12 Smart Tips to Get Your Kids Heart-Healthy

by Louis Ignarro, PhD

Encourage heart-healthy choices for your kids.

Moms and dads have dozens of concerns each day, ranging from their child’s performance in school to emotional development and happiness. Perhaps one of the biggest questions is: Am I doing enough to keep my child heart-healthy?

At the base of your child’s success and well-being is a healthy body. And one of the most important focuses of health—especially in children—is the heart. Here are twelve tips for helping your kids lead a heart-healthy life:

#1 Change things up

Children enjoy exploring different environments, so take your child to a local playground or indoor activity center to simply play. Being in a new, fun space encourages imagination and creativity, while giving your child the opportunity to get active and maybe even make new friends.

#2 Join in

Perhaps the greatest gifts you can give your child are your time, energy and attention. Instead of watching them play, join in. Not only will you be encouraging your kids to get and stay active, but you’ll be building your relationship, too.

#3 Sneak in healthy foods

If you have a picky eater, find ways to sneak into their meals and snacks some healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy. Top whole-grain pasta with tomato sauce loaded with vegetables, make a delicious whole-fruit smoothie, or melt some low-fat cheese over assorted vegetables as a side with dinner. Replace white bread with whole-grain bread and swap cookies with sweet fruits like mango or pear.

#4 Make it a competition

Most kids love competing. Some families compete by having each member wear a pedometer, and then they tally up their weekly steps to see who “won” that week. You can even have prizes for winning, such as a special (healthy) lunch out with Mom or a pass on washing the dinner dishes for a night.

#5 Sleep more

Sleep is important for memory, concentration and general wellness—and it’s also necessary for keeping the heart healthy. Stick to a schedule, even on the weekends, to help encourage healthy sleep.

Suggested sleep times1:

– Toddlers (ages 1 to 3) should get 12 to 14 hours of sleep daily

– Preschoolers (ages 3 to 5) should get 11 to 13 hours

– School-age children (ages 5 to 10) should get 10 to 11 hours

– Teens (ages 10 to 17) should get 8.5 to 9.25 hours.

#6 Supplement a healthy diet

Your child might have additional nutritional needs that aren’t being met through diet. A health care provider should be able to help determine if your child is getting all of the nutrients he or she needs. If your child is falling short, a nutritional supplement may be a good option to support a heart-healthy life.

#7 Turn it off

Television takes up too much precious time. Each minute your kids sit in front of the TV is a minute they’re not being physically active. Limit screen time to encourage your kids to get moving.

#8 Use the screen wisely

If you own a video gaming system, you can opt for games that encourage movement. Join in the fun as your child dances, skis, bowls or plays another activity-based video game.

#9 Walk or pedal

Choose activities nearby so you can commute by foot. If that’s not an option, choose family outings that involve movement. A nice greenbelt stroll is free and fun. If it’s cold in your area, bundle up and enjoy nearly empty trails or walking paths.

#10 Keep it calm

Like adults, kids can get stressed out, too. Low stress levels are important for maintaining a heart-healthy lifestyle, so make sure your child isn’t overloaded. While organized activities are important, it’s also good for your child to have down time. Read a book together, go on a leisurely walk, or play outside with the family dog.

#11 Cook together

Involve your child in cooking a healthy meal, and explain what each ingredient is and why it’s going into the dinner. Let them help mix, measure and prepare a heart-healthy family meal—chances are, they’ll be more likely to eat it.

#12 Inspire by example

Whether you know it or not, your child is watching your every move, learning how to interact with the world and developing habits that could extend for a lifetime. When you lead a healthy lifestyle, you are subtly encouraging your child to do the same. As you make good choices, discuss why you’re making your decisions. They really are listening!

***

By helping your son or daughter develop healthy habits, you are giving the gift of lifelong vitality. Start encouraging heart-healthy habits when they’re young by working in healthy lifestyle choices—including good nutrition, regular physical activity, plenty of sleep and low stress levels. And do the same in your own life!

Written by Louis Ignarro, Ph.D.  Dr. Ignarro is a member of both the Editorial and Nutrition Advisory Boards of the Herbalife Nutrition Institute and receives compensation for his endorsement of Herbalife® products. 

[1] http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need

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CHRISTMAS is getting near! SASA’S practical TIPS for the festive season

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Healthy Skin Care for Teens

by Jacquie Carter

Healthy skin promotes self-esteem.

There’s no better time than the present for teenagers to learn about healthy skin care practices.

Skin care isn’t something that can be neglected. It needs to be part of your daily routine. It needs to be part of your daily routine. It is something that should be as common and important as taking a shower and brushing your teeth. As adults, we tend to recognize and understand the importance of cleansing, moisturizing, treating and protecting our skin. However, have you taken the time to explain the importance of healthy skin care practices to your teenagers? If not, then there is no time like the present.

Related Article: Shaving Tips Trivia for Men and Women

Many teens struggle with skin conditions that are totally influenced by their hormones. They tend to have oily skin and experience blemishes and breakouts. Educating your teens on the basics of a healthy skin care regimen and other daily practices can have lifelong effects. Think about it – did anyone every sit you down and explain the basic how-to’s of taking care of your skin? Well, if not, let’s make sure that you do it for your children. Being a teenager is challenging enough and unfortunately, so much of their self-esteem is directly related to their appearance. Let’s take a diligent approach to teaching the basics so they too can reap the rewards of healthy, youthful looking skin. Here are a few healthy skin care tips just for teens:

Use a Facial Cleanser, Not an Ordinary Bar Soap

Teens must understand the importance of washing their face every morning and every evening before bedtime. Cleansing helps remove excess oils from the surface, along with dirt, makeup and other pore-clogging debris. Cleansing the skin is non-negotiable! So, let’s make sure we are providing them with the necessary tools. Get them started on a healthy cleansing routine using a facial cleanser specifically formulated to target oily skin. Choose a sulfate-free cleanser for a gentler approach and be diligent on reminding them to cleanse twice a day. Clean skin can help put your teen on the path to clear skin quickly. Make sure they pat their skin dry and never rub post cleansing. Remind them to use only a clean towel to dry and never reach for the family hand towel. Any towel that isn’t clean is a breeding ground for bacteria. Yuck!

Teach the Importance of Sunscreen

Teenagers spend a lot of time outdoors. Between hanging out with friends, sports programs or simply walking to school and back, they are exposed to the damaging UVA/UVB rays of the sun. All teens need to realize that even minimal exposure to the sun can cause long-term damage, including burning, aging and skin cancer. Teens need to understand that they should always apply sunscreen, or a moisturizer with sunscreen, before heading to school in the morning. A product with a minimum of SPF 30, that is both water and sweat resistant, is ideal. Inform them that even on a cloudy day, in the dead of winter, that the sun’s rays can still cause damage to the skin. If we instill in our teens the importance of using sunscreen, it will become an everyday practice that will benefit them throughout their lives.

Hands Off

Picking at a blemish is a major no-no for everyone, not just teens. Make sure to tell your teens to never pick at a pimple! If they do, it can aggravate the condition even further and lead to permanent scarring. Explain why in general we need to resist the urge to touch our face. Our hands can be riddled with germs and bacteria and the last place we want these germs to end up is on our skin.

Moisturizer is a Must

Now is the time to get your teen to use moisturizer. Moisturizer keeps skin hydrated and elasticized. For the face, choose a product containing UVA/UVB SPF 30 protection. For the body, look for a product that contains Aloe vera and shea butter. They are great, natural hydrating ingredients. Look for label claims stating that there are no added parabens, the product is dermatologist tested and there is clinical testing available to support the claims. Remind your teen to apply every morning!

For Our Teenage Girls

There are a lot of makeup trends and products geared specifically for teenage girls, however, buyer beware. Talk to your girls about the importance of making the best product choices in the name of healthy looking skin. Plan a girls’ day, go to the store together and check out beauty products to make sure that they are selecting the right products for their skin. Look for oil-free cosmetics so they won’t encourage or aggravate any skin conditions. Inform them that while makeup may look nice, too much of it can cause breakouts and result in skin imperfections. Be sure to reiterate the point that if you wear makeup, washing your face before bed is MANDATORY! Makeup left on the skin while sleeping is a catalyst for clogged pores and breakouts. Also, remember that teens who have acne should use approved products to treat that condition in accordance with their labeling and seek the advice of their doctor for serious conditions.

Tip: Go with your teen to the cosmetics counter at your local department store and get a makeover from a professional. They can teach the ins and outs of the products and make sure your teen is getting the best products for her skin. You will both leave looking fabulous. It’s a great way to bond while educating your teen and having fun.

For Our Teenage Boys

Most boys start shaving in their teen years. Use this time as a teaching opportunity – this is a great time for a dad or an older brother to take the lead. Explain the different types of razors on the market. Electric razors are a great place to start with a newbie, while disposable razors are effective for a closer shave. This all depends on the teen. It’s important to walk your teen through the basics of shaving so he can learn how to carefully avoid nicking his skin. If your teen is suffering from blemishes, nicking the skin can be painful and can lead to further irritation. So educating them on how to shave, including choosing the right razor and shaving cream, will be a valuable lesson. In addition to shaving procedure, make sure you educate them on the importance of cleaning their electric shaver and when to use a fresh blade.

Take the time to teach your teens the importance of daily hygiene and best skin care practices. These are lessons that will provide them with wonderful, lifelong results. Remember, the healthiest skin is always the most beautiful.

Written by beauty expert, Jacquie Carter. Jacquie is Director of Outer Nutrition at Herbalife. 

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