Wednesday, June 26, 2013



“A is for apple.  F is for Fiber.  Z is for Zucchini.  Eat Your Alphabet. “
                                                        --- Nancy Heinrich

When I first wrote this line, I used it as part of our Eat Rainbows campaign to engage kids in the “funness factor” of healthy eating. Eating should be fun.  It can also be educational.  

Planning meals is always fun at my house.  Take today, for instance.  This morning, I juiced up some fresh Granny Smith apples, carrots, and ginger to share with my son.  It was so delicious and I drank mine quickly.  My son, however, sternly (was he joking??) said, “Mom, you’re not sipping it!”  He's right about taking time to enjoy your food.  Lessons from our children.  It was a great way to start Wellness Wednesday, carrot mustaches and all!

Tonight, I get to play in the Growing Healthy Kids Test Kitchen.  Zucchini is in abundance and I want to create a new zucchini cake recipe for our fall project at Gifford Youth Activity Center.  One of my favorite parts of the Growing Healthy Kids project is creating recipes that are fun AND easy to make, have “regular” ingredients, feature seasonal veggies, and best of all, taste delicious and are good for you!  If all goes well tonight, next week’s Wellness Wednesdays column will feature our new zucchini cake recipe. 

Fresh veggies (tomatoes, peppers, onion, and garlic) ready to roast in the oven! 

"F" is for Fiber.  Fiber is the nondigestable part of plants.  Fiber is not found in animal products.  Foods containing fiber are what we call the good carbohydrates.  Here’s my challenge for you:  keep a food journal for 2 days in the next week and record how many grams of dietary fiber you are eating.  You will have to read food labels and you will need measuring cups.  Most Americans eat far less fiber than they need.  Here is the basic guideline from the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans from the USDA:  14 grams of dietary fiber per 1,000 calories consumed.  Most adults should aim for 28-35 grams of dietary fiber a day.   Vegetables and fruits have fiber.  Lentils and beans have fiber.  Flax seed (my personal favorite: Bob’s Red Mill Ground Flax Seed) is high in fiber as well as omega-3 fatty acids.  Check out Bob's Red Mill for lots of great recipes. 

From apples to zucchini, eat your alphabet.  Eat several letters of the alphabet and mix up the colors.  Enjoy real food.  What are you doing for fun in the kitchen with your kids?  

In gratitude,
Nancy Heinrich
Growing Healthy Kids