Wednesday, March 29, 2017

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Planning Healthy Lunches

"I grow my own vegetables and herbs.  I like being able to tell people that the lunch I am serving started out as a seed in my yard."
                                                                      --Curtis Stone

March is National Nutrition Month.  It is a good opportunity to evaluate what you eat and drink.  Every day we are faced with hundreds of decisions.  If you can start making conscious choices about meal planning, you (and your health) will be on a better path.  

I know when I fail to plan lunches for work, I am really planning to fail with taking good care of myself.  When I give up control to my fast-paced work schedule and do not have access to healthy foods (please pass the lentil burgers), I use that as a reminder to get back on track with some simple meal planning.

Salad made by kids in a recent Growing Healthy Kids class:  organic lettuce, sunflower sprouts and just-picked strawberries with a healthy vinaigrette dressing (see below for recipe).

Sundays are special for me because that's when I plan for 5 days of healthy lunches.  A salad with fresh, locally grown greens at least 3 days a week really makes the work light.  Do I need to schedule my errands so I can swing by Osceola Organic Farm to get salad greens or can I harvest some from my Tower Garden?  Can I get some of Alex’s crunchy hydroponic cucumbers at the weekly Vero Beach Farmers Market? What about cooking a bag of garbanzos for making hummus mid-week and having nutrient dense garbanzos for my salads? 

Speaking of salads, here is my favorite salad dressing recipe (this works for a green salad or a whole grain pasta salad):

GROWING HEALTHY KIDS:  Our Recipe Collection
Healthy Vinaigrette

  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Bragg apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon local honey
  • Pink Himalayan sea salt and freshly ground organic black pepper
I put the ingredients in a small container or a jar and pack it with my salad in a cooler. Shake well before using.  For a delicious dinner salad, use this dressing with local greens, sliced avocado and pear.  Simple, healthy, and delicious every time! 

Dare yourself to take 15 minutes and do some meal planning on the weekend so you – and your kids – have access to healthy lunches and snacks during the week.  Check out my pinterest pages for some great ideas!   This week I am inspired to make curried chickpea salad sandwiches (go to, search for “Nancy Heinrich” and look up my “Healthy Lunches” pins) or go to and search under recipes for the curried chickpea salad sandwich recipe.  With just a little planning, the week’s lunches are all set and you are on your way to a very nutritious and delicious week!

With love and gratitude,
Nancy L. Heinrich, MPH

Founder, Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.