Category: Weight Management

Halloween Candy Alternatives

October is almost upon us which means the arrival of…the dreaded Halloween candy! The first couple pieces always taste so amazing but as the bucket or pillow case of candy goes down, the stomach ache increases! With so much awareness around keeping our kids and ourselves (sneaky candy stealing parents) healthy, here are some awesome alternatives to handing out candy this year!


Make sure to remember to talk to your kids about moderation. A few pieces of candy are a fun treat but when Halloween candy lasts until Christmas, it can put our health at risk. Both healthier foods and food alternatives can make for a new healthy Halloween. Make sure you speak positive about the alternatives so they are looked at as an exciting new prize or toy. Ideas from: and for more ideas visit the Living Well FDL Pinterest page!



Kya Schnettler, MPH, CHES

Living Well FDL Coalition Coordinator

What to pack for lunch?


Another summer has flown by and back to school is upon us. The age old question of what to pack in our kids lunches comes back once again this year. For those kids or parents who prefer a lunch sent from home, here are some tips on how to ensure a healthy meal is being served.

–  Make half the meal fruits and vegetables. Struggle to find new ways of eating these? Visit to find new ways to incorporate fruits and veggies!

Pack whole grain foods like whole grain bread or whole wheat pasta.

Skip the juice. Pack a reusable water bottle to ensure your child stays hydrated.

–  Involve your child. Every month or so ask your child what new healthy foods they may like in their lunch.

–  Watch for patterns. The lunchroom can be a busy place with kids talking more than eating. Watch for foods regularly coming home and discuss this with your child to learn what foods they like, especially if the healthy foods seem to be coming back home often with treats being consumed.

For more ideas, visit the Living Well FDL Pinterest page:

Kya Schnettler, MPH, CHES

Living Well FDL Coalition Coordinator

What is PreDiabetes?

Have you or someone you love been told by your doctor you are pre-diabetic or at risk for developing diabetes?

Prediabetes is a condition in which individuals have blood glucose levels that are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes.  It is a potentially reversible condition that often leads to type 2 diabetes unless steps are taken to prevent it.


Over 20,000 people in Fond du Lac County have prediabetes. The Fond du Lac Family YMCA can now help! The Y is currently seeking participants for the next class session of the Diabetes Prevention Program. Classes will run on Tuesdays from 6-7pm starting on September 29th.

Take action now! To be considered for this program, contact Kristen Quast, Fond du Lac Family YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program Coordinator at or 920.921.3330 x309. More information can be found at

Happy Holidays

The holiday season can be very hectic and stressful for some.  This holiday season don’t break your healthy habits.  Give yourself the gift of health and wellness this holiday season.

Utilize these tips and tricks to survive the holidays:

Eat small amounts of the foods you love– don’t feel deprived; take a small piece of the food you love.  Look over the table/ foods pick out one thing that you really would love to enjoy. The rest of your plate can be filled with healthy food options.

Eat a high fiber snack before you go to the party.  Fiber makes you feel full.  If you aren’t feeling hungry you may not overindulge at the party.

Pace yourself-It takes a few minutes for your brain to realize your stomach is getting full.  You can eat a lot of extra food in those few minutes.  Set your fork down between bites and sip some water.  Make it a goal to be the last one finished eating at the table.

Plan Realistic Workouts:  Fit a cardio routine to whatever time you have, even if it’s only for a few minutes. Choose activities that are quick and easy to do: walking, running, jump roping or cycling.

Exercise wherever you can:  Take the stairs, park far away, cut down your own Christmas tree.   Use every opportunity to get in more movement.

Make it a family affair:  Plan active things to do during the holidays.  Go Ice Skating or Sledding.  Walk around the neighborhood to look at holiday decorations.  Getting others involved can make exercise more fun.

Know your spending limit:  Lack of money is one of the biggest causes of stress during the holiday season.  Set a Holiday Budget and stick to it.

Manage your time: 

  • Set priorities and let go of impossible goals.
  • Stop to enjoy what you have accomplished.
  • Ask for help.  You are only one person, don’t stretch yourself too thin. 

Learn to Say No:  Saying no during the holiday season isn’t easy, especially if you are saying no to family or close friends. Don’t overbook yourself.  Saying no can give you some room to relax and decompress during the holidays.


Nicole Wiegert

Wellness RN

Agnesian Healthcare

Winter Farmer Markets

Wisconsin and Fond du Lac County have a strong passion for and history in our agriculture business. What’s better than stopping by the apple farm in the fall or tasting the first vegetables from the garden in the summer? Farmer markets are on the rise all across the nation and Wisconsin is a leader!

The USDA and MyPlate recommend filling at least half of your plate with fruits and vegetables at every meal in order to stay at a healthy weight. Find out more about how to incorporate fruits and vegetables at the MyPlate website:  Fresh, local vegetables have added benefits!

Local produce:

–  Keeps longer

–  Full of flavor

– Reduces your carbon footprint

–  Supports the local economy

– Supports community by connecting with your farmers

The Downtown Fond du Lac Partnership recently received a grant from the USDA to boost our local market. This exciting news comes with the announcement of a new winter, indoor market right here in Fond du Lac starting November  1 every Saturday from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at 90 S. Main St. There will be plenty of root vegetables, lettuces and  some stray fall vegetables for a while.  Breads, baked goods, maple syrup, and honey will also be available.

The Fresh Market Bus, from Produce with Purpose, has been making it’s stops around town all summer long. Rick, owner of the farm, is planning to host a winter market at the YMCA again this year that is open to the public. Be sure to check the YMCA website for dates and details soon!

Be sure to enjoy our markets this winter, fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables, and support our local farmers! To find more markets around the state, visit the Wisconsin Farmers Market Association website:

Healthy Recipes for Back to School

With the rush of summer coming to a close and school upon us, finding healthy recipes can be the last thing on our minds! Fortunately, they are super easy to find. Below are a few resources to find healthy recipes to keep your family well fed!

FondY5210 – A local resource from the Living Well FDL coalition with recipes to help incorporate fruits and vegetables into your diet. – A local resource from Living Well FDL coalition with many recipes and ideas to stay healthy.

What’s Cooking? – A USDA resource with searchable recipes. Includes recipes for large families, recipes that include SNAP eligible foods and price estimates, and recipes in Spanish. Nutrition facts are included as well.

Festival Foods – Eat Well Blog – Updated on Wednesdays, this blog highlights a new recipe that can be easily made or found at Festival Foods each week.

Feel free to leave your favorite recipe site or resources in the comments below! Happy and healthy eating!

Living Well FDL Coalition

Changes to Nutrition Labels

The Food and Drug Administration for the first time in 20 years is proposing a revision to nutrition labels on our food packaging. More emphasis on calorie count and serving size are apparent with larger font size. Serving size is a critical aspect of keeping weight under control. For example, twenty-ounce bottles of soda would be counted as one serving, rather than the 2.5 servings often listed now. Many people do not realize they may be eating 2 or 3 servings of food even when they are eating healthier foods, the calories can add up.

An additional category is also being suggested for added sugar. Sugars that are added to our foods are strongly linked to obesity and other adverse health outcomes such as increased risk for heart disease. This recommendation comes after numerous studies were released, including a study from the American Medical Association which observed a significant relationship between added sugar consumption and increased risk for cardiovascular disease mortality.

The recommendations hope to raise awareness of what type of foods and how much Americans are eating. Take a look at the proposed labels below. Do you think it will make a difference in what you eat?

New Nutrition Facts

Author: Kya Schnettler, Living Well FDL Coalition Coordinator



Better, Faster, Stronger Kids

Our kids are better, faster and stronger than we were, right? After all, when we were kids there weren’t so many organized sports like there are now. Kids are playing organized sports at a much younger age. Parents now are much more involved in their kids lives and in keeping their kids active, so they should be faster, right? Unfortunately, they aren’t. Well some might be. But overall, kids are much less fit than their parents were. In an analysis of studies on millions of children from around the world, the Milwaukee Journal reported that on average, it takes kids 90 seconds longer now than it did 30 years ago to run a mile. Overall, todays kids were found to be 15% less fit than their parents were and this was found for both boys and girls and across all ages.
The key conclusion from these studies is that children are not active enough today and there are a number of reasons for this, some we can change and some we cannot. What would be ideal would be for parents to recognize the importance of their children being active. We make sure our kids do their homework, brush their teeth, do chores, etc. 60 minutes or more of vigorous physical activity (accumulated throughout the day) should be included in one of those must do categories. Our challenge is to make it fun which we have the power to do. We were kids once too and had fun being active even though it wasn’t organized.

Joel D Mason, DPT, SCS, CSCS
Physical Therapist, Sports Certified Specialist
Sports, Spine and Work Center, Agnesian HealthCare

Make sure to get your fill of RED and GREEN this holiday season

The colors of the holiday season usually specifically bring to mind red and green.  The green of the Christmas trees, the holly and the berries, the pine garlands and Jell-O molds.  And you can’t forget the red Poinsettias, the red Christmas ornaments and the red bows on the wreaths decorating the streets.  But what about the other reds and greens- you know the fruits and veggies that we should normally be eating to improve our health?

Let’s look at the powerhouse RED foods first.  Our RED foods are packed with antioxidants that fight to keep us healthy by stabilizing the damage done by free radicals in our environment and warding off everything from heart disease to different types of cancers.  Berries are full of fiber, low in calories and pack a sweet punch.  Tomatoes are full of lycopene shown to keep our hearts healthy.  Beets and other root vegetables– including carrots and sweet potatoes- are loaded with vitamin C, folic acid, a host of B vitamins and potassium.  Studies funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have demonstrated benefits of cranberries ranging from prevention of urinary tract infections to reducing dental plaque.  Preliminary research also shows that cranberries may even assist with the treatment and prevention of the H. Pylori bacteria that leads to stomach ulcers.  Pomegranate seeds make a beautiful adornment to winter salads and the juice is a good mixer for punches

Let’s move on to our amazing GREEN foods.  You have your basic iceberg and romaine lettuces but why not try something more adventurous this holiday season?  Mesclun salad mixes usually include a variety of greens such as arugula, dandelion greens and fresh herbs that will certainly add flavor to your basic salads.

Recently, kale has been in the spotlight with its long list of nutritional benefits.  Swiss chard and collard greens are full of calcium and are a delicious side dish for your holiday meal.And don’t forget the broccoli your parents always made you eat as a child.  As for fruits, green grapes and kiwi are a great addition to your boring cereal for breakfast this winter.   Pistachios are also a great snack for when you’re craving those salty chips.

So, this year as your pulling out your red Santa suit for your next holiday gathering, keep your belly from looking like a “bowl full of jelly” by following the USDA My Plate recommendations and fill those plates at least half-full of fruits and vegetables. Cut down your craving s for the Christmas cookies and fudge by eating your leafy greens and this just might be the year to finally avoid that extra holiday weight.

Heather Schmidt, DO

Agnesian HealthCare

Y5210 for Healthy Living

numbers circles_horizThe Fond du Lac Family YMCA is committed to helping kids, and their families, to get healthier. Y5210 was developed to encourage children to make healthy choices in order to decrease their risk of obesity and improve their health. Although the program was originally developed for children, the core principals can be applied to all ages.

The Y5210 program recommends that each day people should have at least:

•5 servings of fruits or vegetables

•2 hours or less of “screen time” (time spent watching TV, playing video games, or on the computer)

•1 hour or more of physical activity

•0 sugar-sweetened drinks

Recommendations for these focus areas come from the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Research shows that…

•5 – 25% of kid’s calories come from snacking. Increasing fruit and vegetables consumption is a focus point to help tackle obesity as well as fight other serious diseases later on in life, such as diabetes and cancer.

•2 – watching 4+ hours of TV per day increases your risk of obesity by 21.5%.

•1 – 33% of American kids are overweight or obese and physical activity is one important way to reduce this number.

•0 – drinking sugar-sweetened beverages can add 25 pounds over the course of a year.

The Y5210 classroom curriculum was piloted in 15 third grade classrooms in Fond du Lac County during the 2012-2013 school year. During the 2013-2014 school year, 26 classrooms will engage in the curriculum.

All people should aim to live Y5210 daily. Give it a try for your family and see if you can live Y5210 for a day, a week, or even longer for a healthy lifestyle. For more information about the Fond du Lac Family YMCA Y5210 program, visit our website at

Kya Schnettler                                                                                                 Community Wellness Coordinator                                                       Fond du Lac Family YMCA