Interactive exhibits on healthy habits, cooking


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Cooking demonstrations, food preservation lessons and first-aid safety tips are just a few of the many interactive activities that will take place in the Family Room at Ag Progress Days, Aug. 14-16.

“We want to help people of all ages navigate the considerable amount of information that is out there about health and nutrition,” said Matt Kaplan, professor of intergenerational programs and aging in the Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology and Education. “It can be confusing to know what is and is not a reliable source of information about these topics.”

Educators from Penn State Extension program teams — including Food, Families and Health; Food Safety and Quality; Nutrition Links; and Pesticide Education — will staff the various exhibits. The Penn State University Police Community Education Program also will be on hand.

Located on Main Street between West 8th and 9th streets, the Family Room’s programming will include the following:

  • “Naturally Flavored Water.” Visitors can taste water flavored with fruit, learn the importance of water in their daily diet, and learn how to make flavored water easily and inexpensively.
  • Hourly cooking demonstrations. Attendees can watch as food is prepared to learn new recipes, nutrition tips for preparing healthy meals and food safety facts. They are invited to sample the resulting fare and receive a copy of the featured recipe
  • “Is There Sugar Hiding in There?” Most people know that sweets contain added sugar, but they might be surprised to find where sugar is hiding in other foods. To learn more, visitors are encouraged to stop by the Dining with Diabetes table.
  • “Veggie Fest!” This interactive display encourages children and families to eat more vegetables and to increase the varieties they enjoy at family meals.
  • “Pesticides in the Home: Think Safe. Store Secure.” Visitors to the Pesticide Education Program exhibit will learn how to store pesticides correctly. Mr. Yuk stickers will be given away for visitors to use in their homes.
  • “Home Food Preservation and Consumer Food Safety.” Penn State food safety specialists and Master Food Preservation volunteers will provide research-based information and children’s activities on how to safely prepare and preserve foods at home.
  • “First-Aid and Firearm Safety Tips.” Children can meet a police officer and visit with members of Centre LifeLink to learn first-aid tips. Firearms safety material will be available in addition to gunlocks (while supplies last)
  • “Mediterranean Cuisine Comes to You.” Visitors will learn about culinary practices related to the Mediterranean way of eating and living while discovering regionally produced local foods.
  • “Tummy Time.” Children can wear fun “digestive aprons” with plush versions of each organ to learn each step of how their bodies process food.


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