Tips for a healthy heart

By Drum Digital
06 April 2014

A mom always has to think about her family’s heart health. Here are a few handy tips from the experts.

Initiating a healthy lifestyle (including dietary habits) plays an important role to reduce the risk for the development of heart diseases, diabetes, obesity and cancer, amongst others. When people work long hours they often neglect their diets and do not make time for exercise. They also tend to eat too many fast food or restaurant meals. Quick and easy food for you and your family needn’t be junk food!

Breakfast on the run

High-fibre, low-fat breakfast cereal or a cereal bar with low-fat milk or yoghurt, plus a piece of fruit (there’s no faster food than a piece of fruit!).

Brisk lunch ideas

Sandwiches made with whole wheat bread (for extra fibre), whole wheat crackers (three equal one slice of bread), pumpernickel bread, or bread with whole kernels, crushed wheat and oats, because these have a low GI for sustained energy.

Choose healthy tasty fillings:

Skinless chicken, or tuna in brine, low-fat or fat-free cottage cheese, low-fat cheese such as mozzarella or low-fat Edam (which contains 50kJ less than cheddar per 30g wedge),  Boiled egg,  Peanut butter, fruit and vegetables such as pineapple, tomato, cucumber, peppers, lettuce, mushrooms and chickpeas.

Simple Speedy Suppers

You can grab something from the supermarket or deli on your way home from work in the week when your time is limited. Just remember to include a protein, carbohydrate and plenty of vegetables or salad for a balanced meal.

Healthy choices include:

  • Grilled chicken, fish or lean red meat. Try to choose chicken or fish – no batter, crumbs or deep-frying – at least three times a week. Add a salad, baked or boiled potato and vegetables for a balanced meal.
  • Fatty fish (canned tuna, sardines, pilchards) is rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Hake in batter isn’t.
  • Pasta with tomato-based sauces instead of cream.
  • Baked potato with low-fat cottage cheese and salad. Avoid fat-rich fillings (of cheese, bacon or ham). Top yours with finely chopped onion, canned tuna and a teaspoon of sweet soy or sweet-chilli sauce for tang.
  • Vegetable stir-fry. Supermarkets stock a variety of ready-chopped packets, which take three to four minutes to cook when you get home.

Better fast food choices

  • There is great pressure on the food industry to serve healthier meals.  Opt for meals with vegetables or salads. Ask for healthier options.
  • Avoid deep fried foods, which are high in fat and trans-fatty acids that raise cholesterol levels. ‘Stick to steamed, boiled, baked or roasted food.
  • Avoid creamy sauces – rather have a Hawaiian burger with green salad and a mielie than a creamy pepper sauce burger with chips.
  • Instead of a double cheese burger and chips, try a chicken steak, flame-grilled and salad.
  • Sushi is a healthy choice because fatty fish contains good omega-3 fats and there’s no frying involved. Although items wrapped in layers of tuna and avocado may be higher in fat than some other sushi items, they still measure up well against many other fast-food choices. Tuna or cucumber maki rolls are even lower in kilojoules and fat.
  • Share a pizza and eat it with a fresh green salad to avoid excessive portions.
  • Avoid fizzy drinks, pies, burgers, hot dogs and chips.
  • Do not supersize!

 - Irene Labuschagne, NICUS principle dietician

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