Print This Page Print This Page    Email this page to a Friend Email this page to a Friend
Take Heart Articles
Heart Healthy Nutrition/Menu
03/29/2006
What’s for supper?

Whether by children, spouses or roommates, we’ve all been asked, “What’s for supper?” So when you plan a meal, try to make healthy choices. Because maintaining a heart-healthy diet is an easy way to reduce your risk of heart disease.

According to Palmetto Health Heart Hospital registered dietitian Colleen Wracker, the traditional food pyramid is a good reference tool for planning healthy meals.

“Eating a balanced diet is important,” she says. “By eating from each food group, your body gets the protein, vitamins and minerals it needs. Just be sure to adjust the number of servings to reach and then maintain a healthy weight.”

“To maintain cardiovascular health through diet, try eating less than 10 percent of your calories in saturated fats and no more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol each day,” Wracker says.

Wracker suggests the following, which is based on the American Heart Association eating plan:

MEAT, POULTRY, FISH & EGGS
High in protein, B vitamins, iron and other minerals

• Eat no more than 6 ounces of cooked lean meat, poultry and fish daily. Try to eat one to two servings of baked or grilled fish weekly.

• Meat serving size is 3 oz. cooked.

• Eggs are high in cholesterol (213 milligrams per yolk), so try to limit your cholesterol intake to 300 milligrams or less per day.

FRUITS & VEGETABLES
High in vitamins, minerals and fiber. Low in fat, calories and sodium. Contain no cholesterol.

• Eat five or more servings daily.

• One medium size piece of fruit or one-half cup of fruit juice equals one serving.

• One-half to one cup of cooked or raw vegetables equals one serving.

• Choose from all vegetables and fruits, except coconut (it’s high in saturated fat).

• Count olives and avocados as fats.

MILK PRODUCTS
High in protein, calcium, phosphorus, niacin, riboflavin and vitamins A and D.

• For most adults, three to four servings are recommended daily.

• One cup of low- or non-fat milk or yogurt, or 1 ounce of low-fat cheese equals one serving.

BREADS, CEREALS, PASTA & STARCHY VEGETABLES
Low in fat and cholesterol. High in B vitamins, iron and fiber.

• Eat six or more servings a day.

• Serving sizes include 1 slice of bread, one cup of flaked cereal, 1 cup of cooked rice or pasta, and one-fourth to one-half cup starchy vegetables.

FATS & OILS
Can be high in vitamins A or E, but also high in fat and calories.

• Eat no more than eight teaspoons a day, depending on your caloric needs and cholesterol levels.

• Serving sizes include one teaspoon of vegetable oil or regular margarine, one tablespoon of salad dressing, and 10 small or five large olives.

“The secret to eating healthy is balance and quantity,” Wracker says. By following these guidelines and incorporating exercise into your daily routine, you can improve your heart health and live a longer life.”

Market Tips
Feel overwhelmed at the supermarket when you’re trying to make healthy selections? Here are a few tips:

• Read labels. Look for items 20 percent fat or less, 3 grams or more of fiber, 350 milligrams or less of sodium, and 12 grams or less of sugar.

• Try some of the new monounsaturated fat margarines such as Smart Balance, Olivio and Spectrum.

• Stock up on healthy seasonings like olive oil, canola oil, herbs and spices, fresh chopped garlic, low-sodium chicken broth, and vegetable broths.