Art Smith, author and chef, is looking for a few good moms — those devoted to getting their kids and their communities to love eating vegetables. Chef Smith and the makers of Hidden Valley(R) Salad Dressings will host a Love Your Veggies(TM) retreat for winners of the “Search for Veggie Champions Contest,” which began November 6.   The goal is to help moms everywhere raise veggie-loving kids.  For a chance to win a spot at Chef Smith’s retreat moms must complete a simple application at LoveYourVeggies.com. Ten winners will enjoy an all-expense-paid trip to Chicago from April 28 to April 29 for two days of fun and educational workshops, field trips, cooking demonstrations and tastings with some of America’s most notable food, gardening and nutrition experts. To ensure a little pampering along the way, winners will receive accommodations for three nights, a spa visit and dinner at Chef Smith’s own Table Fifty-Two restaurant. Each retreat winner will also receive $5,000 to start or improve a vegetable garden in her hometown. The winner must designate a non-profit organization to which the $5,000 prize money will be awarded and with whom the community garden will be planted or improved.  Chef Smith designed the retreat to cover topics that educate moms on how to introduce and involve kids in a healthy eating experience, including vegetable education, gardening, meal planning and shopping, and cooking. The information taught at the retreat will be made available for all parents on LoveYourVeggies.com.  “It’s not enough to simply tell a child to eat her broccoli because it’s good for her and expect her to comply,” said Chef Smith, founder of the non-profit organization Common Threads, which teaches children the importance of fresh ingredients and how to connect with their bodies, their neighbors, and their world in a healthy way. “It’s also not the best idea to attempt to hide veggies in a recipe’s ingredients, so kids don’t realize what they’re eating. Other than the obvious health benefits, vegetables can be some of the most fun and delicious foods your children will ever eat. The best thing you can do is help you kids learn about vegetables so they grow an appreciation and love for them. By making veggie eating educational and fun and involving them in the process, kids will make healthy choices.”  Chef Smith’s “Search for Veggie Champions Contest” and retreat are part of a larger campaign called Love Your Veggies(TM), created by the makers of Hidden Valley(R) Salad Dressings. With 96 percent of children 2 to 12 years of age falling short of the recommended 2-5 cups of daily fruit and vegetables(1), the campaign was created in part to help parents close this gap and get kids eating and enjoying more vegetables.

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