Back To School The Heart Healthy Way

September 17 00:00 2001 Print This Article

Nutritionists say it can be easy for school-aged kids to learn healthy eating habitsall it may take is a little "home work."

Studies have shown that healthy eating habits established early in life tend to remain with people well into their adult years. To help kids enjoy heart-healthy diets, the American Heart Association recommends parents lead by example and pack childrens lunch boxes with nutritious low fat, low cholesterol foods like:

  • low or non-fat dairy products, such as skim milk and low fat string cheese;

  • sandwiches made from whole grain breads, lean meats or fish;

  • limit high fat condiments, try low fat substitutes such as mustard instead of mayonnaise;

  • pack fresh fruits and vegetables such as carrots or celery sticks, apples and oranges; and

  • baked pretzels and low-fat yogurt can be a tasty treat.

To help parents choose heart-healthy foods for their children and themselves, the American Heart Association established its Food Certification Program.

The program uses a red heart with a white check mark to indicate foods that meet the American Heart Associations standards. Foods and beverages with the heart-check mark on their labels are low in fat and cholesterol and can be part of a heart-healthy diet for healthy people over age two.

Foods with the heart check mark are:

  • low fat (less than or equal to three grams per serving);

  • low in saturated fat (less than or equal to one gram per serving);

  • low cholesterol (less than or equal to 20 milligrams per serving);

  • have a sodium value of less than or equal to 480 milligrams for individual foods; and

  • contain at least 10 percent of the daily value of one or more of these nutrients: protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron or dietary fiber.

Source: NAPSI

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