For all the talk about the importance of heart health, it can go in one ear and out the other. After all, you do your best to eat well, exercise, and keep your stress levels low. But the cold hard facts can't be ignored.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. While these statistics are staggering, you can take control of your diet and reduce your risk of heart disease. To that end, keep reading for must-have tips to help you make better food choices, as well as a roundup of flavorful, heart-healthy recipes that anyone can make.
Healthy eating doesn't mean you have to say good-bye to all the foods you love. Making simple swaps and modifications can make a world of difference. Read labels and reduce your intake of red meat, sodium, refined sugars, trans fats, and saturated fats. If you want to treat yourself to a meaty dish, choose the leanest cut you can find. If you have a sweet tooth, opt for fresh fruit or a piece of dark chocolate without added sugars.
To reduce your risk factors for coronary artery disease, heart disease, heart attack, and other heart-related conditions, the American Heart Association recommends eating a variety of the following foods as part of a heart-healthy diet:
Now that you know what to eat (and what not to eat), here are some delicious recipes that will keep your taste buds happy and your heart healthy. When you're done whipping up these tasty dishes, try your hand at more can't-miss healthy recipes.
Prep & Cook Time: 15 minutes
Proof that healthy doesn't have to be complicated (or bland), this ultra-easy one-skillet salmon recipe is perfect when you're short on time. Along with the salmon—which is full of heart-healthy omega fatty acids and antioxidants—you'll just need some extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, garlic, dill, and salt and pepper. While this low-calorie recipe says to keep the skin on, that’s for cooking purposes. So you can simply remove it before serving.
Prep & Cook Time: 20 minutes
This healthy dinner recipe features whole-wheat pasta and plenty of veggies for a weeknight meal that won't let you down. Green beans add a boost of vitamin C while the mushrooms are loaded with heart-healthy antioxidants. Throw in some zucchini, red pepper, cauliflower, or eggplant for even more color (i.e. nutrients). You can also add a sprinkle of Parmesan for a cheesy finish, or omit it altogether to make this tasty Italian dish totally vegan.
Prep & Cook Time: 60 minutes
Great as a main dish or side dish, this versatile veggie-centric quinoa bowl is ideal for meal prepping to help get you through those busy weeknights. The savory tahini dressing is a nice contrast to the sweet raisins, but if you're concerned about sugar (the finished dish has 11 grams), you can leave the raisins out. You'll get protein from canned chickpeas and an anti-inflammatory boost from turmeric. Want even more protein? Add a piece of chicken, organic tofu, or lean pork tenderloin.
Prep & Cook Time: 25 minutes
This colorful heart-healthy dish requires just one sheet pan and a handful of ingredients: skinless chicken breasts, butternut squash cubes, olive oil, Brussels sprouts, dried cranberries, and some balsamic dressing. Give your full-size oven a break and cook it in the Tovala Oven for a truly fuss-free experience. At a whopping 42 grams of protein and just 3.5 grams of saturated fat, this is one meal you'll want on repeat. Just make sure to download the free Tovala app for iOS or Android to get the full recipe.
Prep & Cook Time: 45 minutes
Heart-healthy meals should be a rainbow of colors and these sweet potato fritters deliver. Loaded with nutrients and flavor, this recipe requires a little multitasking but once you go through the process, it'll be that much easier the next time. You'll end up with crispy-on-the-outside, tender-on-the-inside morsels that perfectly marry sweet and smoky flavors. Plus, the beans (you can substitute black beans if you don't have pinto) will give you plenty of protein.
Prep & Cook Time: 15 minutes
With just a handful of ingredients and less time than it takes to order takeout, this hearty chicken chili is packed with protein (not to mention flavor). Bonus: You can make it on the stove top, or in a slow cooker or instant pot. Use low-sodium broth to keep it healthier, and add cooked shredded chicken, a couple cans of Great Northern beans, green salsa, and ground cumin. Top with avocado for a dose of healthy fats, chopped fresh cilantro, green onions, or even tortilla chips for extra crunch.
Prep & Cook Time: 18 minutes
This high-protein, low-cholesterol seafood dish checks all the boxes for a tasty, easy, healthy meal. You'll need a bunch of asparagus, fresh lemon, a little olive oil or grapeseed oil, and halibut filets (skin off, of course), and just a couple tablespoons of pepper jelly. Combine all the ingredients together on a baking tray in your Tovala Oven, and you've got dinner ready in under 20 minutes.
Prep & Cook Time: 20 minutes
With under 10 ingredients—low-fat turkey strips, low-sodium chicken broth, fresh asparagus (or any veggies you’d like), garlic, lemon juice, soy sauce—this turkey stir-fry is a tasty twist on your basic wok experience. The pimiento (red chili pepper) adds a kick, so add as much—or as little—as you’d like. Clocking in at just 9 grams of fat and 28 grams of protein, you can enjoy this simple skillet dish, knowing you're eating healthy.
Prep & Cook Time: 19 minutes
With the Tovala app queued up and a few simple ingredients on hand, you can have this scrumptious low-carb, low-fat dish any night of the week. Flaky, protein-rich cod offers B vitamins (which reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke), while the arugula and cherry tomato add even more nutrients. Bake in your Tovala Oven to keep the fish ultra moist and retain more of its nutritional value. Light yet filling, this dish will also taste great with a side of sautéed kale, spinach, or Swiss chard.
You can have all the recipes you'd ever want for heart-healthy meals, but it won't make any difference if you're not willing to make some simple lifestyle changes. That includes not only what you cook, but how you cook it. That’s why the Tovala Oven is a game-changer.
Using the power of steam-convection, this countertop oven is a healthy choice. Why? Because steaming your food means more vitamins and minerals are retained, which means more nutrients for your heart. Plus, steam keeps food juicier and cooks it more quickly.
While that's certainly great news, Tovala takes it one step further. Even though the goal is to cook your food in a healthy way, the reality is that when you're short on time and energy, what you eat often comes down to convenience. And that can mean poor food choices (or lack of choices). But that's no longer a concern when you have Tovala Meals.
These chef-crafted meals are all natural with no artificial ingredients, and they come in low-fat, low-calorie, low-carb, high-protein, and vegetarian options. What's more, they're delivered straight to your door, require just one minute of prep, and are ready in 20 minutes or less. Oh, and they have zero cleanup thanks to the fully recyclable containers.
So there you have it. Tovala Meals mean you'll never again have to sacrifice a heart-healthy meal for the sake of convenience. Now who wouldn't heart that?