Can you give me suggestions for a heart healthy diet for breakfast, lunch and dinner? I am aware that a low fat diet is beneficial for your heart but I would like to know what else I can do in addition to low fat food.

Following a diet that is low in fat can indeed reduce risk for heart disease and stroke. It is important to note that not all fats are considered “bad” for you. There are four main types of fats: saturated, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and trans fatty acids. Saturated fats are typically solid at room temperature. They are found in foods like fatty beef, pork, poultry with skin, lard and cream, butter, cheese and other dairy products made from whole or reduced-fat (2%) milk. Saturated fats are not considered healthy fats as they raise blood cholesterol levels, which increase risk of heart disease. Polyunsaturated fats are typically liquid at room temperature and include vegetable oils, fatty fish, and some nuts and seeds. Monounsaturated fats are also liquid at room temperature and examples include: olive oil, canola oil, avocado, peanut butter and nuts and seeds. Both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats (when eaten in moderation) can help reduce cholesterol levels. Trans fats (or “partially hydrogenated” fats as seen on labels) are made when hydrogen is added to liquid vegetable oil to form a solid. You can find trans fats in various products such as French fries, baked goods (pastries, doughnuts, cookies, crackers), shortening and stick margarine. Trans fats are not considered a healthy fat as they raise bad cholesterol (LDL) and lower good cholesterol (HDL).

You should try to include afore mentioned healthy fats in your diet, as they can improve the taste of some foods and can also help you to stay fuller longer. It is a good idea to work towards making your diet more “heart healthy”. Below are a few mealtime examples.


A small whole-wheat bagel or English muffin topped with two tablespoons of non-fat cream cheese, peanut butter, or soft tub margarine.
High fiber cereal (at least 3-5 grams or more per serving) topped with dried or fresh fruit and skim milk.
6-8 oz of low fat yogurt mixed with fruit, nuts, or ground flaxseed
If you are on the go, try a low fat granola bar and 100% fruit juice or small piece of fruit with a pre-made yogurt smoothie


Whole-wheat pita (filled with shredded low-fat turkey, lettuce/tomato, cucumber, low fat cheese and light dressing), small piece of fruit and skim milk
Low sodium broth-based soup, pre cut veggies (carrots, broccoli, peppers, etc) and hummus
Spinach salad (filled with strawberries or seasonal fruit, grilled chicken, crumbled feta cheese, low fat dressing), whole wheat roll


4 oz grilled chicken, steamed broccoli, brown rice, fruit
Black bean chili topped with low fat sour cream and low fat cheese, tossed salad with low fat dressing, fruit sorbet
Whole-wheat spaghetti topped with vegetable filled tomato sauce, whole-wheat garlic bread, fruit salad
Broiled whitefish with lemon, steamed spinach, brown rice, and low fat frozen yogurt

Keep in mind that eating healthfully will help you to lose weight and reduce risk for heart disease, but physical activity is equally as important. You may wish to review Kristi Tuck’s column “Ask Kristi” located on the Healthy Balance website for some suggestions.

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