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Network Health Blog

Good Health Begins in the Kitchen

Anne and Julie cooking

It’s no secret one of the biggest obstacles to living a healthy lifestyle is time. It’s tough to find the time to exercise or cook a nutritious meal. Work, school and extra-curricular activities tend to dominate our schedules.

According to a recent study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, only 3 percent of Americans meet the criteria of a healthy lifestyle.  While nearly half of Americans reported getting enough exercise (meaning 150 minutes or more of vigorous activity every week) and 37.9 reported a healthy diet, only 9.6 percent of Americans had a healthy body-fat percentage.

Network Health associate Anne Rappert is working hard to make big lifestyle changes and join that 3 percent of healthy Americans. With help from her wellness experts, Julie Cleaves and Sam Schnell, Anne has changed her diet and activity habits. Over the last five months, Anne has lost nearly 75 pounds and is still going strong.

One of the biggest changes Anne has had to make is preparing meals instead of buying them. Like many American women, Anne is a working mom. Before Healthy Jumpstart, she often felt she had no time to make healthy home cooked meals. Previously, Anne’s family often chose convenience over nutrition.

Now, Anne and Julie spend time planning flavorful and healthy meals to prepare. Anne regularly invites Julie to her house for cooking demonstrations. Anne does the shopping ahead of time to make sure she has all the ingredients, then together they prepare new recipes.

cooking in the kitchen

This week, Julie adapted a chicken stir-fry recipe which only takes about 25 minutes to prepare—perfect for those hectic weeknights. Plus, it’s packed with vegetables. As they cooked the meal, Julie reminded Anne, “You always want more veggies on your dinner plate than anything else.”

Preparing the meal together, they seemed like old friends. Julie felt right at home opening up Anne’s cupboards and searching for ingredients to add. Julie even insisted on trying to help Anne with the dishes. Anne just laughed and said, “That’s what dishwashers are for.”

Once they’ve finished cooking, they set aside portions. A big part of why Anne has been so successful at losing weight is her determination to stick to Julie’s guidelines. “It will probably change in the future, but Anne’s current daily goal is around 1,900-2,000 calories.” Julie says. Anne nodded in agreement and added, “I usually reserve about 500 calories for dinner.” Trading in old habits for new ones isn’t easy for anyone. But after losing 75 pounds in five months Anne knows it’s worth it.

Want to try Anne and Julie’s Stir Fry? Here’s what you’ll need.

  • ½ cup of low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 ½ TBSP of brown sugar
  • 1 TBSP of ginger minced
  • 1 TBSP of cornstarch
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • ¼ tsp-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 small can of water chestnuts
  • 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 TBSP sesame oil (may substitute canola oil)
  • 1 cup of carrots
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 pound bag of your favorite stir-fry veggies
  • 1 small box of bulgur and quinoa
  • Garlic powder
  • Parsley
  • Lime Juice
    stir fry ingredients

    Instead of using a bed of rice, Julie suggests substituting quinoa and bulgur. While rice offers little nutritional value, quinoa is packed with protein, vitamins and fiber. Just prepare as directed on the box, but consider adding a bit of lime juice, garlic powder and parsley flakes to give it a little added flavor.

    Once you have all the above ingredients, you’re all set to start cooking this delicious recipe adapted from

    stir fry.jpg

    What are some of your favorite healthy weeknight recipes? Make sure to leave a comment and give Anne and Julie your suggestions.


    1 comment

    1.  Catina Breier says:

      That looks yummy, Thanks for sharing Great Job Anne you look awesome !!!

      I like to use this website for food idea’s and recipes not sure if you are allowed it is a Low carb site. Check it out.

    Comments are closed.

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