10 Tips to Get Your Kids to Eat Healthy

Getting kids to make smart food choices can be a challenge. If they had it their way many would choose the four Cs: cookies, candy, cake and chips. Help them evaluate their food choices and make healthy eating a part of their everyday life. Here are 10 tips:

1. Portion control

Digging into the entire box of goldfish crackers (or just about any snack) is a bad idea. Try sectioning the snack into small bags for better portion control.

2. Sneak in the whole grains

A change in diet can be hard for kids to swallow. Try switching from regular to whole-grain pasta in stages. First add 1/4 cup of the healthier noodle and each time gradually add more until eventually they’re eating the entire dish whole-grain style. The key is making the changes over time and not making a big deal about them.

3. Lead by example

When kids see you eating fruits and veggies they’ll follow your lead. Help your child develop healthy eating habits by setting an example. You’ll send a message that good health is important.

4. Make food fun

Find new ways to introduce healthy food in stages. For example, try a small amount of broccoli mixed in with whole-grain mac and cheese.

5. Don’t pressure kids to eat

Present the food, but don’t force kids to eat it. Ask what new foods they’re interested in and offer to make them. And get excited about their willingness to try them!

6. Eat together

When everyone sits down together, there’s less chance of children eating the wrong foods or snacking too much. Everyone develops good eating habits and the quality family time is an added bonus.

7. Relax!

Food shouldn’t be a source of angst for your family. Get your kids to eat healthier by being creative and consistent. Small steps and gradual changes can make a big difference.

8. Get kids involved

Involve kids in choosing and preparing meals. Take them to the grocery store to help shop and let them chop veggies or do other tasks at home. Children who are involved in the cooking are more interested in eating what they’ve prepared. The whole family will learn what’s good for their health and be more conscious of what they eat.

9. Plan dinners

Thinking about a weekly schedule may seem overwhelming, so start with two or three days at a time. Good dinners should be balanced with whole-grain bread, rice or pasta; a fruit or vegetable; and a protein like a lean meat.

10. Read up on nutrition

Make a game of reading food labels. Read books about food and explain where it comes from. The whole family will learn what’s good for their health and be more conscious of what they eat.

Keep Your Kids Healthy

Good nutrition is key to your kids living a heart-healthy life, yet about one in three American kids and teens is overweight or obese, nearly triple the rate in 1963. And many are from diverse audiences. In fact, unhealthy eating habits and physical inactivity are so serious that today’s kids may be the first generation who won’t live as long as their parents.

Unhealthy habits can form early, even before age 2. Here are a few tips to get your kids and entire family on track to better eating:

Let them help with grocery shopping.

Have them help put together a shopping list and give them fun, educational tasks. For example, you can tell them to count out six Fuji apples.

Get your kids involved in food prep.

They can rinse vegetables, tear lettuce or stirring. Help if needed.

Encourage them to try new foods.

Put a small portion of a new fruit or veggie on their plate and ask them to taste it. Sometimes cooking veggies in forms that kids are comfortable with can encourage them to try. Blending cauliflower to look like mashed potatoes is a great example.

Give your kids the opportunity to weigh in during menu planning.

Let them choose between two healthy dishes that will be made that week. If your schedule is flexible, let them pick the night it will be prepared. The American Heart Association is working to help kids and families live heart-healthy lives. Learn more by clicking the link below.

Five Tips for Raising Healthy Kids

Need a little help making sure your little ones have a healthy diet? The best advice is to start early. Read on for five more tips.

1. Make snacks healthy.

When your kids ask for candy and a soda, help them make better choices by stocking up on healthy snacks. Try carrots, apples, raisins, low-fat peanut butter on whole-wheat toast and low-fat string cheese.

2. Don’t forget the veggies.

While kids may crave the sweetness of fruit, it’s important to encourage them to eat their greens. You can add peas to pasta or even make a cauliflower mash instead of using potatoes.

3. Make time for fun.

When your kids get home from school, their brains need a break. Encourage them to exercise (play!) before diving into homework. A good game of catch can help boost concentration.

4. Plan ahead for better meals.

If you know your family will be out all afternoon for extracurricular activities, pack healthy snacks or dinner for the road. That way you’ll reach for a healthy choice instead of stopping at the drive-thru.

5. Lead by example.

Kids mimic their parents. When you need a snack, choose a healthy one too. Lead by example to keep hearts healthy.

Top 10 Tips to Help Children Develop Healthy Habits

As a parents, children look to you to help guide and teach them. You have the opportunity and responsibility to help your child develop healthy habits early in life that can impact their health for a lifetime. This article shares ten tips and guidelines that will help you encourage your kids to make better food and activity choices and establish habits that can last a lifetime.

Learn more about ways to help your child develop healthy habits.

Preventing Childhood Obesity: Tips for Parents and Caretakers

Balance is key when helping your child maintain a healthy weight. Teaching your child to balance the number of calories consumed by the number of calories used through physical activity and normal growth can be the difference between a child who maintains a healthy weight and one who struggles with being overweight or obese. This article suggests small, but permanent changes that can lead to long-term, lifestyle changes.

Learn more about how to make these lifestyle changes.

5 Ways Play Can Change Your Day

Being active in a way that benefits your heart health does not require a fancy sports facility or personal trainer. You might be surprised to learn that as long as the activity the children are doing causes them to either breathe hard or break a sweat, they are doing great things for their body and physical health. This resource also shares five other benefits children will experience when they increase their activity.

Learn more about how play can change a child’s day.

AHA’s Healthier Kids Website

The American Heart Association is concerned with the heart health of all individuals, including our children. This site provides resources and tools specifically with children’s heart health in mind. Here you will find information and tools ranging from tips on how to help kids make healthier food choices to creative ways to encourage kids to get active. Educate yourself on ways to help your child live a healthier life.

Learn more about ways to help your children live heart-healthy lives.

Encouraging Healthy Bilingual Kids?

View in Spanish

As parents, raising bilingual kids is no easy task. Let’s face it, when our kids reach a certain age, they want to blend in, and sometimes that means they don’t want to speak Spanish at home. Who taught you Spanish? Was it your parents, grandparents or other relatives? Encouraging your kids to speak Spanish by reading can help. Even better, have them read in Spanish about health!

Hispanic children are at risk of developing high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity and self-esteem issues early in life. Teaching them the benefits of healthy behaviors, supporting their goals and encouraging physical activity is vital. Adding a bilingual flair will help keep them interested and make health more fun!

Recommended reads
Authors are raising awareness of Latino health issues and healthy behaviors by educating children with relatable, colorful and easy-to-read books. Here are some great bilingual reads for children ages 5-8 recommended by Mamiverse.

Alicia’s Fruity Drinks/Las aguas frescas de Alicia by Lupe Ruiz-Flores
In Alicia’s Fruity Drinks/ Las aguas frescas de Alicia, Alicia’s mother introduces her to natural fruit drinks sold at a Mexican independence festival. This inspires Alicia to create her own versions of the healthy fruit drinks and share them with friends.

Sofía and the Purple Dress/Sofía y el vestido morado by Diana Gonzalez Bertrand
Like many young girls, Sofía is looking forward to a big event, but she’s uncomfortable with her body. She’s upset because she can’t fit into the purple dress she wanted to wear for her cousin’s wedding. With her mother’s help, she begins taking small steps to add in exercise, cut out unhealthy snacks and add more fruits and vegetables to her diet. Sofía accomplishes her goal and looks wonderful in her perfectly fitting purple dress.

A Day without Sugar/Un día sin azúcar by Diane Deanda
Children gravitate toward sweets and junk food, but in A Day without Sugar/ Un día sin azúcar, Aunt Sofía teaches the kids about going sugar-free after learning that cousin Tito is at risk for diabetes. Health truly becomes a family affair.

Help your kids develop their Spanish skills through reading and learn more about health with resources from heart.org.

Keep Your Children Healthy for Life

View in Spanish

Did you know that childhood obesity is the No. 1 health concern of parents in the United States? More and more kids are experiencing health problems like diabetes and high blood pressure, which were normally not seen until adulthood. The good news is that as a parent, you can help your children steer clear of obesity by teaching them the importance of exercise, good nutrition and other healthy habits.

Building a healthy foundation. Your children look up to you and learn their behaviors from you. Help your children develop a healthy lifestyle that lasts into adulthood with these tips.

1. Teach them about healthy foods.

Children know the difference between what they like and what they don’t like, but they don’t always know what’s good for them. Teach your kids about good nutrition and what makes foods healthy. With the right education, they will be ready to make good food choices later in life.

2. Keep healthy snacks on hand.

Grab-and-go snacking is meant to be easy. When you’re busy, keep quick and healthy snacks around to limit the temptation for bad choices and help keep you and your kids on track. Apples, grapes and yogurt are great choices.

3. Exercise together.

Exercise is fun when the whole family is involved. Choose activities like walking, riding bikes or heading to a park to keep kids active and parents involved. Exercising together helps build a strong family and healthy bodies at the same time.

4. Eat dinner together.

Quality family time at dinner helps build family relationships and provides a foundation for healthy eating. Take it a step further and have kids help put the meal together so they learn more about good nutrition.

5. Support your kids.

Speak positively and let your kids know you support them in everything they do. Let them know when they’ve done a good job and celebrate their successes to help them build a good self-image.

6. Be a good role model.

Send a message of good health for your family and set the tone for healthy behaviors. Children see your behaviors and will mirror your healthy eating and exercise habits.

7. Stay active.

Set a limit for the amount of computer, video and handheld games they can play each day. Encourage activities and games involving exercise.