Celebrity Mom Kimberly Williams-Paisley Gets Kids to Eat Their Veggies

OAKLAND, Calif., April 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Actress and mother Kimberly Williams-Paisley wants kids everywhere to eat their veggies. She's even written a book about it. Henry and the Hidden Veggie Garden, Williams-Paisley's first book, was written in support of the Love Your Veggies(TM) Nationwide School Lunch Campaign which today awarded 51 elementary schools each with a $10,000 nutrition grant.

The Love Your Veggies(TM) grant program is sponsored by the makers of Hidden Valley(R) Salad Dressings in partnership with School Nutrition Foundation (SNF) and supported by Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH). The campaign aims to increase access to -- and consumption of -- fresh fruits and vegetables in elementary schools across the country at a time when schools are required by federal mandate to strengthen nutrition and exercise programs as part of local wellness policies.(1)

Williams-Paisley co-wrote Henry and the Hidden Veggie Garden with the person she calls one of "her first and best teachers," her father, Gurney Williams III. The book tells the story of a typical boy who'd rather play video games than play outside and who prefers to eat pizza and burgers instead of peas and carrots. But after a visit to his aunt's farm, Henry discovers a new way of eating and living, which he comes to embrace in a surprising way. Williams-Paisley peppers the book with aspects of her own life -- from the farm, reminiscent of her Tennessee home, to the character Huck, named after her 20-month-old son, William Huckleberry.

"Now that I live on a farm, I feel so much more connected to the land and want to share the benefits this environment offers growing children," said Williams-Paisley. "I hope that in some small way Henry and the Hidden Veggie Garden can help parents introduce their kids to a healthier and happier way of life, and that's why I'm supporting the Love Your Veggies grant program."

In its second year, the Love Your Veggies grant program asks and encourages schools to submit the program that best meets the needs of their students and their school. Funding can be spent on fresh produce, vegetable stations, kitchen equipment, program staffing, nutrition education supplies and training.

About the Authors -- Father and Daughter Pair Up to Educate Other Families

Kimberly Williams-Paisley, age 36, first lit up the screen as the radiant young bride in the comedy feature film series "Father of the Bride" and "Father of the Bride Part II." During the first year of her marriage to country singer Brad Paisley, she wrote a series of columns for Redbook magazine about her own experiences as a new bride. Currently, she co-stars in the ABC television sitcom "According to Jim."

Kimberly's father, Gurney Williams III, has been a writer and editor for more than 40 years, contributing scores of articles -- often focusing on health -- to national magazines, including Parenting and Family Circle. He was co-author of a college textbook on children's literature, and has published several previous children's books inspired by stories he told Kimberly and her brother and sister when they were young.

Where to Get the Book

The book is available online at http://www.LoveYourVeggiesGrants.org for $5.00. All proceeds from the sale of the book will benefit Books From The Heart(R), a program of the nonprofit Heart of America Foundation(R), whose mission is to give children living in poverty the tools they need to read, succeed and make a difference.

"We have loved working with Kimberly on this project to encourage kids to love their veggies," said Kristin Wonzen, marketing manager for Hidden Valley(R). "Starting a dialogue among kids, parents and school nutrition professionals is an important step to increasing children's enthusiasm for eating fresh vegetables. We're proud to have all of these groups involved in our program, working to find easy and creative solutions for kids to enjoy balanced meals."

Winning Schools Submit Creative Ideas for Their Grants

Applications were reviewed by representatives from the SNF and PBH and judged upon criteria including need, innovation, greatest likelihood of sustainable impact on the students they are serving, and potential for community involvement. Grants were awarded to schools from 47 different states plus Washington, D.C. Some of the grant recipients include:

The Hidden Valley(R) Love Your Veggies(TM) Nationwide School Lunch Campaign was inspired by findings from a 2006 study of two Northern California elementary schools conducted by the University of California Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program and the Butte County Cooperative Extension. The study found that children consumed 23 percent more vegetables when paired with a moderate amount of ranch dressing. A second study conducted at Iowa State University found that certain vitamins and cancer-fighting compounds found in fruits and vegetables are fat-soluble. This study suggests that a moderate amount of fat may help the body adequately absorb nutrients. (2)

2007-2008 Grant Recipients

The complete list of recipients of the 2007-2008 Love Your Veggies(TM) Nationwide School Lunch Campaign is as follows:

About Hidden Valley(R)

The HV Food Products Company is a subsidiary of The Clorox Company, headquartered in Oakland, Calif. Clorox is a leading manufacturer and marketer of consumer products with fiscal year 2006 revenues of $4.6 billion. With 7,600 employees worldwide, the company manufactures products in two dozen countries and markets them in more than 100 countries. For more information about Clorox, visit http://www.TheCloroxCompany.com.

The School Nutrition Foundation

The School Nutrition Foundation provides high-quality professional development, financial aid and research programs to school nutrition professionals and members of the School Nutrition Association. The Foundation's commitment to the school nutrition community is integral to implementing positive change in school meals and, ultimately, to the health and education of school children. For more information, visit http://www.schoolnutrition.org/

About Produce for Better Health Foundation

Produce for Better Health Foundation is a 16-year old nonprofit organization whose mission is to motivate people to eat more fruits and vegetables for a healthier America. The foundation is co-chair and member of the National Partnership, consisting of government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and industry working in collaboration to expand nationwide efforts to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables for improved public health. Their new initiative, Fruits & Veggies-More Matters(R), replaces the 5 A Day Program and is created to help Americans overcome common everyday barriers to eating fruits and veggies. For more information, visit http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org.

SOURCE Hidden Valley Salad Dressings

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