Wednesday, June 17, 2020

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Growing Kids Up Healthy

"Think about it:  Heart disease and diabetes, which account for more deaths in the U.S. and worldwide than everything else combined, are completely preventable by making comprehensive lifestyle changes.  Without drugs or surgery." 
                                                                               --Dean Ornish, M.D.

Vegetables from the New Albany, IN Farmers Market

The other day I was talking with someone who is preparing for bariatric surgery because of morbid obesity and diabetes. He shared that he has an addiction to fast food which he blames for some of his health troubles.  Unfortunately, gastric bypass surgery does not reverse addictions to the high fat, salt, and sugar found in processed foods like at McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Burger King.  Once someone understands that fast food companies intentionally engineer foods to be addictive using added sugars, salts, and fats, it makes it easier to stop buying and eating them.   

This conversation with my friend reminded me that learning good eating habits starts early in life.  Developing a healthy relationship with food is very important, just as important as learning about what real foods are and where they come from.    

Summertime is a great time to teach your kids about real food and to create a lifetime of healthy habits give your kids the tools to remain at a healthy weight for the rest of their lives. Here are 3 suggestions for parents:
  1. Take your kids shopping at the local farmers market to meet local farmers and talk about the food they grow.  
  2. Teach your kids how to cook and how to prepare delicious, healthy recipes.  (Tip: Pick up a copy of my book Nourish and Flourish:  Kid-Tested Tips and Recipes to Prevent Diabetes from 
  3. Show them the nutrition facts labels on different breakfast cereals and look for those with less ingredients, less grams of sugar, and more grams of dietary fiber. 

Locally grown veggies in Denmark
Most of what we eat should come from these 4 food groups:  
  • fruits 
  • vegetables
  • legumes (beans and lentils)
  • whole grains 

Make this summer fun.  Don't forget to include the lessons about growing kids up healthy.  

With love,
Nancy Heinrich, MPH
Founder and Wellness Architect
Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.