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Heart Healthy Eating Tips

High Fiber

  1. There are two types of fiber in foods:
    • Soluble: helps lower LDL (low-density lipoprotein, or “bad” cholesterol).
    • Insoluble: helps keep you full longer, prevent overeating, regulate blood sugar and keep bowel movements regular.
  2. Adding fiber to your diet:
    • Eat more whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
    • Eat whole fruit rather than drinking juice.
    • Sprinkle oat bran or rice bran on cereals, mashed potatoes, soups, casseroles, etc.
    • Incorporate beans into soups, salads and bean dips.
    • Use whole wheat or ½ whole wheat and ½ white flour in baking recipes.

Cooking Tips

  1. Choose high-fiber carbohydrates.
    • Use whole grain flours when baking, and reduce the amount of sugar in recipes.
    • Make a stir-fry with fiber-rich vegetables.
    • Add beans or lentils to soups.
  2. Reduce the fat.
    • Choose lean cuts of beef and pork, “loin” or “round.”
    • Remove the skin from poultry.
    • Bake, broil, roast, stew or stir-fry.
    • Cook ground meat, then drain off the fat.
    • Eat fish two times per week (canned tuna and salmon count).
    • Choose low-fat dairy products.
    • Use non-stick spray and/or a non-stick pan rather than oil, butter or lard.
  3. When you do cook with fat, choose oils that are more heart-healthy.
    • Sauté with olive oil, canola oil or soybean oil.
    • Make salad dressings with olive or peanut oil.
  4. Cut back on sodium (salt).
    • Use little salt in cooking. You can cut half the salt from most recipes.
    • Don’t use the salt shaker to flavor food on your plate. Substitute with salt-free seasonings such as citrus, herbs or ground pepper).
    • Check out products for sodium-free flavorings, marinades and seasoning packets, such as Mrs. Dash.
    • Choose low-sodium canned/frozen foods by checking food labels.

Shopping Tips

Check out’s grocery shopping tips on good, better and best options. As a rule of thumb, go for foods that do not have a lot of added ingredients.

  1. Fruits and Vegetables:
    • First go for fresh fruits and vegetables. These have no added fat, sugar or sodium.
    • If buying frozen and canned, read labels:
      • Avoid those with added syrups, sauces, gravies and seasonings.
      • Choose low-sodium, salt-free vegetables (read the label and choose those with less than 300 milligrams sodium).
  2. Grains
    • Chose breads/cereals high in fiber and made from whole grain:
    • Whole grain options: 100% whole wheat, rye or oats.
    • Breads with at least 2 grams fiber per serving.
    • Cereals with 5 grams of fiber per serving.
    • Check the labels for sodium content.
  3. Chose Breads/Cereals High in Fiber and Made from Whole Grain:
    • Whole grain options: 100% whole wheat, rye, or oats.
    • Breads with at least 2 grams fiber per serving.
    • Cereals with 5 grams fiber per serving.
    • Check the labels for sodium content.
  4. Dairy
    • Pick nonfat, skim or low-fat (1%).
    • Look for cheese low in saturated fats and sodium.
  5. Meats and Proteins
    • For chicken and other poultry, look for breast meat or other white meat, and remove the skin, which is high in fat.
    • For beef and veal, pick cuts with little marbling (fat).
      • Healthier options: round steak, tenderloin, and sirloin tips.
      • For pork and lamb, choose center cuts.
    • Try to eat fish two times per week.
      • If choosing canned fish, choose low-sodium options.
    • Eat vegetable portions a few times/week such as beans, veggie/bean burgers, tofu and tempeh. These are lower in fat than many meat proteins.