Are you looking to take proactive measures to safeguard your heart health? Look no further than the TLC (Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes) Diet! Developed by the National Institutes of Health, this eating plan is designed to mitigate high cholesterol levels and decrease the likelihood of heart disease.
Drawing on the principles of healthy eating, the TLC Diet offers daily guidelines for essential macronutrients like carbohydrates, protein, fat, fiber, whole grains, and lean meats. So, if you’re eager to embark on a heart-healthy journey, the TLC Diet may be just what the doctor ordered!
TLC Diet Fundamentals
The TLC Diet is a low-fat, low-cholesterol eating plan that suggests:
- 35% of daily calories should be fat – 7% saturated fat.
- 50-60% of your calories come from carbs
- 15-20% of your calories come from protein
It is vital to pick meals that are high in nutrients and low in calories while following the TLC Diet. This includes consuming various fruits, vegetables, healthy grains, and lean meats. This includes avoiding meals rich in saturated and trans fats, added sweets, and salt. TLC diet and the DASH diet share a lot in common. Check out our in-depth post on TLC Diet vs DASH Diet
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are vital components of the TLC Diet since they are low in calories and abundant in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. On the TLC Diet, the following are some of the healthiest vegetables and fruits to eat:
- Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable rich in fiber, vitamins C and K, and folate. It is delicious, steamed, roasted, or stir-fried, and goes well with salads and soups.
- Carrots are root vegetables abundant in fiber, vitamin A, and potassium. They are delicious fresh or cooked and make an excellent addition to salads, soups, and stews.
- Berries, such as strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries, are low in calories while being rich in fiber, vitamins C and K, and antioxidants. They are delicious as a snack or mixed into smoothies, yogurt, or porridge.
- Apples are a low-calorie fruit packed in fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants. They are delicious raw or cooked and make an excellent addition to salads, porridge, or as a snack.
- Leafy Greens – Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and collard greens are abundant in fibre, vitamins A, C, and K, and folate. They may be eaten fresh or cooked and go well with salads, smoothies, and stir-fries.
Since they are abundant in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, whole grains are a crucial element of the TLC Diet. They also contribute to feeling full and satisfied for extended periods of time. Here is a list of whole grains to consume on the TLC Diet:
- Oatmeal – Oatmeal is a healthy grain packed in fiber, protein, and antioxidants. They may be consumed as oatmeal, blended into smoothies, or baked into muffins or pastries.
- Brown rice is a whole grain full of fiber, vitamins B and E, and minerals, including selenium and manganese. It may be served as a side dish or a basis for stir-fries.
- Quinoa – Quinoa is a pseudo-grain with a lot of protein, fiber, and vitamins B and E. It may be used as a salad dressing, in stir-fries, or as a side dish.
- Whole wheat bread – Whole wheat bread is an excellent source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It may be used in sandwiches or as a side dish with soup or salad.
- Whole grain pasta – A high-fiber alternative to regular pasta is whole grain pasta. It’s great in pasta meals like spaghetti or macaroni and cheese.
Lean proteins are vital to the TLC Diet because they supply critical amino acids required for muscle development and repair. On the TLC Diet, the following are some of the healthiest lean proteins to eat:
- Skinless chicken breast – Skinless chicken breast is a lean protein with a high protein-to-fat ratio. It may be grilled, baked, or roasted as a main course or mixed into salads or sandwiches.
- Fish – Omega-3 fatty acids, which are vital for heart health, are abundant in fish such as salmon, tuna, and trout. Grilled, roasted, or pan-fried may be eaten as a main course or added to salads or tacos.
- Lean meat – Tenderloin and sirloin are both rich in protein and low in fat. It may be grilled, baked, or roasted as a main course or mixed into salads or stir-fries.
- Beans and legumes – Protein, fiber, and vitamins are abundant in legumes and beans such as lentils, chickpeas, and black beans. They may be used as a basis for soups and stews, as well as in salads and tacos.
- Tofu is a plant-based protein that is rich in protein yet low in fat—grilled, stir-fried, or tossed into soups or salads.
Dairy products are high in calcium, which is necessary for bone health. On the TLC Diet, the following dairy items are recommended:
- Low-fat milk – Low-fat milk is high in calcium and vitamin D. It may be added to smoothies, cereal, coffee or tea.
- Greek yogurt – Greek yogurt has a lot of protein and is low in fat. It may be used as a dip base, added to smoothies, or as a sour cream alternative.
- Low-fat cheese – Low-fat cheese contains calcium and protein. It may be added to salads and sandwiches or eaten as a snack.
Good Fats and Oils
Healthy fats and oils are a key aspect of the TLC Diet because they contain critical fatty acids that are required for vitamin and mineral absorption. On the TLC Diet, the following are some of the greatest healthy fats and oils to consume:
- Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat with a high antioxidant content. It may be used as a salad dressing or as a frying oil.
- Avocado – Avocados are abundant in monounsaturated fats, fiber, and potassium. It may be used as a sandwich spread or added to salads or smoothies.
- Nuts – Healthy fats, protein, and fiber are abundant in nuts such as almonds, walnuts, and pistachios. They may be eaten alone as a snack or mixed into salads or trail mix.
- Seeds – Healthy fats, fiber, and minerals such as magnesium and zinc are abundant in seeds such as chia seeds, flaxseeds, and pumpkin seeds. They go well in smoothies, salads, and porridge.
The following Drinks may also contribute to the TLC Diet:
- Water – Water is necessary for hydration and aids in the removal of toxins from the body. Aim for at least eight glasses of water every day.
- Herbal tea – Caffeine-free herbal teas such as chamomile, peppermint, and ginger may aid digestion and relaxation.
- Green tea – High in antioxidants, green tea may aid in enhancing metabolism and assist in weight reduction. Drink at least 2-3 cups of green tea every day.
- Low-fat milk – Low-fat milk is high in calcium and vitamin D. It may be added to smoothies, cereal, or coffee or tea.
Finally, the TLC Diet promotes consuming a range of healthful foods rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and lean proteins while reducing items rich in saturated and trans fats.
Individuals may improve their cholesterol levels, lower their risk of heart disease, and live a better lifestyle by following this diet. As a reference, use this ultimate TLC Diet food list to help you make better food choices and reach your health objectives. Always contact a healthcare expert before beginning any new diet or exercise regimen.