Tips for Raising Heart-Healthy Kids

February is National Health Month. It’s a great reminder to take steps to take great care of yourself and your entire family if you have kids.

Having a healthy heart starts with the habits we form at a very early age.  However, it’s never too late to start!

Here are seven tips that you can use today to have a Happy Healthy Heart month (and beyond). 

1. Keep moving and have some fun.

Exercise as a family; ride bikes, go swimming or play games outside. Make heart health fun by incorporating games into your family activities or walking to a park for a healthy picnic dinner. 

2. Incorporate the color red.

I’ve been visiting schools and working with kids on healthy nutrition for many years. As the founder of Nurture, I have had the chance to see schools all over the country. One of the most impactful events is Rainbow Day, where we get the kids excited about eating a rainbow of fruits and veggies. In addition, the kids learn that each color from mother earth is essential for your body and that RED is good for your heart.

3. Limit screen time.

I remember as a young mom when I would struggle to limit screen time, and that was nearly two decades ago. 

I mostly worried about TVs and videos back then, but today’s young moms have to manage cell phones, laptops, tablets, and YouTube videos! Excessive screen time leads to a sedentary lifestyle and constant snacking, increasing the risk of obesity and cardiovascular disease. 

To limit screen time, encourage your kids to enjoy the outside, creativity, and other activities that do not involve a screen.  Learn the five ways you can limit your child’s screen time. 

4. Educate, inspire and give choices. 

Reading food labels together can be an opportunity to teach children about healthy ingredients. (This post helps to decode reading about sugar on a label). Make it fun for your child by educating them on what different colors of healthy food do for your body. Staples in your kitchen should be primarily whole foods (things that don’t even require a label). 

5. Keep healthy options on hand.

When your child gets home from school, give them healthy snack options such as whole-grain crackers and string cheese, hummus dip and vegetables, Greek yogurt with apple slices, nuts, and dried fruit. Or perhaps your child may want to pick out their recipe.  Here is a free cookbook that may help you get started.

6. Prepare meals together. 

It is rewarding for children to eat foods that they have had a hand in selecting and preparing. Allow children to choose meals from recipes you have on hand or ones you find together. They’ll feel further invested when they help you prepare the shopping list and visit the grocery store. Then have them help in the kitchen by washing, chopping, and cooking the food. I love this cookbook, all with recipes submitted by kids from around the country.  My daughter’s recipe can be found there (from Idaho, Fiesta Casserole).  You can have your child choose a state and then explore the story behind the recipe.  They are all already kid-approved!

Which of these tips will you try? 

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