Wednesday, February 22, 2017


"Let no one ever come to you without leaving 
better and happier.  Be the living expression of 
God's kindness: kindness in your face, kindness
in your eyes, kindness in your smile."  
                                                                      --Mother Teresa

February is American Heart Month.  

While thinking about a title for this week's article, my consideration was about positive messages to empower parents.  Some of those ideas included:  Matters of the heart.  Heart health.  Heart beats.  Love your heart.  Take time for your heart.  Exercise your heart.  And the beat goes on.  

I settled on "Have a Happy Heart" as an inspiration for you to enjoy life, to take time to share fun times with your children and to empower kids to eat heart-healthy foods.  Sometimes we parents get so involved in day-day activities and forget the value of sharing meals with family and friends, to laugh, and planning our days so we can enjoy nature. 
The following pictures are from several recent Growing Healthy Kids' programs where we introduce kids to locally grown foods and heart-healthy habits. 

American Heart Month is about increasing your awareness so you have the best heart health possible.  Our heart is that small muscle in the middle of our chest.  The human heart is about the size of an adult’s closed fist.  The size and weight depends on the age, health, and size of the individual.  It weighs between 7 and 12 ounces-less than a pound.  It beats 100,000 times EVERY DAY.  It sends an individual’s 6 quart blood supply through the body 3 times EVERY MINUTE.  Your blood travels about 12,000 miles EVERY DAY  (source:  

Taking care of your heart is important and requires making conscious choices.  One thing all parents can do is become aware of all the added salt found in processed foods.
The message for keeping hearts healthy and happy is clear.

  • All kids need access to healthy foods.
  • Purchase fresh vegetables and fruits that are the colors of the rainbow.
  • Eliminate added sugars and other foods that contribute to inflammation and obesity.
  • Reduce consumption of processed foods containing added salt. 
  • Identify foods and drinks containing high fructose corn syrup and food dyes and don’t consume them. 
  • Buy foods from your local farmers whenever possible.
  • Cook at home.  
  • Buy the best ingredients you can afford. 
  • Be kind to others.
  • Laugh often.  
  • Be full of joy and gratitude.
  • Treat your heart with respect. 

In gratitude,
Nancy L. Heinrich, MPH
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids