It is no secret that cooking meals at home is far healthier than eating out. The key to preparing heart healthy meals is shopping for the right ingredients. Be sure to prepare a grocery list before going to the store. The American Heart Association can help you get started easily. Keep these things in mind when planning menus:
Heart Healthy food choices-
- Load up on fresh fruits and vegetables.
- If you are looking for canned vegetables and fruits, find fruits packed in water or natural juice and vegetables without added salt.
- Choose fat-free (skim) or low-fat (1%) milk and cheeses.
- Avoid butter and opt for margarines containing 0 grams of trans fat.
- Swap out one meat dish for one fish dish a week, but be sure to avoid cream sauces.
- Trade a bag of cinnamon raisin bagels for 100% whole grain English muffin with natural peanut butter for a quick breakfast.
- Avoid cooking oils that are high in saturated fat such as coconut oil and use more monounsaturated oils such as olive or canola oil.
Read nutritional labels-
- Make note of the serving size compared to how much you would normally eat. Double or sometimes triple the Percent Daily Value (PDV), calories and nutrients if you would eat more than the suggested amount.
- Make note of the nutrients. Be sure to get your daily value of fiber, vitamins and other essential nutrients.
- Make note of the daily fat. The PDV should be 5% or less if you are aiming to keep your weight in check.
General shopping guidelines-
- “Fat Free” contains the least amount of fat possible.
- “Very Low” contains more than “free” foods but still a low PDV.
- “Reduced or Less” contains 25% less of a nutrient than the regular product.
Maintaining a diet low in fat and cholesterol is important for a strong heart. If you think you are at risk for high cholesterol, register for a 1-STOP screening at Crittenton today. For more nutritional advice, contact Crittenton Diabetes Education and Nutrition Counseling Center.