Posted in DWEH
Meals should be vibrant, and Mindy Kobrin 93C champions the cause for more color in the foods on our plates. “If you eat the entire rainbow of foods, your meals will have all the nutrients, minerals, and vitamins a body needs,” she says. Focusing her educational efforts on kids, Kobrin is indeed changing the way people eat.
“The statistics are startling,” Kobrin explains. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. That’s more than alarming, and I want to do my part to change that.”
As the former development director for the Princess Grace Foundation and HSH Prince Albert of Monaco II and The Princely Family, Kobrin championed fundraising and corporate sponsorship for galas. She is a now a celebrity chef and wellness educator energized by the quest to curb childhood obesity. Kobrin’s Don’t Worry, Eat Happy! (a program of Meals on Heels by Mindy) inspires east coast elementary and high school students to take on garden-to-table cooking with energy-boosting ingredients.
“Emory teaches us about initiative and ideas with tangible impact. At its center is a broader global thought process,” she says. “They ask, how can we impact the world in a positive way and tackle current issues that will tailspin if not addressed?”
Inspired by the grassroots efforts of Great Britain’s Chef Jamie Oliver, Kobrin developed Don’t Worry, Eat Happy! to educate teachers, parents, and kids. “Food can be fun, accessible, and affordable,” Kobrin says. By giving children the learning tools, knowledge, and skills they need, she impresses upon them that growing healthy food and cooking can be fun.
In New York City, Kobrin works with a leading “green” not-for-profit charity and its Department of Education science curriculum that includes her original recipes. In classrooms across the city, Kobrin observed that many children came from lower socioeconomic areas. “Many have never seen fresh lettuces or avocados. But when they grow their own food, they learn great lessons about success and failure.”
In addition to an annual Earth Day wellness program for children ages 5-12, Don’t Worry, Eat Happy! provides the knowledge and skills to make cooking and sharing good food a natural part of everyday life. Emphasis is placed on portion size, seasonal eating for a lower carbon footprint, and mindful eating. “When you give them these important tools, they get excited and take ownership,” Kobrin says.
Kobrin recognizes that “our cells want to be healthy. When you start eating well, you begin to crave more of the good stuff and you end up wanting to eat the bad stuff less.” She recommends that parents encourage their babies to eat the rainbow. “Serve foods with bright colors and flavors so babies get used to seeing and tasting vibrant foods,” she says. “When you move away from pureed foods, your baby will be ready to eat healthy.”
She explains, “Kids deserve to have access to healthy food, to learn what eating the rainbow means, and to have a hands-on positive experience with owning what they make at mealtime. With that knowledge and ease of use, kids will be equipped with a skill set to take pride in eating well and to carry on from one generation to the next. Our children will be the future ambassadors of health and wellness.”Editor’s Note: Each year in honor of Earth Day, Kobrin shares the Don’t Worry, Eat Happy! messaging with kindergarten through sixth grade students and faculty at the Park Maitland School in Maitland, Florida. For more information and recommendations on how to “eat the rainbow” visit http://blog.mealsonheelsbymindy.com/.