Who’s up for a Radish CRUNCH?

The first full week of October every year is Mississippi Farm to School Week. This year the Mississippi Farm to School Network continued to celebrate statewide with a Zoom Celebration featuring fun facts and tips about growing radishes in Mississippi, and speakers from the Mississippi Department of Education, Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce, as well as other local farm to institution promoters. The celebration culminated with a Radish CRUNCH – where everyone on the Zoom crunched a radish grown by a Mississippi Farmer.

Now Playing: School Lunch

October 12-16, 2020 was National School Lunch (NSLW) week. Even in this year of alternative school options, schools across Mississippi participated in NSLW with the theme of “Now Playing: School Lunch” to put the spotlight on the importance of a healthy school lunch in each child’s life.

According to the School Nutrition Association: “The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) serves nearly 30 million children every school day. President John F. Kennedy created National School Lunch Week (NSLW) in 1962 to promote the importance of a healthy school lunch in a child’s life and the impact it has inside and outside of the classroom. The COVID-19 pandemic has without a doubt shown just how incredibly important school meals are for students and their families.

During this annual weeklong celebration, SNA members and students around the country will find new ways to safely celebrate in their schools and districts with special menus, events, student activities and more. (https://schoolnutrition.org/meetings/events/nslw/2020/about/)

To see more pictures from this year’s National School Lunch Week celebrations, search the hashtag #NSLW

Take Action through the Action Alert Today!

There are three Academy Action Alerts open right now. Act today to support these nutrition related legislative issues, just click here to get started: https://www.eatrightpro.org/action-center . Don’t forget that there is now an option for non-members (and non-registered dietitians) to use these Action Alerts.

  • Please urge Congress to understand that access to healthy food and culturally-appropriate, medical nutrition therapy are key to managing diet-related diseases and reducing risk for COVID complications. Funding for these issues should be included funding for access to healthy food and MNT.
  • The National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education and The Academy have partnered to encourage Congress to provide $300 million in funding for minority serving institutions that would support allied health professions programs including nutrition and dietetics. In addition, we are requesting $10 million for nutrition and dietetics career outreach. Ask members of Congress to include this request in the FY21 appropriations bill though the Action Alert site.
  • Medical Nutrition Therapy Act of 2020 (H.R. 6971/S. 4504), introduced by Representatives Eliot Engel and Pete King and Senators Susan Collins and Gary Peters, would expand coverage of medical nutrition therapy (MNT) in Medicare Part B beyond diabetes and renal disease to include: Prediabetes, Obesity, Hypertension, Dyslipidemia, Malnutrition, Eating disorders, Cancer, Celiac disease, HIV/AIDS, and any disease related to unintentional weight loss. The MNT Act would also authorize nurse practitioners, physician assistants, clinical nurse specialists and psychologists to refer their patients for MNT. Ask your senator and representative to support this bill today!

Delegate Report

Happy October everyone,

I hope that you are all safe and well. I know this year has been such a different time for us and as we move forward into the holiday season, I wish you all some peace and find ways to incorporate delight into your life.

This month I had the pleasure of training with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (the Academy) to be a Table Facilitator Training for the Fall House of Delegates meeting. I feel that the training I received through this gave me many more organizer and moderator skills. Being able to use these skills in “real time” during the House of Delegates breakout sessions further enhanced my proficiency in these areas.

The Fall House of Delegates meeting took place earlier this month with a initial virtual meetup on October 15 and we wrapped up with some great steps to move forward on October 17th. The topic we covered was “A systems approach to accelerating Nutrition and Health Equity”. The Academy of Nutrition House of Delegates will continue to devote 2020-21 program year to dialog and actions addressing various aspects of nutrition and health equity. The House of Delegates and House Leadership Team understands that these concepts effect the Academy’s Communication/Advocacy, Grassroots Efforts/Community as well as Research.

I will send out a separate report as my full report on the Fall 2020 House of Delegates meeting.
As the MS-AND Delegate, I serve as your voice to the Academy. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. My email address is elle_west@yahoo.com.

Lydia West, MPH, RDN, LD, CC, Delegate
Mississippi Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Board Spotlight


Lydia West MPH, RND, LD, CC

City: Jackson, MS

Workplace: Healthy Regards, LLC

Position with MS-AND Board of Directors: Delegate to the Academy House of Delegates


Tell us what your position is responsible for, and what you like most about it:

I get to serve as a voice of MS-AND members to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. My role is also to help identify and develop solutions to some of the challenges facing the profession. I have two things that I like best about it: 1. getting to meet more of our MS-AND members and hearing their thoughts and concerns about our organizations and 2. meeting other RDNs and NDTRs around the whole world through the Academy’s House of Delegates.

What is your favorite hobby/pastime outside of work?

I love to (socially distance) visit with family and friends. One group of friends has decided to have (socially distance) theme parties based on the year each of our houses was built. Everyone dresses up in clothes from that era and the menu for the party has foods that were popular in that year.

What is your favorite place to visit in Mississippi and why?

There is NO WAY I can answer that question. I am so fortunate that my job takes me around the whole state. I love traveling the highways and country roads to learn more about our cities and towns and seeing all of the distinct landscapes. I say all the time that Mississippi is just one small town (it seems like we all know each other or are at only separated by a friend or two), but we have such a DIVERSE state.

Member Spotlight


Brittany Simmons RDN, LD, NBC-HWC, RYT 200

City: Long Beach, MS

Workplace: Brittany Simmons Whole Health, LLC

What do you like most about your position? 

This just happened! I left a career after 9 years to chase a new dream that has been right in front of me! It’s a huge leap of faith but once I opened my heart to the possibility of more than just “one day,” doors started flying open. I’m excited to see where my passion for eating healthy and yoga can take me. I’m happy to explore new opportunities like telehealth, yoga retreats, my own yoga studio, wellness festivals, and just building something unique to offer on the Coast. Most of these plans are still dreams but I’m confident they will come true!

What is your favorite hobby/pastime outside of work?

Outside of work, I love walking at the beach, finding a nice spot to practice yoga outdoors, but I also love reading mindless young adult books, and stealing my daughter’s arts and crafts projects for myself. She and I watch reruns of AFV because it’s still the best show ever. My husband and I are big kids and enjoy doing random stuff on a week night so life doesn’t become like Groundhog Day. I like going places and being around people. I’m like my weenie dogs that get way too excited when I’ve only been gone to the store 10 minutes and come back home like they haven’t seen me in days! Needless to say quarantine was difficult but it really put things into perspective and helped me to take this big step into my next chapter.

What is your favorite place to visit in Mississippi and why?

I’m not sure I have a favorite city in Mississippi. I used to travel the State for work and I have learned that even just 50 miles down the road, their culture may be completely different than mine. My favorite thing to do was ask the locals where they recommended eating for lunch. Now, you have to be careful asking for food advice in MS or you’re likely to get a response that will make you do a double take. I don’t eat meat so I would politely say, “I’m in the mood for some home-grown veggies. Where’s the best place I should go?” I enjoyed finding the downtown area and local park to walk or eat at a picnic table. My favorite though is the Coast. It really is something to experience. I’ve been back for 4 years now but I still feel new. It’s like I’m on vacation everyday. We are all riding our golf carts everywhere, hanging out and doing whatever our hearts desire while watching the sun sparkle on the water.