Heart disease is really prevalent in my family (due to its genetic components) and since February is American Heart Month I’ve really had my family’s health on my mind. An excellent way to check your own heart health is to educate yourself by viewing slideshows and taking quizzes with WebMD. In addition, these 8 simple tips will help your whole family to start becoming heart healthy today!
1. Switch your milk
Switching from a high saturated fat milk to a low-fat skim milk or almond milk can make a huge difference. We have young grandkids and I give them chocolate flavored almond milk instead of regular milk with added chocolate. It was a hit and they never knew the difference! Now they request my special milk at every visit! Almond milk is high in unsaturated fats which means it’s “heart healthy.” Sign up here for an instant coupon on Silk Almond Milk.
2. Add fish to your diet
Adding just two servings of salmon or tuna to your family’s weekly intake can make all the difference. When we go out to dinner, there’s nothing better than a juicy steak! However, substituting salmon instead will add those heart healthy Omega-3s (that we all need) to our diets. Try different fish recipes until you find one the family loves and stick to it! One of my favorite brands for a quick Omega-3 fix is Gorton’s Seafood. Click here for a $0.75 coupon on Gorton’s Grilled Salmon Fillet.
3. Increase fiber intake
No, I’m not talking about fiber pills! Buy whole wheat bread instead of white bread for the family. If you’re making french fries, leave the potato peeling on the fry to get added fiber. Don’t peel the apples for the kids; get creative in the presentation and they’ll eat the peeling too!
4. Get active
Sign your kids up for NFL Play 60. This is a free program sponsored by the NFL to get kids moving 60 minutes a day. Sign up for free here and get your kids started on a healthy heart path! The site features interactive activities, NFL players, contests, games and videos. The interactive features really encourage the kids to get moving!
5. Get rid of extra sodium
Take the salt shaker off the table—especially since food already has sodium in it. Having salt on the table encourages its use. Instead of automatically going for the salt, ask your family to taste their food prior to adding salt to it! Salt is linked to hypertension, which is linked to heart disease. 75% of the average American’s sodium intake is from processed and prepared foods—so next time you’re serving dinner, pass on the salt!
6. Innovate your teen’s physical activity
Involve teens to increase physical activity with smart phone apps such as MapMyWalk. Tweens and teens always have a cell phone in their hands. Set up a competitive challenge between your kids to see who can walk the most steps in a day and reward the winner with a heart healthy treat!
7. Educate your family on how to read labels
I’ve learned that nutrition labels give two really important facts—the amount of saturated fats and sodium. Teaching your family about saturated versus non-saturated fats is essential to healthy living! When your family understands what “fats” are good and what “fats” are bad, along with how much sodium is too much—you’ll all be on your way to a healthy lifestyle!
8. Use spray butter instead of regular butter
I made this change in my family. We use it on bread, baked potatoes and vegetables like corn. Start kids early on a substitute for high fat butter. Spray butter has zero calories and features a great taste! Our kids like to spray their own food! My favorite brand is I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. Occasionally there are coupons for it in the newspaper, and right now there’s a $0.55 off coupon on their website!