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Heart Healthy Deit for Teens

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Our thirteen year old grandaughter is staying with us and is supposed to be on a heart healthy diet. She has a heart murmer due to a defective pulmonic valve and last year she gained a lot of weight. I provide healthy meals such as my husband and I always eat but would find she was eating very little of her meals and then "pigging out" on any unhealthy snack she could find. I decided to do a search, first on Spark then on the web to see if I could get any ideas.

As I guessed the most recommended diet for an adult with her problems would be the Mediterranean diet; this is very similar to the Seventh Day Adventist diet which as a member of course I'm very familiar with. Megan was adopted into my daughters family when she was two so she is also familiar with this diet. I looked up some suggested recipes and there is no way I would be able to get her to eat this stuff. It is just too unusual and exotic. They just don't seem to realize that just plain food can be fixed on that kind of a diet. Our church has made these recommendations for years. A diet based on grains, nuts, vegetables and fruits, avoiding animal fats and meat. We eat a modified diet of this kind.

I could find no recommendations that would fit with what a teenager would like to eat. Then I went back to my own training and experience in vegetarian cooking. You can make healthy pizza, healthy lasagna, healthy mexican food like tacos, stir fry etc ; all foods kids like to eat. I talked to her a little bit about how concerned I am with the choices she has been making and how it will not only cause her to gain weight but put an extra strain on her heart - we love her and want her to live a long and healthy life and I emphasized that to her. I don't know if it helped but the other thing I can do is to make the unhealthy snacks like chips and ice cream not available. As Sparkers we all know about that and my husband loves her enough to suffer along with her.

I was just wondering if anyone else had some ideas. I feel bad for her but she has lost the extra weight she gained and I would hate to see it come back. Teenagers need lots of calories and I certainly don't want her to think I am putting her on a diet as such; just a healthy lifestyle.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I was a teenager who hated my parents cooking too, and unfortunately I gained a lot of weight with the same kind of destructive habits your granddaughter is developing. It was also my grandmother who managed to break the cycle. My parents were "convenience cookers" - and would just get frustrated with me and give up. Grandmother took me out in her garden, and then made me get in the kitchen and cook with her, and start learning how to season and prepare foods my own way.

    Speaking from experience, she WILL probably fight you on it, and moan and complain. But now, I'm an urban farmer who makes almost everything from scratch. Including my own soups (from scratch), marinara (except the tomato paste, which I did make once but it's too much work to do all the time!) and lots of hummus and taboulleh and other healthy Mediterranian foods!! If grandmother hadn't actually done that with me, I probably wouldn't have ever learned to love a healthy lifestyle...and it might have taken years, but I did apologize for the attitude and angst I gave her. (Luckily, she raised 4 daughters, so she was attitude-immune...)

    Good luck!
    1731 days ago
    God blessed me with children while I was young, sharp minded, healthy and had a lot of patience. My grands mother is concerned because of the heavy relatives on both sides of their genetic makeup. Exercise is a base and healthy meals with no choice since birth seems to have had a positive affect. Prayer and encouragement is a great course in all challenges.
    1732 days ago
  • AUNTB63
    I just Googled heart healthy diet for teenagers and came up with a number of sites that might be able to help you. It's really tough to be in this want her to eat healthier for her hearts sake, but she is a teenager who doesn't want to be different than the other teens. We all know we have to want to make changes in our lifestyles or it's just not going to happen. A young girl is not that different. Another words she has got to want to eat healthier for her sake. Hugs and prayers coming your way.
    1732 days ago
    Would it be possible for her to maybe chose a healthy meal or two that she can prepare herself or make with your help.She can find the recipes,shop with you and cook the meals.Even if it is just salad or soup it would still be fun and would teach her about food choices and how to eat healthy.
    1732 days ago
    There's a book that's called "The Diet for Teens Only" that I read in high school and liked. Here's a link:
    1732 days ago
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