Using the Heart-Check Mark with Your Clients or Patients

Updated:Dec 13,2016

Your clients/patients want fast, easy solutions for eating healthy. They may ask you which foods are better choices. The Heart-Check mark helps eliminate the guesswork and guides them toward foods that meet the nutrition requirements for certification. It’s one of many useful resources offered by the American Heart Association.  

Your clients/patients trust your nutrition guidance, and, as always, you can trust the American Heart Association as your go-to source for matters related to heart health. You are the key to showing your clients/patients how to take the first step to improve their eating habits.

By combining the Heart-Check mark with your expert guidance, even small changes can result in improvements in heart health for your clients/patients. The Heart-Check mark is a powerful tool to keep them motivated to succeed.

Getting Practical with the Heart-Check mark
Incorporate the Heart-Check handouts and teaching activities into conversations with your clients/patients to get them started on the path to healthier eating.

Heart-Check Handouts

  • PUTTING IT INTO PRACTICE: As a health professional, you know that making a plan goes a long way to achieving success, in this case adopting healthy behaviors. The “My action plan for heart health” handout in this toolkit can help facilitate the discussion about goal-setting between you and your clients/patients. The exercise will help jump-start their efforts by identifying action steps they can take to develop healthier eating habits. We recommend starting with easy short-term goals — for example, ask them to crunch on certified nuts instead of chips. Once they’re on a roll and start gaining confidence, have them work up to longer-term goals, like getting sodium intake down to less than 1,500 milligrams a day.
  • TEACHING ACTIVITY: When reviewing daily food records kept by your clients/patients, use examples of Heart-Check certified foods to demonstrate good alternatives. The list of heart-healthy certified foods is updated regularly. Incorporate these food changes into their “My Action Plan for Heart Health” handout so that changes can be implemented over time rather than all at once.
  • RESOURCE: With My Life Check, available free at, your clients/patients can receive a personalized heart assessment and customized life plan that identifies seven goals for a heart-healthy lifestyle.

Action Steps

  • Teach clients/patients how to take advantage of the Heart-Check mark by using the resources and teaching activities detailed on this page.
  • Take a look at the list of Heart-Check certified foods and jot down a few that you plan to buy during your next shopping trip. Try it for yourself so you can recommend certified foods based on experience.
  • Let clients/patients know about the variety of product categories in which they will find the Heart-Check mark. Tell them how to look for heart-healthy foods throughout the grocery store and encourage them to try something new.
  • Share with your clients/patients that the Heart-Check mark simplifies the process of interpreting the Nutrition Facts label because it represents a “bundling” of criteria. This usually includes total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium and beneficial nutrients, which are all important in determining if a food can be part of a healthy diet.
  • Share how you use the Heart-Check mark in your practice or in the community. Use hashtag #HeartCheckMark on Twitter or post a comment on our Facebook page.

Heart-Check Mark for Health Professionals