Fueling Bodies, Nourishing Wellness

By Ann Thelen

From January 22 to March 30, the Live Healthy Iowa 10 Week Wellness Challenge encouraged Iowans to get moving and eat healthier. Throughout the competition, the Iowa Food & Family Project teamed up with a group of Iowa bloggers to share their journey during the 10 Week Wellness Challenge. Meet this year’s Food, Family & Fitness blogger team, gain some practical mind and body tips, and discover new recipes to fuel your body and nourish your soul.

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Stephanie Gates – “Buffet Style Meal Prepper”

Blog: Been There Baked That

Stephanie is a self-described “former bakeaholic.” Today, she’s a mom on a mission to live a healthy lifestyle. The winner of our team’s 10 Week Wellness Challenge with activity minutes and percentage of weight loss, Stephanie credits her success to being a planner. Whether that’s buffet style meal prepping or following simple steps for success, Stephanie works hard to lead and inspire others.

What’s buffet style meal prep? It’s having foods such as hard-boiled eggs, cut up veggies and fruits, roasted root veggies, grilled chicken, prepared quinoa and brown rice all prepared and in separate containers in the refrigerator. When it comes time to eat, you can choose from a variety of foods you have prepared to avoid an eating rut! For a flavorful and colorful meal, try Stephanie’s Grilled Steak Cobb Salad.

Did you know? At just 70 calories, one egg serves up six grams of protein and all nine essential amino acids!

Mary Lovstad – “An Afternoon with a Rotisserie Chicken”

Blog: Farm Girl Cook’n

Chicken EnchiladaFarm Girl Cook’n is more than just a cooking blog; it’s about living life to its fullest. It’s also about eating better when we can, cooking and eating fewer processed foods, and not being perfect — just better. Mary loves the stories and memories our favorite foods evoke — the smell of a chocolate cake in the oven, the making of a holiday meal, or a warm bowl of chicken soup when we didn’t feel well. One of her favorite Irish proverbs is, “Laughter is brightest in the place where the food is.”

We bond around food, whether it is around the family dinner table, a campfire, a potluck, an elegant restaurant or the local truck stop. During the challenge, Mary transformed an afternoon and one rotisserie chicken into four amazing meals! From chicken enchiladas to Hawaiian sliders and homemade broth, her creations were amazing.

Did you know? Just as mealtime is for families, farming is also a family affair. In Iowa and throughout the country, nearly 97 percent of farms are owned and managed by families.

Katy Flint – “A Journey of Learning”

Blog: Flint & Co.

Katy and her family live in northwestern Iowa. Her passions are straightforward: exploring and traveling, all things health and wellness, cooking, gardening and following the boys (her husband, stepson and dog!) around for their activities. On Flint & Co. you will find commentaries of her adventures in life as well as an homage to a love for food. Her blog is filled with practical tips for achieving health and wellness goals for busy, on-the-go people. Finding the right balance of a healthy lifestyle and extremes has been a learning process for Katy. Her tips for leading a healthy lifestyle without going overboard are inspiring ways to keep you motivated and on track!

Did you know? Eating delicious, nutritious and protein-rich foods is a key to helping you to reach your wellness goals. Edamame – a popular soyfood – serves up a whopping 11 grams of protein in just half a cup.

Shari Hagen – “Keeping it Real”

Blog: Inked and Educated Mom

Shari lives in a small town in Iowa and her passion is to educate people on any topics that concern health and wellness. Shari loves participating in the 10 Week Wellness Challenge because she believes in the importance of eating “real food” and being active. Even though she has a bachelor’s degree in health and wellness, the challenge helped her to beat the winter blues, track her activity and stay focused on her goals. Shari stresses that foods with the right vitamins are a big help to healthy eating, which can be found in abundance in her Instant Pot Beef Stew.

Did you know? Just 3 ounces of beef provides 10 essential nutrients, including protein, iron, zinc and vitamin B12!

Kelli Kennon-Lane – “Recycle and Repeat”

Blog: The Sustainable Couple

Third-year challenge participant, Kelli, and her husband John are an Iowa born-and-raised couple focused on developing a thriving urban farm. Their goal is to make healthier choices, one small step at a time. Their blog contains a recipe index full of meals they have made from foods grown right in their front and backyard. In addition to staying physically active even during those cold weeks of the challenge, Kelli is an avid meal planner. Find out how she’s taken meal planning to an easy level, helping the couple eat in season – whether that's from their abundant garden or from their local food co-op. Plus, find out how Kelli shops with conservation in mind and recycles everything from plastic wrap to butcher paper.

If you are visiting this page to get inspiration from one of their homestead meals, especially their growing collection of meals for two people, you will find some goodies on her blog.

Did you know? Conservation is important to farmers. In fact, Iowa’s soybean farmers have invested more than $40 million in research and conservation efforts.

Editor’s Note: The Iowa Food & Family Project is a proud sponsor of Live Healthy Iowa. Live Healthy Iowa brings together friends, families, businesses and communities in team-based wellness challenges designed to promote positive lifestyle change. These challenges are proven to change the culture of a company or community, one team at a time! Learn more at www.livehealthyiowa.org.