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In addition to regular exercise, a diet filled with berries, beans and broccoli can provide plenty of heart-healthy nutrients in your dietary pattern and help keep your cholesterol down. Here, Patricia Bannan, MS, RD, a frequent CNN and Today Show contributor and author of Eat Right When Time is Tight, offers easy recipes for each ingredient.
Buy a bag of frozen berries (unless fresh ones are in season) and incorporate them into your breakfast.
Oatmeal with Berries Recipe
(Serves 2; ½ cup per serving)
½ cup frozen berries, thawed, no sugar added
2 packets of lower sugar oatmeal
2 tbsp chopped unsalted almonds
"Prepare your oatmeal according to instructions and toss the thawed berries into the bowl while heating to get them up to temperature," says Bannan. "Top with a small handful of chopped almonds for a heart-healthy crunch."
Grab a bag of dry beans during your next trip to the grocery store. These help control excess sodium often found in canned beans and can still be easy to prepare, but may take some time to cook so plan ahead. Bannan recommends incorporating them into a simple bean salad.
Garbanzo Bean Salad Recipe
(Serves 2; 1 cup per serving)
1 cup of garbanzo beans (if canned, choose low-sodium and rinse first)
1 cup halved grape tomatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
Sprinkle of pepper
Squeeze of lemon juice
"Toss all of these ingredients into a bowl for a quick and easy side dish or throw them into a whole-grain pita or wrap for lunch on the go," suggests Bannan.
Instead of steaming, cook your broccoli in a stir-fry.
Vegetable Stir-Fry Recipe
(Serves 2; 1 cup per serving, cooked)
1 cup green bell pepper, cut into slice
1 cup broccoli, broken into florets
½ onion, cut into large chunks
1 cup sliced carrots
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced fresh ginger (optional)
½ cup soy sauce
"Heat 1-2 tbsp of sesame oil in a saucepan and add vegetables until soft, but crisp," recommends Bannan. "Season with ½-cup low-sodium soy sauce to taste."
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