How to Make 10 Heart Healthy Meals
Think preparing heart healthy meals is a demanding undertaking? Think again. Not only can you pump out heart-healthy recipes with four simple steps, but ensure your taste buds are also satisfied with nutritious and delicious ingredients!
4 Steps to Making Heart-Healthy Meals
1. Load Up On Produce
Fruits and veggies are key for not only a heart-healthy diet, but overall health in general. And while all produce grants nutritional value, certain kinds of vegetables should be an essential part of any heart-healthy meal. Go for veggies that are high in dietary fiber, like spinach and broccoli and limit fried vegetables, as they are likely to contain trans fats. The inclusion of fruit also grants heart-healthy nutrients and can help satisfy that sweet tooth, which is an extremely valuable task considering the link between high-sugar diets and cholesterol. But when going for fruit, opt for whole pieces rather than in juice form, as whole fruits offer fiber that juices lack.
2. Choose Fats Wisely
Unlike popular belief, eating for the heart (and general health) does not dismiss dietary fat. In fact, the needs fat to maintain cell structure and integrity, offer insulation, assist in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, and other valuable physiological processes. But too much and the wrong type of fat may cause weight gain and the risk of chronic disease, including heart disease. Nonetheless, swap out saturated and trans fats with healthier fat sources, including monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), and omega-3 fatty acids. Their precedence in the diet has not only shown to support heart health, but can even facilitate weight loss. Healthy fat sources include fatty fish, nuts and seeds, avocados, and olive and canola oils. fight against heart disease, including reducing the risk of a heart attack, stroke, and sudden cardiac death. Also go for leaner cuts of meats, including skinless chicken, turkey, and sirloin.
3. Add Grains
For a complete heart-healthy meal, do not forget to add some grains. Not only do they contribute fiber, but contain valuable B vitamins and other nutrients shown to improve both blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Nonetheless, whole grains should comprise at least 50 percent of total grain consumption and complement produce, protein, and healthy fats.
4. Season for the Heart
Whereas sodium is a valuable mineral and electrolyte for regulating fluid balance within the body, too much of it can increase blood pressure. And with heart disease being the number one killer in the U.S., there is a need to go easy on the salt. The general recommendation of sodium intake is 2,400 milligrams (mg) per day or 1,400 mg if directed by a medical provider, commonly related to high blood pressure and congestive heart failure. To moderate sodium intake, go easy on the salt shake, limit processed and packaged foods, and opt for more wholesome foods. Also simultaneously reduce salt intake and enrich the flavor of your foods by spicing it up in the kitchen with the use of fresh or dried herbs and seasonings.
Putting It Together to Make 10 Heart-Healthy Recipes
1. Overnight Oats
Oats might be small, but oh are they filled with heart-healthy nutrients! Begin your day with these overnight oat recipes, loaded with slow-releasing carbs and fiber sure to fuel your morning.
2. Breakfast Burritos
Eggs are a simple way to offer healthy fat and protein into your morning, along with extra nutrients thanks to their adaptability to complement veggies. To make a heart-healthy, on-the-go breakfast, sauté spinach, bell pepper, tomato, and other desired veggies in a skillet over medium heat. Crack open and scramble a couple eggs into the veggies, transfer egg mixture to a whole grain tortilla, fold up, and head out the door to take on the day!
3. Chia Seed Pudding
Mixing up a batch of this vanilla chia seed pudding power packs your morning, as chia seeds boast fiber and omega-3 fatty acids shown to support heart health. Chia seeds have also shown to reduce C-reactive protein, a major marker of heart disease risk.
4. Tuna Salad
With just a few tweaks and tricks, transform mayo-based tuna salad into a heart-healthy. Simply mix a 5-ounce can of wild albacore tuna with a small avocado, diced celery, a tablespoon of lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Accompany with a high-fiber source, including whole grain crackers, sliced cucumbers, and carrot sticks, for a convenient lunch or snack.
5. Chickpea Salad
For a plant-based lunch option, look no further than this chickpea salad! While it can stand alone as a meal option, also feel free to downsize and pair with soup or serve as a side dish for your next summer grill out.
6. Black Bean Tacos
Like chickpeas, beans are another protein-rich, meatless alternative to savor. So for your next Taco Tuesday, lightly mash and mix black beans with garlic powder, cumin, sautéed peppers and onions. Add the bean mixture to a whole grain tortilla and top with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt, salsa, avocado, and shredded lettuce.
7. Beef Stir-Fry
Rather than calling in for takeout, prepare beef stir-fry from the comfort of your own for a heart-healthy meal option. Simply cook grassfed beef (more omega-3 fatty acids!) to desired doneness, top onto a half cup of brown rice, and complement with roasted broccoli, carrots, onions, bell peppers, and other Asian-inspired flavors. Feel free to swap out beef with a pan-seared salmon fillet and/or soybeans.
8. Cranberry Apple Stuffed Chicken Breast
From fiber from apples to omega-3 fatty acids from walnuts, this cardiac diet recipe is stuffed with heart-healthy nutrients! Pair with fresh green beans, quinoa, or a sweet potato for a complete balanced meal.
9. Baked Tilapia with Tomato Caper Sauce
Baking is an essential cooking preparation method for cardiac diet recipes, as it dismisses heavy oils from meals. But this baked tilapia recipe not only rids unhealthy oils, but boasts in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. And to mention, the mild flavor of tilapia is perfectly complemented by the natural, tangy hints of garlic, olives, capers and onions in the zesty tomato caper sauce!
10. Blackened Salmon
Like tilapia, salmon is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids and make this bistroMD recipe good for the heart. The salmon is paired with a stew okra, completely devoid of any salt but ample in flavor thanks to the use of onion, garlic, basil, oregano, mustard, cayenne pepper, and extra virgin olive oil.