February Nutritional Article

Healthy Little Hearts

February is National Heart Month, and children’s little hearts need to be nourished and taken care of just as much as adults’ hearts. There are many ways to make our hearts stronger, and then keep them healthy throughout life. Try some, or all, of these methods:


  •  Increase fiber-Eat oatmeal, whole wheat bread, and whole-grain crackers
    • Try whole grains, such as brown rice, quinoa, and whole wheat pasta
    • Add oat and/or whole-wheat flour to pancakes, muffins, waffles, and bread products
    • Encourage fruits and vegetables. Add grated carrots or zucchini to meatloaf or pancakes.
    • Add beans (legumes and lentils) to soups and meals. Consider adding meatless meals.
  •  Decrease saturated fat-Offer part-skim mozzarella and light string cheese
    • Limit red meats – eat more fish and skinless chicken and turkey
    • Bake and lightly sauté foods rather than frying
    • Limit mayonnaise – add mustard instead
    • Make homemade pizza using whole-grain flatbread or tortilla.
  • Increase healthy fats-
    • Offer peanut and/or almond butter
    • Choose to cook and bake with olive, canola, and peanut oil
    • Add ground flax seeds to smoothies, cold or hot cereal, and/or quick breads
    • Add avocados to sandwiches and quesadillas, or enjoy guacamole
    • Make oven-baked potato fries using olive or canola oil.
  • Choose healthy snacks-
    • Eat apples, oranges, and banana slices
    • Enjoy carrot and celery sticks dipped in hummus (see recipe below) or peanut butter
    • Choose low-fat yogurt
  • Move your body-

    • Dance to music
    • Play outside
    • Go for a walk

Simple Hummus Recipe  (adapted from “The Wholesome Dish” blog)

15-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
2-4 Tbsp. water                                                                                  1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tbsp. olive oil                                                                                  ¾ tsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. lemon juice                                                                            ¼ tsp. salt

Add all ingredients to a food processor, starting with using 2 Tbsp. water. Process until smooth and creamy. If needed, add additional water to thin out the hummus. Store covered in the refrigerator.