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.

Simple Food Prep Hacks for Busy Families

 

Providing healthy meals is the ultimate challenge for busy parents. Your kids are hurrying up to school in the morning, and you and spouse have many demands to fulfil at your workplaces. Family meals can sometimes become hurried affairs, but that doesn’t mean the family should be deprived of nutritious meals. Here are some simple tips to get you eating at home more and order take-outs less.

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  1. Prepare Your Fresh Produce ASAP

This might be the last thing you want to do when you get home, but when it comes to time-saving cooking, it’s excellent advice for busy weekdays. Nothing eats up time more than lengthy food preparations and dealing with hungry tots at the same time. After grocery shopping, wash and dry your produce right away and put them on storage. This way, they’re ready to use when you need them.

  1. Keep Ready-to-Eat Snacks Around

If it’s not too much of a hassle, cut up some of your produce into bite-sized pieces after washing them. Store them in an air-tight container and put them in the fridge. This isn’t only a quick and after-school snack, but also doubles as a healthy lunchbox snack for everyone. For a fun and delicious treat, pair your pre-cut fruits with chilled melted chocolate for a kid-friendly snack.

  1. Stock Up on Vegetable Puree and Freeze Them

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Purees aren’t just for babies—they’re for adults too. If you have a blender or food processor, just cut up some veggies, add a bit of water and then puree them to a consistency of your liking. Transfer the mixture in an ice cube tray, and then pop them in the freezer. When you make pasta, baked goods, soups or even meatballs, sneak in carrot, broccoli or zucchini puree in the sauces. Your little ones won’t notice it.

  1. Re-Use Leftovers

This is a strategic part of cooking. When planning your meals, try to plan for recipes that can make good leftovers. When you have the right dishes, you can use the leftovers to create new meal—the children won’t even notice! Leftovers can save so much time. If you know how to strategize well, leftovers can be your best friend for your family weekday meals.

  1. Freeze Your Meals

Laksa for dinner? It doesn’t take much time to double or even triple the recipe for more extras you can pop in the freezer. Go for family favourites that can be frozen, and whenever you make one, double the amount and freeze a few. Cookie dough is another great example. You can freeze them in scoops, and then directly pop in the oven.

Meal planning is the ultimate tip to save time on food preparation during busy days. While it can sound intensive, you’ll be amazed how much time, money and effort is saved. No more frequent take-outs or settling for junk foods and feeling guilty afterwards.

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6 Healthy Foods to Always Have In Your Kitchen

 

It’s midnight and your last meal seems like a distant memory. During this time of the day, it’s better to keep your nibbles low in calories. If only you have healthy ingredients on-hand, it would be easier to whip up a healthier snack than opening a pack of Doritos. To make sure you’re always ready to make a guilt-free meal anytime of the day, have a stock of these foods in your kitchen at all times.

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  1. Bananas

Sweet and healthy, bananas are a nutrient powerhouse rich in fibre and potassium. While best eaten on their own, bananas can also be created in a million quick and simple healthy ways. Cut up bananas over your oatmeal or dip slices in almond butter for a flavourful, healthy snack.

  1. Eggs

Eggs are the most versatile low calorie foods. One egg costs around 75 calories, although various ways of cooking it changes the total caloric content. Keep a dozen in your fridge for quick and easy egg snacking ideas.

  1. Milk

It’s always good to have a carton of milk inside your fridge, whether it’s soy, almond, or non-fat. In minutes, you can make hot chocolate with milk or a refreshing good-for-the-body fruit smoothie.

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  1. Avocado

These should be in every kitchen, unless you’re allergic to them. Why? Because avocados are jam-packed with nutrients and can be eaten with breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even on its own. Thrown in some slices for a hearty smoothie or make your own guacamole with organic ingredients for a healthier dip.

  1. Almonds

Keep almonds in your kitchen for a better alternative to greasy snacks—think of buttery crackers and potato chips. The sweet nuts also make a great addition to cereals, smoothies, and yogurt. Store your almonds in the fridge to prevent its oils from oxidizing, which can otherwise cause the nuts to carry harmful free radicals.

  1. Sweet Potatoes

Carbohydrates have earned not-so-good reputation when it comes to fitness. But if you;re looking for a good way to fuel up after an intense gym session, throw in some sweet potatoes to your meal. They are healthier source of carbs, as well as B6 and Vitamin C.

There you have it—six healthy foods to always have in your kitchen. In a pinch, you can create not only a scrumptious snack, but a treat that’s hearty and healthy as well.

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