Wednesday, October 14, 2015

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: "I want to learn to cook" (3 tips to empower your kids)

“Food is medicine.  We can heal our bodies by eating the correct things or make them sick by eating bad things.”                                                                 --Mark Hyman, M.D.

Fall is the season when Growing Healthy Kids is busy teaching little ones and their parents about good foods to eat more of as well as foods to eat less of such as added sugars, sodas, and refined grains.  Earlier this month we spoke to the 28 kids who are part of the new Wildcat Culinary Club at Oslo Middle School in Indian River County, Florida.  I asked the kids why they had chosen to join THIS club instead of the others offered to students.  Their common response warmed my heart:  “I want to learn how to cook.” After learning about the kids and asking them about their favorite fruits and vegetables, we talked about how to identify foods that can make you sick.  

When you empower kids in the kitchen (and the garden) by teaching them basic culinary skills, giving them the knowledge about how to choose good ingredients and the confidence to experiment with ingredients, flavors, spices, and textures that complement each other, you have kids who can prepare healthy foods for the rest of their lives.

Here are 3 tips you can use to empower kids in YOUR kitchen:
  1. If you can’t pronounce the ingredient, then it’s not good for you.
  2. Look for colors (food dyes) listed on the ingredient list.  Choose foods without food dyes.  Example:  These are ingredients listed in a box of Wildlicious Pop Tarts:  Blue 2 Lake, Red 40, Red 40 Lake, Blue 1 Lake, Blue 2, Yellow 5 Lake, Yellow 6.  NOT good for you! 
  3. Look for foods that contain dietary fiber.  Increasing the amount of dietary fiber we eat is a simple way to fill up on good foods and prevent weight gain. 

If you need Growing Healthy Kids to help empower kids at your school, then we would love to hear from you!  Send us an email at and let’s grow healthy kids together.

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

PS-Fall is also the season for amazing squash.  The other night I had some leftover steamed butternut squash which I used to make the most amazing butternut squash corn cakes.  For the link to the recipe from Foxhollow Farm in Kentucky, just click here.