Mississippi BodyWalk Blog

being smart from the inside out

ChopChop Magazine June 24, 2014

Filed under: Body Walk,Health,Healthy Snacks,Nutrition — mississippibodywalk @ 11:09 AM
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Good Morning Body Walkers!

Recently I participated in an Office of Nutrition Education (O.N.E.) Retreat. While there, I was introduced to a great magazine.

ChopChop is ‘The fun cooking magazine for families’.  I looked on their website, and here’s how they describe the magazine.

ChopChop is a quarterly magazine published in both Spanish and English. Winner of the prestigious 2013 James Beard Foundation Award for Publication of the Year, ChopChop is filled with nutritious, great-tasting, ethnically diverse, and inexpensive recipes. It also has fun food facts, games and puzzles, and interviews with healthy heroes ranging from kid chefs to professional athletes to the White House Chefs.

Fifty percent of all U.S. practicing pediatricians request ChopChop and “prescribe” it during well-child visits. ChopChop is distributed through children’s hospitals, health centers, public schools, afterschool programs, Indian reservations, and community organizations. ChopChop is also available at newsstands and by subscription.

One of my favorite parts of the current issue is their Collard Roll-Ups. I love this recipe because so many Mississippians are already familiar with collards. This recipe gives them an entirely new way to eat them. The recipe has full directions, but not just the basics we may be used to, but FULL directions. For example, in the ingredients list, it calls for 2 pinches of salt, then it defines what a ‘pinch’ is! After calling for 1/4 cup of toasted pecans, cashews, walnuts, or pumpkin seeds, it tells you how to toast them!  On the page with the full color picture of the roll ups (so you know exactly what they should look like) there is a box of tips. In the listed tips, it suggests you ‘PREPARE your ingredients, which means you may have to do something before you get started with the instructions.’

How cool is that? I love that this recipe (and really the whole magazine) is VERY child or novice friendly. When you have been cooking for years, you don’t think about these very, very basic first steps. This magazine goes from the point that you are learning everything for the first time and it holds your hand all the way. This is perfect for first time cooks.

There are 11 recipes in this issue, plus other content. I just want to tell you about one more recipe I particularly liked.   They have a no cook recipe for Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes. This recipe is great for a lot of reasons. Cherry tomatoes are easy to find right now, either at the grocery story, or at Farmer’s Markets. This recipe builds off two others in the magazine, Summery Tuna Salad and Any-Herb Pesto. I like this because it shows kids how to branch out when they cook. Almost anything you make can be eaten in a variety of ways. This recipe also offers variety within itself. At the very top, it says that if you don’t like tomatoes, then use cucumbers or celery sticks instead. Kids love choice and this magazine shows them great food can be made and enjoyed in a way they will like it.

What else do I love about this magazine? It is full of pictures of real kids making the recipes (and eating the food!), there is a section on physical activity, there is an interview with real kids who decided to sell healthy lunches instead of plain lemonade for the summer, there are quizzes and puzzles, and there are definitions so you know what the cooking terms mean.

I think this magazine is a great resource for anyone who takes care of kids. If you are a parent, grandparent, daycare worker, or other guardian of kids, this is a great place to get meal ideas, and to encourage kids to start helping with meal planning, by deciding on meals they can actually cook.


How the heart pumps blood June 23, 2014

Filed under: Body Walk — mississippibodywalk @ 3:17 PM

This is a cute, informative video from TED-Ed that I thought you all would enjoy seeing. If you like the video, please share it with others.


June 17th is Eat Your Vegetables Day June 12, 2014

Filed under: Health,Healthy Snacks,Nutrition — mississippibodywalk @ 3:17 PM
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Hello Body Walkers,

I just found out June 17th is Eat Your Vegetables Day. So, I thought it would be fun to give you ideas of how to eat vegetables for each meal and two snacks. Some people enjoy eating vegetables all the time. Some just want to find ways to increase their percentage of vegetables to meat. While you certainly CAN follow these ideas and make June 17th a day of only vegetables, I hope it at least gives you ideas of how to up your veggie intake.


I am usually a granola bar breakfast eater, or a full on scrambled eggs, bacon, biscuits and gravy, and grits kind of person. For EYVD, I am going to try something new. I am going to have a one egg omelet. Here’s the plan. Before I even crack the shell, in a saute pan with a tiny pat of butter, I am going to cook a diced onion, a large handful of spinach, diced tomato, shredded carrot, and finely cut up broccoli. I am going to cook all the veggies until they are soft. Then I am going to pour them on a plate, and without even wiping out the pan, I am going to crack my egg in there. Cooking it just long enough for it to start to set, I’ll pour all my hot veggies back in, and BAM! Omelet magic. Now, you can use other vegetables. What’s awesome about an omelet is the versatility. This is your day to try cauliflower in an omelet. Do you love chard? Kale? Use it instead of spinach.


You can never go wrong with carrots, celery, broccoli and a little bit of ranch dressing. Peel and slice everything ahead of time, pack it in your lunchbox and enjoy at work.


Salad is the obvious choice here. If you love salad, make your favorite. Leave off the grilled chicken, the ham, the shaved turkey. Get your favorite spring mix, pile on those sun-ripened tomatoes you got at the farmer’s market. Pile high with color. Now is the time to slice a radish super thin and layer it on. Slice up a raw beet. Yes you can eat them raw! They will make your salad a delight to your tastebuds and your eyes.

Maybe you hate salad. Maybe you need something cooked. No problem. Bake a potato. When it’s cooked, don’t smother it in cheese and meat. No, pile it high with raw veggies, the more the better. Potato only a side item and not a meal? No problem. Veggie soup. This can be as complex as you like, and will be better if you made it ahead of time, last night for example. Everyone has their favorite ingredients for soup, the challenge here is to add one new vegetable you haven’t tried before. Do it! You will probably like it.


It’s 3:30 and you are ready for your regular candy bar or chips or doughnut. No! Today is the day you try dried apricots and raisins.  Yes, these are fruit, but it is a snack, so you can have some fruit on vegetable day. If you are at home, why not try grilled tomato treats? Slice a nice big ripe tomato into thick slices. Place on a cookie sheet. Top with grated cheese, any herb you like, and broil until the cheese is melted and the tomato is soft. When you take it out of the oven (or toaster oven), you can top with a small slice of avocado. These are DELICIOUS. I promise.


Now is the time to pull out all the stops on your EYVD. There is no limit on your options. Make stir-fry! You can also go out and order stir-fry, but making it is more fun. Make your own Portabella mushroom burger. It’s just like a regular burger, except you eat a giant mushroom instead of a ground up cow. Another fun option, and one I make on a regular day, not just EYVD, is stuffed bell peppers. Now, the traditional way to make these is with ground beef or turkey as the base. This time, use cooked quinoa, barley, or couscous as the base. Then add brown rice, onion, and whatever other veggies you like to the pepper stuffing. Another fun twist on this is to use red, yellow, and orange bell peppers instead of green. The flavor is amazing and you have a fun colorful dish to eat, instead of the expected green.

I hope these suggestions have given you some ideas of how you can enjoy Eat Your Vegetables Day. If you succeed in eating vegetables for all your meals and snacks, please leave me a comment. I’d love to hear about your day.



Summer Food Service Program June 4, 2014

Hello Body Walkers!

Last Thursday was a really great day for me. I got to go represent Body Walk at the Summer Food Service Program Kick-off! (Whew, that’s a mouthful.) I’m sure you are wondering what the Summer Food Service Program is, right?

I’m going to make it easy for all of us and quote directly from the program I received.

“The Summer Food Service Program is an initiative of USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to provide healthy meals to school-age children in districts where 50% or more of the child population qualifies for free or reduced meals. This program is managed by the MS Dept. of Education Office of Healthy Schools (MDE OHS) and allows sponsors to set up sites across Mississippi to provide meals and other activities at a maximum of twice daily. Whether it is in a school, mobile site, low-income housing unit, or religious organization, SFSP works to guarantee children living in poverty are able to access healthy food during the summer vacation months.”

This is HUGE Body Walkers! Body Walk teaches the importance of making healthy food choices to K-5th grade children. How can they do that if their food resources are limited, or worse, not even there? By providing healthy food to these children, they can exercise the lessons they learned in Body Walk. Of course, not all the children who will benefit from this program have gotten to see Body Walk, but some have. Of all the schools Body Walk sees during the course of the year, on average, 80% of them have a student population where 50% or more of the students receive free or reduced breakfast and lunches.

Now, let’s talk about the speakers and the messages they shared yesterday. This event was at the MS State Capital. It was supposed to be on the south lawn, but the rain forced us inside? Have you been to the capital? It is beautiful. You can take tours (link needed) and learn more about it. Ok, on to the speakers.

First up was Todd Ivey, Deputy State Superintendent for Operations; MS Dept. of Education. Mr. Ivey really set the tone by welcoming everyone and explaining some about what the SFSP is and who it is trying to help.

Next up was Aaron Sisk, Vice President of Operations; Magnolia Health Plan. I have included links here, please go read more about Magnolia Health. He talked some about his company and how invested they are in the health of our young people. I confess, at the beginning of the day, I knew nothing about Magnolia Health. I got to learn a lot later in the day, read on down to find out what I learned. (Or click the link, whatever makes you happy :).

Next up was Audry Rowe. Ms. Rowe is an Administrator for USDA Food and Nutrition Services. I really enjoyed hearing Ms. Rowe speak. She was passionate about her goals to increase the number of children, not just in MS, but all across the country, who receive this much needed summer meal assistance. She talked about where she had been so far and the people she is connecting with to help her achieve the goal. She really got the crowd fired up with her passion and vision.

After her was the reading of Governor Phil Bryant’s Summer Food Service Proclamation. This was nice as it shows the state’s commitment to this issue. Part of the proclamation, stated that the week of June 2-6 is going to be SFSP week. I expect there will be a push in the news and social media during this week to let people know what’s available and why it is needed.

The last main speaker was Lenora Phillips, Director of CACFP/SFSP, MS Dept. of Education, and Office of Child Nutrition. She told us about what specifically is happening in MS to bring this program to life and make it work. She showed us the posters that are being distributed across the state. She told us people will be able to access the resources at schools, at day care centers, at churches, at community centers, and more. MS is making a huge push during SFSP week and she wants us all to spread the word. She was vibrant in her enthusiasm.

Last to speak was Benjamin Russell, Communications Director, and Public Policy Center of MS, who offered the closing remarks.

I’m sure you are wondering, was that it? Was that the whole day? NO. There was more. After all the speakers, we when to the first floor where many people had tables set up with handouts, posters, and loads of information. I got to visit several of the tables.

I learned that Magnolia Health “is a long-term solution to help the state of Mississippi enhance care for Medicaid recipients while most effectively managing Medicaid funds. [Magnolia is] a physician-driven, Mississippi-based Medicaid Coordinated Care Organization (CCO)…” I had actually heard about similar services on National Public Radio, in relation to another company. I am so glad MS has something similar.

I also got to speak to Nancy Roman and Stephanie Yow. They both work for the Southeast United Dairy Industry Association. They were there talking about their program fueluptoplay60. The fuel up to play program is a great compliment to the teachings of Body Walk. The BW lessons teach low-fat milk is a great beverage choice in the brain stations (part of a healthy breakfast), the stomach station (part of a healthy meal), and the bone station(a great way to get calcium.) I enjoyed talking to them and sharing how Body Walk teaches a fueled up body is better able to learn and play.

After touring the tables, it was time to leave. I hope you are excited about SFSP in MS and if you know of children who would really benefit from access to healthy meals, please share this information with their caretaker.