Kicking off 2015 with a New Blogger

December 29th, 2014 | Posted by admin in Lifestyles - (0 Comments)

Jen_Headshot_FinalIt’s time to kick off 2015 and I am the newest member of the Be Well South Dakota blog team!

I was born and raised in Sioux Falls and have come from a very active family. While having our dad by our side as coach and our mom in the stands as our number one fan, my older brother and I grew up playing all the sports in the book… softball, soccer, football, basketball, golf, and a number of others. From early morning two-a-days to late night games, we ran all across the city, state, and nation. My brother landed on playing football at North Dakota State University and I landed in Brookings playing on the South Dakota State University Women’s Basketball team for four years.  Playing collegiate basketball was a huge part of my life and I had the opportunity to learn so much both on and off the court. On the court, I was able to learn about teamwork, the physical skills, and mental toughness. Off the court, I learned about nutrition, weight training, and the science of exercise.

Now that I am no longer playing, I am sharing my knowledge and experience with others as a health coach, personal trainer, and health promotion specialist. Check back regularly to find some new tips and resources from myself and the Be Well SD blog team!

‘Tis the season to stay well.

No one wants to be sick over the holidays. So, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers these 10 tips to help you stay healthier:

  1. Wash hands frequently.
  2. Bundle up in layers to stay warm.
  3. Keep stress in check and get plenty of sleep.
  4. Take it easy and slow on the road.
  5. Quit smoking.
  6. See your doctor for vaccinations and regular checkups.
  7. Make sure children are always supervised.
  8. Take care to prevent falls.
  9. Practice good food safety.
  10. Eat a nutritious diet and get plenty of regular exercise.

The Be Well South Dakota team wishes you and your family a healthy, happy holiday!

Introducing the 15 in 2015 Challenge!

December 22nd, 2014 | Posted by admin in Wellness - (3 Comments)

This is the time of year when many of us start thinking about goals for the New Year. If you’ve tried, and struggled to keep, resolutions to lose weight or get in better shape, and we are inviting you to join in our annual wellness challenge and try a new approach.

This year’s contest is actually 15 mini challenges, each lasting one week.


The weekly challenges include:

Week 1: Consume 15 fruits and veggies

Week 2: Take 15 minutes to journal about your food intake

Week 3: Engage in 15 minutes of exercise each day

Week 4: De-clutter 15 things from your house

Week 5: Save $15 that you would normally spend on unneeded things

Week 6: Take 15 minutes for ‘me time’

Week 7: Take 15 minutes to give back to your community

Week 8: ‘Unplug’ yourself for 15 minutes each day

Week 9: Take 15 minutes each day for a stretch break at work

Week 10: Go to sleep 15 minutes early each night

Week 11: Take 15 minutes to schedule your preventive exams

Week 12: Take 15 minutes for personal development

Week 13: Take 15 minutes to plan you day and improve time management skills

Week 14: Review 15 health and well-being apps and websites

Week 15: Try some 15-minute recipes


The contest begins January 5 and continues through April 20. Anyone interested in participating may sign up HERE.* Registered participants who notify us of their completion will be eligible to win a $50 Visa gift card each week. Every week they check in, their name will go into a grand prize drawing for a $250 Visa gift card making for over $1000 in prizes! *An active Facebook Account is NOT required.

Tis the season to be jolly and full of joy….but what if this year your ho, ho, ho is more of a hum, hum, hum??

How does one go about celebrating the holidays when their heart is heavy with grief, anxiety, depression or worry?

Unfortunately, serious illness, accidents, tragedies and death happen every minute of every day.  While these events bring sadness to loved ones any time of the year, it can be especially difficult during this “magical season of joy.”

Although, I haven’t experienced a tragedy or death during the holiday season, I know how challenging it can be to find happiness during the “magical season of joy.” As many of you know, six years ago I was diagnosed with an invasive, aggressive breast cancer a few weeks before Christmas.  While everyone around me was busy making their lists and checking them twice, I was mentally preparing for a mastectomy to get rid of “Naughty and Nice.” The “joy of the season” was all around me—but I didn’t feel it.  I couldn’t feel it. Instead of deciding what to make for Christmas dinner, I was deciding do I want one breast removed, or two? Do I want breast reconstruction? Or not? Exactly how far had the cancer progressed? Would this be the last Christmas I would be celebrating with my family? So many questions, with so few answers.

For my family and me, besides our faith…our healing began with others caring.


Whether it is a tragedy, accident, death or unexpected medical crisis, one of the best ways to help those who are grieving during the holidays is to let them know you care.

If you have a loved one who is grieving this holiday season, here are a few additional ways to show you care:

  1. Be supportive of the way the person chooses to handle the holidays. Some may wish to follow traditions; others may choose to change their rituals. Remember, there is no right way or wrong way to handle the holidays.
  2. Offer to help the person with baking and/or cleaning. Both tasks can be overwhelming for one trying to deal with raw emotions.
  3. Offer to help him or her decorate for the holidays.
  4. Offer to help with holiday shopping or give your loved one catalogs or on-line shopping sites that may be helpful.
  5. Invite the person to attend a religious service with you and your family.
  6. Invite your loved one to your home for the holidays.
  7. Help your loved one prepare and mail holiday cards.
  8. Ask the person if he or she is interested in volunteering with you during the holiday season. Doing something for someone else, such as helping at soup kitchens or working with children, may help your loved one feel better about the holidays.
  9. Donate a gift or money in memory of the person’s loved one. Remind the person that his or her special person is not forgotten.
  10. Never tell someone that he or she should be “over it.” Instead, give the person hope that, eventually, he or she will enjoy the holidays again.
  11. If he or she wants to talk about the deceased loved one or feelings associated with the loss, LISTEN. Active listening from friends is an important step to helping him or her heal. Don’t worry about being conversational…. just listen.
  12. Remind the person you are thinking of him or her and the loved one who died. Cards, phone calls and visits are great ways to stay in touch.

If it is you, who is grieving this year, give yourself time to heal and allow others to care for you during this season. Spending some time alone is fine, but isolation isn’t a healthy way to deal with grief. Allow loved ones to share in your sorrow.

It is with great joy and blessing, to share that this year the twinkling lights and holiday carols bring a smile to my heart. For the first time in four years, I am delighting in the “magical season of joy.”

Happy Holidays!



  • 3-4 Boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1-2 tsp Taco seasoning
  • 2 Bell peppers in assorted colors, deseeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 Red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1-2 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 1/2 Cup Shredded Cheddar or Mexican Blend Cheese


  1. Trim the chicken breasts then lay them in a single layer in a glass baking dish.
  2. Sprinkle the taco seasoning over the top of the chicken breast to taste.
  3. Lay your thinly sliced onions and peppers on top of the chicken breast, spread out evenly over the top.
  4. Drizzle the olive oil over the peppers and onions.
  5. Sprinkle cheese over the top of the dish.
  6. Bake at 375? F for 35-45 minutes or until chicken is cooked though and the juices run clear

Photo and Recipe Credit