The Heart Check Food Program

Another topic I'm going to talk about on my blog is Heart Healthy Changes. I've talked about this a little bit before, and I wanted to make it a regular monthly topic. I posted about it in August(Healthy Snacking), but missed September for some reason, so, I'm going to try harder and make it a regular monthly post from now on.

One thing that has made our transition to eating a heart healthy diet easier is the American Heart Association Heart – Check Food Certification Program. The Heart-Check mark means the food product meets their nutrition requirements. This makes shopping for heart healthy foods so much easier. All I have to do is look for the red heart with a white check mark on the package and the name of the American Heart Association on the top, and know they certify it. Be careful because not all red hearts are from the American Heart Association; so you need to look for the AHA name too. On their website, they have a list of products that meet their requirements – here's the link to the Certified Product List.

The Heart Check Food Program includes lots of other helpful resources too. There's a section about Heart Check in the Grocery Store that talks about nutrition requirements for food and how a food becomes certified. The nutrition requirements are how I learned what to look for on the product labels.

The section on Restaurants and Food Service helps you know what to look for on the nutrition menu when you're eating out. It also lists some meals at Jamba Juice that meet their requirements. Some sandwiches at Subway used to be on there, but I don't see them anymore. The heart check is listed on the restaurant's menu also, so you can look there too.

If you want to know if the recipe you're going to make meets the heart check requirements, you can look at the Recipe Nutrition Requirements. It lists requirements for several categories: Appetizers, Breads (muffins, quick breads, yeast breads), Desserts, Entrees (fish with omega-3 fatty acids, meat, poultry, salad, seafood, soup), Main Dish, Salads, Side Dishes, and Soups (small).

The Heart Check program has been around since 1995 and recently had a study done that proves it's effectiveness. Choosing foods that meet Heart-Check certification requirements linked to better diet quality, study finds. It's great to know that people who report eating foods that meet the American Heart Association’s Heart-Check Food Certification Program nutrition requirements are more likely to eat healthier and have fewer heart disease risk factors.

I'm happy that following this plan really works, and is going to help keep my family healthy. My oldest son hasn't had to go on any medication yet and my husband has been able to cut down on his medication. So, if you need to be on a heart healthy diet, don't worry, there is plenty of help out there to let you know how you can do it. I'm happy to try and answer any questions you have about how to do it too!