Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Salad Party Revolution Begins at Vero Beach Elementary School!

Paradise Greetings,

Last Wednesday was a great day. It was the day of the First Giant Salad Party for the hundred 3rd grade students at Vero Beach Elementary School. It was a beautiful thing seeing 100 kids eating their vegetables and begging for seconds!! Featuring locally grown vegetables from Kevin O'Dare (Osceola Organics) and Joel Bray (who farms 2 acres of land and gives away the vegetables to those in need), Dr. Ken, from Jupiter, FL., talked with the kids about making healthy food choices. He selected 3 kids to be the chefs of the day. After donning chefs hats and Growing Healthy Kids chef aprons, the trio learned how to make a sharp vinaigrette dressing for their Salad Party. All the kids took home the recipe!

Salad Party Sharp Vinaigrette:
Mix together in a bowl:
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
fresh ground pepper
2-3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped or minced
Beat in gradually with a whisk or fork:
1/2 cup extra virgin oil oil
You can also whip all the ingredients in a blender at high speed for several minutes.

Here's what you need to know: We need fats -- the GOOD fats (called "unsaturated"), like olive oil. Other good fats are fish (especially wild salmon), avocados, nuts (especially walnuts), olives, and flax seeds. Most of our fat calories should be from these foods. If getting to a healthier weight is on your "to do" list, then cut back on the fat calories you are eating. Use less butter. Use less ranch dressing, use more vinaegrette dressings ("Just Say No to Ranch Dressing" -- can you see it on a bumper sticker??). Switch from 2% milk to 1% milk. Or switch from 1% milk to almond milk. Use less cheese. Eat less meat and eat more fish. You can get frozen wild salmon filets at Walmart now.

Thank you to Andrea Tabor and Erin Mullen from EAT, the Happy, Healthy Lunch Box, for partnering with me for this event. Thank you to Dr. Ken. It was loads of fun! Thank you to our volunteers, Cindy McCall and Barbara Petrillo, the teachers, the principal, Mrs. Swanson, and most of all the KIDS!!! You're all awesome!

What you can do: call your local elementary school and find out how many kids are enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program. At Vero Beach Elementary, 87.73% of the kids are on the program (the second highest rate in Indian River County), with a whopping 80% on the FREE LUNCH PROGRAM. Families are hurting with job losses and feeding our children healthy foods is our priority. Call your school and tell them you want Growing Healthy Kids to hold a Giant Salad Party. Call your elected officials and tell them we need better food choices for the school lunch programs for kids on free and reduced meals. For some of these kids, this is all they eat in a day.

Growing Healthy Kids - improving the health - and lives - of children, one garden and one child at a time.

To your perfect health.
Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids

Sunday, May 16, 2010

New Growing Healthy Kids chef apron has superpowers!

Paradise greetings,

Kids learn from adults, but how are they supposed to learn to eat healthy foods when we're lining up at McDonalds for our empty calories with added fat, sugar, and salt?

Learn how to choose healthy foods, cook healthy foods, and eat healthy foods. We make it simple, as simple as drinking a glass of water. As soon as you put on the new Growing Healthy Kids chef apron, you will be receive superpowers for Growing Healthy Kids. Be amazing, be powerful, be healthy. Be part of our commitment to halt and reverse childhood obesity.

Because our children's health and lives depend on it.

Chef apron now available at www.HealthyDiabetesCoach.com/kids. Includes recipe for Growing Healthy Kids.

Growing Healthy Kids - improving the health - and lives - of America's children, one garden and one child at a time.

To your perfect health.

Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids

Peanut Butter: Added Fat Equals Extra Pounds

Paradise Greetings,

Busy week. The White House released its report on Childhood Obesity. Check it out and decide where you can make a difference: http://www.letsmove.gov/taskforce_childhoodobesityrpt.html. There will be a pop quiz next blog - with prizes - so pay attention!! We're talking about our children's health and lives here...

How much do YOU love peanut butter? I love peanut butter. Always have, always will. Nut butters in general are great. I love almond butter and cashew butter. The only ingredient in the best ones is the nut. Nuts contain the "good" fat called unsaturated fats. We need fats. Fats, protein, and carbohydrates keep us going. If you eat too much fat, even the good fats, you will gain weight.

Fat contains 9 calories a gram, vs 4 calories a gram for protein and carbs. For the big kids reading this, alcohol contains 7 calories a gram. So, when your goal is to get to a healthier weight (America, are you listening???), cutting back on the fat calories is the first step.

This week one of the Growing Healthy Kids classes I did in conjunction with the Treasure Coast-Vero Beach Kiwanis Club was a lesson on making healthy snacks for teenagers. I brought in the ingredients for making PB&B sandwiches (peanut butter and banana) using whole grain bread.

I brought in 3 kinds of peanut butter and taught the kids how to read the food labels. The one peanut butter that the kids gravitated to first (those advertising and placement dollars at work) is the one that has ADDED TRANS FAT, as identified by those two key words, "partially hydrogenated". The only peanut butter I allowed them to open and use was the one that only had 2 ingredients, compared to the other 2 which had 5 and 6 ingredients each, including added fats and added sugar.

So, your lesson today is to count the ingredients on the peanut butter in YOUR food pantry. Less is more. Less ingredients is more health. By the way, the peanut butter the kids used to make their peanut butter and banana sandwiches was Smucker's Natural Peanut Butter. Not the Jif. Not the Peter Pan.

This week was special for another reason: the launch of the Growing Healthy Kids chef apron. Net proceeds support the garden-based education program and healthy kids cooking classes. Go to www.HealthyDiabetesCoach.com/kids.

Growing Healthy Kids - improving the health - and lives - of America's children, one garden and one child at a time.

To your perfect health,
Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Bring on the Veggies! Kid Power!

Paradise greetings,

What a busy week this has been for Growing Healthy Kids. So many veggies to chop. So many salads to make. So many flatbreads to roll. So many kids to get healthy!!!
The pictures you see are from our latest project, in partnership with Kiwanis Club, at Hibiscus Children's Center in Vero Beach. Last week's classes were great and the gardens are growing. The kids were not shy about stepping up to be the master chefs. They learned about reading food labels and how easy it is to make really healthy sandwiches that taste great. We used the "Flatout" breads with 90 calories per flatbread and a whopping 9 grams of dietary fiber! These makes EXCELLENT pizza crusts!!

One girl, watching the other kids chop yellow and red peppers, tomatoes, spinach, and English cucumbers, asked if I'd brought any "lunch meats" for the sandwiches. I told her I didn't, but she could make the rollups with her favorite meats. When she decided to make a rollup with the ingredients provided for the class, she had a bite, smiled and said the best thing ever, "This is GOOD!"

Focus on making one small change a week. Make this week's change to eat one more fruit or veggie each day.

Growing Healthy Kids is about improving the health - and lives - of children, one child and one garden at a time.

To your perfect health!
Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids