Don’t be Salty: The Facts on Sodium

The month of February is dedicated to heart health. A heart healthy lifestyle focuses on low sodium foods, a variety of fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and regular physical activity. Making small changes to your diet can help support your heart. Let’s focus on some ways to decrease your sodium intake. Sodium is an essential nutrient, but most Americans consume too much sodium. Excess sodium intake can lead to high blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart and kidney disease along with stroke. Check out the following myths and the low sodium shopping list to help you kick excess sodium out of your diet. Myth 1: Sea salt is healthier than table salt. Fact: Sea salt and table salt contain the same amount of sodium.  Limit the use of all types of salt (sea salt, table salt, Himalayan pink [...]

Easy Weeknight Meals

Make Time for Dinner Back to school brings the return of homework, weeknight sports practices, and very little time for much else. Although preparing dinner may feel like a chore, there are various strategies for making dinner both healthy and easy during a busy school week. If preparing a healthy meal comes at the expense of spending quality time with family, household chores, or squeezing in time to exercise, then these easy weeknight meal tips may be for you. Tip #1: Plan Creating a plan for weeknight dinners will prevent the dread from setting in when hearing “what are we having for dinner tonight?” Taking a small amount of time during the weekend to plan out each dinner will make sure you are ready for the week. Planning out meals also helps pull together your grocery list effortlessly. Fun meal [...]

One-Pot Cooking

After working all day, finding something to make for dinner can sometimes be a pain. Who wants to spend their evenings stuck in the kitchen prepping healthy ingredients? And after dinner comes the “best” part - cleaning up the dirty dishes! This scenario leads many to order local takeout or make their way to the fast food lane. Why Choose One-Pot Meals?  Instead of grabbing a bite to eat out, make a healthy meal at home with just one pot! While eating out is convenient and saves time on clean-up, studies show that those who consume more meals at home consume fewer calories, less fat, sugar, and sodium compared to those who eat out. Your next healthy meal is just one dish away! Convenience And Healthy Combined  One-pot meals are dishes that are easy to make and a breeze to [...]

Heart Healthy Recipe: Slow Cooker Turkey and Black Bean Chili

Slow Cooker Turkey and Black Bean Chili This chili recipe is packed with black beans rich in soluble fiber, which may help lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. It also utilizes no-salt-added canned items and dried herbs that are not only affordable but heart-healthy as well. Ingredients 2 lbs. ground, skinless turkey breast 2 cans no-salt-added black beans (rinsed, drained) 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes 1 can no-salt-added, diced tomato (undrained) 2 cans no-salt-added tomato sauce 1 cup frozen whole kernel corn 1 Tbsp cumin 1 Tbsp chili powder 2 tsp dried oregano (crumbled) 2 tsp ground coriander 4 medium garlic cloves (minced) Directions Place ingredients in crockpot. Cover and cook over low setting for 8-10 hours, or over high setting for 3-4 hours. Dietitian Tips Pair this meal with a serving of veggies and a whole-grain roll or brown rice to create a balanced meal. Can’t find no salt or sodium added beans? Rinse the [...]

Try a New Food: Comforting Black Bean Veggie Soup

Comforting Black Bean Veggie Soup January is National Soup Month! There is nothing better than cozying up with a hot bowl of soup on a cold winter’s day. You might be tempted to reach for your favorite canned variety. But many canned soups are loaded with sodium. Excessive sodium intake may elevate blood pressure and increase your risk of heart disease. The worst canned soup offenders pack over half a day’s worth of sodium into a single 90 calorie serving. Not to mention, you’ll probably finish an entire two-serving can as a quick meal, exceeding daily sodium recommendations from the American Heart Association—in just one meal! We prefer preparing our homemade favorites in large batches, then freeze leftovers in single portions inside Ziploc bags. All it takes is a quick thaw and reheat in the microwave to enjoy our favorite [...]

Grill More Fruits and Veggies

This summer (and July Fourth!) we encourage you to think beyond traditional cookout favorites and make room for more grill-able vegetables and fruits. Not only are they budget-friendly and abundant in the summer (find a farmers’ market near you), but adding perfectly charred produce to your plate tastes great and can benefit your health. Diets based on minimally processed plant foods can lower your risk of heart attack and stroke, help control blood glucose (sugar) levels, prevent weight gain, lower cholesterol, and more! The protection fruits and vegetables provide is in part due to the high amount of fiber and the wide array of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants they contain. You need a total of at least four-and-a-half cups of vegetables and fruits (2 ½ cups vegetables plus 2 cups fruit) daily to see these health benefits. Let grilling—a quick [...]

Legume Pasta

Have you ever heard a dietitian nutritionist tell you to eat more legumes (beans, peas, chickpeas, and lentils)? Wish they told you to eat more pasta instead? Believe it or not, there is a solution. If you’re a regular shopper of the pasta aisle, you may have noticed that things now look a lot more colorful. Those orange, green, and black noodles haven’t expired, they’re made from legumes instead of flour! Legume-based pastas are much higher in fiber and protein than their wheat-based counterparts and can be used the exact same way. Chickpea pasta is currently the easiest variety to find at any big box grocer, and its mild flavor is well-suited for nearly any pasta dish. Lentil and black bean varieties are available too! Toss with a classic Italian red sauce or with Asian stir-fry veggies. Feeling something simpler? [...]