Diet advice with Shannon Holtz

Shannon Holtz partners with the YMCA to provide dietary and nutritional guidance in Rapid City.

Q. What do you do at the YMCA?

Holz: So, the biggest mission we have is to build a strong community. Next, build a strong body, mind and spirit.

Q. How can people eat healthier on a budget?

Holz: So, my husband and I also ran into this situation with the prices increasing with spending. So, one of the things I really encourage people to get into is making sure they have an app. So if you go to Safeway app or Walmart app, make sure you partner with that app and you can actually earn rewards. And then one more thing I would recommend. is when you go to the grocery store, scan the perimeter of your grocery store. They will be your freshest and healthiest foods. Now, some people worry, “Oh, am I going to spend a lot of money on organic?” You don’t necessarily have to focus everything organic, I just want you to try and eat more whole foods, like a whole apple versus apple slices or applesauce.

Q. How do you know if a food is healthy?

Holtz: Another piece of advice I have is I want you to learn how to read a nutrition label. So, there’s a really great resource, an interactive nutrition label at It’s actually pretty awesome. So basically, you have the nutrition label in front of you, and then you can click on each part of the nutrition label like servings per container. So, it sort of goes step by step with you.

Q. So you did the shopping. And now?

Holz: Find a good meal planning or prep app or planner. Often the reason I’ve been tempted to eat unhealthy or convenience foods, especially when I’m stressed, is that I don’t have a healthy option available. So if you can somehow provide for yourself by planning and preparing meals, then you have that option available and you likely won’t go through with the trip. So, it’s about being prepared. If you are looking for a good app, I have no affiliation with this app, but one that I use often is called Whisk. Not only can you create your own meal plan, but you can actually assign it to different days and then automatically create a shopping list.

Q. How can you involve the whole family in a healthier lifestyle?

Holz: So, at the YMCA, we try to foster community, right? This is one of the biggest causes we have. And I truly feel that community starts at home. So if you can include your family, take your kids shopping with you, even if they are a hassle and you want to leave them at home, still take them with you because they are learning from you and watching what you are doing. Then, you use it as an opportunity to teach them how to read a nutrition label. Teach them what healthy food is what’s not, you know, by scanning the perimeter of the grocery store, because it matters. Use it as a learning opportunity for your family and then include them in the kitchen. I have found that children love to be involved in the cooking process. Turn up your favorite jams, get comfortable. Younger children can blend, older children can cut and slice. Involve your spouse in this. You know, your friends, your family, because that builds community.

For more information, visit the Rapid City YMCA website here.

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