For Kids: Before You Start
Most of us are celebrating Valentine’s Day this month with heart-covered cards and boxes of chocolate shaped like hearts. But, did you know February is also Heart Health Month?
Good News! Chocolate Can Be Healthy
The good news is some of that chocolate may be good for your heart! Dark chocolate contains substances, or compounds, known as flavonoids, or flavenols, and antioxidants. These compounds may help protect your heart and your cardiovascular system.
But, Wait a Minute Before You Eat the Box!
Before you dive into that whole box of chocolate, wait! Chocolates like milk chocolate with marshmallows or caramel have too much sugar and bad fats to be healthy.
To find healthy chocolate, look for the labels that say the bar is 85 percent cocoa and stick to a small portion — just one ounce! That’s only about a 1-inch square.
You Can Get the Same Benefits from Fruits and Veggies!
One ounce of dark chocolate isn’t enough to keep your heart healthy. Your body needs a variety of healthy foods every day. You can find flavenoids and fiber and a lot more good stuff in other plant foods besides chocolate. We’ve listed a few favorites here along with a fun activity to share your heart healthy message with some one you love.
Good Sites to Use for Food Research
We’d love to see your kids art work! Would you share a photo of their finished cards with our page on Facebook?
Heart Health and Your Child
Most of us think about heart issues as a worry for older adults. But a family history of heart disease plus factors like obesity and physical inactivity can put a child at risk for early onset heart disease. Further, findings show that the path to heart disease can begin in childhood.
A study quoted by the American Academy of Pediatricians found signs of arteriosclerosis in 7 percent of children between the ages of 10-15. For kids aged 15-20 that rate nearly doubled. The link between childhood health and heart disease led physicians to change their recommendation on cholesterol screenings for children.
Prior to 2011, pediatricians only recommended screenings for children with a family history of heart disease. Now, they recommend all children between nine and eleven should be screened.
There’s no time like Heart Health Month, to teach your kids healthy eating and exercise habits to prevent heart disease. We’d be nuts not to.
Have you joined The Cleaner Plate Club and Edible Kansas City for the Get Real Resolution yet? Get monthly activities and fun food adventure ideas for a no-fight, all-fun way to help your whole family enjoy real food.
Next Month: March’s Get Real Resolution explores food label madness. Kids get to explore the aisles of the supermarket and spot the difference between a marketing claim and the truth about the food in the box. Then, they get to be the food marketer and nutritionist to build their own healthy food label for an item from the produce section!