Published on February 08, 2012
Heart Month: 10 Tips for Heart Healthy Eating
One of the best ways to improve your heart health is by shopping and eating smart. Are you looking for some easy rules of thumb for heart-healthy eating? Try these top 10 fun tips from Asante.
- If It’s Not Food, Don’t Eat It!
This popular book (Delphic Corner Press, 2005) encourages you to read food labels, know what you are eating, and avoid anything processed or loaded with mysterious ingredients.
- Eat food, not too much, mostly plants. This advice comes from Michael Pollan, author of In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto (Penguin, 2008), answering the question What should we humans eat in order to be maximally healthy?
- Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. All of the fresh and natural foods tend to be on the outer edge of the store. Most of the packaged and processed foods are in the center aisles.
- Chew every bite 15 times. This trick slows down the eating process, helping you know when you are full enough. Eating quickly can cause you to overeat.
- Eat on a smaller plate. It’s harder to overeat when you can’t get as much on your plate. Asante diabetes educators recommend a 9-inch plate filled with 50 percent vegetables, 25 percent protein, and 25 percent grains and starches.
- Eat the colors of the rainbow. You will get more of the essential vitamins and minerals if you eat a wide variety of colors in fresh foods (15 colors of soda do not count!).
- Use the 80/20 or 90/10 rule. Make healthy choices 80 to 90 percent of the time; the other 10 to 20 percent of the time, enjoy food and don’t stress out over trying to be perfect!
- Eat at home. You can better control what you eat when you plan your meals and keep your home well stocked with healthy foods. If you must eat in a restaurant, order à la carte and choose healthy options such as baked instead of fried.
- Don’t get bored. Choose new foods you have never tried, such as mangos, lentils, or arugula. Try new dishes by trading recipes with friends.
- Drink water. Instead of soda or other sugary beverages, drink water with your meals. This will reduce your calorie intake significantly. Drinking water also helps you better digest food.