Wednesday, July 8, 2015

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Eating Mediterranean

"Eat real food.  Your body and mind will thank you for the rest of your life."  --Nancy Heinrich

Olive trees in Greece
If you follow the Growing Healthy Kids project and are familiar with our mission to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic, then you know we love eating fresh and locally grown veggies and fruits, plus whole grains, nuts and seeds, olive oil, and cold water fish like wild salmon.  This is the basis of what is known as the Mediterranean diet.  

If you have read my book, Healthy Living with Diabetes: One Small Step at a Time*, then you know how I feel about the word, “diet”:  the first 3 letters spell the word, “die”.  This is why I don't speak about the Mediterranean "diet", but instead refer to the Mediterranean way of eating. Because food is essential for energy and helps determine our present and future health, I always reframe conversations away from “diets” and towards discussions about “healthy eating” and “eating for optimal health.” 

What exactly is a Mediterranean way of eating?**  
  • A high intake of vegetables, legumes (beans, peas), fruits, nuts, and whole grain cereals
  • A high intake of olive oil
  • A low intake of saturated fats (animal fats such as butter, low fat and whole milk, meat)
  • A moderately high intake of fish
  • A low to moderate inake of dairy products (mostly cheese and yogurt)
  • A low intake of meat and poultry
  • Moderate intake of ethanol, mainly wine and mostly consumed during meals (this is for adults, not the kids)

Make this Mediterranean Salad with your kids this summer:
  • Fresh, locally grown salad greens
  • Heirloom tomatoes
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Feta cheese
Mix the following dressing in a jar, shake, and serve over the salad:
  • Tahini
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Pink Himalayan sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • Minced garlic (optional)

With this lesson about eating Mediterranean, here is one of the Food Rules for Growing Healthy Kids: Eat vegetables that are in season and locally grown (where available). 

Wishing you a summer filled with great adventures and wonderful foods!

In gratitude,
Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.

*Healthy Living with Diabetes: One Small Step at a Time is available at  

**Source:  Dr. Antonia Trichopoulou, Professor of Nutrition at University of Athens (Greece) Medical School