Thursday, October 13, 2011

National School Lunch Week and Your Call to Action

Did you know that this is National School Lunch Week? Did you know that many of America’s children eat 2 of their 3 daily weekday meals from their school cafeteria? I am always amazed when I ask parents how often they eat lunch with their child at school and how rarely they’ve even been once. The results of my informal surveys reveal that most parents of kids whose breakfast and/or lunch is prepared by “lunch ladies” have never eaten what their kids eat. This is your CALL TO ACTION. 

National School Lunch Week is an opportunity to find out what your local public schools are serving for lunch. Here’s my challenge to you: Pick up your phone right now. Call the principal of your child’s school and let him or her know you’d like to come for lunch in the next week. If your kids are already grown or you don’t have kids, then call your local elementary school and make a lunch date anyway. Tell them you are celebrating National School Lunch Week.

Why am I asking you to make this call? Because the Growing Healthy Kids movement is about reversing childhood obesity. Kids deserve access to real food. Healthy food. Locally grown food whenever possible. I’m not saying that schools don’t serve real food. However, there’s lots of room for improvement.  With so many kids eating 2 of their 3 meals at school, it only makes sense that what they eat should not be high in fats, calories, added sugars, and salt. 

There is a “Farm to School” momentum underway here in Florida, which is great because one of Michelle Obama’s four guiding principles in her national call to action on childhood obesity is to increase access to locally grown foods. Who better to take the lead on making this happen than our schools? It’s a great way to support  local farmers, increase the nutritional value of foods served in America’s schools, and increase America’s productivity by creating agriculture jobs.

To learn more about National School Lunch Week, then check out:

Growing Healthy Kids designs and delivers solutions to the childhood obesity epidemic because it is our belief that failure to reverse childhood obesity is not an option.

Have a fabulous and healthy day!

Nancy Heinrich

Founder, Growing Healthy Kids

PS-Get some exercise today!!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Seed Lady Visits Doughboy's Donuts

I am always talking with people about healthy eating and healthy cooking.  As an epidemiologist, I study diseases and their root causes.  Obesity is a disease directly related to the excess consumption of sugar in its many forms.  Just yesterday, someone was telling me about a father they knew who bragged about his kid drinking 10 sodas every day.  I call that child abuse. Excess sugar consumption leads to inflammation in the body which leads to diseases such as diabetes and arthritis.  No child deserves those diseases. 

This morning, after a great morning walk and workout, I stopped by Doughboy's Donuts in Vero Beach, Florida to treat myself to one of their insanely delicious Red Velvet donuts.  (Yes, it is OK in my book to have an occasional donut.  It is not OK to eat them every day.) 

The woman at the counter looked at me and said, "Are you the Seed Lady?"  I answered, "Yes," although that was the first time someone had formally addressed me that way.  I then asked how she knew me. 

She then told me that last summer her son volunteered through Boys and Girls Clubs of Indian River County for one of our projects building a very large garden in north Indian River County.  She said he had really enjoyed the work and the project.  I thanked her for speaking to me and then invited her son to join us in an upcoming volunteer service leadership project.  I hope to hear from him, as that would just make this Seed Lady's day! 

In gratitude to ALL the kids who volunteer with Growing Healthy Kids,
Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids
"Improving the health - and lives - of America's children, one child and one garden at a time"

PS - Shout-out to Doughboy's Donuts -- apparently I'm not the only one who loves your Red Velvet donuts becauses you were out of them this morning!  The blueberry donut, however, was almost as delicious!