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Fairfield Moms Push Healthy Eating

“Don’t get your fuel from the same place your car does.” “If it comes from a plant, eat it. If it was made in a plant, don’t.” Those were just some of the mantras on display at Fairfield Warde High School on Saturday afternoon. Local moms, chefs, farmers and nutrition experts gathered for the second annual Food for Thought Expo, celebrating natural and healthy food choices.

“We’re so lucky here in Fairfield to be surrounded by farms and businesses that are doing this sort of cooking, and we wanted people to know that they were available,” said Michelle McCabe, chair of the PTA Council’s Fuel for Learning Partnership committee. “And we’re hoping that when you raise awareness, the more you see this in our school lunches or in a restaurant.”

Michelle said her committee has succeeded in getting healthier lunches at Fairfield’s schools. For example, cafeterias now offer more fruits and vegetables as snacks for kids, and certain dishes are prepared in healthier ways. But Saturday’s expo also offered advice to parents hoping to make their own meals and snacks more nutritional.

On display were examples of ways that Fairfield’s schools are suggesting the use of local organic ingredients. Representatives from the Fairfield Organic Teaching Farm talked about the project’s progress and how it plans to take kids this spring to plant at the Hoyden’s Hill space. And Annelise McCay explained how the organic gardens at 11 of Fairfield’s 17 schools (with plans to expand to the rest soon) provide fresh foods for cooking classes and biology experiments for each grade.

Amy O’Brien, another volunteer, spent the first half of the expo running the kids’ education room, filled with displays on making healthier choices. The room included charts showing children how eating a balance of healthy fruits and vegetables improves different parts of the body. It also had breakdowns of nutritional content in certain snacks and cereals, and suggestions for healthier alternatives. Some of the facts were surprising, such as the amount of sugar in many yogurts and granola bars.

“We’re not telling parents to stop feeding their kids yogurt,” Amy said. “They should be aware it’s sugary — pair it with fruit, or bread.”

What ways do you encourage your kids to eat healthier? Share your tips with your fellow parents in the comments below.

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