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No Heart Left Behind

Eat for Heart Health

Your food choices can impact your risk for heart disease. This week, you and your coach will talk about the components of a heart-healthy diet. She will encourage you to select one nutrition goal to work on during the next week.

Healthy food choices can be a key weapon in the fight to prevent heart disease.  Many people know to avoid fatty foods, but a heart-healthy diet involves more than avoiding fried foods.

For a heart healthy diet, nutrition experts recommend that we:

  • Reduce the amount of fried and fatty foods we eat.
  • Consume more whole grains.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables.
  • Be careful when we eat out.
  • Control high blood pressure by reducing sodium intake.

Review the following guidelines and then select one goal to read more about and work on this week:

  • Reduce dietary fat and choose healthier fats. Switch to lower-fat dairy products and limit added fat at meals. Use healthier fats like olive oil or canola oil when cooking. Read more.
  • Add more whole grains. Strive to consume three or more servings of whole grains per day, such as whole-grain cereals, breads, pasta and crackers—even popcorn. Read more.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables. Include fruit at each meal and increase your servings of vegetables at dinner. Use fruits and raw vegetables as delicious snack choices. Read more.
  • Make healthier choices away from home. Ask for dressing on the side, and bring home some of the oversized portions. Make healthier fast-food choices and bring lunch to work. Read more.
  • Eat to lower your blood pressure. A low-salt diet can help to control high blood pressure.  Get the salt shaker off the table, and use herbs and spices instead. Limit high-sodium processed foods. Read more.

If you have other health conditions, such as diabetes, you may need additional dietary advice. Contact a registered dietitian, or ask your doctor for a referral.

Your activities for this week:

  1. Continue to strive for 30 minutes of physical activity as many days as possible, and keep track on your activity log.
  2. Choose just one of the goals above to work on this week, and follow the link to learn more about it.
  3. Keep track of your progress on this Heart-Healthy Food Diary. There's no need to write down everything you eat; simply include the better choices you made related to your goal. For example: "I used whole-wheat bread for my sandwich."

Weekly review question

Q: True or false: All you need to do to follow a heart-healthy diet is just avoid fried and fatty foods.

A:  False. (If you said true, review the guidelines above.)

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