With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s often common for our diets to fall by the wayside. Grabbing a quick meal might be an easy option, but it’s rarely the best one for your heart. By choosing fast and easy drive-thru meals, you are adding excess fat and unnecessary calories into your diet.
So how do you fit a heart-healthy diet into an already busy life? We have some tips below:
Veggies First, Meat Second
We often plan our meals around the meat, but by shifting your primary focus to veggies, you can work towards a better diet! “A heart-healthy diet is full of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and low-fat meat and dairy. Choose foods that are high in fiber and high in omega-3s such as salmon and walnuts and ground flax seeds,” says Michelle Nardi, CRMC’s Lead Clinical Dietitian. Looking to add some extra spice? Opt for herbs instead of salt!
Keep It Budget Friendly
Continually buying food on the run does not only lead to inadequate nutrition choices, but it can also be more costly than prepping. “Eating as many meals at home as possible is more affordable and healthier. If you are going to be away from home for multiple hours, consider packing a lunch or at least snacks,” suggests Nardi. Try growing your own garden, or shop at your local market and freeze leftover fruits and veggies to last past the season.
Think About Your Cholesterol
To ensure your heart health comes first, consider adding more foods that are high in soluble fibers such as Brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, oats and legumes in your diet to keep your cholesterol low. “As a goal, you should eat at least 25g of fiber each day, 5-10 grams of which should be soluble fiber. Most Americans eat closer to 15g of fiber total,” states Nardi.
Find What Works For Your Lifestyle
When it comes time to counsel her clients and come up with realistic expectations, Nardi believes everyone should “...[find] a solution that works for you — some people do well with focusing on moderation, others resonate more with a black and white approach (eat this/not that). What we eat is influenced by MANY things beyond feeling hungry and choosing the best foods nutritionally.” Through trial and error, you want to find a way to make it easy for all members of your family to be healthy. By doing so, you will be way less likely to fail in times of stress.
One of the benefits of meeting with a dietitian is that they offer the knowledge of what diet would optimize your health and wellbeing. Based on your input, they can tailor those recommendations and create a reasonable nutrition plan for you. If you are interested in outpatient counseling, contact us at 607-428-5087 for more information.