7. Go nuts about nuts. A variety of studies have shown that peanuts and other nuts, which are rich in monounsaturated fats, help contribute to weight loss and heart health. What's more, they are rich in magnesium, folate, fiber, copper, vitamin E, and arginine, all of which play an important role in the prevention of heart disease. Smear peanut butter on a sliced apple, sprinkle chopped almonds on a salad or in yogurt, or reach for a handful of nuts instead of a bag of potato chips.
8. Have an oil change. Select heart-healthy monounsaturated oils such as peanut, olive, and canola oil for cooking and salad dressings.
9. Watch your condiments. Carbohydrates hide in condiments such as relish and ketchup, which each have 4 grams of carbohydrates per tablespoon, and barbecue sauce, with about 8 grams of carbohydrates per tablespoon.
10. Choose lean meats. If you're switching from a low-fat to a low-carbohydrate diet, you might think you now have license to eat lots of fatty meats. Forget it. Fatty meats are high in saturated fat, which is bad for your heart. Select lean beef, pork, or poultry. Remove any skin and trim visible fat.
11. Fill up on fish. Seafood is high in protein and contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are polyunsaturated fatty acids that protect against heart attack and are vital to the proper function of brain and nerve cells. Omega-3 fatty acids are particularly abundant in higher-fat, cold-water fish such as mackerel, albacore tuna, salmon, sardines, and lake trout. All seafood, including shellfish and crustaceans such as oysters and shrimp, contain omega-3 fatty acids.
12. Get out and move. Exercise is a crucial part of any diet. It speeds up metabolism, burns calories, strengthens and tones muscles, increases flexibility, boosts mood, improves circulation, and so much more. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise such as walking, biking, or swimming at least five days a week, and more if you can fit it in. Make exercise more enjoyable by working out with friends, giving yourself nonfood rewards when you reach your goals, and trying new sports. Combining moderate exercise with a healthful, low-carbohydrate eating plan will help you lose weight and stay healthy.
Originally published in the Easy Everyday Low Carb Cookbook, from the Editors of Better Homes & Gardens magazine.