As registered dietitians and moms, one of the things we love most about what we do is sharing with other moms (like you!) ideas on how to help keep our kids healthy. We all are familiar with that rewarding feeling we get when our kids are getting the nutrition they need. And when we can also, we’re pretty psyched! So we’re quite excited to share research (and some easy tips to make the most of it!) that shows how certain foods contribute to healthy circulation by keeping blood vessels open so nutrients and oxygen can flow freely throughout the body.
This is great news because some foods (think fatty and processed meats, fried foods, candies, and cakes) spell trouble for circulation since they are high in saturated and trans fat, sodium, and sugar and low in fiber and nutrients. They also trigger the release of harmful stimulants that cause inflammation (swelling) of the arteries. Swollen arteries mean less space for blood to flow, so it’s easier for them to become clogged and prevent oxygenated blood from getting to the heart and the rest of the body.
Clearly, none of us want this for us or our kids! That’s why today’s news is so great. Think of arteries and veins as a giant tunnel system: the more smooth, pliable, and free of clogs, damages, and leaks the tunnels are, the more efficient the system. Keeping the tunnels smooth and like new helps to prevent heart disease. And by keeping vessels more elastic and pliable you protect the heart. And by keeping the heart in better working order, you’re improving your overall health since the heart is our most important muscle. This means healthy hearts help to keep bodies working at their best, so they can have plenty of energy to run and perform well at school and play!
And yep, we reap those benefits too. Some of these same foods may help to keep our skin beautiful—and give us energy so we can keep up with our kids! S-C-O-R-E!
Some of the foods that help support healthy circulation are ones that we adults love more than the typical kid – like beets and beet juice, dark green leafy vegetables like arugula, celery, lettuce, spinach and watercress. We may go to town on these foods, but getting our picky ones to eat them is no easy task! Luckily some are foods our kids love and we do too – like 100% purple grape juice (it’s the super-special Concord grapes in particular), as well as foods like pistachios and dark chocolate (although if you’ve got picky ones, dark chocolate can even cause the sweetest- toothed kid to turn up his nose).
So if you’re like us, you’ll love this delish breakfast recipe that supports healthy circulation and tasted great. After all, what kid doesn’t love a popsicle? And what Mom would turn these down? Just sayin… Plus, getting kids excited about eating a healthy breakfast is a homerun! Simply serve the popsicle with a fiber-filled carbohydrate and a protein option like whole-grain toast with a nut butter or oatmeal with almond slivers, or give them two popsicles with a hard-boiled egg to keep them satisfied. Make sure to look for 100% juice on the label! (not those juices with added sugar, etc.!)
Easy Breakfast Smoothie Pops
• Serves: 12
• Prep Time: 10 min
• Chill Time: 6 hrs
• Total Time: 6 hrs and 10 min
• ⅓ cup quick cooking oats
• ¾ cup Welch’s 100% Grape Juice made with Concord grapes
• 2 ¼ cups frozen blueberries
• 1 cup 2% vanilla Greek yogurt
• ½ cup almond milk
• 3 tbsp honey
• Add oats to blender. Pulse until finely chopped.
• Add grape juice, blueberries, yogurt, almond milk and honey to a blender. Purée until smooth.
• Pour into 12 (1/3 cup) ice pop molds. Freeze for 4 to 6 hours or until firm.
Tip: To easily release pops from molds, dip in warm water before removing.
Nutrition per Serving
Serving Size: 1 pop
• 87 calories
• 2.5g fat
• 0mg cholesterol
• 27mg sodium
• 14g carbohydrates
• 1g fiber
• 11g sugar
• 2.5g protein
The Nutrition Twins work with Welch’s to help people to live a longer, healthier life.