10 Reasons #30DaysofRunning Rocked Our Socks Off

In no particular order, all equally awesome.

1. Lace Craze

Orange laces went like wildfire. They were mailed, delivered, up for grabs and tied on walkers. By the end of the month, over 900 pairs were in a shoe near you.

2. In the News

Thanks to Grand Cities Woman and the Grand Forks Herald, #30DaysofRunning got some serious love.

3. Faithful Followers

The tweets and Facebook posts were abundant! The inspiration and energy from our social media friends helped get us through the month. Here are a few of our faves:

Twitter FB4. Wild Hog Wednesdays

Rain, shine, wind, bugs. It did not matter what the deterrent was, the crowd was always great at Wild Hog Wednesdays. Good news – these festive runs will be held all summer!

5. Blogified

Area runners showed us their passion, motivation and will to “just keep running” through these inspirational stories:

6. Ned & Kathryn

Up and at ‘em every morning, our friends Ned and Kathryn showed us that an active lifestyle can keep a smile on your face and pep in your step at any age.

Ned and Kathryn

7. Family Fitness

This June, a Friday with your family meant swimming, walking, playing tag and more. Pizza and movies were left in the dust as healthy, happy families kicked off summer.

8. Run for Your Buns

We all love to run; why not do it for your buns? Nearly 200 runners joined together as we raised funds and awareness for colon cancer prevention.

9. Runners

You are what it’s all about. If not for the beginners, weekend warriors, marathoners and everything in between, #30DaysofRunning would just be another #hashtag. The enthusiasm to run toward a healthier community ensures #30DaysofRunning will be back in 2015!

10. Your Call!

Since #30Days is all about you, the runners, we want YOU to tell us what we missed on the list. What was your favorite part of #30DaysofRunning? Share your #10 by July 6, 2014 for a chance to win a Wild Hog ½ Marathon registration.

Untold Stories of Local Runners, 2.0

Untold StoriesEvery runner has a unique personal biography. It reveals the get-up or give-up moments. It shows the light-hearted and fun side of running. It displays motivation, courage and willingness to improve. Most importantly, it explains how lives are forever changed by simply putting one foot in front of the other.

These are the untold stories of local runners. Grab a seat. Stick around for a while. Read on, and be inspired to run.


Andrew Knight | Red River Runner | Music Therapy Assistant Professor


My wife and I went to Barnes & Noble one day. She was looking for yoga books and I, tagging along, saw a book in the next section called “The Non-runners Guide To Running A Marathon.” I thought ‘I’m not a runner,’ so I bought it and followed a plan to run a marathon.

Early on, I learned how awesome runners, as a cross-section of society, are. If you are looking to hang around the best people in the world, join a running group. We’re super fun, usually extremely good looking (especially our toned legs…), and are not ashamed of discussing blisters, sweat, smells, body things, etc. since it’s all a part of our running makeup.

I am not sure what I am capable of, so running is a constantly evolving goal to see what my body can really do when I sign up for events. When I don’t have events, I find running is my reset button to clear my head, move my body, and better focus on being a good husband, father, and guy-that-you-might-run-into-and-enjoy-talking-to-for-a-few-moments.


Sarah Exner | Clinic Office Nurse | Mom of Two, Soon Three

SarahIn the fall of 2010, I attempted to run. Shortly after, I found out we were expecting our second child. I quit.

In June of 2011, our son was born. He was colic and only seemed happy in his stroller. We put on a lot of miles walking! I decided to give running a try again. If I could make it past a certain landmark, great! If not, I kept pushing. Before long, I could make it around the whole bike path (.75 miles).

That spring, the high school was sponsoring a 5K fundraiser. The race was 1.5 miles one way; then you turned around at the halfway point and ran back to the start. I ran (more like a slow jog) all the way to the turnaround point. I rested for thirty seconds then ran back. It was amazing! That’s when I became hooked.

Since, I have made some great friendships and completed numerous 5Ks, two 10Ks, a half marathon and, most recently, Fargo Marathon relay (at 15 weeks pregnant). I ended up losing 60 pounds overall with running and portion control. And, I have more energy to keep up with my busy boys.


Holly Benjamin | Pediatrics Nurse | Fargo Half Marathoner

HollyI have always disliked running. As a kid I would avoid it as much as possible. The “mile run” in elementary school was torture. As an adult, I realized many people love running. I have coworkers who talk about how great if feels afterwards, especially a race. I also needed to become more physically active. So, I tried running…. I still hated it… But I tried again… And again…

In January 2012, a friend of mine told me I need to try again. She had a great plan that she was sure I could do. It worked! I went from not being able to run for two minutes to running my very first 5K.

I have one person with me on every run: Brianna. She is my I Run 4 buddy. I have never met her, but we message back and forth several times weekly. When I am struggling with a run, I focus on her. It gets me through every time.

I love running because I can! And because it is a good stress reliever. I love the feeling I get after a run, whether it is a great run or a rough one. To me it is huge to say I’ve run a mile, much less 10 miles.


Brad Larsen | Computer Nerd | 5K Challenger to Regular Runner

BradThe genesis of the running occurred when my friend and I were bantering one day, and we ended up with a friendly bet that I could not get within 9 minutes of him in a 5K race. I was 35 years old and was carrying the “residual self-image” that I was in the same shape as I was in college. The truth: I was 80 pounds heavier than when I entered college.

We executed our bet at the Cat’s Incredible 5K on August 11, 2007, and I lost badly. I lost by more than 3:30…per mile…over a short distance of three miles. Yikers. Something had to change.

I like the discrete nature of the workout. I’m going a set distance or a set time. When I have achieved that distance or time, I’m done. I like the feeling of having the workout be over and having completed something tangible that I can write down (example: I ran 3 miles). I like the numbers and the statistics and the raw data I get from my GPS watch/phone—computer nerd through and through!


Jess Brammer | Stay-At-Home Mom | Morning Runner

JessI live in East Grand Forks and I’m a stay-at-home mom of two active boys ages four and 19 months. When I’m not shuttling my kids around town, you can find me at the gym, running outside, reading or enjoying a girls’ night.

I started working out my sophomore year of college to get into shape. At the time, I could only walk on the treadmill. When I started to become more fit, I was able to give running a chance. Running was something I found that I enjoyed and was a great cardio workout.

Running is my “me time.” I get up early every day while the family is still asleep in order to complete my run and to make sure I have no excuses later to skip it. I try to get a workout in daily because it allows me to recharge my batteries. I find it hard to take a day off. If the weather is nice enough, I enjoy taking my kids out in the jogging stroller and incorporating some family time into it.


Want more? Read the first batch of Untold Stories of Local Runners from 2013.

#30DaysOfRunning is a great way to start your own running biography. Everyone has a different reason to get their run on, so discover yours. There’s still time to commitment to the movement and get involved.

Be happy. Be healthy. Be a runner this month.

What’s your running story? Share it here.

30 Days of Running

Exhilaration. Go further. Deep breath. One more song. One more lap. One more minute. 

These thoughts flood my mind as my feet hit the track or pound the pavement. Now, I’m not an accomplished runner with dozens of marathons under my belt. Far from it, in fact. Only two short years ago I made the commitment with a friend to start a healthier lifestyle. Running became part of my habit.  Soon, I feel in love with the way my feet hit the ground and I was hooked.

Those first steps weren’t easy. I’d run one minute and walk five. But, I stuck to my training calendar and pushed myself a little further. After the first month, I reached my goal: I ran 30 minutes without stopping. I couldn’t believe it. Success!  It no longer felt like effort or merely exercise. It’s become a lifestyle, and I look forward to it. Even better, no equipment is needed. Feet, shoes, ground, and go!


Runners are like family. Ever notice the head nods with a smile by the passerby’s on the sidewalk or track? How about the friendly waves of drivers as we share the streets?  What better way to celebrate the healthy lifestyle that running brings than with a specific focus? Thus last year’s birth of 30 Days of Running.

30 Days of Running was inspired by a social movement based out of Minneapolis, Minn., 30daysofbiking.com. Theirs challenged people to get on their bikes for any length of time during the month of April. Then, talk about it online. Our challenge is similar. The main difference is that this one uses your feet rather than two wheels.

Backed by Altru Health System and supported by a myriad of community businesses and organizations, 30 Days of Running celebrates its second birthday on June 1. Even better, national running day is June 4. 30 days in June. 30 days of running. Coincidence? Sounds like the stars have aligned if you ask me.

Make the Commitment
Never ran before? Training for your first 5K? Experienced marathoner? Weekend warrior? No matter your experience level, we want you to commit to get moving along with us during the month of June. Make the commitment here. 

If you need routes or tips, we’ve got all that, too. Just visit 30daysofrunning.org for tips to keep you going and routes that many of us are taking. With all of us running together, we are running toward a healthier community.

LacesLace Up Those Sneaks
Wherever someone is lacing up their sneaks, we’re there. Two legs. One leg. Prosthetic legs. Push for a healthier lifestyle. Seasoned runner. First-timer. Winter, spring, summer, fall. We’re there. If you have the passion burning inside of you to get up and move, you’ll find us. Throughout the month, there are different challenges:

  • Two-Mile Tuesdays: Hit the road for two miles of exercise.
  • Wild Hog Wednesdays: Join the Wild Hog Half Marathon committee in a few different routes around Grand Forks.
  • Family Fridays: Get off the couch and get active with your family.
  • Far As You Can Go Saturdays: Set a personal goal for your distance or time. Tell us how you’ve accomplished it.

Then, go online and talk about it. Tell your family and friends how you did. We’ll watch the conversation and enter you to win challenge prizes: shoes, yard games and Wild Hog Half Marathon race registrations.

We’ll keep you interested and on pace. Even better, pick up a sweet pair of orange laces to show that you are part of the #30DaysofRunning crew. You’ll find these at area running events, Scheels All Sports, Choice Health & Fitness, Altru Family YMCA or by asking us on Altru’s Healthy Choices Facebook page.

You don’t need to be an experienced distance runner. Just push yourself to do a little more every day. Every stretch of a run matters and counts. Of course, some runs will be better than others. Be proud of the dedication you put in and how far you’ve taken yourself.

Let’s run together toward healthier lifestyles. Let’s run toward a healthier community. Join the movement. Be part of #30DaysofRunning.

DeAnn BurckhardHailing from the Magic City (Minot, N. Dak.) and now a Minnesota transplant, DeAnn Burckhard has been part of Altru Health System’s family in public relations since 2003. She’s the co-creator of Altru’s #30DaysofRunning with running buddy and colleague, Annie Berge. When DeAnn isn’t playing make-believe and dress-up with her two young daughters, she can be found running up and down the beautiful streets of the Grand Cities. 


Make your run the best it can be. Take advantage of discounts at the Sanny and Jerry Ryan Center for Prevention during June to learn how proper nutrition, footwear and form can take you further. Get the details.

Less Weight, More Happiness

“Believe me, I have tried all the diets out there and have failed at all of them,” explains Nancy Roland.

Nancy is currently enrolled in Altru’s Weight Management Program. Through 12 weeks of hard work and support from Altru’s medical weight loss experts, Nancy has shed 41 pounds, with plans to lose 75 more.


“It is the best program I have ever experienced. It has taken the guesswork out of dieting.”

Following the Plan
Nancy, who has type 2 diabetes, follows a very structured plan. She says it works well with her “busy and unorganized lifestyle.”

Rachel Aure, health & wellness specialist, explains, “We have a comprehensive team that is 100 percent invested in the well being of our patients. We focus on small steps and practical approaches to making positive lifestyle changes, and we have some fun along the way!”

Staff Support
Nancy says Altru’s staff has provided the support, care and help needed to succeed.

“They all go the extra mile. They truly care,” she says.

Ann Mason, a nurse practitioner at Altru who works directly with weight management patients, shares, “My favorite part is hearing about patients’ non-scale victories, like tying shoes by themselves, increasing endurance, understanding food addiction and enjoying life without being surrounded by food.”

“Our patients are not just a number,” explains Jennifer Haugen, registered dietitian. “We get to know them personally, their likes and dislikes, and their struggles. We help them learn how to overcome challenges to be successful.”

A Healthy Investment
When deciding if she should invest in the program, Nancy realized part of the expense could be applied to her Care Credit Card. She thought, ‘How can I afford to not do this? I cannot put a price tag on my life.”

Beyond the weight lost, Nancy has seen many significant health improvements, including:

  • Controlled blood sugars and lowered insulin from 55 units to 20 units
  • Cut blood pressure medicine in half
  • Returned cholesterol to normal range
  • Lost 19.4 inches
  • Dropped three clothing sizes

“I feel fantastic, with more energy and happier than I have been in a long time.”

Like Nancy, have you tried every diet without success? Perhaps it’s time for a complete lifestyle change. Learn how Altru’s Weight Management Program can help you or a loved one.

Run for Everyone’s Buns

1 in 20 has colon cancerThink about a group of 20 adults. It could include friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, male, female. Colon cancer will pick one of them. What’s scary is that only 1/3 of the group has had their screening colonoscopy.

What’s scarier is that there are people in our community who can’t afford a screening colonoscopy, the best test for screening and detecting colon cancer. Some may be uninsured, or underinsured and unable to cover the cost of the screening.

But, where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Idea = Action
As a nurse practitioner in Altru’s Gastroenterology Clinic, and an avid runner, I had an idea to promote awareness of colon cancer and help raise funds for screening.

»  Why not raise awareness while engaging in a healthy activity?
»  Why not invite others to rally in the cause?
»  Why not create a light-hearted atmosphere to bring awareness to colon cancer screenings?
»  Why not raise money for colon cancer screenings?
»  Why not?

And thus, Run for Your Buns was born.

Run for Your Buns

Register Now
On June 21, 2014, the inaugural Run for Your Buns 5K Run/Walk benefitting colon cancer will take place in Grand Forks. The race will begin and end in Lincoln Park, with the course following the Greater Grand Forks Greenway. All proceeds from the race will be presented to Altru Health Foundation to help patients afford the cost of screening colonoscopy. 

Individuals and teams are encouraged to participate in this healthy Saturday morning activity. Individual time and team awards will be awarded to top finishers.  Registration information is available at altru.org/runforyourbuns. 

Kami MackiKamrin Macki is a wife, mother, friend, gastroenterology nurse practitioner, artist, avid runner, triathlete and amateur gourmet gluten-free chef.

This One Thing Could Save Your Life

Throughout March, we’ve been talking about preventing colon cancer. Shari, a registered nurse at Altru’s Endoscopy Center, shared her personal story with colon cancer. Through our eye-catching undies campaign, we’ve shared that 1 in 20 has colon cancer. We even showcased an inflatable, walk-through colon at the Healthy Living Expo.

There’s no ifs, ands or “butts” about it: a screening colonoscopy is the best line of defense. Scroll on to learn how this one thing could truly save your life.

For more information or to schedule a screening colonoscopy, visit altru.org/colon.

Love Your Veggies

Love Your VeggiesSlice them, dice them, roast them, grill them. Pick your color, shape and size. Pack a solid punch of vitamins and nutrients into each serving.

Veggies really are worth celebrating.

So why do we still struggle with eating our veggies? During National Nutrition Month, I’d like to show some love for one of the most nutritious food groups. Here are a few tips and flavorful recipes to help you learn to love your veggies.

1. Buy fresh vegetables that are in season. They tend to cost less and are likely to be at their peak flavor.

2. Stock up on frozen vegetables for quick and easy microwave cooking. Veggies can keep in the freezer up to a year.

3. Buy vegetables that are easy to prepare. Pick up pre-washed bags of greens and add baby carrots or grape tomatoes for a salad in minutes.

4. Buy snack packs of veggies, such as baby carrots or celery sticks, for a healthy on-the-go alternative.

5. Use your microwave. White or sweet potatoes can be baked in a fraction of the time it takes in the oven. Learn how to bake a potato in the microwave.

6. Picky eaters? Hide their veggies. Adding spinach to a smoothie or pureed carrots and celery to meatloaf ups veggie intake without changing flavor. 

7. Eat the rainbow. Different colors contain different nutrients; add a variety to your diet to take advantage of all the perks.

8. Beware of sauces in pre-packaged veggies, which can add a lot of calories, saturated fat and sodium. Choose wisely, using the Nutrition Facts label to compare calories and Percent of Daily Value for saturated fat and sodium.

9. Prepare fresh foods to lower sodium intake. Most sodium comes from packaged or processed foods.

10. When buying canned, choose reduced sodium options. Add a dash of salt yourself; it will likely be a lot less than the amount in the regular can. 

Veggie Lovin’ Recipes
Cook up some veggie love for your family or friends with these flavorful, nutrient-loaded soup and sandwich recipes.

  • Mushroom & Beef Sloppy Joes
    Blend chopped, sautéed mushrooms with lean ground beef to sneak in an extra serving of vegetables.
  • Stuffed Pepper Soup
    Let the crockpot work its magic. Slow cooking brings out the sweet and spicy pepper flavors of this dish.
  • Minestrone Soup
    Warm up with this hearty, savory soup. Each cup offers two servings of veggies.

Are you a veggie lover or hater? How do you creatively add veggies to your diet? Leave your tip in the comments. 

Westereng, BeckyBecky Westereng is a registered dietitian at Altru Health System. She is a diabetes educator and certified in sports nutrition. Becky is especially interested in helping people improve their eating and exercise habits by encouraging small steps and a positive attitude. She enjoys spending time with her husband and watching her three children perform music and play sports, while finding time to stay active herself.

Holly’s Day with an Altru Dietitian

This guest blog post was written by Holly Benjamin, who recently won a Day with a Dietitian through our January #HealthyChoices Challenge on Facebook. 

As an Altru employee, I have so many opportunities to learn how to live healthier. Healthy Choices is another easy way to do just that.

Family PhotoSince I can remember I’ve battled weight. For the last year and a half, I have decided to commit to this battle. This is not just a weight battle; it’s a healthy lifestyle battle. I hope to not only change my ways, but introduce healthy changes to my family.

With the posts and contests on Healthy Choices, I am always engaged. Even better, I won this free learning experience. How great is that?!

What’s a Day with a Dietitian?
Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect when I was told I had won a Day with a Dietitian.

Will she just talk to me?
Evaluate my health and food choices?
Teach me new ways to eat?
What will happen?

Whatever it was, I knew it would be good. And I was right. Jeanmarie taught me plenty.

Start shopping
We met at Hugo’s, and she asked my about my family’s eating habits. I was pleased to report that we have made some healthy changes already and that my kids eat a variety of foods.

Day with a Dietitian | Shopping Hugo's

Realizing that we do a lot of quick meals, Jeanmarie gave me tips to make those meals healthier. As we toured through the grocery store, she stopped at the different departments and explained what to look for in the ingredients, what is good, what is bad and how to use different foods.

Surprising finds
The most shocking thing she taught me was that cans (for canned foods) are lined in BPA and certain foods will leech the BPA into them. Why is BPA in cans? I guess that’s another reason to buy fresh or frozen.

Grocery Shopping

I was also surprised to find that I can buy organic foods for the same price as regular foods. Who would have thought? I just need to watch prices and look for sale items.

Healthy, home-cooked lunch
Next up was a stop at my house to cook Tiki Masala with Cauliflower. Jeanmarie and I worked together to make this delicious lunch.

Holly Cooking

I had never cooked with coconut oil or fresh ginger, so I was given tips and uses for these. As these foods cooked, I was amazed. It smelled so good! I have cooked and baked plenty over the years, and nothing has ever smelled that good. The combination of spices and ingredients caught me. And then the taste! Delicious. My husband also enjoyed the lunch.

Tiki Masala with Cauliflower

Click here for the complete recipe for Tiki Masala with Cauliflower. 

Sweet taste of success
My day was a success. I got useful tips and learned about organic foods. I am making changes in our diet and being more mindful when buying foods.

I am also looking forward to trying tofu in the future. I learned that if you cook it right, it can even be a delicious dessert. Who doesn’t love a good dessert?

Learn more about Altru’s Nutrition Therapy services, including grocery store tours. 

Holly Profile

Feeling inspired? Get your kitchen in shape. Read Jeanmarie’s tips on Five Foods to Swap in Your Fridge.

Holly Benjamin is a nurse in Altru’s Pediatric Clinic. She and her husband Garritt have three kids and live in East Grand Forks. In her free time, Holly enjoys running, being a taxi for her children and watching gymnastics and hockey.

New Year, New Program, New You

Red Sweater

Where do you weigh in on your weight management journey?

Do you have a balance between nutrition and exercise? Have you tried to lose a few pounds, or quite a few pounds, and struggled? Has your primary care physician mentioned things like diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease if you don’t better manage your weight?

Were those difficult questions to answer?


New Program
Beginning January 2014, there’s a new program to help. Altru’s Weight Management Program offers solutions for weight loss, weight management and lifestyle change at any level. The team of providers, dietitians and health & wellness specialists offer comprehensive tracks, customized to meet the needs of each participant. Whatever your goal, our team of experts can help you achieve it.

Wellness & Weight Management
The ultimate goal is to stay well and maintain a healthy weight. The Wellness & Weight Management track offers tools, support and education to help you stay successful long term.

Program includes:
»     Initial Consultation and Health & Wellness Assessment
»     Fitness & Nutrition Coaching
»     Nutrition & Fitness Tracking
»     Gym Membership

Couple cookingMedical Weight Loss & Lifestyle Change
The Medical Weight Loss & Lifestyle Change track offers options for those needing medical supervision to lose weight and make a lifestyle change. A team of medical professionals will take time to understand your needs and work with you until you are on the right track to success.

Program includes:
»     Initial Consultation
»     Weight Management Clinic
»     Fitness & Nutrition Coaching
»     Medical Monitoring
»     Customized Diet Plan
»     Gym Membership
»     Nutrition & Fitness Tracking

Weight Loss Surgery
Your weight management team may recommend weight loss surgery as the best option to reach your goals. Experienced medical professionals will encourage and support you throughout this journey.

Program includes:
»     Initial Consultation and Health & Medical Assessments
»     LAP-BAND Gastric Banding
»     Weight Loss Surgery Support Group
»     Behavior Change
»     Nutrition Support

Pediatric Weight Management
It’s important for children to understand what it means to be healthy. Altru offers programs that will help children and their families make healthy choices.

Program options:
»     Healthy ‘N Fit
»     One-on-One Coaching

We’ve resolved to help you live healthy in 2014. Now it’s your turn. Join us on Facebook at facebook.com/AltruHealthyChoices or follow along on Twitter @AltruHealth for weekly challenges with healthy prizes, tips from our experts and continued motivation to get healthy in 2014.

For more information about Wellness & Weight Management or Pediatric Weight Management tracks, contact the Sanny and Jerry Ryan Center for Prevention and Genetics at 701.732.7620 or wellness@altru.org. 

To learn about the Medical Weight Loss & Lifestyle Change or Weight Loss Surgery, contact Janet Schreier, Altru’s Weight Management Coordinator, at 701.780.6729 or weightmanagement@altru.org.

8 Tips to Prevent Holiday Weight Gain

Fruit Christmas TreeTreats, sweets, high calorie foods… oh my. They’re everywhere during the holidays. The good news? With smart holiday menu planning, you can still enjoy a few treats, guilt-free. Here are 8 tips to help you stay on track this holiday season.

1. Stick to your calorie budget by tracking your food intake. There are hundreds of apps and online diet tracking tools available on your home computer, tablet or smartphone. Some popular apps reviewed by the American Dietetic Association include myfitnesspal or sparkpeople.com. Use technology to your advantage. If you are not sure where to begin, schedule an appointment with a registered dietitian at the Sanny and Jerry Ryan Center for Prevention and Genetics for a personalized plan using our online tracking program.

2. Include fruits and vegetables at each meal and snack. Try some new recipes, such as a mixed green salad with pomegranate seeds and warm vinaigrette dressing (get the recipe). Other festive-colored fruits and vegetables in season now include: cranberries, apples, pears, squash, sweet potatoes, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. If you are going to a friend or family member’s house, offer to bring a fruit or vegetable dish.

3. Rework traditional recipes to include less fat and sugar. Instead of traditional green bean casserole, try Fresh Green Bean Casserole. Other smart substitutions include using nonfat yogurt in place of sour cream in dips, fruit purees instead of oils in baked goods, and reduced fat chicken broth instead of drippings to make gravy.

4. Don’t skip meals leading up to a party. This often causes overeating. Eat at regular meal times to fuel your body and prevent extreme hunger. If the holiday spread includes a buffet, it helps to survey the food choices before you start dishing up. Fill at least half of your plate with fruits and vegetables. Eat slowly and savor the flavors. You may find that you are satisfied with less.

5. Control grazing. Refrigerate leftovers promptly after the meal to eliminate the temptation of constant grazing. This also prevents foodborne illness by keeping foods at a safe temperature.

6. Don’t drink your calories. If you decide to consume the eggnog or alcohol, alternate with water to save calories. Lower calorie alternatives may be sparkling water with Crystal Light or flavored coffee. If you are out late shopping for last-minute gifts and looking for a caffeine pick-me-up, choose specialty coffee drinks made with fat free milk and sugar free flavoring to cut calories.

7. Be choosy about your treats instead of trying to avoid them completely. Make a plan to fit in a few treats during the holidays so you can enjoy them guilt-free. Plan to have other healthy foods available to provide nutrition when hunger strikes.

8. Move! So many times holiday events focus on the food and not the people. Plan an activity to involve the family, from ice skating to sledding to crafts. Burn a few calories instead of consuming more.

For other recipes, make plans to attend the Healthy Holiday Cooking Demonstration on Monday, December 9 at 5:30 p.m.  For more details, contact the Sanny and Jerry Ryan Center for Prevention and Genetics at 701.732.7620.

For more eating tips throughout the year, read 13 Tips for Smarter Eating.

JenniferHaugenJennifer Haugen has over 10 years of experience as a registered and licensed dietitian in the Grand Forks area with four years in the health and wellness field. She obtained the Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) credential in July 2011 and also has completed training in adult weight management. She lives in Thompson with her husband ( Zac), son (Henry) and new baby (Evelyn). Jennifer enjoys many outdoor activities such as ice skating, biking, running, fishing and hunting and spending time with her family.