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What's Happening in the Biomedical Sciences Department

Helping Athletes “Beet” the Competition

Dietetics student, Hailey Rausch, developed a winning beet salsa recipe.

This spring, in our BMS 430 “Training Table Recipe Contest,” we have another great winner.  Hailey Rausch, dietetics major from Lee’s Summit, MO, developed a delicious recipe using beets.  Beets have been proven to be ergogenic and improve performance in an endurance athlete, due to their nitrate content.  They’re also recommended for individuals trying to lower blood pressure.  While  beets are recommended by dietitians, some find it hard to incorporate them into meal plans, as they are not sure how to prepare them.  Hailey developed this salsa recipe and it was a hit with everyone in the class.

Beet Salsa

This salsa is high in carbohydrates and low in calories.  The beet salsa can be eaten as a meal on top of grilled chicken, as a snack with crackers or pita bread, or even by itself.


2 medium red beets (1 cup)

2 medium golden beets (1 cup)

1 tart apple

½ cup chopped cilantro

¼ cup shallots

1 jalapeño pepper

1 lime, juiced

1 ½ tsp olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste


 Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove the leafy green tops from the beetroots and discard. Peel beets, place beets on foil, drizzle olive oil over beets, lightly salt and pepper. Close foil and roast in oven for 40.-60 minutes until tender. Let beets cool, then cut into a small dice and place in a bowl.  Dice apple, chop cilantro, then add finely diced shallots and jalapeño. Combine all ingredients. Drizzle lime juice over salsa. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Nutrition Information:

Servings: 3

Per Serving:    In an approximate one cup serving, 112 calories, 2g fat, 2g protein, 22g carbohydrates, 4g fiber

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Dietetics Students Go Local in El Salvador

The 2017 Missouri State Dietetics Team with our Convoy of Hope hosts and representatives of the Ministry of Education and Atiquizaya school teachers. MSU students L-R: Aubrey Snedeker, Kristen Keeney, Maggie Goss, Mesha Jones, Jaime Gnau, and Caroline Finnell. Edith Rios (2nd from left) and Winny Menendez (2nd from right) were our Convoy of Hope hosts.

Six dietetics students from the undergraduate program at Missouri State spent their spring break in the beautiful Central American country of El Salvador with their host, Convoy of Hope.  Their mission was to learn about malnutrition in the small country and what is being done about it and who is helping.  Convoy of Hope has worked in El Salvador for 10 years working to improve the nutritional status of children and families.  Students saw firsthand Convoy’s efforts in the private and public schools with their feeding programs and also got a chance to help take anthropometric measurements – in this case, height and weight – which are used to help determine and track students nutritional status and serve the students their meal or snack.

Traveling throughout the western region of El Salvador, students also visited CENTA – which is the Salvadoran version of our USDA and Extension Offices – where they saw agricultural professionals and food technologists working to improve crops and help farmers and families grow and preserve foods.  The World Food Program, the Food and Agriculture Organization, and the Ministry of Education are working together to provide local purchase programs for schools, in addition to school gardens where not only do the students get some of their food, but also learn from the gardens.  One innovative teacher uses the garden to teach basic geometry, plus have some fun in the sun and garden.  We visited several schools and saw a variety of elements of their sustainable schools model.

We also saw Convoy’s work with “Empowered Girls and Women”, and “Mother’s Clubs” where they work with girls and women to learn job skills and advance their education.  Small loans are even provided to open their own businesses.  We were able to see some of the business opportunities, too.  As this was our ninth trip to El Salvador, favorites are always the “Pounds of Love” program, which is similar to our WIC, and the visit to Love Links, a home for malnourished infants.  What a great trip we had!  We look forward to next year!

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Cupcake Wars

The Student Dietetic Association hosted a fun event, Cupcake Wars.  Students randomly drew ingredients and had to incorporate them into a flavorful cupcake.  Faculty and their families judged the cupcakes for appearance, flavor, creativity and overall presentation.  The event was a wonderful success and we had all kinds of luscious cupcakes, including flavors such as banana and Greek yogurt, apricot, strawberry coconut, and carrot.

We encourage all dietetics students to get involved in SDA, where they are sure to make new friends and learn more about the field of dietetics.  Learn more information here.


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Interprofessional Learning

The Biomedical Sciences Department is committed to helping our students become the best professional practitioners they can be.  One area where we are helping our students grow is in understanding the different roles of healthcare providers on a medical team.

In Fall 2017, the dietetics program and students in BMS 536 partnered with undergraduate social work students and graduate occupational therapy students at MSU to learn more about interprofessionalism.  Working together virtually, our students used a shared case study to learn the focus of each health care provider and how to help the fictional patient.  Overall, the project with a great success.  100% of dietetics students surveyed stated they now know more about working on a medical team and better understand the role of other healthcare providers in helping patients in a clinical setting.

See the video below for more information on this wonderful project.



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Part 2: Health Services Undergraduate Program

Check out more information from current Health Services students on this wonderful new degree program.

HS 3“I think Missouri State’s Health Services/Clinical Services degree program is a great option for anyone looking to get into healthcare. I especially appreciate that the bulk of the coursework can be completed off-campus, so it’s a great program for current healthcare professionals who may be looking to branch out or change fields. After graduation, I plan to pursue employment with the VA system.” – Alan Ramsey, current Health Services student, is shown displaying one of his favorite projects








HS 4“Going into the Health Service Degree program, I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into. I knew it had a lot of my prerequisite classes for my Physical Therapy Graduate program already built into it, which is why I choose it, but I never would have guessed how much I have learned! Through this degree, I have become experienced with how to approach patients, both domestic and foreign, with respect, dignity and honesty to their culture, religion, etc. The courses within the program have shown me how incredible the human body truly is, with its intricate functions and processes, and has given me perspective on health issues around the globe. This major is one full of challenges to your understanding of current health care systems and allows you to think of ways in which to improve upon it!” – Emily Calovich, current Health Services student


For more information on the major, check out this link.  Hillary Mayes, faculty advisor for the program, can be contacted at hillarymayes@missouristate.edu

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Part 1: Learn More About Health Services Undergraduate Program

Developed in 2013, Health Services is a relatively new major offered on campus.  Students in this degree program work in a variety of healthcare settings, after they’ve earned a Bachelor of Science in Health Services.  For more information on the major, check out this link.  Hillary Mayes, faculty advisor for the program, can be contacted at hillarymayes@missouristate.edu.  See what our students are saying about Health Services and learn more about this great new opportunity!


HS 1Kimberly Otradovec, pictured on the Tooth Truck, teaching children about the tools used to help keep their teeth clean. She is currently working towards her Bachelor’s degree in Health Services.

“I use, and will continue to use, my degree to help educate others on the importance of good oral hygiene, and the medical issues involved therein.  I have truly appreciated the program at MSU because the information being taught is very relevant to the problems and fixes in the medical and health care fields.” – Kimberly Otradover, current Health Services student





HS 2“I love how flexible the Health Services degree is. It allows you to work while in school and does not restrict you when it comes to the endless amount of possible future careers you could have. I plan on becoming a Clinical Research Coordinator once I graduate.” – Alyssa Corley, current Health Services student


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Holiday Survival Guide

This post, Holiday Survival Guide, was written by Mary Chiles, a graduate assistant in the Office of Web and New Media and re-posted with permission.

The holidays can be a time of joy and happiness as you relax around a brightly lit Christmas tree. You’ve bought perfect presents and toiled selflessly over homemade candies. You can’t wait to drive six hours to Ames to enjoy drinking egg nog and catching up with your beloved brother and his wonderful little angels, age 4 and 7.

If this isn’t your family, read on for ideas about dealing with seasonal stress with a spoonful of encouragement from Mary Poppins.

Let’s go fly a kite: schedule activities

christmas-themed coloring books
Bring coloring books and markers to your next family dinner to keep kids (and adults) occupied.

You may not like spending time with your relatives. Whether due to differing political beliefs or child-rearing practices, it can be hard to stay calm around people who have known you the longest – and know how to push your buttons. Char Berquist, director of the Center for Dispute Resolution, offers some tips on keeping the peace by adjusting expectations and scheduling activities for kids.

“Expert Provides Tips on Handling Holiday Conflict” Missouri State Journal Dr. Char Berquist

Audio Player


The job’s a game: managing stress

students pet a puppy to relieve stress during finals week
Spending time with a furry friend can help reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.

In addition to family dynamics, buying gifts and traveling can contribute to holiday tension. While it’s common to feel frazzled during this time, some know how to handle pressure better than others. Rhonda Lesley, director of the Counseling Center, explains why how you think about stress influences how you react to it:

“Some students have very full lives, but they are able to manage pressures well, partly because they choose to think optimistic/hopeful thoughts about their situation:

‘I have so many demands, and they will be winding down soon…I’m so busy and don’t feel I can keep up, but I love everything I’m involved in and I will somehow get it all done…I will make it…I know how to cope well…’  A different student with the same situation might think in more distorted ways:  ‘I have so many demands, and they’re going to ruin me…I’m so busy, and there’s no way out of this…I can’t do this…I’ll never be able to cope…”

Lesley also says that those who think optimistically will likely follow through on using good coping skills, while those who feel defeated by stress may respond negatively or even give up. She recommends healthy approaches like walks, time with friends, exercising, and intentional relaxation methods like deep breathing. Spending time with pets can also be soothing. The Counseling Center website includes links to additional helpful resources for anxiety and stress management.

Practically perfect in every way: reduce social media usage

students build snowman
Instead of scrolling status updates, use social media to make plans to get together with friends.

Social media can be another source of anxiety during the holidays. We want to check in with friends and see pictures of their kids, but idealized images of so-called perfect lives can contribute to negative feelings about ourselves. Checking social media too often can even contribute to feelings of depression. The most common effect could be the fear of missing out, or FOMO. Combat those feelings by using social media to schedule fun with friends. Besides, if your high school teammate’s life looks a little too much like a sappy diamond engagement ring ad, consider this.

Just a spoonful of sugar: eat healthily for better energy

Try layering tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and basil for an easy and delicious appetizer.

Diet can also affect stress management, and it can be hard to eat well when surrounded by piles of fudge and sugar cookies. While indulging is fun, a poor diet can cause lethargy at a time when you need stable blood sugar levels and lots of energy. Still, you know you shouldn’t live on peanut brittle for three days, but what to do when it’s right in front of you?

We reached out to Natalie Allen, dietetics instructor in the Biomedical Sciences Department, for help. She offered these tips for maintaining weight over the holidays, and a healthy recipe to get started:

  • Don’t skip meals and “save up” for the evening party. Instead, eat a balanced breakfast and lunch, and you’ll be less likely to binge on unhealthy party foods that evening.
  • Bring a healthy treat to the party so you know you’ll have at least one choice to eat.
  • Healthy, fun treats for a holiday party include: fruit kebabs (green grapes and red strawberries are festive at the holidays), veggie tray, hummus and pretzel thins, or black bean salsa and baked tortilla chips.
  • Drink water during the day. It’s easy to neglect healthy drinks when it’s not as hot outside, but water (try fruit flavored) is essential to good health.
  • Make it your goal to maintain, not lose weight, over the holidays. Be realistic -treats abound – and allow yourself a few splurges.
  • Track your steps. We tend to be more sedentary in the winter. By tracking your steps, you’ll be more likely to move and burn calories.
  • Watch alcoholic drinks because the calories add up fast.
  • Watch portions. Enjoy your favorite snacks, treats, cookies and appetizers … but in moderation.

Quite satisfactory: a recipe to get started

closeup of popcorn
Photo credit: Natalie Allen

This crunchy snack is a crowd-pleaser as it’s both salty and sweet. Hands-down, this recipe is everyone’s favorite at my house, especially among kids.  I often bring  kettle corn to holiday parties and it’s a huge hit.

Homemade Kettle Corn

Recipe Source:  Adapted from allrecipes.com

  • ¼ cup oil (canola works well)
  • ½ cup popcorn, unpopped
  • ¼ cup white sugar

Turn stovetop burner to medium/high heat.  Place heavy skillet on burner, add oil and 3 popcorn kernels.  Cover with lid and wait for those 3 kernels to pop.  Remove lid and add rest of popcorn, sprinkle evenly with sugar.  Put lid back on skillet.  Wearing an oven mitt, lift and shake the skillet occasionally over the next 2-3 minutes, to prevent the popcorn from burning.  Popcorn is done when popping slows, so time will vary.  Remove from heat and sprinkle with salt, as desired.

Makes approximately 8 cups popped kettle corn

Nutrition info per serving (1 cup):  85 calories, 7 grams fat

“The more you laugh
The more you fill with glee
And the more the glee
The more we’re a merrier we”

–  Mary Poppins

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Eating to Win: Honey Ranch Chicken Wraps

Hands-down, we had a favorite in our annual BMS 430 Sports Nutrition “Training Table Potluck.”  The Honey Ranch Chicken Wrap, developed by student Fatima Washington, was the winner of “best recipe” for the majority of students.  This wrap is an excellent combination of meat, grains, and vegetables–a delicious, nutritious choice!   



The Honey Ranch Chicken makes a great post-workout meal for just about any athlete looking for something wholesome, healthy, and easy-to-make. One serving provides an athlete with carbs, protein, fat, and fiber for satiety. In addition, essential vitamins that play a role in tissue repair and protection against oxidative stress from strenuous exercise, are also plentiful in this recipe .


1 whole wheat tortilla

¼ cup diced onions

¼ cup diced green peppers

¼ cup diced carrots

½ cup chopped spinach

2 tbsp. Low fat Mexican Shredded Cheese

3 oz. cubed skinless chicken breast

1-2 tbsp. pure honey

2-4 tbsp. light ranch dressing

1-2 tbsp. canola oil


Pour 1-2 tbsp. of canola oil in skillet, add diced onions with raw chicken. Season chicken with salt and black pepper to taste, and cook on med high heat for 6-12 min until chicken is golden brown. Using a small mixing bowl, mix 2-4 tbsp. of light ranch, with 1-2 tbsp. of honey and set aside. Next, add all veggies to the skillet and continue sautéing ingredients together on med-high heat for 3-5 minutes. Using a separate skillet, lightly spray with canola oil and place tortilla on med-low heat just enough to warm, then remove from heat. Put tortilla on a clean plate, add cooked veggies and chicken. Sprinkle 2 tbsp. of shredded cheese, pour honey ranch sauce on top, wrap tortilla and enjoy!

Nutrition information:

Serving size: 1 chicken wrap

Per serving: 486 calories, 14 g fat, 58.3 g carbohydrates, 8 g fiber, 36.7 g protein


 Original recipe created by: Fatima Washington


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