Wednesday, February 3, 2016

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Essential Ingredients

"All you need is love.  But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt."  

                                                                  --Charles M. Schultz

Cacao beans

What is your “go to” ingredient in your kitchen?  What are the foods that you want your children to enjoy and love? 

A couple of weeks ago, I did a healthy chocolate tasting class at the local Boys and Girls Club in Sebastian, Florida.  This was part of Growing Healthy Kids’ program called The Art of Healthy Eating.  The 2nd and 3rd graders were excited because over the past several months they have been learning about – and tasting - foods that make you healthy and smart.  The lessons in The Art of Healthy Eating have centered around teaching the kids how to recognize hidden sugars in foods and drinks and reading food labels to look for sugar ingredients that end in “ose”.   

One of the essential ingredients you will always find in The Growing Healthy Kids Test Kitchen is dark chocolate.  Nothing better than a small piece of dark chocolate in the afternoon for a good mood pick-me-up!  Health benefits of dark chocolate include better moods, prevention of memory decline, decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, and improved (lower) LDL cholesterol.  

Most kids have only eaten milk chocolate, which is mainly sugar.  Eating too much of this unhealthy, sweet chocolate contributes to dental caries, or cavities.  

Here are 2 clues to help you and your kids select healthy, dark chocolate:
  1. Is the first ingredient cocoa (NOT sugar)?
  2. Does it say 70% (or higher) cocoa?

Eat good food every day.  Make healthy chocolate one of YOUR essential ingredients for good moods and great health!  

In gratitude,
Nancy Heinrich

Founder, Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.