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Kaylor: Be heart smart

By Staff | Feb 6, 2015

Bump up the Nutrition

Aim to eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, fat-free and low-fat dairy and limit items that are high in sugar, sodium, and fats. Reading food labels on packages and containers can help you choose healthier products and make comparisons between similar products.

Vary your veggies – Try buying vegetables in season for better flavor and lower cost. Stock up on frozen veggies for quick cooking in the microwave. Watch out for extra sauces or seasonings, which can add fat, calories and sodium, by checking the Nutrition Facts Label.

Focus on fruits – Put fruit where you will see it, such as a bowl on the table, counter, or cut-up in a container in the fridge. Buy fruit in season for better taste and lower cost. Buy fruits in different forms (dried, frozen, canned [in water or juice], and fresh), to increase your options.

Choose more whole grains – Substitute a whole-grain product for a refined one, such as eating whole-wheat bread instead of white, or brown rice instead of white. Try brown rice in baked green peppers and whole-wheat macaroni in macaroni and cheese. Use whole wheat or oat flour for up to half of the flour in pancake, waffle and muffin recipes. Try an unsweetened, whole grain ready-to-eat cereal as croutons in salad or in place of crackers with soup.

Choose fat-free or low-fat dairy – Include fat-free or low-fat milk at meals. If you usually drink whole milk, switch gradually to fat-free milk, to lower fat and calories. Have fat-free or low-fat yogurt as a snack, as a dip for fruits and vegetables, or a topping for a baked potato. Top casseroles, soups, stews, or vegetables with shredded low-fat cheese.

Go lean with protein – Start with a lean choice. Examples of lean cuts of beef include round steaks and roasts, top loin, top sirloin and chuck shoulder and arm roasts. Examples for pork include pork loin, tenderloin and center loin. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts and turkey cutlets are the leanest poultry choices. Keep your choices lean by trimming away visible fat from meats and poultry and broiling, grilling, roasting, poaching, or boiling meat, poultry or fish instead of frying.

Get Active

Research shows exercise helps prevent heart disease and obesity, and lowers blood pressure. Aim for 30 to 60 minutes on most days. You can even spread it out over the course of your day. Choose activities you enjoy and can do regularly.

Tips to be more active at home:

Join a walking group. Recruit a partner for support.

Walk up and down the soccer or softball field sidelines while watching the kids play.

Take some laps around your local mall or grocery store.

Walk, skate, or cycle more, and drive less.

Do stretches, exercises, or pedal a stationary bike while watching television.

Tips to be more active at work:

Replace a coffee break with a 10-minute walk.

Take part in an exercise program at work.

Join the office softball or bowling team.

Tips to be more active at play:

Walk, jog, skate, or cycle.

Swim or do water aerobics.

Take a class in martial arts, dance, or yoga.

Golf (pull cart or carry clubs).

Play racquetball, tennis, or squash.

Play basketball, softball, or soccer.

Quit Smoking

Did you know that cigarette smokers are two to three times more likely to die from coronary heart disease than non-smokers? Don’t waste time when it comes to quitting smoking. Within a few years of quitting, your risk of stroke and coronary artery disease are similar to non-smokers. Visit americanheart.org and smokefree.gov for more information and resources on quitting.

When it comes to changing your habits, there are lots of different ways to make it happen. Experiment and try different methods and find out what works best for you. Go to food.unl.edu for more food, nutrition and health information.

Source: Healthy Bites January 2012

By Lisa Franzen-Castle, PhD, RD Extension Nutrition Specialist

University of Nebraska Lincoln Panhandle Research and Extension Center



1 lb. frozen green beans (French cut is best)

10.5 oz. canned, reduced-fat, low-sodium cream of mushroom soup

cup low-fat sour cream

tsp. pepper

1 small onion

Nonstick cooking spray

cup whole-wheat flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a 9 x 13 casserole dish, combine green beans, soup, sour cream and pepper. Stir until well mixed and bake for 20 minutes. While casserole bakes, spread out onion sticks and lightly spray with cooking spray. Sprinkle flour over onion pieces, tossing to coat equally. Spray a medium-large skillet with cooking spray and heat to medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until crispy, stirring occasionally. Remove casserole from oven, add onions and stir well. Top with remaining half and return to oven, bake 5 minutes more.

77 calories, 138 mg sodium, $0.62 per serving

Source: heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/Recipes

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