Meet the Live Healthy Iowa Wellness Challenge Bloggers (Part 2)

By Michelle Chalkey

With only a short time left in the Live Healthy Iowa 10-Week Wellness Challenge, it’s time to push through to the finish! But wellness doesn’t end at a finish line – it’s something to carry with you for a lifetime. Motivation to make healthy choices can ebb and flow, so it’s important to keep the inspiring information coming in.

The Iowa Food & Family Project is here to help you stay informed on the nutritious foods grown right here in our state. We also love connecting you with other Iowans who are balancing jobs, raising children and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. That’s why we’ve teamed up with a group of Iowa bloggers for the 10-Week Wellness Challenge, and they’re sharing their best tips and lessons learned through their journeys.

Our bloggers understand the daily struggle of balancing healthy meals with a busy lifestyle. Revamp your personal journey by reading up on their experiences. Follow along to find meal-prep ideas, activity tips, and healthy recipes that incorporate Iowa’s nutritious, homegrown food.

Meet the 2017 Team Members for the Live Healthy Iowa 10-Week Wellness Challenge

Please note, by clicking the links you will be leaving a partially funded checkoff site. 

Jenni Ward

Blog: The Gingered WhiskRainbow Veggie Pizza
Jenni is an Iowa mom who loves discovering healthy, easy and delicious recipes for her family. The Gingered Whisk is about Jenni’s everyday kitchen adventures, as she believes relationships are built by creating, sharing and enjoying food together. Check out The Gingered Whisk for easy family meal recipes. Crockpot, 30-minute or one-pan meals – Jenni makes cooking as simple as possible. Try this Rainbow Veggie Pizza, a colorful recipe with corn, carrots and spinach that your kids will actually love!

Did you know? Corn is a rich source of vitamins and many essential nutrients, including magnesium and selenium.

Kathy Vannoy

Blog: Kathy’s Kitchen

Kathy Vannoy is a registered and licensed dietitian living in Ames. She frequently shares practical tips on healthy eating and feeding the family on her Facebook Page, Kathy’s Kitchen. Check out her page for easy and convenient ways to incorporate veggies into your diet, and get information on what active opportunities you can take advantage of in Ames. Insights, motivation, even budgeting tips - Kathy’s Kitchen serves it all!

Stephanie Gates

Blog: Been There, Baked That

Stephanie is a mom on a mission to live a healthy lifestyle. A local food advocate, Stephanie spreads the joy of home-cooked family meals by sharing several recipes on her blog, Been There, Baked That. Stephanie credits her success on the wellness challenge to mapping out dinners for the week and packing lunches. For a protein-packed meal that will leave you full throughout the day, try Stephanie’s Mini Meatloaves recipe. Bonus: This recipe provides plenty of leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch!

Did you know? One serving of beef has 25 grams of high-quality protein, sure to leave you full and satisfied.

Kristen Greazel
Blog: Make the Best of Everything

Kristen is a self-proclaimed food and vegetable lover who loves sneaking healthy produce into her family’s meals. Learn her creative ways for getting in extra steps during the cold winter months on her blog, Make the Best of Everything. She also shares recipes with a healthy twist on classic dishes, like this Sweet and Sour Pork Lunch Bowls Insta Pot recipe (pictured at the top of the article). Having learned her way in the kitchen, Kristen shares food tutorials for those looking to get more confident with cooking.

Did you know? Pork is rich in important vitamins and minerals, such as zinc, thiamin, selenium, iron and vitamin B12.

Michelle Marine

Blog: Simplify Live Love

Michelle is a mom of four who aims to live a sustainable lifestyle on five acres in eastern Iowa. Simplify, Live, Love is a blog encouraging readers to make small changes toward living a greener life. Michelle shares green living tips and tricks, farm-to-table recipes and gardening tutorials. Her DIY Overnight Oats Bar with yogurt is a convenient way to get for you and the kids to start the day off right with some calcium-rich dairy.

Did you know? Eating healthy dairy products made from cow’s milk can help you maintain a healthy weight, prevent high blood pressure and diabetes, and reduce your risk of various chronic diseases.

Stay informed on what others are doing to make healthy living easy. Remember, a wellness challenge is a kickstart to revamping a healthy lifestyle. The best results come from maintaining healthy habits for the long run. Keep the motivation strong by tapping into your resources for fresh recipes, new ideas and opportunities for activity. To meet the rest of our team of bloggers, read Part I of this series.

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