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Local chef makes mindful meals

Chef partners with mayor at event focused on healthy eating

Slingerlands Chef Gail Sokol and Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings will host “Cooking Healthy for Spring”  on Saturday, April 27, at Crossgates Mall, as part of their Eat Healthy Albany campaign.

Slingerlands Chef Gail Sokol and Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings will host “Cooking Healthy for Spring” on Saturday, April 27, at Crossgates Mall, as part of their Eat Healthy Albany campaign.

— For her latest project, Sokol has partnered with Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings on a new campaign called Eat Healthy Albany. The initiative was first launched last September and is meant to “help fight obesity and inspire healthy changes in eating.”

Various programs and demonstrations have been planned since the program’s launch in areas throughout Albany County. The next event called “Cooking Healthy for Spring” will be held on Saturday, April 27, at Crossgates Mall in Guilderland.

A lot of the education is family-focused, but Sokol said she likes to do hands-on demonstrations with children the most. The thought is the children will have a fun time during the lessons and bring that information back home to their parents.

“We want to have a trickle up effect for their parents,” she said. “A lot of times parents think they don’t have time to make these kinds of meals or don’t know how. Kids can work as healthy ambassadors and be a grassroots campaign right in their own home.”

Jennings will be at the event cooking with Sokol. Parents will be taught some quick and delicious recipes for summer, while the kids will participate in demonstrations. Sokol will also teach about portion size, the importance of eating fruits and vegetables and the difference between whole and refined grains.

“I am hopeful that as our children embrace change, their actions will encourage adults to consider healthier options as well,” said Jennings.

The event will include sample tastings, prize giveaways and free recipes for parents.

Sokol said she hopes other public officials will sign on to partner with the project, so the effort can expand across the county and beyond.

“There is a real need for this,” said Sokol. “Research is showing this is the first generation that might not outlive their parents because of obesity and the increased risk of diabetes.”

“Cooking Healthy for Spring” will be held on Saturday, April 27, at Crossgates Mall in Guilderland from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Apple Court. To learn more, visit the program’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/eathealthyalbany.

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