What About Carbs?

By Mary Parsons, MS, RD

Nutritional needs are very individual and can vary considerably based on personal medical history, lab results and other factors. Your cardiologist has helped you to identify some issues, but for in-depth help with nutrition, we recommend requesting a referral to add a registered dietitian to your treatment team.

That being said, in general, we advocate a balanced diet with moderate amounts of carbohydrates. While it’s a good idea not to go overboard with large portions of pasta, bread and rice – especially the refined, white versions – carb-containing foods are an important source of energy and other nutrients that can be difficult to otherwise obtain in a low-carb diet. Whole grains, for example, provide a variety of health benefits resulting from their status as a good source of fiber and various vitamins and minerals. Try brown rice, oatmeal or quinoa for tasty whole-grain options.

For a simple approach, think MyPlate: Aim to fill half your plate with fruits and veggies and one quarter with lean protein, which leaves the last quarter for a downsized portion of carbs. This creates a good balance of nutrient-dense foods, in proportions that control calories and help to maintain a healthy weight.

When dining out, you can find out the carbohydrate content (and full nutritional information) of menu items at restaurants coast to coast on HealthyDiningFinder.com.