5 Simple Swaps for a Healthier Heart

5 Simple Swaps for a Healthier Heart

Are there easy things I can do at home to make my family’s meals a little more heart healthy?

A little love goes a long way! Making healthy meals is a wonderful way to show your love – for your family as well as your heart! Try a few easy swaps every day and you’ll find it’s easier than you thought and something to feel good about.

Try these 5 heart healthy swaps:

  1. Color and Sweetness:  Sugar is getting a bad rap these days and its role in heart disease is just beginning to be understood. We do know that people who eat more fruits and veggies have lower rates of heart disease so trying these tips might give you a double whammy of protection!
    • Add some dried blueberries or cherries to your cereal in place of sugar.
    • Roast veggies for dinner – the natural sugar will caramelize and sweetness will be the first thing you taste. Even cauliflower and broccoli roast nicely.
    • Add a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg to your coffee instead of sugar.
  2. Head to the Sea:  People who eat more seafood have lower rates of heart disease, so try these easy ways to get 2 – 3 servings a week.
    • Have tuna or salmon on a salad in place chicken for lunch.
    • Give sardines a try. They aren’t fishy or salty like you may think. They have a light flavor and when packed in Olive oil are truly a luscious treat – add them to a sandwich or salad for a heart healthy omega-3 boost!
    • Do you see an unfamiliar type of seafood on the menu and afraid to give it a try? Order an appetizer portion and share with the table. You may find a new favorite!
  3. Old is new again: Get on the fiber bandwagon with these ancient grains that are gaining popularity. They are easy to use and the fiber in them has been shown to help keep cholesterol levels in check. Cook up a pot on Sunday night and you’ll have them for the week ahead!
    • Use barley or quinoa in place of rice for a side dish. While they are cooking, get everything else ready for dinner. They’ll be done when you are ready to go.
    • Try farro or wheat berries in soup instead of pasta. Their nutty flavor and slight crunch make them the perfect addition to salads too. Toss them with olive oil and lemon juice for a flavorful crunch!
    • Oatmeal for breakfast – make it in the crockpot overnight and you have no excuse for skipping breakfast!
  4. Go Greek: Yogurt that is! Greek yogurt has more protein, less salt and less sugar than regular yogurt. Its rich, creamy texture makes it a perfect swap for fat in recipes and easy to pair with other foods. 
    • Use it in place of sour cream in recipes or on baked potatoes.
    • Freeze it and add a ½ cup to your favorite smoothie recipe.
    • Use it to top waffles, granola or sliced fruit for a quick afternoon snack.
  5. Citrus boost: Citrus foods are high in flavonoids and Vitamin C – both thought to help reduce the risk of stroke. 
    • If you are trying to cut back on salt, give lemons a try. Recent research from Johnson & Wales has shown using lemon juice and lemon zest helped boost flavor and cut back on the amount of salt used in meat, grain, soup and salad dishes. 
    • Add slices of grapefruit or orange to salads for a sweet and little sour bite. Try StarKist’s Sweet and Spicy Mandarin Salad for a flavorful lunch!

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