Wednesday, November 27, 2013



“You think this is just another day in your life.  It is not just another day.  It is the one that is given to you today…It’s the only gift that you have right now. And the only appropriate response is gratefulness.”
                                --Brother David Steindl-Rast, a Benedictine monk

This week's issue of WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS is dedicated to gratefulness.  The fourth Thursday of November is the celebration of Thanksgiving, a special day in American history.  It is a celebration of giving thanks, a historical reminder about the Pilgrims and the American natives breaking bread together, creating family and community traditions, of being grateful. 

Thank you to farmers like Lisa Brenneman.

Thank you to the children who come and learn at our programs.

Thank you for family (that's my brother Bill, on the left, with some of the kids)

Thank you for family (my brother, Rob, on the left with his son, Robbie at the new family farm).

Thank you to the volunteers who
provide the fuel for our programs.

Thank you for the staff who assist in our
Growing Healthy Kids in the Kitchen programs.

Thank you to our volunteers at our
annual Hummus at Humiston events,
where we connect kids with the local farmers. 

Thank you to the farmers who grow what we need.

Thank you to friends.

The mission of Growing Healthy Kids, Inc. is to improve the health – and lives – of America’s children by focusing on good foods and physical fun.  Our programs educate parents and children about the “how” and “why” of eating locally grown vegetables, fruits, and whole grains and creating plant-based meals that are easy and economical to prepare.  Because of this mission, we get to play with the people who are growing good foods, take farm trips with kids, and create healthy recipes in our Growing Healthy Kids Test Kitchen.  In our work to improve health literacy and reverse childhood obesity and obesity-related diseases, there are many things for which I am grateful.

To watch an inspirational video and listen to the words of Brother David Steindl-Rast, including the music of my friend, Gary Malkin, click here.

Here are some of the things I am grateful for today and every day:

The local farmers who grow the Swiss chard, Tuscan kale, Purple Cherokee tomatoes, spinach, pumpkins, watermelon, navel oranges, Ruby Red grapefruits, pecans, Shitake and Portobello mushrooms, basil, parsnips, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and other beautiful vegetables, fruits, and nuts that fill the recipes we create with and for Growing Healthy Kids.  Several of the local farmers who partner with the Growing Healthy Kids project and to whom I am grateful include Louis Schacht (Schacht Groves), Kevin O’Dare (Osceola Organics), Linda Hart (Crazy Hart Ranch), Lisa and Dan Brenneman (Florida Veggies and More), and Brenda and Jim Gibbons (Gibbons Organics).  For a link to some amazing recipes featuring the foods we highlight in the Growing Healthy Kids Test Kitchen, click here.

The local chefs who are using foods grown by our local farmers instead of vegetables grown 2,000 miles away.
The parents who are seeking better foods for our children who eat two of their three meals through the free and reduced school meal program.

The volunteers who make our educational programs so much fun.

The children who have attended and those who will attend our educational programs, because they are the true leaders of Growing Healthy Kids.

Most of all, I am grateful for family.  We are all family in this adventure called life! What are YOU grateful for?

In gratitude to each and every one of you,
Nancy Heinrich
Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013



"I saw many people who had advanced heart disease and I was so frustrated because I knew that if they just knew how to do the right thing, simple lifestyle and diet steps, that the entire trajectory of their life and their health would have been different."
                                                    --Dr. Mehmet Oz

November is National Diabetes Month.  Diabetes is the reason why I started the Growing Healthy Kids movement.  After working with thousands of adults with uncontrolled diabetes and teaching them how to control their blood sugars and helping many of those thousands get off most or all of their medications, I came to the conclusion that the childhood obesity epidemic was a goldmine for Big Pharma and the Big Box Food companies.   Turns out I was right. Got diabetes?  Take a pill.  Got high blood pressure?  Take a pill?  Got high cholesterol?  Take a pill.  The problem with all these pills is that they were tested in clinical trials on adults and now we have a whole generation of kids with obesity-related diseases like diabetes and doctors are putting these kids on pills that were never tested on kids.
Eating too much of the bad foods (i.e., high fat, high salt, high sugar, high calorie) is a surefire way to increase your risk of gaining excess weight and developing diabetes.  A simple solution?  Spend a little bit of time planning and cooking meals instead of being led to believe that you are in so much of a hurry to get to your job that you have to go through the McDonalds drive through and then on to the pharmacy to pick up the drugs to control your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol. 

Diabetes is simply a condition where there is too much sugar in the blood (eating too many refined carbs like sodas, white potatoes, white bread, and high sugar cereals) and/or the body is not using insulin correctly (not enough exercise).   A simple answer?  Start incorporating more superfoods and more exercise into your life and the lives of your children.  Make a simple commitment to make one change a week for ten weeks. 

At the Growing Healthy Kids Test Kitchen, parents tell me, “My child will never eat that!”  When the child helps in the kitchen, the answer usually is a resounding, “Can I have more?”  When learning is personal and first-hand, we understand more.  We are lose our fears when the unknown becomes the known.

I like eating superfoods.  My goal is to eat several of them a day.  A key recommendation for healthy eating is to eat fish 2-3 times a week.  The fish mentioned most often is wild salmon.  Salmon, like all fish, contains the good kind of fat called unsaturated that most of our fat should be.  Eating the right kind of fat is essential if you or your kids have diabetes because the risk is 2-4 times higher for a heart attack or stroke. 

At  the Growing Healthy Kids in the Kitchen programs, we teach by having fun.  In November, because it is a month when there is more discussion about diabetes, we like to kick off new campaigns to teach kids and their parents how to get more superfoods into their meals each week.   

Check out these pictures from our First Annual Growing Healthy Kids in the Kitchen with Chef Chris Bireley at Osceola Bistro.  Click here for the salmon gravlox recipe.  Thank you, Chef Chris, for an amazing adventure with healthy food at your beautiful bistro!

This young boy was full of questions for Chef Chris!

Kids learned how to make fruit kabobs for
their own holiday parties!  Easy, healthy, and fast!

Kids helped prepare the fresh citrus and dill
for the salmon gravlox.

Tasting the salmon gravlox on fresh bagels - yum!

Do the right thing.  Eat more superfoods.  Make simple changes.  Growing Healthy Kids is looking forward to coming to YOUR city in 2014!

In gratitude,
Nancy Heinrich

Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013



"I realized you can only be as good as your health.  I let my health go because I was so focused on building my company."

                                      --Celebrity chef Art Smith, Chef Art was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2008 after complications from the disease killed his father and grandfather.  That's when he learned how to eat smarter and lost 120 pounds.

WE DID IT AGAIN!  Our Third Annual Hummus at Humiston event for kids from Youth Guidance Mentoring and Activities Program in need of mentors was a success!  This event is a favorite of the staff at Youth Guidance because the weather is always perfect in November, the food is awesome, and the local farmers are at the Green Market with their fall bounties of squash, tomatoes, and kale. 

A special thank you to the local farmers who helped make this event a memory maker for all the kids (and the volunteers) at our Third Annual Hummus at Humiston.  Thanks to Sid Banack of Countryside Citrus, Louis Schacht of Schacht Groves, Kevin O’Dare of Osceola Organics, Lisa Brenneman of Florida Veggies and More, and Alex Gomez of Pure Produce.  Here are some pictures from our party in the park!

Sid Banack of Countryside Citrus 

Kevin O'Dare (right) talks with a volunteer and a youth about "why" organic.

Stopping at Florida Veggies and More

Alex Gomez of Pure Produce (hydroponically grown veggies)

The karate demonstration was great!

"We made it ourselves!"

Hummus, as the kids all learned – and tasted – is easy to make.  It makes great appetizers, sandwiches, wraps, and snacks for Growing Healthy Kids!  For this recipe and more, order a copy of Nourish and Flourish  from Growing Healthy Kids.  Click here. 

GROWING HEALTHY KIDS: Our Recipe Collection


PLACE in food processor or blender:
  • One 16-ounce can garbanzo beans, rinsed
  • 2 Tablespoons tahini (sesame seed butter)
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or 5-10 black olives)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin (optional)

TO STORE:  3 days in the fridge or 1 month in the freezer.

  1. Artichoke-lemon hummus:  Add 1 cup artichoke hearts and an extra 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  2. Sun-dried tomato hummus:  Add 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes

CHOP 2 or 3 of your favorite vegetables, such as tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers. 

SERVE hummus for lunch in a whole grain pita or wrap.  Serve it as a snack with veggies.  Choose whole grain pitas or wraps with 4 or more grams of dietary fiber per serving.

The best part of our Third Annual Hummus at Humiston event?  One child is now matched with a mentor for the next year!!  Bam!  Thank you to all the volunteers at the event.

Foods filled with fiber - like the garbanzo beans in hummus, and fruits and veggies, are the foods that help prevent diabetes.  Eat more of the good foods!  Bon apetit!

In gratitude,
Nancy Heinrich

Growing Healthy Kids, Inc. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013



"The reluctance to put away childish things may be a requirement of genius."  
                                   --Rebecca Pepper Sinkler

Playing with kids in the kitchen is a great way to get kids interested in healthy eating.  Parents say to me all the time, “My child is a picky eater.”  My response is always, “Then let them play with their food!”  Everyone's favorite program is Growing Healthy Kids in the Kitchen, where kids get hands-on experiences in kitchen hygiene and safety, food selection and preparation, PLUS kitchen cleanup. 

Here are five great foods we have been playing with recently in our GHK kitchens (AND changing kids’ opinions about what tastes better than honeybuns and white pasta):
  1. Haas avocados
  2. Black beans
  3. Quinoa (a grain, pronounced “keen-wa”)
  4. Wild salmon
  5. Greek yogurt

Staying at a healthy weight is easy when you know what to do.  All of these foods can be considered “superfoods” for several reasons because they are:
  • Super healthy for your body and your brain
  • Super easy to prepare
  • Super fun to eat
  • Super filled with the good fats, the good carbs, and the good proteins

Kids at a recent GHK in the Kitchen class at Gifford Youth Activity Center, Vero Beach, Florida 

Can you say "fresh parsley"?

Kids intent on using the lemon squeezer while making the JamSam Salmon Burgers (see recipe below).

Speaking of good foods for great kids, here is the recipe for GHK’s JamSam Salmon Burgers.  Just ask any of the kids at Gifford Youth Activity Center how delicious and easy these are!

JamSam Salmon Burgers
4 servings

Prepare Dill Mayonnaise:
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise*
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill 
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
For Burgers:
  • 2 teaspoons freshly chopped parsley
  • ½ Vidalia onion, finely diced
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs
  • ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 2-4 Tablespoons Dill Mayonnaise
  • 2 (6-1/2 ounce) cans Alaska skinless and boneless pink salmon, drained well
  • Additional panko for coating the burgers (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons grapeseed oil
In medium bowl, combine, parsley, onions, eggs, panko, black pepper, salt, lemon zest and the Dill Mayonnaise together. Add drained salmon and mix well together. Make 4 patties, rolling them in additional panko, if desired, and set aside.

In a large skillet on medium, heat oil. Place burgers in skillet. Cook over medium heat until browned. Turn and brown other side.

Serve on potato buns with Dill Mayonnaise, fresh spinach or local greens, and sliced tomatoes.
*For demonstration purposes, Hellmann’s Olive Oil mayonnaise was used in the preparation of this recipe.

Parents, it’s easy to get your kids to eat healthy foods when they learn by playing.  Come play in the kitchen with us on November 16th in Vero Beach, Florida when Growing Healthy Kids partners with Chef Chris Bireley of Osceola Bistro for a special Growing Healthy Kids in the Kitchen Cooking Class for kids ages 5-12.  If you’d like to attend, just shoot me an email: 

For information about why a healthy weight is so important for your children, click here.
In gratitude,
Nancy Heinrich

Growing Healthy Kids