Today is National Eating Healthy Day. In conjunction with the American Heart Association, Americans across the nation are encouraged to commit to healthier eating.
The American Heart Association says that it’s an important first step to heart health.
Why is National Healthy Day important?
According to the American Heart Association, more than two-thirds of American adults and one in three children and teens are overweight or obese, putting them at risk for heart disease and stroke as well as many other chronic illnesses and conditions. Eating healthier, and specifically eating more fruits and vegetables, is an important way to help maintain a healthy weight and prevent disease.
What can you do on National Eating Healthy Day to participate?
Take these simple steps to eat healthier while also encouraging co-workers, classmates, neighbors and family to join in:
Step1: Register for National Eating Healthy Day by visiting www.heart.org/NationalEatingHealthyDay
Step 2: Share your successes with us on AHA’s Facebook & Twitter pages like @WNYHeart and Facebook.com/AHANewYork.
Be a good role model. You don’t have to be perfect all the time, but if kids see you trying to eat right and make wise choices, they’ll notice. You’ll send a message that good health is important in your family.
Keep things positive. Kids don’t like to hear what they can’t have, so focus on what they can have instead. Give them a few healthy options and let them choose. Praise them for good decisions.
Make dinnertime family time. Turn off the screens and develop healthy habits — as well as conversation skills — together.
Get kids involved in planning and cooking meals. They’ll learn valuable skills and may be more willing to try things they’ve helped make.
Make a game of reading food labels. You’ll all learn more about what you’re eating. Teach kids how to think critically about how foods and beverages are advertised and promoted to kids, too.
Include more vegetables and fruits, whether fresh, frozen or canned. Add them to dishes your family already loves and use them as healthier sides, snacks and desserts. Avoid salty sauces and sugary syrups.
Try to cut down the amount of sodium your kids eat. If using packaged foods, compare nutrition labels and choose the product with the least amount of sodium. Watch for the salty six — these foods add the most sodium to kids’ diets: pizza, breads and rolls, cold cuts and cured meats, savory snacks, sandwiches and cheese.
Cut back on added sugars in your family’s diet. Sugar-sweetened beverages like soda and sports drinks are the biggest source of added sugars for most of us. Encourage kids to drink more water instead.