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Have a question you forgot to discuss at the doctor’s office?

Have a question you forgot to discuss at the doctor’s office or are too embarrassed to ask? The experts at Samaritan Health Services are here to help.

Q: Our family is going on a road trip. Yay! How can we keep our healthy eating on track?

A: You can do it — with advance planning and preparation. The healthiest option is to pack your own meals, beverages and snacks.

Dairy, meat and fish should be kept at 40 F, so use a cheap refrigerator thermometer in your ice chest to monitor the temperature. Pack single-use items that don’t need refrigeration like mayonnaise, ranch dressing, applesauce and hummus. Choose water or sparkling water over sugary and caffeinated drinks to cut down on empty calories.

Pack breakfast foods with a high nutrient profile that are also high in protein, such as hard-boiled eggs (keep them chilled in the shell), whole wheat blueberry muffins (homemade is best, if possible), bagels and cream cheese, and fresh fruit.

Satisfying items for lunch include cheese, crackers, meat sticks and veggies. You can also quickly make sandwiches and wraps, using precut veggies, turkey or chicken slices, single-serve hummus packets or small containers of peanut butter and jelly.

For snacking, bring along fresh fruits and veggies. Pack trail mix and nuts in one-half cup portions to avoid overeating. Air pop your own popcorn and add seasonings like smoked paprika or cinnamon.

If you stop at a restaurant, go online ahead of time to read menus and nutrition facts. This will help you make the best selection and avoid impulse orders.

— Suzanne Watkins, RD, LD, Samaritan Albany General Hospital

Q: My teen has been more emotional than usual, withdrawn and moody. Should I be concerned about this new behavior?

A: Emotional distress in adolescence is common and complex. Teens are going through physical and mental changes, while fluctuating hormones amplify emotions. Changes in social surroundings and environmental stressors may lead to mental health concerns.

Because mood can affect how their bodies normally function, it’s important to watch for alarming changes in eating, sleeping and overall energy levels. A few changes in sleeping and eating patterns are to be expected, though low appetite or overeating can pose serious health concerns. Signs of concerning levels of emotional distress include a pattern of increased irritability, sadness or hopelessness, tearfulness or lack of interest persisting for two or more weeks.

Teens’ moods can affect them in all sorts of ways, and it’s tough to know what’s going on unless you talk to them regularly. If they are struggling, let them know their feelings are valid and that learning to navigate challenges is important. Finding additional support can be as easy as starting a conversation with their primary care provider and behavioral health team.

— Geoff Schaubhut, PhD, clinical psychologist, Park Street Clinic in Lebanon


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Call Samaritan Health Services Find a Doctor line

at 800-863-5241 to find a provider who is right for you.


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