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.


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.



Heart Health February 17, 2014

Filed under: Body Walk,Health — mississippibodywalk @ 4:04 PM
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Hello Body Walkers,

I need something to call you, and since this is the Body Walk Blog, and you are (hopefully) a fan, it seemed natural that you would be a Body Walk-er. Welcome to the expanded blog, where I will be sharing more with you than just recaps of the program, and where the exhibit has traveled.

Body Walk presents many wonderful health lessons. The hope is the listener, after hearing the lessons, the learner will internalize the messages and make better health choices. So, another way to internalize health lessons is to read (or write) about topics that expand on these health lessons. With that in mind, this first post focuses on heart health. February is the month of Love, with a capital L. We think of February as the time to think about all the love in our life; Love of romantic partners, love of friends and love of family. However, do we think enough about self-love? Do we think about our main love organ, the heart? How can we feel all the love we are capable of if our heart is not healthy? If our heart is clogged, or tired, or struggling because of how we take care of it, then we cannot love others to our full potential.

How can you have a healthy heart?

There are TWO main things you can do. Exercise and Food. Exercise will work more than your heart of course, but getting your heart rate up will strengthen this dynamic wonderful muscle sitting in the middle of your chest. A later blog will focus on fun and interesting exercises you can do. Today, the focus is food. What foods can you eat to keep your Love organ healthy? Fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats are going to be a great place to start.

If you are not used to eating with the idea of keeping your heart healthy in mind, then making a plan might be a great way to keep you on track. Below is a simple menu of foods you can eat over the course of one day to fuel your body and show love to your heart. This menu is meant to be a starting place, an idea-sparker for you. When you sit down to make your own plan, first make a list of all the fruits and vegetables you like. Plan your meals around the healthy food you already enjoy. As you make good choices, and see that healthy food is tasty food, branch out. Try a new fruit, or a new vegetable. Try making an old favorite in a new way.

Fruits and Vegetables are cute and delicious

Fruits and Vegetables are cute and delicious

As an example, I already like strawberries, but I had never had them sliced up on a salad. I saw a friend of mine do this, and I had to try it. It was WONDERFUL. Now I have a new way to enjoy one of my favorite fruits, and I have a new way to add interest to salads. Do you hate strawberries? Substitute a berry you do like.

Hot Oatmeal with fresh or frozen berries. Orange juice or Coffee with Skim Milk to drink

Grilled Salmon
Medium side salad topped with mandarin oranges slices, sliced strawberries, cucumber, walnuts, and a splash of dressing
Water or Unsweet tea to drink

Grilled chicken breast
Brown rice with cooked veggies stirred in, such as broccoli, carrots, or spinach
Water or Unsweet tea to drink
Sliced cantaloupe for dessert

See how easy that was? Now you have a beginning, a framework to make your own plan. What will you eat tomorrow to show your heart how much you like and appreciate it?

A Healthy Heart is a Happy Heart-Full of LOVE

A Healthy Heart is a Happy Heart-Full of LOVE


Body Walk, Greene County, Leakesville June 11, 2013

First stop in March was to Leakesville Elementary. I had been here before, a couple of years ago. It was nice to see a few familiar faces. Mitchell Newman booked Body Walk for his county.

Lovely sign on a lovely day.

Lovely sign on a lovely day.

Just over 450 elementary students learned how to ‘be smart from the inside out’ in the Body Walk. They were taught by great Allied health students from the local high school. They kids loved learning how to keep nine different parts of their body healthy. They loved sitting on the teeth stools and brushing those stools with a giant tooth brush.

Mouth entrance, the stools are ready to be sat on, brushed and flossed.

Mouth entrance, the stools are ready to be sat on, brushed and flossed.


They really enjoyed dancing the ‘churn’ dance in the stomach. Food is churned in our bodies which is part of digestion. They had to be ‘digested’ so they could travel on through the body and slip into the blood stream, which they did after finishing the small intestine room. They flowed to the heart where they learned how to keep their hearts healthy and strong.


Hardy Heart with his vegetable friends. Hardy Hearty knows how to stay strong.

Hardy Heart with his vegetable friends. Hardy Hearty knows how to stay strong.


After that, they stopped at the bone station, the muscle station and the skin station. When their tour was done, they had plenty of information on how to be healthy and grow up tall and strong.

Cutest mailbox ever!

Cutest mailbox ever!




MOCHA Meeting June 7, 2013

Hello Health Enthusiasts!

Brush Twice a Day

Brush Twice a Day

The second stop in the Body Walk exhibit is the Mouth Station. This room teaches students how and why to brush their teeth. Oral health is critical to overall health. The Body Walk teaches children to ‘be smart from the inside out,” and the teeth are certainly part of the ‘insides’ they need to be smart about!

Today I attended my local MOHCA meeting. The Mississippi Oral Health Community Alliance works to improve oral health for all Mississippians. This was the second meeting I have been to and I always learn something. This month, the focus was on recruiting a facilitator and two of the attendees agreed to share the role.  I learned about services available for MS children that are freely available, specifically sealants and fluoride varnishing the teeth. These treatments help children keep healthy teeth longer.

Happy Clean Tooth

Happy Clean Tooth

The main focus of the meeting was to come up with ideas to get the messages of oral care out to the public. We discussed how to get the information to parents, to children, and to young adults. We talked about how important proper dental care is, at home and through regular dentist visits. Oral hygiene helps to not just keep healthy teeth, but is important for overall health.  Some ideas were. give out flyers at food banks, talk to parents at schools open house night, ask schools to include links to MOHCA on their websites, encourage dentists to set up a booth at local summer festivals, attend health fairs, and even host an oral health fair where the entire focus would be how to take care of your teeth. I would love to see that last one in action. 🙂

This tooth loves to be brushed.

This tooth loves to be brushed.

It was an interesting and informative meeting and I really enjoyed getting to see some familiar faces and meet new people. It is wonderful to learn more about how one of the lessons of Body Walk plays out in the greater community. One goal of Body Walk is to lay the foundation of healthy habits that will follow children into adulthood. It is great to meet with so many other like-minded professionals.

Here are a few resources for you.

One of many apps to help you take care of teeth.

One of many apps* to help you take care of teeth.

*This app is not free, and is just one example of many options. This is not an endorsement or recommendation of this specific application.








Find a Dentist in your community.

Information about Fluoride.

Happy Brushing!


Body Walk in Scott County, Forest Elementary March 8, 2013

Next up in February for Body Walk was Forest Elementary. This was my second time to set up all the new stuff (and I won’t count every time), and it went well. It is such a joy to see all the new items assembled. The exhibit as a whole just looks very nice in the different gyms. For this school, Carol Ballard booked the school. Cindy Adkins, school nurse, was Carol’s contact at this school. Cindy did a great job securing volunteers and planning the schedule.



Our volunteers were Allied Health students. They did a great job presenting the material to the Kindergarten, First, and Second grade students who toured the exhibit. The kids had a great time learning how to keep their brain, mouth, stomach, small intestine, heart, lungs, bones, muscles, and skin healthy. They liked having the high school students teach them and show them all the cool and interesting props that are unique to each room.

As always, the plasma light in the brain was an immediate attention grabber. The light simulates the speed of neurons firing in our brain. Without proper nutrition, those neurons don’t work like they are supposed to. A good breakfast with foods from all sections of MyPlate is a great way to start the day.

Thoughts are electrical signals in the brain.

Thoughts are electrical signals in the brain.

After we eat, it is important to brush our teeth. Healthy teeth let us eat all those healthy crunch foods.

A healthy mouth is important to overall good health.

A healthy mouth is important to overall good health.

Everyone should fill half their plate with fruits and vegetables.

MyPlate shows how much of each food group to have on your plate

MyPlate shows how much of each food group to have on your plate


Smoking is always a bad idea.

Windy says keep your lungs pink, don't smoke.

Windy says keep your lungs pink, don’t smoke.

Once the kids finished their tour, their teacher was given a stack of activity books, one for each student. These reinforce everything the students learned in their trip through the body.

An activity book and sticker.

An activity book and sticker.

Next up, Stone county.





Body Walk in Magnolia MS February 5, 2013

A new year, a new month, but the same excellent information on ‘being smart from the inside out’ is rolling through Mississippi. First stop in 2013 was in Pike county, at Magnolia Elementary School. Here we saw K-5th grade, almost 700 students in all. Our station presenters were Allied Health students and nursing students from Copiah-Lincoln Community College.  We had so many great teenage volunteers that many of them served as chaperones in the exhibit.

Teachers go through with their classes, but there is only one, and the classes are usually split into thirds. Having a chaperone for the groups who go without the teacher is a great way to keep order in the exhibit, and for the teenagers to get to see the exhibit ‘in action’.

Great volunteers, great chaperones.

Great volunteers, great chaperones.

Latoya Evans booked Body Walk for her county.  Mississippi is known for some crazy weather, and one part of the state can be radically different from another on the same day. The drive down to Magnolia was filled with rain, and at times, very limited visibility. However, the day after was really crazy. Most of the state had a snow day. Colleges and schools got out early or canceled classes all together.

Making the most of the snow at MSU and getting plenty of good exercise! (photo by Russ Houston)

Making the most of the snow at MSU and getting plenty of good exercise! (photo by Russ Houston)

But in Magnolia, Hardy Heart and I enjoyed bright sunshine and warm temperatures.

It's so bright, I shoulda wore shades!

It’s so bright, I shoulda wore shades!

The kids loved having a nice bright day, and they enjoyed learning how to be healthy from their trip through the Body Walk.

Next up, Horn Lake Mississippi.