Wednesday, December 31, 2014

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: What a Wonderful Year!

"Fast food is high in calories, sugar, fat, salt, and caffeine.  It is highly processed, energy dense, and specifically designed to be highly palatable.  The majority of the fiber and a portion of the vitamins and minerals present in the origninal food have been extracted in processing.  Sugar, salt, and other additives are used to boost flavor.  The end product is packaged and sold conveniently to deliver the contents.  Which of these components could be addictive?  OR are they addictive all together?"

               -- Robert H. Lustig, M.D., from Fat Chance, Beating the odds against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease, 2012

As people gather on the last day of 2014 to celebrate the close of one year and ring in the next, we reflect on where we’ve been and where we’re going.  Children are happy because of their extended break from school.  My son, Edward, and his friends from the Vero Beach High School Marching Band are enjoying fun times on the beach celebrating being home from college.  

January 2014:  Butternut Soup from the Growing Healthy Kids Test Kitchen

August 2014: Growing Healthy Kids at the launch party for The American Dream Factory in Fort Pierce, FL.  L-R:  Aida Santana, Barb Petrillo, Nancy Heinrich, Ella Chabot, Kristen Beck

February 2014:  Teaching 2 young Girl Scouts about how easy it is to eat food that is good for you, at the Fellsmere Farmers Market and Mercado, Fellsmere, FL.
For the Growing Healthy Kids movement, this has been a year of interacting with lots of children in a variety of settings, with great results like, “I LOVED the kale shakes we made in class!”.  
  • As a result of teaching healthy cooking classes for adults with diabetes, for example, we were asked to partner with Florida Veggies and More and were given grant funds from Rotary Club of Vero Beach to create a hydroponic children’s garden and build a new 6 week nutrition education program.  
  • Growing Healthy Kids was asked to partner with St. Simon the Cyrenian Episcopal Church in Fort Pierce and as a result, developed The Mother Project to educate women at high risk for, or already diagnosed with, type 2 diabetes.  Our first program of The Mother Project rolled out in October and was very well received by the community, heralded by community leaders as meeting previously unmet needs.  
  • We created a new partnership with the Navajo Nation's diabetes education efforts through our new chapter of Growing Healthy Kids in Tuba City, Arizona.
  • Our collaboration with Boys and Girls Clubs of Indian River County continued to bring health literacy and fun with healthy foods to some of the many children the club serves.  
  • We spoke at the January and October Summits for Parents of Teens and Tweens produced by as a way to “get the conversations started to encourage communication about the tough issues facing today’s families.”  
  • We had many opportunities to bring health literacy to the children served by Youth Guidance Mentoring and Activities Program with an emphasis on teaching healthy and economical foods that kids want to eat.  
  • We have reached thousands and thousands of readers throughout the world with WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS, fulfilling our commitment to improve the health and lives of America’s children by providing global leadership to help reduce, halt, and prevent childhood obesity and obesity-related diseases.  

What a wonderful year!

So, here we go with several goals of our organization for Year 2015:
  1. continue to influence health and food policies of organizations which serve children, including school districts throughout the southeast U.S. 
  2. conduct 4 workshops and healthy cooking programs with our new Growing Healthy Kids’ chapter in Tuba City, Arizona serving children and adults of the Navajo Nation.
  3. expand our nutrition education programs funded through partnership with Rotary Clubs and other civic organizations serving the unmet needs of youth.
  4. publish recipes created in the Growing Healthy Kids Test Kitchen for adults with diabetes so that we can reach more parents struggling to know what to eat and what to feed their children.
  5. launch our healthy food products online and through distribution agreements.
  6. create new strategic alliances with public and private schools and companies such as Bob’s Red Mill, GoDaddy, and others.
  7. locate a new office and volunteer coordinator for our organization.
  8. launch our new website featuring "wellness by design” packages.
Let's close out 2014 with another wonderful recipe from the Growing Healthy Kids Test Kitchen that features two powerful foods and spices:  lentils and turmeric.  Enjoy good food, love your kids. 

GROWING HEALTHY KIDS:  Our Recipe Collection


Serves 4
HEAT in a non-stick saucepan, stirring constantly for 1-2 minutes:
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice

STIR in and cook, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes, until lightly browned:
  • 1-1/3 cups bulgur wheat

  • 1-1/4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1-1/2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ cup green lentils

BRING to a boil, cover, then simmer over a very low heat for 25-30 minutes, until bulgur wheat and lentils are tender and all liquid has been absorbed.  Add more stock or water during cooking, if necessary. 
SEASON with salt, pepper, and cayenne. 
TRANSFER to a warmed serving dish and serve. 
  • Fresh parsley


  •  Lentils are a powerful source of dietary fiber.  About ½ cup (dry) has about 11 grams of fiber, almost half of what you in a day
  • Use French (Puy) lentils if you can find them because they retain their texture and also have a delicious flavor.

In gratitude for a wonderful year of health, happiness, wonderful family and friends, and good food!
Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.

PS-To contribute ideas, resources, volunteer time, or collaboration with a funding opportunity to help make our 2015 goals a reality, please contact me at:  

You can also support our work by ordering copies of NOURISH AND FLOURISH for your local library by clicking here.  Thanks!!