February is Heart Month. Here are three things you can pack on your journey to heart health:
1. Pack your lunch:
Save money, time, calories and fat by bringing your lunch instead of eating at restaurants. Use low-fat chicken, tuna or nut butter on whole grain bread or stuff a pita with vegetables; pack crisp vegetables and fruits. Include yogurt or skim milk, too. Purchase 100-calorie packs for chips or cookies.
2. Pack your pedometer and athletic shoes:
Add a few more steps or miles to your day. Walk during the lunch hour, take another lap around the mall when shopping or walk to the store. Every 2,000 steps equals one mile. Walking is the easiest form of exercise. The benefits of keeping fit include reduced risk of osteoporosis, high blood pressure, diabetes and some cancers. It burns calories, which helps you lose weight or maintain an ideal weight. HDL, the good cholesterol increases with exercise and can decrease in those who lead a sedentary lifestyle.
3. Pack nutrition awareness:
Before you dine out, research your restaurant choices. For good choices in your area, go to healthydiningfinder.com. They list nutritional information for good choices in fast food chains and other restaurants. Plan ahead to choose meals with less saturated and trans fat. Many people eat over 50% of their meals out in the U.S. Make informed choices about what you eat. Below are some fast food choices that are lower in fat and calories, however are still high in sodium.
FDA rule for a healthy food:
The sodium content cannot exceed 360 mg per serving for individual foods and 480 mg per serving for meal-type products.
• low-fat: 3 g or less fat per serving
• low-saturated fat: 1 g or less per serving
• low-sodium: 140 mg or less per serving
Fast Food Notes
We have scanned many fast food menus and note the following tips:
- Most chicken entrees and sandwiches are very high in sodium and not that low in fat, despite the fact that a chicken breast by itself is both low in fat and sodium
- Many salads are high in sodium and fat. If ordering a salad, make sure the ingredients are not fried and that you order the dressing on the side. Salads with chicken are often high in sodium.
- Value meals can be costly on the waist. A recent offer from Jack in the Box is for The Big Deal which includes a cheeseburger, 2 tacos and 20 ounce soft drink. This can add up to 840 calories, 33 grams of fat, 14 grams of saturated fat and 1330 mg of sodium just for one meal. Sure, it only costs $2.69 but the excess of calories, fat and sodium.
- Side dishes such as tossed salads, baked potatoes, fruit and yogurt are often the best options.
|Hamburger||260||9 g||3.5 g||530 mg|
|Fruit and Yogurt Parfait||160||2||1||85|
|Baked Potato with Sour Cream||320||4||2.5||55|
|Mandarin Orange Cup||90||0||0||15|
|Oven Roasted Chicken Salad||140||2.5||.5||400|
|Veggie Delite 6” Sandwich||230||3||1||500|
|Fresco Crunchy Taco||150||8||2.5||170|
|Fresco Grilled Steak Burrito||160||4.5||1.5||550|
|Thin Crust Veggie, 2 slices||280||19||5||570|
Judy’s passion for cooking began with helping her grandmother make raisin oatmeal for breakfast. From there she earned her first food service job at 15, was accepted to the world famous Culinary Institute of America at 18 (where she graduated second in her class), and went on to the Fachschule Richemont in Switzerland where she focused on pastry arts and baking. But after learning that the quality of a croissant directly varies with how much butter it has, Judy sought to challenge herself by coming up with recipes that were as healthy as they were tasty.
Judy received The Culinary Institute of America’s Pro Chef II certification, the American Culinary Federation Bronze Medal, Gold Medal, and ACF Chef of the Year. Her enthusiasm for eating nutritiously and deliciously leads her to constantly innovate and use the latest in nutritional science to guide her creativity, from putting new twists on fajitas to adapting Italian brownies to include ingredients like toasted nuts and cooked honey. Judy’s publishing company, Food and Health Communications, is dedicated to her vision that everyone can make food that tastes as good as it is for you.