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Prioritize heart health with a balanced eating plan

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(Family Features) No matter your motivations, it’s never too late or too early to start focusing on your heart health, and taking steps now can make a big difference. Small changes, like following a healthier eating plan, can help you start down a path toward improved heart health.

One step you can take is following the DASH eating plan, which is a flexible and balanced way of eating that stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension and was developed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Requiring no special foods, DASH provides daily and weekly nutritional goals to help lower two major risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure and high LDL (bad) cholesterol.

Being more physically active, managing stress, getting quality sleep and not smoking combined with DASH can put you on a path toward a healthy heart for life.

Encouraging others to join you on your heart-health journey can also be rewarding. Research shows social support and personal networks make it more likely you’ll stick to healthy habits like eating healthy.

Sharing heart-healthy recipes with family and friends is an added bonus, and these DASH-friendly meals can help you take the guesswork out of putting nutritious dinners on the table. Greek-Style Flank Steaks with Tangy Yogurt Sauce offer the bold flavors of the Mediterranean while Teriyaki-Glazed Salmon with Stir-Fried Vegetables is as easy to make as it is colorful. For a complementary combination of pork and sweet fruit flavor, these Baked Pork Chops with Apple Cranberry Sauce are perfect to serve alongside brown rice or steamed broccoli.

Learn more about heart health and find DASH-friendly recipes at nhlbi.nih.gov/DASH.

Greek-Style Flank Steak with Tangy Yogurt Sauce

Recipe courtesy of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4

Marinade:

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh oregano, rinsed, dried and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced (2-3 cloves)
  • 1 beef flank steak (12 ounces)

Yogurt Sauce:

  • 1 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, rinsed, dried and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced (2-3 cloves)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. To make marinade: In large bowl, combine lemon juice, olive oil, oregano and garlic.
  2. Lay steak in flat container with sides and pour marinade over steak. Marinate at least 20 minutes, or up to 24 hours, turning several times.
  3. To make yogurt sauce: Combine cucumber, yogurt, lemon juice, dill, garlic and salt. Set yogurt sauce aside at least 15 minutes to blend flavors. Sauce can be prepared up to 1 hour in advance and refrigerated.
  4. Preheat broiler to high with rack 3 inches from heat source.
  5. Broil steak about 10 minutes on each side to minimum internal temperature of 145 F. Let cool 5 minutes before carving.
  6. Slice thinly across grain into 12 slices.
  7. Serve three slices with 1/2 cup yogurt sauce.

Tip: Serve in sandwich with pita bread, lettuce and tomato.

Teriyaki-Glazed Salmon with Stir-Fried Vegetables

Recipe courtesy of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4

Salmon:

  • 2 tablespoons light teriyaki sauce
  • 1/4 cup mirin or sweet rice wine
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons scallions, rinsed and minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ginger, minced
  • 12 ounces salmon fillets, cut into four portions (3 ounces each)

Vegetables:

  • 1 bag (12 ounces) frozen vegetables stir-fry
  • 1/2 tablespoon peanut oil or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic, minced (about 1 clove)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon scallions, rinsed and minced
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. To prepare salmon: Mix teriyaki sauce, mirin, rice vinegar, scallions and ginger well. Pour over salmon and marinate 10-15 minutes.
  3. Remove salmon from marinade.
  4. Place salmon on baking sheet. Bake 10-15 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with fork in thickest part and reaches minimum internal temperature of 145 F.
  5. To prepare vegetables: Thaw frozen vegetables in microwave or place bag in bowl of hot water about 10 minutes. In large wok or saute pan, heat oil. Add garlic, ginger and scallions; cook gently, but do not brown, 30-60 seconds.
  6. Add vegetables and continue stir-frying 2-3 minutes, or until heated through. Add soy sauce.
  7. Serve one piece of salmon with 1 cup vegetables.

Baked Pork Chops with Apple Cranberry Sauce

Recipe courtesy of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Pork Chops:

  • 4 boneless pork chops (about 3 ounces each)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 medium orange, rinsed and zested
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil

Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 medium apple, peeled and grated (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup 100% orange juice
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. To prepare pork chops: Season pork chops with pepper and orange zest.
  3. In large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add pork chops and cook until browned on one side, about 2 minutes. Turn and brown 2 minutes. Remove pork chops from pan, place on nonstick baking sheet and bake 10 minutes to minimum internal temperature of 160 F.
  4. To make sauce: Add chicken broth to saute pan and stir to loosen brown bits from pork chops. Set aside.
  5. In small saucepan over medium heat, cook grated apples, cinnamon stick and bay leaf until apples begin to soften.
  6. Add cranberries, orange juice and reserved broth. Bring to boil then lower heat to gentle simmer. Simmer 10 minutes, or until cranberries are plump and apples are tender. Remove cinnamon stick.
  7. Peel orange and cut into eight sections.
  8. Serve one pork chop with 1/4 cup sauce and two orange segments.

Photos courtesy of Getty Images


SOURCE:
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

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EDIBLES

Better-for-you meals from breakfast to dinner

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(Family Features) Whether you’re encouraging loved ones to start a new wellness kick or looking to add new ideas to an already-nutritious menu, families at any stage of a journey toward better health can use newfound favorites to bring fresh flavors to the table.

These dishes from Milk Means More provide an all-day assortment of deliciousness from breakfast to lunch and dinner so you can bring everyone together for tasty, nutritious meals no matter the occasion. Dairy foods, like the low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt and cheese found in these recipes, are fundamental to good nutrition.

Constructing a better-for-you menu calls for a balanced diet with a variety of foods to get essential nutrients. This balance is important for maintaining healthy gut and immune function while optimizing overall wellness.

Start by ramping up your family’s breakfast with these slightly sweet Mini Greek Yogurt Pancakes with Cinnamon-Maple Topping for a protein-packed way to start the day with a healthy addition of fresh berries.

Fusion cooking is on the menu at lunchtime with the spicy-sweet combo of Cajun-seasoned chicken mingling with mango and pungent blue cheese in these Chicken, Mango and Blue Cheese Pitas. Finally, finish the day with Feta Roasted Salmon and Tomatoes – an easy-to-make family meal ready in 30 minutes.

Find additional better-for-you recipe inspiration at MilkMeansMore.org.

Mini Greek Yogurt Pancakes with Cinnamon-Maple Topping

Recipe courtesy of Marcia Stanley, MS, RDN, culinary dietitian, on behalf of Milk Means More
Total time: 25 minutes
Servings:6

Topping:

  • 1 3/4 cups plain Greek yogurt (fat free, 2% or 5%)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pancakes:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (fat free, 2% or 5%)
  • 1/2 cup milk (skim, 2% or whole)
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • oil
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries or chopped fresh strawberries
  1. To make topping: Stir yogurt, syrup and cinnamon. Cover and refrigerate.
  2. To make pancakes: In mixing bowl, stir flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In separate bowl, whisk egg, yogurt, milk, butter and vanilla. Add yogurt mixture to flour mixture. Stir just until combined (batter should be slightly lumpy).
  3. Scrape batter into large plastic food storage bag. Oil nonstick griddle or large nonstick skillet. Heat over medium heat. Cut off about 1/2 inch from corner of plastic bag. Squeeze batter, about 1 tablespoon at a time, onto hot griddle. Cook 1-2 minutes per side, or until pancakes are golden brown, turning to second sides when bubbles form on surface of pancakes and edges are slightly dry.
  4. Serve warm pancakes topped with cinnamon-maple yogurt and sprinkled with berries.

Feta Roasted Salmon and Tomatoes

Recipe courtesy of Marcia Stanley, MS, RDN, culinary dietitian, on behalf of Milk Means More
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 3 cups halved cherry tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano or dried dill weed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds salmon or halibut fillets, cut into 4 serving-size pieces
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Line 18-by-13-by-1-inch (half sheet) baking pan with foil. Lightly spray foil with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In medium bowl, toss tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, oregano, salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  3. Place fish pieces, skin side down, on one side of prepared pan. Sprinkle with remaining pepper. Lightly press feta cheese on top of fish. Pour tomato mixture on other side of prepared pan. Bake, uncovered, 12-15 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with fork.
  4. Place salmon on serving plates. Spoon tomato mixture over top.

Chicken, Mango and Blue Cheese Pitas

Recipe by Marcia Stanley, MS, RDN, culinary dietitian, on behalf of Milk Means More
Total time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6

Sauce:

  • 1 cup low-fat plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice or lime juice

Filling:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun or Creole seasoning
  • 1 large fresh mango, seeded, peeled and chopped
  • 3 large whole-wheat pita rounds (or 6 small), halved
  • 1 1/2 cups spring greens
  • 3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese (3 ounces)
  1. To make sauce: In small bowl, stir yogurt, honey and juice. Cover and refrigerate.
  2. To make filling: In large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Cook and stir chicken with seasoning in hot oil 4-6 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink in center. Remove from heat. Stir in mango.
  3. Fill pita pockets with greens, chicken mixture and blue cheese. Spoon yogurt sauce on top.


SOURCE:
United Dairy Industry of Michigan

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Create a beautifully baked beef dinner

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(Culinary.net) Many families crave savory and delicious weeknight meals. After a long day of work and school, it’s time to gather around the table to share a mouthwatering meal and memories together.

For something truly wholesome, try this Beef Tenderloin with Roasted Cauliflower and Spinach Salad. It’s a full meal the whole family can enjoy, and you’ll be surprised at how easy it makes it to feed all the smiling faces.

This meal has layers of flavor and sneaks in a few vegetables like spinach and cauliflower, but even picky eaters can’t resist trying it.

Start with a beef tenderloin and drizzle it generously with olive oil. Add 2 tablespoons of pepper. Flip and repeat on the other side. Bake for 12 minutes at 475 F.

Next, add one head of cauliflower to a mixing bowl with five shallots cut into quarters. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil; mix well with salt and pepper, to taste. Add this to the baking sheet with the beef tenderloin and bake 18-25 minutes.

While that’s cooking, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a mixing bowl with lemon juice, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper and baby spinach.

To plate, add baby spinach salad first then the cauliflower and shallot mixture and, finally, that juicy, perfectly cooked beef tenderloin. Garnish with cranberries for a splash of color.

This meal is satisfying and only requires some mixing bowls and a large sheet pan to make cleanup a breeze so you can focus on what really matters most: time with your loved ones.

Find more recipes and savory main dishes at Culinary.net.

Watch video to see how to make this recipe!

https://youtube.com/watch?v=-YVhaf57KRk%3Fmodestbranding%3D1%26rel%3D0%26showinfo%3D0

Beef Tenderloin with Roasted Cauliflower and Spinach Salad

Servings: 4-6

  • 1          beef tenderloin (4 pounds), wrapped with butcher’s twine
  • 9          tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 4          teaspoons pepper, divided
  • 1          head cauliflower
  • 5          shallots, quartered
  • 2          teaspoons salt, divided
  • 3          tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2          teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1          package (5 1/2 ounces) baby spinach
  • dried cranberries, for garnish
  1. Heat oven to 475 F. Place beef on baking sheet. Rub 4 tablespoons olive oil and 2 teaspoons pepper into beef. Bake 12 minutes.
  2. In large bowl, toss cauliflower, shallots, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper to combine. Scatter vegetables around beef and bake 18-25 minutes, or until desired doneness is reached. Allow meat to rest 15 minutes covered in aluminum foil.
  3. In medium bowl, whisk 3 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice, mustard and remaining salt and pepper until combined. Add spinach; stir until combined.
  4. Serve by layering spinach topped with cauliflower and shallots then sliced tenderloin. Garnish with dried cranberries.


SOURCE:
Culinary.net

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Guilty-free, superfruit snacking: Treats to make it permissible to indulge

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(Family Features) For many, enjoying a small indulgence can serve as a reward for a job well done or a mood-boosting pick-me-up. In fact, mindful snacking is on-trend for a majority of consumers.

According to Mondelez International’s Fourth Annual State of Snacking Global Consumer Trends Study, 78% are choosing small indulgences to pamper themselves and 68% are checking nutrition labels on snacks.

With today’s changing palates and the growing demand for sour, less sweet foods and beverages, a superfruit like tart cherries can help snackers permissibly indulge without the guilt. Primarily grown on small family farms in the United States, Montmorency tart cherries – also referred to as sour cherries – are available year-round in dried, juice and juice concentrate, canned and frozen forms.

More than 110 scientific research studies show Montmorency tart cherries are a superfruit. In addition to their sweet-sour taste and unique nutrient profile, research suggests tart cherries – one of the few natural food sources of melatonin – may help improve sleep, aid in exercise recovery, reduce inflammation, ease arthritis symptoms, improve gut health and promote heart health. In fact, in one study published in the “European Journal of Nutrition,” adults who drank Montmorency tart cherry juice slept about 40 minutes longer on average and had up to a 6% increase in sleep efficiency.

While increasingly featured in functional beverages and health-positioned foods, tart cherries can also add drool-worthy flavor to superfruit-infused snacks, such as these Tart Cherry Superfood Banana Splits and Tart Cherry Brownie Bites. Plus, using tart cherries as a favorite ingredient in recipes like these adds a health halo to sweets – reinforcing the trend of permissible indulgences.

As an ideal superfruit snack that makes snacking more satisfying, tart cherries provide delicious flavor and potential health benefits in these recipes and beyond so you can savor the moment and cherish every bite.

Find more tart cherry snack recipes at ChooseCherries.com.

Tart Cherry Superfood Banana Splits

Recipe courtesy of Hannah Zimmerman of Bite Sized Studio on behalf of the U.S. Tart Cherry Industry
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 2

  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 2 cups tart cherry juice
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup granola
  • 1/4 cup dried tart cherries
  • 1/2 cup frozen tart cherries, thawed
  1. Place chocolate chips in bowl.
  2. In saucepan over medium heat, bring tart cherry juice to simmer about 20 minutes until reduced to 2/3 cup.
  3. Pour juice into bowl and mix until chocolate chips are melted and sauce is smooth.
  4. Cut bananas in half lengthwise and place on two plates. Spoon 1/2 cup Greek yogurt on each banana then drizzle with 2 tablespoons almond butter and 2 tablespoons tart cherry chocolate sauce.
  5. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons granola, 2 tablespoons dried tart cherries and 1/4 cup thawed frozen tart cherries on top of each banana split.

Note: Leftover tart cherry chocolate sauce can be stored in airtight container in refrigerator for later use.

Tart Cherry Brownie Bites

Recipe courtesy of Hannah Zimmerman of Bite Sized Studio on behalf of the U.S. Tart Cherry Industry
Prep time: 10 minutes
Yield: 12 bites

  • 10 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/2 cup dried tart cherries
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon chia or hemp seeds (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons peanut or almond butter
  • 4 tablespoons tart cherry juice
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • cocoa powder (optional)
  • melted chocolate (optional)
  1. In bowl of food processor, combine dates; dried tart cherries; walnuts; oats; cocoa powder; seeds, if desired; salt; and nut butter. Pulse 30-60 seconds until ingredients are ground into tiny pieces.
  2. Add tart cherry juice in 1 tablespoon additions, pulsing mixture after each addition, until crumbly dough forms.
  3. Transfer dough to bowl and fold in chocolate chips.
  4. Roll dough into 12 balls. Serve plain or finish balls with dusting of cocoa powder or drizzle of melted chocolate, if desired.


SOURCE:
Cherry Marketing Institute

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