Maintaining healthy eating habits can be a struggle for many. We spoke with Elaine Jones, RDN, LDN, community engagement manager at Atrium Health Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute for her top tips and advice for staying heart healthy as we head into 2022.

Nutrition and Fitness, Family Health, Your Health | 2 years ago

Tips for Heart-Healthy Eating in the New Year

Atrium Health Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute’s Atrial Fibrillation Center of Excellence (AF COE) is committed to providing high-quality care for all patients by empowering them to both self-manage their AF and engage more effectively with their care team. Most recently, the team shared their advice for heart-healthy eating in our demo kitchen. Here are a few of their top tips as we head into the new year:

Maintaining healthy eating habits can be a struggle for many. We spoke with Elaine Jones, RDN, LDN, community engagement manager at Atrium Health Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute for her top tips and advice for staying heart-healthy as we head into the new year.

  • Follow the basic plate method. By filling the top half of your plate with vegetables or salad, you will then only be allowing space for a healthy 3–4-ounce portion of meat/protein and a 1/2-cup portion of bread/grain/starchy vegetable on the other half of the plate. This helps you keep the focus on healthier food options.
  • Eat larger meals with your non-dominant hand! You will slow down the speed of eating and be more mindful of the whole eating process. This increase in time will allow your body to communicate a sense of fullness (it takes about 20 minutes to recognize the sense of fullness) and prevent overeating.
  • Be mindful of your emotions and triggers for eating. Ask yourself: “Am I eating because I am hungry, or am I bored, or am I unable to resist the visible sweets displayed on my kitchen counter?” 
  • Count your steps! Set an alarm on your watch or phone to remind you to get in steps each hour during the day. 
  • Be mindful of alcohol intake and the calories consumed this way.
  • Try to avoid using heavy cream, cream-based soups, excessive cheese and salt when cooking. 
  • Choose healthier dishesRoasted vegetables are always a great dish to have available. Fish and shrimp are healthy protein sources (as long as they aren’t fried). 
  • Limit butter and salt and avoid combination seasonings that can hide a lot of salt. Use garlic powder instead of garlic salt (the same goes for onion powder and onion salt).
  • Watch your salt intake. Limit cheeses and cured/prepared meats and pickled items as they hold unhealthy amounts of salt. 
  • Quality over quantity. We know you don’t want to miss out on enjoying the food you love. Serve yourself 1-2 bites of each item so that you enjoy the flavors but avoid the overload of unhealthy ingredients.
  • Be kind to yourself! Adapting to healthier eating habits takes time, so be patient and give yourself grace as you use these tips and work towards your health goals in the new year.

Learn more about heart care at Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute.