Snacking the Heart-Healthy Way

By: Kristen Guilfoos Email
By: Kristen Guilfoos Email

This February, in honor of American Heart Month, turn that affection inward and show a little love to your own heart.

Getting to a healthy weight is certainly one the best things you can do for yourself, and Lisa Blink with Weight Watchers stopped by Sunrise 7 to show us some heart-healthy foods and activity to get you started.

You don’t need to make drastic changes to see significant improvements in your heart health. Making small changes that eventually lead into long-term habits and routines can reap great rewards for your heart.

These heart-healthy snacks are foods that are easy to prepare, are easily accessible throughout the day, are low in fat to help with weight loss and best of all they show your heart some love!

Here are some key things to consider when picking out snacks:

1) Individual foods or snacks that contain a good dose of fiber, such as oats, beans, peas, certain fruits

• An apple with its skin on contains about 1 1/2 grams more fiber than does a peeled one.
• Try tossing fruit into salads. Mandarin oranges, diced apples and dried cranberries go well with leafy greens.
• Bean chili
• Whip up a smoothie: Blend together the fruit of your choice with yogurt and ice.
• Oatmeal: This low fat, low cholesterol breakfast food is also rich in fiber. It's tempting to pick individually packaged, sweetened varieties of instant oatmeal, but it doesn't take much longer to make the original kind. By adding your own brown sugar or dried fruit for flavor, you'll keep the calories down and the nutrients up.

2) Foods with folate and other B vitamins, including beans, citrus fruit, broccoli, asparagus and spinach, fortified whole wheat cereal and grain products. Black beans are an excellent option because, like most beans, are a very good source of dietary fiber which can help to lower blood cholesterol levels.

RECIPE: Orange Cilantro Black Bean Salad

3) Healthy fats, like olive and canola oil, most nuts, seeds, avocado.
Most people think all fats are bad for you, but you need some good fats in your diet to be healthy. 2 teaspoons of healthy oil every day is essential to healthy weight loss. To get in your daily oils you can put in spaghetti sauce or salad dressing.

Non-saturated fats can even be found in avocado and nuts. However even though they are good for you portion size is critical. A favorite with avocado is guacamole. 1/4 cup is 2 points plus values and is a delicious treat with slices of cucumber or baked chips.

RECIPE: Classic Guacamole Double or triple this favorite Mexican recipe for larger crowds. Serve it with baked chips or fresh vegetables. Or spoon some onto thick cucumber and carrot slices

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