February is American Heart Month and there’s no better time to get your kids on the path to heart-healthy eating. But it’s important to talk to kids about heart disease the right way. Maybe a relative has heart disease. Talk about how it’s hard for that person to be sick, so it’s important for your family to stay healthy so you’ll feel great and can help take care of your relative. Steer clear from any scare tactics (such as “eat this or else” statements) and instead focus on how delicious heart-healthy foods can be!
Check out these four heart-healthy meals that are perfect for kids to help cook:
Tomatoes contain an antioxidant called lycopene, which improves blood pressure and helps decrease levels of bad cholesterol. Did you know that canned versions, like the crushed tomatoes in this recipe, are an even better source of lycopene than fresh tomatoes?
Eating lots of whole grains like quinoa is an important part of a heart-healthy diet. Whole grains are high in fiber, and high fiber diets improve cholesterol levels and help you stay full for longer. This recipe also features olive oil, which is a delicious part of the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet pattern.
Beans are high in protein and fiber and low in saturated fat. This recipe features black beans and chickpeas for a fun twist on chili. Tip: when using canned beans, rinse them in a colander in the sink to remove some of the salt.
Most kids love pizza, so it’s important to choose low-fat dairy options for the meals you eat most often. Choosing low-fat dairy products will help you limit saturated fat while still providing a great source of protein and calcium. This recipe features low-fat mozzarella and ricotta.
Visit the Healthy Kids section of the American Heart Association’s website to learn more about what your family can do to prevent heart disease.