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Hundreds of families learn how to make healthier choices

Springfield The Junior League of Greater Springfield participated in the Eastfield Mall's "Fitness is Fun" fair on Oct. 24. Members of the Junior League staffed a booth at the fair, which promoted the League's Kids in the Kitchen program. Kids in the Kitchen encourages children to make healthy food choices and teaches children how to make simple, yet healthy, snacks with minimal parental supervision. Chef Elaine Berardi, clinical dietitian and chef at Kindred Park View Hospital, conducted a demonstration on how to make trail mix using ingredients that many families regularly have on hand. In front of a crowd, she taught school-age children how to measure and mix ingredients such as raisins, Cheerios, pretzels and M&M's into a delightful and healthy snack. Many trail mixes contain nuts and this nut-free version proved to be a big hit at the fair. Hundreds of families came to the booth and munched on free samples of trail mix, while Junior League members encourage the children to choose healthier food options. The Junior League would like to congratulate Ellie McCray of Springfield, who won the Kids in the Kitchen raffle, which consisted of an organic brownie mix designed for kids to make with minimal parental help. The goal of the Junior League's Kids in the Kitchen initiative, which is supported by The Association of Junior Leagues International Inc. and its member Leagues, is to empower youth to make healthy lifestyle choices and help reverse the growth of childhood obesity and its associated health issues. The initiative, which began in 2006, engages kids in the preparation of healthy meals and educates them and their parents regarding nutrition and healthy choices. The Association of Junior Leagues International provides guidelines and materials to support the success of these educational and motivational activities and supports the program with a Web site, www.kidsinthekitchen.org. The Web site includes bilingual recipes, tips on nutrition, fitness and healthy lifestyles as well as an interactive "Kids' Corner" with an online nutrition game provided by Kids in the Kitchen international sponsor, Cartoon Network. The Junior League of Greater Springfield is comprised of women who are interested in making a difference in their community and invites all women 21 years of age and over to learn more about the Junior League by calling the office at 781-2545 or by visiting www.jlgs.org.

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