Healthy Lessons From 2013

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January 1, 2014 by thehealthyheartcenter


Happy New Year from the Healthy Heart Center blog! As we enter 2014, it is important to carry over the healthy lessons we’ve learned from 2013 into the new year. The Healthy Heart Center has blogged about many exciting health and nutrition topics this past year. Let’s ring in the new year by recapping some of the important lessons we’ve learned from 2013:

1. If your child is interested in becoming a vegetarian, make sure he or she gets adequate amounts of protein, Iron, Vitamin D, and Vitamin B12. Done right, a vegetarian diet can be very healthy!

2. Soda adds unnecessary calories and sugar to your child’s diet, leading to a potential weight gain of 44 pounds per year!

3. If you plan ahead, it’s very easy to stay healthy while eating out–many restaurants now have their nutrition facts online!

4. There are pros and cons to consuming 100% fruit juice. It is a great way for picky eaters to meet their recommended daily levels of many important vitamins and minerals. On the other hand, juice adds unnecessary calories and sugar (just like soda!) that can lead to unwanted weight gain. Whole fruits are always a more desirable choice over juice.

5. There are many creative ways to handle picky eaters. It is important to always remain patient, present foods in exciting ways, establish a routine, get your kids involved in food preparation, and to set a good example of healthy eating yourself.

6. Children eat less than adults, and therefore need child-sized portions. An appropriate portion size for a child is typically 1/4-1/3 of an adult portion size.

7. Most healthy people do not need to take a multivitamin/multimineral supplement; it is always better to consume whole foods. However, if your child is a picky eater, has a medical condition, or is a vegan/vegetarian, you should talk to your doctor about supplements!

8. Sodium is hidden in many of our favorite processed and salty foods. However, too much sodium leads to problems such as hypertension, and therefore should be limited. It is recommended that Americans consume less than 2,300 mg per day. Make sure to eat fresh, whole foods over processed foods in order to avoid excess sodium!

9. During the summer months, it is important that your child stays properly hydrated. Become familiar with the signs of dehydration (dry mouth, headaches, lightheadedness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, etc…) in order to avoid the serious consequences of inadequate hydration.

10. It is important to understand how to read a food label in order to make healthy choices:


11. There are always ways to tweak your favorite recipes into healthier versions. Eating healthy does not necessarily mean having to completely give up your favorite foods!

12. Not all fat is bad for you! Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are actually quite good for your heart health. It’s the saturated and trans fats that have negative effects on your health, and should be avoided.

13. There are ways to eat healthy and affordably! Just remember to plan ahead, develop a strategy, buy in season and on sale, always double check your receipts, and prevent food waste.

14. There are many tasty ways to add flavor to foods for less calories. Bold spices season your favorite foods in a healthy and delicious way!

15. Adding volume to foods is a great way to create the illusion that you’re eating more food for less calories. For example, add low-calorie vegetables to pasta to add fiber, vitamins, and minerals, while displacing excess calories from the pasta.

16. Parents have a strong influence on their children’s eating habits, and should therefore always remember that they are food role models!

17. is a great resource!

18. Soy, rice, almond, oat, and hemp milks are great ways to add calcium to your child’s diet if he or she has a milk intolerance!

19. “Eat your colors” in order to make sure you get all of the necessary vitamins and minerals from your favorite fruits and veggies!

20. Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Beta-Carotene, Zinc, and Selenium are all nutrients that help boost your immune system!

21. Always practice proper food safety in order to prevent food borne illness. Remember to “Fight BAC!”: clean, separate, cook, and chill.

22. Fatty fish, such as tuna, adds heart healthy Omega-3 fatty acids to your diet.

23. Portion sizes have dramatically increased over the past 20 years, leading to excess fat, calories, and weight gain. Always remember to pick the perfect portion for yourself in order to avoid overeating. Clearing your plate is not always a good thing!

23. Chew 10 times per bite in order to avoid overeating! Adequate chewing time slows down your eating, and allows your brain to properly process your hunger and fullness signals.

24. Vitamin D is also important for your mental health!

25. Iron, Calcium, and Vitamin D are the most common childhood nutrient deficiencies.

26. Healthy sleep habits are strongly correlated with healthy eating habits!

27. Children who watch more than 2 hours of TV per day tend to be heavier than children who watch less than 2 hours of TV per day.

28. Breakfast is really the most important meal of the day! Make sure your child fuels up in order to get through his or her busy days!

29. Exercise is just as important as good nutrition. Make sure your child logs in at least 60 minutes of physical activity everyday!

What else have you learned from the Healthy Heart Center Blog in 2013?

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Dr. Wali Gauvin

Kendra Fink RD CPT

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