Did you know that February is American Heart Month? The month of February is dedicated to raising awareness about heart disease and educating the population on ways to prevent it. Unfortunately, heart disease continues to be one of the leading causes of death in America prematurely ending the lives of 1 in 4 people. Although there are many risk factors, a healthy diet and exercise continues to be the best defense.
This infographic was created by The American Recall Center. Learn more here.
At MANNA we make every effort to ensure that our meals are heart healthy, following the nutrition guidelines of the American Heart Association. In each meal delivery, we send our clients fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Our soups are made with low sodium stocks and they are flavored with spices, like garlic and sage, to ensure that they are heart healthy and flavorful. In addition, to help our clients control their cholesterol levels, we limit red meat in our meals to once per week and we send low-fat dairy alternatives.
All of the MANNA clients are following a heart healthy diet, below are some tips from our Registered Dietitian on how you can do the same!
Heart Healthy Tips provided by Alura Costa, RD at MANNA
- Incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy into your diet daily. Think green!
- Be careful with canned soups which contain a lot of sodium. Purchase a low sodium soup option or make your own soup utilizing low sodium broth instead. Try adding different types of whole grains like barley or quinoa…yum!
- Use spices and flavorful herbs to season foods. Utilizing salt alternatives are key to reducing sodium intake. Basil and cayenne are some of my favorites! MORE
- When using canned vegetables, make sure to rinse any excess sodium off by running the vegetables under cold water. This trick is simple and helpful.
- Opt for sauce on the side when dining out. Sauces at restaurants are usually high in sodium. Also, some restaurants indicate which meals are low in sodium by placing a small heart icon next to menu items.
- Go red! Celebrate National Wear Red Day with MANNA and help raise awareness about women and heart disease on February 6th. More: goredforwomen.org
- Share American Heart Month Tweets via your twitter account.
- Get screened and encourage others to do the same with this e-card generated by Health Finder.
- Make a vow to cook more heart healthy meals – recipes.
Each year we approach the New Year with excitement and vigor, vowing to challenge ourselves in an area where we think changes need to be made. Out with the old and in with the new! Losing weight and eating healthier tops many people’s resolution lists. Although our intentions are good with a goal of adapting healthier habits, sticking with these goals is not always easy because we tend to set unrealistic expectations for ourselves. We end up making too many changes at once and deprive ourselves of the foods we love which is both unenjoyable and unsustainable.
This year, start small and make just a few realistic changes that you know you can maintain. Below are some helpful tips from MANNA’s Registered Dietitians on becoming a healthier you.
Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables every day! Getting the recommended servings of fruits and veggies daily helps to provide your body with the vitamins, minerals and fiber it needs to stay healthy. It is also a great way to help you to maintain or lose weight. Try to keep your fruit in a bowl on your kitchen table so that you will be more likely to eat them. Make it a point to fill half your plate at every meal with fruits or vegetables. At least once a week, skip the meat and try a new vegetarian recipe for dinner. Keep fresh fruits or cut-up vegetables at your desk for a healthy, mid-day snack.
Avoid Empty Calories
Try to avoid empty calories which are calories from solid fats and added sugars that contain few or no nutrients.
- Cakes, cookies, pastries, ice cream and donuts
- Sodas, energy drinks and fruit drinks
- Pizza, cheese, sausages, fatty meats, butter and stick margarine
The goal is to get 30 minutes of physical activity every day. A variety of activities can count towards physical activity including: walking, dancing, gardening, hiking, swimming, household chores, games and sports. You don’t have to do the entire 30 minutes at once, you can break it up into 10 minutes intervals. Try getting off the bus stop a few blocks early and walking ten minutes to work or an appointment. At the end of the day all of your activities add up!
Nothing is better to keep you motivated than seeing the results of your hard work each week. The USDA has created an easy, FREE tool called SuperTracker. SuperTracker allows you to keep track of your progress. You can look up nutrition information for over 8,000 foods, keep a log of the foods you are eating and your daily physical activity, get weight management guidance and receive support from your own virtual coach to help you achieve your health goals. Go to www.supertracker.usda.gov to personalize your experience and get a plan tailored for you!