@rachaelsgoodeats | @plantbasedrd
Tired of cooking the same three recipes for lunch and dinner over and over again? Join the club. But as you probably know, the world of food blogs and diet influencers can be very overwhelming. You are so. lots. Damn it. Options. If I just think of scrolling through a few of them, I’ll be ready for a nap.
Then there is the whole problem of finding “healthy” food ideas. I’ve seen so many different guidelines and nutritional standards that I literally have no idea what makes a dish good for me. Why? Is? It? To like? These? And who is even allowed to define what is “healthy”? Sigh. Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk.
Fortunately, there is a solution to both problems: use the American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s Heart Healthy Food Diet Guidelines to educate people about what you’re eating. It’s simple recommendations like eating a variety of fruits and vegetables and including whole grains in your diet – nothing that is very limiting or confusing. Also, you probably want your heart to be healthy as it keeps you alive. So this seems like a win-win situation.
Some Other Heart Healthy Eating Recommendations? Low-fat dairy products, nuts, lean meats, skinless poultry and fish. However, this does not mean that you can never eat foods that are high in fat or high in sugar. If you want a biscuit, eat a biscuit. It’s more about including these recommended foods in your rotation than it is about restrictions.
Now that we have certain foods in mind, it should be a little easier to sort through the millions of recipes out there, right? Spoiler alert: it is. I know because I’ve been through a couple of them before. Here are 15 heart-healthy food ideas that are super easy to make.
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A bowl of yogurt
Here’s a quick way to prepare low-fat dairy, fruits, and nuts: Swap your typical breakfast for a bowl of yogurt. Start with a base of low-fat Greek yogurt and top it with your favorite fruits, nuts and granola. In this case, the blogger used bluebs, natural PB, and a shredded protein bar to complete her bowl.
A vegetarian flatbread
Start with a piece of naan bread (whole grain bread if you can find it) and place some vegan or low-fat mozzarella on top. Add thinly sliced garlic, cherry tomatoes, olives, dried basil, dried oregano, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of garlic powder and you’re good to go. According to this RD, you should bake it at 400 ° F for about 10 minutes – or until the edges are a little brown and the cheese melts.
Pasta is one of my all time favorite dishes because 1) it’s delicious and 2) it’s ridiculously easy to make. To make sure it’s heart-healthy, go for chickpea noodles (like the banza this blogger used) or a whole grain variety. Then add 1.5 cups of broccoli for some potassium and fiber. See the IG caption above for full instructions on how to recreate this delicious looking image.
Smoky chickpeas with vegetables over rice or quinoa
This recipe from nutritionist Marisa Moore is ridiculously simple. All you need is some greens (spinach, kale, or broccoli), a can of chickpeas, olive oil, some spices (she uses garlic, paprika, and turmeric), and a bowl of rice or quinoa. Follow their directions to cook the chickpeas and vegetables, then just add them to a bowl of rice or quinoa. (Yes, you can easily put the frozen variety in the microwave.) Putting the chickpeas and greens in a piece of pita or naan bread works too, says Moore.
Avocado Egg Salad Toast
Behold, a twist on the avocado toast recipe you’ve seen a million times. Mix together two diced hard-boiled eggs, half an avocado (smashed), one diced cucumber, one tablespoon of spicy mustard, red chilli flakes, pink salt, and ground pepper to make the avo egg salad. Then divide the mixture over two pieces of whole wheat toast et voilà!
A salad that is not boring
Chicken Caesar Salad? I’ve been there and ate this a thousand times. This salad looks a lot more interesting. Starting with a bowl of romaine lettuce, add grilled chicken, sliced honey apple, white onion, red pepper, cucumber and feta. Then drizzle some white onion dressing over it and chew. You get heart-healthy poultry, vegetables and fruit at the same time.
A salmon bowl
The American Heart Association recommends including more salmon in your diet because it is full of omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for your heart. The easiest way to make a meal out of it? Bake a salmon fillet and put it in a bowl with mixed vegetables, cucumber slices and rice, as blogger Carissa Stanton suggests here. The whole dish only takes 15 minutes.
Trust me, these look a lot more complicated than they actually are. Cook a pound of ground chicken in a pan with a tablespoon of avocado oil and a tablespoon of taco seasoning until brown. Then top up your whole wheat tortillas with a layer of mixed greens. Then put chicken on top and add a couple of spoons of guac (this recipe has information on how to make your own, but store bought is fine). Finish with some chopped red pepper and chipotle beans and you are ready to eat.
A smoothie bowl
It’s something to put a smoothie in a bowl to make it taste better. Mix together half of a frozen banana, a handful of frozen berries, half a pack of frozen açaí berries, and a dash of almond milk. Pour the mixture into a bowl, add your favorite fruits, nuts or muesli and you have it: a delicious, heart-healthy breakfast.
Did you really think I’d only include one pasta dish on this list? Yes exactly. These cherry tomato and spinach spaghetti look too good to miss. Follow this blogger’s six easy steps and you will have a dinner worthy of the Insta story. * Drooling *.
Almond Butter, Banana & Jam Sandwich
Swap your boring PB and J for this fun alternative. All you need is two slices of whole grain bread (or homemade paleobread if you’re feeling ambitious like this blogger), almond butter, strawberry jam, and a banana. Proceed with the peanut butter and jelly (almond butter in this case though) and place some banana slices in the center before joining the two pieces of bread together. Delicious! And you also include some nuts, fruits, and whole grains in your diet.
Toast with smoked salmon
Not a fan of cooking fish? Don’t worry, the next time you visit the grocery store, grab some plain smoked salmon for those heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Toast some whole grain bread and top it with feta, avocado slices, chopped spring onions and a few pieces of smoked salmon. Finish it off with a pinch of Trader Joe’s Everything But The Bagel Seasoning and a dash of lemon juice and olive oil.
Turkey and Vegetable Wrap
First, spread some hummus on a wholemeal or almond flour wrap. Place a few pieces of turkey meat and some long, thin slices of cucumber and carrot on top. Gently roll up the packaging, cut it in half, and lunch is served!
Honey sesame chicken over rice
As long as you have 20 minutes to prepare dinner, you can’t go wrong with this honey sesame chicken recipe. It may sound fancy, but you can literally cook the whole dish in one pan. Follow DeVaux’s directions to cook your chicken and serve over rice with a little steamed broccoli for a full meal.
Want to add a little more fun to your frozen banza cheese pizza or Trader Joe’s cauliflower pizza? Try sprinkling a store-bought pesto on top before putting it in the oven. This blogger used a kale cashew pesto. Sprinkle with some arugula after cooking to really take things to the next level.
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