Wednesday, October 3, 2018

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: The Perfect Veggie Burger

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  
                                                                     --George Bernard Shaw

I love food that tastes good AND is good for you.  A classic American food is the burger.  How do you make the perfect burger when you don't eat meat? 

It’s easy. 

Below is one of my all-time favorite veggie burger recipes.  I make it at least twice a month.  I have made many different versions of veggie burgers and I always prefer using lentils as the key ingredient.  

Locally grown tomatoes make the flavor on veggie burgers really pop!

3 Seed Burgers starting to cook
Here are 4 reasons why I use lentils:  
  1. Lentils are easy to cook; they are fully cooked in 20-30 minutes.  
  2. They don't need to be soaked in water overnight.  
  3. They are very inexpensive.  
  4. They can be cooked a day or two before making the burger recipe and are just as good as if you cooked them the same day.  
Lentils are in the food group called legumes. Lentils, and other plant foods in the legume family, are one of the healthiest foods on the planet because they are nutrient dense and extremely high in dietary fiber.  The legume group includes lentils (green, red, black, French), beans (i.e., black, garbanzo, adzuki, kidney, lima, fava, soy), peas (snap, green, split and black-eyed), and peanuts.  

Just 1/2 cup of cooked green lentils contains about 9 grams of dietary fiber, which is about one third of what you need to consume in one day.  Eating plenty of foods high in dietary fiber is key if you want to prevent or reverse diabetes. 

GROWING HEALTHY KIDS:  Our Recipe Collection
  • ·        ½ cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • ·        ¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
  • ·        ¼ cup unhulled sesame seeds (or substitute hemp seeds)
  • ·        1 cup cooked green lentils
  • ·        2 tablespoons rolled oats
  • ·        2-3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ·        ¼ cup diced onions
  • ·        2 tablespoons tahini
  • ·        1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
  • ·        Pinch of cayenne pepper or smoked paprika         
  • ·        Optional:  Add 2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten and/or 1 tablespoon coconut aminos*
Preheat oven to 350.  In food processor, combine all 3 seeds and process until coarsely chopped.  Add remaining ingredients.  Process until mixture is blended.  

Shape mixture into 4 patties. Lightly oil a baking sheet with olive oil.  Place patties on sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Turn and bake another 8 minutes.  If you choose, you can grill burgers in a pan on medium heat for 3-4 minutes per side, or until browned. 

Serve burgers on whole grain buns.  Garnish with avocado, lettuce, tomatoes. 

*For demonstration purposes, Trader Joe's Coconut Aminos were used in the preparation of this recipe in the Growing Healthy Kids Test Kitchen. 

TIP:  Something I like to do is to mix the ingredients on Sunday, place mixture in the fridge overnight so they firm up and are easier to handle, and then prepare the burgers for dinner on Monday night,
With love and gratitude,
Nancy Heinrich, MPH
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Practical Advice for Every Day

"Nothing is impossible. The word itself says, "I'm possible." 
                                                                                              --Audrey Hepburn

Let’s focus on what really matters every day. 

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Here are some of my favorite tips for parents:
  1. Get more sleep (adults need 7-9 hours a night, kids and teens need 9.5 hours a night, babies need 16-18 hours).
  2. Make time to exercise every day.  Walking for more than 10 minutes at a time counts.
  3. Drink more water.
  4. Eat less sugar. 
  5. Stay teachable.
  6. Read and write more.
  7. Remove clutter from your home and your life.
  8. Practice random acts of kindness.
  9. Don’t respond to negativity – walk away from it.
  10. Spend quality time with your family.
  11. Be grateful for the abundance in your life.  

With love and gratitude,
Nancy Heinrich, MPH
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Obesity Matters for Parents

“Children learn what to eat at their parents’ table, and adults are eating more fast food, more convenience foods, and more unhealthfully than ever before in human history.  Overweight parents don’t just pass on the genes for obesity, but their eating habits as well.” 
                              -- Joel Fuhrman, M.D., from Disease-Proof Your Child

Image result for kids going back to school "org"

Parents all over the country are reviewing school supply lists and buying backpacks, pencils, and binders.  It is a good time to plan how to be a good role model for your kids.  It turns out that educating parents is one of the best ways to develop role models with good behaviors that can lead to kids staying at a healthy weight. 

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the prevalence of obesity was 39.8% and affected about 93.3 million of U.S. adults in 2015-2016.  That’s more than 1 in 3 adults who are at unhealthy weights and at risk for obesity-related diseases including diabetes, sleep apnea, bone and joint problems. 

While we shop for our kids’ school supply lists, we need to shop for healthy foods for our kitchen pantries.  Kids learn from watching their parents.  Are you skipping breakfast?  Drinking sodas?  Eating white bread and processed meats?  Maybe you need to attend my “Healthy Eating” class for parents! 

Image result for healthy foods to eat "org"

We are the role models and our kids are sponges.  Pay attention to what you are teaching your kids by what you keep in your kitchen pantry and what you put on the dinner table.  If our kids are going to live longer than us, then we cannot sit by while they develop older adult diseases such as type 2 diabetes.  If we do nothing and allow them to become overweight and obese, then we are setting them up for a shorter lifespan than ours.
With love and gratitude,
Nancy Heinrich, MPH
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.