A family nurse practitioner at the Glen Ullin Family Medical Clinic, Mor-Gran-Sou Electric Cooperative member Carrie Gerving guides her patients to eat healthy foods. Photo by Luann Dart

A family nurse practitioner at the Glen Ullin Family Medical Clinic, Mor-Gran-Sou Electric Cooperative member Carrie Gerving guides her patients to eat healthy foods. Photo by Luann Dart

Preparing healthy meals around a fully loaded family life, a devoted career and unrelenting farm/ranch chores isn’t always an easy task. Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) Carrie Gerving has eaten her share of tacos in a bag during her children’s sporting events.

“There would be weeks where we wouldn’t be home any night except Wednesday and if it was the Wednesday of my school board meeting, then I wasn’t home at all, so it was always trying to think of something that was quick and easy,” Carrie says. “And the quick and easy things are often the unhealthy things.”

Carrie and Mike Gerving have three children – Michaela, a 21-year-old occupational therapy student at the University of North Dakota (UND), 18-year-old Mason, an education major at UND, and McKenzie, a 16-year-old sophomore at Glen Ullin High School. All three were involved in high school sports, which meant fall, winter and spring events. The family farms and ranches in the Glen Ullin area and Carrie is an FNP at the Glen Ullin Family Medical Clinic.

To schedule meals during the family’s busy times, Carrie planned ahead, preparing meats ahead of time or using crockpot recipes.

As a medical provider, Carrie also guides her patients to eat healthy.

“Obviously, fruits and vegetables are a huge thing and I talk about that all the time with my patients. In a small town, it is really hard sometimes to get fresh fruits and vegetables, so you have to get a little bit creative,” she says.

Carrie’s tips for healthy eating

• Don’t skip meals, even when dieting.
“You want to actually try to eat five small meals a day, making sure you have protein and fat and a good carb at your meal,” she says. “So often, when you look at what people are eating in a day, they’re actually not eating enough and so their body thinks they’re starving and it hangs onto that and that’s where the weight gain comes in.”

She suggests a healthy breakfast such as eggs, with avocado on whole wheat toast.

“Too much of a good thing like bread isn’t good either,” she says, but salads for lunch aren’t always necessary either. Alternatives like a BLT sandwich would be good. Then snack on celery with peanut butter, or apples and nuts, she suggests.

“Then your blood sugar is at a steady level, instead of the peaks and valleys throughout the day,” she says.

• Watch your salt intake. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) a day and moving toward an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mg per day for most adults

• Read labels.
“Something you might think is good for you might have a lot of sugar in it, like all those vitamin waters out there that people think are amazing. But when you look at the amount of sugar in there, it’s a lot,” she shares.

• Use lean cuts of meat when possible.

• Use an air fryer rather than a deep fryer to limit fried foods. Carrie still makes those traditional favorite German-Russian dishes, but in moderation.

• Eat unhealthy foods sparingly, but do not deny yourself completely. Have a cookie now and then, so you don’t crave those types of foods.

“Dark chocolate isn’t that bad. I think it gets a bad rap,” she adds.

“Sugar is eight times more addictive than cocaine. If you continually eat it, then your body continually wants more and more and more,” she shares.

• Cut out soda, she advises. Drink water instead.
“My family is really good about drinking water. At least 60 ounces. They do say you should try to get half your body weight in ounces of water in a day,” she says.

• Exercise. If you don’t have time to exercise fully, at least try to take 7,500 steps a day, she says.

“Every little bit is going to help,” she shares. But even with exercise, 80 percent of weight loss comes from nutrition.

Luann Dart is a freelance writer and editor who lives in the Elgin area.

Buffalo Chicken Wraps

Whisk hot pepper sauce, 2 T. vinegar and cayenne pepper, if desired, in a medium bowl.

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken tenders and cook through, until no longer pink. Coat cooked chicken with hot sauce mixture.

Whisk mayonnaise, yogurt, pepper and remaining tablespoon of vinegar in a small bowl. Stir in blue cheese.

To assemble wraps: Lay tortilla on a work surface. Spread with 1 T. blue cheese sauce and top with chicken, lettuce, celery and tomato. Drizzle with any remaining hot sauce, if desired, and roll into a wrap. Try using the tuck-roll-and-flap method by tucking the filling in snug, rolling once, then fold in each end flap and continue rolling until you’ve reached the end. Secure with toothpicks, if cutting wrap in half.



This wrap offers nice heat with a cooling component from the blue cheese spread. For those with spice sensitivities, leave out the cayenne and test your hot sauce before cooking. Carrie prepares the chicken for her wraps ahead of time during a busy day, and uses whole wheat wraps.



Recipe by Carrie Gerving, Mor-Gran-Sou Electric Cooperative member


In a large skillet, fry ground meat until cooked and no longer pink. Add garlic and cook a few minutes longer, until aromatic. Drain and return to stove. Add in the slaw mix. Drizzle with Sriracha, if desired, soy sauce and vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fry for another 4 minutes, then add sesame oil. Cook until slaw is wilted to your liking.

Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and green onions.

TO TOAST SESAME SEEDS: Warm a dry pan over medium heat. Add sesame seeds, stirring constantly, until lightly golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. Immediately transfer to plate to cool.


CARRIE’S NOTE: For the crackslaw, she sometimes substitutes shrimp or ground turkey for ground beef. The Asian-inspired dish can be made in larger amounts for more meals, and is healthier with the cabbage rather than pasta.


Recipe by Carrie Gerving, Mor-Gran-Sou Electric Cooperative member