Helping Kids Make Healthy Choices: Young DC Resident Advocates for Healthy Diets

Meet Lara. She is a healthy, outgoing and smart 11-year-old Washington, DC native who loves ballet, dancing and singing. She is also an American Heart Association ambassador and advocate for kids making healthy food and drink choices.

A year ago, at a doctor’s appointment, her blood work showed that her triglyceride levels were unusually high for someone so young, which put her at risk for high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity in the future. Lara and her parents decided to try a low saturated fat and sugar diet to see if this would help her be healthier. She wanted to try to eat better as she knows how important it is to stay healthy so she can live a long life just like her Great Grandmother!

Lara began looking into the ingredients in the things she was eating and drinking. She decided to choose foods and drinks that have less than 10 grams of sugar and/or 2 grams of saturated fats. She also began writing down what she was eating each day during the summer, which led to her creating a book of healthy recipes! She even continued the healthy recipe book into the school year and used it for a school project. She taught her classmates how they can make healthy food that is delicious too.

Instead of drinking soda, she started drinking water with natural flavors or added fruit to her water for extra flavor. She also changed her breakfast to a healthy yogurt to start her day.

After changing her diet, her triglyceride levels went down to a healthy range. These small changes of eating and drinking less sugar and saturated fats in her meals and drinks really made a huge impact on her health and well-being.

What did Lara learn from this? She says:

  1. It’s important to know what is in your food and drinks. Look at the ingredients and everything that is in your food and drinks.
  2. Find new and creative ways to make food and drinks taste good while still being healthy. This can even be fun!
  3. It’s okay to have a break day sometimes too. Everything in moderation.
  4. Different people need different things for their bodies. It’s important to listen to your body and what you specifically need.

Lara wants other kids and adults to know that a lot of people go through this and you are not alone. Also, she acknowledges that it is hard at first to find and make healthier choices. However, she says to be patient with yourself as your body does get used to it and you will feel better in the long run.

Lara is a great example of an everyday kid who became much healthier by becoming aware of what she was eating and drinking and deciding to make healthier choices.

Lara continues to thrive and do well! She looks forward to starting 6th grade next year and continuing to create healthy delicious recipes for her, her friends, and everyone who wants to be healthier.

Interested in making DC healthier place for kids? Take action on You’re The Cure now: