Between barbeques and cookouts, it can be hard to make healthy eating choices this time of the year. It can be even more challenging to find summer foods for heart failure patients who have to adhere to a special diet. If they do not, they increase the risk of heart failure issues.
Heart failure, also known as congestive heart failure, is a type of heart disease. It can be caused by many heart health issues, including high bad cholesterol and high blood pressure.
Dr. Christopher Herbert, MD, MS, our clinical director of population health, suggested the following tips for heart failure patients to help them stay healthy all summer long.
Plan ahead when traveling
- Pack snacks instead of stopping for fast foods.
- Invest in some small containers and baggies to make packing snacks easier.
- Make it a combo! Combine food groups to build a nutritious snack. For example, peanut butter and an apple combines protein with a fruit.
- Focus on snacks that are salt free and/or don’t contain added salt.
Choose brightly colored fruits and vegetables
- Summer fruits include apples, berries, cherries, mangos, watermelon and cantaloupe.
- Summer vegetables include bell peppers, carrots, green beans, summer squash and zucchini.
- Fruits and vegetables contain many vitamins and minerals, so they are an important part of a heart healthy diet.
Rethink your drink
- Stay well hydrated by increasing your water intake and avoiding sugary drinks like soda, sports drinks and energy drinks.
- Try adding a slice of lemon or lime, berries or a splash of juice to your water to add a little flavor to it.
A few heart healthy snack ideas
- Fresh berries mixed into plain Greek yogurt
- Sliced apple with peanut butter
- Bell peppers with hummus
- Sliced cucumbers with guacamole
- Baby carrots with low fat yogurt sauce
- Celery sticks with peanut butter
- Banana with a handful of almonds
- Piece of turkey rolled around string cheese
- Hardboiled egg with strawberries
- Cottage cheese with fruit
- Tuna salad with crackers
- Trail mix, but make your own with unsalted nuts, dried fruit and seeds
- Canned fruit cup in 100 percent fruit juice or water, not heavy syrup
- Sugar free popsicles or sugar free fudgesicles
Be sure to always snack consciously, as snacking absentmindedly while doing other things can lead to overeating.
- Skinless chicken breasts are a great source of protein.
- Lean cuts of beef, like sirloin or 90 percent lean ground beef, are good beef options.
- Turkey burger and black bean burger are healthy grilling options too.
- Fish, like salmon, are delicious on the grill and are rich in omega-3 fatty acid.
- Olive oil is a good cooking base as it contains unsaturated fats. Also, consider adding some healthy herbs and spices to your meats in order to give them some more flavor.
- As for your finishing touches, use a whole grain bun or use no bun at all.
- When all else fails, just focus on limiting your consumption of processed foods, such as hot dogs, sausages or brats.
Eating healthy foods for heart failure patients can help you reduce the risks associated with this health condition.