Eating Better With Life's Simple 7

Updated:Nov 7,2013

Each year $33 billion in medical costs and $9 billion in lost productivity resulting from heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes mellitus are attributed to poor nutrition.

What can we do to eat better?

  1. Track what you eat.

    The first step to eating right is figuring out what we’re actually eating, when and why.
    Tracking what we eat and when will help us learn what drives our eating decisions.
    heart.org/TrackWhatYouEat
     
  2. Learn the AHA Nutrition Recommendations.
     
    Learning the American Heart Association’s Diet and Nutritional Recommendations will help us learn what a balanced diet means. The eating pattern below shows the suggested number of servings from each food group based on a daily intake of 1,600 or 2,000 calories. There is a right number of calories for you, based on your age, activity level and whether you are trying to lose, gain or maintain your weight.
    heart.org/Recommendations
    • EAT:
      • 6-8 daily servings daily of grain products, with at least half as whole grains.
      • 4-5 servings of fruit daily and 3-5 servings of vegetables daily, in a variety of colors and types.
      • 2-3 servings daily of fat-free, 1% fat or low-fat dairy products (choose fat-free/low-fat, low-sodium cheese).
      • 3-6 oz. daily (cooked) of lean meats, skinless poultry or seafood, eat oily fish at least twice a week.
      • 3 to 5 servings per week of unsalted nuts,  seeds and legumes.
    • LIMIT:
      • fats and oils intake to 2-3 servings per day. Use liquid vegetable oils and soft margarine most often.
      • cholesterol intake to less than 300 mg per day for people with no heart disease risk factors
        OR to less than 200 mg per day for those with heart disease risk factors.
      • added sugars to no more than half of our discretionary calories and sugary drinks to no more than 450 calories (36 oz) per week.
      • sodium to less than 1,500 mg per day.
         
  3. Tips For Success:

    Setting realistic goals and making slow changes over time are the best ways to set ourselves up for success, feel our best and live a healthy life.
     
    • When shopping, read nutrition labels. Learning how to read and understand food labels can help you make healthier choices.
      heart.org/NutritionLabels
    • When cooking at home, take more control over the nutritional content of your food by learning healthy preparation methods.
      heart.org/HealthyCooking
    • When shopping or dining out, look for the Heart-Check mark on packaging and menus as a sign of a food has been certified to meet the American Heart Association's guidelines for a heart-healthy food.to help you make good choices.
      HeartCheckmark.org
    • Learn which fats and oils are heart healthy.
      heart.org/KnowYourFats
    • Keep an eye on the amount of sodium you’re eating each day by learning the Salty Six - common foods loaded with excess sodium.
      heart.org/SaltySix
Learn more at heart.org/mylifecheck and heart.org/nutrition

View the Eating Better Infographic

 


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