Build a Healthier Plate

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Do you know how to build a healthier plate for your heart? The choices you make can have a significant impact on your cholesterol level and the health of your cardiovascular system. Take our quiz below to find out how heart savvy you really are. Tally up your score at the end and see how you did.

1. Out of this list, which one is the best choice for your heart?
a. Small, lean hamburger, no cheese
b. Fried chicken breast
c. Four ounces of baked salmon
d. They are all good choices

2. Out of this list, which item is the best choice for your heart?
a. Black beans with brown rice
b. Pork tenderloin with orange glaze
c. Pan-fried trout
d. Fried fish sandwich

3. You should fill your plate about half full with a lean animal protein item, leaving the rest of the space for vegetables and a starch.
a. True
b. False

4. If you had the following breakfast choices, which one would you pick as being the most healthy for your heart?
a. Egg white omelette
b. Bowl of corn flakes with 1%?milk
c. Bowl of oatmeal with skim milk
d. Bagel with all-fruit preserves

5. Which grain listed below is the best choice for your heart?
a. Whole-wheat pasta
b. Brown rice
c. Barley
d. They are all good choices

6. About two thirds of your plate should be filled with whole grains, beans, vegetables and/or a fruit.
a. True
b. False

7. Which vegetables are best for your heart?
a. Broccoli
b. Carrots
c. Corn
d. They are all good choices

8. Which is better for your heart?
a. Butter
b. Margarine (tub)
c. Margarine (stick)

9. You are given a choice of the following side dishes—which one do you pick?
a. Baked potato or sweet potato
b. French fries
c. White rice

10. Which one has the most saturated fat?
a. Three ounces ground beef
b. One tablespoon butter
c. One ounce of cheese
d. One cup whole milk

1. C (four ounces of baked salmon). Salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids which have been shown to have beneficial effects on your heart.
2. A (black beans with brown rice). This is the best choice because these are high in soluble fiber which has a lowering effect on your cholesterol level. The pork tenderloin would be the next best choice because fried fish is high in fat and trans-fatty acids.
3. B (false). You should only fill your plate 1/3 full or less according to The New American Plate campaign by the American Institute for Cancer Research. This allows for a 3-ounce serving of lean animal protein, about the size of a deck of cards.
4. C (bowl of oatmeal with skim milk) wins hands down. While the other choices are not bad, the oatmeal contains the most soluble fiber.
5. D (they are all good choices) because they are all whole grains. Barley has the most soluble fiber—try to eat it at least once a week—it is delicious in vegetable soup.
6. A (true) according to the New American Plate campaign. This will help increase your soluble fiber and amount of foods eaten from plant sources. Keep the fat and saturated fat low by preparing these with healthy, low-fat cooking methods such as baking, boiling or steaming.
7. D (they are all good choices).
8. B (margarine) BUT this is only if you choose a soft-tub margarine. Your best bets are Benecol® or Take Control® because these have been shown to lower cholesterol as part of a healthy diet.
9. A (baked potato or sweet potato) IF you keep it healthy by topping it with fat-free sour cream, salsa and a bit of lower-fat margarine as mentioned in number 8 above. The white rice is not a bad choice either.
10. A (three ounces ground beef) BUT the others are all a close second since they have 5-7.5 grams saturated fat.

8-10 answers right: A - you are right on!
6-8 answers right: B - needs a little work.
4-5 answers right: C - needs more work.
1-3 answers right: D - uh oh, try again.

Thanks to Shauna Mikesell, RD, who sparked the idea for this page!

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