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Heart Healthy Kids

beth February 20, 2013

 

Miss Roo and Drew on a family hike.

Miss Roo and Drew on a family hike.

February celebrates two major heart events -Valentine”s Day and American Heart Month. Signs are present on our outings encouraging us to wear red and make heart healthy decisions. As a parent, there are so many recommendations thrown at you regarding children”s health and nutrition that it becomes overwhelming. As I”ve educated myself about my girls and my health this pregnancy, I”ve looked at the Hearth Healthy recommendations (low calorie, low fat, etc.) with extremem caution. As a Real Food family, we have come to make our own decisions regarding children”s heart health. Here are the guidelines we follow.

Vitamins

Vitamins are key to good general health and good heart health. B vitamins are crucial to our bodies – particularly folic acids like B9. Eating foods rich in B vitamin and Omega 3 Fatty acids will strengthen not only your general health and immune system but also your heart. For our girls, we are sure to include lots of free range, grass fed eggs and dairy products- raw or organic cream line milk, yogurts and cheeses. Vitamins C and E are also crucial for good hearth and vascular health and immunity boosts. Vitamin C is readily found in citrus fruits – oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes, and tangerines. These are great breakfast and snacking foods for children. Vitamin E rich fruits include berries, kiwi, mangoes, and papaya. Berries are great first foods for fingering as well as an on the go snack for toddlers and preschoolers.

Minerals

Minerals play just as important role in your children”s hearth health as vitamins do. Crucial minerals – such as magnesium – help the body by reducing the risk of high blood pressure. Magnesium can be found readily in foods such as fish, nuts, and beans. These are also great sources of Omega 3″s and help multiple body systems. Raw nuts are a fantastic snack and can be thrown on top of a salad or in a container of yogurt. Fish is a fantastic focus for a meal. Minerals such as calcium and potassium help regulate blood pressure and promote good heart health. Calcium is readily found in dark green vegetables. Potassium rich foods such as bananas, avocados, raisins, and apricots can easily be added to meals and snacks to proactively protect your children”s heart.

Good Fat Snacks

Fats aren”t all bad. Your body needs good fats to function properly, build and protect brain health, and promote De win kansen bij Amerikaans roulette zijn lager dus het is absoluut wenselijk altijd Frans roulette te spelen . good heart health. All children love to have snacks readily available, but it isn”t always easy to know what snacks are best for them. If you are looking for some heart healthy snacks, here are a few of our favorites:

  • Avocados/Guacamole: My girls love to have a few chips with “green dip” and cheese. This is perfect for an afternoon inside doing some homeschooling, puzzles, paper dolls, or art projects. The potassium in the avocado can also help your child avoid muscle aches and cramps after sports activities.
  • Eggs: We keep hard boiled eggs in our fridge at all times. Not only do the girls love peeling them, but they also love the freedom of being able to play outside with their egg snack in hand. They have no idea what that little while oval is doing for their health.
  • Nuts: Raw nuts are the best way to maximize their nutritional value, but kids don”t always want to eat plain nuts. Making or buying fresh peanut butter is a perfect way to help their little systems benefit from the nutritional and mineral value of nuts. Peanut butter is a great topping for celery, apples, and (in our case) almond crackers.
  • Dairy Products: If we are planning an outing to a park or play center around snack time, I always pack some kind of dairy snack. Cheese sticks and squares are great for little hands. Yogurt is a great sit down best online casino option- allowing kids to have a healthy snack while also taking a short, needed break from play and sensory overload. Adding fresh fruit, granola, or nuts to  yogurt increases it”s overall goodness.

My “Recommendations”

A Heart Healthy Sunday: fruit, yogurt, OJ, homemade coffee cake, and scrambled eggs.

A Heart Healthy Sunday: fruit, yogurt, OJ, homemade coffee cake, and scrambled eggs.

I find most of the recommendations for good heart health counterintuitive, especially for children. We follow our own set of guidelines in our house, modeled on the concept of good fats and Real Food. We serve local, grass fed beef just as much as we serve fish, chicken and pork. The Omega 3″s in the grass fed beef are key to successful health and are better than the mainstream beef that is predominately grain fed.  We are trying to up the intake of good fats- monounsaturated and polyunsaturated foods. These foods contain ton of Omega 3″s  – a reason that we eat fish readily. We We are working towards portion control- measuring out the correct portions of meat or high fat foods and offering seconds of vegetables and fruits. We also try to eat the rainbow  – everyone”s plate should contain one color of the rainbow to promote a balanced meal.

We also have reduced processed foods. We make french fries and bake them when we can rather than fry them. We avoid canned vegetables, fruits, pasta mixes, and beans. We use processed food snacks – granola bars, gluten free cereals, etc. when we are travelling to other places or houses that many not have snacks that we are accustomed to eating. I hide seeds in oatmeals, yogurts, and salads. I also have the girls help me cook and bake so they can see the Real Food ingredients that go into their meals.

Set Good Foundations

  • Don”t forget that you are your child”s first teacher. To model what good health looks like, you must live it.
  • Set good examples in diet and lifestyle.
  • Drink water in front of your children and have them drink water with you.
  • Be active with them- go for walks, play in the yard or at the playground, ride bicycles together, or go on family hikes.
  • Use vitamins and minerals in foods as well as supplements for you and your children  If they take vitamins, so should you. They will model your behavior.
  • Eat foods that contain probioticskombucha, sourdough, yogurts- as a family.
  • Supplement your immune systems. Take FCLO and give it to them as well. (My girls call their cinnamon oil “magic” medicine because it keeps them healthy.)
  • Answer their questions about what you eat and drink. Honestly is the best way to educate your children.

And lastly, always follow your instincts. Recommendations are based on groups, but you know your children better than anyone else. Work together as a family to get healthy and live a full life.

Do you worry about heart health? What do you do in your daily life to protect and promote healthy hearts in your home?

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I’m Kate, mama to 5 and wife to Ben.  I love meeting new people and hearing their stories.  I’m also a big fan of “fancy” drinks (anything but plain water counts as ‘fancy’ in my world!) and I can’t stop myself from DIY-ing everything.  I sure hope you’ll stick around so I can get to know you better!

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