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Healthy Living

Heart Smart

Heart Smart is the favorite menu tracking software of Healthy Living. This is an excellent program! Keeps track of Carbohydrates/Proteins and Fats in your meals (by meal, day or week) and compares them to the USDA's Recommended Daily Allowance.

The Heart Smart program is designed to help you plan and maintain a healthy diet. For some that means a low calorie diet to reach an ideal weight. For others with family history of coronary artery disease this could mean a diet low in cholesterol, and for others with high blood pressure this may mean a diet low in sodium.

The Heart Smart program is not a replacement for your personal physician and any changes in your diet or exercise program need to be reviewed and approved by your doctor.

Siesta Software HeartSmart download center (you'll have to register).
Heart Smart screen shot
Heart Smart screen shot

Heart Smart Review

News reports warn of health risks from cholesterol and fat intake, your doctor says you shouldn't eat so much sodium, and your significant other thinks you should lose a few pounds. You know down deep that you should be watching what you eat, but that's easier said than done. What's a busy person to do? Get Heart Smart, a program that helps you plan and maintain a healthful diet. You can plan a diet to help you lose weight, avoid coronary artery disease, lower blood pressure, and even improve sports performance.

The first time I used this program, the interface made me say, "Wow!" It features nested tabs with drag-and drop-capabilities, and it's beautifully designed for simplicity and maximum functionality. Everything you'll need to do to get started involves mouse clicks and the entry of simple information on your vital statistics.

Plan your daily meals, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack, from thousands of food items listed in the program. I had fun just clicking on the food items to see calorie counts and nutritional content of different items -- boy, did that simple exercise bring some of my poor eating habits to light! Construct your daily meals by dragging and dropping food items into your meals, and copy your favorite meals to other mealtimes or days. Information addicts will love the numerical displays and colorful graphs of calories and nutrient breakdowns for every food item on the list. Are some of the foods you eat not on the list? Add any item by entering the nutritional information found on the label of any prepared food item -- you can even customize portions to match what you normally consume.

Can't decide what constitutes healthful eating? The program supplies 3 different menus you can use as starting points -- a 1,200 calorie per day menu, an 1,800 calorie per day menu, and a general healthful menu. Use these menus as is, or build on them to create your own custom menus that can be saved for future use.

If you're one of those rare souls who actually prepares their meals from scratch, you can calculate the nutritional worth of your favorite recipes by dragging and dropping ingredients into a main recipe window, then noting preparation instructions, and the number of servings your recipe yields.

Set a weight-loss plan, complete with weekly goals and spaces to enter your actual weight each week, by entering your present weight and goal weight. Heart Smart calculates the number of weeks it will take you to reach your goal, based on the calories in your current diet plan. Don't let the number of weeks the program displays discourage you -- it's a fact that you must burn 3,500 calories to lose a single pound of fat, and that's equivalent to running 35 miles, bicycling nearly 150 miles, or doing 40 hours of aerobics. Weight loss that stays lost is best done slowly and steadily -- 1 or 2 pounds a week is realistic. Your plan is displayed graphically, and you can see how your actual weight loss deviates from the plan.

Getting your nutritional needs and caloric consumption on track is easy, but how can you figure the effects of the best weight-loss tool, exercise, into the equation? Thankfully, HeartSmart gives you an activity planner where you choose your exercise activity from a list of more than 30 activities, from sedate to vigorous, enter the duration of your exercise , and view the calories burned during that exercise session. It's amazing what a couple miles of walking, a game of tennis, or even an afternoon of scrubbing floors can do to help you burn calories.

The true bottom line of everything you've done can be seen in a colorful, graphical format that compares your eating plan with the US FDA's Recommended Daily Allowance. Surprisingly, I found my eating is right on track with the recommended proportions of calories from carbohydrates, protein, and fat -- you'd be surprised too if you could see what I eat in a day.

Heart Smart is worthwhile for anyone who needs help planning a healthful eating plan or needs assistance losing weight. It's easy to use -- a quick run through the supplied tutorial will give you enough information to use this powerful program effectively on your first use. Additional information can be found in the context-sensitive Help file.

(Author unknown)

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