Healthy Heart Meals
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in this country. There are
many factors that effect our risk of heart disease. One of these factors
is our cholesterol level. People with a high cholesterol level are at
greater risk for heart disease than people with a lower cholesterol level.
There are several ways we can control our cholesterol level. One way we
control it is by making healthy choices in the food we eat.
Research has shown that meals high in fiber and low in fat may help reduce
our risk of heart disease. Choosing food carefully can help reduce your
risk of heart disease.
Fruits and vegetables are healthy choices. Fruits and vegetables are
naturally high in fiber and low in fat. The Food Guide Pyramid tells us
to eat 2 to 4 servings of fruit and 3 to 5 servings of vegetables each
day. This is a good place to start. Plan to eat at least two servings
of fruits and/or vegetables at each meal.
Whole grain breads and cereals are also good choice. Whole wheat bread,
brown rice and oatmeal are some examples of whole grain foods that are
high in fiber and low in fat. The Food Guide Pyramid recommends 6 to 11
servings from the bread, cereal, rice and pasta group each day. Try to
be sure that at least three servings from this group are whole grains.
We need 2 to 3 servings of foods from the milk, dairy, and yogurt group
each day. Also, we need to eat 2 to 3 daily servings of the meat, fish,
poultry, eggs, dry beans, and nuts group. Many foods in these groups are
high in fat and do not have fiber. Choose foods from these groups that
are low in fat. Skim milk and lowfat yogurts are good choice. Chicken
with the skin removed is lower in fat than other meats. Meats that are
baked or broiled are lower in fat than fried foods.
Salad dressing and spreads such as butter, cream cheese, and peanut butter
are high in fat. These should be avoided or used sparingly. Many foods
that are eaten as snacks are high in fat and low in fiber. Select snacks
carefully. Lowfat cheese or yogurt, canned or fresh fruit, raw vegetables,
or whole grain crackers are good choices.
Here is a sample menu to get you started in planning healthy meals to
reduce your risk of heart disease.
Heart Healthy Sample Menu
- Oatmeal with skim milk
- Orange juice
- Whole wheat toast with low fat margarine
- Skim milk
- Vegetable soup
- Whole wheat bread, thin sliced turkey sandwich
- Carrot sticks
- Medium apple
- Skim milk
- Broiled chicken breast
- Brown rice
- Steamed broccoli
- Green salad with lowfat dressing
- Dinner roll with lowfat margarine
- Lowfat frozen yogurt
- Grapes and whole wheat crackers
Now start your planning for heart healthy meals today.
Written by Barbara Farner, Nutrition
and Wellness Educator, University of Illinois Extension, Matteson Extension
Edited by Katherine J. Reuter, Consumer and Family
Economics Educator, Countryside Extension Center.
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