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Heart Healthy Eating

HEART HEALTHY EATING TIPS

Tips for heart healthy eating include:

  • Consume a variety of fruits and vegetables, generally five to nine servings a day, and whole grain products.
  • Fiber is found in legumes, fruits, and root vegetables, as well as oats, barley, and flax. It helps lower LDL cholesterol. Aim for a fiber intake of 20 – 30 grams per day.
  • Limit your intake of fried foods, donuts, cookies, crackers, chips, and other foods high in trans fats. Trans fats are unsaturated fats that result when vegetable oils are made solid or hydrogenated, and increase your LDL cholesterol level.
  • Choose nonfat dairy products. Regular dairy products like whole or 2 percent milk, butter, cheese, cream cheese, and ricotta cheese are high in saturated fat.
  • Limit the amount of saturated fat you eat by keeping the portion sizes of meats to six ounces per day, and choosing mostly lean animal protein foods, such as fish, skinless poultry, and egg whites.
  • When you can, choose a meatless meal. Soy protein and legumes provide protein without the added saturated fat. Soy protein can help lower cholesterol when part of a healthy diet. Legumes and fish are more beneficial to your heart than meat or poultry.
  • Read food labels, checking for the amount of trans fats, saturated fats, and cholesterol that are in the various foods. Guides to help you understand these labels include:

Eating healthy is not only about choosing foods that are good for you, it’s also about choosing the right portions. For more information about appropriate portion sizes, nutrition, and other healthy eating tips, visit ChooseMyPlate.gov.


HEALTHY COOKING TIPS

Tips for preparing and cooking healthy foods include:

  • Choose low-fat preparation methods, such as baking, broiling, grilling, steaming, and poaching.
  • Use low sodium broth, water, or wine in place of fat.
  • Modify recipes by using two egg whites in place of a whole egg.
  • Use non-stick cookware to decrease the amount of fat needed.
  • Substitute 1 percent or skim milk in place of whole milk.
  • Use olive oil in place of butter or shortening, and
  • Substitute non-fat plain yogurt for sour cream.

DINING OUT TIPS

Healthy tips for dining in a restaurant include:

  • Order from the a la carte menu and build your own meal.
  • Choose soup, salad with the dressing on the side, and a whole wheat dinner roll.
  • Order meats broiled or grilled with sauces on the side.
  • Eat half the entrée and save the other half for lunch the next day.
  • Look for hidden fat in foods on the menu and avoid them. Be aware of terms like sautéed, crispy, fried, deep-fried, creamed, and au gratin.
  • Share an entrée and order a side salad to complete your meal.
  • Ask for all sauces and dressings on the side.
  • Ask for specifics, such as how the items are prepared, exact portion size, the ingredients used, or the cut of meat.
  • Move the bread or chip basket out of reach after you have had your predetermined portion.
  • Eat a small, healthy snack, such as carrot or celery sticks, before arriving at a restaurant. You’re less likely to overeat.
  • Watch out for the appetizers! Many are fried and high in fat.
  • Avoid the all-you-can-eat specials and buffets, and
  • Eat low-calorie, healthy foods like salads first to take the edge off of your hunger.