How to LOVE your Heart

Happy Valentine’s Day! I have a new little Valentine this year (in addition to my sweet husband), so it will be an extra special one for us. Since it is the day of L-O-V-E, I thought it was only appropriate to talk about how we can love our heart through food! One of the most famous quotes from Hippocrates states ‘let food be thy medicine’ and I believe that statement is so true. What we put into our body either fuels us or hinders us, so it’s important to eat the right foods to make sure we are taking care of ourselves!

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States – proving how crucial it is that we take care of this important organ! One of the best ways to take care of our hearts is to follow a plant based diet (or as close to one as possible)! Believe me when I say it’s hard to switch the mindset away from the idea to always have meat at every meal. I used to think a meal was only complete when a piece of chicken, fish or beef was on my plate. But lately, I have been trying to focus more on meatless meals to challenge myself and my family to follow a more plant based diet. In fact, did you know that the American Dietetic Association position’s on a vegetarian diet is that, when the diet is well planned, it is nutritionally adequate and even provides additional health benefits.

A plant based diet is one that focuses on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts/ legumes. Multiple research studies confirm that a plant based diet significantly lowers the risk of heart disease and stroke. The nutritional properties of these foods prevent and even fight off disease and include fiber, minerals and antioxidant vitamins. A plant based diet can be daunting to think about, so instead, try focusing on having at least one fruit and vegetable at each meal. And, if you are already doing that, try incorporating additional servings of colorful vegetables in place of other items you may be eating. From there, try making one dinner each week meatless – whether it is vegetable soup with beans and chickpeas, quinoa broccoli bites, eggplant chili without the ground turkey or roasted vegetable lasgana.  For a protein source, there are quite a few vegetarian and vegan sources that you can include at your meal that will keep you fuller for longer. Then, continue to increase the number of times a week that you are going meatless. Soon, it will be second nature to eat this way!

So, today I challenge you to think about your dinner plans for the week. Is there one meal that you could make “meatless” instead?

Happy heart day! 🙂

Product Reviews: Arctic Zero and Halo Top Ice Cream

Lately, it seems one of the most frequent questions we get as dietitians is regarding the “healthier” ice cream options at the grocery store! We recently shared our love for Yasso Greek Yogurt Ice cream bars on Instagram {follow us on IG if you aren’t already}, but lately, we have also been asked about other brands of ice cream on the market! Two of the most popular types available are Arctic Zero and Halo Top. We decided to compare the two and put them through a taste test!

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Not so ‘healthy’: Sugar edition

Browsing through the grocery store can be a difficult task! There are so many marketing claims out there on products that it can be easy to purchase a food item without thinking about the components of the product. Today, we are starting a new series that looks at food items that may be considered ‘healthy’ in some aspects, but when you take a closer look, you learn that this product that claims to be ‘healthy,’ isn’t so healthy after all! First up, sugar. From yogurt to smoothie drinks to salads, the amount of sugar in food can be easily overlooked and shocking!

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Diet Dish: Paleo

One of our missions when we started Healthy Bites Houston was to provide accurate, science based nutrition information to our readers. Its been awhile since we recapped a fad diet (check out or last Diet Dish on the Whole 30 diet here). Fad diets tend to make lofty claims without sound information to back up those claims. Today we are talking about the Paleo diet, which is also known as the Paleolithic or Caveman diet.

Paleo diet graphic

Source

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Four {non-dairy} foods high in Calcium

Calcium is an important nutrient for the body. Not only does it help to form and maintain healthy bones and teeth, but calcium also ensures that nerves, muscles and cells are working as they should. Most importantly, adequate calcium consumption prevents osteoporosis. Adults aged 19-50 years and men aged 51-70 require about 1,000 mg calcium, but women aged 51-70 require 1,200 mg. All adults aged 71+ require 1,200 mg. To put it in perspective, one cup of milk has 300 mg calcium. Although dairy products are a quality source of calcium, it’s important to know other sources of calcium in the diet! For someone who is vegan, lactose intolerant, or just prefers not to have dairy, these items will aid in reaching calcium goals through diet alone. Remember to consume vitamin D with calcium to help absorb it. Here are four non dairy food items that are good sources of calcium:

Greens such as kale or collard greens

www.health.com

www.health.com

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