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AROUND THE HOME: Eating healthy at home and on the go
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Datebooks and calendars are filling up with sports and band practice plus several after-school activities.

To help on-the-go families, the University of Georgia Extension offers these tips for healthy snacks and meals.

Use MyPlate, published by the United States Department of Agriculture, as a guide. Meal planning and health tips are online at

Most snacks can be stored in a cooler or brought from home, if carefully planned.

If you plan to dine out, check for low-fat and low-calorie options online before leaving.

Decide ahead of time what you will order and stick to it.

To combat occasional unhealthy eating, balance everything out with healthier at-home meals.

Simple snacks can include fruit (plain, dried or paired with sorbet or cottage cheese), yogurt, whole-grain cereal, 100 percent frozen fruit bars, nuts for older children, trail mix made with whole grain cereal, nuts and dried fruit, homemade fruit breads and muffins (such as banana bread or carrot muffins), low-fat cheese with whole-grain bread or hummus and whole grain pita.

A few snacks that can be made at home, then stored in a cooler include peanut butter sandwiches, salads with light dressing, milk in small boxes, hard-boiled eggs, single servings of cottage cheese, cut-up vegetables with light dip made with plain yogurt and homemade soups in insulated beverage containers.

Cut-up fruit or vegetables, yogurt, milk, half a sandwich made with real turkey (not lunch meat) or low-fat cheese or whole-grain crackers and low-fat cheese make good snacks for active kids.

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The Georgia Mountain Food Bank Annual Empty Bowl Luncheon is less than a month away.

If you’ve been curious about GMFB and what it’s all about, this event is the place to be. You will find dedicated volunteers and community leaders who are serious about helping others.

The luncheon is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (drop-in) Sept. 19, at First Baptist Church’s banquet hall. The church is on 751 Green St. N.W., across from the Gainesville Civic Center.

The menu includes a choice of chicken tortilla soup, beef vegetable soup or black-eyed pea and spinach soup, plus a salad and biscuit. Individual tickets are $25 each and group tables are available.

To order tickets, call 770-534-4111 or email

For information on programs and volunteer opportunities visit

Luncheon attendees receive a painted bowl to take home. The colorful and creative bowls are made available through community donations and the GMFB partnership with Interactive Neighborhood for Kids.

INK, on 999 Chestnut St. in Gainesville, has a pottery studio and visitors can paint or donate bowls for the luncheon.

Why not set a time to meet friends, family members or co-workers at INK? It’s a great way to spend quality time together and help a local organization.

For more information, call 770-536-1900 or visit

Sandra Stringer is a nutrition educator with the UGA Cooperative Extension office in Hall County. She may be contacted at 770-535-8290. Her column appears biweekly on Wednesdays and on


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