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On the Move to Better Health

Aimee Ellinger, 4-H/Youth Development and FCW Agent

Do you know how many servings of vegetables you should be getting every day? Can you draw what the USDA MyPlate looks like? Do you know the difference between fruit juice and whole fruits? If you need help answering any of these questions, just find an Ellendale Elementary School 4th grader and they can help you out. Mrs. Middlestead fourth grade class is currently participating in a program called “On the Move to Better Health.” The program is a five-week school-based curriculum. It is based on MyPlate; the current USDA icon for good nutrition. The MyPlate has replaced the food pyramid as the resource for nutrition. The curriculum aims to increase fruits, vegetables and calcium-rich foods in the diets of children and to improve fitness habits. Parents receive newsletters and participate in goal setting and other family-based activities. NDSU extension, along with statewide partners, work together to make this program available for youth across the state.

During the course of 5 weeks, students are learning about healthy habits and tracking their personal habits with the help of parents and teachers. Students focus on the main areas of the MyPlate and learn strategies such as:

● Make half your plate fruits and vegetables. ● Focus on whole fruits.   ● Vary your veggies. ● Make half your grains whole grains. ● Move to low-fat and fat-free milk or yogurt. ● Vary your protein routine. ● Drink and eat less sodium, saturated fat, and added sugars.

Students are also sent home with a weekly newsletter full of information to help families work toward healthier habits as well. The newsletter even contains a spot for families to set healthy goals together. Another feature the newsletter contains is weekly healthy recipes. Here is one of my favorites from the program.

10-11-18 PizzaCheesy Tortilla Minipizzas

4 6-inch whole-wheat tortillas
½ c. chunky-style medium salsa
½ c. reduced-fat mozzarella or Monterey Jack cheese
½ c. chopped green pepper
½ c. frozen corn kernels, thawed
¼ c. chopped onion
¼ c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 F. Place tortillas on a baking sheet. Bake for about seven minutes, until crisp. Remove from oven and top each tortilla with about 2 tablespoons of salsa and 2 tablespoons of cheese. Sprinkle with green pepper, corn and onion; top with cheddar cheese. Bake about five minutes, until cheese melts. Makes four servings. Each serving (one minipizza) has150 calories, 4 grams (g) fat, 20 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber and 100 milligrams calcium.

If you see any members of Mrs. Middlestead fourth grade class out and about, make sure to ask them about there “On the Move Journey.”

This will be my last news article with NDSU Extension, I have accepted a new position in Ortonville, Minnesota and will have already started by the time this article will be printed. I would like to thank you for welcoming me into your communities. I have truly enjoyed my time with Extension and Dickey County. I will miss my 4-H families and partners I have worked with in Dickey County.

Thank you again,
Aimee Ellinger

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