Amber's Heart Healthy Fiber Diet

I got most of the ideas for this diet from the American Heart Association Website. This diet is aimed at reducing cholesterol and losing weight. Increasing exercise is also an important factor in weight loss and cholesterol reduction. Always consult your doctor. You may find that some whole-wheat items or fat-free items (hot dogs) are more expensive than their counterparts- pay it in your wallet or pay it in your health care costs down the road! Save the money by buying things like baby carrots instead of potato chips. If you want to get your weight down (fast and safe) you really need to go to www.healthcanbesimple.com then keep it off by doing the following.

Main Points:

  • Count your Fiber grams. Increase daily fiber intake to 25-35 grams per day (this is actually just the standard recommended amount). Try to focus on getting both soluble and insoluble fiber sources each day.
    • Good Soluble Fiber sources: Oatmeal, cauliflower, lemons, oranges, apples, carrots, Kashi Go Lean Cereal, dried beans, etc. Check the labels/website below.
    • Good Insoluble Fiber sources: whole wheat, green beans, broccoli, most skins on fruits and vegetables, pear with skin, berries (especially black berries), many cold cereals like raisin bran (check the label- don’t get it if it’s less than 5 grams dietary fiber!)
      • Buy 100 % whole wheat bread with more than 2 grams dietary fiber per slice.
      • Another good hot cereal is Krusteaz Zoom (similar to Cream of Wheat, but it’s whole cracked wheat- you can get it at Smith’s.)
      • Don’t think that “Carbs” are the enemy. Think of WHITE carbs as the enemy. White bread, white rice, white noodles, white sugary cereals, white flour tortillas should be treated like desserts (that’s what your body sees- only sugar).
      • Grocery stores have GREAT choices these days for brown rice (or bulgar is yummy) whole wheat breads that are soft and moist, and heart healthy pastas like Barilla Plus. Also “low-carb” wheat tortillas are very yummy.
      • If you like crackers- Kashi makes a yummy little cracker called “TLC” that have two grams dietary fiber (most crackers have zero). Also try 100% whole wheat Wheat Thins.
  • Count your calories
    • First make a log of everything you eat for a few days (calories and fiber)
    • Reduce your calorie intake by 200-400 depending on how quickly you want to lose weight. I reduced mine from 2000 to 1600 and lost about 5 pounds per month (with added exercise).
    • Butter or margarine- Which one? The answer is neither! You need to go and buy two things: I can’t believe it’s not butter spray, and Promise heart-healthy spread. The spray is great for spraying on veggies, air-popped popcorn (high in fiber by the way) or waffles (it gets in those nooks) and the spread is great for toast or anything else. Both taste great, and have no trans fats (that increase bad cholesterol).
    • Look for ways to cut calories like:
      • Non-fat options of cream cheese and sour cream.
      • Splenda sweetener is terrific, even if you use it half and half with sugar, you’re cutting half the calories!
      • Try Vanilla Soy milk to put over your cereal (or I like it to drink, too!) It’s less calories, no cholesterol, and actually contains soy protein that also reduces bad cholesterol. Use it in cooking and your family will NOT know the difference.
    • Add in fish to your diet three times per week. Costco has yummy Mahi Mahi, or just buy something like lemon pepper Gorton’s filets (don’t get breaded because it’s higher fat). Tuna sandwich with low fat mayo on whole wheat bread will do just fine.
    • Eat red meat sparingly- once per week at most, even less would be better.
    • If you need to use oil, use olive oil, which has the omega three fatty acids. But try to use that sparingly.
  • Add exercise into your DAILY routine. You should be exercising at least four times per week at least 30 minutes each time (Curves for Women helped me raise my metabolism through strength training, thus lowering my body fat percentage also.)
  • Good Website for calorie/fiber counts: http://www.calorie-count.com

Click here to download in Word doc format