Wednesday, September 18, 2013



“We are not very good at keeping people healthy 
over the long haul.” 

                                                     -- quote from a Cleveland Clinic administrator 
                                                                                  on a talk show in 2013 

What’s your favorite summer vegetable?  One of mine is red peppers.   There are just so many delicious ways to prepare them (think roasted red pepper soup, roasted vegetables, and wild shrimp and roasted pepper quesadillas).  

With fresh peppers and tomatoes in abundance right now, making a fresh salsa is an easy way to eat fresh and eat local.  One thing we love to do in the GROWING HEALTHY KIDS movement is expose kids to farms and farmers so they learn where food really comes from and, hopefully, will learn grow a few things they like.  The folks at Florida Veggies and More recently invited GROWING HEALTHY KIDS to play at their hydroponic farm in Vero Beach, Florida as part of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.  


"Farmer Lisa" Brenneman gives the kids
and the volunteers a tour
of the hydroponic greenhouse.

Florida Veggies and More this month as part of
National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.

“Farmer Lisa” Brenneman gave a farm tour to children involved with Youth Guidance Mentoring and Activities Program and adult mentors, then we all met in the farm store kitchen for cooking lessons using fresh-picked veggies.  Not a drop of salsa was left at the end of our fabulous morning!  Thanks, Farmer Lisa, for sending everyone home with a pepper plant of their own! 

An Easy Growing Healthy Kids Menu

Summer Salsa
Mango Salsa
Whole grain cheese quesadillas*

COMBINE in a bowl:

  • 1 medium tomato, cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
  • dash sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons (or more) fresh cilantro, chopped fine
  • 1/2 jalapeño pepper, finely diced (with or without seeds, depending on desired hotness-it is hotter with the seeds) (PARENTS:  Substitute 3 Tablespoons of chopped green pepper for the kids' version.)

TRANSFER to a serving bowl.  Let rest for about 1 hour, covered and unrefrigerated, for best flavor. 

USE gloves when working with jalapeño peppers

NOTE FROM NANCY:   This is a fun, easy recipe to make for Tuesday Taco night.  Serve with black bean and cheese nachos, enchiladas, quesadillas, or just whole grain chips.  It also makes a delicious topping on a Sunday morning veggie omelet. 

To make mango salsa, use less tomatoes, dice up a ripe 
mango, and add about ½ cup of diced red pepper. Eating good foods is easy when you know how to prepare a few basic recipes.  For these and more basic recipes every kid should learn to make, click here to order your copy of NOURISH AND FLOURISH.

Parents, the responsibility for our children's health is most importantly ours.  Hospitals, drug companies, and health insurance companies do not have an interest in keeping people well.  With all the profits being made from disease and obesity, we can each make the decision to be as healthy as possible.  One thing we can all do is plan our meals around the fresh and locally grown vegetables where you live.  SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL FARMERS! 

In gratitude,

Nancy Heinrich

Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.

*For demonstration purposes, La Tortilla Factory whole grain tortillas (12 grams of dietary fiber per tortilla) were used in the preparation of the quesadillas.