Families concerned about busy fall schedules need to keep one adage in mind: Food is a secret ingredient which helps us feel better. Keeping healthy grab-and-go foods in your kitchen may do more than feed a hungry child on the way to a soccer game. Nutritious snacks which contain palm oil may also support children’s cardiovascular health, both today and into the future. I told Milwaukee’s WTMJ listeners that Malaysian sustainable palm oil’s unique fatty acid composition supports healthy blood cholesterol levels. This may help to prevent harmful plaque accumulation, which may impact future heart health.

It’s smart to keep healthy snacks in the house. Popcorn is a great choice because it’s a whole grain. Having fruits and vegetables easily accessible and ready to be eaten is also important. Kids aren’t going to cut up a watermelon, cantaloupe or red pepper. Keep bananas and apples out on your counter. Be prepared for an after-school snack attack by keeping washed grapes, carrot sticks and other kid favorites in your refrigerator. Other good choices include whole-grain crackers, hummus and cheese sticks.

Healthy spreads are another option. My daughter likes to eat Nutella by the spoonful. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich doesn’t need to be saved for lunch. It makes a great snack. But avoid peanut butters made with partially hydrogenated oils. They are loaded with artificial trans fats, known to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. I suggest the Smart Balance peanut butter. It contains antioxidant-rich Malaysian sustainable palm oil. This better-for-you ingredient is naturally trans fat free. Palm oil also contains tocotrienols, a potent form of vitamin E, and beta carotene, a precursor to vitamin A.

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Malaysian sustainable palm oil also helps lower blood cholesterol levels. Many parents think this is something that only concerns adults, but the truth is the foundation for heart disease really starts in the first two decades of life. What we feed our kids today may impact their future health.

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