Thursday, October 28, 2010

Garden Adventures: Two Boys and Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus

Paradise Greetings,

Here's my report from one day's work in one of our teaching gardens this week. Keep in mind that all of the youth in this particular project have an immediate family member with diabetes.

We taught a group of middle school boys how to make sun-dried tomato hummus. As part of our Cooks in the Kitchen class, we teach kids how to read food labels. I tossed each boy a can of garbanzo beans and asked them to find some things on the label. The lesson was about about dietary fiber. One boy could not figure out what the serving size was (1/2 cup). He kept saying it was one and a half cups. One thing led to another and it was apparent that he does not yet have basic math skills. At the end of this lesson, the boys were clear about the following things:
  • what a serving size of cooked beans is
  • what half a cup looks like
  • beans have about 5-6 grams of dietary per serving
  • most people need 28 or more grams of fiber a day and
  • foods like hummus make a great snack

While making the sun-dried tomato hummus, then sampling it with whole wheat pita slices and celery sticks, another boy remarked to me, "Can I take home the recipe for this? I want to make it for my family. I think they will like it." I gave him the recipe and also gave him a container of the extra hummus plus a box of whole grain crackers. Can't wait to talk with him next week!

Several boys proudly said to the volunteers helping in the kitchen, "We've been watering our garden every day." It is apparent they are taking care of it now, because the seeds are growing, the cucumbers and squash plants are thriving, and it's starting to happen. It's starting. Yes. The seeds we've been planting are starting to grow.

Planting seeds is a very good thing. Some will take and some won't. Seeds need sunlight, water, and love to grow. Kids also need the right combination to grow and thrive.

Are your kids getting the nutrients they need to grow and to thrive? If not, go buy a package of seeds and plant them in a pot (the seeds, not your 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

PS - Stay tuned and I'll share the recipe with you for the sun-dried tomato hummus!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

You're Invited to The Growing Healthy Kids Variety Store Grand Opening Tomorrow in Vero Beach

Paradise Greetings,

If we are going to halt and reverse childhood obesity, we have work to do. This country has huge educational unmet needs for clear and concise information about the "why" getting to a healthier weight is a big deal for kids - and families - who are not at healthy weight and the "how" to do it in simple steps. Growing Healthy Kids is creating real solutions to meet these needs, especially for families that say they can't afford to eat healthy.

So, we are ramping up our work. We have taken a leap of faith to raise money for our various educational projects. We have opened our first "store within a store". Tomorrow is the Grand Opening of The Growing Healthy Kids Variety Store - educational products, gifts, and more.

The Growing Healthy Kids Variety Store has just opened in partnership with the beautiful Born Again Consignments store in its new location at 3400 43rd Avenue, Suites 7 and 8, Vero Beach, Florida (about a mile north of SR 60, at the west end of the Vero Beach Airport). The Grand Opening is 4-7 PM tomorrow, Thursday, October 28.

The store hours are Monday-Saturday, 9 AM-5 PM. The Growing Healthy Kids Variety Store is accepting tax-deductible donations of new and gently used furniture, garden and wall art. Mondays and Thursday are our preferred drop-off days.

A special thank you to Kim George of for your sponsorship and support of our new variety store!!

I look forward to meeting you. Please stop by tomorrow if you're in the neighborhood!

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
PS - check out the beautiful glass by Etched Heart artist Kryse Manson!! She and I are "toasting" with a pair of her beautiful champagne flutes.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fighting Childhood Obesity-It's Planting Time in the Tropics

Paradise Greetings,

The gardens are getting planted! Little greens are popping through the earth! We've got some great garden projects going all over the county!

Lettuce, squash, cukes, swiss chard, tomatoes, basil, and more!

HOLD IT!!! We have a question for the gardeners of the world who are reading this right now. What is your success-based tip for keeping zucchini plants bug-free in the Florida climate? PLEASE SEND TIPS QUICKLY! Help keep the bugs at bay! Help protect our zucchinis!!

On a serious note, this morning I visited with Bonnie Swanson, principal at Vero Beach Elementary School ( Mrs. Swanson gave me a tour of the new gardens the children are preparing and planting in preparation for their new green school to be built on the same school property. Rain barrels were installed yesterday in the biggest garden. Vero Beach Elementary is one of the schools that lost its "Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Program" last year. In the midst of one of our nation's greatest failures, the obesity in children, this school's nutrition program took a major step backwards when it lost this program. Why is it that we are taking away children's access to fresh fruits and vegetables when what we need to do is to INCREASE ACCESS TO FRESH FRUITS AND VEGGIES???
Growing Healthy Kids is working to prevent type 2 diabetes ( and other obesity-related diseases in children. The school nutrition program plays a very important role in providing nutritious choices. Yet it is not working. This particular school has 88% of the kids eligible for the free and reduced meal program as a result of what Mrs. Swanson calls "situational poverty" as families struggle in a community with no job creation.
What I saw this morning at the school's cafeteria breakfast line was far from nutritious and not what kids need to be fit, smart, and ready to learn. There is much work to be done to improve the nutritional quality of the school food programs in America. That's why we're having a party at the school next Monday - stay tuned!!

Remember, send in your tips for keeping our zucchini plants bug-free!

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

To your perfect health.

Nancy Heinrich

Founder, Growing Healthy Kids