In my last blog post, I offered easy to follow tips to help you make heart healthy choices while grocery shopping. If you have accomplished this task, you took the first step towards reaching your goal of eating better and taking good care of your heart. Give yourself a pat on the back for getting this far! The next step is to create delicious and nutritious meals. Below are some helpful hints that will help you get started.
(1) Bake, broil, or grill chicken and fish instead of frying.
(2) Steam or sauté fresh vegetables.
(3) Use herbs to flavor your food, keeping salt to a minimum. Experiment with different herbs, perhaps growing some of your own. They are easy to grow, whether it is in your garden, or in pots on your deck or in the house.
(4) Use good oils such as olive oil and canola.
(5) Incorporate fruit into your meals whenever possible. I often add ginger or curry to pureed mangos or peaches to serve on top of my fish. I always keep a bag of frozen fruit on hand for such occasions.
(6) Stir one teaspoon of fresh dill and lemon juice into one-half cup of non-fat, plain Greek yogurt. This makes a tasty topping for chicken or fish. You can also use it as a dip for vegetables, which bumps the nutritional value up a bit.
(7) When preparing meals for one or two people, make extra. You can then freeze the leftovers to have them on hand for a day you are not up to cooking from scratch. Just be sure to label and date the containers.
(8) Press your blender into action to create delicious smoothies you can have for a snack (see my recipe at the end of this post).
(9) Make your plate appealing to your senses. You want to prepare meals that will make your taste buds dance with joy, smell delicious, and look pretty. The more colors you add to your plate, the healthier it will be!
(10) Try and vary your menu to reduce the threat of boredom. The American Heart Association has many wonderful healthy recipes on its website. Check them out at: http://tinyurl.com/2avotem
(11) Prepare meals with a spouse or friend. You will enjoy the company, and be able to share ideas and techniques. This is especially helpful if you are new to cooking.
(12) Do not view cooking as a chore! Turn on some music, get creative, and have fun!
Remember, you do not need a degree from a cooking school to turn out great meals! If you are new to cooking, consider taking a class at your local senior center or through adult education at the high school. Once you have mastered basic cooking skills, you can easily incorporate some of the above tips. Look at recipes on-line or in magazines for ideas. If you are not internet savvy, you can find many wonderful cookbooks you can borrow from your library.
It is my hope that you now feel inspired to prepare meals that are tasty and healthy. Making just a few changes in the kitchen will result in big rewards in the long run. Be kind to your body, and your body will be kind to you!
Fruit Smoothie Recipe
You will need:
Combine all of the above ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. If you like your smoothie very cold, add a few ice cubes and blend a little longer. **If you are allergic to nuts, remember to leave these out of the recipe!