Battling Heart Disease One Meal At A Time

By: Erich Spivey
By: Erich Spivey

February 20, 2006
February is American Heart Month and News 12 has more on one hospital’s pitch to eat better meals. Healthier eating starts in the kitchen. And now there’s a new menu program starting up that hopes to help you make better choices eating out.

Chef Scott Gyer is cooking up a fresh batch of shrimp and fish. Of all the menu choices at French Market Grill, it’s among the healthier choice.

“What we’re trying to do is promote a little bit healthier eating, use less butter, more grilling techniques, more broiling in the oven instead of saturating stuff in butter and fats,” Gyer said.

So the French Market has added these separate menus, with items classified as Heart Gealthy. MCG Dietician Kristen Jaskulsky evaluates the dishes to make sure they qualify.

“The heart basically indicates that it’s less than 20 grams of total fat per item and less than 10 grams of saturated fat,” Jaskulsky said. “And saturated fat is what most people need to stay away from, it’s what makes our bad cholesterol numbers go up and the good go down. So you want to avoid saturated fat wherever possible.”

Jaskulsky says people also need to be aware of portion sizes, even if they don’t pick a Heart Healthy meal. But at French Market and Boll Weevil, the only two participating restaurants at this point, there are lots of options from appetizers to lunch items.

“There’s definitely a connection between high cholesterol and heart disease and we want to keep those cholesterol levels down so we can avoid strokes in men and women,” Jaskulsky said.

“It’s going very well. A lot of people asking for steamed items, different kids of grilled fishes, a lot of people are into healthier eating now,” Gyer said.

MCG is currently evaluating other restaurants to add to the Heart Healthy list.

There are hundreds of other restaurants that aren’t participating, including chain restaurants. It’s a good idea to ask for their nutritional information. And some others have their own system to mark the healthier meal choices.

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