"I do not love to work out, but if I stick to exercising every day and put the right things in my mouth, then my diabetes just stays in check."
Taking kids to farms and working with them in our teaching kitchens gives me the chance to develop solutions to the diabetes epidemic occurring in America.
All kids need access to real food, not just kids whose parents can stop by their neighborhood Publix, Kroger, or Safeway whenever they want to buy whatever they want to buy. I think about all the kids who live in food deserts without easy access to a full-service grocery store. I think about kids who get 2 of their 3 meals courtesy of the free and reduced meal program and then go to an afterschool program where they have highly processed food snacks.
Growing Healthy Kids connects kids with farmers in our quest to teach kids about healthy eating and foods that make them healthy so they don’t fill up on the foods that cause chronic diseases such as diabetes. What kids need less of are all the chicken nuggets, the whole milk, the sodas, the white breads, not to mention all the sugar-filled breakfast cereals.
Talking with parents about the importance of health literacy and encouraging them to take their kids with them to their local farmers markets is key to raising awareness. We miss working with the children - both at the farms and in the kitchens. The joy that comes from empowering kids how to make good choices about food is powerful and life-changing.
Preventing diabetes is directly tied to creating food policies that improve access to real foods for all kids, educating parents with knowledge, and empowering kids with skills. We can prevent diabetes because we must. The health – and lives – of America’s children stand in the balance.
With love and kindness,
Nancy Heinrich, MPH
Founder and Wellness Architect