From The Nutritionist

Nutritionist Kate Williams
Guest Author
Kate Williams, R.D.

February is American Heart Month

For many of us, our days are hectic as we try to meet the demands of work and the needs of our families. At the end of the day, we frequently miss the mark and fail to take care of ourselves. It's easy to make poor food choices because "I just don't have time to cook" and skip exercise because "I'm just too tired". These might seem like reasonable excuses in the short term, but poor diet and lack of activity will take a toll on our health, especially the health of our hearts.

February is American Heart Month. Make the commitment this month to improve your heart's health. One way to do this is to focus on what you SHOULD eat instead of what you SHOULD NOT eat! In November 2011, US News & World Report ranked the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet Eating Plan the #1 Best and Healthiest Diet Plan. This plan is a great way to put heart healthy eating into practice. The DASH diet is lower in sodium, and low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and total fat. It is rich in vegetables and fruit, fish, poultry, beans, seeds, nuts and low-fat or non-fat dairy.

Try to include beneficial nutrients and food groups in your heart healthy eating plan. For example, potassium is an element and electrolyte that helps counteract the effects of sodium in the body, thus helping to control blood pressure. Dietary sources of potassium include veggies and fruit, especially bananas, potatoes, oranges and tomatoes. Whole grain foods, like oatmeal, whole wheat bread and brown rice are also good choices for a heart healthy diet. These foods are generally high in fiber and other nutrients that may help to reduce the risk of heart disease. Visit our Product Nutrition Finder to learn more about our products. Check “heart healthy” to explore our products that meet that criteria.

Make a commitment today to follow a heart healthy diet. Check out the Campbell Healthy Eating Plan for delicious menus that feature some of your favorite products and are consistent with the DASH Diet Eating Plan and the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. These menus also include potassium rich fruits and vegetables as well as whole grain products to help you on your path to a healthy heart!

Healthy eating,
Kate

Kate received her bachelor degree in dietetics from the University of Delaware and then completed a dietetic internship at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. She has over nine years of experience in a variety of nutrition-related practice areas including clinical nutrition, weight management counseling, health and wellness and nutrition education. Kate has worked as a nutrition consultant to the Cambell Soup Company since 2005.

Please note that the Heart-Check Food Certification does not apply to recipes or information reached through links unless expressly stated.

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En Papillote Technique

1. Prepare the parchment paper
Get a large piece of parchment paper, approximately 2.5 times as large as a single portion of food. Cut the paper into a heart shape, lightly brushing one side with oil. This creates a slight barrier to water, preventing the paper from becoming soaked too quickly. Another option, though not as attractive, is to use tin foil instead of parchment paper.

2. Select the ingredients
This is a very quick-cooking approach, so it works best with tender proteins such as fish and shellfish. The accompanying ingredients, like julienned vegetables (matchstick size), must be small enough to cook at the same rate as the fish. In some cases the vegetables can be blanched, or quickly cooked in boiling water, to ensure proper doneness. Fresh herbs will go a long way in providing flavor.

3. Assemble the packet
Lay the oiled, heart-shaped paper on a baking tray, oiled side up. Season your vegetables with salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil, and half of the herbs. Toss them around for an even coat. Place enough for one portion on half of the paper. Bunch them up to create a bed for your fish, leaving about two inches between the food and the edge of the paper. Place the seasoned fish on the vegetables and sprinkle the remaining herbs. Add a splash of the liquid on top of the fish, just enough to add moisture.

4. Seal the packet
To seal, fold the heart over to enclose the fish and vegetables (so it resembles a teardrop). Starting at the top of the heart, fold about 1/4" of the edge toward the center. Fold over again to create a seal. Continue along the length of the parchment, folding each section twice. When you get to the point of the heart, twist and fold to finish the seal.

5. Bake your dinner
Bake the packet in a 425°F oven for 10-14 minutes, depending on the size of the fish. The packet will puff and brown while in the oven and as the steam builds. When cooked, remove from the oven and carefully place the packet on a plate. With a knife or scissors cut an "X" on the top and fold back the edges for a dramatic presentation and a delicious, healthy meal.

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Spicy Flounder and Clams with Summer Vegetables

Prep Time: Less than 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 10-14 minutes
Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup carrots, finely cut julienne
  • 1/3 cup sugar snap peas, cross cut thinly
  • 1/3 cup zucchini, yellow, finely cut julienne
  • 6 each cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 Tbsp. shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. parsley, fresh, minced
  • Dash salt
  • Dash black pepper
  • 6 oz. fillet, flounder (2 fillets, 3oz. each)
  • 2 Tbsp. Low Sodium Spicy Hot V8® 100% Vegetable juice
  • 3/4 lb. clams, in the shell

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Combine the carrots, sugar snap peas, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, shallot, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, half of the parsley, salt and pepper in a bowl. Toss well to combine.
  3. Lightly oil two large heart shaped pieces of parchment paper.
  4. With the parchment paper on a sheet tray, place half of the vegetable mixture in the center of one half of each heart leaving about a 2" border.
  5. Lightly season each fillet with salt and pepper. Fold or roll the fillet to create a uniform thickness and place on top of the vegetables.
  6. Top the fish with the remaining herbs and the Low Sodium Spicy Hot V8® 100% Vegetable juice.
  7. Place half of the clams around each portion of vegetables and fish.
  8. Fold the heart over to enclose the fish and vegetables so that it resembles a teardrop.
  9. Starting at the top of the heart, fold about 1/4" of the edge towards the center. Fold over again to create a seal.
  10. Continue with this method along the length of the parchment packet folding each section twice to make an attractive edge.
  11. When you get to the point of the heart twist and fold to finish the seal.
  12. Bake the packets for 10-14 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fish).
  13. Remove from the oven and serve by cutting an "X" in the top and folding back the edges.

Nutrition Information (per serving):

Calories 180, Total Fat 9g, Saturated Fat 1g, Monounsaturated Fat 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat 1g, Cholesterol 50mg, Sodium 450mg, Carbohydrate 10g, Fiber 2g, Sugar 4g, Protein 16g.