By Chef Selwyn Richards
If you’re looking for a way to create more heart-healthy lunches, there’s good news. Being heart-smart and enjoying delicious foods go hand in hand. As an added benefit, you’ll feel and look great too.
Here are 5 ideas for your heart-healthy lunches:
Spinach Salad with Chicken and Blueberries
Instead of a heavy lunch, try a wonderfully-filling entrée salad. While you can use any type of lettuce in your salad and still be heart-smart, consider using spinach as your main greenery. Nutrient-rich spinach is high in folate and is proven to prevent heart attacks.
Add your favorite vegetables and a lean protein, like a skinless chicken breast, and top with slivered almonds or walnuts and blueberries. Almonds and walnuts control blood lipids, while blueberries are full of antioxidants, all of which are important to your heart’s health.
Roasted Veggie Wrap Sandwich
Take a whole-wheat tortilla and fill it with cooked brown rice and roasted vegetables, season with salt and pepper and add a little light dressing of your choice.
Roasted vegetables, like sweet red peppers, asparagus and broccoli, are great choices. Red peppers have plenty of antioxidants and folic acid to promote heart health. Asparagus is rich in potassium, folic acid and soluble fiber, all of which are good for your heart. Broccoli packs a lot of nutrition and also is high in sulforaphane, which can help prevent clogged arteries. The addition of brown rice can help reduce the risk of high blood pressure; so eat up!
Grilled or Poached Salmon
You can’t go wrong with salmon. It’s rich in omega-3s, which can dramatically reduce the risk of heart attack, when eaten regularly. You can grill or poach salmon and serve it with a nice fruit salsa. Add a colorful green salad on the side and you’ve got yourself a delicious lunch.
Tuna Salad Sandwich
While tuna is not as rich in omega-3s as salmon, it is still a very important source. Make your salad with yogurt, instead of mayonnaise; mustard; and finely-chopped celery. Use whole wheat bread to boost your daily whole grain servings, which can help prevent heart attack. Top your sandwich with sliced tomatoes, which can help regulate blood lipids.
A classic comfort food, when made with vegetable ingredients, chilli is a very heart-healthy lunch. Kidney beans are low in fat, high in soluble fiber and have omega-3 fatty acids. Use fresh tomatoes to make your sauce and load it up with vegetables.
If you’re ever unsure of what heart-healthy accompaniment can go with your lunch, you’ll never go wrong with a vegetable plate, with a yogurt-based dip. Load up with plenty of carrots, broccoli, tomatoes and any of your favorite vegetables.
Overall, keep your meals simple. There’s no need to worry about which vegetable has more health benefits than the other. Simply eating a variety of vegetables, whole grains and, incorporating fish into your diet, will place you on the road to a heart-healthy lifestyle.
Selwyn Richards is an award-winning master chef. He is also the President and Executive Chef at The Art of Catering Inc. and is the author of “The Art of Cooking: Soul of The Caribbean”. Chef Selwyn can be reached at: email@example.com or by phone — (905) 619-1059.