Promoting health & wellness this holiday season

How healthcare marketers can leverage social media to promote better health

The holiday season is a time to gather with your loved ones and … eat.  With an abundance of tasty, mouthwatering and indulgent treats to choose from it can be hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle this time of year. Bring on the bulky sweaters and pass me that chocolate pie!

The truth is, we should care about what we’re noshing on. Studies show that the average American gains one to two pounds during the holiday season. According to WebMD those pounds aren’t easily lost and can contribute to obesity later in life.

Your hospital and healthcare system can contribute to your patients’ health and wellness this holiday by providing content that is relevant, informative and healthy. Promoting healthy recipes is a fun way to engage healthcare consumers and bring attention to your organization’s website. Your hospital can start a health and wellness blog, a weekly newsletter or even a Facebook page to share health related content and start conversations about weight management.

With all the temptations the holidays’ invite (i.e. your aunt’s famous baked ziti) we’re sure healthcare consumers are looking for some relief from fattening foods, too.

Here is an example of a healthy holiday treat borrowed from a page of Braden Russom’s  cookbook:

Butternut Squash Soup  


• 1 butternut squash (about 3 pounds) • Olive oil
• Kosher Salt
• 3 tbsps. butter
•1 yellow onion, roughly chopped (about 2 cups)
• 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and roughly chopped
• 1 red cherry pepper, seeded and finely chopped (optional)• 1⁄4 cup maple syrup
• 4 cups chicken stock
• 1⁄2 cup heavy cream (optional)
• Small pinch of nutmeg

Special Equipment: immersion blender or regular blender


1. Preheat your oven to 400°. Cut off the top and bottom of the squash, set on it’s wide end, and cut in half lengthwise (i.e. top to bottom). Scoop out all the seeds and the stringy membrane, and discard them.

2. Score the inside of the squash in a crosshatch pattern, rub a thin layer of olive oil on the flesh, sprinkle with lots of kosher salt, and roast, flesh side down, for about 1 hour.

3. When squash is almost finished, melt butter in a stockpot or heavy dutch oven on medium heat. Add onions, apple and cherry pepper, and a large pinch of kosher salt. Cook until everything is soft and you get some liquid in the bottom, about 10 minutes.

4. Add the maple syrup and cook until reduced by about 1/2 the volume, stirring often (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat until squash is ready.

5. When the squash has cooked and softened, remove from oven and let it cool for a few minutes. Scrape the exterior layer off the skin of the squash with a large metal spoon, being very careful not to burn yourself. Add squash to the apple and onion mixture. Return the pot to the heat, add the chicken broth and cream, and simmer for 10 minutes.

6. Remove pot from heat. Add nutmeg and use your immersion blender to puree to a smooth, even consistency. Add more cream or stock to achieve desired thickness. If you add more stock, it’s a good idea to return mixture to a simmer for a few moments.