Wednesday, November 30, 2016

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: What Are We Cooking Next?

Learning lessons why organically grown is best
One of our Nutrition Scientists slicing locally  grown tomatoes

"Eat food.  Mostly plants.  Not too much."  
                                                                                                               --Michael Pollan

Cooking with kids is ALWAYS fun!  When parents tell me, “My kids would NEVER eat (fill in the blank), my response is, “Come back in an hour and leave the kids with us in the kitchen.”   My favorite part of this is when the parents come back and say, “I can’t believe those are MY kids eating (fill in the blank)."

Need a great gift idea for kids this holiday season?   Here's my suggestion:  basic cooking skills, locally grown ingredients, and great recipes provide kids with tools they will use for the rest of their lives.   Empower kids to eat good foods and you give them the power to eat well and to be healthy.  It is that simple. 

Combine the healing power of unprocessed whole foods with plenty of daily physical fitness, fresh air, add kindness, smiles, and love, and you have the basic recipe for growing healthy kids. 

Walking at Osceola Organic Farm

Give your kids the gift that keeps on giving - cooking skills.  Here is a story that both warms my heart and saddens me:  many of the adult volunteers in our programs for kids tell me they wish they had been in classes like ours when they were children.  These volunteers are dealing with diseases like diabetes, arthritis, and cancer and have eaten processed foods filled with added sugars, salt and fats most of their lives.   They see the joy of the children in our classes as they learn how to prepare wonderful, fresh ingredients.  They hear the messages in our classes about how eating real food can prevent diseases such as those with which they are dealing now.  

Let’s give our kids the power to be healthy the right way by providing them with access to healthy foods, basic cooking skills, and recipes filled with great flavors, tastes, and nutrition. If we don't give them this freedom, then who will?  

Harvesting organic lettuce with Kevin O'Dare at Osceola Organic Farm

What we are cooking next in our Growing Healthy Kids Nutrition Scientists classes is whatever local farmers are growing.   In Indian River County, Florida, headquarters for the Growing Healthy Kids project, farmers are growing beautiful salad greens, tomatoes, citrus, and winter squash.  We are preparing beautiful salads filled with salad greens and yellow tomatoes from Osceola Organics and sliced oranges from the wonderful family-owned Schacht Groves (  I just picked up some kabocha squash grown at Indiana native Mark Smith’s Aunt Zoraida Farm here in Vero Beach.  These winter squash makes delicious soups.  Here is a link to a fabulous recipe for Kabocha Squash Soup:  click here.   Kabocha squash, like all winter squash, is a rich source of dietary fiber that fills you up, helps regulate your blood sugar, and is also a great source of beta-carotene (found in all orange vegetables). 

Remember this lesson:  FRESH IS BEST!  

In gratitude,
Nancy L. Heinrich, MPH

Founder, Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.