It’s easy to become overwhelmed by healthy eating, but your overall health will benefit if you can stick with healthy basics during this trying time. That means filling half your plate with vegetables and fruit, a quarter with protein-rich foods, and a quarter with whole grains, as described by Canada’s Food Guide.

Preparing meals can seem complicated though with hard to get ‘superfoods‘ seeming like the only way to cook nutritiously. But this is simply not the case — heart healthy foods are hiding in plain sight at every grocery store across the country. Fresh, frozen, shelf-stable and more, these delicious whole foods benefit your total body health. Below are some of our tips that you can use, without breaking the bank.

Choose Wisely

Plan your meals ahead of time, so you can shop once and get groceries for the next week or two. When you plan your meals, make sure to use your perishable vegetables, fruit and protein options first, and save the canned, frozen and shelf-stable food for later.

Peel it Yourself

Buying foods in their close-to-natural state will always save you money. A one kilogram bag of whole unpeeled carrots costs about one-third the price of the same size bag of pre-cut baby carrots. Convenience comes with a higher price tag.

Go Meatless on Monday

Pick one or more days per week to go fully meatless, focusing on the highly affordable protein found in beans, legumes, eggs and tofu. Transform humble edamame beans into an edible masterpiece with this Carrot, Parsnip and Edamame Salad, ideal for lunch or dinner on the days you go meatless, or any day.

Choose In-Season Foods

Shopping in season is a simple way to enjoy a healthy diet on a budget, without even thinking twice. Head to your local farmers’ market or grocery store each week with growing seasons in mind. For instance, buy asparagus in April or May (not December!) and strawberries in June. In the summertime, you’re spoiled for choice, though this way of cooking and eating works year-round.

Use Frozen Vegetables

Picked at the peak of freshness and flash frozen, these ice-cold health foods are often just as nutritious as they are fresh. Choose frozen produce free of sauces, salt and sugar, and keep your eye out for sales during the week. They’ll keep for months, allowing you to buy in bulk and add to stews, stir-fries, salads, sides and soups.

An important part of maintaining a heart healthy lifestyle is in the diet that we keep. With the cooler temperatures that Winter brings we tend to gravitate towards meals that are generally very hearty and tend to warm us up from the cold. These meals are usually very good for us, as they are often made up of many vegetables like soups, which provide us with essential nutrients.

Below are some heart-healthy recipes that we will regularly use during the fall months that our registered dietitian, Marsha Rosen, created for us. We hope that you enjoy each of them as much as we have.

Apple Cranberry Crisp

Meal in a Bowl Soup

Miso Chicken

Tart Apple Buttermilk Cake

Warm Winter Fruit

Chicken Chili

Minestrone Soup

Zucchini Soup

Oven-Fried Sweet Potatoes

Corn, Potato and Shrimp Chowder

For more heart healthy recipes, check out the heart-healthy living section of our site.

This past week in Canada has brought about the debate of whether certain foods are ok to have for a heart-healthy diet, specifically red meat. Many doctors agree that eating red meat is linked to cancer and heart disease, but are the risks big enough to give up burgers and steak? This has been a hotly debated issue ever since this story came out suggesting that it’s alright to have it once in a while, going against established advice.

Although it’s always good to have a discussion around what is good and what isn’t good for a heart-healthy diet, we believe in proven and long-standing recommended methods. Below are some of these heart-healthy diets.

Dash Diet

Researchers and heart-related organizations have developed a dietary plan called, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or what is known as the DASH diet. The diet consists of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and a lower level of salt.  Dietitians of Canada states that DASH can even be as effective as some medications in helping keep blood pressure levels in a normal range.

To help walk us through this diet, we’ve asked our Registered Dietitian, Marsha Rosen, to explain its components and what a normal day would be like on the DASH diet.

The DASH diet emphasizes making meal and snack choices from the following Food Groups:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Grains
  • Low Fat or No-Fat Dairy Foods
  • Lean meats, poultry and fish
  • Nuts, seeds and dry  legumes
  • Fats and oils

The DASH Eating Plan outlines what you would eat normally if you followed a 2000 calorie a day diet.

Food GroupNumber of
daily servings
Example of serving size
Grains6-81 slice whole grain bread   ½ cup cooked brown rice or whole wheat pasta *Choose whole grains like oats, millet, barley, bulgur and quinoa most often*
Vegetables4-5½ cup any raw or cooked vegetable   1 cup raw leafy vegetable ½ cup low sodium or reduced sodium vegetable and tomato juice
Fruit4-51 medium fruit
¼ cup dried fruit½ cup fresh, frozen or canned fruit or juice
Low-fat milk products2-31 cup skim or 1% milk   1 cup low-fat yogurt (2% milk fat or less) 1.5 oz low-fat cheese (19% milk fat or less)
Lean meat, poultry and fish6 or less1 oz cooked lean meat, skinless poultry or fish
1 egg
Nuts, seeds and legumes4-5 times per week1/3 cup unsalted nuts (almonds, walnuts)   2 Tbsp peanut butter 2 Tbsp seeds (sunflower, pumpkin) ½ cup cooked legumes (kidney beans, chickpeas)
Fats and oils2-31 tsp non-hydrogenated, unsalted margarine   1 tsp oil (olive, canola, etc.) 1 Tbsp low-fat mayonnaise or salad dressing
Sweets and added sugars5 or less per week1 tbsp sugar, jelly or jam   ½ cup sorbet

Minerals

In addition to focusing on these key food areas, the DASH eating plan encourages you to eat foods that are high in potassium, calcium and magnesium.

Potassium – Good sources of potassium include tomatoes, bananas, oranges, potatoes, nuts, lentils, beans, milk and fish.

Magnesium – Good sources of magnesium include spinach, whole grain cereals, nuts, seeds, fish, beans, soy and lentils.

Calcium – High amounts are found in milk, yoghurt, canned fish with bones mashed in, leafy green vegetables, beans and tofu (manufactured using calcium salts).

And finally – all of this is a wonderful beginning to lifelong healthy eating habits – the one other key step is to introduce some regular exercise that is personally enjoyable and done regularly. Get some professional help if you need it to start you on an appropriate program.

Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet is a way of eating based on the traditional cuisine of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. While there is no single definition of the Mediterranean diet, it is typically high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nut and seeds, and olive oil.

The main components of the Mediterranean diet include:

  • Daily consumption of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and healthy fats
  • Weekly intake of fish, poultry, beans and eggs
  • Moderate portions of dairy products
  • Limited intake of red meat

Other important elements of the Mediterranean diet are sharing meals with family and friends, enjoying a glass of red wine and being physically active.

Plant-based, not meat-based

The foundation of the Mediterranean diet is vegetables, fruits, herbs, nuts, beans and whole grains. Meals are built around these plant-based foods. Moderate amounts of dairy, poultry and eggs are also central to the Mediterranean Diet, as is seafood. In contrast, red meat is eaten only occasionally.

Healthy fats

Healthy fats are a mainstay of the Mediterranean diet. They’re eaten instead of less healthy fats, such as saturated and trans fats, which contribute to heart disease.

Olive oil is the primary source of added fat in the Mediterranean diet. Olive oil provides monounsaturated fat, which has been found to lower total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol levels. Nuts and seeds also contain monounsaturated fat.

Fish are also important in the Mediterranean diet. Fatty fish — such as mackerel, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, salmon and lake trout — are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat that may reduce inflammation in the body. Omega-3 fatty acids also help decrease triglycerides, reduce blood clotting, and decrease the risk of stroke and heart failure.

Eating the Mediterranean way

Interested in trying the Mediterranean diet? These tips will help you get started:

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables. Aim for 7 to 10 servings a day of fruit and vegetables.
  • Opt for whole grains. Switch to whole-grain bread, cereal and pasta. Experiment with other whole grains, such as bulgur and farro.
  • Use healthy fats. Try olive oil as a replacement for butter when cooking. Instead of putting butter or margarine on bread, try dipping it in flavored olive oil.
  • Eat more seafood. Eat fish twice a week. Fresh or water-packed tuna, salmon, trout, mackerel and herring are healthy choices. Grilled fish tastes good and requires little cleanup. Avoid deep-fried fish.
  • Reduce red meat. Substitute fish, poultry or beans for meat. If you eat meat, make sure it’s lean and keep portions small.
  • Enjoy some dairy. Eat low-fat Greek or plain yogurt and small amounts of a variety of cheeses.
  • Spice it up. Herbs and spices boost flavor and lessen the need for salt.

The Mediterranean diet is a delicious and healthy way to eat. Many people who switch to this style of eating say they’ll never eat any other way.

Do you have any diets or recipes that you’d like to recommend to us? Send us a message!

Valentine’s Day is an event celebrated across the world, which exemplifies the day of love and romance. If you are planning on having your loved one(s) over for Valentine’s Day and you aren’t sure about what to make or buy, perhaps these easy yet fun ideas can help you! Express your love through these heart-healthy yet delicious snacks!

Photo Credits: https://binged.it/2Bxsc71

  1. A Pizza My Heart: There’s no better way to win over someone’s heart than to give them some thin-crust home-made pizza! Home-made pizza is definitely a healthier option! You can even cut out the dough into heart shapes!

Things you need:

  1. Option One: Whole-Wheat Dough

Option Two: Whole-grain tortilla. If you decide to go with this option, whole-grain tortillas are more personalized. Therefore, you       can make one or two per person.

  1. Vegetables (optional)
  2. Turkey Pepperoni as a healthier choice, instead of beef or pork
  3. Cheese
  4. Pizza Sauce

What to do:

Oven: Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Place a pizza baking tray on the lowest rack of your oven.

For Vegetables: If you choose to use vegetables, put a little olive oil in a skillet and sauté them until the vegetables are tender.

Creating Your Pizza: This is the fun part in making your delicious creation! Place your pizza sauce, cheese, turkey pepperoni, and your tender vegetables onto your whole-wheat pizza dough or tortilla’s. Then place it in the oven, until the cheese is melted and your dough is golden-brown.

The only thing left to do is, eat!

Food Recipe: https://bit.ly/2I7oBT3

Photo Credit: https://binged.it/2SGxG9i

2.You’re one in a Melon: Fruits are a great source of nutrients and natural sugar. They are also a great way to open up your digestive tract and clean your pallet.

For this heart-healthy snack you can pick any fruit you like. Some options can include watermelon, cantaloupe, and pineapple. You will need three items:

  1. Your fruits of choice
  2. Popsicle or shortened skewer sticks
  3. Heart-Shaped Cookie Cutter

Take your heart-shaped cookie cutter and cut out heart shapes out of your fruits, then place the Popsicle or shortened skewer sticks in bottom of the fruit. This will give your snack a Popsicle effect, which is a great snack-serving idea.

Photo and Idea Credit : https://bit.ly/2GlMjJm

3.You are the Jelly to my Peanut-butter(or Soy-Nut butter) Heart: YUM! What better way to say ‘I love you’ than with a peanut-butter/soy-nut butter and jelly heart shaped sandwich?

Things You Need:

  1. Peanut Butter/Soy-nut butter
  2. Jellies of your choice – Two options are strawberry or raspberry jam.
  3. Slice Bread (brown bread is a healthier option compared to white bread)

What to do:

  1. Cut your bread into a beautiful heart shape. After you do this, take one of the slices and cut out a heart shape within the bread.
  2. Spread your peanut butter/soy-nut butter and jelly of your choice on this delicious sandwich and serve!

There are many benefits to peanut-butter and jelly. Some of them include Vitamin E and fiber. This helps improve blood flow in your body.

We hope that these heart-healthy yet delicious treats are an easy way to say ‘I love you’ to your loved one(s) on Valentine’s Day. From us at The Mikey Network to you and yours, we wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

 

Piri Piri Chicken

Serves 2

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
4 Skinless, boneless chicken thigh fillets
1 Small fresh red chili, deseeded and finely chopped
1 Clove garlic, crushed
½ tsp Dried oregano
1 Tsp Smoked paprika
3 Tsp Olive oil
1 Tbsp Freshly squeezed lemon juice
Freshly Ground Black pepper (taste)
1 Red pepper, deseeded and cut into small chunks
1 Red onion, sliced or cut into thin wedges

 

Instructions

Score a couple of deep slashes in each chicken thigh using a sharp knife. Combine red chili, garlic (if using), oregano, smoked paprika, 2 teaspoons of the olive oil, the lemon juice and black pepper in a bowl. Add chicken thighs; turn to coat all over. Cover; leave to marinate in a cool place for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350ºF/175ºC. Put red pepper and red onion into a small, non-stick roasting tin; add remaining olive oil and toss to coat. Add chicken thighs to roasting pan, nestling them among vegetables.

Roast in the oven for 30–40 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked (165⁰ F/74⁰ C – internal temperature) and piping hot, stirring vegetables and turning chicken thighs over about halfway through cooking.

Serve immediately with crusty bread or flatbreads and a mixed-leaf salad.

This recipe was found on the British Heart Foundation’s site. We have plenty of heart-healthy recipes, but if you’re looking for more, they’re a great resource. 

Recipes From Our Resident Expert, Marsha Rosen, RD
Here are some heart healthy recipes provided by Marsha Rosen, RD (Registered Dietitian). Marsha is
Mike Salem’s sister and in addition to offering private nutrition counselling, Marsha provides group lectures, seminars and cooking demonstrations.

If you have nutrition question for our dietitian, you can email Marsha here…

Do you have a heart healthy recipe that you would like to share? Send your recipes to info@mikeynetwork.com