ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Health»
  • Diseases, Disorders & Conditions

Eating Smart With Healthy Meals

Updated on November 8, 2017
Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe has been eating healthy foods for a couple of years, ever since she had open heart surgery to fix a hole in her heart.

Planning a Healthy Menu

Two years ago, I've posted a series of hubs on how you and your family can prevent heart disease by eating smart with healthy foods. You can pick the right choices and start early this year. By switching to meatless alternatives and reducing the salt intake, that's only the tip of the iceberg. Look for the heart-healthy and American Heart Association symbols on food packages. With good nutrition and regular exercise, you can lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and avoid getting clogged up arteries. I'll discuss how to eat well from breakfast to desserts and snacks to plan out a healthy menu for your grocery lists.

Have Eggs for a Meal or a Snack

The Most Important Meal of the Day

Starting out your day with optimal energy, you should include a healthy and hearty breakfast. It will keep you full until lunchtime.

Try out these healthy options, the next time you hit the grocery stores in the fresh and frozen aisles.

Hot and Cold Cereals: If you love cold cereals, you can pick anything that's made from grains and comes in a variety of flavors to choose from. Pair Cheerios or Chex cereal with a glass of milk and add some berries or slices of fresh fruit. Or try Kashi Cinnamon Harvest with Bountiful Fruit, which has no sodium, low in calories and delicious. Add some slices of your favorite fruit. For the wintertime, hot cereals are also a healthy choice, especially if it's instant oatmeal.

Eggs: The incredible edible egg is a healthy food for breakfast to dinner and also for a snack, whether it's soft-boiled, hard-boiled, scrambled or sunny-side-up. A poached egg could be appetizing as well as filling your stomach.

Bacon and Sausage: If you have a hankering for bacon, try the low-sodium or turkey or chicken bacon versions. Do the same for sausage patties and links to crumbles as well. It tastes great, no matter what flavor you buy for your meal.

Pancakes and French Toast: These are also really good choices to have a filling breakfast if you have the time. Whether from scratch or the easier microwavable, frozen versions, it goes great with syrup and a no-salt added butter or margarine to have once a week.

Drinks: Any healthy milk, fruit juice, and smoothie are recommended to get your day going with tons of energy.

On the Go: If you don't have time for a healthy meal, consider these options. Grab a healthy bagel or a slice of wheat toast. Slather it with unsalted butter or with your favorite fruit jelly or jam. Bring a banana or an apple with you to crunch on. Grab a carton of yogurt and enjoy a spoonful flavor of goodness.

Bonus tip: Eggo's have bite-sized breakfast foods to eat in a hurry from French toast, pancakes, or waffles. MorningStar and Jimmy Dean both have a breakfast food line in bacon and sausage meals. Lean Cuisine had come out with a breakfast line of foods in a variety of Egg McMuffin sandwiches and breakfast scrambles. Check the labeling to see if it's low in sodium.

Tuna Salad is a Perfect Heart-Healthy Lunch

Soup's On for lunch

You can kick up your lunch meal by breaking it up and doing something different every single day of the week. For those who do brunch on Sunday, this would work as well.

Tuna fish: Tuna is endorsed by the American Heart Association for a heart-healthy lunch meal. Whether it's on a salad platter or a sandwich, this would make a good meal for any day.

Eggs: Since we're back to eggs again, you can have a sliced egg sandwich or egg salad in a sandwich, or a stand-alone egg salad platter.

Grilled Cheese: Whether it's open or closed, paired up with tomato, bacon, and other versions, this is also another delicious idea with healthy bread and cheeses.

Bacon- Lettuce-and Tomato Sandwiches (BLT): You can't go wrong with this one. Romaine lettuce is fibrous and also a superfood. The tomatoes, too. Choose a low-sodium or turkey bacon for a crunch.

Chicken/Turkey Salads: Whether it's on a sandwich or on a platter, these salads are healthy to eat. If you want to make your own from scratch, try ground chicken or turkey from your local grocery store or from Jennie O or Butterball.

Peanut butter/Nutella: Peanut butter and Nutella are filled with protein and a simple lunch idea to make. You can also pair them with crackers for an easy meal.

Deli salads and fresh salads: If you want to buy salads from the deli counter or those that come packaged, there are many varieties you can choose from. Egg salad, chicken salad, ham salad, potato salad, macaroni, and coleslaw to name a few. Check the label for sodium. If it's lower than 30%, it's okay, especially if it's vegan. For those who want to make their own salads with fresh veggies or by the packaged varieties, that's okay, too. Both versions would be healthy and filled with fiber and protein. And if you want to make your own macaroni or cole slaw, etc., that's all right as well, including making cold pasta salad. And if you want to go to your grocery store's salad bar, you can pick your own healthy ingredients for a perfect meal.

Soups: Whether packaged or canned, soups are the perfect accompaniment for a sandwich, even on a cold day. Healthy Choice, Campbell's Healthy Request and Progresso's Low-Sodium soups are perfect for your meal. If you want to make your own soups from scratch, that's even better, too.

Drinks: Water, milk, and juice would work well for drinks. Smoothies and milkshakes too. On a cold day, hot cocoa, hot tea, hot apple cider, and hot coffee would work well to keep you warm.

Bonus tip: For crackers in your soup, you can do whole wheat, whole grain, low-salt or no-salt varieties. Any croutons would be good for your salads. Bacon bits are okay to add to your salads, too.

Have a Pasta Night

Healthy meal poll

Would you have a healthy breakfast, lunch or dinner with water or milk?

See results

Wholesome Dinner Meals

To round out the day, there are plenty of dinner ideas to keep in mind, especially to get ready for the big game on Super Bowl Sunday or any big meal. The sky's the limit for you when we also talk about the perfect side dish accompaniments.

Burgers and meatloaf: Besides the aforementioned Boca burgers, you can make burgers with ground turkey or ground chicken. Any variety is full of nutrition and full of lean protein. Whether you grill them or bake them in the oven, toaster oven, or microwave, it's perfect for a wholesome meal. For those you want to make meatloaf with or without stuffing inside, you can use the same ground meat to make it, too.

Hot Dogs: If you like hot dogs, try them made with chicken, turkey or both, instead of pork. Grill them up or bake them for a delicious taste, since both kinds are also much lower in sodium.

Eggs: One more time, you can use eggs to make omelets, quiches or frittatas with rice. Or have breakfast for dinner.

Chicken/Turkey: If you love chicken or turkey, you can make many versions of your favorite protein to be baked or broiled, steamed or fried. Turn them into your own healthy version of chicken or turkey tenders and nuggets. Any leftover meat would be great for tomorrow's meat for chicken or turkey salad. Variety is the spice of life when there are many recipes in either protein.

Ham: An occasional ham steak or a whole ham can be okay if you aim for a low salt variety.

Pizza: You can't go wrong with pizza when you make it your own with a store-bought crust. Add tomato sauce and cheese, and plenty of veggie/fruit toppings, instead of pepperoni, salami, and anchovies. If you buy them store-bought, or from your favorite pizza parlor, aim for a healthier version with less salt.

Pasta/Noodles: These carbs will give you a full protein for any pasta dish from spaghetti to lasagna. Any variety can be healthy for you, especially whole wheat or whole grain pasta. Instead of meatballs, try ones made from TVP, ground chicken/turkey, or tofu. If you make your own tomato sauce from scratch, that's all right. For the jarred versions, look for the Heart-Healthy ones from Ragu or Progressive. Cheese sauces also count as well.

Frozen Foods: If you have no energy to cook a full meal, try frozen food dinners in the microwave. There are many to choose from if you pick from Lean Cuisine, Healthy Choice, and Smart Ones.

Fresh, frozen, and canned veggies: For the perfect side dish to any meal, you can add steamed, boiled and baked vegetables that are fresh from your grocery store's produce department. Any of them would be ideal to make a great stew or soup as well. A small salad would be nutritional, too. Pick plenty of carrots, green beans, tomatoes, and potatoes, etc. It would give your family plenty of fiber in their diet. If you prefer frozen veggies, it's really healthy for you to use your local store or BirdsEye's SteamFresh vegetables. You don't have to worry about the added salt content. And speaking of canned veggies, add for the no salt added or low sodium versions. That goes double for baked beans.

Rice: This is another healthy side dish you can add to any meal in a single-serve microwavable version or straight from the box. Add it to stuff your favorite veggies like cabbage and peppers. Brown rice, wild grain, or plain, are all great varieties to choose from and enjoy! Another alternative is quinoa, which is known as the "super grain." Success Boil-in-Bag Quinoa comes in three types, are easier to cook and use, and the least expensive quinoa.

Drinks: Water would be the perfect drink.

Bonus tip: If you love to have a sub sandwich, you can make your own with your favorite veggies, cheese, meats on your favorite bread. Any pizza parlor would carry them. For a healthy version, try Subway sandwiches. They have a FreshFit Heart-healthy sandwich line from the American Heart Association, paired with chips, apples, and water. They also have salads and breakfast wraps. They used to have pizzas on the menu.

Snack On it/Just Desserts

Last but not least, we'll finish with healthy snacks and desserts. Instead of craving chocolates, cookies, and other junk food, try these healthy snacks in between meals and before you go to bed.

Fruits and veggies: Other than an appetizer, try veggies on a platter and dip them in a French Onion or a cheese dip. Make your own salsa and guacamole as well. You can also buy them fresh and eat them anytime like blueberries. Make your own fruit salad or buy canned or packaged fruit from Dole or Del Monte in its fruit cups.

Chips and pretzels: Instead of salty potato chips and pretzels, try a healthier version. Sweet potato and corn chips are delicious and yummy, especially with tortilla chips. I'll recommend Food that Should Taste Good. They come in a line of yummy chip flavors, including pita chips. My brother got me hooked on them two years ago. As for pretzels, if you go easy on the salt, that's okay. Otherwise, stay away from them. Dip them into your veggie dip or sauce. Or try Sabra's Hummus as a healthier alternative. From plain to roasted garlic, you can dip anything into it.

Nuts: Buy them in a bag or a jar to take a crunchy bite of them. Any version is okay, as long as it's unsalted or low in salt.

Chex: If you. Chex craving, have them in part of your favorite trail mix or eat them plain for a snack.

Granola bars: Full of protein that gives a crunch, this would be perfect for a quick snack.

Applesauce: Whether plain or in cinnamon, with a hint of a sprinkle of brown sugar, this would be a great anytime.

As a rule of thumb, you can eat any dessert in moderation. Puddings and Jellos are perfectly fine. If it's made from fruit, it'll be delicious and yummy, too.

In conclusion, if you eat right with low-sodium or no sodium healthier meals, you'll prevent heart disease in the long run.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 13 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Hey Flourish, good for you. It doesn't hurt to try new things like egg salad. Thanks for stopping by.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 13 months ago from USA

      I've been trying to incorporate more meatless alternatives such as soy burgers and the good old peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Egg salad isn't bad either.

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Thank you Emge!

    • emge profile image

      Madan 2 years ago from Abu Dhabi

      Great suggestions for meals. Worth following

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Thanks Diana for your lovely comments.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 2 years ago

      An absolute must read for all people wanting to change their diet. You have me hungry after viewing the photos and reading your suggestions. I love eggs and try to have them at least once a week. Great article!

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Go for it, Apoorva!

    • Apoorva Rao profile image

      Apoorva Rao 2 years ago

      ahha!! i gotta follow this ;)

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Dale, thanks for the funny comment. Pasta is good for you and fills you up.

    • GetitScene profile image

      Dale Anderson 2 years ago from The High Seas

      You had me at pasta.

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Thanks Emge. You can always eat eggs in moderation like with everything else, like once a week.

    • emge profile image

      Madan 2 years ago from Abu Dhabi

      Nice post, but eating too many eggs is bad for health

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      My pleasure Molly. Everyone should eat smart with their meals everyday.

    • Molly Layton profile image

      Molly Layton 2 years ago from Alberta

      Mmm! These are great healthy ideas! Thank you for publishing them.

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Miss Olive, yes it would. My pleasure my friend. If you eat smart, we'll have a healthy heart for sure.

    • missolive profile image

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 2 years ago from Texas

      Hi Kristen, wouldn't it be great if we could find the perfect menu and recipe for our own personal health and nutrition needs? You've done a great job of listing some ideas and options for us. I try to get everything I need through diet but that is not necessarily an easy task. Thank you for a great read.

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Thanks Audrey for stopping by and commenting, my friend. Me too. But it's not soup season for me, unless it's cold enough at night.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 2 years ago from California

      Lots of veggies are my ticket--and I think I could eat soup for every meal of the day! great hub!

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Sandeep, I would give it a try to add lime water. But I love flavored water from ICE and Vitamin Water. Thanks for the visit.

    • sandeep15r profile image

      Sandeep Rathore 2 years ago from New Delhi

      I agree with Poetry man. Neither, I like soda. Water is always a great drink. If you add fresh lime to the water, it becomes wonderful.

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Amen Poetryman. I only drink soda in moderation and stock up on tea, water, milk and juice. Thanks for your comment.

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 2 years ago

      I have to disagree with soda. I have gone without and will continue to do so. Soda has no redeeming social value.

      Water is always the best drink!

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      My pleasure Bill. More veggies and less salt and meat is the way to go. Thanks for the comment. I agree with you on pasta. I tend to it every other week for one day.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great tips Kristen. I could probably eat pasta everyday but that would be a little boring. Thanks for helping to keep us all healthy.

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      My pleasure Rebecca.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 2 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Thanks for these healthy eating tips!

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Thanks Jojo for stopping by. Pizza is always good, when it's healthy.

    • Jojo Yousef profile image

      Jomana H 2 years ago

      My children love pizza, Great hub voted up

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Thanks Linda for stopping by and voting. You can make many meals with eggs. So glad that eggs have returned to be a good food.

    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 2 years ago from Arizona

      You've included many great menu choices for eating smart and healthy. I'll be referring back to this Hub for meal-time ideas. Glad you mentioned eggs. There was a time they were demonized as being a key contributor to high cholesterol. I love that eggs are considered a healthy source of protein again! Voted up and useful.

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Peggy, that's interesting to know about soda kills ant hills. Toilet cleaner too? Hmm. Thanks for stopping by and commenting with those interesting tips.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Moderation is key as you noted in your last sentence. I have not had a soda in decades. Not much to recommend it verses drinking plain water. Did you know that soda poured over ant hills kills the ants? Makes a good toilet cleaner also. Ha!

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Thanks Mary for stopping by. I never had porridge before. Instant oatmeal for sure. Great ideas Mary!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      We have porridge and I use rolled oats with walnuts and cranberries. Last night, we had bean salad and squash. Once in a while, we have a break from meat. We often include greens in our meals such as mustard leaves and bok choy. I will try your other suggestions, too.

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      You're very welcome Adrienne on smart eating for healthy meals. My pleasure!

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 2 years ago from USA

      Awesome ideas for smart eating, thanks for sharing, voted up and useful.

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Thanks Ezzly for sharing my hub with Twitter. I love Subway's subs, esp. when I go to the gym.

    • ezzly profile image

      ezzly 2 years ago

      Yum, that pasta looks delicious ! Clever to show subway's healthy meals too ! Voted up and sharing on twitter !

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Aww thanks my friend. I'm glad to share the wealth of healthy eating for any time of the meals. Thanks for stopping by.

    • colorfulone profile image

      Susie Lehto 2 years ago from Minnesota

      You sure do know what you are talking about. You also just got me very hungry and thinking about what healthy meal I want to cook for dinner. I just might have to have a snack first.

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Au Fait, thanks for stopping by my hub. Spices can be okay in moderation. I haven't check my gmail account yet--I don't do it in the weekend. I'll check it out tomorrow.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 2 years ago from North Texas

      Great information and advice to help people get and stay healthy! I have to watch out for too much salt and spices too.

      Sent you an emaill but I don't know if you received it. If you're like me you may not check your email connected to this site very often. Check your mail. :)

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Thanks for stopping by Crazybeanrider. Eggs are perfect for any meal, even as a snack!

    • crazybeanrider profile image

      Boo McCourt 2 years ago from Washington MI

      I enjoyed reading your hub. Some very useful information as well. I am always looking for a healthy alternative. You can never go wrong with eggs.

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Peach and Peg, thanks for stopping by to comment on my hub.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      These are great suggestions. For myself, I need to cut down on the added salt.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      i love pasta, better than white rice and potatoes, voted up