Changing to a healthful meal plan

By Tanya Davis | Published Wednesday, February 13, 2013

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Last week’s article pointed out five essential things women can do to reduce their risk of heart disease. Reducing your blood cholesterol level by selecting a healthful meal plan low in fat, particularly saturated and/or trans fatty acids, and low in cholesterol is a great way to begin lowering your risk of heart disease. The following dietary guidelines are good choices to use when planning a healthful meal plan.

First, cut back on saturated and/or trans fatty acids, and replace them with unsaturated fatty acids.

Choose 2 to 3 ounce servings of poultry, fish and lean cuts of meat more often. Remove the skin from chicken and trim the fat from meat.

Bake, broil or boil rather than fry.

Drink three servings daily of skim milk or 1 % milk instead of 2% milk or whole milk. Eat cheeses with no more than 2 to 6 grams of fat per ounce(low-fat cottage) instead of processed, natural and hard cheeses (American, brie and cheddar).

Limit the use of butter, cream, salad dressings, margarine, shortening and oil.

Use tub margarines or liquid vegetable oils that are high in unsaturated fatty acids (safflower, corn and olive oil).

Cut down on commercially prepared and processed foods made with saturated fats, such as non-dairy creamers, oils, cakes, cookies, candies, etc. Read labels to choose foods low in both saturated fats and trans fats.

Second, to cut back on dietary cholesterol found only in foods of animal origin, eat less organ meat such as liver, brain and kidneys and eat fewer egg yolks. Try substituting two egg whites for each whole egg in recipes, and eat less shellfish such as oysters.

Next, to increase nonstarchy carbohydrates (starch and fiber), eat more whole grain breads and cereals, pasta, rice, and dried peas and beans, and eat vegetables and whole fruits (rather than juice) more often.

Finally, to lose weight, eat fewer calories (cutting back on fat in your meal plan will really help); and burn extra calories by exercising regularly.

For additional information on changing to a healthful meal plan, call the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Wise County, at 940-627-3341.

Tanya Davis is a Wise County Extension agent.

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