Reid, a chef, food writer and culinary educator, will demonstrate quick and easy lunches and after-school snacks from the main stage in front of Macy’s at 2:30 p.m.
The mother of two boys says that lunch and snacks should be healthy, tasty and good for growing kids.
“Healthy eating is definitely not expensive and it’s not hard,” she said. “I will show parents and kids how easy and delicious healthy eating can be.”
Reid says whole foods are cheaper than processed foods and taste better too.
The foods she will demonstrate at the expo and offer samples to families who attend will be easy for parents to make and for older kids to make for themselves.
Reid says she will pull items from all the food groups – protein, complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables, and dairy – to get every child one step closer to having a balanced meal.
Protein includes lean meats and beans, and the complex carbohydrates are whole-grain pasta, bread and rice. For fruits and vegetables, she will pick fresh seasonal items, and the dairy – milk and cheese – will be low-fat.
With childhood obesity rampant throughout DeKalb County and the country, Reid said that thanks to our cyber-tech society, inactivity and a national love affair with fat, salt and sugar, this will be the first generation of kids who will not outlive their parents.
“Poor diet and lack of activity have made obesity an epidemic,” she said, adding that we can make a dent in the epidemic if we eat good stuff and burn more calories than we consume.
For example, Reid said kids who participate in sports at school need to feed on premium foods and make every calorie count. Instead, they are loading up on junk food and empty calories, she said.
“They are full, but their bodies are starving for nutrients,” she said.
Instead of soda, Reid said parents should buy 100 percent dark fruit juice like grape and cranberry and add seltzer or sparkling water.
“It makes a refreshing drink and they don’t get the artificial color and high-fructose sweeteners and all those preservatives with strange names,” she said. “With 100 percent juice and sparkling water, they are getting a great drink and the benefits of antioxidants, too.”
Reid recommends going for seasonal fruits and vegetables every time.
“They are the freshest, have the most flavor and are the cheapest,” she said. Eating local in Atlanta is a lot easier because stores like Wal-Mart and the food co-op Sevananda Natural Foods Market, which is sponsoring her demonstration at the expo, carry locally grown foods, she added.
Reid also thinks it’s easy to get children to try new foods if we teach them to grow food and take them shopping for food.
“What kids grow, they eat,” she said. “We just need to get them in the kitchen and get them shopping, and let them grow something, even one tomato. They will eat it because they will be so proud. When the tomatoes are ready, let them invite a friend over and do a pizza party and showcase the vegetables that your kids grew.”
Reid, who lives in Decatur, has been teaching people about food for the past four years.
She teaches people how to let food fit their lifestyle. She works with families who want to eat better and people with health issues like diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, cancers and obesity and conducts demonstrations at churches and community organizations.
She also has a contract with Kaiser Permanente Worksite Wellness Program to do one-hour lunch-and-learn sessions at companies that are members of the HMO.
“I am teaching people to make healthy choices – one meal at a time, one family at a time,” said Reid, who has been a chef at the Dish Restaurant, the Food Studio and Nikolai’s Roof, and the vegan restaurant Lush. Reid also has catered through Bold American Catering and has worked as a private chef with an upscale staffing company for private estates in Atlanta.
Foodies can catch her on second Saturdays monthly, except August, at Sevananda, where she has been a co-op member for a decade and where she teaches an hour-and-a-half class using natural and locally grown ingredients.
“We demonstrate three dishes and do a lot of information sharing,” she said. “We talk about myths and health claims.”
Reid said she came to culinary education gradually.
The “light” came on for her after she took a look into the shopping carts of fellow shoppers at the newly opened Gresham Park Wal-Mart four years ago.
“I looked in the carts and there were sodas and frozen foods and packaged snacks, but no fresh produce, no vegetables, no fruits,” she said. “I decided then to apply my knowledge in everyday language that people will understand.”