Sunday, March 7, 2010

Jumping Jacks & Green Beans

Paradise greetings,

What, you may ask, do jumping jacks and green beans have in common? Ecofest, that's what! Today's Growing Healthy Kids' adventure was being part of Ecofest this afternoon at a very special place in northern Indian River County, the Environmental Learning Center. Five volunteers and I greeted hundreds of children and their families who wanted to take home a plant (green beans & radishes). To "qualify" to make a seed pot, the kids were asked to do 10 jumping jacks.

We got the place hopping alright. Kids were jumping, then they played in the dirt. While the kids were busy, I talked with lots of parents and grandparents about Growing Healthy Kids' tips for making small changes for improved health. One of the simple tips I shared was to replace fruit juice with fruit. Parents, remember the saying, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away"? Know why? Fruit contains fiber, which is what fills us up. It takes a lot of apples to make 8 ounces of apple juice. Did you know 1 cup of apple juice contains 7 teaspoons of sugar and NO FIBER (CLUE: fiber=good stuff we need and we don't get from drive-through dinners (you know, places like the one with yellow arches and a clown with red hair) or the "enriched" wheat breads most people eat. The high amounts of sugar in sweet tea, sodas, fruit juices, and white breads are the problem. Diet sodas aren't the answer. I saw a lot of moms this afternoon drinking diet sodas. When I told them that new studies indicate that people OVEREAT when they drink diet sodas because their brains don't get the signal that food is on its way and they're full, they were like, "REALLY?" I'm optimistic that there are a couple more families looking at the nutrition facts label on the bread they have at home tonight looking to see how many grams of dietary fiber it has. (CLUE: We need 14 grams/1000 calories we eat.)

Here's my suggestion for healthy snacks with apples: apple slices with Smucker's Natural Peanut Butter, apple slices with a couple of walnut halves, or apple slices with a couple of slices of cheddar cheese.
Try it! Choose health. Stay tuned and remember: fruit, not fruit juice. Got it? Good.

Growing Healthy Kids, one garden and one child at a time. What fun!!

To your perfect health!
Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids