Healthy eating – Spring is just around the corner and it’s a great time to do some spring cleaning, not just in our houses, but also with the food we eat. After a winter full of hearty comfort foods, it’s time to switch to something a little lighter and heart-healthy. Heart disease is one of Canada’s leading causes of death, but up to 80% of premature heart disease and stroke is preventable by adopting healthy eating habits that include exercising regularly, refraining from smoking, adopting a low-sodium diet, maintaining a healthy body weight, taking medication as directed and limiting alcohol consumption. These lifestyle changes may also delay the onset of heart disease or stroke by as many as 14 years.
A heart healthy diet is rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains and their fibre, lower-fat milk and alternatives, and lower-fat meat and alternatives, including fish which provide omega 3 fats. Foods to limit include sodium, added sugar and saturated and trans fats.
Let’s focus on fibre! Fibre slows the digestion and absorption of foods we eat and can help manage cholesterol and blood glucose levels. You can get fibre from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes, as well as nuts and seeds. Most adults need at least 25 g of fibre per day depending on age, gender and health conditions. Keep in mind when adding fibre into your diet, do so gradually and drink lots of fluids.
Chia seeds, flaxseeds and hemp hearts are all easy options for adding fibre to your diet. These seeds are similar in their nutritional benefits as they provide omega 3 fats, fibre and some protein. Although they are similar, they do have their own unique nutrient profiles so including a variety is key. Flaxseed is the highest in omega 3 fats, hemp hearts are the highest in protein, and chia seeds are the highest in fibre! All you need is one to two tablespoons of these seeds per day, as they pack a lot of nutrition in small quantities. You can sprinkle these seeds in cereals, yogurt, and salads and add them to smoothies or baked goods.
If you’re looking for a delectable dessert, try this chocolate cherry chia pudding to satisfy your sweet tooth. Chia seeds make a delicious and healthy pudding. If you don’t like chia’s tapioca-like texture, you can blend it using a blender to a more smooth pudding consistency. This pudding provides 6 g of fibre per serving!
Chocolate Cherry Chia Pudding
• 1 cup (250 mL) Frozen sweet cherries, thawed and drained
• 1/4 cup (50 mL) PC Organics Black Chia Seed
• 1 tbsp (15 mL) unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1 cup (250 mL) unsweetened almond milk
• 1/4 tsp (1 mL) PC Black Label Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract
• 5 tsp (25 mL) honey
- Slice cherries in half; place in small bowl and refrigerate until needed.
- Stir chia and cocoa together in bowl; pour in almond milk, vanilla and honey. Stir well; cover and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours or until chia has absorbed all of the liquid. Divide pudding among four small serving bowls; top with cherries. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings
Per serving: 120 calories, fat 4 g (of which 0.5 g is saturated), sodium 0 mg, carbohydrate 20 g, fibre 6 g, protein 3 g
Geneviève Ledoux is a registered dietitian with Provigo Le Marché Kirkland. She provides services like one-on-one consultations, assisted shopping, school tours and recipe ideas! If you want to learn more about Mediterranean Cuisine you can join us on May 2nd at 6:30pm for a great chef-dietitian dinner! Registration required (customer service of the Provigo or online at www.pccookingschool.com ). You can also reach Genevieve at Genevieve.email@example.com – 514-826-4280.