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February is American Heart Month to raise awareness about heart disease and how people can prevent it. One of the most important ways to keep your heart healthy is to eat a healthy diet. A heart-healthy diet is a well-balanced diet that promotes a healthy weight, good blood pressure, and lower cholesterol levels. That doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice taste. It isn’t about deprivation, it’s about making good choices!
Food that is both healthy and delicious uses fresh, seasonal ingredients and is free from additives, preservatives, and chemicals. It is a balanced diet that includes a variety of foods; including lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, moderate amounts of protein-rich foods and whole grains, and some healthy fats. Focusing on a diet that is lower in meat and heavier in veggies, and which includes all of the colors of the rainbow, will automatically limit saturated fats and sodium which are like poison to your heart.
Watching your portion size is important, as well. Eat small meals throughout the day to keep from getting overly hungry, which can cause us to make poor decisions. Many of us overeat because we have waited until we’re starving and then reach for the closest and most convenient option. Or sometimes we put too much food on our plates and our brains don’t get the message that we’re full until it’s too late. Putting less food on the plate, eating slowly, and listening to our bodies, we learn to stop eating once our hunger is satisfied instead of when we feel full and uncomfortable. We may realize that we don’t actually need as much food as we originally thought.
The key to eating a healthy diet is to want to eat healthy foods, and the key to that is flavor. Eating food should be a pleasurable experience, right? Though the term “heart-healthy diet” might conjure up visions of dry broiled fish and plain steamed vegetables, the truth is that there are plenty of delicious and healthy ways to prepare food. By using fresh ingredients, herbs and healthy fats, a heart-healthy diet can be delicious and satisfy your every craving.
It is important to plan ahead. Having some delicious recipes at the ready, along with the right foods in your pantry and fridge is easy when you think through your menu before hitting the grocery store. We know that sometimes after a long day your first instinct is to go for that easy takeout, especially if you haven’t planned well, and you don’t have anything appealing to eat at home. These recipes prove that you can have a meal that is both satisfying and healthy.
Stop by Farmview Market to see what’s fresh, and make one of our favorite light and healthy dinner recipes tonight.
(adapted from Ellie Krieger)
1 tbsp. Fresh sage, chopped
1 large Garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp. Salt
(4) 3/4 inch Bone-in pork loin chops
2 tsp. Olive oil
Ground pepper to taste
1 large Onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
1 large Granny smith apple, cored and coarsely shredded
16 oz. bag Slaw mix
2 tbsp. Cider vinegar
3/4 cup Low-sodium chicken broth
To make the chops, combine the sage, garlic, salt and a few grinds of pepper in a small bowl. Rub the mixture all over the pork chops and let them sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until good and hot. Add the chops and brown well on both sides, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer the chops to a plate.
To make the slaw, carefully wipe out the pan. Heat the oil over medium heat and add the onion, apple, and sage. Cook, stirring a few times, until softened and golden brown, to 5 minutes.
Add the slaw mix, vinegar, and salt and continue to cook until the cabbage and carrots begin to soften about 5 minutes.
Add the broth and return the pork chops to the pan, burying them in the vegetable mixture. Cover and cook just until the pork chops have just a slight blush in the center, 5 to 7 minutes longer.
To serve, arrange the warm slaw on individual plates and top with a pork chop and pan juices.
3 tbsp. Yellow onion, diced
1 1/2 tsp. Garlic, minced
14 oz. can Black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tsp. Ground chipotle chili pepper
1 cup Chicken stock
1/4 cup Tomatoes, diced
1/2 tsp. Fresh cilantro, minced
1 tsp. Sea salt
1 tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. Chili powder
(4) 4 oz. Skinless, boneless chicken breasts
Lightly spray a large saucepan with canola oil spray. Sauté the onions and garlic over medium heat until the onions are translucent.
Add the black beans, chipotle, chicken stock, tomatoes, cilantro, and salt and slowly simmer for 10 to 20 minutes or until the beans are slightly thickened. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
Place the black bean mixture in a blender and puree until smooth.
Preheat the broiler.
Combine the olive oil and chili powder in a small bowl and mix to form a paste. Rub the paste over the chicken breasts.
Broil the chicken for 3 to 5 minutes on each side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
Serve each chicken breast with black bean sauce and a side salad or grilled vegetable of your choice.
1 cup Couscous
5 oz. Package baby kale
1 lb. Plum tomatoes, quartered
2 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
20 large Shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tbsp. Extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat oven to 425 degrees.
Tear off four 12 inch squares of foil and arrange on two baking sheets. In a small bowl, combine the couscous with 1/2 cup water.
Divide the kale among the pieces of foil. Top with the couscous, then the tomatoes, garlic, and shrimp. Drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste.
Cover with another piece of foil and fold each edge up and over three times. Roast for 15 minutes.
Transfer each packet to a plate. Using scissors or a knife, cut an “X” in the center and fold back the triangles to serve.
Visit the American Heart Association website for more heart-healthy tips and to learn how to recognize the signs of a heart attack.
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