Health District talks about building healthy meals

My Plate is an update on the food pyramid.

My Plate is an update on the food pyramid.

You’re probably familiar with USDA’s food pyramid. It had grains on bottom, then fruits and veggies, meat and dairy, and finally a little bit of sugar on top. (If you’re a bit older, you remember the four food groups.)

The USDA has updated its nutrition guide and replaced its pyramid with a plate.

My Plate encourages people to proportion their daily meals. It suggests each meal be half fruits and vegetables, a fourth whole grains and a fourth lean protein. A serving of low-fat dairy can be added too.

The Lake County General Health District visited the Mentor Library last week to talk about My Plate and offer some tips on how to keep both your meals and your diet balanced.

1. Make at least half your grains whole

When you can, choose whole-grain cereals, breads, rice and pasta.

2. Make half your plate fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are good for your body. Use them as snacks, side dishes and work them into your entrees. Eat a variety of fruits and veggies to get as many nutrients as possible.

3. Eat the right amount of calories for you

Watch your portion sizes, and that’s easier to do if you’re cooking at home. However, if you are eating out, try to choose a lower-calorie option. The My Plate website even has a food tracker to help you reach your nutrition goals.

4. Vary your protein food choices

You don’t have to just eat chicken with each meal. You can eat seafood, beans and peas, nuts, eggs and other lean meats, along with poultry. Try grilling, broiling, poaching or roasting your food. These preparations don’t add any extra fat to your meal.

5. Switch to skim or 1% milk

Low-fat milk has the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients with fewer calories than 2-percent or whole milk.

6. Drink water instead of sugary drinks

Energy drinks, sports drinks and soda are easy ways to tack on sugar and calories. Cut those calories by drinking water or other unsweetened beverages instead.

7. Be physically active your way

Diet is just part of the equation. To be healthy, you need to get active. Of course, that doesn’t mean you need to run a marathon tomorrow. Pick activities you like and start by doing what you can, at least 10 minutes at a time. You’ll be surprised how much you can do as your endurance improves.

8. Cut back on foods high in solid fats, added sugars and salt

Be mindful of how much fat, sugar and salt you’re allowing in your diet. We know it’s not good for us, but we let ourselves forget when something looks good at the restaurant or at the grocery store.

Check out ChooseMyPlate.gov for more healthy tips and ways to keep track of what you eat.

Click here for more tips on how to eat and live healthy from the Lake County General Health District.

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Making raised salt paintings at our Headlands Branch

MPL Salt Painting

At our Headlands Branch, we thought we’d use salt to make a fun craft and teach a little bit about local history on Friday. After all, a lot of kids (and even some adults) don’t realize that we live right by a rock salt mine in Fairport Harbor.

So we told the kids about how salt is made and then helped them make raised salt paintings.

Raised salt paintings are easy (if occasionally messy) to make, so we’ll include some instructions in case you want to try it with your kids at home.

Kids use craft glue to make patters on their paper.

Kids use craft glue to make patterns on their paper.

All you need is some construction paper, craft glue, salt and watercolor paints.

You start by using your glue to make patterns on your construction paper. It can be anything—hearts, smiley faces, your name. Simple shapes and patterns look great on the paper, so it doesn’t have to be complicated.

Then you sprinkle salt on top of the glue.

It might be less messy if you pour the salt yourself, or if you do the craft outside.

It might be less messy if you pour the salt yourself, or if you do the craft outside.

You don’t have to wait for the glue to dry before you start painting.

The salt absorbs the water in the paint, so it dries quickly. It also spreads the color and gives the artwork texture.

It also looks beautiful.

And it looks beautiful.

Give it a try and let us know how it looks!

For more photos from our Raised Salt Painting program, visit Mentor Library’s Facebook page. For more programs and events for kids, visit the Mentor Library’s event calendar on its website.

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Saying goodbye to summer reading for another year

Libby Davis tries to blow the world's most stupendous bubble during our Summer Reading finale party.

Libby Davis tries to blow the world’s most stupendous bubble during our Summer Reading finale party.

It was a great summer.

We built hovercraftsmade lava lamps,  learned how to train our dragons, blew up pop bottleslearned how to take fingerprints and were visited by one of the NASA scientists who helped make the Mars Rover.

We also got to Know Poe.

More than 1,400 kids, 350 adults and almost 200 teens participated in our summer reading programs. We got to give away a bunch of cool prizes, including 573 Library Champion signs to all the kids who read 15 hours or more.

Lexi Neigoot (with a little help from Shana) puts a ticket in the case to win a second-chance raffle at our summer reading party.

Lexi Neigoot (with a little help from Shana) enters a ticket to win a second-chance raffle at our Summer Reading finale party.

Thursday night, we had a Summer Reading finale party. Kids got to recreate their favorite Mad Science Monday experiments. (Bubbles!) And we capped the evening with a concert from Eve ‘N Stephen Music Fun Band.

From all of us at Mentor Public Library, we hope you had as much fun this summer as we did.

We hope you learned new things, stimulated your imagination and had a great time.

Most of all, we hope to see you again soon at the library.

Because summer reading may end, but the fun never has to.

Zackary Posen dances with his sister, Victoria, and mom, Katherine.

Zackary Posen dances with his sister, Victoria, and mom, Katherine.

For more photos from our Summer Reading finale party, visit Mentor Library’s Facebook page.

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Another big summer at Mentor Public Library

Kids earned Library Champion signs by reading (or being read to) for 15 hours.

Kids (like Hazel here) earned Library Champion signs by reading (or being read to) for 15 hours.

Our Summer Reading Program may be over but the fun isn’t done.

You can join us for an End of Summer party from 6 to 8 p.m. this Thursday, Aug. 7, at the Read House, which is next door to our Main Branch on Mentor Avenue.

We’ll be hosting a special concert with the Eve ‘n Stephen Music Fun Band. They’ll be taking the stage at 7 p.m.

Before then, kids can see if they won any of our awesome Summer Reading prizes and perform some of their favorite Mad Science Monday experiments.

Now with more bubbles!

Now with more bubbles!

There will also be second-chance raffles where kids can get more fun prizes, but you have to be at our party to win.

This year, we dedicated the summer to science. We built hovercraftsmade lava lampsblew up pop bottleslearned how to take fingerprints and were visited by one of the NASA scientists who helped make the Mars Rover. (We also learned how to train dragons; but that, admittedly, may not have been scientifically accurate.)

And then we got spooky when we dedicated July to Edgar Allan Poe.

We celebrated all aspects of Poe: his writing; his influence on art and cinema; his groundbreaking work in suspense and detective fiction; his interest in codes and cryptography. It wasn’t easy, but we even found an age-appropriate way to introduce Poe to kids.

Zack squeezes the Tell-Tale Heart during our Poe-themed obstacle course.

Zack squeezes the Tell-Tale Heart during our Poe-themed obstacle course.

More children than ever before—1,453, to be exact—signed up for our summer reading program at Mentor Library. And they read or were read to for 17,385 hours. (Also, a record high for us.) And 586 kids earned library champion signs by reading or being read to at least 15 hours this summer.

We also had more than 500 teens and adults sign up for summer reading, and they read more than 3,200 books.

All totaled, it was one of our biggest summer reading programs ever!

Of course, that just means we need to think even bigger next year.

See you at the library!

Kacey and Annalise grab a quick snack after an afternoon of granting wishes yesterday by our Read House.

Kacey and Annalise grab a quick snack after an afternoon of granting wishes yesterday by our Read House.

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Fun free-for-all during Family Lego Challenge

Ellie and Jason answer a math problem using Lego during the Family Lego Challenge.

Ellie and Jason answer a math problem using Lego during the Family Lego Challenge.

Those familiar with our Kids @ Work club know that we love playing with Lego at Mentor Public Library.

But it’s usually just kids who get to play, so we thought it would be more fun if the entire family got a chance to break out the blocks.

We had our first Family Lego Challenge on Saturday at our Main Branch. Families used Lego blocks to construct their own family crest and answer mathematical equations. They also competed to see who could build the tallest skyscraper and strongest bridge.

Families even tested their creativity when they were given a bag with 30 randomly chosen Lego blocks and told to build whatever they could imagine.

Colin and Sarah make a space shuttle from blocks.

Colin and Sarah make a space shuttle from blocks.

For more Lego fun, kids from fourth through eighth grade can come to Legomania this Saturday, Aug 9. at our Mentor-on-the-Lake Branch.

Then our Kids @ Work club returns from its summer break on the first Saturday of September.

There aren’t a lot of rules to Kids @ Work. There’s no need to register beforehand and children can build whatever they want with our Lego and Duplo blocks. (However, we do ask that kids younger than 8 have an adult with them; and, as with any library program, we ask that you be kind to the other patrons.)

But, in general, it’s just kids playing with Lego. So if your kid likes building, feel free to bring him or her to Kids @ Work. They will fit right in.

Alec searches for just the right Lego piece among the morass.

Alec searches for just the right Lego piece among the morass.

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