Heart healthy diet plan weight loss

June 5, 2018
Healthy Meal Plan - Weight

Heart healthy diet tip 4: Focus on high-fiber foods

A diet high in fiber can lower “bad” cholesterol and provide nutrients that can help protect against heart disease.

Go for whole grains

How Much Fiber Do You Need?
Minimum Recommended Daily Intake
(in grams)















Over 70

Source: Food and Nutrition Information Center, USDA

Refined or processed foods are lower in fiber content, so make whole grains an integral part of your diet. There are many simple ways to add whole grains to your meals.

  • Breakfast better. For breakfast choose a high-fiber breakfast cereal—one with five or more grams of fiber per serving. Or add a few tablespoons of unprocessed wheat bran to your favorite low-sugar cereal.
  • Try a new grain. Experiment with brown rice, wild rice, barley, whole-wheat pasta, and bulgur. These alternatives are higher in fiber than their more mainstream counterparts—and you may find you love their tastes.
  • Bulk up your baking. Substitute whole-grain flour for half or all of the white flour, since whole-grain flour is heavier than white flour. In yeast breads, use a bit more yeast or let the dough rise longer. Try adding crushed bran cereal or unprocessed wheat bran to muffins, cakes, and cookies.
  • Add flaxseed that is high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower your total blood cholesterol. Add ground flaxseed to yogurt, applesauce, or cereal.

How fiber can help you lose weight

Since fiber stays in the stomach longer than other foods, the feeling of fullness will stay with you much longer, helping you eat less. Fiber also moves fat through your digestive system quicker so less of it is absorbed. And when you fill up on fiber, you'll also have more energy for exercising.

Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables

Most fruits and vegetables are low in calories and high in fiber, making them heart healthy.

  • Keep fruit and vegetables at your fingertips. Wash and cut fruit and veggies and put them in your refrigerator for quick and healthy snacks. Choose recipes that feature these high-fiber ingredients, like veggie stir-fries or fruit salad.
  • Incorporate veggies into your cooking. Add pre-cut fresh or frozen vegetables to soups and sauces. For example, mix chopped frozen broccoli into prepared spaghetti sauce or toss fresh baby carrots into stews.
  • Don’t leave out the legumes. Add kidney beans, peas, or lentils to soups or black beans to a green salad.
  • Make snacks count. Fresh and dried fruit, raw vegetables, and nuts are all good ways to add fiber at snack time.

Eat more fiber-rich foods to foster heart health

Fiber is a carbohydrate that your body can't break down, so it passes through the body undigested. It comes in two varieties: insoluble and soluble. Insoluble fiber is found in whole grains, wheat cereals, and vegetables such as carrots, celery, and tomatoes. Soluble fiber sources include barley, oatmeal, beans, nuts, and fruits such as apples, berries, citrus fruits, and pears. Both types have been linked to heart health.

Fiber's role in preventing heart disease is thought to stem from its ability to lower both blood pressure and cholesterol. It also fills you up, which helps you eat less and perhaps lose weight.

Label lingo

A label can claim a food is a "good source" of fiber if it delivers 10% of your daily dose of fiber—about 2.5 grams per serving. The terms "rich in, " "high in, " or "an excellent source of" fiber are allowed if the product contains 5 or more grams of fiber per serving. Spooning up a bowl of high-fiber cereal is one of simplest ways to reach your fiber target. Look for brands with at least 6 grams of fiber per serving. Your best bet for bread? Look for the words "100% whole wheat" or "100% whole grain" on the label and at least 3 grams of fiber per slice.

Good Sources of Fiber

Good Sources of Fiber


Serving size



Fiber One

1/2 cup




Bran Flakes

1 cup

Shredded Wheat

1 cup

Oatmeal (cooked)


Spinach (cooked)



1 medium

Brussels sprouts

Green beans


Whole-wheat bread

1 slice

Bran muffin

Rye bread

Rice cakes

LEGUMES (cooked)


Kidney beans

Lima beans

Baked beans (canned)*

Green peas

GRAINS (cooked)


Wheat bran, dry

1/4 cup

Spaghetti, whole wheat

Brown rice



Pear (with skin)

Apple (with skin)

Strawberries (fresh)







5 halves





Peanuts, dry roasted*




Filberts, raw

* Choose no-salt or low-salt version of these foods

Adapted with permission from Harvard Heart Letter, published by Harvard Health Publications.

Heart healthy diet tip 5: Rekindle home cooking

It’s very difficult to eat right when you’re eating out a lot, ordering in, or eating microwave dinners and other processed foods. The portions are usually too large and the meals contain too much salt, sugar, and fat. Cooking at home will give you better control over the nutritional content of your meals and can also help you to save money and lose weight. Making quick, heart healthy meals is easier and less time-consuming than you may think—and you don’t have to be an experienced cook to master some quick and wholesome meals.

  • Get the whole family involved. Trade off shopping and cleanup duties with your spouse or get the kids to help shop for groceries and prepare dinner. Kids find it fun to eat what they've helped to make and cooking together is a great way to expand the pallets of picky eaters.
  • Make cooking fun. If you hate the idea of spending time in the kitchen, you need to embrace your fun side. Try singing along to your favorite music as you cook, sip a glass of wine, or listen to the radio or a book on tape.
Source: www.helpguide.org
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