Shannon Center Weekly Nutrition Tip – Heart Healthy Foods
What should you look for when you want to buy foods healthy for your heart?
- First, check out the fat section of the label. Aim for foods low in saturated fat with zero grams of trans fat. Unsaturated fats are your heart healthy fats (found in healthy oils, nuts, seeds, and avocados) so don't be afraid of these; they are actually good for you! Most people's total fat intake should in general be between 35 to 50 grams per day, with 90% of those fats coming from your heart healthy sources.
- Next up, the carbohydrate, sugar and fiber section. Aim for foods with a higher content of fiber (especially the soluble fiber) and lower amounts of sugar. Aim for 25 to 35 grams of fiber per day to help fill you up and to lower those LDL cholesterol levels.
- Last but not least, check out the ingredient section. Avoid foods with ingredients such as palm kernel oils, hydrogenated fats, and bleached white flour (found often in low fat microwave popcorn, peanut butter and cracker packages and non-dairy coffee creamers).
Make your own trail mix recipe:
- I find it healthier to mix your own trail mix than to buy those that are prepacked, which may or may not have added salt and sugars.
- In a gallon size baggie, mix a variety from the following ingredients:
- Carbohydrate options: Low salt pretzels, Cheerios (multigrain and regular), Kix
- Fruit: dried fruit with no added sugars such as apples, bananas, strawberries
- Seeds: sunflower, hemp, sesame, flax or pumpkin (Target has a great selection)
- Nuts: pistachios, walnuts, almonds
- Sweets: Dark chocolate pieces, yogurt covered raisins, or chocolate covered nuts (in moderation); omit if wanting to lose weight or lower blood sugars.
- Spices: It’s nice to spice up your trail mix every now and then to jazz it up a bit. Try cinnamon, curry, ginger, nutmeg, cayenne pepper.
In general a serving of trail mix is about 1/4 to 1/2 cup.
Kelly Devine Rickert MS RD CSSD LDN