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Power of Foods nutrition program coming to Thousand Islands Central School District

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CLAYTON — Trying to get kids to eat their vegetables is hardly a new concept. But trying to prove these foods have super powers for the body is how one physician is trying to teach better eating habits.

Dr. Robert P. Dell’Amore will bring his nutrition program, The Power of Food, to Thousand Islands Central School students and community members June 4. The program will be held at the Thousand Islands middle school, 8481 County Road 9. The student presentation will be held for elementary and middle school students from 1 to 3 p.m. and a community/family wellness fair will happen from 6 to 8 p.m.

Dr. Dell’Amore said that after 20 years of chiropractic medicine, he shifted his focus to teaching nutrition. He studied nutrition for the past 10 years and delivered live presentations for eight.

“We try to bring the most exciting program about food kids have ever seen,” Dr. Dell’Amore said. “We want the kids to be agents of change and champions of health.”

When kids and their parents walk in, they see a long table set with more than 20 so-called “super foods.” This gives everyone a chance to see, smell and taste the food.

The demonstration includes new fruit/vegetable combinations, basic-expert knife skills, teaching safe, easy and essential food processing and cooking techniques to implement at home.

Dr. Dell’Amore said the lessons will engage the students and inculcate safe and healthy cooking techniques. Students will prepare and assemble a salad, including multiple super foods such as kale, red and green cabbage, cooked beans and a healthy dressing such as lemon-garlic apple cider vinaigrette.

There will be a discussion and written assessment, and guests will be asked for feedback about the foods they tried and new life skills and culinary techniques they learned.

Dr. Dell’Amore said super foods include those that contain nutraceuticals, phytochemicals or antioxidants.

Nutraceuticals are any food that provides medicinal or health benefits.

Phytochemicals are non-nutritive plant chemicals that have disease-preventive properties.

Antioxidants protect against oxidative tissue damage and include vitamins A and C as well as the Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil.

“We talk a lot about the cancer-fighting agents in these vegetables that make them super foods,” Dr. Dell’Amore said. “Olive oil is a super food, it’s loaded with super Omega 3. I tell the kids how our brains are 100 percent dependent on healthy Omega 3 fatty acids.

Another aspect of his foods-with-benefits program is to teach kids there is more information on food labels than just fat content.

“Fatty acids are essential, but they might think low fat is better,” Dr. Dell’Amore said. “There is a big difference between healthy and unhealthy fats found in processed foods.”

Encouraging kids to choose an apple over a candy bar isn’t new. But Dr. Dell’Amore said his lessons and demonstrations of super foods is a new way to encourage healthy life choices.

“We’ve tried to get creative so we are able to transform perception and beliefs about how healthy foods taste,” Dr. Dell’Amore said. “We do it by making these foods incredibly desirable.”

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