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In Good Health

In Good Health: Heart Healthy Diet Tips

As we continue through February bringing awareness to American Heart Month, we want to highlight another simple change you can make to protect your heart: your diet.

But it can be intimidating knowing where to start.

That’s why for this In Good Health, Whitney Amann has some tips for a heart healthy diet from McLaren Northern Michigan.

When you’re hungry and in a rush, you may be tempted to grab something easy or make a quick stop through a drive thru…

“I’m sure everyone’s aware that our American style of eating probably isn’t the healthiest for our heart,” said dietician and diabetes educator Jeanne Kincaid RD, CDE.

The American Heart Association says a healthy diet and lifestyle are keys to preventing and managing heart disease and it’s not as hard as you might think.

“The easiest thing you can do is start cooking at home or think about easy, minimally processed foods to eat in order to reduce those items in your food that can be harmful to your heart,” said Kincaid.

The American Heart Association has some simple steps to follow.

Like using up at least as many calories as you take in.

“I like that guideline because it’s very simple to follow if you’re feeling like you want a snack but you’ve been sitting around all day, you might say, oh no, I’m not using up more calories than I take in and I’ll skip it,” she said. “I’ll have a cup of tea or a glass of water and move forward.”

And eating an overall healthy diet.

“The Heart Association is helping us focus on eating whole foods, fruits, vegetables, grains, less processed foods that don’t have added sugar and sodium in them.”

And the key to keeping your heart healthy — starts in the kitchen.

“So I kind of wanted to demonstrate two recipes that help illustrate the guidelines for healthy eating.”

Starting your day with a well-balanced breakfast sets you up for success.

“The recipe is overnight oats, it takes less than 30 seconds to make,” she said. “I do it every night before work.”

You can customize the recipe with your favorite ingredients but the basics are: oats.

“I keep my measuring scoop in my containers.”


“I just add the milk till I kind of cover my oatmeal.”

Your favorite fruit.

“I like to do strawberries, raspberries, blackberries,” she said. “I also like to cut up a small apple and put that with cinnamon as well.”

And it’s ready to grab as you head out the door.

“That was probably less than 30 seconds and I just put it in the fridge.and the next morning I take it out and I put it in my bag and I take it to work.”

If you’re looking for a healthy side dish or even a lunch to bring to work…

“The recipe I’m making is called quinoa with asparagus, dates and oranges because it uses whole grains, fruits, vegetables, a non-tropical oil, olive oil, no added sugar,” said Kincaid. “We’re building color and flavor nutrients and it’s all going to be made and ready to go whenever you need it.”

If you are on the go and didn’t have time to prep something, remember….

“On any packaged food, there’s a nutrition label that gives us a wealth of information,” she said. “They’ve revised the label to make it as easy as possible to understand, so just paying attention to the information on the package can be an easy way to get started.”

Click for the Quinoa Salad recipe.

For more health tips from McLaren Northern Michigan, click .

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