Know the Latest Recommendations to Protect Your Heart
--Know the calorie content of the foods and beverages you consume. Calories per serving are always listed on food labels. Always note the size of 1 serving.
--Track your weight, physical activity, and calorie intake. Remember: to maintain weight, calories taken in must equal calories burned.
--Prepare and eat smaller portions. Use smaller plates and avoid eating directly out of carryout containers. Chew your food. To fill up before a meal, drink a glass of water.
--When possible, decrease time spent watching television, surfing the Web, and playing computer games. Take an after-meal walk or play with the kids.
--Incorporate physical activity into habitual activities. Gardening, walking the dog, and vacuuming all qualify as physical activity.
--Do not smoke or use tobacco products. Ask your doctor to refer you to a program to help you quit.
--If you drink alcohol, limit daily intake to 1 drink for women and 2 drinks for men. If you don't' drink, don't start. The risks of excessive drinking outweigh any possible benefits.
Food choices and preparation recommendations:
--Use the nutrition-facts panel and ingredients list when choosing foods to buy. Be on the lookout for sodium, sugar, and fat content, particularly trans fats.
--Eat fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables and fruits without high-calorie sauces and added salt and sugars. Avoid high-fat cream sauces and toppings. Accustom your taste buds to less salt.
--Replace high-calorie foods with fruits and vegetables. You can eat a larger volume of fruits and vegetables than you can of higher-calorie foods.
--Eat beans, whole-grain products, fruits, and vegetables to increase fiber intake. Fiber will help you feel fuller, but drink plenty of water to avoid uncomfortable gas.
--Use liquid vegetable oils in place of solid fats. Solid fats like lard or shortenings contain large amounts of saturated fat; hydrogenated vegetable oils usually contain harmful trans fats.
--Limit beverages and foods high in added sugars from sucrose, glucose, maltose, dextrose, corn syrups, honey, and concentrated fruit juice. Know the various names of sugars and then substitute with no-sugar-added products.
--Cut back on pastries and high-calorie bakery products such as muffins and doughnuts. Eat a piece of raw fruit or a serving of low-fat flavored yogurt to satisfy your sweet tooth.
--Choose foods made with whole grains, such as whole wheat, oats/oatmeal, rye, barley, corn, popcorn, brown rice, wild rice, buckwheat, triticale, bulgar (cracked wheat), millet, quinoa, and sorghum. These foods are high in protein and fiber and can be used to replace animal protein.
--Select milk and dairy products that are either fat free or low fat. But be careful of added sugar.
--Use lean cuts of meat and remove skin from poultry before eating. To keep these foods low in fat, avoid frying them.
--Limit processed meats that are high in saturated fat and sodium. Sausage and luncheon meats are especially high in sodium.
--Grill, bake, or broil fish, meat, and poultry. And skip high-fat condiments like tartar sauce or cream sauces.
--Incorporate vegetable-based meat substitutes into favorite recipes. Tofu, tempeh and other forms of soy protein can be used alone or with vegetables in stir-fried dishes, as well as spaghetti and chili.
--Encourage the consumption of whole vegetables and fruits instead of juices. You'll get less sugar and more fiber.
--Reduce salt intake by choosing the processed foods and brands with less salt and by limiting condiments such as soy sauce and ketchup. Check the label for sodium content and aim for no more than 2,400 mg per day.