How do we as a community bring about positive change? When the goal is healthier communities, then honest and timely conversation between concerned citizens, health professionals and law makers is essential. That’s why the BLEND team will be attending the Heart on the Hill event on March 7, to advocate for public policies that will help improve the health of all Americans.
Heart on the Hill is an event sponsored by the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association committed to addressing Minnesota Public Policies that include preventing and reducing childhood obesity.
Prevent and Reduce Childhood Obesity
- Improve the availability of healthy foods in Minnesota’s schools and reduce availability of unhealthy foods. Lay groundwork for stricter standards for competitive foods.
- Increase the opportunity for children to be physically active before, during and after the school day. Support state bonding initiative to fund State Safe Routes to School program.
At the Heart on the Hill event, BLEND will have a chance to visit with legislators and encourage their support of a $3 million initiative for the state Safe Routes to School program. Minnesota’s Safe Routes to School program, administered by Mn/DOT, provides grants to school districts and local units of government totaling about $1.5 million/year. The program is funded as part of the federal transportation allocation to Minnesota. The Safe Routes to School program seeks to increase physical activity among school children and decrease transportation costs.
BLEND encourages school districts, cities, counties and other supporters of Safe Routes to School to pass a Resolution of Support. Please print and sign the Resolution of Support document today and send back to us!
Need a fun and healthy way to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your family? We have an idea that your kids will love, as they get to help plan and prepare a meal that is both memorable and healthy. Chances are your kids will ask to do this again next year. What is a Heart Healthy Valentine Meal exactly?
Your challenge is to create an entire meal of red, pink and white food items. We encourage you to let your kids use their creativity, as well as use this as an opportunity to try new foods. Here are some ideas to get your started:
Red apples, craisins, tomatoes, and feta cheese are perfect salad ingredients over red leaf lettuce and cabbage varieties. A balsamic vinaigrette will be pink. While not in the color scheme, two cashews facing each other will form a heart on the top of each salad.
White fish or chicken will work well, and the fillets can be topped with a red pepper or paprika heart. You can even surprise everyone with an edible flowers on top the meat; here’s a list from the U of M on edible flowers available in Minnesota.
Red potatoes with skins on, parsnips, and rutabagas work for vegetables, while strawberries and yogurt will work for perfect dessert or drink ingredients.
If you have some fun ideas to add to this list, please share them in the comments section. We’d love to hear about your Heart Healthy Meal! Make sure to take a picture of your creation and post it to our Facebook page!
The use of parks and trails in Central Minnesota is not limited to the warm months. Our parks and trails are used year-round. Walking, running, biking, cross-country skiing, skating, snowmobiling, sledding and horseback riding are just a few of the activities Minnesotans and our visiting guests enjoy during the winter. This is part of the reason we want to make sure you know about the Greater MN Regional Park and Trail Coalition and its importance all year.
The Greater Minnesota Regional Park and Trail Coalition has a new website, http://gmrptc.webs.com/ featuring information on how you can get involved, become a member, and learn about upcoming events.
Have you heard of GMRPT?
It stands for Greater MN Regional Park and Trail Coalition, and it consists of multiple entities with a vested interested in advocating for equal funding for Greater Minnesota. Specifically, GMRPT consists of rural cities, counties, townships, and agencies advocating for equal funding for regional parks and trails in Greater Minnesota to better serve all Minnesotans. With 67% of all outdoor recreation hours happening within 30 minutes of your home, Greater Minnesota provides close-to-home nature opportunities in regional parks and on regional trails. Currently, there are 128 Regional Parks (totaling 41,474 acres) and 35 Regional Trails (totaling 489 miles) all administered by Greater Minnesota cities and counties.
Why BLEND Supports GMRPT?
Research has indicated there is a direct link between nature and health. Nature provides an hour-to-hour opportunity for physical activity. Nature is also important to a child’s development in every way, including intellectually, emotionally, socially, spiritually, and physically. Greater MN Regional Park and Trail agencies provide these types of facilities close to home where individuals, families, and youth can easily access these benefits.
The Park and Trail Legacy Fund, which is funded by revenue coming from a stateside sales tax, appropriate funds among three entities to make improvements to our park and trail systems: Metro Parks, DNR, and Greater MN Regional. Unfortunately, Greater MN receives disproportionate and non-exclusive funding; competing with Metro Parks and DNR for these funds. The GMRPT has come together to speak with one clear voice for equal and exclusive funding for regional parks and trails throughout Greater MN. Without proper allocations of these funds, Greater MN will not be able to acquire, develop, maintain, and restore regional parks and trails.
How Can You Help?
Contact your MN State Representative and Senator and ask them to support equal and exclusive funding for Greater Minnesota Parks and Trails. Sign up for our newsletter (at right) and we’ll include you on breaking news and action items where and when your help is needed most. Print this GMRPT handout, post it at your office and school, and share it with friends and neighbors to help us spread the word and get more people involved. We also encourage you to visit the new Greater Minnesota Regional Park and Trail Coalition website.
Don’t let our first big snow fall keep you cooped up inside. Find ways to get out and enjoy the winter and get some fresh air and exercise! Here are ten ideas to entertain your kids and keep you moving when the snow flies.
- Snow Painting: Fill a spray bottle with colored water and let kids paint a colorful landscape in the snow.
- Snow fort: Kids love to build forts. Instead of building one inside, let them use the snow and shovel to create a fort, wall of snow, or other creative structure. (For safety, never hollow out an existing pile of snow.)
- Snowball shot put: Create a target or measure distance, and then start throwing snowballs to see who is more accurate or can throw the farthest.
- Snow angels: Remember making snow angels? Teach your kids how to lay down in the snow and make an angel, but don’t stop at just one.
- Snow mazes: After a fresh snowfall, use a shovel to create a fun maze on your driveway or sidewalk for kids to walk or run. A game of tag is fun when you have to find a new route to run, but can’t step into the snow.
- Ice golf or croquet: Don’t put away the summer games, but instead use them for a completely new and interesting winter form of mini-golf or croquet. Use the snow to built obstacles, and hollow out holes for the ball to sink into.
- Snow village: While building snowmen are fun, don’t let that limit you. Build an entire village of snow creatures and sculptures. Let your kids’ imaginations soar. Be sure to take pictures and share them on our Facebook page!
- Snowman sledding: Build a snowman inside of your sled, then see whose snowman is still standing after you give the sled a push down the hill. Kids will love racing their snowmen either down a hill or pushing/pulling a sled.
- Don’t forget Fido: Your dog wants exercise too. Take your dog for a walk in the snow.
- Snow Play Dough: Get out the fun shapes, measuring cups, and other tools usually reserved for play dough. Cookie cutters and molds will work great with snow too.
Do you have fun outside activity for wintertime? Please share in the comments below!
If playing in the snow, getting out of the house, and enjoying some new family activities sound fun, then mark your calendar and plan to participate in The Plaza Park Bank Family Snow Games, on February 11, 2012. This event is part of the Bernick’s Family Fitness Series aimed at improving the health and wellness of our community. Sponsored by Bernick’s and other local organizations, the YMCA hosts all upcoming events that are part of the Bernick’s Family Fitness Series. Through a series of fun, educational, and activity-based seasonal events, the Bernick’s Family Fitness Series is family-friendly and following the YMCA’s mission of inclusiveness, every family will have equal opportunity to participate. Your kids will be excited to learn new skills and enjoy activities like snow shoeing, sledding, and cross-country skiing.
For more information on The Plaza Park Bank Family Snow Games and other events included in the Bernick’s Family Fitness Series, visit the official website and registration page.
The first 300 to register get a free, long-sleeve shirt, so register your family today!