Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lessons from a Kids Cooking Class

Paradise Greetings,

Have you ever taught middle school boys how to read a food label? I did this week. In between teaching the boys how to make one of the recipes from my recipe collection (, I showed them how to choose foods to help them stay healthy, fit, and smart as we cooked together in their after-school program. My intention was to teach a lesson about dietary fiber because every boy in the class has a close family member with diabetes or prediabetes. The more they know, the better choices they can make now and for the rest of their lives. The more they know, the healthier they will be. The more they know, the better their chances are of not developing diabetes.

Growing Healthy Kids is more than a community healthy education project. It is more than a nonprofit organization focused on halting and reversing childhood obesity. Growing Healthy Kids is a movement to make sure kids and families have the tools for healthy eating and getting the daily physical activity that our bodies crave and need. We are shifting the energy so that eating healthy is the ONLY choice, not just the best choice. We are interrupting the impact that diabetes is having among certain families and communities to shake out the complacency that I hear too often: “There’s nothing I can do about it. I'm going to get diabetes just like my parents.”
Not so fast...Six African-American and Hispanic boys now know that foods that are higher in dietary fiber can help fill them up so they won't overeat. These six boys now know that choosing a bread with 4 or more grams of dietary fiber per slice will help control their mother or father’s blood sugar better than a bread with zero or one gram of dietary fiber per slice. Six boys who are not students anymore, they are the teachers.

Can you afford to eat healthy? Of course! Did you know there is no - zero - zilch - dietary fiber in a loaf of Walmart's generic white bread? When I hear parents say their kids can go through a loaf of bread in an afternoon, it's no wonder to me. You may spend a dollar more to get a loaf of bread with 5 grams of fiber per slice instead of a bread with zero dietary fiber per slice, but that loaf of bread will last you days instead of hours. Heck, what if it turns out it costs LESS to eat healthy??

This is American Diabetes Month ( Let’s prevent diabetes. It’s easy when you know what to do. Do you know what to do??

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

To your perfect health.

Nancy Heinrich

Founder, Growing Healthy Kids