Planning Meals to Maximize Energy and Minimize Hunger
We 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
- 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.
|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|
|Crackers||Peanut butter||Greens (mustard, kale, turnip, Swiss chard)|
|Chips, pretzels, popcorn||Nuts (any type), Soy nuts||Kohlrabi|
|Sunflower or sesame seeds||Mushrooms|
|Olive, canola oil||Onions|
|Salad greens (lettuce)|