Recipe feature time! By far my husband’s favorite recipe from the Heart Healthy meal plan so far, these tasty sandwiches hail from a recipe from Eating Well. My husband said even other firefighters at work were enviously ogling this veggie-laden sammich.
The sandwiches are pretty high in sodium (likely one reason they are so delectable), so I was a little surprised to see them on the Heart Healthy meal plan, though the plan did keep me low enough for the rest of the day to keep me under my daily sodium recommendation of 2400 mg per day.
Heart-Healthy Tip: Use half the fish sauce and replace it with apple cider vinegar in the marinade to cut the sodium by 353 mg per serving.
The meat is flavorful and tender, the veggies are crisp and zesty. Give ’em a try – the full recipe is here!
One sandwich has 373 calories, 9 g fat, 8 g fiber, 858 mg sodium (505 mg with the heart-healthy modification), and 2 g saturated fat.
I know you are all just absolutely dying to know how I’ve been eating (note the heavy sarcasm font), so I thought I’d grace you with some sneak peeks of my heart healthy meals/snacks and the list of recommendations I’ll be following for the next 3 weeks.
Two days in to my Heart Healthy meal plan, my meals have been mostly enjoyable. My least favorites have been breakfast – too boring, too carby, and too lacking in protein. I’m starving by lunch, even with my morning snack. I have discovered two delicious recipes pictured above (Vietnamese Steak Sandwich, top left, and Warm Quinoa Salad with Edamame, bottom right)!
You can find the full page of recommendations from the American Heart Association here, but the quick gist is paraphrased below:
Use up at least as many calories as you take in (I’m aiming to hit the activity recommendations of 150 minutes of physical activity per week).
Eat a variety of foods from all the food groups.
Eat fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables and fruits without added sauces, salt, or sugars.
Choose fiber-rich whole grains for most grain servings.
Eat a variety of fish at least twice a week.
Eat poultry and fish without the skin. If you eat meat, choose the leanest cuts and prepare them without added saturated or trans fats.
Reduce saturated fat to no more than 5-6 percent of total calories (in my case, 10-12 grams per day).
Cut back on foods and beverages with added sugars.
Choose foods with less sodium and prepare foods with little or no salt. To lower blood pressure, eat less than 2400 mg sodium per day. Reducing even farther to 1500 mg per day may have an even greater effect on blood pressure.
Drink alcohol in moderation. For women, limit to one drink per day and for men, two. And yes, those drinks have standard serving sizes.
As with any diet recommendations these guidelines have been a subject of hot debate in nutrition, but that’s a topic for another day.
Now here’s your turn to help me out: pretend you have just had a heart attack (I know, scary – but the good news? You made it!) and you are presented with the recommendations above to lower your risk of it happening again. What are your initial thoughts? Overwhelming? Easy? What the heck does any of that mean? I want to hear it.
If you had to follow these recommendations, what would your questions be? What would you want from your dietitian to make you feel confident in taking care of your heart? Commence to comment in 3, 2, 1…
Welcome back – to you, reader, and to me. The absence has been long and so full of change and craziness. My life changes include a journey from being a bachelorette and part-time RD living in a travel trailer in my brother’s front yard to being a full-time RD and full-time wife with 2 stepkids. The transition made keeping up the blog just a lee-tle unrealistic, so it had to take a back-burner for a time, but I’m ready to get back into learning more about what my patients face when they make a commitment to improve health, prevent and manage chronic conditions, and change their lives.
I’ll be honest – at first I was intimidated about trying to follow a diet with a family in tow:
“Will I have to make separate food for myself? What if my family doesn’t like any of the food? Will it be too expensive to feed everyone on these diets? Ehh….I don’t think doing that blog really makes sense with a family.”
Satisfied with my very justified self-care decision, I went about my life but something kept nagging at me until I let it hit me – my patients have families. My patients have picky kids (and spouses). They don’t get the luxury of saying “Ehh…that’s not important right now.” They have to choose – figure out a way to take care of yourself with a family or simply don’t take care of yourself.
My hypocrisy got the better of me. So will I be eating separate things from my family? Sometimes. Will they dislike some of the food? Probably. But we’re going on this journey because that’s being healthy in real life – challenges and all.
So this time I’m back. For real. I promise.
And to assure you of my commitment, I grocery shopped for my next diet today. The diet I have chosen to use as I re-start is….
The Heart Healthy Diet recommended by the American Heart Association! The spoils of my venture are shown below:
The meal plan I’m using is courtesy of EatingWell.com and can be found here.
UPDATE: Eating Well has since changed this meal plan. If you click the link, you will see their new Heart Healthy meal plan.