Recipes

Heart Healthy Recipes Perfect for a Holiday Brunch or Any Meal

Holidays can wreck havoc on healthy eating. These heart healthy recipes would be perfect additions to a holiday brunch or meal

 

Turkey Bacon and Spinach Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust

Serves 5

  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cups grated sweet potato (from about 1 medium sweet potato)
  • 1 teaspoon canola or corn oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 6 pieces turkey bacon, thinly sliced
  • 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • ¾ teaspoon dried dillweed, crumbled
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 large egg whites
  • ¼ cup fat-free milk
  • 1½ tablespoons fat-free feta cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly spray a 9-inch pie pan with cooking spray.
  2. Gently press the grated sweet potato over the bottom and up the side of the pie pan. (The grated sweet potato will be loose, but will hold together once baked.) Bake for 20 minutes, or until the crust is cooked. Remove from the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat, swirling to coat the bottom. Cook the onion for 6 to 8 minutes, or until very soft, stirring frequently. Stir in the turkey bacon. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the onion and bacon begin to brown, stirring frequently. Stir in the spinach, dillweed, salt, and pepper. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the spinach releases its juice. Remove from the heat. Using a spatula, transfer the mixture into the sweet potato pie crust.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg whites, and milk. Pour the egg mixture over the spinach mixture in the pie crust. Dot the feta cheese over the top.
  5. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the center doesn’t jiggle when the pan is gently shaken or a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of the quiche comes out clean.
  6. Remove from the oven. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

 

Festive Turkey Rice Salad

Serves 6

  • 2 tablespoons plain rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (extra virgin preferred)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 1/2 cups cooked wild or brown rice
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped cooked skinless turkey breast, cooked without salt
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
  • 1 bunch chopped green onions
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, lime juice, oil, honey, and ginger.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the rice, turkey, cranberries, and green onions. Pour the dressing over the salad, tossing to coat. Cover and refrigerate until serving time.

 

Rosemary Balsamic Roasted Vegetables

Serves 8

  • 1/2 lb., Brussels sprouts, brown ends trimmed off and cut in half
  • 1/2 medium cauliflower (cut into florets)
  • 4 medium carrots (peeled, sliced)
  • Turnips, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
  • Beets, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
  • Sweet potato (peeled, optional) cut into ¾ inch cubes
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. no-calorie sweetener (granulated)
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh, chopped rosemary
  • 2 clove fresh, minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Thoroughly wash all vegetables, cut and toss together in large bowl.
  3. In small bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil, no-calorie sweetener, rosemary, garlic, onion powder, pepper and salt. Pour over vegetable mixture and toss well.
  4. Pour vegetable mixture into prepared 9 x 13 baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, stirring once, until all vegetables pierce easily with a fork.

 

Baked Apples and Pears with Almonds

Serves 4

  • 4 small Granny Smith or Golden Delicious apples (can substitute any variety of apple or use pears as available or on sale)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted, unoiled almonds
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries or raisins (no-sugar-added)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoon honey

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. Cut ½ inch off the top of the apples, save the tops.
  3. Using a spoon or paring knife, core out the apples, leaving a bottom/base intact.
  4. Chop almonds.
  5. In a small bowl, combine almonds, cranberries and cinnamon – stir gently. Drizzle in honey and stir until almonds and cranberries are coated.
  6. Spoon almond mixture into apples and replace tops. Fill a small baking dish with ¼ inch of water, place apples in dish and cover loosely tented foil. Bake
    30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes until apples are tender and lightly golden.

Allspice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Cinnamon-Sauteed Apples and Cilantro Rice plus Apple Bread Pudding

ALLSPICE-RUBBED PORK TENDERLOIN WITH CINNAMON-SAUTÉED APPLES AND CILANTRO RICE

Serves 4

As promised another heart healthy holiday meal recipe to keep you Healthy For Good! Delicious and juicy pork tenderloin with tasty cilantro rice and decadent apple bread pudding

Pork Tenderloin

  • 1 1-pound pork tenderloin,all visible fat discarded
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive, canola, or corn oil
  • 4 apples (any variety) cored and thinly sliced
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. In a small cup, stir together the allspice and pepper. Sprinkle onto the pork. Using your fingertips, gently press the allspice mixture so it adheres to the pork.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat, swirling to coat the bottom. Cook the pork on all four sides (about 1 minute on each side), or until browned.
  4. Transfer the pork to a baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the pork 145°F on an instant-read thermometer.
  5. Meanwhile, in the same skillet, still over medium-high heat, cook the apples and cinnamon for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the apples are soft, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat.
  6. Transfer the pork to a cutting board. Let stand for 5 minutes. Slice the pork. Serve with the apples on top.

Cilantro Rice

  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
  • 2 medium green onions, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon or lime juice
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice, covered to keep warm
  1. Stir the cilantro, green onions, and lemon juice into the cooked rice.

 

Apple Bread Pudding

Serves 4

  • Cooking Spray
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • 2 tablespoons low-calorie brown sugar blend
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves or ground allspice
  • 6 slices light, whole-grain, or multigrain bread (lowest sodium available), cubed
  • 3 medium apples, cored and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • ½ cup raisins, unsweetened dried cranberries, fresh or unsweetened dried blueberries, or chopped walnuts, pecans, or almonds (optional)

Healthy Roasted Turkey and Vegetables

MOM’S ROASTED TURKEY WITH BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND ASPARAGUS

Serves 8

Roasted Turkey

  • 1 12-pound fresh or frozen turkey, thawed if frozen
  • 2 tablespoons dried Italian seasoning, crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon canola or corn oil
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 to 3 medium ribs of celery, coarsely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots (about 1 cup), coarsely chopped
  • 1 small onion, coarsely chopped<
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme or 1 tablespoon dried thyme, crumbled
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary or 1 tablespoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, crushed, or 3 teaspoons bottled chopped garlic
  • Cooking spray
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Place the turkey on a cutting board. Using kitchen shears, remove any loose or hanging skin around the neck cavity of the turkey. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels. Loosen the turkey skin away from the meat by inserting your hand between the meat and skin and gently pushing down. Pull the wing tips up and back and tuck them under the turkey.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the Italian seasoning and oil. Rub the mixture on the turkey breast and drumsticks, underneath the skin. Sprinkle the pepper over the entire turkey.
  4. Fill the turkey cavity with the celery, carrots, onion, thyme, rosemary, and garlic. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine. Lightly spray a roasting pan and rack with cooking spray. Place the turkey with the breast side up on the rack. Roast for 30 minutes.
  5. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Loosely cover the turkey with aluminum foil. Roast for 1 hour 45 minutes, or until the turkey reaches an internal temperature of 165°F on an instant-read thermometer. (The total roasting time may be up to 3½ hours to reach 165°F.) Remove from the oven.
  6. Remove the foil and spoon the pan juices over the turkey to baste it. Recover the turkey and let it stand for 15 minutes at room temperature. Baste 2 or 3 times during the standing time (removing and replacing the foil each time). Discard the skin and any visible fat before slicing the turkey.

Butternut Squash

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together all the ingredients until the squash cubes are evenly coated. Transfer to the baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the squash is fork-tender.

Asparagus

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced, or 2
  • teaspoons bottled minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, oil, garlic, and pepper.
  3. Arrange the asparagus in a single layer on the baking sheet. Drizzle the lemon juice mixture over the asparagus.
  4. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the asparagus is tender-crisp.

©2017, American Heart Association, Healthy For Good™, heart.org/healthyforgood/


Holiday Healthy Eating

The holidays are all about family, fun and food! Below are some great tips to help you celebrate the season without putting your healthy habits on hold.

Watch our website later this week for heart healthy holiday meal recipes.

HEALTHY EATING

Here are some simple ways you and your family can eat healthy. Learn more at Eat Smart
INCLUDE

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Beans and legumes
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Fish, skinless poultry, and plant-based alternatives
  • Fat-free and low-fat dairy products
  • Healthier fats and nontropical oils

LIMIT

  • Sodium and salty or highly processed foods
  • Saturated fat
  • Sweets and added sugars, including sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Fatty or processed meats — if you choose to eat red meat, select the leanest cuts

AVOID

  • Trans fats, partially hydrogenated oils and excessive calories

TIPS

  • Choose wisely, even with healthier foods. Ingredients and nutrient content can vary by brand and preparation.
  • Compare nutrition information on package labels and select products with the lowest amounts of sodium, added sugars, saturated fat and trans fat, and no partially hydrogenated oils.
  • Watch your calorie intake. To maintain weight, consume only as many calories as you use up through physical activity. If you want to lose weight, consume fewer calories or burn more calories.
  • Eat reasonable portions. Often this is less than you are served.
  • Eat a variety of foods to get all the nutrients your body needs.
  • Prepare and eat healthier meals at home. You’ll have more control over ingredients.</li
  • Look for the Heart-Check mark to easily identify foods that can be part of an overall healthy diet. Learn more at Heart Check

BE SMART ABOUT BEVERAGES

The holidays are chock full of delicious dishes, but they can come with extra calories and unwanted ingredients. Try these tips to enjoy your favorite winter beverages.

EGGNOG

  • Mix it up. Fill your glass with half- to three-quarter-parts of low-fat or skim
  • milk and one part eggnog. You’ll still get the flavor without all the calories.

  • Act like a kid. Take out the alcohol. This simple step will reduce the caloric content.
  • Cut the fluff. Pass on that big dollop of whipped cream to avoid the extra sugar and saturated fat.
  • Find an alternative. Try a low-fat or non-dairy version.

HOT CHOCOLATE

  • Lighten up. Try hot chocolate made with low-fat or skim milk, and without whipped cream.
  • Do some research. With instant hot chocolate, look for products marked “low-fat/fat-free” and use low-fat or nonfat milk or hot water. Choose options with less added sugars.
  • Go easy on the toppings. Use mini-marshmallows instead of large ones. Use low-fat whipped cream, or stick to less than one tablespoon. Try lighter toppings like grated cinnamon or nutmeg.

APPLE CIDER

  • Read the labels. When buying cider, check the added sugar content, which can increase your calorie intake and cause weight gain. Choose options with less sugar.
  • Do it yourself. When making cider at home, use unsweetened apple juice and a variety of spices (like cinnamon sticks, cloves, nutmeg and whole cranberries). You’ll keep the flavor while cutting calories.

COCKTAILS AND OTHER ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES

  • Enjoy mocktails. Serve non-alcoholic versions of your favorite cocktails to lower the calories. Be sure to check the nutrition label, because sometimes products that are alcohol-free have more added sugar.
  • Break it up. Drink a glass of water or sparkling water between each beverage. This will help fill you up, leaving less room to overindulge.

MINDFUL MEALS

SODIUM

  • Limit your sodium. Did you know that many of your favorite holiday dishes may be packed with sodium? Breads and rolls, poultry, and canned soups are three common foods that can add sodium to your diet. When shopping for ingredients to prepare your holiday meal, compare the labels and choose options with the lowest amount of sodium.
  • Savor the flavor. Use herbs and spices, like rosemary and cloves, to flavor dishes instead of salt or butter.
  • Rinse away. When using canned beans or veggies, drain and rinse in a colander to remove excess sodium.

TURKEY

  • Outsmart the bird. Reach for the lighter pieces of meat; they have fewer calories and less fat than the darker ones. Another way to cut calories and fat is to take off the skin.
  • Keep portions in check. A serving size of meat is 3 oz., about the size of a deck of cards. So, be conscious of how much you put on your plate, and pass on that second helping. If you’re also having another meat, like ham or lamb, take smaller portions of each.
  • Watch out for the gravy train. Turkey usually comes with gravy, which can add excess saturated fat, calories and sodium. Limit gravy to a tablespoon, and keep it off other items, like the dressing.

DRESSNG

  • Call it what it is. Dressing is intended to be a complement to your meal, not an entrée. Limit servings to about 1/4 cup or one spoonful.
  • Judge it by its cover. If the dressing is filled with fatty meats like sausage and pork, looks greasy or buttery, or is made with white bread or sweet rolls, it may be best to pass. Better options include dressings made with whole grain or cornbread, lean meat (or no meat), nuts (like almonds or walnuts), and lots of veggies and fruits.

APPETIZERS/SNACKS

  • Skip the extras. Make sure everyone has an appetite for the meal by skipping appetizers and serving lighter snacks like cut-up fruits and veggies.

ADDED SUGARS

  • Treat yourself right. Try bite-sized or half portions of desserts, or split servings with others.
  • Sip smart. Instead of soda or sweet tea, which can add a lot of sugar to an already indulgent meal, serve sparkling water or tea sweetened only with a bit of 100% fruit juice.
  • Lighten up. Reduce the amount of sugar you use in sides like sweet potato casserole and cranberry sauce. Use herbs and spices for flavor instead.

HEALTHY HOLIDAY PARTIES

‘Tis the season of celebrations. Whatever the event, these tips can help you stay
healthy while having fun.

APPETIZERS AND HORS D’OEUVRES

  • Get involved. Whether potluck or not, offer to bring a dish. You can make a healthier item, giving yourself at least one good option to enjoy.
  • Come prepared. If the party is during lunch, eat a healthy breakfast followed in mid-morning by a high-fiber snack, such as an apple or a small handful of almonds. If the party is at the end of the day, enjoy a protein packed lunch like grilled fish or chicken with a salad and then later in the afternoon have another high-fiber snack. If you’re not too hungry when you go to the party, it will be easier to avoid overeating.
  • Go easy. Avoid loading up on foods that are fried, buttered or have a lot of cheese and cream. Even though the portions may be small, these fat-laden bites can really pack a punch. Look for fruit, veggies and dip, whole-grain crackers, and baked or grilled items.

DESSERTS

  • Use the buddy system. By splitting a dessert with someone, you can cut the calories and fat in half and avoid being wasteful. It’s a win-win!

BEVERAGES

  • Mix it up. If alcohol is being served, alternate each glass with a glass of water. This will help reduce your thirst while filling your stomach and you’ll consume fewer calories.
  • Watch seasonal drinks. Many holiday beverages have so much added sugar, they may as well be a dessert. Keep in mind what else you’ve eaten; it may be best to enjoy these drinks on another day.

MAKING TRADITIONS HEALTHY

Keep your holiday traditions, and make small changes and smart substitutions where you can.

  • Instead of butter, use a healthier vegetable oil or substitute equal parts unsweetened applesauce when baking.
  • Use a lower-calorie sugar substitute.
  • Use low-fat or nonfat milk instead of whole milk or heavy cream.
  • Instead of only white flour, use half white and half whole-wheat flour.
  • Instead of adding chocolate chips or candies, use dried fruit, like cranberries or cherries.
  • Use extracts like vanilla, almond and peppermint to add flavor, instead of sugar or butter.
  • Use vegetable oils or soft margarine instead of butter.
  • Use whole-grain breads, rice and pasta instead of white.
  • Bake, grill or steam vegetables instead of frying.
  • Compare labels of your holiday ingredients, and choose products with lower amounts of sodium and added sugars.
  • Use spices, fresh herbs and citrus juice to flavor foods and drinks instead of excess salt and added sugars.

 

MOVE MORE. BE WELL.

If your holiday traditions all seem to revolve around eating, liven things up with some opportunities to be physically active with family and friends.

  • Go for a walk or run. Instead of heading for the couch after the big meal, bundle up and head outdoors for some fresh air. Walking is an activity the whole family can do together, even the dog!
  • Play to win. Start a new tradition of an annual family game of touch football, basketball, mini-golf or whatever your family’s favorite sport is.
  • Make it move. Add movements and gestures to your favorite card or board games.
  • Play in the snow. Go sledding, ice skating, skiing or snowshoeing. Build a snowman or snow fort. Team up for an epic snowball fight.
  • Break up the binge-watching. In between bowl games or your favorite holiday movies, take a walk or do something active.

If the holidays sometimes leave you feeling stressed and overwhelmed, take care of yourself to stay well.

  • Keep up healthy habits. Make a commitment to yourself before the holiday season begins. If you don’t completely give up your healthy habits, you won’t  feel like you have to start all over once the holidays are in the rear-view.
  • Fit in fitness. Try not to skip workouts, but when a full social calendar gets in the way, sprinkle some healthy activity like walking into your daily routine.
  • Give yourself the gift of peace. When the invitations pile up, don’t be afraid to say no to some of them. If you need some down time to recharge for the next party, take a break. Do something that relaxes you, like yoga, meditation, reading, a warm bath or spending time in nature.
  • Get your ZZZs. Aim for 7–9 hours of sleep each night to stay in the healthy zone. Don’t let your wake-up time and bedtime get too far off your regular schedule. Nap when needed and ditch the digital devices at night.

For more tips, visit Healthy For Good.


Apples with Almond-Apricot Sauce

Apple harvest is winding down!

Now is the time to use our local apples for this perfect treat on a chilly fall day!

Baked apples are always a treat, but coring whole apples can be a hassle. Just buy larger apples and cut them in half! Then all you have to do is scoop out the easily accessible core, add the sweet toppings, and let your slow cooker take it from there.

Slow Cooker Size/Shape: 4- to 6-quart round or oval

Slow Cooking Time: 2 to 2 1/2 hours on low, OR 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes on high

Nutrition Facts

Apples with Almond-Apricot Sauce

CaloriesCalories

149 Per Serving

ProteinProtein

2g Per Serving

FiberFiber

4g Per Serving

 

Ingredients

Servings  4  Serving Size  1/2 apple, 1 tablespoon sauce

 
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 large apples (about 8 ounces each), halved and cored
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dried apricots
  • 2 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (or)

    OR

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon light tub margarine

Directions

Tip: Click on step to mark as complete.

  1. Lightly spray the slow cooker with cooking spray. Pour in the water. Add the apple halves with the cut side up.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients except the margarine. Spoon onto each apple half. Top each with 1 teaspoon margarine. Cook, covered, on low for 2 to 2 1/2 hours or on high for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, or until just tender. Be careful not to overcook; the apples will continue to cook while cooling.
  3. Carefully transfer the apples to plates, leaving the sauce in the slow cooker. Stir the sauce. Spoon over the apples. Let cool completely, about 30 minutes. The sauce will thicken slightly while cooling.

Quick Tips

Cooking Tip:  If you let the apples overcook, they will become mushy.

For more heart healthy recipe ideas visit the American Heart Association..


Healthy Chicken Noodle Soup

Fall is here, the temperatures are dropping and that means it is soup season. What better to snuggle up with on a chilly fall day than a hearty bowl of healthy homestyle chicken noodle soup.

Ingredients

Servings  6  Serving Size  2 cups

 
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3 medium carrots (thinly sliced)
  • 2 medium ribs of celery, leaves discarded, thinly sliced
  • 1 small onion (diced)
  • 4 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, all visible fat discarded, cut into bite-size pieces.
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, minced.
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (crumbled)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper ((coarsely ground preferred))
  • 6 ounces dried no-yolk noodles

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in the pressure cooker on sauté. Cook the carrots, celery, and onion for 3 minutes, or until the carrots and celery are tender and the onion is soft, stirring frequently. Stir in the broth, chicken, water, parsley, thyme, salt, and pepper.
  2. Secure the lid. Cook on high pressure for 12 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes, then quickly release any remaining pressure. Remove the pressure cooker lid.
  3. Set the pressure cooker to sauté. Heat until the soup comes to a simmer. Stir in the noodles. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the noodles are tender, stirring frequently.

Nutrition Facts
Calories – 282
Total Fat – 5.0 g
Saturated Fat – 1.0 g
Trans Fat – 0.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat – 0.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat – 2.0 g
Cholesterol – 73 mg
Sodium – 324 mg
Total Carbohydrate – 27 g
Dietary Fiber – 3 g
Sugars – 4 g
Protein – 30 g

Dietary Exchanges:

1 1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 3 lean meat

Check out all the heart healthy recipes at American Heart Association Recipes


Top 4 Worst Foods For Your Heart

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among Americans: on average, one person dies every 39 seconds, according to recently published data from the American Heart Association. Along with healthy lifestyle choices, what you eat can have a big effect on your heart health. Here are 4 of the worst foods to eat for your heart, and the best to eat too.

—Brierley Wright, M.S., R.D., Nutrition Editor, EatingWell Magazine

 

Trans Fat

One of the easiest to limit (or avoid) in your diet—and it’s quite harmful to your heart health—trans fat. Why are trans fats so harmful? Like saturated fat, trans fat raises your “bad” LDL cholesterol, possibly even more than saturated fats, according to research. Trans fat also lowers your “good” HDL cholesterol. The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of trans fat you eat daily to less than 1 percent of your total calories. If you eat 2,000 calories a day, that translates to about 2 (or fewer) grams.

How can you limit, or eliminate trans fat from your diet? The easiest way to avoid trans fat is by skipping foods that contain “hydrogenated oil” or “partially hydrogenated oil” in their ingredient lists. Big culprits include packaged snacks, crackers, bakery goods and some margarines. Read labels carefully: if a package claims “zero trans fat,” the amount per serving may be less than 0.5 g and could have been rounded down to zero, so the only way to be sure you’re getting a product without trans fat is to read ingredient lists.

Trans fats are also found naturally—albeit in small amounts—in animal products, such as beef, pork, lamb and the butterfat in butter and milk. Limiting how much beef, pork, lamb and butter you eat and swapping full-fat dairy products, like milk and cheese, for low- or nonfat versions will help too.

 

Saturated Fat

Butter. Sour cream. Mayo. These foods—as well as fatty cuts of meats—are high in the saturated fats that elevate “bad” LDL cholesterol, leading to plaque buildup in arteries. Limit saturated fats to 5 percent or less of your total calories (divide your weight by 12 to get the daily total limit in grams). For example, try replacing butter with vegetable-based oils, particularly olive and canola oil, both of which contain good amounts of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, and by swapping in lean poultry, fish and beans for higher-fat meats.

 

Salt

Americans on average take in 3,400 milligrams of sodium each day. That’s a third more than the daily recommended limit of 2,300 mg (about 1 teaspoon salt) and more than double the 1,500 mg suggestion for adults age 51 and older and for anyone who is salt-sensitive (e.g., people who are African-American, those with high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease)—about half the U.S. population. Cutting your sodium intake can help lower high blood pressure and also reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure.

One of the easiest ways to cut back on your salt intake is to not add it if you can’t taste it. In other words, don’t add salt to boiling water for pasta or potatoes, but add it to a dish when its impact will be strongest—usually at the end of cooking. A little salt goes a longer way if it’s sprinkled on a food just before serving; you’ll taste it in every bite.

Another way to slash your sodium intake is to replace sodium-laden processed foods with fresh foods. Other tricks: look for “low sodium” or “no-salt-added” labels and rinse canned beans.

 

Added Sugars

Let’s face it: Americans eat too much sugar. We consume 355 calories—or 22 teaspoons—of added sugars a day, says a recent study. Added sugars are those added to food by consumers or manufacturers. “Reducing added sugars will reduce cardiovascular disease risk,” says Rachel Johnson, Ph.D., R.D., chair of the American Heart Association (AHA) writing group for the AHA scientific statement on sugars and cardiovascular disease and EatingWellnutrition advisor. “High intakes of added sugars are linked with increased risks for high blood pressure and high triglyceride levels, risk factors for heart disease.”

The AHA recommends that women limit their added sugars to no more than 100 calories per day, or about 6 teaspoons, and men should eat less than 150 calories, approximately 9 teaspoons. (A 12-ounce can of cola has about 8 teaspoons.)

These recommendations apply only to added sugars, which supply calories but no nutritional value, and not to sugars that occur naturally in healthful foods (fructose in fruit, lactose in dairy). It’s fairly easy to keep track of sugars you add yourself. Added sugars in processed foods are more difficult to track. “Sugars” on Nutrition Facts panels include natural and added sugars. Check the ingredient list for sugar and all its aliases: corn sweetener or syrup, honey, molasses, fruit juice concentrate, high-fructose corn syrup, invert sugar, malt sugar and syrup and sugar molecules ending in “ose” (dextrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, maltose, sucrose). In general, the closer sugars are to the top of the list, the more the food contains.

Article from EatingWell.com


Stuffed Delicata Squash

In this Tex-Mex-seasoned stuffed delicata squash recipe we swap out half of the ground beef you’d normally use for bulgur to reduce saturated fat without skimping on the amount of stuffing. Serve with a mixed green salad with cilantro vinaigrette.

Dietary Info: Low Calorie | High Fiber | Egg Free

Health Info: Heart Healthy | Healthy Immunity | Healthy Aging

Total Prep Time: 40 mins

Ingredients

  • 2 small delicata squash (about 12 ounces each), halved and seeded
  • 6 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided 
  • ½ teaspoon salt, divided
  • ½ cup bulgur
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 8 ounces lean ground beef (90% or leaner)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • ½ cup nonfat or low-fat plain yogurt
  • 4 teaspoons toasted pepitas (see Tip)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Brush the cut sides of the squash with 2 teaspoons oil and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt. Place facedown on a large baking sheet. Bake until tender and browned on the edges, 25 to 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, bring bulgur and water to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Drain well.
  4. Heat the remaining 4 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring, until beginning to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add beef, chili powder and the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt; cook, stirring and breaking up with a spoon, until the meat is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the bulgur and cook 1 minute. Stir in yogurt.
  5. Spoon about ¾ cup filling into each squash half. Serve sprinkled with pepitas.

Tip: For the best flavor, toast chopped nuts or seeds: Heat a dry skillet over medium-low heat. Add nuts or seeds and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 2 to 4 minutes.


Healthy Blood Pressure Meal Plan – Day 7

Breakfast (255 calories)
Egg & Tomato Tortilla
• 1 corn tortilla
• 1 large egg, cooked in 1/4 tsp. olive oil or coat pan with a thin layer of cooking spray (1-second spray). Season with a pinch of pepper.
• 5 cherry tomatoes, halved
Top tortilla with egg and tomatoes.
• 1 medium banana

A.M. Snack (109 calories)
• 2 cups cubed cantaloupe

Lunch (324 calories)
• 1 1/2 cups Chicken Chili with Sweet Potatoes

P.M. Snack (46 calories)
• 1 cup strawberries

Dinner (446 calories)
• 1 serving Stuffed Delicata Squash
• 2 cups mixed greens
• 1/4 cup grated carrot
Top greens with carrot and drizzle with 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar and 2 tsp. olive oil.


Chicken Chili with Sweet Potatoes

Tons of spice, corn and bell pepper give this healthy one-pot chicken chili recipe Southwestern flair.

Serve with your favorite hot sauce and tortilla chips.

 

 

Dietary Info: Egg Free | Nut Free | Soy Free | Gluten Free

Health Info: Healthy Aging | Healthy Immunity | Heart Healthy

Total Prep Time: 40 mins

 

 

 

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups cubed sweet potato ( ½-inch)
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 15-ounce can low-sodium cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or homemade chicken stock
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 2 cups cubed cooked chicken ( ½-inch; about 10 ounces)
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • Sour cream, avocado and/or cilantro for garnish

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, sweet potato and bell pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are slightly softened, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in chili powder, cumin and oregano and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute.
  2. Add beans and broth (or stock) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, partially cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
  3. Increase heat to medium-high and stir in corn; cook 1 minute. Add chicken and cook until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. Stir in salt and pepper. Serve topped with sour cream, avocado and/or cilantro, if desired.

 


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