10 Day Healthy Heart Diet

Most medical professionals agree that a diet that keeps your cholesterol low will also keep your heart healthy. Some recommendations include limiting your sodium to 2,300 milligrams or less a day, having no more than 300 milligrams of dietary cholesterol a day, and getting 30 percent or less of your total daily calories from fat, with less than 7 percent coming from saturated fat. In order to determine how many calories you need to eat to achieve your ideal weight, consult your physician or a registered dietitian.

  1. Breakfasts

    • You should eat breakfast every day. Some excellent choices for breakfast include warm cereals like oatmeal and whole grain cold cereals with skim milk. Whole grain toasted breads are also good options. Fresh fruits and low/non fat yogurt are also healthy choices. You can get creative and combine some of these options to make fruit smoothies.

      Variety is important for a balanced diet, so try not to eat the same things every day. Also try to get used to eating your toasted bread without any butter or margarine. In addition, try to eliminate fatty breakfast foods like fried eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits and gravy, etc. if at all possible. Eat breakfast at home rather than going to a fast food restaurant since they don’t offer many heart healthy choices.

    Lunches/Dinners

    • Soups, salads and sandwiches on whole grain breads make good lunch choices. Just steer clear of the fatty dressings. Try to get used to eating your salads with no dressing or a low/no fat option. Choose mustard rather than mayonnaise for your sandwiches, or eat them without any dressing at all. The best meat choices fare low-fat turkey, roast beef or chicken. Watch out for things like tuna salad, chicken salad and egg salad since most of these are made with high-fat dressings.

      Dinners should consist of a low -at meat like fish, turkey, chicken and sometimes very lean beef. Make sure to have meat portions no bigger than six ounces. Combine your meat with generous servings (one or two cups) of steamed vegetables or salads. You can also substitute beans instead of meat as another heart healthy protein choice.

      For dessert, try a piece of fruit. A baked apple sprinkled with cinnamon is a excellent choice as are any other fresh fruits. Watch out for canned fruits since they are often packed in syrup, giving you extra calories and sugar that you don’t need. Try not to eat dinner after 6 p.m. so that you can digest your food before bedtime and sleep well since getting enough sleep is a crucial component to good health.

    Snacks/Drinks

    • Having both a small mid-morning snack and mid-afternoon snack is a good idea since it helps keep you from getting too hungry throughout the day. Snacking on appropriate foods will also help you to eat less during your regular meal times. Some good snack options are raw vegetables, nuts (just a handful), peanut butter, and whole grain crackers. Drinking plenty of water is also an important component to a healthy diet. Eight eight-ounce glasses every day is the recommended amount. You can also include 100 percent fruit juices, tea (herbal and green are good options), and vegetable juice (look for low salt options). Try to limit or eliminate sodas and coffee from your diet since they don’t offer any real nutritional value or health benefits. Also try to eliminate as much sugar from your diet as you can. Consider substituting Stevia, a natural sweetener, in place of sugar whenever possible.

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