3 Heart-Healthy Habits With Zero Deprivation

Making sure you get your daily dose of nutritious foods and plenty of exercise is crucial to maintaining a healthy heart, but that doesn't mean you have to completely cut yourself off from your favorite indulgences.

Here are three ways you can stay heart-healthy without feeling deprived.

1. Opt for Healthy Pizza
No matter how you slice it, fewer foods in the U.S. are more popular than pizza. But all that saturated fat and sodium loaded into most pizza dishes keep this food from being very heart healthy. However, with some minor adjustments, you can turn your favorite food into a heart-healthy meal without sacrificing any of the taste.

First, order pizzas with half the cheese. Or, better still, ask for a no mozzarella vegetable pizza sprinkled with olive oil and a little Parmesan. You'll cut the fat, calories and sodium of a regular pizza and keep the taste.

Next, leave off the meats. Processed meats like pepperoni and sausage are loaded with fat, calories, and sodium and little nutritional value. Better options are grilled chicken, Canadian bacon, or ham.

2. Sub in Special Sips
Substitute green tea, loaded with heart-healthy antioxidants, for high-calorie laded blended coffee drinks-which can run about 239 calories. This simple move can save you hundreds of calories a day. If you must have your morning Cup o' Joe, stick to regular coffee with milk and sugar, just 63 calories.

Taking in just 10 calories more than you burn every day will cause you to gain one pound a year. Making some simple changes such as replacing high calorie drinks with tasty options like sparkling mineral water or chilled flat water infused with cucumber or orange slices and served up in a wine glass can give you sipping satisfaction without losing your way on the path to heart health.

3. Watch TV, But Add Exercise
According to industry studies, most Americans watch about five hours of TV a day. If you fall into that category, don't worry. You can still get in some exercise while tuned to your favorite channel.

  • If you have a stationary bike or another exercise machine at home, put it in front of the TV and exercise while watching a show.
  • Be sure to get up and move around during each commercial break.
  • To get in some aerobic activity, do a series of sit-ups, push-ups, or jumping jacks during commercial breaks.
  • Watch your show sitting on a stability ball instead of the couch. The large inflatable ball will help improve your balance and posture and give your abdominal muscles a workout.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. "May Your Days Be Merry and Light." Web.

Cleveland Clinic. Heart and Vascular Health & Prevention. Web.