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Give The Gift of Love – Be Good to Your Child’s Heart

Anne Kolker • MS, Registered Dietitian • Feb 07, 2011

Keeping your family's heart healthy and beating strong involves healthy habits like eating healthy, fresh, low fat foods and daily exercise.
This is the something that children can benefit from too.  We know that behaviors are formed during childhood so it is very important to help children establish healthy heart habits while they are young.
Our heart is a muscle that works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  As the kids say "24-7"!  It deserves a little special attention.
Kids are also learning about heart healthy foods on their Explorer’s Fun page.

Heart Healthy Tips for the Whole Family

Here are some heart healthy tips that will keep your cholesterol level at a healthy level cholesterol level at a healthy level:
Increase Fiber Intake
  • Serve oatmeal for breakfast and switch over to 100% whole wheat bread
  • Add beans to soups or offer as a side dish
  • Place sliced fruit and veggies on the table for your child
  • Offer fresh fruit smoothies using low-fat yogurt
Decrease Saturated Fat Intakehealthy heart habits for kids and family
  • Offer lowfat mozzarella or Swiss cheese
  • Serve fish and chicken breast more often than red meat
  • Stir fry and bake your meals instead of deep frying
  • Serve vegetarian meals and skip the meat; your child can get plenty of protein from 1% milk, non-fat yogurt, beans, peanut butter, and tofu.
  • Use spray dressings vs. traditional Thousand Island or Blue Cheese salad dressing
Increase Intake of Healthy Fats - Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated fats
  • Cook with olive, safflower, or canola oil (use small amounts as oils are high in calories)
  • Offer 2 tablespoons of cashews on top of yogurt; all nuts have healthy fat in them. (nuts can be a choking hazard so avoid offering to young children or children with nut allergies)
  • Seeds can be another great source for healthy oils. You can add ground flax seeds into a fruit smoothie or a on top of their favorite cereal or salad.
  • Add avocado slices to a salad
Daily Movement – Get Your Heart Rate Up
  • Get the dance music on and dance with your child
  • Turn off the computer games and play basketball with your child
  • Go for a walk with your child
  • Sign your child up for swimming or gymnastics at the local recreation department
  • Prioritize your day so that movement happens – mark it down on the calendar as a reminder
We now know that changes in the heart can begin at a very young age. By making these simple little changes, you can be keeping family heart healthy. Remember, small changes do add up! 
Happy Healthy Heart.








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Written by Anne KolkerWritten on Feb 07, 2011Last updated on Apr 03, 2016




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