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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.