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Tips For Heart Healthy Nights Out

June 4, 2010

Heart Healthy DiningModeration and informed decisions are the keys to maintaining a healthy diet for heart health especially when dining out. So here are some tips gleaned from the Mayo Clinic’s DASH Diet pages:

  • Cut down on fats by selecting foods made using healthier cooking styles like steaming, grilling, broiling, baking, roasting, poaching or stir-frying.
  • Meats and vegetables sautéed or stir-fried in a small amount of oil, broth or water are usually lower in fat.
  • Avoid entrees that are fried, fricasseed or creamed, and those sautéed or stir-fried in heavy oil (if you can help it). Steer clear of breasted, stuffed, buttered, breaded or basted entrees, as well as gravies. If the name of an entree contains the term "au gratin," "a la king," "Alfredo" or "parmigiana," choose something else. Always ask for sauce to be served on the side.
  • Choose foods that are lower in sodium by choosing fresh fruits and vegetables, limiting condiments and avoiding anything that may be high in salt, such as anything pickled, cured, smoked, or cooked with soy sauce or broth.
  • For side dishes, choose vegetables and fruit. Baked potatoes, boiled new potatoes and rice also may be good options. Skip the french fries, potato chips and onion rings, as well as vegetables slathered in cheese or cream sauces. Top your potatoes with salsa instead of butter or sour cream. Most restaurants will substitute a healthier side dish if you ask.
  • Avoid oversized servings by splitting it in half before you eat and either sharing it or boxing it up for later. Or you can order lunch or appetizer portions.
  • Be aware that salads aren't necessarily as healthy as they may sound. Many are thick with add-ons, such as cheese and dressing, that significantly increase salt and fat content.
  • If you can't resist dessert, though, choose fresh fruit, gelatin, sorbet, sherbet, fruit ice, meringues or plain cake with fruit puree.