Nutrition, health education programs ‘plated’ for Amarillo farm show

Writer: Kay Ledbetter, 806-677-5608, skledbetter@ag.tamu.edu
Contact: Dr. Angela Burkham, 806-677-5600, Angela.Burkham@ag.tamu.edu

AMARILLO – The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will serve up a different education entree at the Amarillo Farm and Ranch Show this year when they showcase the new Path to the Plate program and provide nutritional demonstrations.

Nutritional and healthy foods are a part of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service’s Path to the Plate and Dinner Tonight programs. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Kay Ledbetter)

A showcase event will begin with registration at 1:30 p.m. followed by the program from 2-4 p.m. Nov. 29 at the Amarillo Civic Center Grand Plaza.

In addition, Dr. Angela Burkham, AgriLife Extension family and community health state program leader at Amarillo, said they will utilize AgriLife Extension’s Dinner Tonight program in demonstrations every 30 minutes from 10 a.m.-noon Nov. 28 and Nov. 29 at the agency’s booth.

“Path to the Plate is a research-based educational program of AgriLife Extension that helps consumers understand how their food choices impact their health,” Burkham said. “And our Dinner Tonight program has just released its first cookbook, Essentials.”

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service’s Path to the Plate program will be featured at the Amarillo Farm and Ranch Show on Nov. 29. (Texas A&M AgriLife)

Burkham said the annual farm show draws a large and diverse crowd from throughout Texas and across the Southwest. While they primarily attend for the agricultural education and opportunity to view the latest technology, they all are consumers with an interest in health.

“What better place to offer these programs,” she said. “We hope to not only draw from those attending the show, but want to welcome those who might not typically attend and are interested in health and nutrition.

“By making the connection between agriculture and health, consumers can understand how their food choices impact their health. We believe if they have a better understanding about the path their food takes to their plate, how it’s grown and produced, consumers can make better food choices for themselves and their families.”

A key component of Path to the Plate is addressing and dispelling popular myths and misconceptions about food production practices, she said.

The afternoon event will begin with Dr. Susan Ballabina, AgriLife Extension executive associate director, College Station, providing an introduction and overview to Path to the Plate, which debuted earlier this year.

Next will be a panel of food and nutrition experts discussing food labeling and marketing.

The program will conclude with a healthy cooking demonstration by a guest chef.

Recipes from Essentials, a just-released cookbook from the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service’s Dinner Tonight program will be featured during Amarillo’s annual farm show. (Texas A&M AgriLife)

“Our ultimate goal is to educate consumers about the research and the facts,” Burkham said. “These programs will enable them to make informed decisions for the health and well-being of their families.”

And that’s where the cookbook also plays a role, she said. Essentials features more than 100 recipes that are held to Dinner Tonight’s nutrition standards, which are no more than 13 percent daily value of saturated fat per serving, no more than 600 milligram of sodium per serving, and added sugars are kept within reason.

Burkham said Essentials even features a list of items to keep on hand that are commonly used throughout the cookbook, and “these ingredients are items you can find in your local grocery store.”

Also included in Essentials are general guidelines for food safety at home, how to check a slow cooker for accuracy and guidelines for safe storage times for foods in the fridge and freezer. The cookbook also includes handy references such as safe minimum internal cooking temperatures for meat and a conversion chart to quickly cut recipes in half.

For more information about the Path to the Plate program, go to http://pathtotheplate.tamu.edu. To purchase a copy of Essentials, or to see more recipes from AgriLife Extension’s Dinner Tonight program, visit http://dinnertonight.org/cookbook or purchase at the AgriLife Extension booth Nov. 28-30.

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