Wednesday, April 29, 2015


“I wish I had more parents take charge of their kids tonight.” 
                          –Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts referencing Toya Graham’s reaction to seeing her son on the evening of April 27, 2015

The death of Freddy Gray is a tragedy.  But Toya Graham’s quick reaction to seeing her son dressed in a dark hoodie, mask, and gloves, poised to throw a rock at Baltimore police certainly got everyone’s attention and went viral.  In an instant, she saw her son about to make a very bad decision influenced by his peers.  She said she snapped when she stepped in and corrected his behavior for all the world to see.  Is she a hero?  

Yes, she is.  She cares enough for her 16 year old son to teach him right from wrong and that two wrongs don’t a right.  Pulling our children away from danger is our responsibility as parents. 

Was it a coincidence that yesterday was the launch of The Mother Project in Fort Pierce, the same day the New York Post’s headline read, “Forget the National Guard, Send in the Moms”?  Yes, no question.  But it is no coincidence that “Send in the Moms” could very well be the theme  for The Mother Project, our newest education initiative to defeat diabetes, childhood obesity, and sugar addictions among America’s children.
Mothers are the key to America’s families and the health of our communities. That is why Growing Healthy Kids is announcing our new partnership with Saint Simon the Cyrenian Episcopal Church on the north side of Fort Pierce to train young mothers as peer educators. The moms will be working with a new afterschool program for K-5 children and my job is to train them on how to make healthy meals and snacks made with real foods like fresh, locally grown vegetables.  Growing Healthy Kids is committed to reaching and teaching moms to break the grip that sugary foods have over kids’ health and behavior.  

This week when I talked with the first group of moms we will be training in Fort Pierce, I knew that The Mother Project has found a huge need to improve health literacy that we can fill.  Improving access to healthy foods is critical for America’s children.  Because protecting our children’s health – and lives – is worth fighting for.  Let’s send in the moms! 

In gratitude,
Nancy Heinrich
Founder of Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.

PS – To find out how you can help us launch The Mother Project in Fort Pierce or in YOUR community, send us an email to  

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


"There is no such thing as "away".  When we throw anything away it must go somewhere."                                                          
                                                                                                   --Annie Leonard

Image result for picture of planet earthSince starting Growing Healthy Kids in 2009, we have always recycled veggie scraps from the Kids in the Kitchen classes to the compost pile at the Growing Healthy Kids Test Kitchen. The kids use clean jars for making our healthy vinaigrette when we have a Giant Salad Party.   Whenever possible, we use real plates that can be washed and reused instead of using paper plates.  We teach and practice the principle of "reduce, reuse, recycle."  

At home I do a lot of recycling.  All jars, cans, and nut milk containers get washed out and either placed into the recycle bins or they get repurposed into jars for storing my favorite lentils and beans.  At all of our Growing Healthy Kids classes, recycling is always discussed and practiced. I am always surprised, however, to find out how many families do NOT recycle paper, glass, plastic, and metal. 

While spending a year volunteering with children at Boys and Girls Clubs of Indian River County, I arranged a field trip with the children to visit the local landfill on Oslo Road in Vero Beach.  Seeing all the garbage produced by the 130,000 people in Indian River County up close and personal was a real learning experience for the kids and one they (and I) will not forget. 

Here are 5 recycling tips you can use to make Earth Day an everyday celebration wherever you are:
1.    Start an herb garden using recycled containers (put several holes in the bottom of the container first).  
2.      Does your school recycle anything?  How about where your kids attend an afterschool program like the local Boys and Girls Club? If not, start a recycling campaign. 
3.      Use egg cartons as containers for small art supplies or to keep small pieces of crayons separated by color. 
4.     Put used coffee grounds on your plants outside. 
5.      If you don’t use recycling bins or containers at home, call your county administration office and find out how to get some.  Make sure you find out what can be recycled, especially plastics with the number inside the triangle.  In the county where I live, there is no cost to homeowners to recycle. 

For more kid-friendly recycling tips, go to by clicking here.  

In gratitude,
Nancy Heinrich

Founder of Growing Healthy Kids, Inc. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


“A person’s mind stretched to a new idea never goes back to its original dimensions.”            --T.S. Eliot

To prepare for a recent Growing Healthy Kids education program, I visited Osceola Organics for locally grown microgreens, Florida Veggies and More for locally grown arugula, tomatoes and cucumbers, and The Patisserie, Vero’s delicious artisan bakery, for two loaves of beautiful breads.  Add Hass avocados and some melons and you have a healthy eating party for some hungry kids! 

Local tomatoes are fresh and full of flavor and nutrients.  

Eating locally grown foods is a basic principle practiced in all of our classes for kids and adults.  We teach how easy it is to make a shift to a healthier way of eating when you buy from local farmers and producers.  This is to counter what I hear every day:  “I can’t afford to eat healthy foods.”  What I say:  “Give us an hour and we’ll show you how!” 

You’ve never been to the farmers market where you live?  Take time to find it. Chances are it operates on Saturday mornings.  For local “Wellness Wednesdays” readers who live in and around Vero Beach, our local market is held every Saturday year-round from 8 am to 12 noon.  The Fort Pierce Green Market is held at the City Marina in downtown Fort Pierce every Saturday year-round from 8 am to 12 noon.  Live someplace else?  To find a local farmers market near you, click here.

Knowing the farmers who grow my food is important to me.  Most of the veggies I buy are locally grown, fresh, and in season.  They haven’t been flown or trucked thousands of miles.  They were picked yesterday so that I can buy them today and cook them tonight.  Now that is what “nutrient dense” is all about.  The fact is, the longer the time from harvest to your dinner table, the less nutrients there. Stretch your mind. Once you start enjoying locally grown foods, you’ll never go back to processed foods!     

To listen to "Pop Up Health" my recent on-air conversation with Chef Michael Glatz about good foods for a good night's sleep, click here.  You can also listen to "Pop Up Health" by going to and searching for Chef Michael Glatz.  

In gratitude,
Nancy Heinrich

Founder of the Growing Healthy Kids project

Thursday, April 9, 2015

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Sugar - How Much is Too Much?

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is not our darkness but our light that most frightens us.  We ask ourselves, "Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?"  Actually, who are you not to be?  You are a Child of God.  Your playing small does not serve the world.  There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.  We are all meant to shine as children do.  We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.  It is not just in some of us; it's in everyone.  And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously allow others to do the same.  As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."                                                                                      -- Marianne Willamson

Oh, the irony!  

At a recent fitness class I occasionally attend, a little girl about 6 or 7 came to the same class with her mother.  Both were obese.  

I was glad the mother came to the class, silently thinking, "Now she can model good behaviors for her daughter."  The girl played on the grass as we did our power hour of crunches, stretches and running.  The next week, the girl came again with her mom.  While her mom brought water for herself, I couldn’t help but notice that the girl’s snacks consisted of a bottle of soda and a bag of Oreos cookies. Really?? 

There is a strong connection between all the added sugars in processed foods and drinks and the unprescedented rise in childhood obesity in the U.S.   Reversing childhood obesity requires conscious work to increase awareness among adults.  So, here are a few questions to consider:

1.      How much sugar is too much for kids? for adults?
2.      How much sugar is in a 12 ounce soda?
3.      Are some sugars worse than others? 
4.      What is the nutritional value of sugar?
5.      What is the relationship between sugar and obesity?

Here are the answers:
1.       For kids in preschool and early elementary, 3-4 teaspoons of sugar (12-16 grams) is the recommended daily limit.  For tweens and teens, 5-8 teaspoons of sugar (21-33 grams) is the recommended daily limit.  For women, it is about 6 teaspoons (25 grams).  For men, it is about 9 teaspoons (37 grams).
2.      There are about 44 grams of sugar in a 12 ounce soda.  That is about 11 teaspoons of sugar.
3.      Yes.  Highly processed sugars like high fructose corn syrup, a key ingredient in sodas and processed foods, are highly addictive and harmful, especially to children.
4.      There is no nutritional value in sugar.  Sugar is a carbohydrate with calories but no vitamins, minerals, or fiber. 
5.      Excess sugar is stored in the body as fat.  Eating more calories than you use will lead to weight gain.

Here are several suggestions for healthy snacks for kids:
  • Water
  • Water flavored with lemons or limes (this is ALWAYS a big hit in our "Growing Healthy Kids in the Kitchen" classes)
  • 10 grapes (try washing and freezing them for a really amazing treat!)
  • A small apple and some whole grain crackers
  • Hummus (so easy to make*) with celery and carrots
  • Whole grain crackers (Triscuits are great) and a couple of slices of cheese
  • Walnuts and craisins
How much added sugar are YOU eating and drinking?  If you are working on getting to a healthier weight, then start reading food labels and looking at the grams of sugar.  GHK TIP: Divide the grams of sugar per serving by 4 and this will give you the teaspoons of sugar per serving.  

Learn how easy it is to prepare healthy foods. ALL kids deserve access to healthy foods, not processed foods filled with added sugars, fats, and salt.  Listen to “Pop Up Health,” my weekly talk with Chef Michael Glatz from La Patissiere in Vero Beach, Florida - go to and search "Chef Michael Glatz".   Click here.

Remember, "your playing small does not serve the world".  Manifest the glory of God.  Be a role model for others, especially your children, if you are a parent.  Make good choices about food. Eat well.  Laugh often.   Health is our greatest wealth.  It really is.  

In gratitude,
Nancy Heinrich

Founder of the Growing Healthy Kids Project

PS -- Thanks to my friend Beth ( for reading Marianne Williamson's words on her radio show this week.  I have always been inspired by these words, ever since my friend Donna Vernon shared them with me.  When I heard Beth read them, I was driving and thinking of a quote to use in this week's article  and realized that if I shared them with you, you may also be inspired! 

*For more healthy ideas for the kids (and you), get your copy of Nourish and Flourish (go to upper right corner).  It contains the favorite hummus recipe from our Growing Healthy Kids in the Kitchen classes.    

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Wild vs Farm-Raised Salmon

“Every time you eat or drink, you are either feeding disease or fighting it.”  

                                                       --Heather Morgan, MS, NLC

Chef Michael Glatz from La Patissiere and I talked about salt and sodium recently on "Pop Up Health" (WAXE 107.9 FM/1370 AM Tuesdays and Sundays at 3:45 PM or listen anywhere in the world on  The conversation was rich and filled with valuable information, especially if you have family members, like me, with high blood pressure.  Learn more about the relationship between salt and high blood pressure (the "silent killer").  Listen to "Pop Up Health", just click here.

I clip a lot of articles for my “future writing” file.  Recently, one of the local papers had a story about an oceanfront mansion on the market.  Turns out this particular mansion is owned by Nicholas Perricone, M.D., well-known dermatologist, so the writer got to interview him about foods that are anti-inflammatory and promote health, which is why I clipped the article. 

According to Dr. Perricone’s bio on, he is considered the Father of the Inflammation Theory of Aging.  He also advocates “beauty from the inside out.”  The article about his Vero Beach home (which could be a very nice home for the Growing Healthy Kids Test Kitchen and Education Center if ONLY it was in our price range – LOL!) talked about his recommendations for an anti-inflammatory diet.  The fact is that inflammation promotes aging and disease.  If you are a subscriber to WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS, then you know that processed foods containing refined sugars and grains are highly inflammatory and very dangerous for children and anyone at risk for obesity and diabetes.

At the top of Dr. P's list of anti-inflammatory foods to eat is wild salmon because they are a great source of the essential fatty acids which are very good for our health.  He made the point, the same one we do in our education classes for parents, that farm-raised salmon is NOT the same as wild salmon.  Most restaurants serve farm-raised salmon which is why I never eat salmon in a restaurant (unless I am visiting a restaurant in the northwest US).  Eating wild salmon several times a week helps you stay healthy – inside AND out!  Farm-raised salmon are fed corn and soy (including Genetically Modified Organism grains) and do NOT have the same nutritional benefits as wild salmon.

  • Look for “Alaskan salmon” or “sockeye salmon”.  Canned wild salmon is fine (and it makes fabulous salmon burgers if you can’t find fresh fish). 
  • Include 3-4 ounces of wild salmon 2-3 times a week.  Remember, 3-4 ounces of protein is the same size as a deck of cards. 

GROWING HEALTHY KIDS:  Our Recipe Collection


  • 1 can wild Alaskan salmon
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill (can also throw in some fresh parsley if available)
  • ¼ cup diced sweet onion
  • ¼ cup diced red pepper

Mix well.  Cover and place in fridge for 1 hour.  Shape into patties.  Fry in virgin coconut oil or olive oil, 2-3 minutes on each side.  Serve with roasted garlic mashed cauliflower and roasted asparagus for a most delicious meal.   Let the kids make mini-burgers to include in their lunch box the next day!

With love and gratitude,
Nancy Heinrich

Founder of the Growing Healthy Kids Project