What is Healthy, Anyway?!

Healthy Eating made easy


Everywhere you go, you hear “Be healthy!  But how do you do that? And how to you attain it while also trying to juggle everything else life throws your way?!

Let’s just all agree that we are all in different stages of our journey to become the best we can be. Everyone is constantly learning new facts, tips and techniques, and that constantly shapes how we live our lives. What is right and relevant for me might be way beyond where your family is, or maybe your family has already journeyed past this stage. And that’s all good! What is important here is that we are constantly moving forward, and that we support and encourage each other.

I think this is especially important to me because I am raising two girls. I want them to be mentally, physically, and emotionally strong and capable. I want them to have confidence in themselves, to have positive body images and positive relationships with food. And as their mom, there is no one else who is better poised to demonstrate firsthand! I think this is one of my biggest motivators (other than that one pair of pre-baby jeans from before Ladybug was born that I can almost, almost get into!)


For our family, our journey to wellness doesn’t have numbers attached – we aren’t looking to loose a specific amount of weight, count calories, or watch how many carbs we eat. We aren’t getting ready for a marathon. We just want to be healthy and happy, and teach our children how to do this as well.

Instead, we are focusing on a few simple principles – eat more whole foods, become more active, stress less. That’s why I am so excited to be partnering with the Iowa Food and Family Project and Life Healthy Iowa for the 10 Week Wellness Challenge. The challenge is a great resource for the community because it brings together families, friends, businesses and communities in team based wellness challenges that are designed to promote positive lifestyle changes. I’ve joined a team with other bloggers from Iowa to journey down to the road to health!
* Disclosure – I was compensated for joining this program with a waiver of the $20 enrolling fee. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning that if you make a purchase using them, I will get a small kickback (like, literally 3%). This goes towards the running and administration of this blog, and because I know you love me and what I do here, you’re ok with that! And I thank you for it!

Eat More Whole Foods

You are what you eat! So make your food count!

I mean, we pretty much hear this every time we turn around, right?  But what does that really mean? And how attainable is it really?!

Eating whole foods means eating less processed foods – more fruits, veggies, and meats, the things you find around the outside margins of a grocery store. We still do buy some processed foods, but when it comes to those, I try to stick to things that have the least amount of ingredients possible – and that I can actually identify and pronounce those.

I definitely, totally think that saying “You are what you eat” is true! What we eat does affect how we feel physically and emotionally, and that we need to fuel our bodies with the best possible resources that we can. That’s not to say that we don’t occasionally splurge on ice cream and pizza, because we totally do. But we try to focus 80% of our diet on real, healthy, wholesome food – and make our splurges intentional choices, not mindless eating.

Part of the biggest challenges for eating healthy is just in planning! The saying “Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail” really irritates me, but you know what – its totally true. Unless you spend the time to acknowledge what you need to eat during each day of the week, you run the risk of making poor choices when being overly hungry, or if not having enough food on hand to prepare something healthy.

If you need help in learning how to meal plan, check out my Meal Planning Guide – with free printable worksheets. It’s everything you need to know for how to make meal planning both simple and effective for you!

I’m super happy that I live in a town with so many wonderful choices for grocery stores, and that our newest addition to these is Natural Grocers, who invited me out for a lovely afternoon and a delicious lunch to learn more about their store. Natural Grocers is dedicated to providing nutrition education to the community and staffs each store with nutritional health coaches, experts and educates all their employees. They also have super high quality products (and source local products, too!) with actual affordable prices – this is a great addition our community! One of the biggest hurdles in choosing heathy foods is the price tag – and Natural Grocers does its best to give you the lowest price possible. It is definitely a great community resource, and I would definitely check it out.

Move More

Get off the couch and work it!

Ugh, this is hard, isn’t it?  Especially in the winter!
Its so much easier to curl up with a book or hit the snooze button than it is to get up and force yourself to work out.
I hate exercing. I am not a gym person. I don’t like running, and I physically can’t do a lot of things after I had my stint placed last year (no push ups, pull ups, weight lifting, yoga…)
What I like to do, is to be physically active throughout my day. I think sweat and muscles should be attached to hard work and accomplishing something tough that you can stand back at the end of the day and admire.
Unfortunately for me, I don’t live on a farm and my chances for this kind of manual labor is limited with two small children.
But I think its important to show our children that leading active lives leads to health and happy lives – and that being physically active is important.
Lately I’ve been (kind of) doing the 21DayFix – I am loving that I can do 20 minute videos at home, without a bunch of specialized equipment, no matter what the weather is, and without anyone laughing at my crazy antics except the dog. It helps keep me active and going, even if we can’t leave the house.
I love using my FitBit to track my activity levels, and the corresponding app for my phone that lets me track food, water, and sleep patterns. Plus I love that you can connect friends to it and cheer/taunt/challenge each other.

Stress Less

Planning out your morning routine and daily to-dos is a great stress reliever! Not only can you empty your mind, but you can also create realistic expectations for the day

Being happy has a huge effect on being healthy – and stress plays a big role in this! We don’t need scientific studies to know that when we are overcome with stress and worry, that we just don’t feel good – mentally or physically.
As people we tend to create lots of busy work for ourselves. We tend to think we need to go-go-go all the time in order to be successful people, that we can’t be happy unless we fill our day with as much activity and movement as possible.
Being intentional of our time is super important – sometimes its so easy to get wrapped up in all the things we “need to do” that we totally pass by all the small important things that we should be doing instead – the things that really matter.
Two things that can really help reduce stress are:

  • Use a planner to manage your days. Especially one like this, where you can plan out your daily tasks, meals, to-dos and more all in one place.
  • Make a morning routine! Write out every activity that needs to take place (breakfast, getting dressed, leaving the house) and assign them all a time – making sure to allow yourselves a few minutes of buffer time in case you need it). When you know what you need to accomplish in the morning then either write it into you planner or set timers on your phone to go off and remind you. Not




  • Reply
    Mavis Bolie
    April 2, 2016 at 2:48 AM

    Sounds exciting!

  • Reply
    A Slightly Better Wife
    April 2, 2016 at 12:50 PM

    Love the morning routine idea! For 2016 I'm working on getting more sleep, and being more intentional with my time. We're preparing more meals at home, but also focusing on not getting off track (or feeling guilty) if we eat out occasionally.

  • Reply
    Samantha Larson
    April 2, 2016 at 2:09 PM

    Hi Jenni,
    We have joined an organic CSA that also has free range chicken eggs to continue our healthy journey this year! I also try to get us outside for at least an hour everyday – even if its raining!

  • Reply
    April 2, 2016 at 2:48 PM

    I love your blog! So many helpful suggestions and wonderful food. I have made several dishes and loved them all!

  • Reply
    Janet Hartje
    April 2, 2016 at 3:09 PM

    Trying to just eat whole foods and to plan my meals ahead.

  • Reply
    Jenny Unternahrer
    April 6, 2016 at 1:16 PM

    Drinking lots of water! (sometimes in coffee. 😉 )

  • Reply
    April 8, 2016 at 12:16 PM

    Great work.

  • Reply
    Connie - Sweet Creations
    April 8, 2016 at 12:52 PM

    Wonderful blog, very helpful for healthy eating plan tips!

  • Reply
    April 8, 2016 at 1:10 PM

    Introduced to your blog by In the Kitchen with Jenny! Great ideas…look forward to trying some recipes…and would LOVE to win the cookbook and goodies! 🙂

  • Reply
    Brianne Sasek
    April 8, 2016 at 1:38 PM

    I've DL the app "7 Minute Workout". Its a great way to get the blood flowing and start the day off right.

  • Reply
    Ginger Coleman
    April 8, 2016 at 3:03 PM

    I'm eating whole foods and more local foods. Thanks! Great article!

  • Reply
    Molly Bagley
    April 8, 2016 at 4:02 PM

    I'm tracking what I eat, drinking more water, and moving more! I just started drinking shakes for breakfast and I already have more energy and focus. Every little thing counts!

  • Reply
    Linda Heyde
    April 8, 2016 at 4:42 PM

    I am eating more fresh fruit and veggies and cutting down on salt. Also, drinking a lot of water, which is pretty east to do in Arizona! Love your posts! I lived in West Des Moines, loved it there!

  • Reply
    April 8, 2016 at 9:56 PM

    Going to the amazing child care place…aka gym.

  • Reply
    April 9, 2016 at 1:04 AM

    Every morning is a fresh start to begin again! I'm thankful for that. Taking more steps in the right direction daily! 🙂

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