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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Healthy for Life! How to Live Your Healthiest Life – Adding positive habits and breaking bad habits

Changing habits can be challenging and those on a weight loss journey often underestimate how difficult it can be to alter their everyday patterns. So often the weight loss focus is on what can’t be eaten. For example, “I can’t have fast food for lunch anymore.” or “There goes eating ice cream for dessert.” or “I’ll miss my buttered popcorn on movie night.”

This segment in the Healthy for Life article series isn’t about what you need to give up, but what you should to add to your day. Keep in mind that new behaviors take time. These changes may not come automatically or be easy. If you give them your best effort by concentrating on what you’re adding, you’ll pay less attention to what you are giving up.

You are encouraged to do your best to embrace positive behavior changes and remember, no matter how big or small, positive changes add up.

+ Eat a healthy breakfast (but not too much).

WHAT: Have breakfast every morning. You don’t need to eat a lot – just something to get you off to a good start.

WHY: Research shows that people who eat a healthy breakfast manage their weight better than people who don’t eat breakfast. Breakfast is associated with improved performance at school and work, and it helps prevent you from becoming ravenous in the day.


  • Keep it whole. Try whole grains, such as oatmeal, whole-grain cold cereal, and whole-grain toast.
  • Include some color. Add some fresh or frozen unsweetened fruit.
  • Make it filling. Low-fat milk and yogurt, an egg, nuts, seeds, and nut butters such as peanut butter can help you feel satisfied throughout the morning.
  • Plan ahead. If time is an issue, place a box of cereal, a bowl and a spoon on the table the evening before.
  • Choose wisely. Select your cereal – hot or cold – by checking the Nutrition Facts label for fiber (choose more) and sugar (choose less). Top with banana slices or berries.
  • Mix it up. Try a smoothie made with fruit and add low-fat Greek yogurt. Blend the ingredients to a smooth consistency.
  • Bring it with. Select items you can grab and take with you to work. Convenient foods include apples, oranges, bananas, pre-portioned cereals, low-fat yogurt in single-serving containers, whole-grain bagels (mini-sized), and low-fat cottage cheese in single-serve containers. Stir in berries or fruit to add fiber and sweetness.
  • Wrap it up. Make a breakfast wrap with whole-wheat tortillas, roll in scrambled eggs with diced peppers and onions. Or peanut butter and banana.
  • If you don’t like traditional breakfast foods, eat something healthy that you do like. For example, fix yourself a sandwich made with lean meat, low-fat cheese, vegetables and whole-grain bread.

Use this habit tracker to monitor your progress. Find inspired breakfast ideas here.

Sometimes the most intense longings for food happen right when you’re at your weakest emotional points. Many of us turn to food for comfort – be it consciously or unconsciously – when dealing with difficult situations or when looking for something to do when bored.

To keep food out of your mood, try these suggestions.

  • Distract yourself from eating by calling a friend, running an errand, or going for a walk. When you focus your mind on something else, the food cravings may quickly go away.
  • Don’t keep comfort foods in the house. If you turn to high-fat, high-calorie foods whenever your upset or depressed, try to get rid of them.
  • Identify your mood. Often the urge to eat can be attributed to a specific mood and not to physical hunger.
  • When you feel down, try to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. For example, write down all the positive reasons why you want to lose weight.


Other Resources:

August Healthy for Life article

Upcoming Healthy for Life Educational Experiences:

                Eating for a Stronger, Healthier You
                Thursday, September 19, 5-6pm
                Henrico County Training Center, 1st floor break room

 Do you sometimes feel confused by everything you hear about healthy eating? You’re not alone! Many of us find it hard to sort through all the information that’s out there. A good start is learning the basic food groups and servings from each one. This educational experience will teach you all the food groups, with a special focus on fruits and vegetables. Learn how smart food choices can fuel your body and mind! In addition, program participants will work in teams to create Creamy Tomato Soup from fresh ingredients.

                Chopped Salad Competition
                Thursday, September 26, 5-6pm
                Henrico County Training Center, 1st floor break room

Roll up your sleeves, put on your apron and get ready to chop. Experience the fun of creating simple, healthy salads. Compete in teams to create a healthy, chopped salad using fresh ingredients.

For more information on the Healthy for Life program, How to Live Your Healthiest Life article series, and/or to register for upcoming educational experiences, please contact Liz Stovall, Fitness/Wellness Division Manager, [email protected] or 501-7556.





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Claim Your Voluntary Benefit Wellness Incentive(s)

Getting an annual checkup pays off in more ways than one! If you enrolled in a voluntary benefit offered through Pierce Insurance, you can take advantage of the wellness incentives. All incentives are paid once per calendar year as a cash benefit directly to you. Contact Pierce Insurance to file your claim. Didn’t enroll in the spring? Meet with a benefit counselor or go online to during our fall open enrollment and choose the plan that’s right for you and your family.

Accident Insurance

  • Wellness Benefit pays $60
  • Refer to p. 14 of your benefit booklet for details

Critical Illness Insurance

  • Health screening benefit pays $150
  • Refer to p. 20 of your benefit booklet for details

Hospital Indemnity Insurance

  • Health screening benefit pays $50
  • Refer to p. 28 of your benefit booklet for details

Cancer Insurance

  • Annual Cancer Screening benefit paid based on the plan selected:
    • Plan 1- $50
    • Plan 2- $100
    • Plan 3- $150
  • Refer to p. 36 of your benefit booklet for details

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Managing Different Generations in the Workplace

Imagine being born into a digital world with the internet and social media at your fingertips, inventing tools that will change the world before entering high school, and collaborating globally with large, diverse groups of people in a matter of seconds. Meet Generation Z (Gen Z for short), the newest generation to enter the workforce and the first to live completely in a technological world.

Who is Gen Z?

Born between 1994 and 2010, Gen Z represents 4% (156) of the County’s workforce and is estimated to make up 10% of the U.S. workforce by the year 2020. While demographers are still making predictions about Gen Z, some foresee their innate abilities with technology, and especially online connections, as having radical implications on the future of our workplace in ways that we can’t even imagine yet. Below are some characteristics of this emerging generation:

(Select image to enlarge)

Tips for Engaging Gen Z

As Gen Z continues to enter the workforce, leaders will need to know how to best engage and develop them. Below are some best practices and tips for successfully leading and retaining Gen Z:

  1. Leadership: Gen Zers want leaders who are accessible, provide guidance, help them solve problems, and keep close track of their successes. Be sure to meet with them frequently to define goals and objectives and provide support as needed.
  2. Coaching and Mentoring: Gen Zers want to focus on results and understand the purpose of the tasks they are assigned. Show them how their daily contributions matter by explaining the “why” behind assignments, and how they are linked to the mission of the organization.
  3. Communication: Gen Zers prefer brevity and conciseness in their communications. Providing information in small “chunks” helps them quickly learn what’s most needed, relevant, and applicable to their jobs. Because of their digital preferences, face-to-face meetings and phone calls may take some getting used to, especially for Gen Zers in their first job.
  4. Feedback: Like Millennials, Gen Zers crave frequent feedback from their leaders. Provide regular performance feedback and acknowledge a job well done, even with something as little as a quick “thank you” to motivate them.
  1. Continuous Learning: Gen Zers want to build “real life” skills, knowledge, and expertise quickly in order to grow within the organization, so provide them with formal and informal training opportunities whenever possible. Job shadowing, networking and mentoring opportunities are a great way for them to get well-rounded training and learn new skills.
  1. Encourage Peer Learning: Gen Zers believe peers are influential in their learning. Because they grew up with information available to them instantly online as well as access to a large online network of peers, they learn by sharing among themselves. Encourage peer learning or mentoring as a way to engage and retain this generation.
  2. Encourage Collaboration: Gen Zers are used to freely expressing their knowledge and opinions online. One way to help them feel more valuable to the organization is to provide opportunities for them to share their ideas and expertise with coworkers.

The following resources are available to help employees learn more about Gen Z:


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Protect Yourself – Get a 2019 Flu Shot

The “flu shot” is a vaccine that protects you from the flu virus. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends everyone ages six months and older get a flu shot every flu season, including healthy people, and people with chronic conditions. In general, it is recommended that anyone who wants to reduce his or her chances of getting the flu should be vaccinated.

The best time to get a flu shot is before the flu becomes widespread. Typically, the peak season is October to March in the U.S., but can start earlier or end later. Ideally, the flu shot should be given in September or October as the vaccine takes approximately 2 weeks to take effect, but the flu shot can be received later in the season as long as the virus is circulating.

Henrico County employees with County healthcare coverage can go to any pharmacy that accepts our insurance plans and receive the flu shot for free. All pharmacies (including Costco and Sam’s Club) and primary care physicians’ offices offer the flu shot. EHS does not offer the flu shot to employees because it is so readily available at so many other places.

Some pharmacies offer additional “incentives” to those who receive a flu shot. Thus far, the County has been contacted by two pharmacies sharing the following information:

  1. CVS in Target in Short Pump – Five-dollar Target coupon to those who get a flu shot
  2. Publix – Ten-dollar Publix gift card (through the end of December 2019) to those who get a flu shot

Other pharmacies and businesses in the Richmond area may offer other incentives so please do your homework. If you have questions about the flu shot, ask your pharmacist or call EHS at 501-1600.

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Let’s face it, we all know we need to change certain habits to live better. The problem is putting our desires for better health into action by taking that big step from knowing what we need to do to actually doing it. Through Power Henrico, the Human Resources’ Fitness and Wellness Division offers Health Trip programs addressing two key healthy lifestyle habits – eating and exercise – to help you live well and stay healthy. 

The challenge to lose weight and keep it off is familiar to many. Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight can be a struggle – and for some, the struggle is lifelong. Because “healthy weight” is such a challenging issue that affects so many people, there are programs that take advantage of individuals by offering quick, effortless weight loss. Perhaps you have tried one or two. Perhaps you have found success with a quick weight loss plan, only to find your success is short-lived.  

Unlike fad diets and get fit quick schemes, the Power Henrico Health Trip Healthy for Life plan focuses on making lifelong behavior changes to help you reach a healthy weight that you can maintain the rest of your life. The ideas shared and the programs offered are simple. They’ll provide modifications you can easily incorporate into your daily routine. Healthy for Life is also different from other quick fixes in that it is not one-size-fits-all. Instead, it’s individualized, focused on your specific challenges.  

Yes, you will be asked to invest some planning and effort into making changes, and you will need to open yourself up to new ways of eating and being active. But if you’re willing to make the necessary changes, your risk for lifestyle diseases will decrease, your weight will improve, and you’ll feel better 

The Power Henrico Health Trip Healthy for Life plan will provide you with the knowledge and tools you need to make important lifestyle changes. Each month the County Connection will feature a Health Trip Healthy for Life article with relevant behavior change information.  You can practice the highlighted healthy behaviors by participating in nutrition, exercise and well-being classes to empower you to make healthy food and lifestyle choices.  

Together, we become partners for change. Power Henrico Health Trip Healthy for Life will encourage you to change food and health attitudes and behavior – equipping you with new skills and habits to practice.   The articles that follow and the programs to come are based on clinically tested techniques that put you in charge of reshaping your lifestyle by adopting healthy habits and breaking unhealthy old ones. Step by step, you’ll learn how to reshape your lifestyle in a way that’s realistic for you.  

Starting Tuesday, August 6th, join the Power Henrico Health Trip Healthy for Life plan to start living your healthiest life! For more information, check out the Nutrition Page of Power Henrico and start your Health Trip to be Healthy for Life

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Henrico’s Second Annual Safe + Sound Week!

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has selected August 12 -19 as Safe + Sound Week for 2019. This nationwide event promotes workplace safety awareness for all employees. Participation in Safe + Sound Week shows a commitment to safety through county leadership and worker participation.

The Division of Fire’s Office of Emergency Management and Workplace Safety (EMWS) in cooperation with other Henrico departments will be exhibiting safety-orientated displays for County employees to experience.

The primary event will be held on Wednesday, August 14th at the Central Automotive Maintenance (CAM) facility at Woodman Road between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. FREE hot dogs, chips and drinks will be provided to all attendees at the Woodman location on August 14 and a display table featuring Red Wing Shoes will be set up at the Woodman site as well.

A County-wide e-mail will be sent closer to August 12 outlining events scheduled for other days of the week. Employees participating in Safe + Sound Week activities will have opportunities to win raffle prizes.

Please visit the Power Henrico site on Monday, August 12 view Deputy County Manager Tony McDowell’s charge to all employees for Safe + Sound Week.

Effective safety and health programs help Virginia businesses and municipalities by:

  • Preventing workplace injuries and illnesses
  • Improving compliance with occupational safety and health standards
  • Reducing costs, including significant reductions in workers’ compensation premiums
  • Engaging employees so they’re mindful of safe work practices at all times
  • Enhancing social responsibility goals
  • Increasing productivity and enhancing overall operations

Henrico Departments/Divisions Participating in Safe + Sound Week: Emergency Management (Fire); Workman’s Compensation and Claims (Finance-Risk Management); Employee Health Services (Human Resources); Recreation and Parks; Environmental Safety (Fire); Fitness and Wellness (Human Resources); Occupational Safety (Fire); Public Utilities; Police; Fire and Schools.

If you need additional information or have questions once the County-wide email is sent, please email Safety Officers Ann Fowler or Lisa Dutton.

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