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MSU on the Move to offer healthy alternatives

August 29, 2012


The Health Education and Wellness department at Mississippi State University is helping members of both campus and community jump start a healthier lifestyle.

As a part of the MSU on the Move health program, registered dietician Mandy Conrad, along with members of the Student Dietetic Association, will show Starkville students and residents simple, healthy recipes for beginning or maintaining a healthy diet Wednesday with a free cooking demonstration at the Starkville Sportsplex.

Conrad said MSU on the Move, which saw over 600 participants take a preliminary health screening, is a self-initiated program geared toward creating a healthier culture at the university.

“We’re providing resources to help them get healthier,” she said. “While our efforts are focused on campus, we wanted to provide for the community as well.”

Conrad said she is excited about the first cooking demonstration, one of many in a planned series occurring throughout the semester, and encourages students and residents not to become overwhelmed when starting a healthier diet.

“I hear students all the time say that they don’t have the time or the money to cook for themselves,” she said. “What we’re providing are easy, healthy recipes they can prepare whether it is in a dorm room or apartment.”

Conrad, who has been with the Longest Student Health Center for three and a half years, said food preparation is an important component in jumpstarting a healthier lifestyle, and, in many cases, people simply do not know where to begin.

“There’s so much information that it can be overwhelming to know where to start with healthy eating,” she said. “Sometimes, you just have to get the ball rolling with simple things.”

Part of the demonstration will focus on “The Plate Method,” an effective method of eating that focuses on portion control and healthier food choices.
Step 1: Put a line down the middle of the plate. On one side, cut the half in two so that there are three sections on the plate.
Step 2: Fill the largest section with non-starchy vegetables. (Ex: spinach, carrots, leafy greens, green beans, broccoli, mushrooms, etc.)
Step 3: Serve starch foods in one of the small sections of the plate. (Ex: whole grain breads, rice, pasta, corn, potatoes, etc.)
Step 4: In the other small section, serve meat or meat substitutes. (Ex: skinless chicken or turkey, fish, seafood, lean beef and pork, eggs, tofu, etc.)
Step 5: Additionally, add an 8 oz. glass of non-fat or low-fat milk. If milk is not served, have another small serving of carbs, like a small yogurt or small roll. A piece of fresh fruit for 1/2 cup of fresh fruit salad may be substituted.

Conrad said the recipes being demonstrated are not only healthy, but allow the cook to know exactly what is going into the dish and provide the ability to customize as he or she sees fit.

“You know what is in it and you can be in control,” she said. “It’s easier when you are in control and not the mercy of what is on the shelf.”

Conrad and members of the SDA will present their cooking demonstration from 1-2 p.m. Wednesday in the Starkville Sportsplex’s activity room.

For more information, visit

Green Beans with Cranberries and Walnuts
(Recipe courtesy of

16 oz. frozen green beans
1/2 tsp. canola oil
1/4 cup fresh cranberries, chopped
2 Tbs. walnuts, chopped
1 tsp. honey

Place green beans in a medium-sized bowl or casserole dish and microwave on high until heated and tender, about six minutes. Meanwhile, heat a small, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. Cook the cranberries and walnuts briefly until cranberries are tender and walnuts are toasted. Toss in the green beans and honey. Serve hot.

Kim’s Homemade Salad Dressing

1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/4 cup white vinegar
3/4 cup canola oil
cracked pepper

Combine in a jar and shake.

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