February is American Heart Month. Everyone can always do better for their heart health and the following are some ways to improve eating to make sure the beat goes on.
Smart ways to start the day
Mornings can be one of the most hectic parts of the day for busy parents. While trying to get the kids dressed, fed and ready-to-go during the morning crunch, it’s easy to skimp on the little things that keep you at your best and ready for the rest of the day. Heinz Nutritionist Carla Addison shares a few easy tips to get the day started right and keep you feeling your best throughout the day — even on the busiest of mornings.
• Plan it Out: A good day starts with a good plan. Think about what you’ll eat not only for breakfast, but also throughout the day before hunger strikes. This way, you’re less likely to indulge and more likely to make smart choices. Also, be sure to plan healthy snacks for in between meal times. You’ll feel prepared and ready to take on the day with confidence.
• Variety is the Spice of Life: By incorporating a variety of foods, you can break free from the same old cold cereal routine and also get the nutrients you need for the day. Fresh fruit on top of hot oatmeal or a quick fruit smoothie make tasty, yet healthful options. Also, Weight Watchers Smart Ones offers a variety of warm breakfast options, such as the Three Cheese Omelet that can be prepared in the microwave in just a few minutes.
• Fresh Fruit is Your Friend: Always leave a bowl of fresh fruit on the counter so you never walk out of the door hungry — even if you’re in a big rush. Keep the fruit bowl at eye level so that it’s in sight and top of mind for everyone. For those extra hectic mornings when you don’t have time to sit down and eat, bananas, peaches, oranges and apples make great on-the-go options.
• Start the Day with Protein: Lean meats are a great source of protein to fuel your day. If you’re looking for quick, convenient options, try Smart Ones English Muffin Sandwich with Turkey Sausage, which has 14 grams of protein, or the Smart Ones Pancakes with Turkey Sausage, which has 11 grams of protein. Other high protein options include whole grain breads with nut butters, cheese or hummus. Also, a side of cottage cheese or a hard-boiled egg offers a protein boost to any breakfast.
• Write in a food journal: A food journal is a great way to identify the healthy choices that you’re making and recognize the food habits that you might need to change. Start the day with a few minutes of documentation, whether that’s writing down your snacks from the day before, a grocery list or a meal schedule for the coming week.
To get more tips on maintaining a healthy lifestyle and to find additional Weight Watchers® Smart Ones® breakfast options, visit www.eatyourbest.com.
Source: Smart Ones
Heart healthy lean beef recipes
These days, many people are re-evaluating their diets to lower cholesterol and fat. They’re looking closely at foods to eliminate or cut back. One item that shouldn’t be on the chopping block is lean beef.
It may be surprising, but lean and extra lean beef are nutrient-rich sources of protein that complement a low-fat diet. In fact, a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a healthy lean diet that includes lean beef as well as fruit, whole grains, vegetables and nuts, showed similar effects on cardiovascular disease as a similar diet without lean beef. In the study, people using either diet showed a reduction in LDL cholesterol compared to those eating the typical healthy American diet.
Mitzi Dulan, a nationally recognized nutrition and wellness expert and team sports nutritionist for the Kansas City Royals, understands that lean meat is an essential part of a healthy diet.
“Lean and extra lean beef have tremendous nutritional benefits and provide more bang for your buck to healthy diets. Adding lean beef into meals is a quick and easy way to inject necessary protein in your diet, in a low-fat, heart healthy way,” said Dulan.
She recommends several considerations for using lean beef in a healthy diet:
• Look for beef that is “lean,” which by USDA definition contains less than 10 gram of fat, 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat, and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol per serving. “Extra lean” contains less than 5 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat and 95 milligrams of cholesterol per serving.
• Lean beef can be easily substituted into many favorite and time-honored meals to make versions that are delicious and lower in fat and cholesterol. Whether making chili in the cold winter months or burgers for summer grilling, lean beef is a quick fix for healthier meals.
• Lean beef is an excellent source of protein, which provides fuel for the body, helps maintain a stable blood sugar level and takes longer to digest, helping to reduce cravings. While the benefits are real, those looking to obtain a healthy diet must, as with anything, remain mindful of portion control.
For more tips and recipes using lean beef, visit www.laurasleanbeef.com.
Classic Beef Stew
Preparation time: 25 minutes; cooking time: 2 hours and 45 minutes; makes 8 servings
1 tablespoon oil
2 pounds lean eye of round roast cut into 2-inch cubes
2 cups sliced onions
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 green bell pepper, sliced
4 large celery stalks, cut into 2-inch pieces
8 medium carrots
4 large baking potatoes (about 2 pounds) cut into eighths
1, 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
1, 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup fat-free beef stock (double strength)
1 tablespoon dried basil
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat oil in skillet. On medium-high heat, sear meat cubes in skillet until browned on all sides.
In a separate bowl, combine canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, beef stock, basil, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly. Pour mixture over meat and vegetables in roasting pan.
Cover and bake for 45 minutes. Reduce heat to 250 degrees and bake for 2 hours or until meat is very tender to the fork. Baste occasionally.
Source: Laura’s Lean Beef
More lean eats
Chefs continue to be inspired by global ingredients in 2013, and home cooks can take a cue by spicing up their own menus, too. Asian-inspired comfort foods with Thai, Vietnamese and Korean seasonings are at the forefront of flavor, and it’s never been easier to dial-up your dinners. Fresh herbs and vegetables are key ingredients when it comes to Asian cooking and, paired with pork, you are sure to deliver a dish that packs delicious flavor. Whether it’s a quick weeknight meal during the cooler months, or a themed-dinner party, try prepping the Simple Vietnamese Pork Noodle Bowl as an ultimate crowd-pleaser. Savory pork tenderloin and fresh lime contrast the spicy and sweet essence of vibrant basil.
Additionally, pork tenderloin is one of the leanest proteins available, containing only 3 grams of fat per 3-ounce serving, so fans can dig in with a happy heart. In fact, the American Heart Association (AHA) has recently certified pork tenderloin as a heart-healthy food with its iconic Heart-Check mark. Now there’s no better way to say “made with love” than by plating pork for any mealtime occasion.
You can vary this pho-inspired noodle bowl by mixing up the vegetables and garnishes. Try thinly sliced chiles, crushed red pepper flakes or chili sauce to bring on the heat. For a clean punch of flavor, cilantro, mint leaves or scallions will refresh your palate.
For more “made with love” inspiration, recipes and tips, join the conversation at the new www.PorkBeInspired.com/PorkSocial.
Simple Vietnamese Pork Noodle Bowl
Preparation time: 20 minutes; cooking time: 35 minutes; makes 6 servings
1, 1-1/4 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch slices
12 ounces rice noodles
4 cups prepared slaw mix
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
4-1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
4-1/2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons canola oil or other neutral-flavored oil
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
1 lime, cut into 6 wedges
Prepare noodles according to package directions. Arrange the noodles in 6 serving bowls. Top with slaw mix and onion, and set aside.While noodles are cooking, in medium saucepan, combine chicken broth, fish sauce, and soy sauce and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to very low, to keep the broth just below a simmer.
In very large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the pork and cook until browned and cooked to 145 degrees, 1 to 2 minutes per side (you may have to do this in batches). Let stand at room temperature for three minutes. Arrange the pork on top of the noodle bowls.
Ladle in piping-hot broth, garnish with basil and lime wedges, and serve.
Source: National Pork Board