Mississippi BodyWalk Blog

being smart from the inside out

Changes: Endings and Beginnings May 13, 2015

Hello Body Walkers,

Thank you. Thank you for reading this little blog, and for supporting Body Walk all these years. Body Walk has traveled the roads of MS since 2005. I joined the program in 2008, and in 2009, I started recording our travels for you here.

Body Walk is a unique program. There is only one exhibit like this in the state. A few other states have a Body Walk exhibit of their own, but even nationwide, it is a rare program. It has been a jewel of nutrition education and positive publicity for MSU, and for MSU-Extension. Over the years, we have seen children in every county. There are young people now who are finishing up high school or beginning their college careers who fondly remember when Body Walk came to their school.

All things run their course, and Body Walk has come to the end of its traveling days. The truck, a trooper for these past 10 years, has finally had the engine give out. Since the truck will not be replaced, the exhibit is in permanent storage. Below are some pictures from this last year. The blog will remain online so anyone can scroll through the past posts and see where it traveled and just a fraction of who participated across the state to make this program such a success for so long.

Be Smart from the Inside Out

Have I ever shown you the exhibit from the back, looking down on it? This is what it looks like.

Have I ever shown you the exhibit from the back, looking down on it? This is what it looks like.

First stop in the pathway of life. This is the review at the end.

First stop in the pathway of life. This is the review at the end.

Rest of the Pathway of Life

Rest of the Pathway of Life

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Volunteers

Volunteers

Volunteers

It was a COLD, sunny day.

It was a COLD, sunny day.

Working with the MS Tobacco Free Coalition

Working with the MS Tobacco Free Coalition

Bye Kids.
MS Body Walk 2005-2015

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ChopChop Magazine June 24, 2014

Filed under: Body Walk,Health,Healthy Snacks,Nutrition — mississippibodywalk @ 11:09 AM
Tags: , , , ,

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
Tags: , , ,

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.

BREAKFAST

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.

MID MORNING SNACK.

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.

LUNCH

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.

MID AFTERNOON SNACK

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.

SUPPER (AKA DINNER)

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.

 

 

Body Walk, Union County, New Albany June 11, 2013

Our next stop in March was to Union county, New Albany. Here we saw third graders from five different schools. Gina Wills booked Body Walk for her county. It is always nice to work with her, Beverly Brooks and Karen Caviness, all Extension agents. We saw about 390 students over one day. Our station presenters were high schools students, Allied Health and honor students.

They gym at New Albany Elem is very spacious. There was enough room for the kids to tour, exercise after the tour, and enjoy two other exhibits. There was an anti-smoking table from the tobacco coalition, and a nutrition table from the Family Nutrition Program.

Healthy food to put on a plate.

Healthy food to put on a plate.

 

DON'T SMOKE!

DON’T SMOKE!

The high school students did a great job. They were full of energy.

 

We are here to tell you about your heart!

We are here to tell you about your heart!

 

Come learn about how awesome your small intestines are!

Come learn about how awesome your small intestines are!

 

We want To Pump, You UP!

We want
To Pump,
You UP!

 

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How fast can you make it to the end? Get that heart going.

Everyone had a great time, and the presenters did a wonderful job. Teamwork gets the job done.

Student volunteers at Body Walk in New Albany.

Student volunteers at Body Walk in New Albany.

 

 

 

 

Body Walk, Greene County, Leakesville

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!

 

 

 

Body Walk in Horn Lake Mississippi February 5, 2013

January rolls on and so does the Body Walk. Next up for the education exhibit was a trip to Horn Lake MS in Desoto county. Going go Desoto is always nice. Jessica Lindsey is great to work with. She is organized and efficient. Organized and efficient are two of my favorite words. We saw just under 600 students, K-2nd.

Horn Lake Elementary

Horn Lake Elementary

At this school, the station presenters were the same people every day. This was nice because once they had been through the script a few times, they had the information down pat. They could then put the script down and be more relaxed with the kids. They could ask a few more questions and make the lessons even more interactive. The volunteers/station presenters were teacher assistants and student teachers from the school. Another nice feature of this trip was the groups. EACH group had a chaperone. A lot of schools don’t have the manpower available to have a chaperone with each group. This time they did, and it was very nice. The overall vibe was subdued excitement. The kids were very attentive and all of them were able to hear and focus on the information being presented to them.

Ideally, each child is going to be healthy, awake and ready to learn. The reality though is sometimes kids don’t feel well. And sometimes when they don’t feel well, they ignore it because they don’t want to miss anything fun. When that happens, sometimes not feeling well makes itself known in other ways. Yep, I had my very first threw-up-in the Body Walk. Don’t worry. The kid felt MUCH better afterwards.

The reason I bring it up is because the lung station presenter handled it GREAT. While the group chaperone escorted the student to the nurse, the volunteer herded the kids outside the exhibit. She let me know what happened, and a new plan was devised.  The kids kept going through normally. When they finished the heart room, they came OUTSIDE and learned about their lungs. Then they got to use the ‘secret entrance’ to enter the bone station and finish the exhibit in the normal way. Thanks to everyone’s quick thinking, we didn’t get behind on the schedule, the kids still got the full experience, few of them knew a fellow classmate got sick, and everyone still had a good time. The teamwork was great to be a part of, and to see.

Kids learning about their lungs outside of the body.

Kids learning about their lungs outside of the body.

Every time Body Walk travels to a new place, the kids have questions. This time was no different. Some of the questions: “Is it scary?”  “Will we get a shot?”  “Will it hurt?”  The answer to all these is no. The best question was asked by a first grader. After the review, she wanted to know, ‘What’s next?” That’s the sign of a good experience, they want more.

The ‘more’ was the activity book the teacher received to use in the classroom that reinforced everything they learned in the exhibit.

Next up, Itawamba county.

 

Body Walk in Pearl Mississippi February 4, 2013

Welcome to the home of the Northside Elementary Pirates.

Welcome to the home of the Northside Elementary Pirates.

The last trip of 2012 was very nice. This trip was booked by Carol Ballard for Rankin county. Here I went to Northside Elementary in Pearl MS. We saw about 600 second and third graders. Helping us as station presenters were adult volunteers, the cheer squad, and allied health students. They all did a fantastic job.

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Part of the Allied Health class. They were great presenters, lots of energy.

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More Allied Health. Every question the younger kids asked, these students had an answer.

The cheer squad. Possibly, they are the dance squad. They are super helpful either way.

The cheer squad. Possibly, they are the dance squad. They are super helpful either way.

This was a very well-organized trip. Carol worked with Paula Beverly, the PE teacher. Ms. Beverly did a great job with scheduling the classes, so everything ran very smoothly. I especially liked her plan for organizing the shoes and activity books. I’ve mentioned in past blogs that the students have to move their shoes before they enter the Body Walk. Each school handles this in their own way. Some have the kids leave them in the bleachers, some have them lined up in rows on the gym floor (most used option), some have the teacher bring a laundry basket and each classes shoes go in one basket.  Here, Ms. Beverly had the kids remove the shoes and place them in a basket. Then, two of the cheer squad carried the shoes across the gym, and lined them up under a taped-up sign of the teachers name. Under this sign is where other volunteers stacked the activity books and stickers for the teachers to pick up. It was a very neat, organized, and quiet solution to shoe removal and retrieval.

Shoes nice and neat!

Shoes nice and neat!

Body Walk travels all over Mississippi. Therefore, I see a lot of elementary school cafeterias. All of them try to be cheerful and colorful. Some go beyond bright wall paint and posters though. This is one such school. Through murals, they are spreading a message of good health. It is one of the most delightful cafeterias I’ve seen.

Farmer mural. MyPlate. Childhood eating

I love this one. The farmer is growing vegetables that he can take from his wheelbarrow and put on his MyPlate.

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This one is lovely. Every day, put a rainbow on your plate and enjoy good health.

Growing good virtues.

Growing good virtues.

Body Walk bring a message of ‘being smart from the inside out’. The goal is that the children who tour the exhibit will internalize the message and they will make good choices for themselves. The habits they start in childhood will follow them to adulthood. What the program is doing is planting seeds. Hopefully, those seeds will grow over time, and we will see the result in the teenagers and adults of the future. Once in a long while though, we see the result in real-time. On the last day, the school nurse came in to tell Carol, Ms. Beverly, and me what had just happened. She works with a second grade boy who is diabetic. Every day, they talk about what he had for breakfast and what he will have for lunch. This day, he had a choice between fries and grapes. He picked grapes. When she asked him why (he’s a kid, kids LOVE fries and he had picked fries every time in the past) he said, ‘I saw how much sugar is in fries. I don’t want to eat that.’

Picture four grown women jumping up and down and cheering.

While he got confused on sugar and fat, (we have a test tube model to show sugar in common foods, and later, a test tube model showing the amount of fat in french fries), the important thing is HE CHOSE GRAPES. This boy got the message and applied it to HIS life. He made a new choice based on what he learned in the Body Walk.

There is no better way to wrap the year than that. Next up, 2013 and a new year of Body Walk travels.