Comments Off on 8 Tips for Eating Healthier on Thanksgiving

8 Tips for Eating Healthier on Thanksgiving

Category : Healthy Eating

Traditionally, Thanksgiving dinner goes hand-in-hand with a huge meal followed reclining (or napping) on the couch…here are hints to help you feel great instead of stuffed! 1) Don’t starve yourself. Depriving yourself all day in anticipation of a big meal is not a good idea. Doing this just sets you up for a binge. You should definitely eat a healthy breakfast and depending upon when the big meal is being served you may need to eat a healthy snacks such as fruits or vegetables so that you aren’t ravenous by the time you sit down at the table. 2) Schedule the meal earlier in the day. Having the big meal as early as possible is a good idea because it gives your body a chance to digest your food before bedtime. Usually I’d suggest noon, but since the Packer game will be in full swing, perhaps an early evening meal  would be more realistic (with light snacks during the game, of course). 3) Take very small portions. As you fill your plate, remember there are typically a lot more dishes on the table to choose from compared to your ordinary meal. With this in mind, take very small portions so you have room to “taste” everything. 4) Minimize the carb overload. Just because sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, stuffing and rolls are on the table doesn’t mean you have to eat them all. You might not be in charge of planning the meal, but you are in charge of what goes on your plate and into your mouth. You can choose  NOT to put all of these carb-laden foods on your plate…just pick your favorite. It will save a ton of calories and you’ll feel less ‘stuffed!’ (pun intended!) 5) Eat lots of vegetables. Put veggies on your plate first so that they take up the majority of the space. Eat a salad first if  one has been provided…better yet, offer to bring a salad. Beware of  heavy-duty casseroles…look for simple plain vegetables. 6) Avoid seconds. Remember you will most likely be having dessert too, so one serving of dinner is enough. Pause and tune in to how you really feel…are you actually hungry or are you just trying to please your host by accepting seconds? It’s ok to say “no thank you” and perhaps offer to take home a small amount of left-overs instead. (If your mom is like mom she will appreciate this!) 7) Drink water. Drink a glass of water immediately before you eat. 8) Drink alcohol only in moderation. Remember that alcohol has a lot of empty calories and also lowers your inhibitions so you may throw caution to the wind and eat more than you intended.  Enjoy your family, friends and food (in that order) and you will feel great!

Comments Off on Flip flops are bad for you

Flip flops are bad for you

Category : Active Living

by Karin Jennings

I see flip flops everywhere I go during the summer, but honestly, I can’t stand them!

I don’t like the feeling of the thong between my toes.
I don’t like the way my arches cave inward because they have zero arch support.
I can’t walk normally in them because I have to grip with my toes in order to keep them on my feet.

All of this got me wondering: Is it just me or are flip flops actually bad for your feet?

I did some research…Turns our my gut feeling about flip flops was right: Flip flops are bad for you!

Here is what I found out:

In 2008, Auburn University conducted a study led by biomechanics doctoral student Justin Shoyer. The researchers speculated that the altered gait could result in pain from the foot up into the hips and lower back.
“When people walk in flip-flops, they alter their gait, which can result in problems and pain from the foot up into the hips and lower back. Variations like this at the foot can result in changes up the kinetic chain, which in this case can extend upward in the wearer’s body.”

Other problems with flip flops include:
  • Tripping by catching your toes
  • Injuring your toes because they are completely exposed
  • Sun burning your feet
  • Exposing your feet to bacteria and fungus
  • Difficulties driving because they can get caught under the pedals

If you are going to wear flip flops:

Check out these better choices in the flip flop world

Here’s to your happy, healthy feet!

Comments Off on I’m Sick…should I workout?

I’m Sick…should I workout?

Category : Active Living

Good question! It depends….

The answer is YES when your symptoms are “Above the Neck”

  • Nasal congestion
  • Sneezing
  • Minor sore throat

You may actually feel better if you a “light workout”…decrease the overall duration and intensity of your exercise. If you feel worse (increased headache or break out in a cold sweat) back off or stop early.

 The answer is NO if most of your symptoms are “Below the Neck”

  • Diarrhea
  • Chest congestion
  • Cough
  • Upset stomach

Or if you are experiencing:

  •  Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Swollen lymph glands

Moderate exercise improves immune system

According to the American Council on Exercise, 61% of 700 recreational runners had fewer colds since they began running while only 4% reported the frequency had increased.  During moderate exercise, various immune cells circulate through the body more quickly and are better able to kill bacteria and viruses.  

Too much exercise can suppress your immune system

More is better, right? Wrong! A high percentage of endurance athletes get sick immediately after a big event. In fact, we know more than one very healthy Birkie skier who called in sick this week!  Too much exercise at a high intensity may suppress your immunity making you more susceptible to catching viruses.

Here’s your “stay healthy” checklist:

  • Exercise in moderation
  • Eat five servings of fruits & vegetables per day
  • Get enough sleep
  • Drink 6-8 glasses of water each day
  • Take your vitamins…we highly recommend Vemma liquid vitamins
  • Eat enough calories…your quest to lose weight should not make you ill



Comments Off on Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup

Category : Healthy Eating

We declared Barb B. the princess of our pumpkin party for recommending this delicious and satisfying soup that turns out to be a celebrity weight loss secret.  Because this simple recipe makes a large quantity of soup, you can freeze servings to curb cravings anytime you need some comfort food without blowing your diet.  Our version differs from the original by using low fat coconut milk to maintain that guilty richness.

Butternut Squash Soup
In a large pot, saute until translucent:
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
2T olive oil
Then add, bring to a boil and simmer 25-30 minutes until easy to pierce with a fork :
4 cups vegetable broth (canned or made from bullion)
1 large (2lb+) butternut squash, peeled and cubed in 1″ pieces
1 medium potato: any kind, cubed
2 large carrots, diced or sliced into 1/4 rounds
Remove from heat and add:
1 can low fat coconut milk
Next, puree  in batches using a regular or handheld immersion blender.  Then adjust the seasoning to your taste with salt & pepper, maybe even a dash of any one of the following: curry powder, garam masala, cinnamon or nutmeg.
110 calories per 1 cup servings (a bowl is likely a 2 cup serving)
4g fat, 16g carbohydrates,2g protein, 1g fiber, 340mg sodium


Comments Off on Wait! Don’t buy Halloween candy yet!

Wait! Don’t buy Halloween candy yet!

Category : Healthy Eating

Save your money, save your waist-line…

Karin and Jenny halloween  It’s the first week of October, so of course the stores are well-stocked with trick-or-treat candy, but does that mean you need         to stock your pantry?!? Probably not…be realistic, if you buy Halloween candy now will it actually be around on October 31st         when   the kids come knocking? I doubt it! Instead you or your spouse and/or your kids will have eaten it all up and you will           have to go buy more for the trick-or-treaters. 

  My advice, leave the candy in the store until just a few days before Halloween….otherwise, stepping on the        scale might get a little scary! 


Yours in Health & Fitness,

Karin Jennings
XO Fitness 

Comments Off on Exercise can make you a better Mom

Exercise can make you a better Mom

Category : Exercise

No  matter what age your kids happen to be, it’s important that you take care of yourself. Most moms are so busy taking care of everyone else, they often run themselves down.  Finding the time to exercise can be quite a challenge, but that time is important for both you and your kids. Everyone benefits when moms find a way to fit in fitness.


Pre-natal exercise minimizes weight gain and can reduce back pain during pregnancy. It  can definitely make your delivery easier…let’s face it, giving birth is an endurance event! It’s important to check with your doctor before you embark on a pre-natal exercise program. It’s is also a good idea to consult with a fitness professional who can help choose safe exercises and adapt them as your body changes shape.

Moms with little kids…0-5 years

Most women gain a few extra pounds during pregnancy which don’t disappear the moment the baby is born. “Baby-fat” is cute on babies, but not so cute on moms. Getting your body back should be a priority because the longer you wait, the harder it will be. Kids in this age group are very demanding to  say the least; you spend nearly every waking moment taking care of them. Isn’t it time you take care of yourself? A little “me time” goes a long way. Try taking a 15 minute walk or joining an exercise class preferably at a facility which offers child care. You will feel refreshed and be a better mom.

Moms with school-age kids…6-17 years

Currently one-third of American children are obese or at risk of becoming so. Your kids are watching you…be a good role model.  The fact is, kids don’t move enough. Why? They are watching YOU. So get moving, turn off the TV, take a walk or go for a bike ride with your kids. Even if you go to the gym without your kids they will be aware that you value exercise, and you can discuss why it is important to you. If you care about exercise and eating well you will be an awesome role model and it will rub off on your kids (eventually).

Moms with older kids

As your kids become more independent you may have more free time. Is retirement on the horizon? What have you always wanted to do, but didn’t have time with work and kids taking up so much of your time? Are you in shape enough to do it now? If not, what do you need to do to get there? It’s not too late to get started down the path to health and fitness, just start with small steps (pun intended).


Holding a new born grandchild you may wonder, “When did they start making babies so heavy?” Once they start to walk and run are you fast enough to keep up with them? Can you get down on the floor to play with them? You are never too old to start exercising. Start with walking, or if you’d prefer more structure seek out a  fitness professional to help you choose safe and effective exercises in either a group or one-on-one setting.

Now that you are excited about getting fit to be a better mom, set yourself a goal: What is one thing you can do to improve your health this week? Write it down, better yet, e-mail it to me  I want to know what you are going to do this week to improve your health and I am going to hold you to it! Hope to hear from you.

Karin Jennings is a certified personal trainer, mother of two, and co-owner of XO Fitness, LLC in De Pere.

Comments Off on Don’t Take This Sitting Down

Don’t Take This Sitting Down

Category : Active Living

by Karin Jennings

How much time do you spend sitting? According to a poll of 6000+ people by the Institute for Medicine and Public Health, the average person spends 56 hours per week sitting! Think about it, thanks to technology we are able to sit more than any other generation in the history of the human race! That, my friends, is extremely bad for our health.

The Physiology of Inactivity

What happens to your body when you sit for extended periods of time? Studies show that your body reacts to being sedentary in the following ways:

  • Circulation slows
  • Metabolism slows
  • Cholesterol levels increase
  • Lipoprotein lipase levels decrease
  • Body uses less blood sugar

Inactivity increases the risk of the following:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Certain types of cancer
  • Depression
  • Chronic lower-back pain

Move more often

Studies show that regular workouts, while beneficial to your health, do not entirely negate the harmful effects of sitting. Genevieve Healy, Ph.D., a research fellow at the Cancer Prevention Research Centre of the University of Queensland in Australia found that regardless of how much moderate to vigorous exercise participants did, those who took more breaks from sitting throughout the day had slimmer waists, lower BMIs (body mass indexes), and healthier blood fat and blood sugar levels than those who sat the most. In an extensive study of 17,000 people, Canadian researchers drew an even more succinct conclusion: The longer you spend sitting each day, the more likely you are to die an early death — no matter how fit you are.

This isn’t about finding time to exercise for 30-60 minutes five times per week which is the standard recommendation. Instead, this is about getting up and moving throughout the day.

Here are some ideas:

  • Get up and move every 30 minutes. Set a reminder on your computer or phone and DON’T ignore it.
  • Stand instead of sitting…whenever you can stand behind your desk instead of sitting, do it.
  • Walk instead of standing…if you can pace or “walk and talk” do so.
  • Use the restroom & water fountain furthest from you desk.
  • Take the stairs.
  • Limit TV watching to 1 hour/day or don’t watch TV sitting down, instead stand, ride a stationary bike, or sit on a stability ball.
  • Replace your desk chair with a stability ball.
  • Try wearing a pedometer. This will make you more aware of how active (or inactive) you are during the day. If you haven’t reached 10,000 steps by evening…go out for a walk to make up for it, however set your goal for the next day to increase your activity by 20% (for instance, if you only made it to 6000 steps, aim for 7200 the following day).

Remember, it’s the little things that add up in this case. Move more each day ALL day long for healthier, happier you!

Karin Jennings owns and operates XO Fitness, LLC in De Pere with her husband, Ryan. She has been a certified personal trainer since 1996. XO Fitness specializes in personal and small group training. They focus on helping people reach their health & fitness goals through exercise and lifestyle changes.

Comments Off on Friday Foodie: Blueberry Health Muffins

Friday Foodie: Blueberry Health Muffins

Category : Healthy Eating

This time of year you can buy blueberries by the quart instead of by the pint. Sometimes we get overzealous at the Farmers Market and have so many we have to start making everything with blueberries! This week we’ve made blueberry pancakes, blueberry smoothies and blueberry muffins.

I tore this recipe out of a Whole Living magazine a few years back. It has become a favorite at our house and I’ve even brought a batch into the studio on occasion to share with clients.

blueberry muffins

Muffin Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (we usually don’t have white flour in the house, so I make it with all whole-wheat flour and it turns out fine)
  • 1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • (I also like to add 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries

Muffin topping ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. wheat germ
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Mix dry ingredients. Add milk, oil, eggs and vanilla; stir until just mixed. Gently fold in blueberries. 
  • Divide evenly among 12 lined muffin cups. We like to use a regular size ice cream scoop for this.
  • Sprinkle tops of muffins with muffin topping.
  • Bake approximately 20 minutes…until a toothpick comes out clean.
blueberry muffin

Full of juicy berries!

Nutrition Information (per muffin)

196 calories; 1 g saturated fat; 5 g unsaturated fat; 36 mg cholesterol;

30 g carb; 5 g protein; 2 g fiber


If you want to read all about the benefits of blueberries

in your diet check out The World’s Healthiest Foods

Comments Off on Friday Friday Foodie: Avocado Salsa

Friday Friday Foodie: Avocado Salsa

Category : Healthy Eating

This week’s Friday Foodie is Nicole C. who suggested this most delicious salsa from one of my favorite food websites:

salsa ingredients

Salsa ingredients   If you haven’t checked epicurious out, you can type in a main ingredient and come up with a list of recipes that incorporate your searched ingredient along with excellent reviews and ratings.  It is an un-abashedly flavor first, damn the calories website, so it is wise to be calorie wary when surfing their delicious recipes.

Simple and delicious, the original recipe adds more olive oil than we would without sacrificing flavor.  That said, we’ve tweaked the recipe with 1/2 the olive oil (subtract roughly 200 calories) and we strongly suspect that 1/4 the olive oil (1T) would be un-noticeable.  Here’s our take:

Avocado Salsa:

  • 2 large tomatoes, seeded, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    Not your typical pico!

    Avocado Salsa

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (try 1 tablespoon, it’s probably plenty and you can always add more)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 to 2 large jalapeño chilies, seeded but not deveined, minced
  • 1 large avocado, diced

Mix well and serve!  Enjoy with friends to savor the fresh wonder of this simple recipe.  -XO

Comments Off on Friday Foodie: Grilled Swai & Cauliflower

Friday Foodie: Grilled Swai & Cauliflower

Category : Healthy Eating

It’s time to pull out the grill when it’s over 90’F outside with 100% humidity(and the air Baking on the Grill instead of in the Ovenconditioner seems to be running non-stop just to keep the house below 80!). 

This week our Friday Foodie’s are Karin and her father Paul.  Karin for her cauliflower recipe recently posted here, and Paul for his seasoning recipe that he found for Spicy Grilled Fish.  His recipe calls for Red Snapper or Orange Roughy Fillets, but I found something in the Fish Freezer called Swai.  So I bought it, brought it home, and then looked up online what the heck it was and how to cook it.

According to Wikipedia, Swai is actually an omnivorous freshwater fish found in Thailand’s  Swai FilletsMekong River.  It is really an “Iridescent Shark Catfish” but apparently due to international concerns regarding shark products, it was renamed Swai.  That said, Swai is a mild white fish that has a soft texture and could easily be blackened like Catfish.  I used Paul’s seasoning blend sparingly (although I love it hot!

Paul’s Spicy Fish Seasoning Blend:

2t Paprika
1t salt
1t onion powder
1t garlic powder
1/4-1/2 t cayenne powderAluminum Foil used for Grilling fish
1/8-1/4 t white pepper
1/4 t each of dried oregano, basil & thyme.
Method:  Defrost and pat excess water off of fish fillets.  Rub the fillets with olive oil and then sprinkle both sides with the seasoning blend.  (Go light for those who don’t like it hot!)  Spray the Grill with cooking spray BEFORE lighting it.  Grill fillets, covered, for 3-4 minutes per side or until fish flakes with a fork.

Now, that’s what I was told to do.  What I actually did was make an aluminum foil packet and Swai cooked on grill in foil packetcooked it in that instead.  Because the kids are highly spice sensitive, I actually used very little of the seasoning blend and dotted the fillets with butter.  The result was almost too tender.  I think I’ll blacken the Swai next time I grill it and place it directly on the grill.  -Ryan.