Heart-Check Meal Certification Program Nutrition Requirements

chef chopping vegetables

The Heart-Check mark takes the guesswork out of spotting heart-healthy options while dining out.

Nutrition requirements for certified meals includes the following:

  • Calories
  • Total Fat
  • Saturated Fat
  • Cholesterol
  • Trans Fat
  • Sodium
  • Beneficial Nutrients


  • Calories - 700 calories or less per the entire meal
  • Total Fat - 3 grams or less total fat per 100 grams, and 30 percent or less calories from total fat in the meal, and 26 grams or less total fat per the entire meal
  • Saturated Fat - 1 gram or less saturated fat per 100 grams, and less than 10 percent calories from saturated fat in the meal, and 5 grams or less saturated fat per the entire meal
  • Cholesterol - 20 milligrams or less cholesterol per 100 grams, and  105 milligrams or less cholesterol per the entire meal
  • Trans Fat - Less than 0.5 grams trans fat per the entire meal
  • Sodium - 960 milligrams or less sodium per the entire meal
  • Beneficial Nutrient - 10 percent or more of the Daily Value of one of the following nutrients per the entire meal: vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron, dietary fiber or protein


  • If the meal includes a beverage, the nutritional values for the beverage must be included as part of the nutritional profile of the overall meal.  Acceptable beverages include:  water, fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk, and beverages containing less than 10 calories per serving.
  • The following food and beverage items are not allowed as part of the certified meal:  alcoholic beverages, desserts, products that do not align with American Heart Association Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations.
  • To verify compliance, the American Heart Association will review the standardized recipes and conduct nutrient data analysis for certified meals. Additionally, the AHA will perform random secret shopper sampling of certified meals.  These samples will be sent to an accredited laboratory for testing.  

No donations are used to support the Heart-Check program.  Participating restaurants in the Restaurant Meal Certification Program pay an administrative fee to the American Heart Association which is used to cover program operating expenses.