Throughout society, our lives have become increasingly fast-paced. In both cities and smaller communities, working professionals and busy parents have somewhere to go, something to see, or something to do.
With so much time spoken for each day, a heart-healthy diet often falls by the wayside, but consider this: a high-fat diet, over time, will diminish your heart health. If you don’t have a healthy heart, you’re not getting anything done. To maintain a heart-healthy diet, you have to work at it; however, it’s not as hard as you think. Below is a guide to the foods to eat, tips for eating, and places to go to maintain good heart health.
What to Eat
When on the go, these are the foods to consider when making dining decisions:
- Lean meats. When considering steaks, burgers, or chicken, order the leanest meats possible. Not only are fatty meats unhealthy, but leaner meat tastes better. You can also trim visible fat from poultry or meat.
- Fish. Research shows that consumption of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, including EPA and DHA, may reduce the risk of heart disease when combined with a low-fat diet. Salmon, tuna, or mackerel are particularly good choices for health and taste.
- Veggies. Vegetables are an excellent choice for heart health. Veggies contain folate, which has been shown to aid heart health. Good sources of folate include lentils, asparagus, spinach, and garbanzo beans. Side note, veggies are great for the digestive system as well!
- Fruit. Terrific for desserts or breakfast, fruit also keeps the ticker going. One fruit of note is the blueberry. Blueberries contain anthocyanins, the antioxidant responsible for their dark blue color. They are also loaded with fiber and vitamin C.
What to Do
Eat Better America provides the following tips for heart healthy eating while at a restaurant:
- Preview the menu. Check a restaurant’s website for healthy meal choices. By making the choice ahead of time, you are less likely to be swayed by the sizzle and smell of less healthy choices.
- Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask the server about menu items. Preparation, portion sizes, the amount of butter and seasoning are all to be considered.
- Start with a salad. Load up on veggies, so you don’t have to load up on the less healthy stuff.
- Avoid the fryer. Order steamed, grilled, baked, blackened, or broiled food.
- Remember portion control. Avoid the super sized portions.
Where to Go
Here are some heart healthy favorites:
- Panera Bread. Try the half–Turkey Artichoke sandwich with a bowl of black bean or garden vegetable soup.
- Jason’s Deli. Try the build-any-sandwich option with an organic whole-wheat wrap.
- Chipotle. Try the burrito bowls. Eat what’s in the burrito not the shell, which is packed with carbohydrates.
- McDonald’s. Yes, that McDonald’s. They have stepped up their healthy options in recent years. Try grilled chicken snack wraps.
- Einstein Bros. Bagels. Try the high-fiber Veg Out on a sesame seed bagel.
For more information on heart-smart eating, come to our Heart Smart Nutrition class next Wednesday. We’ll review strategies for keeping your diet low in fat and cholesterol, but high in fiber and other heart-friendly nutrients. Visit us online or call (800) 445-3392 for details.
Dining Out (National Heart Lung and Blood Institute)
Your Menu for Heart-Smart Dining Out (Eat Better America)