A 13-Year-Old’s Unique Take on Healthy Eating

This blog post was written by Grace Hiatt, a middle school student in Plymouth, Michigan. This season, she joined us in The Simple Kitchen, an educational cooking studio where she has served up healthy dishes for years and honed her skills as a young chef. The Simple Kitchen has joined our #MIKidsCan mission to protect our children’s future by equipping them with healthy eating habits early, and getting families to sit down and enjoy dinner together again. Dig into their Autumn Minestrone Soup recipe—perfect for brown bag lunches—and learn more at ahealthiermichigan.org/mikidscan.

I’m Grace. I’m 13 years old and an intern at The Simple Kitchen for Chef Kristen Podolinski (we call her Chef Pod). She has taught me so much about food and healthy eating. Cooking and baking are my passion. I love to do it and learn about it every day. You can always learn more, especially about cooking and making healthy food.

The #1 Tip from Chef Pod

The Simple Kitchen Plymouth Michigan Blue Cross Blue Shield #MIKidsCan Healthy Eating

Chef Pod taught me that eating seasonal foods is important.  Some examples of seasonal ingredients for fall are apples, pumpkin and cinnamon. Seasonal eating helps with keeping food fresh and interesting.

How I Eat Healthy at Home

Something healthy that I make at home are smoothies. You would usually think these aren’t that healthy, but I make mine with fresh or frozen fruit and some milk or coconut water. You can also use yogurt. Sometimes I take a young coconut, cut it open and pour the coconut milk into the blender. After that, I scoop out the soft inside and add that to the smoothie. You can also add a bit of honey to give it more flavor.

My Snacking Philosophy

Even though unhealthy food is everywhere you look, we need to start eating better. For example, for a snack, people think “Oh I will just eat a bag of chips,” but there are so many other more nutritious foods we can focus on. The first thing that comes to my mind when I hear “healthy snack” is fruits and vegetables. Some things I like are apples with peanut butter, celery with cream cheese and vegetables with hummus. Those are just some basic snacks I eat sometimes when I get home from school.

Perking Up Plain Salads

At dinner time, I always like to eat a salad with my dinner. Salads are great because you can do anything you want with them. Sometimes I add beans, olives, cucumbers and tomatoes with a simple homemade balsamic dressing. Other days, I could make a salad with onions, peppers and carrots with a lemon-and-oil dressing. In my opinion, salads are great because you can match them to your eating style.

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  1. What a role model this young woman is to her friends in Middle School. She will encourage others to eat healthy too. For the first time our children are not supposed to live as long as we do, but if more young people were are inspired to eat healthy that would change. Kudos to this young person. I am very impressed.

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