Wednesday, May 24, 2017

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Mediterranean Foods for Life

"I have never felt that anything really mattered but the satisfaction of knowing that you stood for the things in which you believed, and had done the very best you could." 
                                                                                                          –Eleanor Roosevelt

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I have always found the Mediterranean way of eating (lots of vegetables, whole grains, beans, herbs, fresh seasonal fruits, olive oil, nuts and fermented foods like yogurt) to be the healthiest way to eat.  This time of year there is an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables at the local farmers markets, with lots of colorful choices.  Choosing what to eat always depends on what is in season, especially in the #GrowingHealthyKids #Test Kitchen, where teaching kids to eat fruits and vegetables that are the colors of the rainbows is one of our key messages. 

May is International Mediterranean Diet Month.  For healthy recipe ideas, one of my go-to sites is  In 1993, Oldways, in conjunction with Harvard School of Public Health and the World Health Organization, created the Mediterranean Food Pyramid. 
Oldways Mediterranean Diet Pyramid

Next time you are at your favorite market, pick up a nice bottle of extra virgin olive oil and locally grown greens like peppery arugula. Make arugula pesto to serve on chick pea-lentil pasta or to top a simple and delicious white bean and Swiss chard soup.  Here’s my recipe for arugula pesto:

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Arugula Pesto

  • 2 cups fresh arugula, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, lightly toasted
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Pink Himalayan sea salt
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch of lemon zest

Place all ingredients in food processor and blend well.  Serve on whole grain pasta and sun-dried tomatoes.  Top with freshly grated parmesan and pepper.
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If you have any leftover pesto, place it in a zip lock bag and freeze it for another day.

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With love and gratitude,
Nancy L. Heinrich, MPH

Founder, Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.