Heart Healthy Eating

Heart Healthy Eating

Author -  Jenna Walker - Nutritionist

Find out how to eat for a Healthy Heart

Taking care of your heart is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle. There are changes we can make to our diet to support a healthy heart and help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death in New Zealand (40%). The Heart Foundation of New Zealand has nine steps you can take towards a healthier heart, many of which the health conscious person may already do. Find out below if your diet is a heart healthy one:

Daily Servings Serve
Enjoy three meals a day, selecting from dishes that encourage you to eat plant foods and fish, with little or no dairy fat, meat fat or deep fried foods. 3 Servings  
Choose fruits and/or vegetables at every meal and for most snacks. 8 Servings

1 Piece

1/2 Cup

Select whole grains, whole grain breads, or high-fibre breakfast cereals, in place of white bread and low-fibre varieties at most meals and snacks. High-fibre, wholegrain carbohydrates tend to be ‘low GI’ which help to keep your blood sugar levels stable – useful for good health and weight management. 6 Servings

1 Slice Bread

1/2Cup Kumara, Pasta orPorridge

2/3​​Cup Cereal

Include fish or dried peas (e.g. chickpeas), beans (e.g. red kidney beans) and soy products or a small serving of lean meat or skinned poultry, at one or two meals each day. 1- 3 Servings

1/2 Cup

1 Cup Beans

Choose low-fat milk, low-fat milk products, soy or legume products every day. 2-3 Servings

1 Cup Milk

1 Yoghurt Pot

3 Tbsp Cheese

Use small amounts of oil, margarine, nuts or seeds. 3 Servings

1 tsp. Spread or Oil

(margarine, canola, olive or linseed oil)

1 Dessert Spoon Nuts

(linseeds, wheatgerm, walnuts)

Drink plenty of fluids each day, particularly water, and limit sugar-sweetened drinks and alcohol. 6-8 Servings 1 Cup or Glass
Use only small amounts of total fats and oils, sugar and salt when cooking and preparing meals, snacks or drinks. Choose ready-prepared foods low in these ingredients.    
Mostly avoid, butter, deep-fried and fatty foods and only occasionally choose sweet bakery products.    


It is also important to maintain a healthy weight and exercise regularly for good health, and to support a healthy heart. By including the healthy foods recommended in these heart healthy guidelines, and reducing your intake of those foods not helpful for a healthy heart, you can work your way towards a healthier heart each day.

1. The Heart Foundation of New Zealand. Heart Healthy Eating. December 2009. Retrieved from www.heartfoundation.org.nz