Make The Switch To Heart-Healthy Alternatives
Replacing processed, junk food for heart-healthy, fiber-filled options doesn’t have to happen overnight. And if you’re trying to break up with your sweet tooth or keep your savory side at bay, pacing yourself will produce better long-term results than quitting cold turkey.
Read on for advice on replacing less healthy options for their heart-healthy alternatives from nutritionist Maribet Rivera-Brut.
For the fried food lover
For many people out there with a savory side, French fries can be a disaster waiting to happen. “The fact that it is fried creates the problem,” Maribet said. “Fat is used as a satisfying agent in foods, but it is also a big contributor to obesity and other diseases.”
So, how can you satisfy that craving without consuming the fat and calories? Maribet suggests subbing your fries for baby carrots, carrot sticks, fresh fruits (like fruit salad), celery sticks or sliced apple. Or, try these tips for “Navigating Fast Food Menus” when you’re eating on-the-go.
For the dairy lover
Too much of the wrong types of dairy—think high-fat, whole milk—can lead to added weight and an increased risk of heart disease. Maribet suggests starting to cut back by reducing the amount of milk you drink a day. “If you drink more than what is recommended (three servings), then try to distribute the amount of servings throughout the day,” she said. For example, three servings can be distributed as an eight-ounce glass of milk, a six-ounce low-fat yogurt for an afternoon snack, and a glass at dinner.
Don’t be afraid to try milk substitutes. Soy, almond and rice milk are all rich in calcium and Vitamins A and D and add great flavor. If you’re not ready to substitute, try changing out your full fat milks for low-fat and skim is another heart-healthy food option.
For the meat lover
According to the American Heart Association, American women who ate more protein-rich foods instead of red meat had a significantly lower risk of developing heart disease. But what to do if you just can’t give up your weekly steak?
Maribet suggests adding in lean proteins. “These can be soy-based products like tofu or meatless chicken,” she said. “And, of course, skinless chicken, fish and turkey are considered lean protein.”
For the pizza lover
Who can resist a fresh, hot pizza pie every now and then? If you find yourself looking to give your pie a healthy boost try these ideas, from Maribet:
- Add vegetables: This is an easy and “kid-friendly” way to add new vegetables to the mix, like eggplant and artichokes.
- Make a side salad: Make sure you’re still getting your daily dose of greens by adding a salad to your meal.
- Try whole-wheat crust: This healthy option is becoming more and more popular in restaurants and grocery stores and the switch is barely noticeable.
Learn more Healthy Living tips with these “9 Healthy Substitutions for Everyday Foods.”