5 Important Heart Healthy “To Do’s” for Kids

The Importance of Heart-Healthy Habits

Ensuring our children adopt heart-healthy habits is crucial in a world buzzing with technology and fast-paced lifestyles. Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida is a nonprofit organization that collects, stores, and distributes donated food to feeding partners in seven Central Florida counties. Second Harvest is committed to providing nutritious meals to those in need and strives to empower individuals by providing nutrition education. 

The Health and Hunger Initiative

The Health and Hunger Initiative is one of many programs that function under Second Harvest Food Bank, and the Health and Hunger Team is dedicated to addressing the intersection of health and food insecurity by bridging the gap between nutritious food access and overall well-being. Through outreach, partnerships, and community engagement, the Health and Hunger Initiative strives to create an effective approach to fighting hunger, promoting health, and fostering a stronger community in Central Florida. 

Nutrition Education for a Healthier Society

Nutrition education is essential for fostering a healthier society. Starting early in life with comprehensive nutrition education is crucial, as childhood lays the groundwork for lifelong habits and attitudes toward food. Understanding the importance of nutrition from a young age helps prevent the development of unhealthy eating habits and reduces the risk of developing chronic illnesses later in life. 

Although nutrition education is important, it may be challenging for parents to implement these practices with their kids. Consider these “to-do’s” that will benefit your child’s heart health and set the foundation for a lifetime of well-being.

1. Lead by example

Children are keen observers and often imitate the behaviors of their parents. It’s important for parents to model heart-healthy behaviors by incorporating nutrient-rich foods and regular exercise in their own routines.

2.  Create a colorful plate

Encourage your kids to eat a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. Get creative with presentations to make meals visually appealing and fun.

3. Exercise together

Regular physical activity is a major component of a healthy lifestyle. Carve out exercise time for the whole family to participate and instill interest in an active lifestyle for your children.

4. Involve children in meal planning

Involving your children in the process of meal planning introduces a sense of responsibility for their own well-being. Allow them to help choose healthy ingredients and even assist with cooking to make mealtime interactive and educational.

5. Teach mindful eating

Encourage your children to pay attention to how their bodies give cues for hunger and fullness. Eliminating screens during mealtime can help foster a healthy relationship with food and help prevent overeating.

Resources to incorporate these healthy tips

Incorporating some of these helpful tips into your family’s daily routine can help create a foundation for a heart-healthy future. Second Harvest Food Bank is committed to providing resources that support early nutrition education and ensuring a healthier future for the children of our community. For additional resources, visit MyPlate.GovNutrition.Gov or FeedHopeNow.org.



Ashley Green, MPH, is the SNAP-Ed Nutrition Education Manager at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.


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Written by Ashley Green, MPH

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