Heart Month: Eating heart healthy on the go

Limiting saturated fats, sodium can decrease heart disease risk

ROANOKE, Va. – Healthy eating plays a big role in your heart health and risk for heart disease, which is why developing heart healthy habits early is important.

"Our heart is one of the most important organs in our bodies and it’s the only one we have, so it’s important to take good care of it," said Maggie Reinhold, a registered dietitian at Carilion Clinic.

Reinhold said limiting the amount of saturated and trans fats you eat, and limiting your sodium intake are important for your heart.

"There are a lot of great ways to season our foods without using salt, so you can cook with dried or fresh herbs, you can use spices like garlic powder or onion powder," Reinhold said.

Staying heart healthy on the go can be challenging, but Reinhold said there are ways to make healthy choices when you eat out.

"The biggest thing is portion size because a lot of times they're giving us two to even five times as much as we should be eating," Reinhold said.

She said a good way to manage large portions, is to only eat half of the meal.

"Ask for a to-go box and just take half of it and put it into the to-go box, so that way you can avoid overeating and then you’re saving money by getting a second meal out of it," Reinhold said.

She said you should work to avoid fast food if you have to eat on the go, but if you can't avoid it, stick to smaller portions. Reinhold said it's best to look for the healthier options at restaurants, such as baked or grilled instead of fried and avoiding extra condiments to limit added salt.

"You can get salads, you can get baked potatoes and try and avoid adding high fat dairy to that, so avoiding your sour cream or adding a lot of cheese," Reinhold said.

She encourages small changes that can make a big difference when it comes to your heart and health.

"It is a big change to develop healthy eating habits, so just making small changes that are attainable and not giving up on yourself," Reinhold said. 

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