Heart-Healthy Tips From the American Heart Association’s

Choose To Move Program
As part of Choose To Move, women learn easy, heart-healthy substitutions they can make to their daily meals and snacks. These tips aren’t additional “to-dos”, making their lives even busier — they are suggested instead as healthy and even time-saving, convenient replacements. For example:

1) Start the day right. A healthy breakfast energizes the brain and body and helps jump start the day.
Consider heart-healthy choices such as whole-wheat toast with 100 percent fruit spread, portable fruit, a low-fat granola bar,100 percent fruit juice, low-fat yogurt, or one of the American Heart Association’s approved breakfast recipes enclosed in this Choose To Move SM media kit.

2) Eat smart snacks. Smart snacks pack a variety of nutrients in a tasty package, helping you make the most of the calories you consume. Try a one-ounce handful of almonds, low-fat cottage cheese and fruit, calcium-rich frozen low-fat yogurt with fruit, or a homemade snack mix made with salt-free seasoning blend.

3) Include protein-rich, nutritionally dense plant-based foods in your meals. They’re not only satisfying and versatile, but they’re heart-healthy, too. For example, use roasted, ground almonds as a nutritious “breading” for seafood, poultry or lean pork, or as “breadcrumbs” on top of a casserole. Almonds are packed with vitamin E and magnesium and are a good source of protein and fiber. Also, research shows that eating a daily one-ounce serving of almonds in place of foods higher in saturated fat can lower cholesterol.

4) Make easy, heart-healthy substitutions in recipes. Good flavor is what makes food worth eating — but flavor doesn’t have to mean high levels of saturated fat. Here are healthy ways to enhance the flavor.
Use plant-based fats, such as olive oil and canola oil.
Try rich evaporated skim milk instead of heavy cream.
Enjoy flavorful, low-sodium broths.
Add flavor with good-quality herbs and spices.
Use grated lemon zest (the yellow part of the peel) and grated fresh ginger.
Use salt-free seasoning blends rather than salt at the table and while cooking. Instead of salt, add salt-free seasoning blends to steamed green vegetables for a real taste lift. Or sprinkle chicken breasts generously with salt-free seasoning blends and grill for a simple, quick, delicious meal.

5) Have available some easy, heart-healthy recipes that are adaptable to whatever’s in the house. The
heart-healthy recipes in the Choose To Move SM media kit work in this way — several recipes give easy substitutions to make if a certain ingredient is not on hand.

6) Get moving early in the day. Physical activity, even moderate walking, improves fitness, enhances energy levels and promotes a positive state of mind. To get the most benefit during the day, exercise as early as you can, even on a lunch break. Avoid intense physical activity within three hours of bedtime, as it can make restful sleep difficult.

7) Tune in and tone up, rain or shine. Weather or darkness doesn’t have to limit physical activity. Women can set the example for the rest of the family by lacing up those walking shoes while catching up on the news or watching a favorite television program. Carrying filled water bottles or canned foods works arms and shoulders, while stepping or jogging in place for at least 10 to 15 minutes. Work up to at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week. If needed, start with shorter sessions and add 5 minutes each week until you reach 30 minutes a day.

8) Be a lean, mean, younger-looking cleaning machine! Tackle cleaning projects while listening to lively music. Take a break and dance vigorously to a favorite tune! Squat and reach a little farther when mopping, dusting and sweeping to work different muscle groups. Increasing muscle mass helps weight control by increasing metabolism. As muscles get stronger by working against resistance, you will standstraighter and look taller and younger.

9) Save money with a little old-fashioned work! Forget those car keys — walk to a nearby store for milk or to the post office for stamps. Raking leaves, mowing the lawn or washing the car, instead of hiring help, will increase physical activity and save money.

10) The gift of a lifetime: a healthy heart. By becoming more physically active, women of all ages and physical activity levels can expect such sought-after “gifts” as increased energy, better health, reduced stress and depression, improved appearance, increased self-confidence and a greater sense of well-being.