Did you know that President Lyndon B. Johnson was the first to issue a proclamation 50 years ago that designated February as American Heart Month? The proclamation “urges the people of the United States to give heed to the nationwide problem of the heart and blood-vessel disease, and to support the programs required to bring about its solution.”
This proclamation has become an annual event, recognized by each president since Johnson. February is a good time to think of our heart health since it’s also the month we celebrate Valentine’s Day. This month, please consider making heart healthy choices and committing to make every day a heart healthy day.
When you eat out, select restaurants that offer healthy options, such as whole grain foods, fruits, vegetables, low fat entrées, low fat milk, and at least one lower fat dessert. If you are dining with children, make sure the children’s menu has at least one fruit or vegetable (excluding fries). One way to locate restaurants with healthy menu choices is to check the Healthy Dining Guide of Carroll County from The Partnership for a Healthier Carroll County.
Reducing your saturated fat intake can reduce your risk of heart disease. To reduce saturated fat, serve grilled, broiled, baked or poached fish in place of poultry or red meat at least two times a week. You might also try a vegetarian meal one night a week. For chocolate lovers, try a mug of hot cocoa made with skim milk and low fat whipped cream for a treat!
Looking for more heart healthy tips? The American Heart Association shares more ways to eat heart healthy.
Jean Daniello, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E., L.D.N., is a registered dietitian at Carroll Hospital Center.