Monica Reinagel, MS, LDN

Eat This Not That for a Healthier Heart


American Heart Month may wrap up today but heart-healthy habits should be a year-round affair. Here are five easy food swaps that will help keep that ticker running smoothly.


Heart Healthy Swap #1:  Lemon juice for salt

Tart flavors like lemon juice and vinegar stimulate some of the same taste receptors as salt, so adding a little pucker-power to your food can be a painless way to reduce sodium. Sprinkle a little malt vinegar over your oven-fries. Squeeze fresh lemon over steamed broccoli and green beans.



Heart Healthy Swap #2: Greek yogurt for sour cream

Reduced-fat Greek-style yogurt is thicker and creamier than regular  low-fat yogurt, making it a better substitute for sour cream on baked potatoes, nachos, or in creamy dips. (Try some of these yogurt dip recipes.)



Heart Healthy Swap #3: Sparkling water for diet soda

Although sipping on a diet soda can save calories, recent studies (including one published online in The Journal of General Internal Medicine), have found a link between regular diet soda consumption and stroke and heart attack risk. Enjoy a little sparkling water instead.  (And to save money and the environment, check out the Soda Stream soda maker!)



Heart Healthy Swap #4: Sardines for tuna

If you routinely eat tuna, consider branching out to other canned fish. Conveniently packed in single-serving tins, sardines make a quick, portable and convenient lunch or snack. They’re higher in heart-healthy omega-3s than tuna, and lower in mercury. My favorite way to enjoy them: on a seeded cracker with a dot of Sriracha hot sauce! (Try this recipe for Spring Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette.)



Heart Healthy Swap #5:  Almond butter for peanut butter

Following one of the worst peanut harvests in decades, peanut butter prices have skyrocketed.  At these prices, you might just as well enjoy almond butter instead. Not only is it a nice change from the old stand-by, but almond butter is much higher in mono-unsaturated fats (the same heart-healthy fat as in extra-virgin olive oil)! Try these recipes with almond butter.


Get tips, tricks, and plain old good advice on eating healthy for less, from Monica Reinagl, MS, LDN, each week here at!


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