Heart-Healthy Food Ideas for American Heart Month

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You’ve been enjoying the chocolate treats in your heart-shaped box, and laughing at the sayings on the heart-shaped candies you got for Valentine’s Day, last week. Now it’s time to focus on your own heart health, because February is American Heart Month.

Eating a more plant-based diet is good for your health and the environment. But maybe you just don’t know where to get started in making this dietary adjustment. Vegetables can be so much more than the uninspired side dish on the other side of the plate. Take a look at this round-up of food sources to get you thinking about more plant-based cooking and heart-healthy food ideas.

1. The Heart of the Plate by Mollie Katzen

Mollie Katzen revolutionized vegetarianism years ago with her ground-breaking Moosewood cookbooks, which are in the James Beard Foundation’s Cookbook Hall of Fame. Katzen’s latest cookbook, The Heart of the Plate: Vegetarian Ideas for the Next Generation, includes vegetarian and vegan recipes (try the grilled bread and kale with red onions, walnuts, and figs) and her thoughts on “little salads.” The book is full of personality, with recipes accompanied by charming watercolor illustrations by the author. When you have a cookbook with quotes of endorsements from celebrated chef Jacques Pepin and holistic health expert Andrew Weil, you know you’ve got a book that will help you deliver delicious and healthy meals.

2. The Meatless Monday Cookbook

Remember the folks at The Meatless Monday Movement? They have a growing list of people making the pledge to cut out meat one day each week. Did you know that chef Mario Batali, the man known as The King of Pancetta, offers meatless dining options in all of his restaurants? He probably most accurately described the goal of the movement when he said it’s not a matter of cutting people off from eating meat—it’s about getting people to think about their food choices and offering options. The Meatless Monday e-cookbook was released this month and features vivid photographs to help you choose from recipes for Moroccan garbanzo bean stew, yam and black bean tacos with bright purple pickled cabbage, or a sandwich filled with chickpeas and sliced avocado on a rustic loaf of bread.

3. The Weiser Kitchen

You can find a ton of great information on healthy eating options—including a kosher spin on menus, if that’s what you’re looking for—over at The Weiser Kitchen. Tami Ganeles-Weiser, along with her editorial advisor, the much-admired food writer Molly O’Neill, has created an online resource for vegetarian and vegan recipe ideas. The recipes are all professionally tested and ready to help you create some good food in your kitchen. You can search for recipes by ingredient, dish, or dietary needs, which cover nut-free, gluten-free, soy-free, and much more. Ganeles-Weiser shoots almost all of the inviting photographs which will help you visualize the creative recipes, like honey-roasted carrots and fennel, and a grain-based freekeh salad. Follow their recipe for a blood orange and Persian-spiced cosmopolitan, and raise a glass.

Cheers to these heart-healthy food ideas!

Alice Knisley Matthias is a mom of two boys who love to trade weird-but-true facts. She writes about food, family, education and garden. She loves to cook, grow fresh herbs, and believes in an organic lifestyle for her family in the kitchen and the garden. Her work has appeared in Eating Well, Highlights for Children, Boys’ Life, Chicken Soup for the Soul, What to Expect, Cook n’ Scribble and an America’s Test Kitchen Cook’s Country Cookbook. She is the author of herbinkitchen.com and a regular blogger for KIDS DISCOVER.

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