Mississippi BodyWalk Blog

being smart from the inside out

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.



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!




Body Walk in Stone County

In late February, Body Walk traveled to Stone County. Here, Brad Jones booked the exhibit for his county. We saw kids at two locations,  Stone Elementary School and Perkinson Elementary. We saw K-5th at both locations. This was a long trip, taking most of the week to see over 1100 kids. We had great help at both locations. Brad had plenty of volunteers lined up at both locations so the set-ups and take downs went very smoothly.

Some of our volunteers were nursing students. The elementary kids loved learning about their body and how to keep it healthy. They enjoyed the lively and high energy delivery from the station presenters.  The volunteers told them a great breakfast makes for a great day. To much sugar can lead to tooth decay. Stomachs are happiest when fed nutritious food in the proper portions. Intestines and kidneys love water. Hearts work hard so should you. Lungs want CLEAN air, no smoking! Bones and muscles work well together. Lastly, skin works best when clean, so wash your hands!

There was more to each message of course. The presenters had five minutes with each group to teach the lessons of the Body Walk.

Great volunteers make for a great experience.

Great volunteers

Great volunteers


Enthusiastic volunteers


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!


MOHCA–February is Oral Health Month February 8, 2013

This past Wednesday, I was invited by Gennette Robinson, MSDH/Oral Health Division,  to a learning lunch hosted by the Tombigbee Regional Chapter of MOHCA, the Mississippi Oral Health Community Alliance. Their mission is:

  • offer a comprehensive approach to improve the oral health status for Mississippians by serving as an advocate for optimal oral health
  • mobilize community partnerships between and among policy makers, state agencies, professionals, organizations, the public and other groups that are interested in improving oral health
  • develop plans and policies that improve oral health through a collaborative process; and
  • establish an oral health services infrastructure that assures the protection, promotion and provision of oral health care for all Mississippians.

The guest speaker at the lunch was Dr. Mary Huxford, a Pediatric Dentist. I really enjoyed hearing her speak and I learned a lot about children’s oral hygiene.

Dr. Huxford (in pink) explaining when children should see a dentist.

Dr. Huxford (in pink) explaining when children should see a dentist.

For example, in Body Walk, we teach children they should brush twice a day and floss. Our age group is K-5th grade. I learned that if our younger visitors, Kindergarten for example, are not able to tie their shoes yet, then their parents should still be helping them brush their teeth. This reason for this is shoe-tying is a fine motor skill. If a child has not mastered this skill, than he or she does not have the fine motor control to properly brush their teeth.

I also learned many reasons why young children might develop cavities. They are drinking to many sugar sweetened drinks, or too much juice. Even 100% fruit juice has fruit sugars in it. The recommenced daily amount for children who are still taking a bottle or sippy cup is 4 oz. Young children don’t brush and floss enough or properly. Parents should start wiping children’s teeth as soon as they have teeth.  A finger wrapped in a washcloth can be used to wipe out a child’s mouth. Another reason very young children might have cavities that become big problems is children don’t see the dentist early enough. Children as young as one should see a dentist.

MOCHA is promoting a Healthy Smile Campaign.  2×2=A Healthy Smile.  They want everyone to brush two times a day for two minutes each time. This is a great message and one that fits in well with the lessons in the mouth station of the Body Walk.  The script for Body Walk has children practice tooth brushing by using giant toothbrushes to brush teeth stools. They practice flossing by flossing between the teeth stools. The volunteer reading the script guides them in those activities and tells the children how often to brush and how to brush. The mouth station also has a prop called Mr. Gross Mouth so the children can see what happens when they never brush their teeth. Our goal is to get children to start (or continue) the healthy habit of brushing and flossing.

A presenter holding Mr. Gross Mouth while Cali M. Bone shows off her clean teeth.

A presenter holding Mr. Gross Mouth while Calci M. Bone shows off her clean teeth.

Proper brushing is essential to keeping a bright smile for life.

Proper brushing is essential to keeping a bright smile for life.

Going to the meeting was very educational. I am happy to work with others to expand our message and create healthier lives for Mississippi’s children.



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.


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


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.


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.