As February brings expressions of love and valentines, it is also marked as Heart Month, a time to raise awareness about cardiovascular health. While heart disease is often associated with adulthood, fostering heart-healthy habits in childhood can set the foundation for a lifetime of well-being. February serves as a timely reminder to prioritize heart health and make some enduring, positive changes. Here are some essential tips to promote heart health in kids:

Ensure Hydration

Adequate hydration is fundamental for maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system in children. Encourage kids to drink water throughout the day by making sure water is readily available.

Provide Nutrient-rich Foods

Offer a diverse array of meals and snacks packed with essential nutrients. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains contribute not only to overall health but also play a crucial role in supporting heart health. Include omega-3 fatty acid-rich fish and plant-based proteins with high fibre content and low saturated fat.

Encourage Active Play

Foster physical activity as an integral part of a child’s routine. Whether through structured games, dance activities, or outdoor playtime, keeping kids moving enhances their heart health and cultivates a love for an active lifestyle.

Incorporate Heart-healthy Lessons

Integrate age-appropriate lessons about heart health into the curriculum. Use engaging and interactive activities to teach children about the benefits of exercise, nutritious foods, and good habits.

Create a Supportive Mealtime Environment

Transform meals into sociable and enjoyable experiences through shared dining. Empower children by allowing them to make food choices and determine portion sizes. As a caregiver, embody positive role modeling as children learn best by example.

  • Encourage the exclusion of toys and electronics during meals, fostering a focus on each other’s company.
  • Establish a pleasant environment that invites open conversations about the sensory aspects of food in a neutral and non-judgmental manner. Explore the colours, smells, textures, and flavours together to create a positive and engaging experience around meals.

To keep children motivated, set up a sticker chart to track their goals and offer a reward for achievements. Teach them the importance of embracing the journey and focusing on continual progress rather than perfection.