Feeling nervous about BBQ and beach season?

As summer is finally upon us and the heat makes us want to take off all those layers of clothing, families are looking to enjoy a fun summer, while making responsible and healthy choices. The Ottawa Heart Institute is making it easy for everyone with ten easy tips that will get us on our way for the summer… and all year long.

This list was developed by the team of registered dietitians at the Heart Institute and draws on a solid foundation of accepted guidelines and best practices, as well as on newer research that is shifting the emphasis from specific nutrients, such as protein, cholesterol or vitamins, to whole foods.

  1. Cook at home more often to avoid processed foods.
  2. How you eat is as important as what you eat. Enjoy your meals without multitasking.
  3. Listen to your body - eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re satisfied.
  4. Eat at regular times.
  5. Plan healthy snacks.
  6. Eat a variety of vegetables and fruits at every meal. So many of them are available at grocery stores and farmers markets.
  7. Eat whole grains more often.
  8. Eat fish at least twice a week.
  9. Include legumes like beans, chickpeas, lentils, nuts and seeds more often.
  10. Don’t be afraid of fat. Choose olive oil and canola oil more often.

“Summer time can be hectic for families when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle as the routine established during the winter months doesn’t always survive the holidays. Planning ahead of time and keeping in mind easy, simple eating habits will help families choose healthy delicious foods all summer long,” said Kathleen Turner, a Registered Dietitian at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.

Good nutrition is essential to normal growth, development, and overall health. It is especially important for your heart. Cooking more at home and taking time to enjoy meals with friends and family is an important part of healthy eating. It has been shown that even small changes to what you eat can reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

For more information on how to keep a healthy heart for you and your family, consult the Ottawa Heart Institute Prevention and Wellness website.

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