Keeping with this week’s Heart Health theme, we thought we’d bring you a short list of foods to shy away from if you want to keep your ticker in good shape. The good news is that we also have some better options to replace the less-than-stellar ones, and they’re all delicious, satisfying foods that you can feel good about. So do us (and your heart) a favor, and make some swaps!

1. Skip It – High fat, greasy sausages

    Swap It – Beef

Did you know that there are 29 cuts of lean beef? A new study shows that eating lean beef every day can actually reduce bad (LDL) cholesterol. This unseasonably warm weather is perfect for grilling, so try throwing some lean steaks, like top sirloin, on the grill with sweet potatoes and veggies for a quick and healthy weeknight dinner.

2. Skip It – Creamy desserts, loaded with saturated fat that clogs the arteries

    Swap It – Fruit-based desserts

Whip up a layered summer fruit salad garnished with lemon juice, a sprinkling of sugar, and fresh mint leaves.  Try to include concord grapes, since nearly a decade worth of research suggests that they help promote a healthy heart.

3. Skip It – White rice, high glycemic and causes blood sugar to spike

    Swap It – Plaintains

Plantains are high in potassium, which lowers blood pressure, not to mention the B vitamins. Eat them mashed, baked, or as chips for a fun and exotic new side dish.

4. Skip It – Pretzels, high in refined carbohydrates and low in protein and healthy fats

    Swap It – Nuts

Almonds, pistachios, walnuts, and pecans are all winners when it comes to heart health. They’re all loaded with antioxidants, good fats, protein, and fiber. Mix up your favorites with some dried fruit and dark chocolate chips for a sweet and satisfying trail mix snack.

For more heart-healthy eating ideas and recipes, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website is loaded with information! Family Food LLC’s team of RDs is always available to answer all of your nutrition-related questions, so feel free to contact us by phone, e-mail, Facebook, or Twitter. Don’t forget to visit our Services page to find out if you qualify for SIX FREE VISITS with our RDs!