Tuesday, November 26, 2013

heart health WITH the kids

I had the pleasure of working with my Move It Mommas AND their kids today! 
Yes it was freezing cold (we're pathetic here in TX) but we pushed through.  The kids were excited and enthusiastic about exercise and that makes me HAPPY! 
Very proud of each of them!! 
As a child that was overweight and inactive most of my childhood, I cherish the moments where kids WANT to be healthy, exercise and learn more about taking care of their bodies and heart.  Our children desire to live healthy lives but if all they are exposed to is junk food and TV then what message are we sending?  Be that role model for them...they deserve it more than you know. 
I can remember being a child in PE and dreading the running, sit ups, relays and pull ups.  Eeek.  I was terrible and I knew that the entire class would be able to perform far better than me.  So here came the excuses...my foot hurts, stomach ache, headache, whatever would work.  Unfortunately most of the time I'd be able to get out of performing the activity, which did NOT help me at all.  So I'd sit and watch my friends be active while I watched from the sidelines...oh how that would be such a key part of my former life.  The sidelines.  I recall walking into my 8th grade dance (in a dress that was poofy and 80's LOL) standing there all alone while my friends were asked to dance time and time again.  Whew it started so young.  Although I wasn't "HUGE", I stood out.  I was tall, broad shoulders and overweight...geez, not a great combo for middle school.  I felt awful and rejected so to cover that emotion, I'd eat.  And eat and eat.  I just remember so often being uncomfortable in my own skin.  I was unaware of how to change, to be better so I simply continued to self-destruct.  Some may say being overweight is not the end of the world and that's SO true.  It's not.  BUT when it takes over many aspects of your life and causes you to stop living then YES it is a bad thing.  That was me.  And it only got worse throughout the years.  Sure I'd try Weight Watchers, Quick Weight Loss Centers, grapefruit diet and the cabbage soup diet.  I'd lose a few pounds, some times quite a bit and then as soon as I'd have a bad moment, mood or emotion...BOOM! Here came that cycle all over again.  Ugh. 
So YES children and teens struggle with self-image, weight issues and self-esteem just as much as adults...at least I did and I know I wasn't alone. 
I honestly believe that my mom tried her best but being a single Mom that worked full-time, she could only control so much.  When I was home alone, the binging would start.  I had nobody telling me different so I would continue the pattern.  My mom would come home, we'd eat dinner and I'd have seconds and thirds-knowing I had already consumed far too much food BEFORE dinner was even served :( 
Then I believe she didn't know how to help without hurting my feelings.  Ya know when you tell a child OR an adult they are unhealthy or they need to lose weight, it tends to send the opposite message and the person sinks deeper into that hole...not always but it develops an insecurity that no child should deal with, or even an adult.  Funny thing?  I remember EVERY, SINGLE time in my life that someone called me "heavy" in some way.  Call me sensitive but it hurt.  Each time, it pushed me further down.  These days to stay positive, I still use those moments to reflect and grow.  I am 99% sure that none of the people that said those things to me MEANT to hurt me but it did.  More than they'll ever know.  Be careful when talking with your kids about being healthy.  Stay positive.  Make it FUN and for the whole family! 
Today I spoke with the children about their heart and how to take care of it. 
Heart health is SO important for these children as they grow.  We do not want to be raising smart, UNhealthy children so expose them to exercise and healthy eating NOW!  Never too late.  And if your child does not have issues with their weight, we still must TEACH HEALTHY LIVING because our outside apperance doesn't always follow what's happening on the inside of our bodies.  I worked with many heart patients that seemed in great health and they proved me wrong. 
I watched my grandmother battle heart disease-congestive heart failure and it left me wanting to know why?  What happens with heart disease and how can we prevent it?  So after college, I teamed up with American Heart Association, raised money and supported as much as possible to raise heart disease awareness and prevention!  At some of the schools I taught, we'd dedicate a day to heart disease.  We'd exercise and talk about prevention and warning signs of a heart attack and stroke.  So I'd like to share some AHA facts and a delicious side dish you might consider serving to your family on Thursday. 
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Portable fruits and vegetables

If it’s portable and preferred by your kids, pack it. Laska suggests cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes, fruit slices (such as apple or pear) and any kind of whole fruit that packs well. Strive for a variety of color and textures to keep it interesting. Try making a fruit salad for a special treat.

Individual dips

While fruits and veggies are packed with vitamins and nutrients, they don’t always fill you up. Choose a dip that complements the fruit or vegetables, such as individual packages of hummus (or homemade hummus) or peanut butter (choose peanut butter with no added sugars or added salt). We recommend these heart-healthy snack options:
  • Apple and pear slices to dip into low fat or non-fat plain yogurt mixed with peanut butter.
  • Carrot, celery and sweet pepper strips to dip into hummus, fresh salsa or homemade bean dip.
  • Whole grain crackers (choose crackers low in sodium, saturated and trans fats) or slices of grilled low sodium tofu (a soybean product) to dunk into low-sodium vegetable or tomato soup.
  • Unsalted sunflower seeds, crushed whole wheat cereal and sliced banana to mix into low fat vanilla yogurt (no added sugars) to eat with a spoon like a sundae.
“For some kids, dips make fruits and vegetables more appealing. They can also provide a contrast in nutrients so you’re getting a protein or healthy fat along with the fruits and vegetables to make the snack more satiating,” says Laska.

Whole-grain salads

If you and your kids are able (and willing) to take along a plastic container and fork, whole-grain pasta salads are a great way to mix things up. Choose brown rice, whole-grain penne, couscous or other items and load it up with your favorite vegetables or even fruits. Check out this recipe for a Brown Rice and Black Bean Salad or this Couscous and Fruit Salad.

Talk to your kids about what they want

When you involve your kids in their nutrition decisions, you’ll get valuable input, enthusiasm and a chance to talk about food choices. Ask your children what they like, take them shopping with you and let them help pack at least part of the lunch. “Just having your child be a part of the process can help the acceptance of the lunch and ensure that you’re giving something that they’ll eat,” says Laska. “It can also be nice family time together, where you’re providing conversation around health and healthy foods. I would definitely encourage that.”
Learn more ideas on how to pack a healthy school lunch at heart.org.
Asparagus Sald with Lemon Garlic Dressing
You'll Need:
2 tablespoons fat-free sour cream
1 tablespoon low-fat buttermilk or fat-free milk
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 medium garlic clove, minced
24 medium asparagus spears, trimmed
Poppy seeds (optional)

Nutrition Facts:
Calories 34
Total Fat 0.0 g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 1 mg
Sodium 10 mg
Carbohydrates 7 g
Fiber 3 g
Sugars 3 g
Protein 3 g

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the sour cream, buttermilk, lemon zest, and garlic. Cover and refrigerate until serving time.
  2. In a large saucepan or skillet, pour in enough water to barely cover the asparagus. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add the asparagus and cook for 5 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Drain in a colander. Rinse with cold water and drain well. If desired, cut on the diagonal into bite-size pieces. Transfer to a serving bowl.
  3. Add the dressing, tossing gently to coat. Lightly sprinkle with poppy seeds.
    © American Heart Association

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