How to eat right for a healthier heart

Eating fewer high-fat, high-cholesterol foods and watching calories are important steps to a healthier diet and a healthier heart.

Guidelines for a healthy diet

With your doctor, figure out the number of calories you need each day to achieve or maintain a healthy body weight.

  • Eat fewer high-fat foods. Lower cholesterol intake to less than 30 mg per day.
  • Keep fat intake to less than 30 percent of your total daily calories.
  • Choose foods high in starch and fiber .
  • Replace some saturated fat with unsaturated fat. Limit saturated fat to 8 percent to 10 percent of total daily calories.
  • If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation

How to choose low-fat products

  • Is fat a major ingredient?
    Read food labels. To avoid too much fat or cholesterol, go easy on products that list any ingredient high in saturated fat or cholesterol first (eg, oils, lard, cheese).
  • Is there more than one type of fat in the product?
    When you see several high-fat ingredients on a label, the product could have too much fat.
  • Is the serving size appropriate?
    When you are figuring out the fat content in a food, make sure you use a serving size that is close to what you would really eat-which could be more than the label says.

Dining out

Be as careful when you dine out as you are when you cook your own meals!

  • Salad
    Use vegetable oil and vinegar dressings
  • Bread
    Use margarine instead of butter if desired
  • Chicken
    Eat broiled or grilled chicken; remove skin before eating
  • Steak
    Ask the chef to trim off excess fat before cooking
  • Hamburger
    Avoid cheese or mayonnaise toppings – add tomato or lettuce instead
  • Fish
    Select broiled or poached fillets
  • Pasta
    Use marinara, clam, or tomato sauce without meat or sausage (avoid cream sauce)
  • Pizza
    Choose vegetable toppings instead of cheese or meat toppings
  • Baked potato
    Avoid toppings such as butter or sour cream
  • Vegetables
    Eat plenty of these, but without heavy sauces
  • Dessert
    Sherbet and fresh fruit are excellent choices
  • Coffee, tea
    Use skim milk or nondairy, nonfat creamer