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.

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.

 

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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.

 

Body Walk UPGRADED March 8, 2013

Last post I promised you a BIG surprise.

Body Walk has been UPGRADED with NEW parts. This has been a long time coming. Last summer, I started the process of applying for a grant to get money to upgrade the Body Walk exhibit. All that hard work paid off and now the exhibit is much improved.  Body Walk has a new brain dome, new pop-up tents, new esophagus, new totes, new teeth bags, a new entrance for the mouth station, and two new bags.

The exhibit started traveling in 2005. Since then, minor things have been periodically upgraded such as food props, scripts and flip charts, and the back wall to the stomach when the USDA changed the food logo from MyPyramid to MyPlate. No major structural components had been upgraded. All the tents, frames and totes were the same. The exhibit travels nine months a year, being set up and taken down on average five times a month. Things eventually wear out.

Thus, new stuff! First up, the new brain dome. Our old one was an aluminum frame. Over time, all the buttons had stopped working as a way of holding the poles together. The structure was not as stable as it could be. The inside fabric was nylon, and the outside fabric was a heavy, non-breathable vinyl. The new brain dome has a super-steady frame of hollow aluminum poles. The fabric is not vinyl. It is lightweight, breathable, and machine washable! The outside and inside fabrics zip together so that the frame is completely hidden, adding to the illusion the students have entered a giant body for their trip.  The new fabric is very easy to work with and the inside graphics are fantastically done.

New brain dome and Sir Rebrum

New brain dome and Sir Rebrum

Frame and Grey matter

Frame and Grey matter from the outside.

Grey matter from the inside.

Grey matter from the inside.

The majority of the exhibit is made from pop-up tents. Each tent is a station. The tents are covered in printed vinyl walls and strapped together to form the ‘body’ the students travel through. The old tents were difficult to set up as they were missing screws, or parts had broken off, or in one case, were finally being held together with duct tape. No more. The new tents all go up smoothly. They are a breeze to set up and take down, with almost no effort. They are all true in shape, giving the exhibit a beautiful symmetry.

The exhibit seen from above.

The exhibit seen from above.

One of the critical parts of the exhibit is the esophagus. This is a metal frame with a fabric lining that sits between the mouth and stomach. Just as your real esophagus is the tunnel food takes in your body, our fake esophagus is the tunnel our nutrients (students) take from one station to the next.  The new one is very easy to put together and it looks great.

Tunnel between stations.

Tunnel between stations.

One of the most often photographed parts of the Body Walk is the entrance to the mouth. This is the part that is very colorful, has the name of the exhibit right on it, and is the part most easily recognized. The old entrance was made of three large aluminum pieces that were covered with a vinyl front that was attached with hook and loop tape. The new one is a very sturdy aluminum frame of many pieces that quickly join together. The whole thing is then encased in a fabric panel that zips shut. As with the brain, the frame is hidden, adding to the beauty and clean look of the exhibit. Wonderfully, this fabric is also machine washable.

The new entrance with the props for the mouth station.

The new entrance with the props for the mouth station.

New entrance with the tongue and teeth stools. Through the mouth, the stomach is visible.

New entrance with the tongue and teeth stools. Through the mouth, the stomach is visible.

This upgrade also included all new bags for the teeth stools and new totes to house all the scripts and props.

Teeth bags!

Teeth bags!

Fresh new blue totes to replace the old grey ones.

Fresh new blue totes to replace the old grey ones.

You may be wondering what happened to all the old stuff? It was recycled. There is a great recycling center in Starkville, home to Mississippi State University and the Body Walk. They were happy to give new life to the aluminum, canvas and plastic.

Pile of old frames from the brain, esophagus, and mouth entrance.

Pile of old frames from the brain, esophagus, and mouth entrance.

Frames loaded and headed to recycling center.

Frames loaded and headed to recycling center.

The new exhibit has been to three counties so far. The students are thrilled to come in to their gym and see the exhibit waiting on them. I have heard several gasp in surprise and delight as they make their way into the brain station. They love how realistic (but not gross) it looks. I love how well everything is traveling, and how easy it is to use. I am thrilled with the improvements.

Next up, Body Walk on the road again.

 

 

 

Body Walk in Fulton Mississippi February 8, 2013

The last trip of January was to Itawamba county. Marie Rogers booked this trip for her county. I have been here several times before. It is always a good experience. Usually, the football team from Itawamba Community College helps with the set up. They were on hand and they did a great job. When there is A LOT of help with the set up, sometimes it is hard to organize, or have everyone listening when they need to. Not a problem this trip. The men had excellent listening and teamwork skills. We had the truck unloaded, and the whole thing set up in under an hour.

The next day, 300 third graders came to see the exhibit. We saw kids from five schools, Itawamba Attendance Center, Dorsey, Mantachie, Tremont, and Fairview. Our volunteers were allied health students and nursing students. They all did a great job making the material come to life for the students. The Allied health students gave out bookmarks, helped administer the quiz, and served at chaperones to the groups.  The nursing students were station presenters, led the kids in 10 minutes of dance while they waited their turn to tour, and were in charge of shoe wrangling.

Starting with the brain, because a healthy brain makes smart choices.

Starting with the brain, because a healthy brain makes smart choices.

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In the mouth they learn to brush twice a day and floss! How can you eat healthy food without teeth to chew it?

In the stomach, they learn about MyPlate. Half your plate should be fruits and vegetables!

In the stomach, they learn about MyPlate. Half your plate should be fruits and vegetables!

With intestines 22 ft long, it's a good thing they coil up so well in our bodies.

With intestines 22 ft long, it’s a good thing they coil up so well in our bodies.

Hardy Heart knows how to keep a heart healthy. Eat smart and play hard!

Hardy Heart knows how to keep a heart healthy. Eat smart and play hard!

Want healthy lungs for life? Don't smoke!

Want healthy lungs for life? Don’t smoke!

Everyone can have strong muscles. Use them- 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.

Everyone can have strong muscles. Use them- 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.

Keep your skin free of germs. Wash your hands often.

Keep your skin free of germs. Wash your hands often.

Allied Health

The Allied Health class.

Nursing students from ICC.

Nursing students from ICC.

The kids loved learning how to ‘be smart from the inside out’.  Everyone did a great job.

Next up, something different.

 

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 Magnolia MS

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.

 

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.