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Nurtured Body Program

I. Introduction

What we eat is very important for a healthy body ~ especially for growing children.  Food is the fuel – the “gasoline” – that our bodies use.  Using a good quality fuel is very important for all children, so that they can grow and develop healthy bodies and minds.  The Nurtured Body Program was developed especially to help families plan good meals to support the health of children, and to avoid “junk food” that only provide useless calories that ultimately lead to obesity and many diseases.

1I. Basic Program

The foundation of the Nurtured Body Program is the use of foods that are as unprocessed, or "natural", as possible and the inclusion in the diet of high quality protein (eggs, tofu, nuts, lean meat, fresh cheese and other dairy products), complex carbohydrates (whole grains, such as brown rice and whole wheat; potatoes; corn), and fresh fruits and vegetables.  The best cooking methods are steaming, broiling and baking.  Fried foods should be eaten only occasionally. 

Foods to be avoided entirely include refined sugars, sugar substitutes and other highly processed items including fats, such as margarines, which contain partially hydrogenated oils.  These foods have all been shown in recent scientific studies to be connected to health problems.  For example, the current epidemic of obesity and diabetes in children is linked to the use of large amounts of sugar-filled foods and highly processed foods from very early childhood.  Sugar substitutes are well known to be addictive, and to be linked with numerous disorders, including migraine headaches and other neurological problems.

1II. Healthy Foods at School

Students bring snacks and lunch for the day.  Below are the school "food rules" and some suggestions for snacks and lunch menus. Please contact Dr. Aiken if you have any questions.



100% Whole grains bread and crackers 

No white bread

Fresh fruits - any kind! 

No fruit in syrup

Fresh vegetables - any kind!

No items containing white sugar, fructose, corn syrup, or any thing ending in "-ose"

100% juices (no additives or sugar)

No processed foods (lunch meats, etc.)

Natural cheeses; hard boiled eggs

NO FLAVORED chips or crackers

Plain chips (Corn chips, potato, etc.)


1V. Parent Classes

Dr. Aiken teaches Nutrition Classes for parents several times during the year.  Please refer to the "Events Page" for the current schedule.

V. History

Observing the nutritional choices of her parents, both physicians, and the resulting health and vitality enjoyed by them into their 90s, Dr. Nanci Aiken formulated basic nutritional rules which she applied to the raising of her own children in the 1970s and 1980s.  These basic rules were refined and proven over this time period based her direct experiences and those of family, friends and patients of her parents.  In 1981 Dr. Aiken began a nutritional counseling practice in New Mexico, during which she collected further data on the effect of diet on health and well-being as a result of changing eating habits.

Dr. Aiken's findings are that people who eat relatively simply - that is, primarily whole grains, a large quantity of raw and/or lightly steamed vegetables, fruits, and quality proteins (such as eggs, tofu, lean meats, legumes) - enjoy excellent health, with few illnesses.  These people are generally more resistant to infectious diseases, and rarely are subject to chronic diseases, including asthma and other allergic conditions.  When illnesses do strike, they are generally of much less severity and are over much more quickly than in people who eat mostly highly processed foods (such as candy, white bread, white tortillas, processed meats and cheese, fast foods).

While changing dietary habits is beneficial to the body at any point in life, the ideal scenario is to feed and teach good nutritional habits to children from birth.  With this goal in mind, Dr. Aiken designed the Nurtured Body Program, a method of training families in optimal nutritional habits that are designed to be flexible to individual culture and tastes.  The Nurtured Body Program assists families to develop and implement appropriate nutrition for the optimal functioning of all members of the family, in particular the children.

The Nurtured Body Approach was first used by Dr. Aiken in an academic setting at the Arcadian School in Socorro, NM, in 1980, a school which she founded and directed. Parents and staff were educated in good nutritional habits before the school year began, and were provided with suggestions, menus etc. to help them make changes (if needed) in family eating habits, as well as suggestions for school lunches and snacks.  Nutrition at the school site was carefully controlled.  Children were not allowed to bring any candy or other highly processed foods to school.

A case study of one family illustrates the success of the Program.  Two boys, whose behavior fit the description of attention deficit-hyperactive disorder (ADHD), and whose parents placed them in the Arcadian School for one year of remedial work, changed radically after one year on this program.  They became calm, excited about their studies, and developed their social skills.  Upon returning to the public school the following year, their standardized test scores (Stanford 9) placed them several years above their peers.  The amazing fact was that they had tested below their age levels upon entry to Dr. Aiken's school.  The parents' original hope was for their completion of high school.  This was accomplished, with the older boy graduating as a National Merit Scholar!  It is Dr. Aiken's belief that these results were due in large part to the Nurtured Body Program, which the family continued to utilize, including the removal of the soda machines from the father’s business.  Less dramatic, but nevertheless consistent, results were shown with the entire student body of the Arcadian School.

VI.  Community Garden

Children's Success Academy is currently seeking interested parents, community members and community organizations to collaborate on this project.

              Link to the Enrollment Form, to download, fill out, and mail to: P.O. Box 11368, Tucson, AZ 85734

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