A healthy diet is an important part of a heart-healthy lifestyle. Eating healthy foods doesn’t have to be bland or tasteless. With a few simple swaps and an emphasis on fruits, vegetables and whole grains, you can still enjoy your favorite foods as part of some heart-healthy meals.
These three heart-healthy recipes give you important nutrients with plenty of flavor. Put them together for a complete heart-healthy meal!
Easy spaghetti squash
Trade high-calorie pasta for spaghetti squash and enjoy a heart-friendly version of classic comfort food.
Like other types of winter squash, spaghetti squash is rich in antioxidants that can help prevent heart disease. It’s also low in calories and contains plenty of fiber to help you keep your weight in check, which can lower your risk of other diseases like diabetes.
- 1 spaghetti squash
- Non-stick cooking spray
- 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 small onion
- 1 8 oz. can tomatoes, no salt added
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1/4 tsp. dried Italian herbs, no-salt blend
- 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 16 oz. tomato sauce, no salt added
- 1/2 cup fresh mozzarella
- 1/4 cup fresh basil
Slice the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds. Set the seeds aside to roast later if you want.
Put the squash in a microwave-safe bowl with the cut side down. Add enough water to cover one inch of the squash.
Microwave on high for 20 minutes.
Heat olive oil in a saucepan. Cook garlic and onion for five to seven minutes.
Add tomatoes, spices, herbs and red pepper flakes. Cook for two to three minutes, or until the liquid evaporates.
Add tomato sauce. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove the spaghetti squash from the microwave and let cool. Scrape the inside of the squash and shred it to create noodles.
Add the squash noodles to the sauce. Toss with mozzarella balls and fresh basil.
Need a side dish to complete some heart-healthy meals? Nutrient-dense artichokes contain a variety of vitamins and minerals. One medium-cooked artichoke provides 22 percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDI) for vitamin K and 27 percent of the RDI for folate.
It also may help improve cholesterol levels. Researchers found that adults who took artichoke leaf extract daily had lower cholesterol levels than the control group.
- 2 whole artichokes
- 1/2 cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Peel the outer leaves from the artichoke. Slice in half lengthwise. Mix the minced garlic, parsley, salt and oregano.
Position a steamer rack in the bottom of a pressure cooker. Add chicken broth and water.
Put the artichokes on the steamer with the cut side facing up. Sprinkle the seasoning mix on the artichokes.
Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. Drizzle the cooked artichokes with olive oil before serving.
Valencia orange-vanilla frozen yogurt
Nothing says heart-healthy meals can’t include a little something sweet. Satisfy your sweet tooth with this fat-free frozen yogurt dessert. You’ll get the creaminess of ice cream without excessive calories and fat. Greek yogurt contains healthy fats, which may help lower cholesterol and triglycerides and can lower your risk of heart disease.
- 1 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
- 1 small banana
- 2 teaspoons of grated orange zest
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/8 teaspoon grated or ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon Stevia sweetener
- 5 drops vanilla creme Stevia liquid
- 5 drops Valencia orange Stevia liquid
- 2 small oranges
Cut the oranges in half and juice them. Reserve the juice.
Combine the yogurt, orange juice, lemon juice and one-half of the orange zest and nutmeg. Process until smooth.
Add the powder and liquid sweeteners. Process for an additional 30 seconds to combine.
Transfer the mixture to an electric ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to freeze. Alternatively, you can put the mixture in a one-quart bowl and place in the freezer. Stir every hour until frozen.
Garnish with the remaining orange zest and nutmeg.
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