Staying healthy

Good habits for better mental health

What can you do to improve your mental health? Plenty. Check out these good habits that can help keep your mind as healthy as your body.
August 21, 2023   |   4 minute read
Image of a woman in a bright kitchen looking at a tablet and smiling.

Mental health affects how we think, feel, and act; it includes our emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that mental illnesses are among the most common health conditions in the United States.¹

Many factors that influence our mental health are out of our control, but it can be empowering to focus on factors that are within your control. A healthy body provides a strong foundation of support for your mental health when the going gets tough. 

The best first step for guidance about your mental health or nutrition is a visit (virtual or in-person) with your primary care provider (PCP). To ensure you get the lowest cost-shares for your appointment, make sure to see your assigned primary care provider. You can view your assigned PCP by calling customer service 1-800-817-3056 or signing in to your online account

In nature, we see that disruption to one species can impact an entire ecosystem, and one ecosystem can impact the overall health of the planet; everything is connected. Similarly, our mental and physical health are equally important components of your overall health, and one feeds the other. For additional mental health resources, visit the Mental Health page at   

 The foundation of good health 

According to the CDC, healthy eating habits can help you live longer and be at lower risk for serious health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.² Having any chronic condition, including those listed, can increase the likelihood of stress, anxiety and depression. Maintaining a healthy diet and activity levels can boost your overall health and well-being while lowering your risk for disease. Encouragingly, the food choices we make can have hugely positive effects on your total health. 

Making changes to your eating patterns can seem overwhelming, but there are simple ways to start implementing small changes. To make sustainable change, it’s important to look at good nutrition not as a diet, but as a habit of consistently choosing healthy foods and beverages.

Aim for a colorful plate 

To feel your best and be your healthiest, fruits and vegetables are powerhouses. A great rule of thumb is the greater the variety of colors on your plate, the greater the variety of nutrients. Round off your rainbow with whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy or plant-based options.  

Please note that infants and toddlers under age two should get about half of their calories from fat. Cholesterol and other fats are very important for their growth and development.

 Try these easy suggestions to add more color and fiber to your diet: 

  • Focus on what you can add to, instead of taking away your meals. For instance, if you’re craving cereal or pancakes, consider adding fruit or a high protein Greek yogurt to provide additional nutrients. 
  • Preparing snackable vegetables and having them quickly and regularly available in your fridge can make a healthy choice easy and convenient. Add flavor with hummus (high in protein), or ranch. 
  • Adding beans like chickpeas to your salad can help add fiber, texture and flavor.
  • Adding fresh herbs to any meal can add a boost of vitamins and minerals, and flavor!
  • Clean out your fridge by making soup with whatever vegetables you have on hand. Great options are potatoes, carrots, onion, celery, frozen kale or spinach – anything you have will work! Toss in beans to add heartiness. Freeze leftovers for a healthy convenient meal for another day. 
  • A stir fry is another great way to use up any vegetables you have on hand. 
  • Experimenting with different ways to cook your vegetables, roasting, grilling, blanching, can help bring out new flavors and textures! 
  • Season vegetables well with spices, vinegars, and oils, consider adding chopped nuts for extra protein and healthy fats and a boost of flavor and texture. 
  • Try mashed avocado as a sandwich spread. 
  • Keep ready-to-eat fruits in your refrigerator for a convenient healthy snack 

Don’t forget this healthy habit 

According to the CDC, drinking enough water every day is equally as important for your health. Ensuring you are well hydrated can help avoid unclear thinking, mood changes and overheating. It helps your joints, protects your spinal cord and other sensitive  tissues. 4    

To meet your daily hydration goal, try the following tips: 

  • Carry a water bottle with you and refill it as needed throughout the day. 
  • Drink water instead of sugary drinks. Add berries or slices of lime, lemon, or cucumber for more flavor. 
  • Serve water during meals and opt for water when dining out. 

By creating and maintaining healthy eating and hydration habits, you can make a profound positive impact on your overall sense of wellbeing. You deserve to feel your very best! 


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