Getting kids to eat their vegetables is an age-old fight. Kids seem to know what foods are good for them and have an internal drive to not eat them. Finding heart-healthy foods for kids that they will eat can be challenging, but there are many options from which to choose.
Help in the Kitchen - Before starting to provide lots of heart healthy food for kids, have them help in the kitchen. By encouraging kids to cook with you or take part in food decisions, they will be more apt to try new things and eat healthy. The American Heart Association finds talking with your kids about healthy ingredients and making good food choices helps influence children to make good food selections for themselves.
Fruits - According to www.healthy-eating-made-easy.com, heart-healthy foods leave you feeling satisfied and also provide protein, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fiber and some fat. Fruits are a good choice and some fun options are 100 percent fruit juice Popsicles, dried fruits, applesauce or fruit smoothies. Another suggestion for heart-healthy foods for kids is whole wheat toast with a mashed banana spread over the top.
Nuts - Most kids like nuts, and according to www.womensforum.com, they are a good heart-healthy food option. Womensforum.com finds that walnuts have properties that help reduce cholesterol. Almonds have lots of fiber and potassium. Pecans are full of antioxidants, and all nuts have heart-healthy oils. Spreading some peanut butter on a couple whole grain crackers or brown rice cakes makes a wonderful heart-healthy snack.
Proteins - There are good protein options for heart-healthy foods according to www.healthy-eating-made-easy.com. Suggestions include 1 percent cottage cheese with fruit on top, low-fat cheese slices and whole grain crackers, yogurt and hard-boiled eggs. It is important to watch portions when having protein-based foods as they are sometimes high in calories. Another way to keep calories low with proteins is to go with low-fat options.
Vegetables - Making snacks fun helps encourage kids to eat something no matter how many vegetables are put in it. Kids enjoy bright and colorful things, and turning their foods into something interesting makes them fun. Turn vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, cucumbers and spinach into funny animals for snacks. These make heart-healthy snacks for kids, and if children are old enough, they can make their own unique and creative vegetable snacks.
Carbohydrates - There are many things hiding in the pantry that can be turned into heart-healthy foods for kids. Using whole wheat English muffins as bases for a pizza, or making some air-popped popcorn are good choices for heart-healthy foods. Low-salt pretzels or low-salt baked tortilla chips with salsa are also heart healthy and fun for kids.