Eating a nutritious, balanced diet is an important part of looking after your heart. Knowing what, when, and how much to eat can help reduce your risk of developing a heart condition. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to make simple changes to your everyday habits that end up making a big difference.
Mind your plate!!!
Eating healthy doesn’t have to mean dieting or giving up all the foods you love. Learn how to ditch the junk, give your body the nutrients it needs, while eating the foods you love.
Try these daily tips that will help your family take a step-by-step approach to eating healthy.
- Vegetables and fruits are loaded with nutrients and fiber, and typically low in calories and sodium. Fresh are your best option but canned and frozen produce can also be healthy choices but compare food labels and choose wisely.
- Eat whole grains: Choose whole –grain foods, such as whole-wheat bread, brown rice, popcorn, oatmeal and whole-grain cereal. They are a better option than the processed grains.
- Some fats are better for you than others. Use liquid vegetable oils such as canola, corn, olive, safflower, sesame and sunflower oils in place of butter, ghee, kimbo and solid fats whenever possible. Eating foods that contain saturated fats raises the level of cholesterol in your blood. High levels of LDL cholesterol in your blood increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Chicken, fish and beans are good choices for protein. Remove skin and visible fat from poultry. If you do eat red meat, limit it to once in a while, keep to small portions and choose the leanest cuts.
- For snack time, keep fresh fruit and pre-chopped or no-chop veggies on hand. Your family is more likely to grab fruits and vegetables over other items if they’re readily available.
- Enjoy fish high in omega-3 fatty acids. Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, Tuna, trout, sardines, cod liver are very good choices. Fresh water tilapia has less omega 3 than those mentioned before but it’s a good source of protein and is relatively low in fat.
- Reduce on the sodium intake. You might be getting more sodium than you need, even if you never pick up the salt shaker. That’s because most of the sodium we eat comes from packaged and restaurant foods. That can make it hard to control how much sodium you eat, because it’s added to your food before you buy it.
- Read food nutrient labels for packaged and canned foods Pick healthy foods that provide nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber but limit sodium, added sugars, saturated fat and trans fat.
- Encourage children to try new fruits and vegetables by making it a fun experience. Let them pick out a new fruit or vegetable in the market every so often, and allow them to adventure with it, like figuring out together how to cook or prepare it in a healthy way.
- Help your children develop healthy habits early in life that will bring lifelong benefits. Be a good role model, make it fun, and involve the whole family in lifestyle changes.
- Use fresh or dried herbs and spices or a salt-free seasoning blend in place of salt when cooking. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime to add flavor to cooked foods.
- Snack on a small hand full of nuts or seeds: It can be a satisfying and healthy snack. Look for unsalted or lightly salted nuts. Almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, pistachios, ground nuts, corn, pumpkin seeds and walnuts are all good choices.
- Pack your own healthy snacks to work and school. Put cut-up veggies and fruits in portion-sized containers for easy, healthy snacking on the go, without the added sugars and sodium.
- Endeavor to cook at home you have more control over ingredients and portion sizes, so aim to cook at home more often than eating out.
- Cook vegetables in a healthy way that will help bring out their natural flavors, including roasting, grilling, steaming and baking. You’ll need less salt (if any) and may even turn the most anti-veggie kid into a fan!
- Instead of frying foods – which can add a lot of extra calories and unhealthy fats– use healthier cooking methods that add little or no solid fat, like roasting, grilling, baking or steaming.
- Get your kids in the kitchen! They’ll be more excited about eating healthy foods when they’ve been involved. Give them age-appropriate tasks and keep a step-stool handy.
- Grow fruits and veggies in your own garden. This will encourage the whole family to eat more fruits and veggies, kids are more likely to try something they’ve grown themselves.
- Watch out for added sugars They add extra calories but no helpful nutrients. Sugar-sweetened beverages and soft drinks are the number one source of added sugars for most of us.
- Reduce the sugar intake, by trying sparkling water, unsweetened tea or sugar-free beverages instead of sugar-sweetened soda or tea. Add lemon, lime or berries to beverages for extra flavor.
- Do more meatless meals often. Think vegetable based meals, vegetables and beans can add protein, fiber, and other nutrients to a meal.
- Eating healthy on a budget can seem difficult, but it can be done! Many fruits, vegetables and legumes (beans and peas) cost less than most meats per serving.
- Eat the rainbow A fun and tasty way to make sure your family is eating a good variety of fruits and vegetables is to eat as many different colors as you can each day.