One of the easiest ways to enjoy a heart-healthy meal is to imagine a divided plate like this one below and follow these 5 simple steps:
1. Fill half your plate with non-starchy veggies (such as carrots, broccoli, green beans, tomatoes and leafy greens). Try to eat a ‘rainbow’ of veggies so you get a variety of beneficial vitamins, minerals and heart-protective phytonutrients and dietary fibre.
2. In another quarter, add some grains or starchy vegetables (such as rice, pasta or potato). Try to include heart-healthy wholegrain choices most of the time.
3. Use the remaining quarter for fish, chicken, lean meat and alternatives. Remember, red meat can be high in saturated fat so choose lean cuts and include heart-healthy oily fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines) in your meals regularly. Legumes or eggs, plus nuts and seeds, are excellent heart-healthy alternatives for a meat-free or vegetarian meal.
4. Sprinkle on herbs and spices for added flavour and skip the salt shaker to help maintain a healthy blood pressure. Even though eaten in small quantities, herbs and spices pack a powerful punch of antioxidant activity and can help boost heart health.
5. Add 1-2 teaspoons of healthy fats/oils such as extra-virgin olive, canola, sunflower or flaxseed/ linseed oil. These are rich in ‘good’ polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Use these oils for browning food when cooking or drizzling over salads.