February 7, 2020

American Heart Month

Every February, we’re reminded to maintain our heart health by making smart, healthy choices. While some risk factors for developing heart disease are unavoidable, such as family history, some risk factors are manageable, such as one’s eating habits. For example, when dining out, selecting healthy options is imperative to maintaining a healthy heart. Limiting saturated and trans fats, added sugars, and sodium is vital to achieving a healthy lifestyle and keeping a healthy heart.

Here are some tips for healthy dining out:

  • Select baked, broiled, or grilled options rather than fried to reduce saturated fat intake – saturated fats are a predisposing risk factor for increasing the incidence rate of heart disease. Saturated fats should contribute no more than 10% of the total calories consumed daily
  • Incorporate healthy fats (omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids) into your meal, such as fatty fish, olive oil, avocados, nuts, and seeds
  • Limit high-sodium toppings like bacon – high sodium intake is directly related to increasing blood pressure. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 recommends consuming less than 2300 mg of sodium per day
  • Ask for dressings and sauces on the side so you can control how much to add to your food
  • Request smaller portions or take half of your meal to go
  • Make simple swaps such as baked potatoes instead of French fries, brown rice instead of white rice, and whole grain bread instead of white bread
  • Choose water, seltzer, sparkling water or 100% fruit juice rather than soda to minimize added sugar intake
  • Try seasonal fruits for dessert or share your dessert with your significant other or friend