- Beef and other red meats
- Processed lunch meats
- Fish, skinless chicken, or tofu
- Ground turkey
- Chicken or turkey breast slices
- Soda pop
- Chips and other salty snacks
- Donuts and croissants
- Water or diet soda
- Nuts, seeds, air-popped popcorn
- Fresh fruit, whole-grain raisin bread
- White bread
- White rice
- Regular pasta or noodles
- White potatoes
- Whole-grain bread
- Brown rice
- Whole-grain pasta or noodles
- Sweet potatoes
- Whole milk
- Regular cheese and mayonnaise
- Ice cream
- 1% or skim milk
- Low-fat cheese and mayonnaise
- Low-fat yogurt
- Olive or canola oil
Choose the right mix of foods
The key to good eating is having a variety of healthy foods. Try to plan meals around vegetables, fruits, lean meats, and whole grains. Limit fatty meats and high-fat dairy products. The chart below can show you the best way to fill up your plate.
Giving up old food habits doesn’t have to be hard. Encouragement makes it easier to stick with a healthy eating plan. Here are some easy ways to choose healthier options:
Choose fats wisely
Reducing “bad” fats in your diet helps keep your arteries healthier. Use this guide:
- Choose unsaturated fats. These are found in foods such as fish, nuts, olive oil, canola oil, and avocados. In moderation, these fats can be good for you.
- Limit saturated fats. These are found in meat and dairy foods, such as burgers, poultry skin, milk, cheese, and butter.
- Avoid trans fats. These are often found in processed foods. Avoid any food that has the word “hydrogenated” in its ingredients.
Reduce sodium (salt)
You may be asked to eat less sodium (mainly found in salt). If you have high blood pressure, your health care provider will probably recommend that you limit your sodium intake to 1,500 mg to 2,400 mg per day. Use these tips:
- Look for food labels that say “salt free” or “very low sodium.” Always check for the number of servings per container on the food label, as a container of food may have more than 1 serving.
- Avoid canned and packaged foods such as canned soup, instant noodles, TV dinners, and premade sauces.
- Don’t add salt or soy sauce to meals. Use fresh herbs or lemon juice for seasoning. Your taste buds will adjust.
- Avoid fast food. Look for “heart healthy” items on restaurant menus. These are often lower in fat and salt.