6 tips to pack your child a heart-healthy school lunch
Are you getting yourself and your child ready to go back to school? The American Heart Association is reminding parents to pack heart-healthy lunches!
The American Heart Association recommends that children eat a wide variety of foods while consuming enough calories to support their growth and development.
“Kids and their families should eat foods low in saturated fat, cholesterol and total fat, choose a wide range of foods to get enough carbohydrates, protein and other nutrients, and consume enough calories to maintain a healthy weight for their height, build and activity level,” said Dr. Samantha C. Lowe, a pediatrician at White Plains Hospital Physician Associates.
A disturbing trend observed around the country is the increase of overweight and obese children, the organization says. Obesity can increase risk for other major cardiovascular disease risk factors like hypertension, cholesterol disorders and type-2 diabetes, which are rising in children and adolescents.
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“Teaching children healthy eating habits now may increase their chances of living a healthy life helping to reduce their chances of developing cardiovascular disease later in life,” Dr. Lowe said.
Here are some tips from the American Heart Association to think about when preparing your children’s food:
1. LOW FAT
Choose foods naturally low in saturated fat and cholesterol, like fruits and vegetables. Most are naturally low in fat, calories and sodium and high in fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Swap peanut butter with added sugars and oils to one made with just peanuts.
3. LEAN MEATS
Use lean meats. Choose fish, chicken, turkey and lean cuts of beef and pork.
Switch to fat-free milk. Gradually reduce the fat content of the milk your family drinks. Start with 2%, then try 1%, and finally fat-free milk.
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Switch white bread to wheat bread.
Change juice boxes or chocolate milk for water (infuse it with fruit if they need a flavor boost).
The American Heart Association says a nutritious, heart-healthy lunch, combined with daily exercise, will help set up every child for a year of optimal learning and development.