Melissa Rudy

A lifelong Cincinnatian, Melissa earned a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from University of Cincinnati before breaking into the online content field in 2000. As a Digital Journalist for SparkPeople, she enjoys helping others meet their wellness goals by writing about all aspects of healthy living. An avid runner and group fitness addict, Melissa lives in Loveland with her guitarist husband and three feisty daughters.

Read More of Melissa's Blogs:

20 Meat-Free Recipes That Won’t Leave You Feeling Hungry

According to a recent poll, around 5 percent of Americans are vegetarian and 3 percent are vegan. But you don’t have to fall into one of those categories to enjoy the benefits of the occasional meatless meal. Including more plant-based foods in your diet can help to reduce your cholesterol and saturated fat intake, improve heart health, elevate energy levels and reduce the risk of certain types of cancers. Plus, studies show that plant-based diets are more conducive to weight loss, as meatless meals usually contain fewer calories.

Posted 3/19/2019  12:00:00 AM By: Melissa Rudy : 23 comments   29,057 views

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8 Challenging Bodyweight Exercises for When You Can’t Hit the Gym

Many people love going to the gym, spending hours each week making use of the abundant collection of weights and equipment. Others prefer to build their own fully equipped gyms, investing in dumbbells and other gear to replicate the experience at home.

But those aren’t your only options.

f your membership has grown dusty with neglect (or never existed to begin with), and you don’t have the extra money or time to purchase your own fitness equipment, you have everything you need to get a full-body workout in the comfort and privacy of home—and you’re already carrying it everywhere you go.

Posted 3/8/2019  12:00:00 AM By: Melissa Rudy : 49 comments   9,677 views

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25 Healthy Recipes Absolutely Anyone Can Cook

“I don’t have time to cook.”
“Recipes are too complicated to follow.”
“Meal prep takes way too long.”
“I’m afraid I’ll mess something up.”
Sound familiar? You’re not alone. Most people who eschew cooking do so because they assume it’s too difficult or too time-consuming. Maybe they peruse a few recipes with the best of cooking intentions, only to be scared off by complicated lists of ingredients and instructions.
But we’ve got some good news: You don’t have to choose between mastering culinary rocket science and waving the white flag for pizza delivery. There is a middle ground, and it’s home to plenty of nutritious and delicious recipes that require little to no kitchen expertise.
Still skeptical? Take a spin through some of our favorite easy-peasy, hassle-free, virtually failproof meals that you can whip together without breaking a sweat (or a dish).

Posted 3/5/2019  12:00:00 AM By: Melissa Rudy : 51 comments   25,861 views

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20 Satisfying Slow Cooker Recipes

Slow cookers are the busy home chef’s secret weapon when it comes to streamlining meal prep. When life feels like a nonstop race against the clock, simply toss a few ingredients into this versatile countertop appliance on your way out the door. You'll be grateful dinner is already done when you come home to a simmering, savory, ready-to-eat meal.

Posted 2/27/2019  12:00:00 AM By: Melissa Rudy : 40 comments   581,400 views

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This 30-Day Challenge Is All About Improving Workplace Wellness

You know what they say about "all work and no play." As it turns out, "all work and no wellness" might be the bigger culprit. Are you too busy at the office (or wherever your job takes you) to invest in the movement and meal planning your health deserves?

Posted 2/22/2019  12:00:00 AM By: Melissa Rudy : 66 comments   17,670 views

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30 Things Exercise Can Teach You About Life

Exercise gets plenty of credit for burning calories, building stronger muscles, boosting mood levels and improving overall health and wellness. But beyond whittling away pounds and inches, did you know that daily activity can also impart some inspiring life lessons? Long after the last step or rep, these nuggets of wisdom can be applied all throughout your day—consider it therapy with (physical) benefits.

Posted 2/20/2019  12:00:00 AM By: Melissa Rudy : 44 comments   9,421 views

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5 Fitness Benchmarks to Abandon

We all have different bodies, different sets of goals and different definitions of the best versions of ourselves. We run or walk at varying paces, lift heavier or lighter weights, deal with unique physical challenges and struggle to schedule workouts around diverse schedules and fluctuating motivations.
So why should we all aspire to reach the same benchmarks of success?

Posted 2/11/2019  12:00:00 AM By: Melissa Rudy : 72 comments   17,147 views

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The Power of Positive People

You wake up with every intention of going to spin class straight from the office. But then you have lunch with your co-worker, who wrinkles her nose at your exercise plans and launches into a monologue about how much time and money she has wasted on workouts that don't, well, work.
Meanwhile, she orders the loaded cheese fries and complains that healthy foods are too expensive and don't fill her up. Every time you try to counter one of her complaints, there's another one right behind it—sort of like peeling away the layers of a very pungent-smelling onion.
By the time lunch is over, your motivation has taken a nosedive, and you're seriously considering canceling spin class is favor of happy hour. Besides, after all the cheese fries you just ate, what's the point?
Negativity is a powerful thing—and it's extremely contagious. If you let them, the Debbie and Donnie Downers of the world will lead you astray from your good intentions and into their world of grumbles, groans and excuses. As the old saying goes, "misery loves company."
On the other hand, if you'd been dining with an upbeat, positive co-worker who encouraged your dedication to spin class, and didn't scoff at your choice of a healthy soup and salad, you likely would have returned to the office feeling excited about your workout and proud of your lunchtime choices.

Posted 2/8/2019  12:00:00 AM By: Melissa Rudy : 51 comments   10,876 views

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Why You Need to Be Eating Chia Seeds—And 23 Ways to Do It

Don’t let their size fool you. Small but mighty, chia seeds pack plenty of nutrition into a tiny package. Derived from a plant called Salvia hispanica, they were originally a primary energy source for the Aztecs and Mayans, who named them after the Mayan word for “strength.”

Posted 2/6/2019  12:00:00 AM By: Melissa Rudy : 138 comments   716,400 views

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10 Bodyweight Training Exercises You Can Try at Home

You know you should exercise, but that gym membership you’ve been thinking about hasn’t yet materialized. Maybe you’re not quite ready to venture outside to run or walk in public. The good news? You can get a full-body workout in the comfort and privacy of home—and it won’t cost you a dime.

Posted 1/29/2019  12:00:00 AM By: Melissa Rudy : 135 comments   605,567 views

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What a Healthy 300-Calorie Breakfast Really Looks Like

Breakfast has a big job. It has to kick-start your metabolism, fuel your body with energy to carry you through the day, help your brain to focus and concentrate, and control your blood sugar—all while keeping you full and satisfied until lunch. That’s a tall order for a meal that is usually prepared and consumed quickly—sometimes even on the go.

Posted 1/28/2019  12:00:00 AM By: Melissa Rudy : 81 comments   41,554 views

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How Real People Learned to Actually Enjoy Exercise (Really!)

For many people, exercise ranks right up there with cleaning the bathroom or going to the dentist: something that must be done, but brings not an ounce of enjoyment. Others might not dread it quite as much, but could take it or leave it. And then there are the lucky few who actually take pleasure in working out. Not only do they enjoy their runs, walks or trips to the gym, they often plan their entire schedules around them.
So what’s their secret? How did they transform a grueling obligation into the highlight of their day?
We turned to the best source we know—our awesome SparkPeople members—to find out how they learned to actually enjoy getting their sweat on. Read on and maybe you’ll be inspired to find your own reason to embrace exercise!

Posted 1/18/2019  12:00:00 AM By: Melissa Rudy : 51 comments   13,376 views

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9 Things Registered Dietitians Tell Their Clients on Day One

Every journey starts with a single step.
Of course, that step can be different for different people, depending on where they’re starting from and where they’re headed. For someone who is trying to exercise more, for example, it might mean taking a walk around the block or buying a pair of athletic shoes. If the goal is to stop smoking, the first step might be cutting out one cigarette a day or tossing the entire pack in the trash. The most important thing is to make a movement—even if it’s a small one—toward the desired result.
What about the journey to adopt a healthier diet? It’s a very common (and very broad) goal, one that can be overwhelming if you’re not sure where to start. You know the basics—more fresh, whole, nutritious foods; fewer processed foods and “junk foods” that don’t fuel your body—but what specifically should you do first?
While your path is uniquely your own, you might find some helpful ideas in the advice that registered dietitians give to their clients who are just embarking on the first day of their journeys to health.

Posted 1/16/2019  12:00:00 AM By: Melissa Rudy : 53 comments   32,663 views

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8 Exercises for a Full-Body Bosu Workout

If you've never used a Bosu ball before, it may look a little strange at first—sort of like an exercise ball that's been cut in half, then mounted on a flat base. Maybe you've spotted them at the gym on your way to pick up the more familiar dumbbells and traditional stability balls. Odd appearance notwithstanding, Bosu balls are definitely worth exploring as an effective exercise tool.

Posted 1/15/2019  1:00:00 AM By: Melissa Rudy : 84 comments   92,101 views

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25 Warm & Cozy Ginger Recipes

Ginger's main claim to fame might be its adorable namesake cookies—and don't get us wrong, they're delicious. But this versatile spice makes an appearance in plenty of other recipes, many of which fit nicely into any healthy eating plan.
Derived from a flowering plant found in China, ginger has been linked to a bevy of health benefits. It contains compounds and metabolites that have been used to help improve digestion, curb nausea, alleviate cold and flu symptoms, reduce muscle pain, fight inflammation and boost cardiovascular health. Plus, 100 grams of fresh ginger is chock-full of vitamins and minerals, contains no sugar and is low in calories.
When cooking with ginger, you can use a fresh ginger root that is peeled and grated or sliced, or purchase it in dried or ground form. Ground ginger is sold at the supermarket along with other herbs and spices.
Need some ginger-spiration? We've rounded up a few of our favorite recipes in which it plays a yummy role.

Posted 1/9/2019  12:00:00 AM By: Melissa Rudy : 43 comments   14,652 views

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