Wednesday, September 25, 2013



"Every hour you sit at work increases your mortality eleven percent.  Think about that."
----Dr. Mehmet Oz

Up.  Just get up.  Leave the desk and take a ten minute break.  The company will not fall apart while you take a short break to get up from your desk and walk for ten minutes.  The above quote by America’s favorite doctor, Dr. Oz, really resonates with me as I observe adults who think they are productive by not leaving their desk for hours at a time. 

Did you know that a minimum of ten minutes of exercise gives you heart health benefits?  Are you getting thirty minutes a day at least five days a week?  How many days a week are your kids getting at least an hour of exercise a day?  How do you plan fitness into your day?  Deliberately or by accident?  What about your kids?  Do you schedule recess for yourself every day?   

Fitness guru Richard Simmons recommends that you should never eat lunch at your desk.  Simmons says, “Stop thinking you can eat at your desk.  You need to take 15 minutes and go just eat something.  It’s bad for digestion.  You can get diverticulitis, you can get stomach aches and you can get depressed.”   He added, “We’re not winning the war [on obesity]; we’re losing it.  There are more overweight children, more overweight teenagers…there should be more rules about food.”  Make the commitment to take walk breaks and lunch breaks away from your desk.  Your mind will thank you. 

Reversing America’s childhood obesity epidemic will happen by improving the health literacy of parents.  Here's a challenge:  Be a better role model for your own children.  Let them see you sweat! 

One of my favorite Growing Healthy Kids’ T-shirt designs created by Get Shot by Ella designer Ella Chabot promotes the mantra, “Exercise Daily”.  Write these two words on the top of every day’s “To Do” list and plan movement and physical fun into your schedule.  Make it a habit.  Commit to it for 28 days. 

This WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS' column is dedicated to Baby Ellie.  She is the reason our family traveled great distances this week (we calculated over 32,000 miles - ONE WAY) to celebrate her first birthday together.  Ellie is my mother’s first great grandchild, daughter of my nephew, Robbie Heinrich, and his wife, Sara Stout Heinrich.  This child is healthy because her mother plans time to cook and prepare fresh fruits and veggies every week for her.  Sara has scheduled to make access to good food choices easy by planning around what foods are locally grown and in season.  Baby Ellie is the
Baby Ellie with her proud parents, Robbie Heinrich (my nephew), his wife, Sara,
and Stella (the dog, looking for cake crumbs),
at Ellie's first birthday party last weekend
picture of health and that is why I was so happy to deliver a GHK shirt of her own so she can be our youngest ambassador in Kentucky.  

All children deserve access to fresh fruits and vegetables.  Support your local farmers.  Eat rainbows from the garden!  

In gratitude,
Nancy Heinrich

Growing Healthy Kids

To check out the Growing Healthy Kids' store, click here.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013



“We are not very good at keeping people healthy 
over the long haul.” 

                                                     -- quote from a Cleveland Clinic administrator 
                                                                                  on a talk show in 2013 

What’s your favorite summer vegetable?  One of mine is red peppers.   There are just so many delicious ways to prepare them (think roasted red pepper soup, roasted vegetables, and wild shrimp and roasted pepper quesadillas).  

With fresh peppers and tomatoes in abundance right now, making a fresh salsa is an easy way to eat fresh and eat local.  One thing we love to do in the GROWING HEALTHY KIDS movement is expose kids to farms and farmers so they learn where food really comes from and, hopefully, will learn grow a few things they like.  The folks at Florida Veggies and More recently invited GROWING HEALTHY KIDS to play at their hydroponic farm in Vero Beach, Florida as part of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.  


"Farmer Lisa" Brenneman gives the kids
and the volunteers a tour
of the hydroponic greenhouse.

Florida Veggies and More this month as part of
National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.

“Farmer Lisa” Brenneman gave a farm tour to children involved with Youth Guidance Mentoring and Activities Program and adult mentors, then we all met in the farm store kitchen for cooking lessons using fresh-picked veggies.  Not a drop of salsa was left at the end of our fabulous morning!  Thanks, Farmer Lisa, for sending everyone home with a pepper plant of their own! 

An Easy Growing Healthy Kids Menu

Summer Salsa
Mango Salsa
Whole grain cheese quesadillas*

COMBINE in a bowl:

  • 1 medium tomato, cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
  • dash sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons (or more) fresh cilantro, chopped fine
  • 1/2 jalapeño pepper, finely diced (with or without seeds, depending on desired hotness-it is hotter with the seeds) (PARENTS:  Substitute 3 Tablespoons of chopped green pepper for the kids' version.)

TRANSFER to a serving bowl.  Let rest for about 1 hour, covered and unrefrigerated, for best flavor. 

USE gloves when working with jalapeño peppers

NOTE FROM NANCY:   This is a fun, easy recipe to make for Tuesday Taco night.  Serve with black bean and cheese nachos, enchiladas, quesadillas, or just whole grain chips.  It also makes a delicious topping on a Sunday morning veggie omelet. 

To make mango salsa, use less tomatoes, dice up a ripe 
mango, and add about ½ cup of diced red pepper. Eating good foods is easy when you know how to prepare a few basic recipes.  For these and more basic recipes every kid should learn to make, click here to order your copy of NOURISH AND FLOURISH.

Parents, the responsibility for our children's health is most importantly ours.  Hospitals, drug companies, and health insurance companies do not have an interest in keeping people well.  With all the profits being made from disease and obesity, we can each make the decision to be as healthy as possible.  One thing we can all do is plan our meals around the fresh and locally grown vegetables where you live.  SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL FARMERS! 

In gratitude,

Nancy Heinrich

Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.

*For demonstration purposes, La Tortilla Factory whole grain tortillas (12 grams of dietary fiber per tortilla) were used in the preparation of the quesadillas. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013



“If kids grow kale, they eat kale.  If they grow tomatoes, they eat tomatoes.”  
                   --- Ron Finley

When was the last time you showed a child how to plant and grow a tomato? Kids come up to me all the time to thank me for the tomato or pepper plant they received at a Growing Healthy Kids program and learned how to take care of.  “If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day.  If you teach him how to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.”  That’s what I’m talking about.  If you believe that food is the problem and food is the solution, watch this video featuring Ron Finley. Thanks to Adina Lehrman and Lucie Burke!!

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.  The focus of Growing Healthy Kids, Inc. is to raise awareness about how to reverse, halt, and prevent childhood obesity.  One way we do this is by educating parents.  Send us your idea about how we can educate parents about preventing childhood obesity and growing healthy kids and you could be one of three national "best idea" winners selected to receive a copy of NOURISH AND FLOURISH, the first book from the Growing Healthy Kids’ movement to reverse childhood obesity.   

Send an email to by September 26th.  Include your (1) idea about how to educate parents (2) name (3) email address and (4) mail address.  If your idea is selected as one of our three national winners, we’ll email you by September 30 to let you know that a copy of NOURISH AND FLOURISH is on its way to you.  HELP US HELP AMERICA’S CHILDREN get to -- and stay at -- a healthy weight by reducing, halting, and preventing childhood obesity.  Become part of the solution! 

This week, I ran into a friend of the Growing Healthy Kids movement to reverse childhood obesity, Adina Lehrman.  Adina recently planted a permaculture garden in front of the new organic juice bar (LOV Juice in Vero Beach, Florida).  When I met Adina several years ago, I asked her to speak with a group of kids I was working with for an entire school year at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Indian River County.  I will never forget the talk and demonstration she gave about “bunny balls” (one of the most organic methods of fertilization around).   To check out her website, click here.  You can also connect with Adina on Facebook. Here are a couple of pictures of the LOV Juice garden planted by Adina and her business partner, Lucie Burke.

Adina enjoying a conversation in the shade of the edible garden in front of LOV Juice.

Good news from Tallahassee, Florida.  I spoke with The Man in Overalls AKA Nathan Ballantine with the Tallahassee Food Network.  Nathan is working with kids and adults to grow a network of community gardens, increase access to locally grown, healthy foods, and build a bridge so that poverty is not a barrier to having access to fresh vegetables.  Next month I will be making a road trip to visit the community gardens in Tallahassee and surrounding areas to bring ideas back to our bioregion in the Research Coast of Florida.  To learn more about The Man in Overalls and the Tallahassee Food Network, click here.

Send us your best ideas for teaching parents and let’s move on raising awareness about how to halt, reverse, and prevent childhood obesity. 

NEW! Lunchboxes for your Growing Healthy Kids!

In gratitude,
Nancy Heinrich

Growing Healthy Kids, Inc. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013



 -- Blake Mallon, Project 10 Kids

This week Growing Healthy Kids, Inc. kicks off a new nutrition education after-school program.   Remember last week’s column about superfoods?  We will be featuring those foods and others as we create a new generation of NUTRITION DETECTIVES.  For the next 6 weeks, we will be sharing highlights from the program.  If you have ideas for what you would want your own kids to learn, let us know!  

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.  One in three kids in America is overweight or obese.  Everywhere I look, I see kids of all ages at risk for obesity-related diseases like diabetes and sleep apnea.  Childhood obesity is not the kids’ problem – it is our problem.  As parents, as teachers, as adults who run after-school programs, as business owners who offer health care benefits for dependents, we all have a responsibility to improve our own health literacy and awareness about what foods to put on our own plate. 

What's YOUR favorite veggie?

Stuffed portabella mushrooms (with whole grain couscous, spinach and yellow peppers)
 from the GROWING HEALTHY KIDS' Recipe Collection

This month make a personal commitment to start looking at your own shopping cart and make at least half of your food purchases vegetables and fruits.  As you and your family plan your dinner menus, plan for at least half of your plates to be filled with vegetables and fruits.  Make the commitment to eat more of the good foods (see last week’s column: "Ten Foods to Eat More of") and less of the bad foods (like white flour, Pop Tarts, and sodas).  If every parent in America’s makes this simple commitment, then it is possible that we will not need to have a National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. 

In gratitude,
Nancy Heinrich

Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.