How to Plan Heart-Healthy Meals

Changing one’s eating habits can be challenging, even if you know that eating certain foods increases your risk of acquiring a heart disease. Whether you have been on an unhealthy diet for years or you just want to improve your diet, here are some tips on how you can plan out heart-healthy meals. Once you know which foods to limit and which to eat more, you will be on your way towards enjoying a heart-healthy diet.

1. Manage Your Portion Size

How much food you eat is as important as what you eat. Overloading your plates and eating until you’re stuffed will make you consume more calories than you should. A good way to keep this from happening is to use smaller plates and bowls to control your meal portions. Consume larger portions of nutrient-rich, low-calorie foods like vegetables and fruits, and smaller portions of high-sodium, high-calorie foods like processed or refined foods. Following this strategy will surely help you shape your diet and your waistline.

Also, keep track of the number of servings that you eat. For pastas, you should only consume about half a cup (about the size of a hockey puck). For chicken, fish and meat, limit your consumption to only two to three ounces. According to dietitians in Singapore, judging serving portions is a learned skill. So you might need to use measuring spoons or cups until you’re confident of your judgment.

2. Consume More Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are good sources of minerals, vitamins and dietary fibre. A study conducted by a group of cardiologist in Singapore even revealed that these foods contain substances found in plants, which might help in preventing cardiovascular disease. Consuming more vegetables and fruits will help you eat less high-fat foods like cheese, meats and junk foods.

Incorporating them into your heart-healthy diet is also pretty easy. Just make sure that you wash them and keep them in the refrigerator to serve as a quick snack alternative. Also, choose recipes that have fruits and vegetables as their main ingredient, such fresh fruits mixed into salads or a vegetable stir-fry.

3. Choose Whole Grains

As a respected Singapore cardiologist in Singapore will tell you, whole grains serve as a good source of fibre that plays an important role in regulating your blood pressure and improving heart health. Increase the amount of whole grains that you add in your diet by making a substitute for refined grain products – or be adventurous, and try other whole grain products such as whole-grain barley, farro and quinoa.

4. Limit Your Consumption of Unhealthy Fats

Limiting the amount of saturated and trans-fat that you consume is a crucial step in reducing your blood cholesterol levels and lowering your risk of suffering from coronary artery disease. The best way to do this is by controlling the amount of solid fats that you include in your meals. You can also reduce your fat consumption by choosing lean meats or simply by trimming fat off your choice of meat.

Some cardiologist in Singapore also recommend choosing monounsaturated fats found in canola and olive oil or polyunsaturated fats that are found in avocados, certain fishes, nuts and seeds. When used in place of saturated fat, these fats may help in lowering your blood cholesterol. Just remember to use them in moderation, since all types of fat are known to have a high calorie content.

5. Opt for Low-Fat Protein Sources

Eggs, fish, poultry, lean meat and low-fat dairy products are some of the best sources of protein. However, be mindful when choosing lower fat options like skinless chicken breasts instead of chicken patties, or using skimmed milk instead of whole milk; skimmed milk and skinless chicken breasts are actually less healthy option since they don’t have the desirable fat-to-protein balance that the body needs. Fish is another good alternative for high-fat meats, since various types of fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that aid in lowering triglycerides.

Legumes, such as beans, lentils and peas, are also considered as good sources of protein with lower fat content and no cholesterol. So substitute plant protein for animal protein to aid in reducing your cholesterol and fat intake.

6. Plan Out Your Daily Menu

Now that you know which foods to have more and which ones to limit for a heart-healthy diet, it’s now time to put your knowledge into action. Use the above tips in creating your menu. When choosing foods for your meals and snacks, health experts in Singapore suggest emphasizing the use of fruits, vegetables and whole grains as the main ingredient. Choose healthy fats and lean protein sources, but limit salty foods.

Also, make sure to watch your portion sizes and add some variety to your menu. If you grilled salmon one evening, for instance, consider making a black-bean burger on the next night. Doing this ensures that your body gets all the nutrients it needs – plus, adding variety to your snacks and meals makes it more interesting.

7. Indulge on Treats Occasionally

Although your Singapore cardiologist emphasizes the importance of sticking to your heart-healthy diet, allow yourself to indulge every once in a while. Eating a handful of potato chips or a chocolate bar won’t derail your diet, but make sure that you don’t use it as an excuse to give up on your healthy-eating plan. If overindulgence is your main concern, then balance things out before treating yourself to your favourite snack.

Incorporating these meal-planning tips in your life is what will make healthy eating more doable and enjoyable. With proper planning, a few substitutions and the help of your Singapore cardiologist, you will definitely be able to eat with your heart health in mind.

Eggs, Fish, poultry, lean meat and low-fat dairy products are some of the best sources of protein. But be careful in choosing lower fat options like skinless chicken breasts instead of fried chicken patties and skim milk as a replacement for whole milk. Fish is another good alternative for high-fat meats, since certain types of fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that aid in lowering triglycerides.

6 Daily Habits for a Leaner Tummy

 

A flat, well-toned tummy is a goal we all want to achieve, but ditching your favourite foods and endless crunches isn’t the right way to do it. A trimmed tummy and sculpted core can be achieved by incorporating small changes, like walking and sitting in proper posture or using the stairs instead of the elevator, into your day-to-day activities. Here, we’ll share to you six simple ways to getting your core into shape.

Test shoot with Rachel Barnes and Cailin Rossen in La Jolla CA

  1. Chest Out, Stomach In

When walking, try to imagine there’s an internal magnet inside you pulling your belly button towards your spine. Practice walking and standing up with your stomach tuck in until it becomes comfortable, and soon this easy ab move will feel natural.

  1. Walk and Talk

Catching up with friends doesn’t always mean binge eating and drinking. Suggest a get-together on the move—because it’s always easier to work-out if you have exercise buddy. You can go together and try a new fitness class, do a yoga class, or if you feel a bit extreme, a short trek would be exciting.

  1. Add Avocado to Your Meals

Avocado is rich in good fatty acids, and just half of this fruit contains 10 grams of monosaturated fat, which prevents blood sugar spikes that signals the body to store more fat. Have one-fourth cup of avocado everyday to ward-off fat naturally.

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  1. Get Stone Fruits

According to studies, stone fruits—like peaches, nectarines, and plums—can help ward off belly fat. The tummy-flattening properties of these fruits could be from phenolic compounds that help limit activities of fat genes. Chop one up and toss it to your cereal or salad, or munch on one as your healthy afternoon snack.

  1. Say No to Salty Foods

Salt causes excessive bloating as sodium attracts and retains water. To bust the bloat, avoid junk foods, preserved goods, and processed meats that area loaded with seasonings. These foods are subtle sources of sodium that can lead to bloating.

  1. Clean Your Garden

Aside from growing your own produce, working in your garden can provide many health benefits. Tending to your plants can lead to a leaner tummy because of so many movements, not to mention you also get to work your arms and legs.

Achieving a flatter tummy is going to take some time and work, but the health benefits you’ll reap are totally worth it. Plus, you get to wear all the clothes you like, who wouldn’t want that?

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How to Turn Down Your Appetite

You are on a diet but it is very challenging because you tend to want more. Your appetite dictates your hunger and so you give in. You can give in or you can fight it. The good news is that there are many ways that you can consider to turn down your appetite. You need a lot of self-discipline.

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If you are serious about turning down your appetite, you have to consider the following things:

  • Consume fibre more: If you feel hungry, you should bulk up your meals but not just any meal. You have to consider fibre-rich meals. These meals can reduce appetite. So, the next time you are hungry and you are craving for something big, turn to fruits and vegetables rich in fibre.
  • Wash appetite with soup:  Believe it or not, soup can make a difference. Make a soup out of a broth or vegetable. You will notice that you will eat fewer because the soup already occupied most of the space.

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  • Eat salad more: If you eat salad more, you will eat few in the actual meal. When you make salad, be wary about the dressing. If you want a healthy salad, make sure that you do not consider high-calories.
  • Eat low-calorie foods: Yes, fibre can turn down your appetite but you must also know that food rich in low-calorie foods can also help with the appetite. You have to consider oranges and grapefruits to stay on course.
  • Slow down: When you are really hungry, you tend to eat fast. You have to eat slow because it takes minutes before your brain gets the message that you are full. If you eat fast, you will tend to consume more before your brain stops you.

Singapore has a lot of things to offer when it comes to gastronomical foods. If you find this difficult, you can seek for help. There are many people here in Singapore who are willing to help and guide you. There’s your nutritionist, parents, family, friends and colleagues.

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