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Fueling Up for Running a Family, a Farm and a Marathon

by Megan Sheets | Oct 3, 2017 | Nutrition | 0 comments

Jennifer Holle Baking Granola

For Jennifer and Andrew Holle, who are gearing up to run the Chicago Marathon, nutrition is a critical part of their journey.

The Holles own and operate Northern Lights Dairy farm with their four kids – a 600-cow operation in Mandan, North Dakota. On October 8, they will join 25 other runners as part of the national Fuel Up to Play 60 team. Whether training for the marathon or fueling up for school or work, the Holle family knows that healthy food choices are what help them tackle whatever the day holds.

Jennifer does most of the meal planning for her family and as a rule of thumb, she tries to keep all of her recipes to six ingredients or less. “We know that natural, whole foods are better for our bodies, so my six-ingredient goal is a way to help us keep meals simple and wholesome. If I know the ingredients are good, we’ll sometimes add more in.” Jennifer explains.

A lot of their ingredients come from their own property – their garden or a product from their dairy operation, and they try to involve the whole family in meal prepping as much as possible to educate their kids and set a good example. The Holle kids often create a salad from garden veggies or, another family favorite, someone will throw squash or sweet corn on the grill that they grow themselves.

Jennifer and Andrew Holle at Dinner Table

“The foods we eat have an enormous effect on our marathon training, too,” Jennifer notes.

“After every run, we replenish with a glass of chocolate milk. We notice a big difference the next day and are always less sore if we’ve had our milk.”

Breakfast is an important meal for the Holles to kick start their day. Jennifer’s homemade granola (recipe at bottom of post) is a frequent go-to option that they pair with yogurt or wholesome milk. Each batch is unique as she mixes in a variety of fresh or dried fruit, seeds and even chocolate chips. Rather than buying processed cereal from the grocery store, Jennifer will make her granola in bulk to have ready-made options for her busy family.

With all the demands of life – from farming to running their home and even running a marathon – it would be easy for the Holles to choose convenience foods that make food prep quicker and easier. But they understand that the extra work involved in making a healthy meal pays off in big ways throughout their day with the energy and vitality they gain. They know that food can be both enjoyable and nutritious and that their food choices are one of the best ways that they can invest in their family and their future.

To hear more about why good nutrition is important to Jennifer Holle and her family, check out their video.

Jennifer Holle’s Homemade Granola Recipe

Jennifer's Healthy Granola Recipe


  • 2 cups raw oats
  • ½ cup nuts
  • ¼ cup seeds (flax)
  • ½ cup fruit
  • 2-3 tbsp honey or maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Sprinkle of brown sugar



Bake at 300 degrees for 10-15 minutes

Optional: After granola has completely cooled, add chocolate chips or butterscotch

Note from Jennifer: I typically make a 5x batch then fill up a large plastic container. Get creative with your granola and adjust it to your tastes. For fruit, we like to use raisins, craisins or dried apricots. I always use ground flax and chia seeds, but you can also use sunflower, pumpkin or other seeds. We choose an organic, local honey from North Dakota beekeepers. Our salt is always sea salt – adding healthy minerals with the flavoring.

Did you try this recipe?! Let us know how it turned out in the comments below!

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Megan Sheets
Midwest Dairy

I'm a Digital Media Enthusiast and a consumer of all dairy foods (Greek yogurt is my favorite). I work with a dynamic team that inspires the ever-evolving voice behind Midwest Dairy's social channels. My mission is to share the nutritional benefits of dairy through telling the farmer-inspired #DairyGood story.

Contact Megan




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