Did you know that September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month? To help raise awareness with families across the country, the American Heart Association created the Life is Why Family Health Challenge. Throughout the month of September, families will learn to take control of their health by pursuing a different goal each week. The Challenge is full of activities that are fun, simple, won’t break the bank and can be done as a family!
This week of the Life is Why Family Health Challenge is about reducing sodium by paying attention to taste.
Most people eat almost double the amount of sodium their bodies need – which increases chances of high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease and other problems. Kids who eat high sodium diets are 35% more likely to develop high blood pressure, and this is even worse among children who are overweight. But because taste preferences for salty foods may be set early in life, parents can mold their kids’ taste buds by controlling the salt they eat from the get-go.
Our taste buds can adapt to eating less salt.
Research suggests that when people gradually lower the sodium content in foods can decrease kids’ (and adults’) taste for salty food over time. When salt is cut gradually, sometimes people don’t even notice! And when less salt is used, you can appreciate the true flavor of food.
For example this fall, try roasting a seasonal butternut squash and enjoy the flavor that develops as it cooks and caramelizes. Or, choose Heart-Healthy Recipes that meet the association’s nutrition criteria! You can search by course, ingredient, lifestyle and AHA program. You can also find recipes in the AHA cookbooks.
The Life is Why Family Health Challenge features resources for reducing sodium and boosting flavor, including handouts and recipes. The sodium materials are in Week 3 – My Taste is Why. Then share your family’s progress on the new Life is Why Facebook event page.
By the end of the challenge, we hope that you feel healthier and happier! Tell us how you feel as a result of living healthier.
How do you feel this week, after you’ve paid attention to the true flavor of food? Tell us in the comments.