Wednesday, January 11, 2017


Farmer Kevin O'Dare, Osceola Organic Farm, Vero Beach, Florida (Photo credit:  Barbara DuPont)

"Teaching kids how to feed themselves and how to live responsibly in a community is the center of an education." 
                                                                                    --Alice Waters

One lesson that can serve you well in the art of healthy eating is this:  buy the best ingredients you can afford.  Buy foods grown within a 50 mile radius of your home whenever possible. 

Louis Schacht, with his mother, of Schacht Groves (a 4 generation citrus family), Vero Beach, Florida

Doyle Hogan and his daughter, Britain of Birdie Hogan Farm, family owned in Vero Beach, Florida since 1918.
Seek out local farmers and the foods they grow.  Recently, friends were over for dinner.  I cut up a locally grown tomato purchased that day from a local farmer in Vero Beach for the veggie Mexican bowls on my menu.  You should have heard the compliments as my friends savored the flavors.  Our simple meal became a feast!  

Kids in our Nutrition Scientist Training Program talk with Kevin O'Dare at the Vero Beach Farmers Market

You can literally taste the difference when you eat good food! 

Here are 3 tips you can use when planning meals for you and your family:

  1. Look for a farmers market near you and include it as one of your regular shopping stops.* 
  2. Choose foods that are organically grown, whenever possible. 
  3. Look at where food is grown and choose to buy foods grown only in the U.S.

Teach your children that the best food is grown by farmers.  Take the kids to the farmers market with you and seek out farms to visit.  Get a packet of tomato or pepper seeds and show your kids how to plant them and water them.  Plan to start a small "kitchen garden" when the weather warms up where you live. 

Wintertime is a great time to make a delicious soup filled with vegetables.  I am happy to share with you and your family our well-tested Lentil Soup recipe from the Growing Healthy Kids Test Kitchen.  The addition of butternut squash increases the nutritional value of this soup exponentially! 

Because of farmers like Kevin O'Dare, Louis Schacht, and Doyle and Britain Hogan, we can ALL prepare delicious foods for our families. 

GROWING HEALTHY KIDS:  Our Recipe Collection

In a medium saucepan, bring to a boil:

  • ¼ cup lentils
  • 1 cup water

Then cover, turn down to simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes.  

Meanwhile, in another medium pan, saute for 5 minutes:

  • ½ cup sweet onion, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced
  • 2 stalks of celery, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoon olive oil

Mix together in a small stainless steel bowl and let sit for 5 minutes:

  • 1 more Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh turmeric, finely grated (use gloves or else you’re hands will be quite colorful!)
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper (pepper activates curcumin, the active anti-inflammatory ingredient in turmeric)

Add turmeric mixture to cooked vegetables.  Stir for 2-3 minutes until turmeric is well mixed in.


  • 3 cups water (or 2 cups water and 1 cup low sodium V8 juice)
  • 1 Tablespoon white miso (available at most health food stores)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup cubed butternut squash
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon celery seed

Cover and cook on low for ½ hour. 

When the lentils are cooked, puree about ¾ of them (I use a blender stick because it is convenient and easy to clean up).   Add all the lentils, pureed and the remaining ¼ lentils to the soup pot.   Remove bay leaf.  Cook for a few more minutes, then serve.   

Add Bragg Liquid Aminos to flavor as needed. 

TIP:  Add a 2” square of kombu (dried seaweed) while cooking the lentils.  Remove kombu when lentils are cooked. 

With love and gratitude,
Nancy L. Heinrich, MPH
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids, Inc. 

*To find a local farmers market near you, go to or click here.