Protect your heart while dining out

This article is sponsored by Adventist Health Care

When it comes to dining out, menus can be large, portions can be even larger and ordering heart healthy food can pose a challenge. Making healthy selections in a restaurant can be as simple as understanding which foods taste great and, at the same time, protect your heart.

“In order to make smart decisions while dining out, you should first familiarize yourself with cooking terminology,” said Bonnie Alexander, registered dietitian at Adventist HealthCare Washington Adventist Hospital. “Understand what commonly used menu item descriptions mean, such as poached, glazed, sautéed or crusted. If you are not sure how a dish is prepared, you can always ask your server to explain.”

Alexander offers some additional tips for eating heart healthy while dining out:

  • Look for simply prepared dishes
  • Ask for dressing or sauce on the side
  • Always select baked over fried or breaded
  • Try to choose entrees that include some vegetables and color
  • Follow proper portion sizes – you can always take some home

She also suggests following the American Heart Association recommendations for limiting sodium, saturated fats and red meat. Trans fat, which raises the bad cholesterol (LDL) levels in blood and lowers the good cholesterol (HDL) levels, should be avoided. “It’s best to steer clear of anything fried, highly processed or overly salted.” She also recommends avoiding “empty” calories, such as excess intake of soda or desserts.

During February, Adventist HealthCare is sponsoring a heart healthy menu at Copper Canyon Grill locations in Gaithersburg and Silver Spring. The menu offers plentiful options that are both heart healthy and delicious.

“We often find that many of our patrons are frequent diners. Because of this important connection we share with our community, we believe it is our responsibility to partner with organizations who share our vision and champion heart healthy initiatives,” explained Mente Lawson, chef at Copper Canyon Grill.

The featured, heart-healthy dishes include seared ahi tuna salad, wood-fired rotisserie chicken, simply prepared wood grilled fish and a fresh vegetable platter. For a sweet and satisfying dessert minus the guilt, try Copper Canyon Grill’s seasonal fruit and panna cotta.

Alexander recommends trying the simply prepared wood grilled fish because fish can be a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids (a healthy fat) and protein. The vegetables on the side add additional vitamins, minerals, fiber and color to the plate.

Visit to preview the heart healthy menu at Copper Canyon Grill.  Also, complete Adventist HealthCare’s FREE online heart risk assessment. Complete the assessment during February for a chance to win a free weekend getaway for two at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Resort or gift cards to Copper Canyon Grill.

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