Featured Fitness Health

Making Healthy Choices – WINNER ANNOUNCED

Written by Renee Schnuerle

Written by Renee Schnuerle


And the winner is…

Jess McCaslin

She said her biggest enemy is Mountain Dew.  


Jess – email me – [email protected] to claim your prize!!



Do you often scratch your head when it comes to knowing the difference in what is healthy for you and what is not? Not sure what it means when someone says whole grain versus whole wheat (choose whole grain)? and what the heck is Greek yogurt? Look,  you aren’t alone because if you are trying to make healthier food choices, the food industry makes it so confusing for anyone to have a clear understanding of what is good for us. Since I am frequently asked about the types of foods you would find in my pantry, I thought this would be a great time to share a few of the items I pick for my family and why. 


Steel Cut Oats vs Regular Instant Oatmeal 

Breakfast, specifically oatmeal is one of my FAVORITE meals to get my day started right. For the past year I have been using a product called Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut Oats instead of regular ole Instant Oatmeal. I won’t go into great details about the differences in the two but here is why I prefer the steel cut (or also called Irish) oats. Steel cut oats are less processed and more hearty than instant oatmeal. Steel cut oats are higher in protein, fiber and have less of an impact on your blood sugar meaning you will stay fuller; longer! (low-glycemic). Steel cut oats take more time to cook (about 15-20 minutes) but they are so tasty!  I usually cook them in a rice cooker but when I know I won’t have time the next day here is a

TIP: Boil your water, add the oats and I usually throw in some dates, raisins or other diced fruit and remove it from the heat. Cover and let sit overnight and your oats will be perfect in the morning! 

Quinoa vs Brown Rice 

I absolutely love quinoa (KEEN-wa). It has become my new favorite ingredient in things like stir-fry, salads, and even breakfast! It is higher in protein and dietary fiber than brown rice. Quinoa is chewier and nuttier than brown rice but it also takes less time to digest meaning you will stay fuller longer. Quinoa has more calories (220 vs 215) but it also has 3 more grams of protein and 1.5 grams more fiber than brown rice.  You can find one of my favorite quinoa salad recipes on my Facebook page.  

Natural Peanut Butter vs PB2 

IMG_1802 PB2 (powdered-peanut butter) is quite a popular product these days because it has less calories than regular peanut butter. PB2 is basically a result of pressing all the fat out of peanuts and you get a powered product. It is much less calorie dense (45 calories vs. 180 calories in regular) but you also lose a lot of the healthy fats that you get in regular natural peanut butter. I do use PB2 in a recipe for some healthy no-bake cookies in conjunction with natural peanut butter but it will never take place of my go to snack of apples and peanut butter! 

Greek Yogurt (Plain) vs Regular/Flavored 

Plain Greek yogurt has more protein and far less sugar than the cute little fruit-flavored yogurt cups. Dress it up by adding your own, chopped fresh fruit, honey or stevia. My favorite brands of Greek yogurt is #1 Fage and #2 Chobani plain yogurt. Chobani.Yes.and.No-2

Homemade Dressing vs Store Bought Dressing

Who knew you could make your own dressings?!  A simple vinaigrette dressing that I use is: -1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 1 tsp Himalayan (pink) salt, 1 tsp ground black pepper, 1 tsp unfiltered honey or raw agave, 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice, and optional: 2 tsp fresh herbs: basic, oregano, parsley, or dill. Mix all ingredients. Serves 8. So simple, tasty and nutritious!  

Shakeology: The Healthiest Meal of the Day


This is a STAPLE in my pantry and will always be because even the most health conscious person has nutritional gaps that need to be filled in their diet. The truth is that our food today really just isn’t as nutritionally dense as it once was due to the chemicals in the air, in the water, and in the soil. To help me fill in those gaps I started using a product called Shakeology 4 years ago.  I use it as a daily as a meal replacement mostly to help me with cravings and energy (not an energy drink) but do use it also as a post-workout supplement as well. I did my research before I started taking it because I have been fooled a time or two with other products. What I found was awesome and trust the integrity of the ingredients put into Shakeology by the company Beachbody (P90X, Insanity, T25). Many other products that I looked into have nasty artificial ingredients like sweeteners, additives/preservatives, soy lechitin, etc.  All I can say is do YOUR research and find what works for you; not someone else! Take a look for yourself and if you have any questions or want more information please check out this site. 

I believe in Shakeology so much that I am going to be giving away a 5-day trial of Shakeology! See information below on how you can enter and win! 

For more tips and helpful resources, check out my Facebook page!  


Enter to Win Shakeolgy!

Here’s what you do: 

1. Comment below to ask Renee your healthy living questions

2. “Like” Renee’s facebook page (linked above)

We’ll choose our winner randomly on Friday!



About the author

Renee Schnuerle

Renee’ Schnuerle is a wife, mother of 2 (Cash, 21 months/Harper 5 months), fitness coach and successful home business owner. Renee’ has a K-12 Physical Education Degree and a Masters Degree in Exercise Science. Renee’ knowledge has come from work experiences at the University of Nebraska-Kearney as their employee wellness coordinator, Madonna Rehabilitation ‘Fit for Work’ Manager and now a work at home fitness coach for the past 3.5 years. She loves to share her passion of leading a healthy and fit lifestyle with others and showing them how easy it can be to make the transition. She enjoys helping her husband on the farm, boating, skiing, personal development, and anything that involves her children.


  • What can you do for healthy weight loss when moving hurts to tears. Im 42 and have DJD. My back only last for a short time.

  • Hi Susan. Thanks for commenting. When you have chronic pain like that it is really important to focus on your nutrition and doing activities that your body will allow for weight loss. Doing activities like yoga or tai chi can are great for strengthening and stretching muscles that can help reduce/alleviate pain. Even a few pounds lost can help with that too! Email me or “like” my page and I can give you some suggestions!

  • Living in a small town it seems like some of the items you refer to are not likely available at my local grocery store. For example: agave. Do you find your local grocer to be receptive to stocking new items or do you just stock up on these “rare” items when you travel to a larger town?

  • Emily, I live in a town of 1100 people so I completely understand. I actually have asked my local grocery store to carry a few of these items, they have and have been some top sellers! They just said that they don’t know what is considered to be “healthy” and was appreciative of the suggestions. Each of these items that I listed I can get locally except for the PB2 and agave which I don’t use often unless for the recipes listed above.

  • Good one Shelly. I am a strong believer in finding things that you enjoy to do to stay active. Don’t do something just because someone tells you to do it or because it works for one person. I love my home fitness programs so I stick with them. Find one that you can dance, have fun, laugh, etc and you are more likely to stick with it vs something that you DREAD! If you need help finding a program to do, let me know!

  • I LOVE steel cut oats. I eat them for breakfast at least 5 days a week with berries. I make mine with light soy milk. I have not been able to come up with a more nutritional breakfast with lower calories that keeps me full until lunch. I highly recommend it!

  • My question is high protein vegetarian snack options that don’t require refridgeration as i plan an upcoming trip

  • I’m looking for family friendly (I have a 3 year old) snacks that everyone will actually eat. Any ideas for me? Also, is there a good way to get my child involved with my workout?

  • I LOVE the Jiffy Natural On-the-Go Packs. They can go pretty much anywhere and are great with non-refrigerated items like pretzels or pita chips, apple slices. I of course use Shakeology as a go to snack. All you need is a shaker cup, water and a packet. I LOVE the Annie’s (organic) products too and I feed them to my 2 year old. I made some breakfast cookies (very easy and healthy) last week and you can find the recipe on my Facebook page just do a search. GREAT as a healthy breakfast/snack item and my son loved them! So did my husband. LOL! I am always posting ideas on my page!

    Workouts for your kids…Oh gosh…I let my kids do it with me most days. What type of exercise are you doing Toni? My kids love to go on walks, jogs, and like to do the dvd’s with me at home. it is a great example to have them do them with you!

  • HI! I have a very bad habit of drinking lots of soda (usually diet) I know it’s terrible for you. I also drink lots of water so I am not just drinking soda but I would love to become soda free or only drink soda on special occasions. Any suggestions to help me. Thanks!

    • Kelly, thanks for liking my page first off! I am always giving different tips and motivation over there. Soda…I too was a diet soda drinker until this past January. I just had to stop cold turkey. Reading up on all the bad things that are in soda helped me convince myself (and my husband) that I needed to quit. Is your soda fix for energy? carbonation fix? taste? It all just depends. I liked it because it was something different than water…so instead of a pop I grabbed a sparkling water instead. I love Perrier water or those slim cans. Hope that helps!

    • Jessica. Oh I know the feeling. Losing weight doesn’t mean that you have to give up food or even dieting for that matter. I’ve learned that I can still eat I just have to make better choices. Results come from a balance of nutrition and exercise but nutrition really is where it all stems from. I hope you joined my Facebook page for some ideas on where to get started. Let me know if I can help. I have some ideas!

  • My dinner time has been creeping later and later, I want to try to re-adjust my eating times. What is an ideal cut off time for eating in the evening? Thanks!

  • I can’t seem to get away from ranch dressing, any suggestion of a more healthy option with the creaminess

  • My problem is Mountain Dew. It’s my coping mechanism for stress. I know I can give it up…I do it every year for Lent. Any tips?

    • Oh the dreaded Mt. Dew!! 🙂 If you can give up Mt. Dew for lent then of course you can give it up all together! tips: find a different way to cope with stress. Exercise? a walk? a healthy snack? Replace your soda with something carbonated with a twist of lime? Those are all ideas that I have for you Jess! Thanks for coming over and liking my page!

      • Thanks for the input…you’d think I could find another coping skill for my stress since I’m a mental health therapist!