Eating well is easier than you might think. Add these simple healthy eating habits to your daily life over the next few weeks and you'll see just how easy it is. By making small changes like these over time, and taking them one at a time, not trying to rush into all of them at once, the changes are more likely to stick.
Use olive oil as your main kitchen fat: Limit how much fat or oil you use in cooking, and use liquid vegetable oils in place of solid fats.
Eat more beans. Vegetable proteins (such as beans) are lower in saturated fat and cholesterol than meats.
Read food labels to help you choose healthy foods. Food labels provide information to help you make better food choices. Learn what information to look for (for example, sodium content) and how to find it quickly and easily.
When dinning out be sure to choose a restaurant that offers a variety of delicious meals that are low in saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol or make sure your food may be prepared to order. This will ensure that meals you eat away from home are in keeping with your healthy heart diet. It’s really important to understand what is on the menu when you eat out. The good news is there are plenty of great choices if you know what to look for.
Keep the following in mind when ordering: Foods served as, au gratin, crispy, scalloped, fried, sautéed, buttered, creamed, or stuffed are all high in fat and calories. Instead look for foods served as steamed, broiled, baked, grilled, poached or roasted foods. If you’re not sure based upon the menu descriptions ask your server how the meal is prepared and what ingredient it contains. Choose an entree that features seafood, chicken or lean meat and avoids fatty options. If you order meat remove all visual fat and ask the chef to remove the skin from the chicken.
Keep in mind salt contains sodium in the chemical form of sodium chloride. About 40 percent of salt is sodium. Eating a lot of sodium can make more work for your heart, especially if you have high blood pressure or heart failure.
Salt is just one source of the sodium you consume every day. About 75 percent of sodium in the typical American diet comes from processed foods and beverages. Many foods contain sodium in other forms, too. Some medicines are high in sodium. Be aware of all your sources of sodium and aim to eat less than 1,500 mg of sodium per day.
You shouldn't give up your favorite foods at all. However, if your favorites aren't very healthy, save them for special occasions, such as birthdays and holidays. Have a small portion and savor it! Then return to your usual healthy habits.