10 Tips to be Medication Savvy

pharmacy

Whether you occasionally wake up with a headache or you’re managing a chronic condition, prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications play a big role in our day-to-day health and wellness. Use the following tips to safely stay on top of your medications and make the most of your prescription drug benefits.

  1. Organize your medications in a pill box – By keeping your medications organized, it’s easy to keep track of what you’re taking and when.
  2. Set refill reminders – Use a calendar, electronic reminders, or set up auto-refill for your medications to help you keep track of when you’re due for a refill. You can also take it one step further and set up regular reminders for when to take your medications.
  3. Save money with generic drugs – Generics are tested to make sure the active ingredients are the same as the brand. You’ll get the same treatment quality at a more affordable price.
  4. Take advantage of prescription mail-order opportunities – Having your maintenance medications delivered directly to your home will save you time—and often, money.
  5. Check formularies for preferred medications – Preferred medications can be pretty spendy, but formularies can help you keep the cost in check. Share the information with your provider for an opportunity to pay lower co-pays. You can find complete drug lists and prior authorization criteria on our website at PacificSource.com/drug-list.
  6. Use caution when choosing a new over-the-counter medication – Read the drug facts label, and ask your provider or pharmacist if the medication is right—and safe—for you.
  7. Tell your doctor about all medications you’re taking – It’s important to provide this information every time you see your doctor. Remember to include over-the-counter medications and herbal supplements.
  8. Talk to your pharmacist – Your pharmacist is the expert and can answer questions you may have about side effects, drug interactions, and more.
  9. Take advantage of health services provided by your healthcare plan – Pharmacies offer flu shots and other immunizations, some of which may be covered by your plan at no cost to you.
  10. Read your explanation of benefits (EOB) – Your prescription medications are included on your EOB statements, which can help you understand your healthcare coverage and get the most value from your plan.

Reduced vs. Low Sodium – Is there a difference?

Salt_MP900400592.JPGWe recently posted a recipe on Healthier Mashed Potatoes. The recipe includes “low-sodium chicken broth.” Though, when we first created the recipe, we included “reduced-sodium chicken broth.”

Big deal, right? But the Nutrition Label Guidelines clarify these differently:

Reduced-Sodium: means the food has to have at least 25% less sodium than the standard version. A one cup serving of Swanson’s Chicken Broth has 860mg sodium, so a reduced-sodium version could have up to as much as 645 mg sodium! Not the best choice.

Low-sodium: means that the food has less than 140mg sodium per serving. So a one cup serving should be 140mg or lower – a much healthier choice!

We get tricked by this one frequently….and always have to remember to go back and look at the facts panel to see how much sodium is in a serving!

Just one more experience to pass along, enjoy!

Healthier Holiday Meals

The holiday’s are hear, and while I sometimes error on the side of eating too much (see our Hunger Meter), I do try to eat a balanced holiday meal. Here are a few tips and recipes on the traditional holiday favorites that will trim calories and boost nutrition.

Green Bean Casserole

The green beans are great, but the rest of the ingredients lead up to a high fat high calorie feast! Why not serve up fresh steamed green beans without all the extras? Steam beans to tender-crisp then sauté with diced shallots and toasted sliced almonds.

Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes don’t have to be loaded up with cream and butter to taste great. Take advantage of the natural creaminess of potatoes. You can also ramp up the flavor by adding fresh herbs, spices, and other flavor enhancers such as sweet roasted garlic. Here’s one recipe to trim up the calories in mashed potatoes:

Healthier Mashed Potatoes - mobile

Sweet Potato Casserole

Candied yam—another vegetable dish turned into a sugar-and fat-laden indulgence. For a new tradition, try this Meringue-topped Sweet Potato Casserole, reprinted with permission from Eating Well (EatingWell.com/recipes/sweet_ potato_meringue_casserole.html):

Sweet Potato Casserole_Mobile

Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce is a Thanksgiving tradition in many homes. This year, create a new tradition by making a homemade cranberry apple sauce that is lower in added sugar and higher in fruit than the traditional and canned versions.

Apple Orange Cranberry Sauce - Mobile

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