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Heart Smart Living
Heart Smart Living

Cardiologist, author, and heart health expert Dr. Sarah Samaan offers advice on how to live a heart smart life.

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Lunch Like a Cardiologist

Although it pains me to admit, I am not usually organized enough in the morning to thoughtfully plan out my take-to-work lunch. Slapping together a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole wheat bread should be simple enough, but sometimes I don’t even have time for that. Yes, I know, I could wake up two minutes earlier, or spend a little less time poring over the bad news in the morning paper, but sometimes it’s just easier to take the path of least resistance. That’s why I keep my kitchen stocked with a supply of healthy lunch fixings that I can throw into a bag in under 30 seconds as I dash to the door, car keys in hand.

My secret ingredients?

  • Yogurt:  Low-fat Greek yogurt is always a great option, but my current favorite is Siggi’s. A fat-free Icelandic style of yogurt known as skyr, Siggi’s stands out for several reasons. First is its incredibly creamy texture. At just 100 calories per 150 gram container, Siggi’s feels deceptively indulgent. The calorie count is low in large part because the yogurt’s sweetness comes from fruit and a judicious serving of agave nectar. Siggi’s is also very high in protein (14 grams per container) and a very good source of calcium.
  • Nuts:  I’ll often pack a tablespoon or two of slivered almonds or walnut pieces to add a little crunch and a dose of healthy fats.
  • Low-fat string cheese:  A super-convenient food that packs a healthy punch, one piece of low-fat string cheese will cost you just 50 calories, yet provide 6 grams of protein and a 15 percent of your daily calcium requirements.
  • Whole grain crackers or pita chips: My current favorites are Stacy’s super crunchy chips, and at 140 calories and 5 grams of fat per one ounce serving, they’re a sensible indulgence. If you’re sensitive to gluten, check out Mediterranean Snack Food’s delicious Lentil Crackers. At 110 calories and 3 grams of fat per ounce, these are a super alternative.
  • Fruit:  Usually an apple is the easiest and least messy choice for lunch, but any fruit will do.
  • Dark chocolate:  All you need is a small square of dark chocolate to give you a nice little hit of heart friendly cacoa.

And there you have it: your lunch, packed in record time.

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Tags: Diet and Heart Health , You and Your Doctor

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About the Author


Dr. Samaan is an acclaimed cardiologist, writer, and heart health educator.