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Wellness Wisdom

I’m Peg Christenson, Registered Nutrition and Dietetic Technician, at Hutchinson Health with Wellness Wisdom. September is National Whole Grains Month. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that we make at least ½ of our grains whole grains. But what is a whole grain? Any why does it matter?

Whole grains are the entire seed of a plant and are made up of 3 edible parts; the bran, the germ, and the endosperm. Whole grains are either present in their whole form or ground into a flour while retaining all parts of the seed. So, whole grains are either single foods such as oatmeal, barley, brown and wild rice, popcorn, buckwheat, bulgur, millet, or ingredients in products, such as buckwheat in pancakes or whole wheat flour in bread.

Whole grain products are our body’s main source of energy and important sources of fiber, iron, B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate), protein, and minerals (selenium, potassium, and magnesium). Refined grains are grains that have had the bran and the germ removed, reducing protein content by 25% and other key nutrients. Grains are naturally high in fiber, helping you feel full and satisfied — which makes it easier to maintain a healthy body weight. Whole grains are also linked to a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers and other health problems. (

The Whole Grain Stamps make it easy for busy shoppers to identify products. The 100% Stamp is for products where all of the grain is whole grain. The 50% Stamp is for products where at least 50% of the grain is whole. The basic stamp is for products that contain a significant amount of whole grain but primarily contain refined grains. Each stamp also shows how many grams of whole grain are in a serving of the product. Some manufacturers still need to update product packaging with the new stamps.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that we make half or more of our grains whole grains. For everyone age 9 and up, this means eating 3 to 5 servings or more of whole grains every day.

1 Serving of whole grains =

         ½ cup cooked brown rice or other cooked grain

         ½ cup cooked 100% whole-grain pasta

         ½ cup cooked hot cereal, such as oatmeal

         1 ounce uncooked whole grain pasta, brown rice or other grain

         1 slice 100% whole grain bread

         1 very small (1 oz.) 100% whole grain muffin

         1 cup 100% whole grain ready-to-eat cereal


Make easy substitutions

         Switch half the white flour to whole wheat flour in your regular recipes for cookies, muffins, quick breads and pancakes. Or be bold and add up to 20% of another whole grain flour such as sorghum.

         Replace one third of the flour in a recipe with quick oats or old-fashioned oats.

         Add half a cup of cooked bulgur, wild rice, or barley to bread stuffing.

         Add half a cup of cooked wheat or rye berries, wild rice, brown rice, sorghum or barley to your favorite canned or home-made soup.

         Use whole corn meal for corn cakes, corn breads and corn muffins.

         Add three-quarters of a cup of uncooked oats for each pound of ground beef or turkey when you make meatballs, burgers or meatloaf.

         Stir a handful of rolled oats in your yogurt, for quick crunch with no cooking necessary.

Try New Foods

         Make risottos, pilafs and other rice-like dishes with whole grains such as barley, brown rice, bulgur, millet, quinoa or sorghum.

         Enjoy whole grain salads like tabbouleh.

         Buy whole grain pasta, or a blend that’s part whole-grain, part white.

         Try whole grain breads. Kids especially like whole grain pita bread.

         Look for cereals made with grains like Kamut®, kasha (buckwheat) or spelt.


Keep these whole grain basics in mind and set yourself up for healthier eating all day long!

Source used: and

PowerUp logo

Ways to Power Up in September

PowerUp logo

Kickin’ It for McLeod Kickball Tournament
10:30am, Saturday, September 7th
Roberts Park, Hutchinson

Power of Produce, free produce for children ages 3-12
Hutchinson Farmers Market
Wednesdays 2:30-5:30 & Saturdays 8-noon

$2 Tuesdays and Wheel and Cog Children’s Museum (reduced admission)
2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month (Sept 10th, 24th) 4-7pm

Hutchinson Community Running Group
Every Wednesday at 7pm starting at Library Square
Connect on Facebook for run updates

BikeHutch- Hutchinson Biking Group
Connect on Facebook for local rides and trail conditions

Check out disc golf at South Park. Disc Golf rentals available at Hutchinson PRCE

Luce Line Lace-up
September 14th
Pick your distance: 1 mile, 5k, 10k, or half marathon
Registration is open at

Power Up Action Team
September 16th, 2-3pm
Anyone who is passionate about improving the health of our community is welcome! For more information, contact Emma Schalow at

Jacob’s Way of Life 5K
Saturday, October 5th
10am, Dassel Rod and Gun Club
Connect with Jacob’s Way of Life on Facebook for more information

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

STwo guys talking, sitting on the edge of a lakeeptember is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month—a time to share resources, connecting with others, and work towards reducing stigma about suicide and mental illness.

Hutchinson Health and Meeker, McLeod, Sibley Community Health Services are a part of a local effort committed to change hearts and minds about the misconceptions about mental illnesses by encouraging open conversations and education on the topic. It’s time to spread the word, stop the silence and Make It OK.

Suicidal thoughts, much like mental health conditions, can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or background. In fact, suicide is often the result of an untreated mental health condition. Suicidal thoughts, although common, should not be considered normal and often indicate more serious issues.

Each year, more than 41,000 individuals die by suicide, leaving behind their friends and family members to navigate the tragedy of loss. In many cases, friends and families affected by a suicide loss (often called “suicide loss survivors”) are left in the dark. Too often the feelings of shame and stigma prevent them from talking openly.

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month—a time to share resources and stories in an effort to shed light on this highly taboo and stigmatized topic. We use this month to reach out to those affected by suicide, raise awareness and connect individuals with suicidal ideation to treatment services. It is also important to ensure that individuals, friends and families have access to the resources they need to discuss suicide prevention. NAMI is here to help.

Informational Resources

Know the Warning Signs and Risk of Suicide

Crisis Resources

If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call 911 immediately.

If you are in crisis or are experiencing difficult or suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273 TALK (8255)

If you’re uncomfortable talking on the phone, you can also text NAMI to 741-741 to be connected to a free, trained crisis counselor on the Crisis Text Line.

Awareness Resources

Help promote awareness by sharing images and graphics on your website and social media accounts. Use #SuicidePrevention or #StigmaFree or #MakeItOK

While suicide prevention is important to address year-round, Suicide Prevention Awareness Month provides a dedicated time to come together with collective passion and strength around a difficult topic. The truth is, we can all benefit from honest conversations about mental health conditions and suicide, because just one conversation can change a life.

Source: NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)

Local Resources

If you or a loved one is considering suicide, know that 24/7 confidential help is always here.

  • McLeod County Mental Health Crisis Response Services is now available 24/7 at 320-864-2713 or 1 (888) 302-2898
    Mobile and telephone crisis response services are provided by a mental health clinician specializing in Crisis Response. This service is available to adults, children, and families with a goal to provide immediate access to avoid police or E.R. involvement.
  • Hutchinson Health 24 hour Help Line: 320-484-4585
  • Woodland Centers Crisis Line: 1 800-432-8781
  • Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1 800-273-8255
    (En Español: 1 (888) 628-9454)
  • The Trevor Project (LGBTQ Crisis and Suicide Hotline): 1 (866) 488-7386
  • Veterans Crisis Line: 1 800-273-8255
  • Teen Crisis Line: (310) 855-4673
  • HopeLine Text Service: Text “MN” or “HopeLine” to 741741

Local events

QPR Gatekeeper Training

QPR stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer – the 3 simple steps anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide. Just as people trained in CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver help save thousands of lives each year, people trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade, and refer someone to help. It is the most widely taught gatekeeper training in the United States that teaches best practices in suicide prevention. QPR is included on SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices.

QPR gatekeeper training is intended for community members 18 years & older and professionals including healthcare workers, first responders, law enforcement, educators, clergy, bankers, lawyers, and more! Certificate of attendance awarded for professional continuing education.

  • Thursday, September 26th
  • 7:00pm to 8:30pm
  • Bethel Lutheran Church ELCA (77 Lincoln Ave E, Lester Prairie, MN)
  • Register by contacting the church at 320-395-2125.


  • Tuesday, September 24th
  • 7:00pm to 8:30pm
  • Glencoe Regional Health Services (Conference Room A, 1805 Hennepin Ave N., Glencoe, MN)
  • Register by calling 320-864-7146 or (888) 526-4242, ext. 7146


Kindness Celebration Day

Content contributed by Bo Young, community volunteer for Connect Wholeheartedly.

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” — Aesop

Kindness is not something that demands hard work. It originates from the simple act of doing no harm to others. It involves judging less, as kindness is rooted in empathy and acceptance. The Oxford Dictionary defines kindness as the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate.

The Hutchinson Connect Wholeheartedly Committee has discussed the impact of kindness in our community and beyond. As we took some time to reflect on all the random and intentional acts of kindness that have taken place over the past year, we realized that the list appears to have no end. It is easy to get caught up in all of the negativity and despair that surrounds us on a daily basis, however, there is evidence of more good in the world if you seek it. Wherever you see pain and devastation, you often see kindness in response. Here are a few examples:

  • Operation Hope provides supplies, love and support for the homeless in Minneapolis.
  • The Kindness Rocks program hides painted rocks throughout communities for others to discover.
  • Park Elementary decorated classroom doors with inspiring messages of kindness.
  • Several benefits were hosted to raise money for families dealing with medical and financial hardships.
  • Reagan’s 2018 Kindness Campaign resulted in hundreds of people coming together in an effort to promote random acts of kindness and to stand up to bullying.
  • The United Way of McLeod County promoted the Minnesota United Acts of Kindness Week.
  • Laundry Love spreads the message of hope as they fund loads of laundry at a local laundromat every month.
  • Students from Maplewood Academy spent Martin Luther King Jr. Day serving others.
  • Last year on May 1, Allina Emergency personnel and the Hutchinson Police Department enjoyed treats provided by some grateful Hutchinson residents to thank them for their services.
  • Hutchinson Rotary members collect crutches for people in Africa and offer professional services in Guatemala and Kenya.
  • Volunteers have mobilized to help communities affected by recent flooding.

There are countless other examples of local heroes making the world a better place.

Acts such as saying thank you, holding a door, shoveling a neighbor’s driveway, supporting a friend and calling a family member may be simple, but they also matter and are often duplicated. Not to be forgotten, kindness includes being kind to yourself. Research also proves that showing kindness to others is just as rewarding as receiving it from someone else.

Hutchinson’s annual Kindness Celebration Day is May 1.


It’s a day to focus on doing things for others and practicing kindness. Take this day to volunteer, listen to understand and be intentional about brightening someone’s day. You don’t need to sacrifice your beliefs to be kind. Perhaps try to see the world from a different perspective. If we are kind and polite, it may be possible for the world to be right. You have the capacity to be someone’s hero and the world needs you and your smile.


Connect to the event on Facebook and share your acts of kindness with others.

The best opportunity we have to change lives is to spread more kindness in our corner of the world. Do it May 1 and every day. Pay it forward, make a difference and our entire community will benefit.

Find more information about how to champion kindness here.