Central Vermont Home Health & Hospice has partnered with the American Heart Association of Vermont for American Heart Month, in February, to help you make informed, heart-healthy choices when you go to the grocery store and out to dinner.

Visit us online at www.cvhhh.org/hearthealth for an easy, heart-healthy recipe for roasted butternut squash soup that is perfect for the chilly months ahead.

Tips for the grocery storeStart with the outer aisles. This is where you’ll find fresh foods like fruits, vegetables and lean meats. The center aisles are generally where prepackaged and processed foods are stored. These foods contain longer ingredient lists and can contain higher amounts of sodium, which contributes to high blood pressure.

Be prepared. Don’t go food shopping when you’re hungry. Do go with a shopping list, and avoid those impulse buys at the register.

Avoid foods packed in oil. Instead, go for lean meats and canned fish packed in water. Also, choose items labeled as no salt added or low/lower sodium.

Tips for eating outTalk with your server about how foods on the menu are prepared. For example, is the salmon you’re eyeing sautéed in butter or roasted, and how much added sugar is there in the salad dressing? The more you know, the better choices you can make.

Watch portion size. Order a half portion and consider sharing. If smaller portions aren’t an option, request a to-go box and save half of your entrée for lunch the next day.

Avoid extras. Cocktails, appetizers, and bread and butter are high in calories, sodium, and fat. It’s OK to skip them from time to time.

Speaking of extras… Ask for dressings, sauces and gravy on the side. This way, you can control how much of these items you consume.

An additional resource is the American Heart Association’s Heart-Check Food Certification Program, which provides criteria for seven groups of foods (meats, dairy, grains, etc.) that can help you determine if a food is heart healthy.

Visit www.cvhhh.org/hearthealth for links.

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