Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Salad Party Revolution Begins at Vero Beach Elementary School!

Paradise Greetings,

Last Wednesday was a great day. It was the day of the First Giant Salad Party for the hundred 3rd grade students at Vero Beach Elementary School. It was a beautiful thing seeing 100 kids eating their vegetables and begging for seconds!! Featuring locally grown vegetables from Kevin O'Dare (Osceola Organics) and Joel Bray (who farms 2 acres of land and gives away the vegetables to those in need), Dr. Ken, from Jupiter, FL., talked with the kids about making healthy food choices. He selected 3 kids to be the chefs of the day. After donning chefs hats and Growing Healthy Kids chef aprons, the trio learned how to make a sharp vinaigrette dressing for their Salad Party. All the kids took home the recipe!

Salad Party Sharp Vinaigrette:
Mix together in a bowl:
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
fresh ground pepper
2-3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped or minced
Beat in gradually with a whisk or fork:
1/2 cup extra virgin oil oil
You can also whip all the ingredients in a blender at high speed for several minutes.

Here's what you need to know: We need fats -- the GOOD fats (called "unsaturated"), like olive oil. Other good fats are fish (especially wild salmon), avocados, nuts (especially walnuts), olives, and flax seeds. Most of our fat calories should be from these foods. If getting to a healthier weight is on your "to do" list, then cut back on the fat calories you are eating. Use less butter. Use less ranch dressing, use more vinaegrette dressings ("Just Say No to Ranch Dressing" -- can you see it on a bumper sticker??). Switch from 2% milk to 1% milk. Or switch from 1% milk to almond milk. Use less cheese. Eat less meat and eat more fish. You can get frozen wild salmon filets at Walmart now.

Thank you to Andrea Tabor and Erin Mullen from EAT, the Happy, Healthy Lunch Box, for partnering with me for this event. Thank you to Dr. Ken. It was loads of fun! Thank you to our volunteers, Cindy McCall and Barbara Petrillo, the teachers, the principal, Mrs. Swanson, and most of all the KIDS!!! You're all awesome!

What you can do: call your local elementary school and find out how many kids are enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program. At Vero Beach Elementary, 87.73% of the kids are on the program (the second highest rate in Indian River County), with a whopping 80% on the FREE LUNCH PROGRAM. Families are hurting with job losses and feeding our children healthy foods is our priority. Call your school and tell them you want Growing Healthy Kids to hold a Giant Salad Party. Call your elected officials and tell them we need better food choices for the school lunch programs for kids on free and reduced meals. For some of these kids, this is all they eat in a day.

Growing Healthy Kids - improving the health - and lives - of children, one garden and one child at a time.

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