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It’s Library Week!

Healthy eating starts with ingredients rich with nutrients.

“From a nutrition angle, we’re having to teach people if you’re going to each the calories, eat the nutrient dense calories,” said Valerie Conner of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

Conner led the first seminar, explaining correct portion sizes, of the Selma-Dallas County Public Library’s National Library Week celebration of “Communities Thrive at Your Library.”

Each day the library will host an event to broaden knowledge of healthy living and growing healthy foods.

Conner suggested people eat a variety of foods and make wise choices, such as eating whole grains or reduced fat milk and cheeses.

“You need to change up the foods you eat,” Conner said. “No need to get stuck in a rut of eating the same things all the time. It needs to change. Your plate needs to look like a rainbow, with different colors of different fruits. The richer the color, the more nutrient rich the food is going to be.”

If people cannot, or choose not, to eat items from all food groups, Conner also suggests taking supplements or multivitamins.

Most people should follow about a 2,000-calorie diet, although this amount can be reduced to 1,800 or 1,600 for women, and men should eat a little more than 2,000 calories daily.

Each day is also allotted a 300-calorie discretionary amount to be used for items such as chips, soft drinks, or candy bars.

People should eat about 6 ounces of grains, 2.5 cups of vegetables, 2 cups of fruits, 3 cups of milk and 5.5 ounces of meat and beans each day.

The library will hold free health screenings today with Vaughan Community Health Services from 9 a.m. until noon.

Seminars will also be held Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 4 p.m. in the library lobby.

All events are free of charge.

“It’s not just for adults,” said Crystal Drye, circulation coordinator. “We want children to know how to grow things and how to eat right. A lot times adults come, but we want the children and teenagers to come too so they don’t eat all these chips and sodas and things that are unhealthy.”

Another event in conjunction with the celebration is Fine Free Week, a time when the library will accept all books and items without charging overdue fines.

In return for clearing fines, the library asks for donations to contribute to a local charity. This year the money is used to reimburse the crochet club for making more than 150 hats for babies at Vaughan Regional Medical Center and the patients undergoing chemotherapy at the Montgomery Cancer Center.