Soluble fiber-rich beans can help curb your appetite by helping you feel fuller sooner. Beans can also replace higher calorie, higher saturated fat-containing meats and cheeses in entrees.
- Replacing a ½ cup of cheddar cheese for the same amount of beans can shave off about 100 calories from your lunchtime salad.
- Replacing ½ pound of ground beef with 1 cup of kidney beans will cut 190 calories from a chili recipe.
Research suggests that consuming 3 grams or more per day of ß-glucan, soluble fiber, which is found in oats or barley can help lower total and LDL cholesterol levels as part of a heart-healthy diet.
- Start your morning off with a bowl of oatmeal.
A small handful of nuts daily may manage your blood cholesterol levels. Research suggests that nuts can help lower blood cholesterol levels and that eating 1.5 ounces per day of almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, pistachio nuts, or walnuts along with a heart-healthy diet, may reduce you risk of heart disease. (One ounce of nuts = 25 almonds, 9 whole walnuts, or 48 pistachio nuts.)
- Sprinkle chopped nuts over your morning cereal or yogurt.
- Eat a handful of nuts between meals if you get hungry.
While fish is low in heart-unhealthy saturated fat, it provides another healthy quality that makes it a ringer for your heart. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish can help slow the plaque buildup in your arteries that contribute to heart disease as well as reduce your risk of heart disease. It is currently recommended that you eat two fish meals a weekl. Salmon, sardines, and tuna are all good sources of omega 3.
- When you eat out, order an 8-ounce grilled salmon. Eat half and take the remainder home for dinner the next day. Pesto: You just met you weekly quota of two fish meals.
- Add canned tuna or salmon to your salad bar lunch.
5. Whole Grains
While research shows that whole grains can reduce your risk of heart disease, most Americans are falling short of the recommended minimum three servings of whole grains daily. Make sure that at least half your grain choices are whole grains, such as oats, 100% whole wheat bread, brown rice, and popcorn to gain that heart-healthy benefit.
- Eating oats in the morning provide the added benefit of being a whole grain. You get two for the price of one when you eat oats.
- When looking for something crunchy for a snack, pop up a 100-calorie pack of microwave popcorn.