Eat Right: Heart-healthy Family Dinners

February is American Heart Month, and New Jammies joins the American Heart Association in reminding families this is an ideal time to focus on their hearts and encourage them to get their loved ones, friends and communities involved.

“The biggest part of living healthy comes down to simply making healthy choices,” says the AHA. “While you can’t change things like age and family history, the good news is that even modest changes to your diet and lifestyle can improve your heart health and lower your risk by as much as 80 percent.”

In its Heart-healthy Recipes section of the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women website, the AHA provides meal planning ideas that can save your heart by improving your diet.

“There’s a common misconception that anything described as healthy is lacking in flavor and satisfaction. To add insult to injury, there’s also an automatic assumption that healthy foods are unaffordable,” the American Heart Association says.

“The truth is, there are plenty of creative ways to make a tasty, heart-healthy dish. And you don’t have to be a master chef to whip one up, and do it well … Once you start eating this way, you may wonder why you didn’t start sooner. And before you know it, you’ll be coming up with your own inspired creations.”

Try these heart-healthy dishes from the American Heart Association and encourage your New Jammies kids and to eat right today:

Healthy greens and beans add a flavorful punch to this easy soup recipe for Tuscan Bean Soup.

Ingredients

6 Servings (Serving size 1 cup)
1 tsp. olive oil (extra virgin preferred)
1/2 small red onion (chopped)
1 medium celery (chopped)
1 medium garlic clove (minced)
2 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
15.5 oz. canned, no-salt-added Great Northern beans (rinsed, drained)
14.5 oz. canned, no-salt-added, diced tomatoes (undrained)
1 tsp. dried oregano (crumbled)
1/2 tsp. dried thyme (crumbled)
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups spinach
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

1. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat, swirling to coat the bottom. Cook the onion, celery, and garlic for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the onion and celery are soft.

2. Stir in the broth, beans, tomatoes with liquid, oregano, thyme, and red pepper flakes. Increase the heat to medium high and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes so the flavors blend.

3. Stir in the spinach. Simmer, covered, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the spinach is wilted.

4. Just before serving, sprinkle the soup with the Parmesan.

This protein-packed vegetarian Edamame Salad with Orange-Balsamic Dressing can be a main course or a side dish.

Ingredients

Serving size 1 1/2 cups

1 1/2 cups shelled edamame (green soybeans)
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard, lowest sodium available
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar PLUS
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar, divided use
1 tsp. olive oil, extra virgin preferred
1/4 tsp. pepper
15.5 oz. canned, no-salt-added navy beans, rinsed, drained
1/4 tsp. salt
2 oz. mixed salad greens, torn into bite-size pieces (about 2 cups)
1/4 medium cucumber, sliced crosswise
1 medium Italian plum (Roma) tomato, diced
1/4 cup shredded carrot
1/4 cup sliced radishes

Directions

1. Prepare the edamame using the package directions, omitting the salt. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, mustard, 2 tablespoons vinegar, oil, and pepper. Set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together the edamame, navy beans, salt, and remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar. Let stand for 10 minutes at room temperature or cover and refrigerate until needed, up to five days.

3. At serving time, put the salad greens on plates. Top, in order, with the cucumber, tomato, carrot, radishes, and bean mixture. Pour the dressing over all.

Benefit from heart-healthy omega-3 fats with this vegetable and seafood Spinach-Stuffed Baked Salmon dish.

Ingredients
4 Servings (Serving size 3 ounces fish and 1/2 cup vegetables)

1 tsp. olive oil (extra virgin preferred)
2 oz. spinach
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
1/4 cup chopped, roasted red bell peppers, rinsed and drained if bottled
1/4 cup fresh basil (coarsely chopped)
2 Tbsp. chopped walnuts
Cooking spray
4 salmon fillets (about 4 ounces each), rinsed, patted dry
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard (lowest sodium available)
2 Tbsp. plain dry bread crumbs, lowest sodium available
1/2 tsp. dried oregano (crumbled)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. pepper

Directions

1. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat, swirling to coat the bottom. Cook the spinach and lemon zest for 2 minutes, or until the spinach is wilted, stirring constantly. Transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in the roasted peppers, basil, and walnuts. Let cool for 5 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lightly spray the foil with cooking spray.

3. Cut a lengthwise slit in the side of each fillet to make a pocket for the stuffing. Be careful to not cut through to the other side. With a spoon or your fingers, carefully stuff a scant 1/2 cup spinach mixture into each fillet. Transfer to the baking sheet. With a pastry brush or spoon, spread the mustard over the fish.

4. In a small bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients. Sprinkle over the fish. Lightly spray the top with cooking spray.

5. Bake for 12 to 13 minutes, or until the fish is the desired doneness and the filling is heated through.

This Blackberry Cobbler dessert recipe features nutrient-dense blackberries and is great for family meals, especially as the weather warms. Nutrient-dense foods are high in nutrients but relatively low in calories, and contain vitamins, minerals, complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats.

Cooking Tip: On the blackberries, this sweet-tart fruit is nutrient dense. Look for plump berries with a dark, rich color.

Ingredients
8 Servings

Cooking spray
4 cups blackberries
1/4 cup sugar substitute and 1/2 cup sugar substitute, divided use
1/4 cup water
Juice from 1 medium lime
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/16 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups fat-free milk
1/4 cup canola or corn oil
1/4 cup fat-free, plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

2. In a medium bowl, gently stir together the berries, 1/4 cup sugar substitute, the water, lime juice, and ginger. Let the berry mixture stand for at least 15 minutes so the juices can accumulate.

3. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar substitute.

4. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, oil, yogurt, and vanilla.

5. Add the flour mixture to the milk mixture, stirring just until no flour is visible. Don’t overmix.

6. Pour the batter into the baking pan. Using a spatula, spread the batter in the pan. (The batter doesn’t have to touch the edge of the pan; it will spread while baking.) Top with the berry mixture.

7. Bake for 50 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

For information on women and heart disease, visit Go Red for Women.

 

New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.

Eat Right: Healthy Summer Eats Perfect for Picnics

With fresh produce in abundance and plenty of sunshine to help gardens grow, summer is the perfect time for New Jammies kids to eat healthy. Picnics are an ideal way to share a meal outside while enjoying summer activities and bond with family and friends.

At New Jammies, we especially love anything organic and farm-to-table, in this case farm-to-picnic blanket, to keep our kids as healthy as they can be. These healthy summer picnic ideas make eating fun and nutritional for kids of all ages:

imageUpdated Waldorf Salad
Recipe courtesy health.com
Photo: Amy Kalyn Sims

Using low-fat mayo keeps this salad creamy but under 10 grams of fat. Plus the lemon juice adds a tangy taste and keeps the apples from browning. At 153 calories, this is a traditional salad made healthy with

Ingredients
2 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 small (Gala or Fuji) apples, cubed
1 cup seedless red grapes, halved
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1/4 cup thinly sliced celery (about 1 stalk)
8 Boston or Bibb lettuce leaves
Preparation

Directions
1. Combine mayonnaise and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Add apples, grapes, and cranberries; mix well.
2. Add the walnuts and celery, and mix well. Serve it on a bed of 2 lettuce leaves. The salad can be refrigerated up to 2 hours before serving.

Vegan Strawberry-Banana ‘Dillas
Recipe courtesy onegreenplanet.org

This is a delicious, healthy snack to satisfy any sugar cravings with the natural sweetness of fruit. Bananas have a low glycemic index, meaning that the body absorbs the sugar gradually, eliminating spikes in blood sugar. Strawberries are very high in Vitamin C, extremely important for a good immune system. Cinnamon boosts the metabolism by slowing the rate at which the stomach empties after meals.

Ingredients
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1 whole wheat tortilla (use corn for GF)
2 tablespoons crunchy, salted almond butter
½ banana, chopped
2 – 3 strawberries, chopped
dash of cinnamon

Directions
1. Melt 1 teaspoon of coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat. Place tortilla in skillet and rotate so that it gets coated in the oil.
2. Spread out almond butter over one half of the tortilla. Top the almond butter with the banana and strawberries.
3. Sprinkle fruit with cinnamon.
4. Fold the plain side of the tortilla over the covered side. Flip.
5. Remove from pan when golden brown and slightly crunchy. Cut up in four pie-shaped pieces and enjoy.

imageLemony Orzo-Veggie Salad with Chicken
Recipe courtesy Ivy Manning, Cooling Light on myrecipes.com
Photo: John Autry; Styling: Leigh Ann Ross

This colorful orzo and chicken main dish salad is packed with an assortment of chopped fresh vegetables and tossed with a tangy lemon dressing. It’s a great use for leftover or rotisserie chicken.

Ingredients
3/4 cup uncooked orzo
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon rind
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon honey
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup shredded skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast $
1/2 cup diced English cucumber
1/2 cup prechopped red bell pepper
1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese

Directions
1. Cook orzo according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain and place in a large bowl.
2. While orzo cooks, combine lemon rind and next 6 ingredients (through black pepper), stirring well with a whisk. Drizzle juice mixture over orzo; toss to coat.
3. Add chicken and next 4 ingredients (through dill); toss gently to combine.
4. Sprinkle with cheese.
Blueberry Lemonade
Recipe courtesy Bobby Flay and foodnetwork.com

This refreshing, fruit-filled drink can be modified with a sugar substitute or honey, if preferred, to cut down on calories.

Ingredients
3 cups blueberries
3/4 cups sugar
2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 cups cold water
Ice cubes

Directions
Place the blueberries and sugar in a blender and puree.
Place the lemon juice and water in a pitcher and strain the pureed blueberries through a medium mesh sieve into the pitcher.
Stir well and pour over ice.