February is Heart Month!
L.O.V.E. Your Heart
Heart disease remains the leading cause of death for both men and women. About 600,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that's 1 in every 4 deaths. The Meijer Healthy Living team of Dietitians encourages you to use L.O.V.E. to fight heart disease.
L is for Legumes, which include beans, lentils, peas, and chickpeas. Research has found that legumes can significantly lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. And lentils, specifically, have been shown to improve blood vessel health and block the rise in blood pressure that naturally occurs with age. Try eating 3-4 cups of legumes each week by using them as a lunch protein and for two evening meals.
O is for Healthy Oils, which include monounsaturated (MUFAs) and polyunsaturated (PUFAs) fats. MUFAs can improve cholesterol levels and may benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control in those with type 2 diabetes. PUFAs, found in plant-based foods and oils, include Omega-3 fatty acids, which have been found to decrease the risk of coronary artery disease. Eat omega-3 rich fish 2-3 times per week, use healthy vegetable oils (olive, canola, safflower to name a few), add olives, avocado and nuts/seeds on your favorite foods such as salads.
V is for Vegetables, which are loaded with heart healthy antioxidants and other nutrients like lycopene and flavonoids. Antioxidants have been linked to reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Choose a variety of vegetables and eat at least 3 servings daily. Fresh, frozen, and canned are all nutrient rich sources. Canned tomatoes are a great source of the antioxidant lycopene for heart and vision health. Canned vegetables (except tomatoes) can be drained to reduce sodium up to 40%.
E is for Exercise. A sedentary lifestyle is one of the top risk factors for heart disease. Regular exercise can improve circulation, strengthen heart and cardiovascular system, and improve HDL (healthy) cholesterol levels. Discuss with your physician before starting any exercise program.
Easy Pita Pizza
- 4 (6-inch) round pitas
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup hummus
- 1 garlic clove, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 8 large mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 8 ounces Meijer Reduced Fat Italian Cheese Blend
- Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, onions, bell peppers and mushrooms. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 8 minutes or until soft.
- Place pita bread on grill or stovetop gas flame; grill for a couple of minutes or until lightly browned, turning once. Place all four pitas on baking sheet.
- Assemble pizzas by spreading hummus on pita, veggies and cheese. Bake for 5 minutes until cheese is melted.
Recipe adapted from Kraft
Meijer Salmon Burgers and Peas with Butter-Toasted Almonds
Meijer Salmon Burgers
- 4 Meijer Salmon Burgers
- 4 Whole Grain hamburger buns
- 1 Tomato, sliced
- Fresh spinach, washed
Lightly coat a grill pan or skillet with cooking spray. Heat over medium-high heat until hot. Grill or cook patties, 5 minutes per side, or until desired degree of doneness.
Serve on whole grain buns with spinach, tomatoes, and desired condiments.
Peas with Butter-Toasted Almonds
- 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds
- 3 1/2 cups Green Giant® Valley Fresh Steamers® frozen sweet peas (from two 12-oz bags), thawed, drained
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- In 10-inch skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Cook almonds in butter 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until light brown.
Stir in peas and salt. Cook 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until peas are tender.
Recipe from Green Giant
Hearty Lentil Stew
- 1 cup lentils, picked through and rinsed
- 1 can (14- to 14.5-ounce ) lower-sodium chicken broth (about 1 3/4 cup)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- 1 large (10-ounce) Sweet Potato, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 6 ounces baby spinach
- Tomatoes, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- In 2-quart saucepan, combine lentils, broth, and 1 cup water. Heat to boiling on high. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 15 minutes or until tender.
Meanwhile, in deep 12-inch skillet, heat oil on medium until hot. Add shallots and coconut; cook 3 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Stir in potatoes and cumin; cook 2 minutes. Carefully pour lentil mixture into skillet; stir to combine. Cover and cook 10 minutes.
Stir in spinach and salt. Cook 2 minutes or until spinach is wilted, stirring.
Top with tomatoes.