Purdue exhibit shows how to make better food choices

July 26, 2012

State Fair visitors going through the exhibit "To My Plate and Beyond" will join Max and Munch as they travel by flying saucer to seek information on healthy eating. (Purdue Agricultural Communication photo/Sharon Katz)

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Indiana State Fair visitors of all ages will get a full serving of helpful, practical advice on how to plan healthy meals when they go through a new Purdue Extension exhibit.

The interactive exhibit in the DuPont Food Pavilion is one of a variety of Extension exhibits and activities during the Aug. 3-19 fair on the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis.

The new exhibit "To MyPlate and Beyond" illustrates the U.S. Department of Agriculture's tool that emphasizes the five food groups that are part of a healthy diet: fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins and dairy.

"Visitors will learn how easy it is to shop for food, grow their own, plan meals and eat together," said Lisa Graves, Extension specialist in the College of Health and Human Sciences' Department of Nutrition Science. "From child to adult, the exhibit will feature tips and ideas for everyone to build a healthy plate."

Participants will "travel" with Max and his dog, Munch, in a flying saucer as they explore simple reminders and other information about eating well. Included is a short quiz that will help them understand the exhibit's key messages, such as make half of your plate fruits and vegetables, switch to fat-free or low-fat milk, and enjoy your food but eat less.

The exhibit was created by the Purdue Agricultural Communication Exhibit Design Center and specialists and faculty in the Department of Nutrition Science. Funding was provided by the American Dairy Association and Indiana's Dairy Farm Families.

Purdue Extension educators will be available to answer questions and help guide visitors through their MyPlate experience.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's MyPlate system recommends choosing foods from the five food groups to build a healthy plate. (USDA graphic)

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Fairgoers will continue the annual tradition of completing a scavenger hunt of questions while visiting the exhibit. After completing the scavenger hunt, participants will receive a Purdue Extension cup and a coupon for a free glass of milk at the Dairy Bar.

Master Gardeners and the Indiana Wine Grape Council also will have exhibits in the pavilion. 

Extension educators will give presentations throughout the fair in the pavilion's Red Gold Culinary Corner. Titles are "Salsas," "Here's to Your Heart," "Home Food Preservation," "Healthy Lifestyles Equal Healthy Children" and "A Taste of Fish and Game."

A sampling of other Purdue Extension exhibits and activities:  

“ Hot Dog’s Fitness Challenge” and “Holly’s Heaves” are interactive exhibits, each featuring animals, in the Exposition Hall. These exhibits were created through a partnership with the College of Veterinary Medicine, Discovery Learning Research Center at Purdue University’s Discovery Park and the Purdue Agricultural Communication Exhibit Design Center. The exhibits were made possible by Science Education Partnership Award funding from the National Institutes of Health.  “Hot Dog’s Fitness Challenge” shows how healthy nutritional choices and exercise can benefit people and their pets. “Holly’s Heaves” shows methods for treating and preventing asthma in horses, people and cats.

* The drought will take center stage Aug. 10 on Purdue Day, when agricultural experts analyze the U.S. Department of Agriculture's crop production report, to be released that morning, for what it means to farmers, consumers and the economy. The panel discussion will be at 9:30 a.m. in the Normandy Barn.

The exhibit "Hot Dog's Fitness Challenge" shows how healthy nutritional choices and exercise can benefit people and their pets. (Purdue Agricultural Communication Photo/Jeremy Nelson)

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Panelists are Shaun Casteel, Purdue Extension soybean specialist; Chris Hurt, Purdue Extension agricultural economist; Joe Kelsay, director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture; Greg Matli, Indiana deputy director of the National Agricultural Statistics Service; and Bob Nielson, Purdue Extension corn specialist. Jay Akridge, Purdue's Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture, will moderate.

* Also on Purdue Day, entomologist Tom Turpin will give a presentation on "Cooking with Bugs," during which mealworms will be sautéed as finger food.

"Insects are a good nutritional item," said Turpin, who writes the monthly "On Six Legs" Extension column. "Can millions of birds, mammals, reptiles, fish and amphibians be wrong?"

* The annual Women in Agriculture awards will be part of the Lieutenant Governor's Celebration of Ag awards on Farmer's Day at 10 a.m. Aug. 15 in the Normandy Barn. The awards recognize women who have provided leadership and made positive contributions to Indiana agriculture through their involvement in an Indiana agricultural enterprise, agribusiness, farm or commodity organization.

Writer: Keith Robinson, 765-494-2722, robins89@purdue.edu

Sources: Lisa Graves, 765-494-2828, lgraves@urdue.edu

                  Tom Turpin: 765-494-4568, turpin@purdue.edu

                  Danica Kirkpatrick, 765-494-9113, dkirkpat@purdue.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Keith Robinson, robins89@purdue.edu
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