heart healthy recipes

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It’s a pretty crazy time of year, here!

Parades are in full gear.  Even for little 1 year olds!

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And their parents.

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While we are celebrating Mardi Gras right now in NOLA, the rest of the country is a bit more focused on February being national heart health month.

As someone who eats, sleeps, and breaths nutrition + heart health {especially since I have a strong family-history | risk}, I wanted to share my thoughts on what makes a recipe good for your heart.

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As you can see below, there’s a lot of aspects to keep in mind, in part why good nutrition and eating health can be so complicated and cumbersome.

Simply put the ‘old’ theory of “everything in moderation” really does still stand the test of time. However, for some, that statement is not specific enough for them to actually make changes and improvements in their eating habits & overall lifestyle.

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From my standpoint, a recipe will be heart healthy if it has all of the following–

minimal to no added sugars

a decent amount of fiber coming from whole foods like only 100% whole grains, beans, nuts, legumes, vegetables, or fruits

as little animal-based saturated fat as possible

mindful portion size

a healthy dose of antioxidants, vitamins, and/or minerals

little to no added salt | sodium

no trans fat or hydrogenated oils in any ingredients

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As you can see, it’s not just about the calories or the fat or the salt. It’s also about added sugars, enriched flours, specific types of fats, processed or synthetic ingredients.

Similarly, heart disease risk isn’t just about high blood pressure or elevated cholesterol; it’s also about achieving a health weight, having blood sugars within a normal | healthy range, exercising, obtaining quality & sufficient sleep, not smoking,…

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It’s quite intricate and can be overwhelming if you have multiple areas to improve. Therefore, to make it a little easier, at least in the food & nutrition aspect, I’d like to highlight some of my favorite recipes and resources:

This month in Health and Fitness magazine I shared three of my favorite heart healthy recipes & why– from a remake of spaghetti and meatballs (myth: you can’t have red meat), to a vegetarian or vegan option like NOLA-style red beans, to an ultra quick yet unique fish recipe.

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Speaking of fish, the omega 3’s found in fatty fish like salmon and tuna are loaded with heart health benefits from reducing inflammation, lowering triglycerides, providing an unsaturated source of fat and alternate to saturated fats found in high fat meats and animal products.

Fish is not something that I crave often, but whenever we make it, it somehow always “hits the spot.” My favorite include my fish tacos, salmon with dill yogurt sauce, and my gumbo!

The gumbo will definitely be on our ultra New Orleans-themed dinner menu this week in celebration of Mardi Gras!

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xo,

Becca

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