibilities, this is only the beginning.

If you want to learn more ways that Webex can help you, please contact Kenny Mitchell at [email protected] to setup a meeting or check out the Information Technology Training and Adoption site for more information.

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