How do we teach children about clean healthy eating?

Here is my friend Janet Michelson's guest post about her illustrated book Chew Chew the Food Chain Train, which teaches nutrition to children. The eBook will be a free download at Amazon on Fr and Sat the 7th and 8th of December, 2012.
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I am a licensed, registered occupational therapist with a special interest in clean eating and nutrition. Working in long term care, I saw the effects of processed food and inadequate nutrition. Patients had long lists of chronic diseases and even longer lists of medications, which all had side effects. It became clear that they were not getting better with all these medications. Watching the patients eat food laden with pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, preservatives, genetic modification, and processed with more chemicals, sugars, and fats seemed to make matters worse. The lack of healthy fruits and vegetables was discouraging. 

How could I help in this tragic situation? I contacted a state senator, and we are working to change the laws regarding nutrition in long term care, but this was not enough. People need to eat clean, healthy food throughout their lifetimes in order to avoid chronic illnesses such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, which occur with increased frequency in young people and even in children. Some parents are unaware of the level of contamination in food and the long term consequences of an unhealthy diet. 

How do we teach children and parents to make good choices when they are surrounded by and bombarded with bad choices? Chew Chew the Food Chain Train is ready to help. She is a train made entirely of fruits and vegetables, and she makes learning fun! Come along to see how children are given choices of foods to eat and encouraged to choose the healthy foods from the train car buffet that comes right to the table! 

Future adventures will have Chew Chew and children enjoying a farmer’s market where they learn about truck farming, Community Based Agriculture, and Non-GMO farming; planting an organic garden; making natural compost; learning about plate recommendations and school lunches; cooking whole food; finding out about special diets such as gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free; and going to the grocery store to learn about processed foods. 

The first of this fun and educational series of books is now available on at Amazon as eBooks and in print. Costs are kept to a minimum to offer the books at affordable prices in order to be available to as many children as possible. This is a mission, perhaps a calling, to help children live a healthy lifestyle. Each book includes the children engaging in physical activity as they interact with Chew Chew and learn to make better food choices.