Five Tips and Three Recipes for Eating Well and Staying Healthy

By Mary Valle
Lifebridge Health

A healthful diet can reduce your risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other nutrition experts, a healthy diet is:

  • High in complex carbohydrates: Fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes should make up 45 to 65 percent of an adult’s diet. A daily diet that contains two cups of fruit, 2-1/2 cups of vegetables and three or more servings of whole grains (approximately three ounces per day) will also provide the recommended 20 to 35 grams of fiber.
  • High in variety: Eating a variety of foods helps you meet the recommended dietary allowances for essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Low in fat: You should get no more than 20 to 35 percent of your total calories from fat. To reduce your fat intake: Choose lean meats over fatty cuts; skinless white-meat poultry over dark-meat poultry with skin; nonfat salad dressings over regular dressings; nonfat or low-fat dairy products over full-fat products; and baked or broiled entrees over fried ones.
  • Low in cholesterol: Keep your daily intake to 300 mg or less. Eat the recommended number of servings from the meat group (six to nine ounces per day) but don’t overindulge. Remember, only animal products or foods made with animal products will be high in cholesterol.
  • Low in sodium: Limit your sodium intake to 2,300 mg or less per day. To reduce your intake: Use less salt when preparing foods. Add less of it at the table. Check food labels for high sodium levels, then choose products with lower levels. Limit use of prepared convenience foods and condiments, which usually are high in sodium.

Check out these recipes from Stephanie Rose, Community Teaching Kitchen Manager
American Heart Association, Simple Cooking with Heart Kitchen Kitchen

Fresh Cauliflower Chickpea Salad

1 medium head cauliflower, about 2 pounds (6 to 7 cups small florets)
– 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
– 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
– 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
– 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste
– 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
– 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas
– 1/2 cup fine fresh herbs like parlsey, dill, or mint, chopped
– 1/2 cup pickled red onions, chopped

Mix together and serve.


Blackened Fish

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 (4 ounces each) fish fillets (4 ounces each; flaky white fish like tilapia, flounder or sole or red fish works well.)


1. In a small bowl, mix spices together.

2. Pat each fish fillet dry. Generously coat fish with seasoning mixture on one side.

3. Spray large skillet with cooking spray, heat over high heat. Place fish in pan, seasoning side down and cook for 3 minutes. While cooking, generously coat the other side with seasoning mixture.

4. Flip fish and cook 3 minutes longer. Serve.


Strawberry Pineapple Salsa with Blackened Chicken

  • 2 slices pineapple, each 1/2 inch thick, patted dry
  • 1 teaspoon canola or corn oil
  • 1 cup whole strawberries (diced)
  • 3-4 Tablespoon chopped, fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1-2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 medium lemon


1. Preheat the grill on medium high. Brush a grill pan or grill rack with the oil and heat for about 2 minutes, or until hot. Grill the pineapple 2 minutes on each side. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool slightly, about two minutes, before chopping.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together the remaining salsa ingredients except the lemon. Grate 1 teaspoon lemon zest, reserving the lemon. Stir the zest and chopped pineapple into the strawberry mixture. Set aside.

3. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with the seasoning blend (see above). Grill for 5 minutes on each side, or until no longer pink in the center. Transfer to plates. Squeeze the reserved lemon over the chicken. Serve with the salsa on the side.

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