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It’s back to school time – help your kids get an “A” in smart eating

American Heart Association tips for eating healthy, in and out of school

American Heart AssociationNashville, TN – Your kids may be book-smart – but do they get an “A” in smart eating?

With the high incidence of children in Tennessee affected by obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and even stroke, making those healthy choices is important, starting as early as possible.

Research shows eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables has significant, measurable benefits on cardiovascular health, and that a diet with high amounts of added sugar, unhealthy fats and sodium increases risk factors, even in children.

The American Heart Association has some easy tips to make sure everyone is food-smart during the school year:

Parents, plan ahead: Stock up on the healthy options and portion them out for the week in snack bags or reusable containers. Consider packing your kids’ lunch – and your own.

Eat the rainbow: Eat as many different colors as you can at each meal to get the recommended 4-5 cups a day of fresh fruits and vegetables. Examples: grapes, cherry tomatoes, strawberries, carrots, blueberries, red bell peppers, avocado, apples, bananas, peaches, plums, oranges, kiwi.

In the cafeteria: There are many options in the lunch line at school, and some of them are healthier than others. Choose fruits and vegetables instead of French fries or chips, and ask for grilled meat instead of fried. Drink water or fat-free milk instead of soda or juice.

Snack attack: Go for the fruit and vegetables above, plus nuts and seeds, dried fruit, air-popped popcorn (a whole grain), whole-grain crackers or toast, low-fat cheeses or yogurts.

Following these smart eating tips will make the school year healthier for everyone.

For more information: www.heart.org/healthykids , www.myheartmylife.org


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