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Jr. League's Kids in the Kitchen

Release Date: 
Wednesday, January 20, 2010

CONTACT: Amy Banek
Junior League of Worcester
(347)675-2544

THE JUNIOR LEAGUE OF WORCESTER TEACHES TEENAGE GIRLS AND THEIR FAMILIES HOW TO MAKE HEALTHY LIFESTYLE CHOICES EVERY DAY

ANNUAL KIDS IN THE KITCHEN EVENT OFFERS TOOLS THAT HELP FAMILIES EAT BETTER AND GET MOVING, TOGETHER!

Worcester, MA-January 18, 2010 - Childhood obesity is growing nationwide. To help local families learn the necessary skills to live healthier lifestyles, the Junior League of Worcester's (JLW) is sponsoring Kids in the Kitchen next month at Girl's Inc., Worcester. The educational program is part of a national initiative developed and supported by The Association of Junior Leagues International to empower youth to make healthy lifestyle choices and help reverse the growth of childhood obesity and its associated health issues.

This year, the Junior League of Worcester's annual Kids in the Kitchen event will take place at Girl's Inc. on Monday, February 8 from 5-7 p.m. The Junior League of Worcester has offered this free program to Worcester youth and their families for the past five years.

"As an organization dedicated to helping women and children in our community, we want to do our part to ensure that the youth in Worcester have the tools they need to lead active and healthy lifestyles," said Kerri Martinek, President. "Healthy living is a family matter and by offering Kids in the Kitchen, we are providing tangible tools that not only benefit students, but also help their entire families to easily make the best, healthy choices in their daily lives. And, because our mission aligns so well with that of Girl's Inc., it is a perfect partnership."

"Kids in the Kitchen" Agenda
• The Junior League of Worcester will serve a group of thirty-five girls aged 11-14 a nutritional meal based on government recommended food groups. The meal is prepared by a local chef who focuses on cooking affordable and healthy meals.
• During the meal, nutrition expert will educate the girls about nutrition, including portion sizes and sugar content of popular foods.
• After the meal is served, each girl will have an opportunity to visit three areas to learn about ways that they can stay fit. The three breakout groups will include: Zumba class instruction-a fun, new way to workout, cooking class and an arts and crafts area where young women can learn more about living a healthy lifestyle.

"As part of its mission to empower all girls to be strong, smart and bold, Girls Incorporated of Worcester is excited to partner with the Junior League of Worcester in teaching girls and their families about living a Smart and Healthy lifestyle." Dean S . Theodore, Director of Programs and Recruitment at Girls Inc. "The Kids in the Kitchen program is a perfect fit for our nationally researched based programs that are designed to address the issues surrounding girls and young women today, and the girls love it!"

More information is available about Kids in the Kitchen and healthy living at www.kidsinthekitchen.org.

About The Junior League of Worcester
The Junior League of Worcester is 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. It is comprised of local women who are committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving the Greater Worcester community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.
For more information, visit our website at www.jlwma.org.

10 Tried and True Ways to Improve Your Family's Eating Habits:

• What's for Lunch at School?Look for your school district's weekly lunch menu, or eat a meal at school with your kids. If you don't like what you see, make sure to discuss it with the local principal or foodservice director. Talk with your kids about choosing the healthier options at school meals.

• Choice is Everything Let kids be part of the shopping process to help them feel more in control of their food choices,which can help them make better choices when they're on their own. Write a shopping list together with your kids, organizing it by food group, and take them with you to the store. Be sure to include healthy snacks.

• Plan Ahead Meals tend to be healthier when planned. Try planning weekly menus, and keep track of the healthy meals your family likes best to "rerun" them in future menus.

• Take it Slow It takes 20 minutes for our brain to register that our body is satisfied with food. When we eat too quickly, our body needs more food to be satisfied. Slow down by putting forks down between bites and swallowing one bite before taking another.

• Veggie Camouflage Can't get your kids to eat more veggies? Try chopped carrots, squash, broccoli, mushrooms or celery in meatballs, lasagna, casseroles or pasta salads. Serve vegetables in a stir-fry with chicken and rice, and add tomatoes to omelets.

• Fruity Twists Slip more fruit into diets by mixing them into popular foods your family already eats and likes: muffins, yogurt, oatmeal and cereal. Make a colorful dessert of chopped fruit and mix with nuts. Keep raisins or dried fruits for snacks, or make fun, creamy smoothies with fresh fruit, milk and ice.

• New Adventures Make new food discoveries! Most of us buy the same things every time we grocery shop, so work to incorporate one new, healthy item each time. Who knows? You might find a new favorite!

• Drink Smart Squeeze out sugar-filled sodas and serve 100 percent fruit juice, milk or water instead. Choose juice carefully-some juice has only 10 percent fruit juice, and the rest is sugar and fillers. Try strawberry or chocolate 2 percent reduced-fat milk, refreshing ice water or fun, fizzy carbonated water instead of soda or punch.

• Nature's Way Take kids on a field trip to a farmers market, or plant an herb or vegetable garden at home. Knowing that food isn't "born" on supermarket shelves builds a better appreciation of healthy, fresh foods. Call your local county extension office for ideas and tips for top growing plants in your area.

• Beware of the Pantry Shelves Take a look at your cabinets, fridge and pantry, and clean them out. Get rid of any old foods as well as unhealthy choices. If you want to keep some cookies or candy around, make individual-sized portions in sandwich bags instead of keeping large quantities.

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