Q&A with H-E-B’s Marti Owens

It’s hard to ignore the link between early childhood education and good eating.  A full tummy makes a difference in school performance, learning outcomes, and child development.  In 2016, parents at Montessori Preschool @ Copperfield came together to launch the Yummy in my Tummy cookbook to showcase diverse recipes from across the Cy-Fair community and inspire better eating habits at home and in school.

To continue the conversation, we invited our neighborhood H-E-B to share resources and their thoughts on how to make nutrition more accessible for children – and easy to understand for parents.  And frankly, just more fun!

Marti Owens
Marti Owens, H-E-B Area Community Coordinator

Our Director of Innovation and Global Strategy, Kevin Kalra, spoke with H-E-B’s Area Community Coordinator, Marti Owens, to understand her thoughts on good nutrition and ask about her favorite recipe:

1.  What can parents do to learn more about good nutrition?

I would start with two proactive yet simple steps.

  • Choose My Plate as a great way to manage nutrition.  The plate visual is great with any age but especially children.

  • Take the “Vegetables First” Pledge.  It simply means that you’ll eat your vegetables before anything else.  I just started doing this and I find I can stick to my portions because the veggies have already started filling me up!  March was “Veg Out” Month.  I know March is over but you can “Veg Out” anytime!

2.  How is nutrition linked to early education?  Why is it important?

I asked our H-E-B Houston Registered Dietitian, Rita Zapien, MS RD LD CDE, to help me answer this question.  She’s answered below and given more wonderful resources:

“How your child eats today will have a profound impact on his/her health now and throughout adolescence and adulthood.  Consuming nutritious foods provides the energy required for proper growth and development, enables children to do well academically and to feel good about themselves.”

“Visit our Pharmacy and Health tab at www.heb.com for an abundance of resources on improving your family’s nutrition.  In addition to our online recipes, our H-E-B app enables you to do an advanced search of our Quick Recipe Finder.  You can find recipes by nutrition, diet, cooking method and source as well.”

Check out these additional resources:

3.  What are ways to make a trip to the grocery store both fun and informative for children?

The more you include your child, the more you’ll both enjoy it.  I know you’re in a hurry to get the grocery shopping done, however, it doesn’t take much to enjoy the time you are spending together.  Maybe you could have your child help with planning and shopping for their lunch box (click here for our Healthy Lunch Box handout) or have them do a scavenger hunt (see H-E-B Scavenger Hunt worksheet).  I still enjoy shopping with my boys when they have time for me – they’re 27 and 24!

4.  Could you share a favorite home recipe?

I’d love to share.  I call them tacos but it’s really a burrito.  Here’s the recipe and I am very specific on some of the ingredients including brand.  I use H-E-B brand because the quality is national brand yet more economical.  Check it out for yourself!

  • 1 lb. H-E-B Ground Sirloin 90-10 (I use the chub package but you can use fresh ground)
  • 1 can Fat Free Refried Pinto Beans
  • H-E-B 30% Less Sodium Taco Mix
  • 3/4 cup Water
  • Mexican Blend Cheese
  • H-E-B Bake Shop 100% Whole Wheat Tortillas

Follow instructions on taco mix package.  Add and mix in the refried beans.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and place parchment paper on a cooking sheet.  Put the meat/bean mixture in a tortilla, cover with cheese, roll up and bake for at least 5 minutes.  You can bake a few minutes longer if you like your tortillas crispier.

You’ll need to eat your veggies first – maybe a salad.  I love to put guacamole all over my taco/burrito and pop cherry tomatoes in-between bites!

Download the Yummy in my Tummy Cookbook.

Featured Photo © 2015 Community Impact Newspaper