A Heart-Healthy Diet Can Actually Taste Good? You Bet!
Updated on Tuesday, February 7, 2023
Protect your heart. Better your health.
It happens like clockwork - the new year arrives and we all become acutely aware of our health again. This month, we want to focus specifically on the heart. Having a healthy heart will benefit you physically and mentally. One of the most important ways to keep your heart healthy is to eat a healthy diet. A heart-healthy diet is a well-balanced diet, which promotes healthy weight, blood pressure, and lower cholesterol levels. The bright side? You don’t have to sacrifice taste!
Eating a Balanced Diet
Your heart needs balance, but what does that mean? A balanced diet is one that involves a variety of different foods: including lots of fresh fruits and vegetables (seasonal, if you can!), moderate amounts of protein-rich foods and whole grains, and some healthy fats. Focusing on a diet that is lower in meat, but denser in colorful vegetables, will automatically limit saturated fats and sodium, which are likely to damage your heart.
Control Portion Sizes
Watching your portion size is just as important! Eat smaller meals throughout the day to avoid getting overly hungry. Many of us overeat simply because we have waited so long between meals that we feel as though we are starving! Then, we find ourselves reaching for the closest and most convenient option. Sometimes, we put too much food on our plates and our brain doesn’t get the message that we are full until it’s too late. Putting less food on your plate, eating slowly, and making sure to listen to your body’s needs will help you learn to eat only until you’re satisfied, rather than until you are uncomfortably full. You might find that you don't need as much food as you originally thought!
Don’t Forget Flavor
The key to eating a healthy diet is to want to eat healthy foods, but how? The key is to prioritize flavor! Eating food should be a pleasurable experience! Though the term “heart-healthy diet” might conjure up visions of dry broiled fish and plain steamed vegetables, the truth is that there are plenty of ways to spice up your food while also staying healthy.
Plan for Success
It’s important to plan ahead! Having some delicious recipes ready, along with the right foods in your pantry and fridge, makes it even easier to maintain a delicious, heart-healthy diet. Oftentimes, we find ourselves at the end of a long day stopping for takeout, as we don’t have anything appealing planned for dinner at home. These recipes prove that you can have a meal that is both satisfying and healthy.
Stop by Farmview Market to see what’s fresh, and make one of our favorite light and healthy dinner recipes tonight.
Sage-Rubbed Pork Chops with Apple Slaw
(Adapted from Ellie Krieger)
For the Chops:
- 1 tbsp. Fresh sage, chopped
- 1 large Garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 tsp. Salt
- (4) 3/4 inch Bone-in pork loin chops
- 2 tsp. Olive oil
- Ground pepper to taste
For the Slaw:
- 2 tsp. Olive oil
- 1 large Onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
- 1 large Granny smith apple, cored and coarsely shredded
- 16 oz. bag Slaw mix
- 2 tbsp. Cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp. Salt
- 3/4 cup Low-sodium chicken broth
- To make the chops, combine the sage, garlic, salt and a few grinds of pepper in a small bowl. Rub the mixture all over the pork chops and let them sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.
- Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until good and hot. Add the chops and brown well on both sides, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer the chops to a plate.
- To make the slaw, carefully wipe out the pan. Heat the oil over medium heat and add the onion, apple, and sage. Cook, stirring a few times, until softened and golden brown, to 5 minutes.
- Add the slaw mix, vinegar, and salt and continue to cook until the cabbage and carrots begin to soften about 5 minutes.
- Add the broth and return the pork chops to the pan, burying them in the vegetable mixture. Cover and cook just until the pork chops have just a slight blush in the center, 5 to 7 minutes longer.
- To serve, arrange the warm slaw on individual plates and top with a pork chop and pan juices.
Chicken with Black Bean Chipotle Sauce
For the sauce:
- 3 tbsp. Yellow onion, diced
- 1 1/2 tsp. Garlic, minced
- 14 oz. can Black beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 tsp. Ground chipotle chili pepper
- 1 cup Chicken stock
- 1/4 cup Tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 tsp. Fresh cilantro, minced
- 1 tsp. Sea salt
For the chicken:
- 1 tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp. Chili powder
- (4) 4 oz. Skinless, boneless chicken breasts
- Lightly spray a large saucepan with canola oil spray. Sauté the onions and garlic over medium heat until the onions are translucent.
- Add the black beans, chipotle, chicken stock, tomatoes, cilantro, and salt and slowly simmer for 10 to 20 minutes or until the beans are slightly thickened. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
- Place the black bean mixture in a blender and puree until smooth.
- Preheat the broiler.
- Combine the olive oil and chili powder in a small bowl and mix to form a paste. Rub the paste over the chicken breasts.
- Broil the chicken for 3 to 5 minutes on each side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
- Serve each chicken breast with black bean sauce and a side salad or grilled vegetable of your choice.
Shrimp and Couscous Packets
- 1 cup Couscous
- 5 oz. Package baby kale
- 1 lb. Plum tomatoes, quartered
- 2 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 20 large Shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 tbsp. Extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Heat oven to 425 degrees.
- Tear off four 12 inch squares of foil and arrange on two baking sheets. In a small bowl, combine the couscous with 1/2 cup water.
- Divide the kale among the pieces of foil. Top with the couscous, then the tomatoes, garlic, and shrimp. Drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Cover with another piece of foil and fold each edge up and over three times. Roast for 15 minutes.
- Transfer each packet to a plate. Using scissors or a knife, cut an “X” in the center and fold back the triangles to serve.
Visit the American Heart Association website for more heart-healthy tips and to learn how to recognize the signs of a heart attack.
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