Heart Healthy For Life

Rachel Sheahan, Food & Friends dietetic intern from Virginia Tech - February 12, 2018

February is Heart Healthy Month and the American Heart Association wants to help you make lasting changes in your life and health with their revolutionary movement: “Healthy for Good.”

The movement has four components: Eat Smart. Add Color. Move More. Be Well.

Each part is full of tips that can be slowly incorporated into your daily routine one at a time.



Eat Smart

● Portion Control read nutrition labels carefully, concentrate on smaller portions rather than forcing yourself to eliminate favorite foods.

● Add Fiber Rich Foods like whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruit to keep you full.

● Do Not Buy Empty Calories you are less likely to eat sugary snacks if they are not there!

● Avoid Saturated and Trans Fats: replace with non-tropical liquid oils, nuts and seeds, avocados and fatty fish.

Add Color

● Bring on the Flavor: roast, grill or sauté your fruits and vegetables to unlock sweetness and add flavor.

● Serving Size: get a whole serving of most fruits and vegetables with just one half cup of fresh, frozen or canned produce

● Watch for Added Sugar and Salt check labels of frozen and canned packages and rinse canned produce in colander to remove additives.

● Eat a Rainbow add color to all meals and snacks a little at a time.

Move More

● Start Walking: it is an easy way to add activity to your day; make it enjoyable by walking with friends or listening to your favorite music or podcast.

● Warm-up and Cool Down for 5 -10 Minutes: before and after exercise to prevent injury and increase flexibility.

● Making Time for Activity carve out at least 22 minutes per day of activity; break it up into 10-15 minute intervals.

● Hydrate and Fuel: hydrate with water throughout the day and fuel with healthy carbs 2 hours before exercise; refuel with lean protein, healthy carbs and plenty of water after exercise.

Be Well

● Sleep Your Way to Whole Body Health good sleep makes you less likely to crave sugary, fatty foods; establish a bedtime routine; aim for 7 hours of sleep.

● Clear Your Mind with Activity: practicing yoga has immediate and long-term benefits that contribute to your health, including strength and flexibility.

● Add Balance with Mindful Meditation: practice regularly with just a minute or two per day; neutralize your racing mind by acknowledging thoughts as they come and letting them pass freely.

● Make Self-Care a Priority do not overlook your emotional and mental health–get help when you need it.

To join the movement, visit https://healthyforgood.heart.org/ for tips, videos and life hacks to keep you Healthy For Good.

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