Young hispanic woman eating healthy salad at home smiling in love doing heart symbol shape with hands. romantic concept.

Starting a journey towards heart-healthy eating doesn’t have to be overwhelming. It’s not about strict diets but rather making sustainable changes that align with your lifestyle. Recognizing that eating a healthy diet is a cornerstone of treating and preventing heart disease is easy to understand but implementing it can be challenging. Keep in mind, when it comes to eating plans, there’s no one-size-fits-all that will work for everyone.

What is Heart-Healthy Eating?

Heart-healthy eating is a proactive approach to lowering the risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Embrace a plan that works for you! Here are some ways to start making small changes:

  • Prioritize fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and high-fiber foods.
  • Incorporate lean proteins such as seafood, lean meats, beans, nuts, and soy products.
  • Substitute for healthy fats like canola and olive oil.
  • Avoid saturated and trans fats, limit sodium and alcohol, and reduce added sugar intake.

How to Get Started

Begin by reflecting on what truly matters to you. Your personal motivations will be the driving force behind your commitment to heart-healthy eating. Explore your feelings about change and identify both the challenges and positive aspects. Draw inspiration from past successes, times when changes were easier, and apply that wisdom to your current journey.

Celebrate every small victory, whether creating a grocery store checklist, engaging in meal prepping, or opting for a healthier substitute—each positive change contributes to your overall success.

What Does Heart-Healthy Eating Look Like?

Choosing a heart-healthy diet doesn’t mean you need to say goodbye to your favorite recipes. Small modifications can make a big difference! Opt for heart-healthy choices by making small substitutions, like choosing:

  • Avocado oil or olive oil instead of shortening or margarine
  • Fat-free milk over whole milk
  • Lean proteins, such as ground turkey or extra-lean beef
  • Low-sodium alternatives or enhance flavor by replacing salt with herbs, spices, or lemon

5 Recipes for a Day of Heart-Healthy Eating

Healthy eating starts with food choices. You don’t have to be a chef when it comes to creating nutritious and heart-healthy meals for you and your family because VEBA Resource Center’s Chef Leslie has got you covered! Try out these heart-healthy recipes the next time you’re in the kitchen:

Visit our VRC Recipe Library for more inspiration and easy substitutions/modifications for heart-healthy eating.

The Heart of the Matter

Remember, small changes lead to lasting habits. Embrace the journey, one step at a time, and you’ll see the benefits of making these changes in your diet, turning it into an achievable and enjoyable part of your everyday life. Your heart health is an investment in lifelong wellness filled with flavorful possibilities!

The VEBA Resource Center offers many Cooking & Nutrition Classes. Join us to learn how to blend the art of food and cooking with the science of medicine to optimize your overall health and wellness – all while having fun! Check out our calendar to sign up for an upcoming class.