Staying Active, Fueling Adventures and Quieting the Mind

Helping people nourish their bodies with healthy foods has always been my passion, which likely stems from my roots as an Iowa farm girl. I am a registered dietitian and Iowa State University graduate. I have been working in various nutrition sectors for the past 11 years, and I ultimately landed my dream job as marketing communications manager at Midwest Dairy about four years ago. I love working on behalf of Iowa dairy farmers and sharing their values of nourishing the people, planet and animals. Celebrating agriculture and all farmers do for our food system has been an absolute joy.

Alyson Fendrick, a registered dietitian and marketing communications manager for Midwest Dairy, makes the most of staying active in every season. Photo credit: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association

Staying Active in Every Season

Being active is a vital part of my overall wellness. I made a New Year’s Resolution a few years ago to be outside as much as possible, and since that time, I haven’t looked back. My husband and I have an eight-year-old black lab that demands to be active with us, so he keeps us honest.

It can be challenging to get outside during Iowa's cold winter months, but two winter activities that I enjoy are fat biking and cross-country skiing. Both sports have gained popularity, and we are fortunate to have groomed trails in Iowa to keep us moving all season!

In the summer months, you can find me mountain biking, kayaking, or my newest challenge of hiking 14ers in Colorado. Fun fact: Colorado has 58 mountain peaks exceeding 14,000 feet (known as "fourteeners" or "14ers" locally) – the most of any state!

Fueling Adventures

Being an avid adventurer, fueling my body is incredibly important to reaching my final destination. Sometimes it takes practice to get food choices and nutrition right for your activities, but it makes achieving your goals so much easier when you do.

Being active is a vital part of Alyson Fendrick's overall wellness approach. In the winter, she enjoys fat biking and cross-country skiing. Iowa's groomed trails give her an opportunity to keep moving all season! Photo credit: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association

Protein and carbohydrates are perfect pairings when focusing on refueling needs. I rely on portable protein during most of my activities, which includes cheese sticks, drinkable yogurt and whey protein powder.

My go-to refueling beverage is chocolate milk, as it’s the perfect balance of carbs and protein. Research shows that drinking chocolate milk after a workout can be as effective, if not more effective, than some sports drinks in helping the body refuel, recover and rehydrate from exercise. Smoothies are another great option on the go option. Check out the delicious pomegranate smoothie recipe below.

Quieting the Mind and Body

Fitness and nutrition are vital to overall well-being, but mental health also plays an important role. Slowing down is sometimes a challenge for someone like me. Rest doesn’t come naturally; however, I have found a few activities that I really enjoy. The first is yoga. When I first started yoga, I had a hard time concentrating, and my mind was always racing. As I’ve practiced, I’ve learned to quiet my mind, enjoy the peacefulness and relaxation, and appreciate the benefits to my health.

During the pandemic, I found that my mind was becoming consumed with noise from social media and other news outlets, so the second activity I started is journaling. Each morning, I now write in a gratitude journal. This simple activity refocused my energy into more positive things during a stressful time.

Whether it’s fueling your body for outdoor adventures or staying in optimal health to keep up with kids’ activities, it all begins with wholesome, nutritious foods. In Iowa, we’re fortunate to have access to fresh, high-quality proteins – the building blocks of an active lifestyle – raised by farmers who are our friends, families and neighbors.

The Iowa Food & Family Project would love to hear about your favorite outdoor winter activities in Iowa. Share your tips with us by Feb. 21, and we’ll help one lucky winner fuel up with a $25 Hy-Vee gift card.

Pomegranate Smoothie

Recipe from Undeniably Dairy

Image courtesy of Undeniably Dairy.

Servings: 4
Prep time: 5 min
Cook Time: 3 min


  • 1 banana
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) fat-free vanilla yogurt
  • 1 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1 tablespoon coarse sugar (optional)
  • Pomegranate seeds (optional)

Wrap peeled banana in plastic wrap and freeze 3 hours or until frozen.

Unwrap banana, break into chunks and place in a blender with the yogurt and juice. Cover and blend until smooth; pour into 4 glasses to serve. Top with pomegranate seeds, if desired.

Serving tip: Before serving, wet edge of glass and dip into coarse sugar for decorative edge.

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