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    Fries or fruit? Ribeye or tuna steak? Soda or water?

    Every time you decide what to eat, you either increase or decrease your chance of having a heart attack or stroke. Let that inspire you to choose triglyceride-friendly meals.

    “Changing the diet can have dramatic effects on triglyceride levels,” says Robert Bonow, MD, former president of the American Heart Association and professor of Medicine at Northwestern University. In fact, a healthy diet -- plus exercise and weight loss if you’re overweight -- can cut your triglyceride levels by 20% to 50%.

    The meals below can help lower your triglycerides. You may need to adjust portion sizes to meet your calorie level.

    Breakfasts That Protect Your Heart

    Start the day off with healthy decisions. Choose one of these delicious breakfasts.

    Cereal & Berry Bowl

    1 cup 1% or skim milk

    1/2 cup oatmeal with 1-2 Tbsp of chopped walnuts

    Or 1 serving of cold cereal, with 5 or more grams of fiber and 8 or less grams of sugar

    1 cup raspberries, strawberries, or blueberries on top

    Egg Sandwich

    1 whole egg, 2 egg whites, or 1/4 cup egg substitutes

    1 cup or more of diced tomatoes, spinach leaves, minced onion, and mushrooms

    1 tsp trans-fat-free margarine or a small amount of olive oil

    2 slices whole wheat toast

    1 orange in sections or 1/4 cantaloupe on the side

    Yogurt Parfait

    1 cup low-fat or nonfat yogurt

    1 cup high-fiber cereal

    1 sliced banana, 1 cup mango, or 1 peach

    A small handful of almonds on top

    Salmon Bagel

    1 whole-grain bagel

    1 oz sliced smoked salmon

    1 Tbsp low-fat or nonfat cream cheese

    Capers or fresh dill

    1 cup melon cubes with any type of berry on the side

    Lunches to Reduce Your Risk of Heart Attack

    Here are some flavorful lunches you can pack, and a few you may even be able to buy.

    Soup & Salad

    1 cup vegetable, black bean, or lentil soup (or any low-fat or vegetarian soup)

    5 whole-wheat crackers

    2 cups salad made with dark greens, like spinach, mixed greens, or radicchio

    1 cup of any combo of colorful, chopped veggies: broccoli, carrots, red bell peppers, sugar snap peas, snow peas, tomatoes