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Heart Healthy Eating for Hybrid Learning

Students here in Patchogue, NY are headed back to school for hybrid learning this week. With students spending some days in school and some days learning from home, many parents are struggling to plan meals around this new schedule. But heart healthy eating doesn’t have to be difficult. Even on the go, with planning and patience, you can feed your family in a way that keeps hearts strong and bellies happy.

Heart Healthy Eating Starts with a Plan

The best way to keep yourself and your kids eating healthy is to plan for success. That begins with meal planning. This doesn’t mean that you should rigidly plan every detail of every meal and when you will eat it. Instead, try to plan for protein, carbs, veggies, and fats at each meal. Protein and veggies should make up most of the meal, and carbs and fats should play more of a backup role. When meal planning, be realistic about how much time you can spend in the kitchen, and plan for nights when you need a break. Once you have planned your main meals, get your family involved in making the grocery list. Ask kids for input on what kinds of healthy snacks they would like for the week. Finally, go shopping on a full stomach and avoid bringing junk food home. If it isn’t in the house, it’s harder to indulge cravings.

Prepare to Be Flexible

Once you have your groceries for the week, it’s time to meal prep! Flexibility is key. Instead of preparing each meal down to the sides and placing it in a lunchbox or single serve container, prepare and store individual ingredients instead. Wash fruit and cut it up if necessary. Chop vegetables so they are ready to cook or eat raw. Prepare proteins like chicken breasts, taco meat, or tofu so it is ready to heat and eat. Make a big pot of rice or quinoa. Once you have these different elements prepared, they can be combined at meal time according to your needs at that moment. Is the whole family together at dinner time? Pull out ingredients for taco night and enjoy each other’s company while you assemble. Is everyone on the go? Pull out deli meat, cheeses, fruits and veggies, and whole grain crackers. Too tired to cook? Let everyone put together their own meals from the prepared ingredients and take a break. 

Treat Yourself Wisely

In stressful times, it’s important to build joy into your life. This is especially true when it comes to food. Even though many of our food-based gatherings are unsafe at the moment, we can still celebrate and enjoy food. Look up recipes for foods you enjoyed eating at restaurants and try recreating them at home. Family members can take turns trying their hand at favorite dishes. You could even make it a contest! Small gatherings outdoors can also be safe and fun! Invite a few close friends or neighbors over for a socially distanced cookout. When you’re ready for a sweet treat, go out for ice cream at an outdoor stand where you can stay properly distanced from other patrons.

We Build Healthy Hearts

At Brookhaven Heart, we believe in supporting our patients on their journey to heart health. From preventative care to treatment and surgery, we’re your heart health partner every step of the way. To learn more about how we can help you improve your heart health or treat existing conditions, give us a call today. We have three offices to serve you: Patchogue, New Hyde Park, and Hicksville, NY.