From Seed to Plate

Did you know that adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet is one of the easiest things you can do to improve your health? Click here to vote for Healthy Waltham in the Seeds of Change grant program from March 31-April 18, 2016. If selected, we could receive funding for our garden to table education programming! Funding would support coordination of resources to support community and school gardens in Waltham and our healthy eating programs. Thanks for supporting us!

Since 2007, Healthy Waltham has established and supported school and community gardens across Waltham. We work to strengthen understanding of the connection between growing vegetables, eating healthy foods, and health. Learning gardens offer exciting spaces to teach appreciation of the Earth and where our food comes from, as well as outlets for healthy physical activity.

Healthy Waltham conducts hands-on programming that teaches community members about preparing healthy dishes, using locally grown produce that is either donated or harvested from learning gardens when possible. Our chef instructor makes eating healthy foods fun by teaching ways to prepare local, seasonal produce and simple ingredients. We find that children are much more likely to eat a vegetable when they have had a hand in growing or preparing it. Our goal is to encourage and motivate children and adults to adopt healthy habits that can improve their health.

Healthy Waltham also works with teachers to develop curriculum connections and garden to table learning experiences for children in elementary and middle schools. Check out the photos from our summer school program at McDevitt Middle School here.

See more about our Waltham gardens we help to coordinate here.

St. Paddy’s Day at GWArc

Hearty Soup, Irish Soda Bread and a Green Smoothie made up our yummy St. Patrick’s Day menu at the Greater Waltham Arc (GWArc). GWArc serves children, adolescents and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families, offering a variety of programs, services and supports which maximize independence, foster inclusion, promote self-advocacy and build community connections. These cooking classes are a great way to introduce healthy eating habits and have some fun! Chef Reva’s popular healthy cooking club at GWArc is held over several evenings; a daytime healthy snack program is also offered. Enjoy these recipes from our most recent class for you to try at home.

20160317_180400Leek and Potato Soup with Kale

Irish Soda Bread

Chocolate Mint smoothie

serves 6


  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • ¼ fresh mint, tightly packed
  • 1 avocado
  • ¼ cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup kale leaves or baby spinach
  • 1 Tablespoon of honey or sugar
  • 2 cups ice
  • green food coloring, if desired


  1. Combine all ingredients in a strong blender.
  1. Blend until smooth; thin with water to reach desired consistency. If too thin, add more ice.


1 cup per serving, 1 serving contains: Calories (kcal) 157, Fat (g) 13

Saturated Fat (g) 7, Cholesterol (mg) 0, Carbohydrates (g) 12

Dietary Fiber (g) 3, Total Sugars (g) 6, Protein (g) 2, Sodium (mg) 11

Waltham Schools Get Healthy

We are delighted to announce our new partnership with the Waltham Public Schools, “Fresh! Chef to School visits,” which introduces students to healthy, tasty new foods in Waltham cafeterias. Please see our article for the Waltham News Tribune here (full text also below) to learn about this program. Check out more photos here.

A Fresh Perspective – Program at Waltham Schools Touts Healthy Food

“I never thought eating healthy could be so much fun and taste so good,” said a Stanley Elementary school student after Healthy Waltham’s Chef visited her school.

Waltham elementary students are learning about the importance of eating healthy foods through a new collaborative program at school. Healthy Waltham and the Waltham Public School Nutrition Department are teaming up on a new program called “Fresh! Chef to School Visits.” Waltham Food Services Director, April Liles, says of the program, “We’re thrilled to be working with Healthy Waltham to promote healthy eating habits and introduce healthy new foods in a kid-friendly way.”

Healthy Waltham’s traveling chef, Reva Haselkorn, will visit all six Waltham elementary schools twice this winter and spring to prepare a healthy dish with the cafeteria staff. Students will get to try a sample of the dish during lunch period. Some of the dishes planned will feature cranberries, beans, squash and fresh herbs. Kids will be encouraged to try new foods, and also understand how fruits and vegetables are “the fuel that our bodies need to run properly,” says Liles. “We hope they will learn nutrition concepts they will use in their every day lives.”

The culinary adventure program kicked off with chef visits to the Whittemore and Stanley Elementary Schools. Kids were excited to see a special display table with food samples, posters, and balloons. “We are excited to help Waltham youth experience something new and good for them. With 2,800 elementary school children in Waltham, the program will have a far reach across the community, ” says Healthy Waltham’s Executive Director, Pam Hess.

The first samples students tried included a healthy granola with dried cranberries. “Cranberries add sweetness and are packed with Vitamin C. We were ecstatic when our school meals program got dried cranberries through the USDA commodities program. We know not all students have tried them so we thought it would be fun to come up with different recipes that feature cranberries,” said Liles.

Chef Reva encouraged kids to keep an open mind to different foods. “Trying new foods is a great way to make healthy eating fun and find new favorite dishes, but sometimes it takes a few tries before you like something,” she said. “If you don’t like something, remember not to ‘yuck someone else’s yum’ – no saying yucky.” Judging from the way kids at Whittemore and Stanley gobbled up the cranberry granola, there were more “yums” than “yucks.” All kids trying the cranberries received “I tried it!” stickers.

Kids learned a few new things about the cranberries too, such as that most cranberries are grown in Massachusetts, they grow in swampy areas called bogs, and they can be eaten in salads, baked goods, oatmeal, and served with vegetables.

Fact sheets on the featured menu items and the “Fresh! Chef to School Visits” are being sent home to elementary school parents. “We think this program is great and want parents to know about it too,” says Liles. “They can talk about different foods with their kids and try them at home. Our hope is that children will discover a world of healthy, delicious food choices that will sustain them through a healthy, active life. We want parents to be on board to reinforce good habits at home.”

“Waltham’s kids need healthy diet and exercise to do their best work, so we’re very excited to introduce the “Fresh! Chef to School Visits” program. We are looking forward to a continued partnership with the Waltham Public Schools,” said Hess. “We love having Healthy Waltham visit,” said Whittemore Assistant Principal Stephen Duffy. “They really know our kids, the kids look forward to seeing them, and the message is great.”

More about Healthy Waltham: Founded in 2003, Healthy Waltham promotes healthy eating and active living opportunities to Waltham residents through healthy cooking and gardening, physical activity and involvement in natural open space within the community. Healthy Waltham focuses on serving the most vulnerable populations: families with young children, recent immigrants, low income residents and seniors. We engage people through cooking classes, food demonstrations and gardening, walking clubs, and collaborations around healthy living. We go directly to where people are already gathered, making it easy for them to participate.

To learn more about Healthy Waltham, visit,, We can be reached via email at Healthy Waltham is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.


Butternut Squash Three Ways

Chef Reva’s December workshop for seniors held at the Council on Aging focused on the butternut squash, with three different takes on this local favorite. Served hot, cold, or baked in a muffin, the butternut squash is a healthy addition to a meal. Healthy Waltham’s workshop series, titled “Cooking for one? Make it fun!” is geared toward seniors who may want to cook in smaller amounts or serve a food item over several days. The workshop series with Chef Reva will continue this winter; please contact the Council on Aging/Waltham Senior Center, 488 Main St., 781-314-3499, to sign up. Workshops are free to participants, but advance registration is required.

Butternut Squash Three Ways for Three Days

Butternut Squash Muffins

Butternut Squash Muffins

Day 1

Roasted Butternut squash with Brussels Sprouts

  • ½ butternut squash
  • ½ lb. Brussels sprouts, whole or halved if large
  • olive oil
  • dried thyme
  • dried rosemary
  • salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Toss Brussels with just enough olive oil to coat and spread on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with a pinch each of thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper.
  3. Bake until browned and crispy and soft in the middle, 15-20 minutes.
  4. Options for roasting squash:

Roast it whole: Wash squash and pierce skin and multiple places with a fork. Wrap in foil, place on a baking sheet and bake until tender, about one hour. Cool before peeling, cutting and using in the following recipes.

Cut in half: Remove a thin slice from the bottom of the squash and cut off the top part just below the stem. Stand squash upright on board and cut straight down the middle. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Roast cut side down or slice into ½-inch thick pieces and roast as Brussels sprouts above. Note: peel will come off easily once cooked so there is no need to peel before baking.

  1. Combine roasted Brussels sprouts with roasted squash and enjoy.

Day 2

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette

  • 2 cups mixed greens (spring mix, arugula, spinach – choose your favorite)
  • ¼ butternut squash, roasted and cut into chunks
  • butternut squash seeds (if reserved), roasted
  • 2 Tablespoons sunflower or pumpkin seeds, roasted
  • 2 Tablespoons grated or shredded parmesan cheese, optional
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • ¼ cup olive oil (more or less, to taste)
  1. Combine lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, mustard, maple syrup and olive oil in a container or jar with tight-fitting lid.
  2. Add a pinch of salt and pepper; shake to combine.
  3. Toss greens and squash with enough dressing to coat.
  4. Top with roasted seeds and parmesan cheese.

Day 3

Butternut Squash Muffins

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • ¾ cup oats
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup plain nonfat yogurt
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 1½ cups butternut squash puree
  • ¼ cup chopped prunes
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped candied ginger
  • butternut squash seeds (or use pumpkin or sunflower), optional
  1. Preheat oven to 375F and prepare muffin tin by lining with greased papers or greasing only.
  2. Combine flours, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl and stir to combine.
  3. In another bowl, combine eggs, yogurt, oil and squash puree and mix until smooth.
  4. Add prunes and ginger to wet ingredients and mix.
  5. Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix until just combined (no dry flour visible).
  6. Divide batter (it will be thick) among a dozen muffin tins and top with seeds (if using).
  7. Bake about 20 minutes until slightly browned and firm to the touch. A toothpick inserted in the center of muffins should come out clean.
  8. Leave muffins in tin until cool enough to touch. Allow muffins to cool completely on a wire rack.
  9. Keep muffins in an airtight container or Ziploc bag. These muffins also freeze very well.

Leek and Potato Soup with Kale

Try a hearty but light soup that’s perfect for a chilly fall or winter day. We made this soup recently for our Get Healthy and Fit seniors’ program at the Waltham Fields Community Farm. A group of about 20 seniors enjoyed touring and learning about the Farm. Then, they learned new techniques for preparing produce grown at the Farm from Chef Reva and tried some delicious recipes. We really enjoyed this collaborative program with the Farm and our wonderful participants. (You can see some photos here.) We will continue our Healthy Eating Workshop for Seniors this winter at the Council on Aging, 488 Main St. The next seniors workshop will be held on Wednesday, December 16, 1:30-3:00PM. It’s free, but please call the Council on Aging to sign up at 781-899-7228.

Leek and Potato Soup with Kale

Serves 6-8


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 leeks (white and pale green parts only), halved lengthwise, thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
  • 1 lb. potatoes, scrubbed and diced
  • 6 cups water or low sodium chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 bunch of kale or collards, washed and torn into pieces (leaves only, reserve stems for another use)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper


  1. Wash sliced leeks in several batches of cold water, separating layers to remove any dirt. Drain.
  2. Heat olive oil in medium pot.
  3. Cook leeks with a pinch of salt until limp and translucent, 5-10 minutes.
  4. Add potatoes and cook 5 minutes more.
  5. Add water or stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, partially covered until potatoes are tender, 25-30 minutes.
  6. Add kale (or collards) and salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes until kale is wilted. Adjust seasoning and serve.


1 cup per serving, 1 serving contains: Calories (kcal) 123, Fat (g) 2, Saturated Fat (g) 0, Cholesterol (mg) 0, Carbohydrates (g) 24, Dietary Fiber (g) 3, Total Sugars (g) 3, Protein (g) 3, Sodium (mg) 221