American Family Children's Hospital

Planning Meals to Maximize Energy and Minimize Hunger

Our Services

Preventive Cardiology


Healthy Eating Resources

Meal Planning Guide (pdf)

Four Simple Meathods for Healthy Eating


Healthy Recipes

Find delicious recipes that fit within a healthy lifestyle.

Heart-Healthy Recipes

Fruit and nutsWe all know that a critical part of eating healthier is planning ahead, and that the type and timing of meals is vital for good health.


The following guide will help you plan meals and snacks that provide foods from most food groups and a balance of protein, carbohydrate, and fat.


Plan to eat at least four times per day, and use your body's hunger and fullness signals to decide how much to eat.


And, keep in mind the following tips:

    • Breakfast is key - it gives your metabolism a boost and provides energy during the time of day when you need it
    • Avoid waiting longer than 4 hours between meals or snacks to prevent overeating later in the day
    • Include plenty of fruits and vegetables to fill you up with healthy fiber
    • Avoid sweetened drinks because they provide calories but very little long lasting energy
    • If you have a dessert, keep the serving small, and substitute it for part of the grain - starch at that meal

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  • Use smaller plates, bowls, and glasses to help keep serving sizes under control
  • Plan ahead to have healthy foods on hand wherever you are

For additional tips on eating healthy, Gail Underbakke, UW Health nutrition coordinator for the Preventive Cardiology program, recommends four simple methods to help. Read Four Simple Methods for Healthy Eating


Guide to Heart-Healthy Foods


Below are lists of heart-healthy foods to eat in each of the categories. Use our Meal Planning Guide (pdf) to help you plan a healthy balance at each meal.




(High Carbs)

Protein/Healthy Fats


(High Carbs)


(Low Calories/Carbs)

Bread, buns, rolls Fish (salmon, tuna, cod, haddock, perch) Fresh fruit


Cooked cereal (oatmeal, etc) Herring or sardines Fruit canned in light syrup or fruit juice Beans (green, wax, Italian)
Cold cereal Chicken, turkey Dried fruit Bean sprouts
Pancakes, waffles Lean pork, beef, ham Frozen fruit Beets
Tortillas, pita bread Veggie burgers, tofu

Fruit juice (6-8 ounce glass)

English muffins, bagels Cottage cheese   Brussels sprouts
Rice, barley Low-fat cheese (String, Mozzarella, Farmers)   Cabbage
Spaghetti, noodles Low-fat yogurt   Carrots
Corn, peas Low-fat or skim milk   Cauliflower
Baked beans Egg (up to 4 yolks per week)   Celery
Potato Beans, peas, lentils   Cucumber
Sweet potato Hummus   Eggplant
Crackers Peanut butter   Greens (mustard, kale, turnip, Swiss chard)
Chips, pretzels, popcorn Nuts (any type), Soy nuts   Kohlrabi
  Sunflower or sesame seeds   Mushrooms
  Avocado   Okra
  Olive, canola oil   Onions
      Pea pods
      Salad greens (lettuce)
      Summer Squash
      Water chestnuts