Taking it to Heart

by Ann Dunaway Teh February 29, 2012

February is full of heart – not because of Valentine’s Day but for raising awareness about heart disease, as it is American Heart Month. Normally we think of heart disease as an adult disease. Unfortunately risk factors such as Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure are becoming more prevalent in children as a result of the obesity epidemic. It is important for all children, regardless of weight, to adopt a healthy lifestyle early so that it is second nature to them as they grow. As parents we want to give our children every advantage in life, so why not start at a young age teaching and showing them what it means to be heart healthy.

Dance is a great way to incorporate physical activity into your family’s routine. The Primrose School Family Dance-off just kicked off and is a perfect opportunity for your family to dance for the fight against childhood obesity. From now through March 23, you can enter the Family Dance-off for a chance to win as much as $30,000 for your Children’s Miracle Network Hospital and a $5,000 cash prize! For contest rules and how to enter visit www.familydanceoff.com.

So, what are some other ways to live a heart healthy lifestyle? Try these tips:  

- Be physically active every day  

- Get plenty of rest  

- Learn stress reduction techniques  

- Adopt heart healthy eating habits:     

- Include fruits and vegetables as part of all meals and snacks     

- Choose lean protein     

- Eat more oily fish such as salmon     

- Focus on heart healthy fats such as those found in olive oil, canola oil, nuts, seeds     

- Opt for fiber-rich whole grains     

- Incorporate more beans and lentils into meals

The American Heart Association has an informative website for more ideas on How to Make a Healthy Home.

Here is a recipe round-up of some of my family’s favorite healthy recipes from the Internet, as well as a few of my own incorporating the concepts above:

Grilled Salmon and Zucchini with Red Pepper Sauce

Easy Salmon Cakes

Chicken and Tofu Enchiladas

Garden Turkey Meatballs and Spaghetti

Honey Mustard Pork Tenderloin with Kale

Sunflower Zucchini Pie

Sweet Apple and Squash Lasagna

Black Bean Veggie Quinoa Salad

Apple Pie Steel Cut Oats in the Slow Cooker

Happy Hummingbird Muffins

 

Huevos Rancheros (Great for breakfast or dinner!)

Yield: 4 servings

1 tsp canola oil

1/4 cup onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups cooked black beans (or canned are fine)

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp coriander

4 eggs, beaten

4 whole wheat tortillas

1/2 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese

1 tomato, diced

1 avocado, diced salsa

1. Heat the oil in a large sautée pan. Add the onion and garlic and cook for several minutes. Add the black beans and the spices, onion powder through coriander. Cook until heated through.

2. Scramble eggs in a separate pan.

3. Warm up the tortillas in the oven wrapped in aluminum foil or in a pan.

4. Assemble: top each tortilla with 1/2 cup beans, 1/4 of the eggs, 2 tbsp cheese, tomato, avocado and salsa.

Optional: use reduced fat sour cream as an additional topping.

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