A nutritious, balanced diet that keeps your heart healthy can also taste great! These easy-to-prepare recipes will help keep your heart going strong by reducing your intake of calories, fat (particularly the saturated kind), cholesterol and sodium. Eating healthfully never sounded — or tasted — so delicious!
What all these recipes have in common, in addition to tasting great, is an emphasis on fresh, healthy ingredients. Keep the following tips in mind the next time you’re at the grocery store:
Limit unhealthy fats and cholesterol
Reducing the amount of saturated and trans fats in your diet is the most important step you can take to lower your blood cholesterol and your risk of cardiovascular disease. An easy way to reduce your intake of saturated and trans fats is to use fewer solid fats such as butter, margarine and shortening in your recipes. When you do use fats, use monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil or canola oil, or polyunsaturated fats, which are found in nuts and seeds. Still, moderation is essential.
And always remember to check labels: Even so-called “reduced fat” snack items might contain unhealthy trans fats. Be wary of the words “partially hydrogenated” in the ingredient list.
Choose low fat protein sources
When you’re picking your protein source, choose from these healthy, protein-rich options: lean meat, poultry and fish, low fat dairy products, egg whites and egg substitutes, and legumes (beans, peas and lentils). Further, you should be careful to choose their lower fat varieties, such as skim milk instead of whole milk or skinless chicken breasts instead of fried chicken patties.
Eat more vegetable and fruits
Your parents were right — you really do need to eat your veggies. Vegetables and fruits are great sources of vitamins and minerals. Plus, they are low in calories and rich in dietary fiber. They’re even perfect for snacking! Stock your kitchen with fresh vegetables and fruits, and you might find yourself reaching for junk food less frequently. And you can always add a salad to your meal.
Select whole grains
Replace your refined grains with whole grains. Or maybe give flaxseed a try. Whole grains and flaxseed are great sources of fiber, which regulates your blood pressure and improves your heart health.