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15 Heart Healthy Tips- being good to your heart a guide for parents with links and resources

Posted on Feb 10, 2012 by Maggie LaBarbera

Kids Heart Health Month-Valentine's Day Fun | 15 Healthy Heart Tips for Parents + Links | Bonus! Join us for 1 Healthy Change a Week

Heart Health Month Tips for Parents- 15 Ways to Have a Healthier Heart with tips, links and resources to help you take better care of your heart.  The focus of this post to encourage you, as the parent, to learn the facts and take steps to a healthier heart. 

Some of our suggestions for a healthy heart are fun and we hope you check them out! Remember you can make one small healthy change at time. Pick one from our Top 15 Heart Healthy Tips and give it some time before adding a new healthy change.  

We also recommend the CDC's Million Heart Campaign and The American Heart Association WebsiteFacebook page or Twitter American_Heart  for the latest on Heart Health.

It might surprise you to find out that making healthy choices for your heart can be fun and easy, if you take it one step and once healthy change at time.

Try to keep it positive and encouraging whether you are helping a child or yourself to make a heart healthy change, don't expect perfection and be sure to celebrate each small success! 

free valentines  card and healthy heart pages tips printablesOf course, we also have fun tips, facts, and resources to encourage kids (and the whole family) to make heart healthy choices!

We'll start off with our resources for kids, teaching kids about nutrition and heart health, is a key to helping them develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime.

Together we can empower children with early nutrition education.  And did we mention it's FUN and FREE at Nourish Interactive!

For Kids- Heart Health and Valentine's Day FUN
Top 10 Heart Healthy Tips for Kids- a fun printable coloring page.

Be sure to check out 25 FREE printables for Heart Health Month and Valentine's Day that teach kids the facts and skills about making choices for heart health.  

Free printable Valentine's Day Cards for kids to share with healthy messages.

Parents and teachers can learn about our New Solusville Nutrition Games for Kids or play Chef Solus' healthy games.

Sign up for a free membership to play all the healthy online games for free! And you'll also get progress reports on what your child is learning, and our monthly newsletter 'Nourish Healthy Kids' that has a featured article for parents written by a Registered Dietitians. Plus, you'll be the first to know about fun printables for kids for the month- some with holiday themes, and about our new learning tools and games releases.

15 Heart Healthy Tips for Parents ( with facts, links and resources for making heart healthy changes for yourself and tips for the kids too!)

  1. Go for some low-fat protein choices: vegetarian, beans, tofu, seeds, fish, lean meats.

    Consider joining Meatless Monday for tips and fantastic recipes to go meat-free one day week!
    Visit KidSafe Sea Web for information about Seafood and kids- and find some great recipes!
    Ocean friendly Seafood facts for sustainability and food safety from Seafood Watch
  2. Eating Healthier- Key Points to Keep in Mind for Heart Health
    In case you missed it, here's a printable of our Top 10 Healthy Tips for 2012- This has been a very popular printout!

    Eating Healthier Tips for Food with Kids - visit our list of Top healthy food moms on Twitter for great tips and recipes! And be sure to follow us @kidshealthtips

        Unsaturated fats:  extra virgin olive and canola oil, avocados.  Learn about Fat and Oils via the American Heart Association.

Foods High in Omega 3: walnuts, soybeans, flax, seeds, leafy greens, salmon, mackerel, halibut. Learn more about foods high in Omega 3- The World's Healthiest Foods

High Fiber Foods: whole grains, whole wheat, oats, brown rice, fruits and vegetables.

Here's some Tips to increase your child's daily fiber intake 
and a Printable list of high fiber foods

Go for smaller portions- print our serving size guide for a handy  reference!  

Check out our Twitter friend Precise Portions for practical (& pretty!) portion control dinnerware.

 Dietitian Online is a great resource to find nutrition facts and Registered Dietitians.

3. More low-fat, whole grains and veggie and fruit powered meals using the new MyPlate- here's our quick guide for parents about the MyPlate. 

         Teach the kids about the MyPlate with our fun printable activity pages and learning sheets.

         We also have a NEW Talking MyPlate for kids!

        Encourage kids to make healthy choices with daily and weekly healthy food tracking pages- 18 different healthy goal trackers for kids. Just choose one goal and print out. Tip: it is best to start with one small change and keep it going for a few weeks. Our printable healthy tracking pages are very popular!  

      As busy parents it can be a challenge to create healthy meals, remember healthy cooking doesn't need to be complicated or time consuming- there are many meals that can be made quickly at home and are healthy. You may like to check out our What's Cooking with Chef Solus Recipes 

4. Try to take time for family dinners and to relax while eating- learn more about mindful eating: The Center for Mindful Eating
NEW New York Times Article on Mindful Eating
Find your local Slow Food Chapter

        Here's some helpful resources for parents about Family Dinners:

Our family dinner article   
Print FREE
Healthy dinner conversations card game to play with the kids! 

          Blog for Family Dinner- has tips and articles for parents
          CASA Family Day- has resources, recipes, tips, and facts about the  benefits of family dinner

5. Eat more high antioxidant and vitamin and mineral foods: Try to get more portions of vegetables (including 'green leafy') and fruits or berries.

Here's some tips to help increase kids' daily fruit and vegetables.

Set a goal to make half your plate fruits and veggies- here's some fun printables for kids about colorful fruits and vegetables.  

Tip: For Valentine's Day healthy fun food with children- try some fruit fondue, or cut up fruit and let the kids arrange it on serving dish or tray.

6. Nuts for Heart Health: FDA research reports heart health benefits of nuts*. *Only for those free of nut allergies.
          See our page about Nuts and Seeds to learn more! 
          Article on the benefits of nuts via The Mayo Clinic

7. Try to keep healthy snack foods on hand and ready to eat: fresh cut fruits and vegetables, fruit salad bowls, yogurts, low fat cheese, lowfat veggie dips, nuts, seeds and whole grain snacks. If the healthy food choices are ready and waiting, it makes it much easier for busy parents, and kids to choose a healthier snacks.

         See our guide and chart of Healthy Snack Food listed by Food Group

8. Enjoy Green Tea: it contains polyphenols, a type of antioxidant- read more about Green Tea heart health and other benefits

9. Remember to drink fresh clean water for heart and overall health.
        Mayo Clinic's guide to water
        Our guide for parents on keeping kids well hydrated

10. Exercise for parents at least 30 minutes daily, as approved by your doctor: join a health club, use an exercise DVD at home or take an online course, take a walk ( see if your work place, mall or local track has a walking club or start a walking buddy club!), go for a bike ride, a swim, play a back yard game with the kids, try some new exercise activity like yoga, or get back to enjoying your favorite exercise activity or sport!

Tip: Get in some extra steps each day by parking a bit farther away from your destination, take the stair instead of the elevator- each step add up to a healthier heart! 

See our guide for promoting more physical activity for children

Tips for helping kids and the whole family to be more physically active

Printable tips and ideas to get kids' moving! 2 page PDF- 1 page for fun ideas with way for kids to be active and page 2 has tip and a plan for parents on how to encourage the family to be more physically active.

Very popular with parents: Move it Minutes - our printable physical activity tracker to encourage kids to be active 60 minutes a day!  Or Count your Foot Steps Tracker

Did you know? The American Heart Association has a Walking Campaign- you can find a walking path, join and get points for prizes.

You may also like these resources to support physical activity:
Family friendly online workouts by Fit 2 B Studio
Super Stretch Yoga App fun for kids or the whole family
Kaboom Play Space - Playground Finder
Move Smart Blog - Foster children’s natural, move-to-learn style, while helping parents and teachers understand the comprehensive benefits of all that wiggling!
See our whole list of being active Twitter friends

Tip: For extra motivation to stick with your exercise routine ask a friend to be an exercise buddy or listen to your favorite music while getting fit!

*If you are on Twitter you may enjoy motivational tweets from your local fitness center, YMCA ask them what their Twitter name is, or check out Smash Fit, Share Fitness, Everybody Walk, and Let's Move we love their motivational tweets to get moving!

11.  Include Other Foods Noted to be Heart Healthy in Moderation: Of course we can't forget the Valentine's Day favorite dark chocolate which has been shown to heart health benefits- others to include are; garlic and grape juice.

12. Stress Reduction: prioritizing (take what you can off the 'to do' list), try recreational activities and meditation.

Heart Health Meditation article
The Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society
Women's Heart Foundation article on mindfulness & meditation
Yoga and Heart Health
Meditation and guided relaxation CDs and Itunes by Stress Free Kids

13. Enjoyable Activities: Make a list of things you enjoy- take time in your week for activities you enjoy- it works best if you write the event on your calendar. Tip: If you register for a recreational class, that will increase the chances that you will make it a priority to be there weekly even though you may have a busy schedule.

    Laughter: watching a comedy show or funny movie can increase endorphins that improve feelings well-being and reduce stress. Article on heart health benefits of laughter
  Play: play is so important for children and adults! Try to make some time for play- here's some resources:
    Dr Michelle Borba share 11 benefits of unstructured play time for kids
   Head Start Body Start's Facebook page has many tips for families with  kids aged 0-5 
  Listen to the benefits of play on NPR
   Importance of Play for Adults Article
   Visit the National Institute of Play!
  Active Kids Club - find an outdoorlay group near you or find out how easy it is to start one in your community

14. Connecting: Stay connected with friends, family and community. Dr. Dean Ornish has pointed out that staying connected socially is good for heart and overall health. Try to make time to spend with loved ones, volunteer in your community, meet new people, or have fun with other parents at playgroups or outings, or during socializing with adults in activities in your community.

15. Nature: Take time to go on a walk in your neighborhood, get out in nature on a hike, play with the kids in the backyard, or join a local parents and kids nature club.  
Visit the Children Nature Network
for more info,  tips or to find a local nature club for families.  

Have a happy Valentine's Day and we hope you enjoy taking a new step towards a healthier heart! 

BONUS TIP! Join our March to Nutrition Month! Each week we give a new small change and goal with special tip sheets to support that week's goal. You can also enter to win a healthy giveaway each week. (Value $15- $50) and some weeks we will have coupons or discount offers.  

See this week's healthy goal and giveaway prize! Join The March to Nutrition Month.

It's easy just enter your email each week to join that healthy goal or pledge for one small change for kids! You'll be entered to win the prize and on the 'Thank You' page you'll get a link to download that week's healthy tips sheet or fun kids' activity page to support the goal!

get code to share a badgeThe sponsored giveaways support our mission to reach more children and families with fun nutrition education and the funds from giveaways are used 100% to support new developments for healthy games for kids, healthy family nutrition articles written by Registered Dietitians, NEW FUN printables for kids (worksheets, learning pages, and parents' handouts for teachers- we have over 1000 printables so far and our very popular with parents and teachers!).  

And your support helps our outreach so that more kids, families, schools and communities who can benefit from our free, online bilingual learning platform can discover Nourish Interactive and our healthy games for kids!

Let's see how many families can join us to learn about 1 small healthy change a week. Your support and participation is appreciated, as we join together and reach for the goal to reach as many families, friends, neighbors, teachers, and food or health care professionals- with the mission to give all children the facts and skills to make one small change and healthier choices for lifetime!

You can also help our outreach by sharing the Healthy Goals on your website or blog- find out how you can get free ad space for sharing the March to Nutrition Month.



1 Comment

Amy Dickinson
Monday, Feb 13, 2012 @ 08:35 AM

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Thanks for all the great resources. I especially love the focus on all the benefits of unstructured play, both for children AND adults.

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