How do you like your Heart Attack on a Platter?
According to the American Heart Association, the direct and indirect cost of cardiovascular disease was $503.2B in 2010. Imagine having the power to prevent heart disease, diabetes, and even heart attacks. The fact that two out of every three deaths are from preventable causes of death, it’s imperative that we truly become more concious consumers.
Naturally we are concerned about high cholesterol or high blood pressure so why don’t we avoid, or at least learn, the physical costs of some of our favorite ‘comfort’ foods? At a time when we are busier with less rest and people on the average are eating out three to four times a week, it’s important that we plan how we FUEL our bodies better and save ourselves the costs of emotional and unconcious eating regardless of our schedules.
The list below includes ten foods that many consume on a regular basis with their caloric costs and a healthier or less ‘expensive’ alternative.
1. Fried chicken. As if I needed to tell you, fried foods are known cholesterol and fat powerhouses, but chicken can be made healthy. Just four pieces of KFC’s Original Recipe Chicken, for example, comes with 920 calories, 63g of fat, 350mg of cholesterol–and that’s not including the fatty sides we eat along with it.
Instead, try this: A grilled, skinless chicken breast is one of the most nutritional meats you can eat. At only 120 calories, 1.5g of fat, and just 70mg of cholesterol, a grilled chicken breast can make a tasty substitute for its fried, fat-loaded and more popular cousin.
2. Sausages. A “regular” at tailgate parties, picnics, and barbecues, sausages can wreak havoc on your arteries. The Johnsonville Original Bratwurst or Italian Sausages contain 22g fat (8g saturated fat), and 810mg of sodium(salt) per grilled link.
Instead, try this: Try smoked turkey sausages. At only 110 calories, 6g of fat (1.5g saturated fat) turkey sausages–though still not to be eaten everyday–are a far better alternative.
3. Chips. First, consider that the average 1-ounce bag of plain, salted potato chips contains 155 calories, 10.6g of fat (3.1g saturated fat) and 149mg of sodium. Then multiply those numbers by 112: that’s the number of 1-ounce bags that the average American eats in a year. It’s the equivalent of seven pounds of potato chips annually.
Instead, try this: A great choice instead of greasy, oily potato chips and the fat dips and sauces we drown them in is the dynamic duo of pita and hummus(high in iron and vitamin C). One pita has under 100 caloriesand less than one gram of fat. Hummus is an excellent, low-fat, low-cholesterol choice for a dip. It tastes great and is good for you.
4. Steak. Typically, high amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol make red meat an unhealthy heart choice. A top sirloin cut of beef, raw, can run you 594 calories, 18.5g of fat (6.8g saturated fat), and 191mg of cholesterol.
Eat this instead: Choose the right cuts of beef so you can help save your arteries. Filet mignon while it’s a bit costlier, will only cost you 6.7g of fat (2.5g saturated fat), and 67mg of cholesterol. For a less expensive option, grab you a nice T-bone steak.
5. Burgers. McDonald’s famous Big Mac contains 540 calories, 29g of fat, and 1040mg of sodium. Even if you make your hamburgers at home, a three-ounce patty made with 80 percent-lean beef has 14.8g of fat (5.6g saturated fat), and 76mg of cholesterol.
Try this: Ground turkey breast is the best alternative for ground beef at an amazing 120 calories, 1g of fat (0g saturated), and 28g of protein per four-ounce burger. Add some ground pepper, a pinch of cayenne, and maybe some sliced jalapenos to spice up your turkey burger.
6. Pizza. While it is a convenient, snappy delivery buddy, pizza is definitely not a friend of our heart. One single plain slice can have as little as 9.8g of fat (4.4 saturated fat), and 551mg of sodium. Honestly though, who is stopping at one slice? Exactly!
How ’bout this: Pizza, still in moderation, is an easy, do-it-yourself meal. Start with whole wheat dough, English muffins, or pitas, then add sauce and reduced fat cheese to create a flavorful, healthy alternative.
7. Pasta. Another favorite, I know, is this Italian classic: spaghetti and meatballs. Mom’s or grandma’s recipe may include a secret ingredient or two, but the dish served at Romano’s Macaroni Grill has some secrets that need to be let out: 1,430 calories, 81g of fat and 41g of saturated fat, and 4540mg of sodium.
Eat this: If you are just craving pasta, why not try the whole wheat variety, which contains only 197 calories, 0.8g fat, and is a great source of fiber. Add a little bit of that marinara sauce, and if you just have to have meatballs, go for ground turkey instead.
8. Ice cream. It may remind us of your carefree childhood days, but today’s ice cream is anything but innocent. Cherry Garcia, Ben and Jerry’s best-selling flavor, crams 14g of fat (10g saturated), and 22g of sugar in just two scoops.
Instead: The frozen yogurt version of Cherry Garcia contains just half the calories and only 3g of fat.
9. Doughnuts. It should be no surprise that these breakfast holes, claws, rings of misery made the list of worst heart foods. This is just a flavored doughy variety of that stuff you spray onto your pants and shirt. Just one Krispy Kreme Creme Filled Chocolate Doughnut is a “killer”: 20g of fat (5 saturated), 23g of sugar, and 38g of carbohydrates.
Try this: Reach for some artery-friendly instant oatmeal, which has been shown to lower the bad LDL cholesterol and even boost your metabolism. Throw in some fresh berries or raisins for an excellent start to any day.
10. Cheesecake. Oh man, the sweet tooth, look out; without much effort, the salivating seduction of each creamy, beautiful slice of cheesecake creeps us closer and closer to running up your calorie and fat intake. An especially risky choice is the Cheesecake Factory’s Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake, which packs a jaw dropping 860 calories, 57g of fat, and 80g of carbohydrates per slice.
Eat this: If you just have to have your cheesecake, just choose the plain variety. With 315 calories, 20g of fat, and 25g of carbohydrates, it’s still not a healthy choice, but it is less detrimental to your heart.
Remember, one single pound is 3500 calories. We have to make better choices when it comes to determining where we want those calories to come from. We are allowed only 65 grams of fat(80 grams on 2500 calorie meal plan), 300 milligrams of cholesterol, and less than 2400 milligrams(1500 mg for someone with high bp) of sodium(salt) a day according to a 2,000 calorie meal plan.