Heart Healthy Eating Plan

Healthy Eating Plan for Heart

The  Diet calls for a variety of foods that are low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol but high in taste. It is not a deprivation diet. It can satisfy your taste buds as much as your heart. Here’s the breakdown of the diet by food groups

Breads/Cereals/ 6 or more servings a day—adjust to Grains calorie needs

Foods in this group are high in complex carbohydrates  and fiber. They are usually low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and total fat. Whole-grain breads and cereals, pasta, rice, potatoes, low-fat crackers, and low-fat cookies

Vegetables/ 3–5 servings a day Dry Beans/Peas

These are important sources of vitamins, fiber, and other nutrients. Dry beans/peas are fiber-rich and good sources of plant protein. Fresh, frozen, or canned—without added fat, sauce, or salt

Fruits 2–4 servings a day

These are important sources of vitamins, fiber, and other nutrients. Fresh, frozen, canned, dried—without added sugar

Dairy Products 2–3 servings a day—fat free or low fat (for example, 1% milk)

These foods provide as much or more calcium and protein than whole milk dairy products—but with little or no saturated fat. Fat-free or low-fat milk, buttermilk, yogurt, sour cream, cream cheese, low-fat cheese (with no more than 3 grams of fat per ounce, such as low-fat cottage cheese)

Eggs 2 or fewer yolks per week—including yolks in baked goods and in cooked or processed foods.

Yolks are high in dietary cholesterol. Egg whites or egg substitutes have no cholesterol and less calories than whole eggs.

Meat/Poultry/Fish 5 or less ounces a day

Poultry without skin and fish are lower in saturated fat. Lean cuts of meat have less fat and are rich sources of  protein and iron. Be sure to trim any fat from meat and remove skin from poultry before cooking. Lean cuts of beef include sirloin tip, round steak, and rump roast; extra lean hamburger; cold cuts made with lean meat or soy protein; lean cuts of pork are center cut ham, loin chops, and pork tenderloin Strictly limit organ meats, such as brain, liver, and kidneys—they are high in cholesterol. Eat shrimp only occasionally—it is moderately high in cholesterol.

Fats/Oils Amount depends on daily calorie level

Nuts are high in calories and fat, but have mostly unsaturated fat. Nuts can be eaten in moderation on the   diet—be  sure the amount you eat fits your calorie intake. Unsaturated vegetable oils that are high in unsaturated fat (such as canola, corn, olive, safflower, and soybean); soft or liquid margarines (the first ingredient on the food label should be unsaturated liquid vegetable oil, rather than hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil) and vegetable oil spreads; salad dressings; seeds; nuts. Choose products that are labeled “lowsaturated fat,” which equals 1 gram of saturated fat per serving.

Diet Options:

Stanol/sterol– Specially labeled margarines and orange

containing food –juice

Soluble fiber Barley, oats, psyllium, apples, bananas,  berries, citrus fruits, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums, prunes, broccoli, brussels sprouts, carrots, dry beans, peas, soy products (such as tofu, miso)

CARBS—Good, Bad, or What?

“Carbs,” or carbohydrates, seem to be making a lot of news these days. Are they good or bad—in fact, what are they? They’re your body’s main source of energy. They include fibers, starches, and sugars—in short, everything from bagels to rice to pineapples to lima beans. Even yogurt has carbohydrates. But they can be broken down into two main types—complex and simple. Complex carbohydrates are just that—they have a more complex chemical structure than simple carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates include starches and fiber. Examples are cereals,  pastas, rice, vegetables, and fruits. Many are low in calories and high in fiber. They’re a key part of a healthy eating plan. Simple carbohydrates are sugars and include candy and other sweets. They tend to be high in calories and low in nutrients. So reducing the amount of simple sugars and sugar-containing beverages in your diet can help you cut down on calories and lose weight. Some diets tout a “low carb” solution to weight gain. But the key to weight management is really calories, not which foods they come from. As with other sources of calories (fats and proteins), carbohydrates make you gain weight if you eat more calories than you use up. Eating more fruits and vegetables has another benefit too: It will make your diet richer in fiber, vitamins (such as the antioxidants C, E, and beta-carotene), and minerals. As a further plus, fresh fruits and vegetables are low in sodium.

Snacks and Treats

Eating the   way doesn’t mean depriving yourself of snacks and treats. Try these low-saturated fat munchies and desserts— but keep track of the calories:


  • Fresh or frozen fruits
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Pretzels
  • Popcorn (air popped or cooked in small amounts of vegetable oil and without added butter or salt)
  • Low-fat or fat-free crackers (such as animal crackers, fig and other fruit bars, ginger snaps, and molasses cookies)
  • Graham crackers
  • Rye crisp
  • Melba toast
  • Bread sticks
  • Bagels
  • English muffins
  • Ready-to-eat cereals


Desserts and sweets

  • Fresh or frozen fruits
  • Low-fat or fat-free fruit yogurt
  • Frozen low-fat or fat-free yogurt
  • Low-fat ice cream
  • Fruit ices
  • Sherbet
  • Angel food cake
  • Jello
  • Baked goods, such as cookies, cakes, and pies with pie crusts,made with unsaturated oil or soft margarines, egg whites oregg substitutes, and fat-free milk
  • Candies with little or no fat, such as hard candy, gumdrops,jelly beans, and candy corn

How to Make Heart Healthy Meals

Eating heart healthy meals doesn’t mean giving up on taste. Here are some tips on how to make “health” a special ingredient in your recipes:

Cooking Methods

  • Use low-fat methods and remember not to add butter or high fat sauces—Bake, broil, microwave, roast, steam, poach, lightlystir fry or sauté in cooking spray, small amount of vegetable oil,or reduced sodium broth, grill seafood, chicken, or vegetables.
  • Use a nonstick (without added fat) or regular (with small amount of fat) pan.
  • Chill soups and stews for several hours and remove congealed fat.
  • Limit salt in preparing stews, soups, and other dishes—usespices and herbs to make dishes tasty.

Milk/Cream/Sour Cream

  • Cook with low-fat (1-percent fat) or fat-free types of milk or ofevaporated milk, instead of whole milk or cream.
  • Instead of sour cream, blend 1 cup low-fat, unsalted cottage cheese with 1 tablespoon fat-free milk and 2 tablespoons lemon juice, or substitute fat-free or low-fat sour cream or yogurt.


  • Use a variety of herbs and spices in place of salt
  • Use low-sodium bouillon and broths, instead of regular bouillonsand broths.
  • Use a small amount of skinless smoked turkey breast instead of fatback to lower fat content but keep taste.
  • Use skinless chicken thighs, instead of neck bones.


  • Use cooking oil spray to lower fat and calories.
  • Use a small amount of vegetable oil, instead of lard, butter, or other fats that are hard at room temperature.
  • In general, diet margarines are not well suited for baking—instead, to cut saturated fat, use regular soft margarine made with vegetable oil.
  • Choose margarine that lists liquid vegetable oil as the first ingredient on the food label and is low in saturated fat and lowin or free of trans fat.


  • In baking or cooking, use three egg whites and one egg yolk instead of two whole eggs, or two egg whites or 1/4 cup of egg substitute instead of one whole egg.

Meats and Poultry

  • Choose a lean cut of meat and remove any visible fat.
  • Remove skin from chicken and other poultry before cooking.
  • Try replacing beef with turkey in many recipes.

Sandwiches and Salads

  • In salads and sandwiches, use fat-free or low-fat dressing, yogurt, or mayonnaise, instead of regular versions.
  • To make a salad dressing, use equal parts water and vinegar, and half as much oil.
  • Garnish salads with fruits and vegetables.

Soups and Stews

  • Remove fat from homemade broths, soups, and stews by preparing them ahead and chilling them. Before reheating the dish, lift off the hardened fat that formed at the surface. If you don’t have time to chill the dish, float a few ice cubes on the surface of the warm liquid to harden the fat. Then remove and discard the fat.
  • Use cooking spray, water, or stock to sauté onion for flavoring stews, soups, and sauces.


  • To make muffins, quick breads, and biscuits, use no more than 1–2 tablespoons of fat for each cup of flour.
  • When making muffins or quick breads, use three ripe, very well-mashed bananas, instead of 1/2 cup butter or oil. Or substitute a cup of applesauce for a cup of butter, margarine,  oil, or shortening—you’ll get less saturated fat and fewer calories.


  • To make a pie crust, use only 1/2 cup margarine for every 2 cups of flour.
  • For chocolate desserts, use 3 tablespoons of cocoa, instead of 1 ounce of baking chocolate. If fat is needed to replace that in chocolate, add 1 tablespoon or less of vegetable oil.
  • To make cakes and soft-drop cookies, use no more than 2 tablespoons of fat for each cup of flour.