Top tips to planning a balanced diet

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We’ve spent the last year inside and unfortunately eating habits have suffered and trips to the gym have been replaced with Netflix binging. The snow is melting and the cold of winter is quickly being replaced with spring fever. Now is the perfect time to start rethinking the foods we put into our bodies. So, drop that donut and use these tips to build a balanced diet that can easily be the platform for overall better living.

The great restock

Every fitness guru out there usually starts a new diet and exercise routine by clearing out the kitchen. Grab a donation box and fill it with soda, candy, and various other junk food classics. You don’t need them anymore, instead replace them with eggs, canned beans, frozen vegetables, rice, and oats. Packing your cupboards and fridge with healthy choices is the first step to healthier living. Another great tip is to vary your produce. Buy produce that lasts longer like carrots and potatoes. Then supplement these staples items with faster-spoiling items bananas and grapes. This cuts down on waste and gives you a range of choices for snack time.

Before you run out the door to buy a plethora of greens and grapes, take the time to make a list. The list should be composed of primarily healthy items. The aimless exploring of the grocery store is how cookies and ice cream find their way into your cart.

Having a varied diet is a great way of maintaining body weight.

Respect the food groups!

Just like we learned in elementary school. The food pyramid is an excellent guide for developing a balanced diet. Make sure to have a generous portion of whole-grain starches along with fruits and vegetables. Make sure your diet has a lot of color! Low-fat dairy and lean proteins come next. These vital food groups build your muscles and bones so don’t forget them. Don’t worry, the occasional bit of sugar isn’t that end of the world but remember to enjoy it in moderation. is an excellent resource for choosing healthy food and understanding portion sizes.

Processed carbohydrates

Refined sugar has been the downfall of many diets and meal plans. A life without pizza and candy sounds terrifying to some so we don’t want you to give up all your surgery treats but societally we need to eat less processed carbohydrates. Sugary beverages like soda and energy drinks are especially harmful and are a contributing factor to rising obesity numbers. Water should always be your main choice of hydration.

Tri-County Health Care Registered Dietitian Shelby Hunke. recommends having carbohydrate-based snacks rarely, around one to two times a week.

Registered Dietitian Tri-County Health Care Balanced Diet

Shelby Hunke, Tri-County Health Care Registered Dietitian

It’s a lifestyle change

The very idea of a diet chills some to the bone. Don’t look at it as an arbitrary set of eating rules but instead a lifestyle change. Go on the adventure of better living and find healthy foods you enjoy eating; they do exist. Then get support from family and friends. You don’t have to go it alone and finding someone to try that new kale smoothie with can help a great deal. If you need further assistance consider setting up an appointment with a dietitian. They have the professional expertise to get you started right.

Tri-County Health Care hosts a diabetes prevention class and in the most recent meeting, participants lost a total of 125 pounds. The nine participants lost this massive amount of weight over the course of 16 classes. These classes work on strategies to eat better while increasing physical activity.

Try something new

Get your new balanced diet kicked off right! Try this garlic parmesan asparagus recipe hand-picked by Shelby! Use the link below for step-by-step instructions:

Garlic Parmesan Asparagus Recipe: How to Make It | Taste of Home

Don’t give up!

People get burned out on a new diet and expect immediate success. It’s the journey, not necessarily the destination. Crash dieting is often the pitfall people fall into. Set attainable goals and cut back rather than going cold turkey. Cut down to one energy drink a week instead of cutting them out completely. Take it slow and steady to avoid intense cravings and binging. Set mini-goals, meet them, then set new goals.

Use March to revaluate your lifestyle and eating habits. If you need help, please schedule an appointment with a dietitian at Tri-County Health Care by calling 218-632-7115

Colonoscopies & Care: The importance of regular screenings

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Colonoscopies are often a topic of debate, with many people dismissing them as overly invasive and even an invasion of privacy. However, it doesn’t need to be dreaded and avoided. During Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, organizations across the United States, including Tri-County Health Care, are taking a stand against colorectal cancer. Our mission is to educate and spread awareness about one of the most preventable forms of cancer.

Colorectal or Colon cancer awareness dark blue ribbon on helping hand. colonoscopies

Susan Marco

Susan Marco, an employee at Tri-County Health Care, is especially passionate about early prevention screening. Her story about family and early prevention truly illustrates the importance of testing. She is no stranger to colonoscopies and felt sharing her story would greatly alleviate how many feel when they hit the recommended screening age.

“It was the early discovery that saved her life,” said Susan when discussing her mother’s cancer diagnosis. At 50, Susan’s mother was diagnosed with colon cancer during a routine colonoscopy. Without the screening, she most likely would have died. Since then, Susan has felt it was her duty to embrace early prevention screening and encourage others to do the same. She recently completed her third colonoscopy in January 2021.

The preparation

The most difficult part about a colonoscopy according to Susan is the preparation. The procedure itself went fine but the preparation does require some steps. After a consultation with her doctor, she had to take an over-the-counter laxative that would clear her colon. The medicine is typically mixed with a sports drink.

The next morning, she visited Tri-County Health Care and was checked in for her appointment. The nurses made her stay comfortable and prepared her for surgery. She was sedated for the procedure. The entire process only took about half a day to complete.

“The preparation and procedure are such small things and take up such a small amount of time, so why wouldn’t everyone do this in order to avoid colon cancer?” said Susan when asked about her experience.

My family cared for me

“I work at Tri-County Health Care, so people asked if it was uncomfortable for me to have my co-workers take care of me during the procedure. It wasn’t uncomfortable at all! It felt like my family caring for me,” said Susan. Tri-County Health Care provides this type of environment for everyone. Comfortability is paramount to the team during such a delicate process.

Dr. Timothy Monson. colonoscopies

Timothy Monson, M.D., MBA, FACS

Susan is a recruiter, and it’s her job to find the best medical talent out there. She actually recruited Dr. Monson who conducted her colonoscopy. According to Susan, Dr. Monson is a remarkable provider and a kind man that approaches every surgical scenario with poise and professionalism. He is literally perfect for Tri-County Health Care and Susan knew she was in capable hands. The colonoscopy went well and Dr. Monson played a pivotal role in Susan’s continued good health.

Prevention is key

During her previous colonoscopies, Susan expressed that she felt like just a number. Her procedure was always met with cold sterility, far from the family-like atmosphere she experienced at Tri-County Health Care.

In many cases, colon cancer shows no symptoms, but routine screening can prevent and detect this type of cancer. Most people should begin receiving routine screening around age 45 and Tri-County Health Care offers multiple colon cancer screening options. Regardless of where you choose to have such a procedure, please join Susan in the fight against colorectal cancer and for March. Visit for more information about screening, and call 218-631-3510 to schedule an appointment.