Kelly Radi: Healthy “YOU” Year!

Monday, January 6, 2014 at 10:09 AM


NuYear. NuLeaf.  NuVal®


Have you welcomed the New Year with a renewed commitment to living healthy?  Are you looking to eat better and make smarter choices?

The good news is eating better doesn’t necessarily mean you have to cut out all foods that are bad for you and replace them with fruit and vegetables. A balanced diet, portion control, and replacing unhealthy foods with better options can help you maintain a healthy weight and achieve success.

This year, BLEND has made a commitment to help you strive for better health.  One tool we are particularly fond of is the NuVal Nutritional Scoring System found in ALL Coborn’s grocery stores. This easy-to-use tool helps make the healthy choice the easy choice. Consumers who use NuVal said their lives have changed since using the system.  It has for our very own Kelly Radi, BLEND Program Specialist and NuVal Educator.

NuVal Expert

Kelly has been using the NuVal system for more than three years. Initially, she began using NuVal to make better food choices when shopping for her family. Kelly became such an expert and advocate for NuVal that BLEND brought her on board in 2012 to help educate consumers in CentraCare Health communities.

Kelly spends much of her time with BLEND speaking about NuVal to community organizations and civic groups, faith groups, the medical community, and schools. While out and about she is often heard saying “just a simple glance at the NuVal score found on shelf price tags and you are on your way to making better, more informed choices.  Just remember – the higher the score…the higher the nutrition!  It’s that easy!!”

Kelly Radi   Peek Into Kelly’s…

While back at her desk, Kelly writes her bi-weekly Peek Into Kelly’s…”  blog where she shares practical approaches to using NuVal.  You’ll notice immediately that Kelly’s blogs are genuine and almost always include stories of her children, family and friends.  BLEND readers especially love her recipe blogs.  Kelly will take a recipe and bump up the nutrition by “trading-up” some of the ingredients.  This really helps readers understand how a simple trade-up can add more nutrition to their diet.  On occasion her blogs will offer a prize giveaway.  It’s easy to enter - just read her posts and comment.

If you’re interested in using NuVal to help you succeed in eating better in 2014 - stay connected to BLEND and Kelly on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and check out the BLEND website.  We want to help make 2014 a “healthy YOU year!

Posted by: Denise LaBuda 2 comments

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Kelly Radi: Peek Into Kelly’s…Happy, Healthy Holidays!

Monday, December 23, 2013 at 10:51 AM



‘Tis the Season…for gingerbread, sugar plums and egg nog.  To that I say, enjoy…in moderation.  In this season of festive parties, how can a person partake and enjoy without completely derailing a healthy lifestyle?

Personally, I know I’ll feel better if I fill my holiday plate with high NuVal scoring fresh fruits, salad greens, and filling veggies instead of sugary desserts, fried foods or heavy entrees.  I still eat the “other” foods, but simply take smaller portions of those treats.  The trick for me is to make small changes in my diet (not big ones) so I don’t feel deprived.  For example, if I tell myself that I cannot have any chocolate, then that is all I want.  And LOTS of it.  But, if I take just a tiny piece, it seems to fill that craving.  I know…a head game.  But, it works for me!

I’ve compiled a few tips from some experts to help guide you through the challenges (and joys) of healthy holiday eating.

Terrific Trade-ups and Tips for the Holidays:

  • When eating turkey, trade-up to white meat over dark. A 3-ounce serving of turkey breast (skinless) has 119 calories and 1 gram of fat (compared to dark meat with 145 calories/5 grams) and scores a NuVal 48.
  • Appetizers: Instead of crackers and breads with high-fat cheesy dips, simply trade-up with a colorful array of crisp veggies and a savory hummus or yogurt-based dip.  Or check out these beautiful tomato and mozzarella skewers on the BLEND Pinterest page.
  • If you’re hosting, provide at least one healthier option per category. For dessert, offer a fresh fruit option. For a side dish trade-up, offer a soup or steamed vegetable option instead of fat-laden mashed potatoes and bready stuffings.
  • If you’re attending a pot-luck party, bring a healthier dish that you enjoy.  That way you know there will be a more nutritious alternative for you to eat.
  • Look over your food options and think about what you are going to eat and enjoy before putting anything on your plate.  Decide which foods are worth eating and which can be ignored, and then stick to that decision.
  • Take a plate and don’t hover around the food table.  You’ll be less likely to mindlessly graze.  Find a spot across the room and focus on the people and not the food.
  • While NuVal does not score alcohol, boozy drinks certainly can add calories to a meal.  One mixed drink can contain up to 300 calories; a serving of eggnog is around 400.  If you do choose to drink alcohol, remember portion sizes to keep your calories in check.  Beer = 12 fluid ounces  Wine = 5 fluid ounces  80-proof distilled Spirits = 1 ½ fluid ounces  100-proof distilled spirits = 1 fluid ounce.
  • Drink plenty of water.  It fills you up and aids in your digestion.

I’m hoping these tips can help you navigate the buffets and truly enjoy a healthful season of spending time celebrating with those you love.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a safe, healthy and happy New Year!


Posted by: Denise LaBuda 10 comments

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Monte Meyer: Be Selfish

Monday, December 16, 2013 at 01:33 PM

do your tabatas

OK Everybody, it’s the Christmas season – sing with me LOUDLY _ “Tis the season to be Selfish. Fa-la-la-la-laaa – la – la – la – LAAAAAAAA!!”

SELFISH? That doesn’t sound very Christmassy. Christmas and the Holiday season are special times for giving, sharing, family and friends. But hear me out – I want you to be selfish with your health. And I want you to start today – this morning. Put yourself first and take care of the body you’ve got!

For a lot of people who are struggling with obesity, one of the biggest issues we have is taking the TIME FOR OURSELVES. We convince ourselves we are too busy with work – helping our family and others that we don’t have time to take care of ourselves. But in my experience, that’s just not the case. You will make time for the things which are important for you. And if you don’t start taking care of yourselves, you are going to end up hurting yourself and diminishing your lifestyle. Trust me – I live this every day. So let’s start getting selfish.

Let’s start by carving out 15 minutes in the morning – right away. I do more than that, but my job allows me some flexibility. I want you to start by giving me 15 minutes to wake up your body, fire up your metabolism and get your heart pumping. It will change the rest of your day. I promise.

You have 15 minutes. You can make it. Be selfish. It’s your life – and it’s your body. You are in charge.

I want you to google search the word “Tabata”. Have you heard of it? Here’s a quote from

“If you don’t know already, Tabata is a four minute session. Each Tabata has 8 intervals of which you exercise at a very high intensity for 20 seconds. After 20 seconds, you have 10 seconds to rest. Tabata is a form of high intensity training and one of the benefits of high intensity training is that it can boost your metabolism and heart rate up in a matter of seconds. Long distance running requires anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 in order to get your heart rate up. Not only that but you have to maintain that heart rate for the rest of the jog to get your body to burn fat.”

Tabata can help you change your life. It will butt-kick your metabolism for the rest of the day.

I tell you this, because I have done Tabata for years. After I put some weight back on, I’m using this to fire up my metabolism in the morning. Even if you only have a little time in the morning – do one, two or more rounds of Tabata for 15 minutes – it will get your heart rate up and your metabolism fired up for the rest of the day. Do some searches on the web – you don’t need a lot of fancy gear. If you want to get cool, get a kettlebell and something to step up on. You can watch the clock or for a couple bucks, download a Tabata timer app for your smartphone.

Do it – you are worth it. Be selfish – it’s your body – it’s your life. Take charge, trust me, it will change your life.

Right now, I’m still feeling the results of Tabata. I didn’t have time to get to the gym for my daily workout – so I did some Tabata in my house. Air Squats, jumping up and touching the ceiling (my dog Bentley started barking at me with that one), pretend jump rope. 15 minutes tops. The Endorphins have kicked in – my body is warm, tingly and alive and most importantly – I’VE SET THE TONE FOR THE REST OF THE DAY. Everything else I do from this point on – every physical activity, from walking the dog to shoveling the snow on the sidewalk, will build on what I started with my morning workout.

It changes the tone for the rest of your day. Yeah, you are busy. Yeah, you’re running around for everybody else. Take charge of your body. Be selfish – even if it is for 15 minutes. Take charge of your life – before the effects of obesity and its related problems takes control of you.

Tis the Season to Be Selfish – when it comes to your health!! Merry Christmas and blessed Holidays from our home to yours! And Thanks to NuVal for caring so much to make this possible!!!


Posted by: Denise LaBuda 2 comments

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Kelly Radi: Health Eating CAN be Affordable

Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 03:05 PM

Kelly in the Freezer Isle

Last week, I was working at a grocery store event when a young mom came up to me with her two adorable kids in the cart.  She had a lot of questions about NuVal and told me she wanted to do a better job feeding her children healthy meals but simply didn’t have the time to cook or the money to eat well.  She asked if I had any suggestions. Of course I did!

Not so long ago I was the young mom with two little kids and the very same desire to do better when feeding my family.  While I wanted to feed my kids tasty, nutritious meals, I recall resorting to high-fat boxed mac & cheese, chicken nuggets and fast food more than I care to admit. But, over the years, I did learn that it is possible to feed my kids nutritious meals on a budget.

Good Value and Good Nutrition can go Hand-In-Hand

Frequently, as I am out speaking about NuVal, I hear the comment, “It’s too expensive to eat healthy.”  When I hear this, I get a little excited because I can share a few tips to help change that thought process.  You see, NuVal is a valuable tool to help you get more bang for your buck when grocery shopping.  It empowers you to make educated decisions and to compare nutrition and price at the same time.

Please let me explain.  A few years ago, we had one of those crazy, busy, no-idea-what’s-for-dinner-and-its-5:00 days.  The girls and I ran in to Coborn’s to pick up groceries for a quick, impromptu spaghetti dinner. I sent Brooke for milk and Karen for spaghetti sauce while I went to grab some lettuce. Our plan was to hurry and meet by the checkout lane.  Brooke was back in record time.  I was back.  We waited.  And waited.  Finally, Karen peeked her head around the aisle and motioned for us to join her.  “You’ve GOT to see this!” she explained.  We followed her to the spaghetti sauce shelves and she proceeded to show us the wide range of NuVal scores, from the low teens to high 50’s.  Our usual brand-name sauce came in at a 24 and the store house brand sauce was a 54.  So, we tried it.  And, we liked it even better than our usual sauce. Not only did we go up 30 NuVal points, but we saved $1.25 per jar.  We used this tool and got better value AND nutrition.


Good Value and Good Nutrition Can Go Hand-in-Hand

This chart shows another way you can use NuVal to compare and save.  By comparing scores on fresh, frozen,  and canned produce, you can maintain the nutritional integrity for significantly less money.  Heaven knows, I like to save a buck!

Kelly’s Tips for Eating Well on a Budget:

Plan Ahead

I find we eat healthier and save money if I plan our weekly menu on Sunday afternoon with the weekly grocery sale flyer as a guide.  I plan our meals around the most affordable and healthy sale items.  By planning ahead, you are less likely to make an unplanned (and often less nutritious) stop at the drive-thru.

Use your Slow Cooker

Trust me, when short on time and money, your Crockpot is your best friend!   With just a little preparation in the morning and you can come home from work to a delicious, hot, ready-to-eat meal.  Check out the BLEND Pinterest page for scrumptious soups and creative CrockPot recipes that will delight your family AND save you money.   

Prep Ahead for Grab & Go Snacks

Of course store-bought, pre-packaged snack foods are convenient. But they’re often not easy on the bottom line.  We like to make our own trail mix and put it in snack-size plastic bag for a grab & go treat.  To entice your family to snack on healthy foods, clean and cut up a bunch of fresh veggies and put in small plastic bags or containers.  Then, place those colorful, crisp veggies in the front of your fridge at eye level, so you remember to grab & go.  This is one more way you can make the healthy choice the easy choice.

Pack A Lunch

While I enjoy dining out, neither my wallet nor my waistline can afford the super-sized lunch portions many restaurants serve, so I regularly pack a lunch for work.  Invest in a lunch box and get creative with the menu.  Embrace leftovers!  Or, think outside the box…and use a jar.  You’ll eat fewer calories and save a bundle.

Passionate about food and good nutrition, Kelly, a BLEND Program Specialist for CentraCare Health Foundation, is also a mom who wants to set her kids up for a lifetime of good health. The opinions expressed in this blog are the opinions of the writer and not the opinions of NuVal LLC, Coborn’s, Inc., BLEND, and the CentraCare Health Foundation. This blog post is used with permission from our friends at BLEND.

Posted by: Denise LaBuda 3 comments

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Monte Meyer: FAT ’14 Jump Start Resolutions

Tuesday, December 3, 2013 at 09:04 AM


I was visiting my in-laws for Thanksgiving – sitting at the “Table of No Opinion” (the in-law table), watching the relatives laying out their Christmas shopping strategies, which were going to commence later that evening.  They had plans for Black Friday – another for Small Business Saturday – and even advanced planning Cyber Monday.   Get there early – bring your wrestling tights and track shoes if you want the early deals.  Let’s get it on!


I’ll let everyone else fight it out early at the stores.  I’m starting a new tradition for the holidays called FAT ’14 JUMP START.  I not waiting for the New Years to kick in my New Year’s resolution – I’m on it right now, one month early.  I’m getting a jump start, right now.  Who’s with me?

And knowing how nuts Christmas can be, let’s just keep it simple.  It will still pay dividends down the line.

FAT ’14 JUMP START Resolution One -  Move Your Body Early, at least five days a week.  I’ve recently kicked my exercise routine into a higher gear and am feeling the results.  I’m starting my day earlier – kicking my metabolism in the rear end with some great cardio and strength training.  Helga, my Personal Trainer, has been feeding me some absolutely nasty (in a good way) workout routines that have really impacted the rest of my day.  I can feel the lingering soreness and workout high for the rest of the day – and it has produced positive dividends on my eating.  I’m burning off the anxiety that builds up – I’m setting a positive tone for the rest of the day.  Do something: walk, swing a kettle bell, do some Tabata, find something that gets your heart pumping – even for a short time. It’s the gift that keeps on giving the rest of the day.

SET THE TONE – move you body.

FAT ’14 JUMP START Resolution two) Write it down!  I’m not telling you to avoid the Christmas cookies -  Just count’em.  Write down what you eat on a piece of paper – or download an app on your phone or iPad.  You know the routine.  Let’s be honest about what we are putting in our bodies.  The sooner that happens, the sooner we will gain control of how we are treating our bodies.

Write it down, hold yourself accountable. Stop sleep walking through the holidays.  We can have fun, and yet stay in control!


There, that’s simple isn’t it?  It’s not very drastic, but it puts us one month ahead of everyone else who will be making their New’s Year’s declarations.  For once, let’s get ahead of the curve and start instilling great habits and treat our bodies like the God-given temples they are.

Before I end, I wanted to pass along this Facebook tip sent out by NuVal.  It’s called the “Cranberry Cleanse Smoothie and they insist that it’s a great Thanksgiving Detox.  Here’s the recipe:

-    1/4 cup frozen or fresh cranberries (NuVal Score of 100)

-    1/4 cup frozen or fresh blueberries (NuVal Score of 100)

-    1 ripe banana (Nuval Score 96)

-    1 cup skim milk or plain soy milk (NuVal Score of 91)

-    Optional: 1 Pinch of flaxseed (NuVal Score of 91)

-    Just blend and serve cold.

Sounds like the perfect way to start your own FAT 14 Jump start.

Here’s to planning ahead and getting ahead of the rush for resolutions!


Enjoy your week.




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