Looking for some heat and crunch on Super Bowl Sunday without all the grease? Since it’s Heart Month we should be doing what we can to build habits that support our current and future health. That never means compromising on flavor and texture!
Heart disease is known as the biggest killer in the US, costing us over $500 billion per year. While we say it is heart disease, we should think of poor diet, lack of activity, and smoking as the leading causes of early death! In women, even birth control pills increases risk.
During Heart Month, you can access many resources on the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and American Heart Association websites. Don’t try to change everything in your lifestyle at once, or else you will feel stressed and overwhelmed, and you may not stick with it. Start by reducing your intake of added sugars, sodium, and red meats. Added sugar is not just what you’re putting in your coffee! Check the ingredient list on yogurt, cereal, granola, and even pasta sauce containers. Sodium is easily reduced by reducing the amount of processed foods you eat and how often you dine out. One of my favorite beef alternatives is lentils due to the comparable nutrient content, especially iron. Once you are comfortable with reducing these things, work to get the added sugars out of your shopping cart!
I am all about what you can do more of for health too so, if you feel deprived already looking at the above, focus on what you should eat more of. Aim for a minimum of 5 servings of vegetables and fruits per day, switch to whole and unprocessed grains, and eat more omega-3 fatty acids. The latter are not only found in fish like salmon and tuna, but also in walnuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds, ground flax seeds, avocado and even algae!
Hopefully you’re now feeling motivated to protect your heart. Don’t forget to wear RED this Friday, February 5th to show your support and make some healthier super bowl food this Sunday! On February 16 at 8 PM I am also hosting the Energy Bits twitter chat on heart health. Tune in, ask questions, and give us your healthy tips too with the hashtag #poweredbybits.
Dairy Free Jalapeno Poppers (GF, V, DF)
3/4 Cup soaked cashews
3 T minced garlic
1/2 small white onion
1/3 C pre-cooked sweet potato
1/2 tsp turmeric
2T nutritional yeast
1/4 C warm water or veg broth
Pepper to taste
1 tsp cumin
8 jalapeños halved and seeds removed
Tortilla chip crumbs as needed (from the bottom of a bag or by crushing)
Add cashews to bowl and cover with water 3-4 hours
Heat oven to 400 degrees
Heat a small pan over low-med and add garlic, onion and a splash of water
Stir and cover, letting cook 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally
Add sweet potato, drained cashews, garlic and onion, turmeric, nutritional yeast, and spices to high quality food processor or blender
Pulse until a thick “cheesy” mixture forms. If it seems too thick, add water or broth 1 tbsp at a time
Spoon mixture into the halved jalapenos and bake in oven in a baking dish for 20 minutes
Remove from heat and increase oven temp to 425 degrees.
Add crushed tortilla chips to the top and place back in oven for 10 minutes.
Let cool slightly and enjoy!