We all know that party buffets have delicious temptations for the dieter, diabetic and heart patient. Wouldn’t it be nice if you attended a party that filled the table with heart healthy foods tasty enough to please a crowd? Is this possible? Yes! Here we’ve got some ideas for entrees, side dishes and desserts you’ll be proud to serve and happy to eat.
I’ve scanned the many heart healthy recipe books and magazines to get a sense of how they differ from ordinary cuisine. My impression was that, well, they didn’t sound too interesting and a little on the stingy side.
I decided to come up with some generic heart healthy recipes, where you might ‘mix and match’, swapping out a zucchini for broccoli, for example. Or, substituting wild rice for white and mushrooms for corn.
Most cooks have a good sense of color, texture and size, as well as intuitively knowing combinations of foods that taste good together. In terms of ingredients and a variety of food groups, what makes heart healthy recipes that are tasty and satisfying and even elegant?
Perhaps the first signature is that the dish is low in fat and sodium. Being low in fat or salt does not at all negate a resulting gourmet pleaser. Olive oil is the recommended healthy oil for cooking.
Next, use the freshest, top quality produce you can buy. Learn to use seasonings, both for salt and fat substitutes in the flavor arena. Use lean meats, fish, seafood and poultry.
When you shop for grains, pasta and breads, choose whole grain products, rich in fiber. Use 1% dairy products to keep the fat down.
For dessert, a fruit cup with sherbet and sprigs of mint make simple, heart healthy recipes that are just right after dinner. Following the basic shopping guidelines and with a little creative imagination, you can create the most amazing gourmet delights, ones your heart will love as well.
You’ll soon become a master of your own heart healthy recipes by just getting online and searching out sites with food and seasoning compatibility charts. For example, did you know that thyme makes a plain green bean taste like a whole new food?
Studying these charts can become fascinating when you begin to learn how these humble herbs and spices can enhance the taste of a particular food. You can also check the bookstores for books that match foods with seasonings.
You’ll benefit from purchasing (or checking out from the library) a good nutritional reference guide, a wealth of information on nutritive value of various foods. This helps you pair the right ingredients when creating heart healthy recipes on your own.
When you cook produce, steaming the veggies in a steam basket retains the maximum amount of nutrients, as well as delivering all of the fresh flavor with a good crunch.
There are several herbs which make perfect additions to heart healthy recipes:
1.Cayenne pepper may be used in its whole, fresh form or used in powdered form in a spicy blend to bring a little zip to a bland side of rice, or lightly sprinkled on a shrimp or crab Louie. Cayenne reduces both your blood pressure and pulse rate, as well as toning and strengthening the heart muscle. Good stuff!
2.Garlic is a powerfully valuable addition to any heart healthy recipes and is so versatile, it may be used in salads, to marinate meats or as a spread for breads. Garlic has some pretty impressive credentials: it reduces your blood pressure, LDLs and triglycerides, while increasing the HDLs. This superstar helps eliminate fats from your blood and promotes good circulation. Fresh slivers of garlic are best, but garlic packed in a jar may be more convenient. Use liberally to realize these many benefits.
3.Rosemary is a tonic for your heart, toning and strengthening the function of the heart, as well as helping to normalize blood pressure. Happily, it also makes a delicious garnish for poultry, beef and mild-flavored fish, such as snapper or tilapia. A sprig of fresh rosemary adds great flavor to roasted potatoes.
4.The common seasoning, celery seed, is one of the most effective ways to lower blood pressure, promoting good circulation and a healthy flow of blood to the heart. Celery seed is good in a rice stuffing for poultry. Cook the rice in chicken broth, adding celery seed, fresh parsley, sliced black olives and green onions. Not only is this good for your heart, but tastes wonderful with the poultry. Try adding celery seed to a potato salad, along with diced onions (which also reduce BP) and freshly snipped parsley.
5.Artichokes contain a substance known as cynarin, which helps control cholesterol levels, accomplished by suppressing the production of cholesterol in the liver. Cynarin works in much the same way as the statin drugs. In addition, cynarin flushes old deposits of cholesterol from the liver, ultimately resulting in the breakdown and flushing of fats. That’s not all: artichokes help reduce the LDLs and raise the HDLs. Steamed artichoke hearts make a great side dish, while marinated artichoke hearts dress up any salad or antipasto platter.
Now you know some of the foods which can be eaten separately or combined, in a myriad of ways, for tasty and heart healthy recipes.
You can create these dishes on the fly. Start with a whole grain pasta or rice, top the rice with a seasoned meat or fish and serve a leafy green salad with garlic bread. The possibilities are almost endless. BTW, your guests probably won’t know these are heart healthy recipes – they taste and look too good!