Food plays an essential role in every person’s life. From family members to friends, it has a way of bringing people together, whether it be in the kitchen as everyone prepares the meal or on the dining table when it is finally time to eat.
However, it is important to stay conscious about the dishes being served, especially if you are hosting for people suffering from cardiovascular disease or diabetes. After all, health should always be a top priority no matter the celebration.
While there are multiple diets gaining popularity today that provide a number of benefits, such as the ketogenic diet and plant-based diet, they may not be suitable (and enjoyable) for everyone. So, in order to score a win-win over lunch or dinner with your loved ones, why not try some of these all-time favorite meals that are heart-healthy while stuck at home?
5 Easy Heart-Healthy Meals to Prepare While Stuck at Home
There is this misconception that healthy foods only involve greens, grains, and bland meat and require complex prep work in the kitchen. However, that is far from the truth as a nutritious meal can come from many sources, be prepared easily, and make out as a delicious supper everyone in the family would enjoy.
For people diagnosed with cardiovascular disease or diabetes, maintaining a well-balanced diet is necessary to manage the situation better. So, as the pandemic continues to normalize staying in and cooking at home, here are some heart-healthy recipes you can try and include in your weekly meal plans to share with the family.
Chicken and Vegetable Kebabs1
Many people love red meat, such as beef, pork, and lamb. However, they have more saturated fat than skinless chicken, fish, and plant proteins. Saturated fat can elevate your cholesterol and increase your risk of heart disease.
Chicken breast, the main protein in this dish, makes a great alternative, with only around 128 calories and 2.7 g of fat. Additionally, this kebab recipe is accompanied by heart-healthy ingredients, including:
- Tomatoes – A great source of lycopene
- Onions – High in vitamin C and can reduce cholesterol levels
- Zucchini – High in antioxidants essential for healthier blood pressure
- Sweet potatoes – Carries high levels of fiber and magnesium, which helps in stabilizing blood sugar
As a grilled food, this chicken and vegetable kebabs do not involve excess fat as well. This cooking method is considered cleaner than pan-frying without compromising the flavor.
Vegetable, Rice, and Cranberry Salad2
Salads are more than just greens, fruits, and nuts in a bowl topped with a fancy dressing drizzle to finish. Nowadays, people have become creative in making their salads fixes that fit their taste preferences and health needs.
This particular recipe replaces the traditional lettuce base with spinach, a vegetable high in nitrates, and highlights dried cranberries rich in polyphenols. Both of the said compounds promote improved heart health.
Additionally, the dish’s dressing is a mixture of good-for-you ingredients that manage blood pressure, such as olive oil, red wine vinegar, honey, and cinnamon. The inclusion of brown rice in the salad also lowers the risk of heart disease, as it is rich in dietary fiber and magnesium.
With this combination of grains, spices, fruits, and vegetables, you and your loved ones can be sure to enjoy a balanced dish that is tasty and healthy all in one!
One-Pot Garlic Shrimp and Spinach3
Who does not love the simplicity and incredible taste of shrimp? Apart from its exquisite flavor, this seafood contains nutrients that have been proven to show positive health effects. Also low in calories, shrimps contain antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids that promote heart health.
In terms of the other specifics in this dish, this recipe uses olive oil instead of butter, which has more saturated fat. Furthermore, this pot full of flavors also features a combination of lemon juice, garlic, and spinach for a cleaner and healthier version of the classic shrimp sauce.
Pro-tip: When cooking, opt for a non-stick pot if you have one. Remember: garlic is very easy to burn. Plus, you do not want your shrimps to stick to the bottom of the container and overcook them. A non-stick pot also allows you to stir through every so often without any hassle.
Glazed Salmon with Orange-Almond Rice4
Fish is an excellent alternative to red meat and poultry, and one of the healthiest picks people can go for is salmon. This superfood is packed with omega-3 fatty acids and is an excellent source of vitamin B and other antioxidant properties. It also improves cardiovascular health, making it the perfect protein for those watching their diets.
This quick and easy-to-prepare salmon recipe incorporates red pepper jelly and orange juice to glaze for that sweet and tangy taste. As for the rice, the inclusion of almonds and leftover orange slices adds more flavor to the dish and complements the fish perfectly.
Moreover, it is important to note that almonds are known to help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, reducing the risk of diabetes.
Fusilli with Broccoli Pesto5
Pasta has become a staple in many places because of its versatility. With a ton of options and combinations to choose from, you can be sure to create dishes that will become the family’s next favorite!
This last recipe can appeal to both the health-conscious and foodies. Instead of the classic tomato or cream paste, this fusilli-based dish is paired with a natural pesto sauce made from broccoli. High in vitamin C, this special sauce also contains a balance of fat, carbohydrates, and fiber, essential for regulating blood pressure.
As for flavor, the dish has the classic pasta components in the mix like basil, lemon zest, and parmesan cheese. Instead of the usual pine nut, this pesto sauce has toasted almonds to cover the much-needed nutty flavor in the dish, making it more flavorful and delicious.
Pro-tip: When making this dish, make sure you have enough pasta water reserved. If the sauce is too thick at the end of the cooking process, you simply need to add pasta water to get it to the consistency you want.
Get Healthy and Get Cooking!
Over the past couple of years, people have learned that maintaining proper health should be at the top of the priority list. From exercising to eating properly, having a healthy lifestyle can prevent sickness and improve bodily functions.
For people with cardiovascular disease or diabetes, sticking to a healthy diet is vital to managing and controlling their health condition. And while it is true that eating well-balanced meals is crucial to improving overall health, that does not mean you have to stick with bland, boring food.
So, go ahead and try out the recipes in this article. Fix yourself and your loved ones scrumptious meals that are good for the heart. Learn more about the other lifestyle changes you may need to apply by taking the heart disease risk assessment test and seeking the guidance of a medical expert.
Disclaimer: The information provided is for information purposes only and is not meant to be substituted for the advice given by a registered medical practitioner. This should not be used for diagnosing health problems or for self-medication. Boehringer Ingelheim shall not be responsible for any damages or losses arising out of access to or use of information provided.