We read headlines and get told by our heart doctors about all the things we should avoid. “Don’t eat sugar”, “Avoid caffeine”, “Cut down on alcohol, or “Stop eating such big portions of carbs”. It’s like being a kid again and getting told over and over to be quiet. It’s not that helpful when you are TRYING your best to be healthy, but are getting confused about what you ARE allowed to do.
Heart healthy foods are a must when you have a heart condition. Your heart is under repair, your body is using more energy than usual healing wounds, forming scars, digesting new medications and it needs a good amount of fuel every day.
So what heart healthy foods should you be eating?
In my Healthy Hearties programs, you will come across the following four components of nutrition. Everything focuses on heart healthy foods that boost energy.
My tip is to include the following heart healthy foods at least 80-90% of the time (i.e less healthy foods no more than 10-20% of the time.) Which means you can enjoy the occasional dessert or treat that your friend made. A treat doesn’t mean pigging out though, just that you’re still enjoying life!
Heart Healthy Foods and the 3 Key Nutrients You Need
Make it a goal to eat a fistful of vegetables at each main meal (ideally lots of green or coloured vegetables.) You can always add more if you are hungrier!
A small bowl of vegetables or a full side plate of salad will do.
2. Fist size of protein
Integrate 1x palm size of lean protein. This means those with larger hands, you’ll have a larger portion.
Examples include chicken, turkey, eggs, fish, beans, tofu, pork, lean red meat, smoked salmon, kippers, mackerel, and lentils.
3. Complex Carbohydrates
More if you are active, less if you aren’t. Think rye bread, cous cous, brown rice, quinoa, oats or other starchy carbohydrates. These should fill you up and give you a slow release of energy.
4. Good Fats
You need 2 pinches or 1-2 tablespoons of good fats. A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (heart healthy), avocado, walnuts, almonds, ground flaxseeds, and a small amount of butter will do. Remember fat contains more calories, so check your portion size!
Voila! You now have a balanced meal.
Two fruits can also be eaten as a snack during the day. There you have it, a balanced diet that should give you plenty of energy and provide you with a wide range of nutrients!
What’s your favourite meal that includes all of these nutrients?
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