Sharon Thompson's Tidbits: Healthy recipes can earn kids a trip to White House

swthompson@herald-leader.comMay 8, 2013 

As the Kentucky winner of the inaugural Healthy Lunchtime Challenge last year, Myka Smith-Jackson of Lexington was a guest at the Kids' State Dinner at the White House in August.

The second Healthy Lunchtime Challenge is now open for youngsters and their parents or guardians to create healthy lunch recipes that are affordable and tasty. Fifty-six youngsters will be selected to visit the White House with a parent or guardian for lunch with first lady Michelle Obama, The contest, sponsored by Epicurious and the U.S. Departments of Education and Agriculture, promotes healthy eating among America's youth.

The deadline to enter is Sunday. Go to Recipechallenge.epicurious.com.

Crack chefs on the Egg

Tim Farmer, host of KET's Tim Farmer's Country Kitchen and Kentucky Afield, will be a celebrity chef at Housewarmings' annual EggFest on Saturday. He also will sign copies of his new cookbook, Tim Farmer's Country Kitchen.

The EggFest features celebrity and backyard chefs who grill, smoke and cook on the Big Green Egg. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the event. Proceeds go to Lexington Habitat for Humanity. Hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the store, 2312 Palumbo Drive. Call (859) 231-0005 or go to Myhousewarmings.com.

'Off the Eaten Path' again

The first Southern Living Off the Eaten Path was such a hit that the second is likely to be just as popular.

Southern Living Off the Eaten Path: Second Helpings (Oxmoor House, $22.95) is filled with another round of don't-miss eateries along the South's less-traveled trails.

Travel editor Morgan Murphy went to Southern states eating at restaurants based on word-of-mouth recommendations.

His Kentucky stops were at The Courthouse Café, 127 Main Street, Whitesburg; Stinky & Coco's Diner, 1 North Main Street, Winchester; Windy Corner Market, 4595 Bryan Station Road, Lexington; and The Homestead in Clark County, which has since closed. But you can enjoy the granola and carrot cake recipes from Megan Smith, who owned Homestead.

Go Mediterranean in May

May is International Mediterranean Diet Month, and this year is the 20th anniversary of the introduction of the Mediterranean diet in the United States.

Oldways, a nonprofit food and nutrition education organization, and the Harvard School of Public Health, introduced the traditional Mediterranean Diet in 1993, when they convened the International Conference on the Diets of the Mediterranean in Cambridge, Mass. It was there that the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid was unveiled, representing visually the traditional foodways of the Mediterranean region. Since its introduction, consumers, educators and health professionals have used the pyramid to understand and implement healthier eating habits.

To celebrate the 20th year, Oldways and its Mediterranean Foods Alliance have published a book, The Oldways 4-Week Mediterranean Diet Menu Plan. It offers a month's worth of simple and affordable menus. It's available at Oldwayspt.org.

Lexington has several restaurants that serve Mediterranean specialties including Oasis, 868 East High Street; Sahara Mediterranean Cuisine, 3061 Fieldstone Way; Happy Falafel, 105 Eastern Avenue; Sarah Mediterranean Grill, 319 South Limestone; Gyroz Mediterranean Eatery, 393 Waller Avenue; King Tut's Mediterranean Grill, 341 South Limestone; and Ali Baba, 412 Southland Drive.

The basics of the Mediterranean diet are:

■ Eat lots of vegetables. The recommendation is to fill half your plate with them.

■ Change the way you think about meat. If you eat meat, add small strips of sirloin to a vegetable sauté. As a main course, eat 3 ounces or less of chicken or lean meat.

■ Always eat breakfast. Start your day with fiber-rich foods such as fruit and whole grains. Layer granola, yogurt and fruit, or mash half an avocado with a fork and spread it on a slice of whole grain toast.

■ Eat seafood twice a week. Fish such as tuna, herring, salmon, and sardines are rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, and shellfish including mussels, oysters and clams have similar benefits for brain and heart health.

■ Cook a vegetarian meal one night a week. Build these meals around beans, whole grains, and vegetables.

■ Use good fats. Include sources of healthy fats in daily meals, especially extra-virgin olive oil, nuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds, olives and avocados.

■ Enjoy some dairy products. Eat Greek or plain yogurt, and try small amounts of various cheeses.

■ For dessert, eat fresh fruit. Choose from a wide range, from figs and oranges to pomegranates, grapes and apples. Save sweets such as cookies and ice cream for a special treat.

Sharon Thompson: (859) 231-3321. Twitter: @FlavorsofKY. Blog: Flavorsofkentucky.bloginky.com.

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