Wednesday, July 29, 2015


“A journey of a thousand steps begins with a single step.”  --Lao Tzu

uncooked oats

What is the one thing you can do to start losing weight?  Eat more fiber.
Here are 3 reasons why this simple strategy works:
  1. Fiber fills you up.  When you eat foods high in fiber, you eat less. 
  2. All packaged foods have a Nutrition Facts label that lists how many grams of fiber a serving contains.  That makes it easy to make a good choice.  
  3. Soluble fiber absorbs water and slows the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream.  If your blood sugar level is lower, your pancreas makes less insulin, which means your body is less likely to store fat.  Examples of soluble fiber:  oats, apples, blueberries, beans, and nuts. 

How much fiber do we need?  For women, it is about 25 grams a day and for men about 35 grams. The USDA’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (to be updated sometime this year) recommends 14 grams of dietary fiber per 1,000 calories consumed. 

The fact is that Americans are really bad at getting enough fiber.  Eating processed foods which have been stripped of fiber in order to increase the shelf life of foods is partly to blame.  Most Americans eat far less than half the dietary fiber they need. 

Ready for fun?  Listen to Pop Up Health with Chef Michael Glatz and me (in Vero Beach on WAXE 107.9 FM/1370 AM every Tuesday and Sunday between 3 and 4 PM or from anywhere in the WORLD on and search for WAXE).  To listen to one of our recent shows, just click here.

Keep it simple.  Eat real food.  Buy from your local farmers.  Give lots of hugs.  Be kind. 

In gratitude,
Nancy Heinrich

Founder, Growing Healthy Kids, Inc. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Eating to be Healthy or Sick

“There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophy.  My brain and my heart are my temples, my philosophy is kindness.”  -- Dalai Lama

A friend of mine owns a local bakery with a great coffee bar.  He describes the colored packets of artificial sweeteners he stocks for customers as “little colored packets of cancer”.   Choose your poison. 

Fresh, local ground cherries (related to tomatillos) from my recent trip to Oregon.  

Eating well is about eating simply and seasonally.  It means planning meals based on the vegetables and fruits that are in season and grown within about a 50 mile radius of where I live.  Fresh spinach, watermelon, squash, beans, salad greens, heirloom tomatoes.  Give me some Purple Cherokees from Mark Smith’s farm and I am in heaven.  It is about having a well-stocked pantry of whole grains, legumes, and rice.  Extra virgin olive oil, avocado and coconut oils, almonds, sunflower seeds, and walnuts.  Add cans of coconut milk, fresh turmeric, garlic, ginger, lemons, limes, and Hass avocados and I am good to go!

Keep it simple.  Eat real food.  Buy from your local farmers.  To find a farmers market near you, click here.

Eat dinner with friends and family.  Give lots of hugs.  Be kind. 

In gratitude,
Nancy Heinrich

Founder, Growing Healthy Kids, Inc. 

PS - To learn how to stock your pantry with good foods for great health, send us an email at  We'll rescue you and your food pantry!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


"For most of the wild things on Earth, the future must depend on the conscience of mankind."  --Dr. Archie Carr, conservation biologist

At most of the workshops we do for Growing Healthy Kids, we ask people to write down one thing they want to change or improve about their health.  I have been carrying around some of these comment cards with me for awhile as a reminder of why our work to reverse and prevent childhood obesity matters.

Here is a sample from recent comment cards:

"I want to sleep better."
"I don't want to be angry anymore."
"I want to lose (fill in any number) pounds."
"I want to get my blood pressure under control."
"I don't want to get diabetes."
"I want to eat healthier."

How quickly can we improve the health literacy of Americans, especially parents? There is a sense of urgency to make a difference because many of these comments come from teenagers.  The comments about being angry bother me the most.  It bothers me even more because eating foods and drinks high in processed sugars have been shown to lead to aggressive and hostile behaviors in kids.

Here are ten tips parents can use to make healthy choices for their families:

1.  Do not buy any foods with artificial sweeteners.
2.  If you cannot pronounce the ingredient, then it's not good for you.
3.  Be careful of foods with more than 10 ingredients.
4.  Avoid foods and drinks containing food dyes.  If a color is listed as the ingredient (such as "blue 40, red 10"), your kids don't need it.  Food dyes are linked to ADD, ADHD and certain cancers.
5.  Buy foods from people who grow them.  Know your farmers.
6.  Shop at your local green markets and buy locally grown foods. See tip #6.
7.  If you buy vegetables that are in a package, look at where they were grown.  If that spinach was grown 1,000 miles away, how many days ago was it picked?  Remember:  The more days since harvest, the less nutrients.  See tip # 6 and tip #7.
8.  Read food labels and do not buy foods and drinks that contain high fructose corn syrup.
9.  Have dinner together at least 4 nights a week.
10. Teach these rules to someone you love.

If we all do something to improve access to locally grown foods, our communities will be healthier and best of all, our children will be healthier.   For some great healthy foods ideas, check out my Pinterest page @womanhealth.

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

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Eating Mediterranean

"Eat real food.  Your body and mind will thank you for the rest of your life."  --Nancy Heinrich

Olive trees in Greece
If you follow the Growing Healthy Kids project and are familiar with our mission to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic, then you know we love eating fresh and locally grown veggies and fruits, plus whole grains, nuts and seeds, olive oil, and cold water fish like wild salmon.  This is the basis of what is known as the Mediterranean diet.  

If you have read my book, Healthy Living with Diabetes: One Small Step at a Time*, then you know how I feel about the word, “diet”:  the first 3 letters spell the word, “die”.  This is why I don't speak about the Mediterranean "diet", but instead refer to the Mediterranean way of eating. Because food is essential for energy and helps determine our present and future health, I always reframe conversations away from “diets” and towards discussions about “healthy eating” and “eating for optimal health.” 

What exactly is a Mediterranean way of eating?**  
  • A high intake of vegetables, legumes (beans, peas), fruits, nuts, and whole grain cereals
  • A high intake of olive oil
  • A low intake of saturated fats (animal fats such as butter, low fat and whole milk, meat)
  • A moderately high intake of fish
  • A low to moderate inake of dairy products (mostly cheese and yogurt)
  • A low intake of meat and poultry
  • Moderate intake of ethanol, mainly wine and mostly consumed during meals (this is for adults, not the kids)

Make this Mediterranean Salad with your kids this summer:
  • Fresh, locally grown salad greens
  • Heirloom tomatoes
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Feta cheese
Mix the following dressing in a jar, shake, and serve over the salad:
  • Tahini
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Pink Himalayan sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • Minced garlic (optional)

With this lesson about eating Mediterranean, here is one of the Food Rules for Growing Healthy Kids: Eat vegetables that are in season and locally grown (where available). 

Wishing you a summer filled with great adventures and wonderful foods!

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

*Healthy Living with Diabetes: One Small Step at a Time is available at  

**Source:  Dr. Antonia Trichopoulou, Professor of Nutrition at University of Athens (Greece) Medical School

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


“I work on the motto that if something is not impossible there must be a way of doing it.” 

--Sir Nicholas Winton, the man responsible for saving over 600 children during World War II and subject of the film, “Nicholas Winton-The Power of Good”, who died this week at age 106.

In the Growing Healthy Kids project, we have a philosophy that all kids should know how to make ten basic meals.  With this base, they will have confidence to construct meals to their heart’s delight for the rest of their lives.
By teaching children basic cooking skills and letting them cut, grate, and chop their way through local bounties of fresh vegetables, we are empowering kids with the tools they need to make good decisions about what to eat for the rest of their lives.  Cooking with kids is fun – just ask any kid who has attended one of our classes! 

While you plan summer activities for your children, be sure to include some playtime in the kitchen.  Start with a trip to a local produce market, if you have one.  Let the kids pick out a vegetable or fruit they have never tried before.  Then research it when you get home. Have a taste test and pick out a recipe to make with it or create one of your own!

Here is a link to one of my favorite inspirations for constructing great food.  Sarah Britton lives in Denmark, a country I recently visited, and she creates delicious and healthy recipes – my favorite kind!   Check out Sarah's new recipe for granola bars by clicking here.  I promise, your kids will thank you!

  Listen here as I chat with Chef Michael Glatz about my recent culinary adventure in Denmark.  

In gratitude,
Nancy Heinrich

Founder, Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.