Keepers: Tips for maintaining heart-healthy eating habits (recipe included!)

More great heart-healthy tips and a favorite recipe for you!

In my previous post on heart-healthy eating for petite women, I introduced my fabulous friend Michelle Rauch, MS RD, a dietitian, who will be lending us her expertise on heart-healthy eating and other food-related topics on Petiterie.

One of the many things I love about Michelle is that she is a realist. As Michelle pointed out in my last post, sticking with any healthy diet is much easier when you have strategies. She listed these three general “keeper” tips for making it happen: Keep it interesting, keep it easy and ready, and keep it real (Of course, keep it real is one of them. It’s Michelle, after all!).

Michelle has a slew of wise and practical ideas for carrying out her three “keepers”:

(1.) Keep it interesting
…by using seasonal fruits and vegetables and a variety of whole grains where you might not have before. For example, a ripe avocado (healthy fat) in lieu of mayo on a sandwich, plain non-fat Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, or adding fresh berries and/or adding ancient grains such as quinoa into your salad. Have you tried wheat berries? Freekeh? Millet? Stay tuned for recipes!

(2.) Keep it easy and keep it ready
…by pre-planning and advance prepping meals and snacks. Keeping healthy food ready and front and center in your fridge and pantry will deter you from reaching for sugary or salty snacks. You’ll find yourself making smarter choices instead of impulsive ones. Take advantage of pre-cut frozen vegetables at the supermarket if you’re short on time – they actually do retain their nutritional value.
Several brands have come out with frozen “spiralized” vegetables ( beets, zucchini, carrots, butternut squash) and “riced” vegetables (cauliflower, kohlrabi, beets,and butternut squash).

(3.) Keep it real
…by allowing occasional treats. Take one portion and put the rest away. Cut your treat into bite-sized pieces, and take your time to eat your mini snacks. Savor your indulgence using mindful eating practices: first, no multi-tasking; just eat your treat without doing anything else. While eating, focus your mind on the experience by asking yourself: what does it feel like in my mouth? Hot/cold? Crunchy/chewy? Tart/sweet/savory?

From my heart to yours, another heart-healthy recipe…

Wheat Berry Salad

(Andrea’s take on wheat berries: “They are super healthy, lots of heart-healthy fiber and antioxidants, with an interesting texture.”)

1 and 1/2 cups red winter wheat berries
½ cup raw unsalted pecan halves
⅓ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
⅓ cup dried cranberries or dried cherries
3 scallion stalks, chopped

1. Rinse and sort wheat berries. Add 1 1/2 cup of wheat berries to 3 3/4 cups of water. Combine in a saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil, then lower heat and simmer covered until the wheat berries are tender but still chewy in texture, about 15 minutes.
2. Toast pecan halves: spread pecan halves on a baking sheet and bake at 350°F, stirring once, until fragrant, 7 to 9 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Chop coarsely.
3. Combine wheat berries, pecans, and scallions in a bowl.
4. Whisk the orange juice, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl until combined.
5. Pour over the wheat berry mixture and stir gently to coat.
6. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to combine. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Served up in my Roman Antique  appetizer tray by Annieglass, available at Bloomingdales.

Many thanks to Petiterie’s recipe reviewers, Michelle Rauch, MS RD, and Andrea Storper, NPc.

  • Rivka Greenberg
    Posted at 08:34h, 13 June Reply

    This salad looks fabulous! I’m thinking of trying it with buckwheat (kasha) to make it gluten-free.

    • ABRAH
      Posted at 15:20h, 13 June Reply

      I LOVE that idea! And I LOVE buckwheat (kasha)’s nutty flavor. I’d love to hear how it turns out!

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