“But, I don’t have time to eat right,” is probably the most common response I hear when I talk to people about eating heart-healthy. For some of us, changing our diet to one that’s more heart-conscious is no easy task.
Eating healthy can be daunting -- for that matter, in today’s ever moving society, life can be daunting -- and exhausting. Between work, home, family and extra-curricular activities, it’s no wonder that picking up a pizza or a bag of burgers on the way home is sometimes so very attractive.
I’m the first to admit to being guilty as charged when it comes to choosing convenience over healthiness. Life is complicated, often tiring, and frankly there are times when a bucket of chicken or prepackaged food sometimes appears to be the best solution to the end of a stressful day.
Unfortunately, while these foods are convenient, our eating habits continue to contribute to obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, high blood cholesterol, and of course, heart disease. Changing our diet is one way to reduce our risk factors for heart disease.
The challenge is making time to not only eat heart-friendly, but to shop heart-friendly, and know where to go to dine heart-friendly on the days when the kitchen simply isn’t going to happen.
Fortunately, the American Heart Association has several tools available to help meet the challenges of shopping and eating heart-friendly. Below you’ll find just a few of the many tools available to help make shopping -- and eating -- heart-healthy easy.
Don’t know what foods to buy when you’re at the grocery store? Then look for the red Heart-Check Mark. Sponsored by the American Heart Association, the Heart-Check Mark Food Certification Program approves foods which meet program criteria and guidelines for saturated fats and cholesterol.
Approved heart-friendly foods display the Heart-Check Mark on the label. Be certain to look for the Heart-Check Mark on the label at the grocery store.
List of Certified Products
If you’re looking for a list of Heart-Check Mark approved foods, you’ll find one available at http://www.checkmark.heart.org/ProductsByCategory/
Here, you’ll find a comprehensive list of all the Heart-Check Mark approved foods by categories such as breads, breakfast foods, deli items and much, much more. Simply print it out and take it with you the next time you go to the grocery store.
My Grocery List
My Grocery List is an online tool that enables you to create a shopping list of heart-healthy foods. Food choices are listed by category.
You’re able to print the list out or save it and retrieve it later. For more information on My Grocery List, visit http://checkmark.heart.org/
If you want to take My Grocery List on the go, download the My Grocery List to your phone from http://checkmark.heart.org/Instructions#mobile/
Fooducate is a great tool that provides instant information about your food product. Available in an app for iPhone or Android, simply enter the name of the product manually or scan the bar code.
The tool then provides you with information such as calorie content, ingredients and explanations, food point values and more. Foods are also given an easy to understand “grade.” Unfortunately for me, one of my favorite foods received a “D.”
Try Fooducate online for free at http://www.fooducate.com/
Heart-Check Mark. American Heart Association. 22 Sept 2011. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HeartSmartShopping/Heart-Check-Mark_UCM_300133_Article.jsp#.T1v6xfXNqSp
Alicia M Prater. How Do Foods Get Heart-Check Mark? American Heart Association Certified Some Product. ABC News. 2012. http://www.thedenverchannel.com/health/21907448/detail.html
Reviewed March 12, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jessica Obert