Following a heart-healthy diet not only helps the heart, it also helps you maintain a healthy weight. Use these tips to jumpstart your diet:

  • Choose leaner meats.
  • Increase fruits and vegetables.
  • Increase whole grains.

High-fat meats are among the most significant sources of saturated fat and cholesterol. Limit beef, sausages, hot dogs and fried or battered foods. Choose lean meats such as chicken, turkey and fish. Try baking, grilling and broiling meats instead of frying.

Fruits and vegetables are filling and low in calories. They also have soluble fiber to help lower cholesterol. Five to nine servings per day of fruits and vegetables are recommended, but most people aren’t getting close to that. Start with a goal of having one more serving of each per day.

Whole grains are another important way to include fiber in your diet. Instead of white, rye or Italian bread, choose 100 percent whole wheat bread. Instead of sugary cereals, try cereals high in fiber and low in sugar.

Learn more about heart-healthy diets from the American Heart Association.

We’d love to hear from you. Post a comment and share your favorite heart-healthy grill recipe or family secret.

~ Jennifer Crouse, RD, CD, CDE, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

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