Easy Nutrition Tips for a Healthy Heart
Follow these quick tips to get heart-healthier today!
How’s your heart-health know how? It’s easier than you may think to improve the health of your heart and small steps can add up to big results. Good nutrition is one of the most important things you can do for your heart. This month is a perfect time to choose a few heart-healthy new habits and stick with them: your body will thank you!
Heart-healthy shopping tips
It all starts at the grocery store! It’s up to you to make healthy choices. And sometimes it helps to have some shopping tricks in your back pocket.
- Shop after you’ve had a meal or snack. Showing up to the store hungry is a tried-and-true way to over-buy, or make high-fat and high-calorie choices. So it helps to give yourself a healthy head start before you embark on your grocery shopping trip: just eat before you leave.
- Fresh is best. For good heart health, it’s important to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Simply head to the produce aisle for the healthiest shopping: Fresh produce has the most fiber and nutrients, which can be diminished during processing. If you can’t buy fresh, just choose frozen. If you need to purchase canned produce, choose items canned in water without added sugar or salt.
- Avoid fat and artificial flavor. When it comes to dairy products, choose reduced-fat or fat-free items. Dairy contains saturated fat, which can be unhealthy for your heart.
- Choose whole-grain versions. Whole grains are higher in heart-healthy fiber than processed grains. Many bread, pasta and cereal products are available in whole-grain versions.
- Bake your own treats. Packaged and store-made baked goods often contain more fat (especially unhealthy trans fat), sugar and preservatives than home-baked items. Give your heart a break and bake at home, where you can monitor your additives. For heart-healthy substitutions from the American Heart Association, click here.
- Try fish. Research shows the unsaturated fats found in fish may be good for your heart. You can start a healthy habit by choosing fish in place of poultry or meat 1–2 times each week.
- Celebrate Meatless Monday. Legumes and tofu are high in fiber and low in fat. As a result, Meatless Monday has become a national trend for good health. You can find many vegetarian recipes online with a simple Google search.
- Look for the American Heart Association label. You can find this on food packaging or next to menu items at some restaurants. This label lets you know the food is a heart-healthy choice.
Eat well, even when you’re out
Being heart-healthy can be tricky when dining out—but by following a few smart-dining tips, you can be a heart health hero!
- Choose foods that are steamed, broiled, baked, grilled, poached or roasted. Steer clear of foods prepared in high-fat ways, such as au gratin, crispy, escalloped, pan-fried, sautéed or stuffed.
- Just ask! Many restaurants will accommodate requests for food to be prepared without added salt or MSG, or with olive or vegetable oil in place of butter. Also, ask your server for sauces and salad dressings to be served on the side. This way, you can limit the amount you use.
- Ask for a takeout container with your meal. Many people find it hard to limit portion size when staring at a full, tasty plate of food. You can make it easier on yourself by requesting a take-out container at the beginning of your meal and dividing portions in half right after you’re served. Then, take the rest with you to enjoy the next day.
For more heart-healthy dining tips, visit the American Heart Association.
Help employees get healthier with Healthy MeritsSM
As Meritain Health’s proprietary wellness program, Healthy Merits can be built to include all the components your employees need for good heart health. To learn more, click here or contact your Meritain Health representative.