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Fattening Holiday Foods: The Best and Worst Celebratory Holiday Foods


Replace Worst Holiday Foods with Delicious

HoHoHmmm, it’s tempting to turn to those not-so-healthy holiday foods to celebrate the season but the scale will thank you come January 1st if you think twice about what goes in your mouth and substitute, substitute, substitute. That’s right, there are plenty of delicious seasonal foods that you can fill your holiday plate with and still celebrate the beauty of the season—healthfully! Here are 4 tips for tapping into the foods of the season with lighter and more nutritious choices:

1. Holiday drinks: The worst … Eggnog. Heavy cream, sugar and eggs make up this frothy holiday drink. At 20 grams of fat (7 grams of artery-clogging saturated fat) and 400 calories for a single serving, this is one holiday treat that should not make your celebratory food menu.

Holiday drinks: The best … Cosmo 5-0. This holiday season remember that drinks count—they are virtually empty liquid calories that add up quickly. Toast the season with sparkling water and a twist of lime and you’ll start the New Year leaner and healthier. Or… try my lighter version of a classic cocktail…the 5-0 cosmo!

2. Main dishes: The worst … Beef Stroganoff. Heavy cream and butter added to the meat provides a high saturated fat content (15 grams of artery-clogging fat), and one serving, with noodles, can tip the scale at over 600 calories and contains more sodium than you should eat in an entire day. Why not replace this calorie monster with the lean and mean protein of the season: white meat turkey breast?

Main dishes: The best … Roast Turkey breast. At a mere 130 calories, 3.5 grams of fat and a whopping 21 grams of protein for a 4-ounce serving of skinless turkey breast, this is one holiday food that should take center stage. Always add a side salad or half a plate of vegetables when enjoying this seasonal favorite to round out your holiday plate.

3. Side dishes: The worst … heavy stuffing. This holiday classic can add up in calories and fat, F-A-S-T. Stuffing made with butter and sausage topped with gravy can clock in at over 500 calories per serving.

Side dishes: The best … baked sweet potatoes and butternut squash! Instead of traditional fatty stuffing,  make a healthier version by skipping the meat, using a fat-free, low-sodium broth for a base and loading it up with fruit and veggies like celery, carrots, apples and squash. Or…why not simply replace the stuffing with a side of baked sweet potatoes? Top with a touch of brown sugar and you have a sweet treat on the side for any holiday meal. You can also try another superfood of the season—butternut or acorn squash. Reduce the calorie content in high carbohydrate dishes by replacing the hearty potato with the lighter winter squash, such as acorn squash and butternut squash. Winter squash contain a rich source of dietary fiber to help lower cholesterol levels, normalize bowel health, and control blood sugar, as well as vitamin A to build and maintain healthy eyes, skin, teeth, skeletal and soft tissue, and mucus membranes. Try my recipe of Sweet Mashed Acorn Squash

4. Pie: The worst…mincemeat. Don’t be fooled by the name, this is no simple meat pie but instead a tremendously high calorie dessert filled with butter, sugar, eggs and shortening. A single slice contains close to 500 calories, 18 grams of fat and 12 teaspoons of sugar (and that’s without the whipped cream!).

Pie: the best … pumpkin pie. Hooray! A slice of this holiday staple only has about 300 calories. Plus, pumpkin pie is lower in saturated fat and sodium than other pies, and also contains nutritious fiber and tons of disease-fighting beta-carotene. Bake the lighter version at home and you will still enjoy this holiday favorite while maintaining your health and fitness. If pumpkin pie is not your thing, you might consider this lightened up version of Christmas Snow-Dusted Mini Linzer Tart Cookies.

Holiday 5-0 Cosmo

Celebrate the beauty of the season

Celebrate the beauty of the season

Toast the holidays with this light version of the traditional Cosmopolitan vodka cocktail for just a fraction of the calories and all the taste!

½ ounce raspberry vodka
3 ounces sugar-free diet cranberry juice drink
Squeeze of lime

Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice.
Strain mixture into a chilled martini glass.
Garnish with lime twist.

Yield: 1 cocktail

  • calories: 50,
  • fat: 0 g,
  • cholesterol: 0 mg,
  • sodium: 1 mg,
  • carbohydrates: 3 g,
  • fiber: 0 g,
  • sugar: 0.5 g,
  • protein: 0 g.

Sweet Mashed Acorn Squash


Yields: 8 servings, 1 serving = ½ cup

  • 1 large acorn squash
  • 1 Tablespoon of maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons of walnuts, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons of raisins


Pre-heat oven to 400° F. Cut the acorn squash in half and remove the seeds. Place the acorn squash halves in a 9 x 9 inch or 9 x 13 inch pan with the flesh facing down. Fill the pan with ½ inch of water. Place the pan in the oven and roast the acorn squash for 45-60 minutes until the flesh is soft. Remove the pan from the oven and let the acorn squash cool for 10-15 minutes before scooping out the soft flesh into a bowl. Add the maple syrup, walnuts, and raisins and mix well. Serve hot or cold for breakfast, dinner or dessert!

Nutrient Information per Serving (1/2 cup):

Calories: 82 calories,
Fat: 1g,
Cholesterol: 0 mg,
Sodium: 5 mg,
Carbohydrate: 19 g,
Dietary Fiber: 5 g,
Sugar: 7g,
Protein: 1 g

Snow-Dusted Mini Linzer Tart Cookies

A holiday favorite, these remade linzer tarts are festive, light and nutritious!

You will need:

  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • ¾ cup unsifted cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup Splenda sugar blend for baking
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • ¼ cup egg substitute
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup raspberry jam
  • Powdered sugar for dusting


  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Coat a large baking sheet with nonstick spray.
  • In a large bowl, whisk flours, king powder and salt together.
  • Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat then pour into a separate mixing bowl.
  • Add Splenda and oil and beat with an electric mixer until smooth.
  • Mix in egg and vanilla extract.
  • Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until just combined.
  • Divide the dough in half and shape in two balls.
  • Working with one ball at a time, roll dough on lightly floured surface until dough is approximately 1/8th inch thick.
  • With a ~1 ½ inch round cookie cutter, cut out as many circles as you can, placing them on the baking sheet.
  • Repeat with second ball of dough.
  • Place a thumbprint in the center of each circle.
  • Bake both batches for 10-15 minutes and cool on a wire cake rack for 20 minutes.
  • Spoon a dab of jam into each thumbprint impression and sprinkle the tops with confectioner’s sugar before serving.

NOTE: Keep dough as cold as possible for easier handling.

Yield: 25 cookies

Nutrition information (per cookie):

  • Calories: 60
  • Fat: 2g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 50mg
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Sugar: 4g
  • Protein: 1g

Heart Healthy Summer Recipe: Nectarine Berry Cobbler

Nectarine Berry Cobbler Recipe (July 28)

Use your fresh berries/nectarines to bake a healthy, quick and easy cobbler with no sugar or butter

Are you crazy for cobblers and crisps?

Take advantage of summer’s bounty of beautiful berries and stone fruits for baking up delicious and light summer treats. Summer fruits make the most mouth-watering desserts, especially berry cobblers and crisps.

Instead of always going for the high calorie/fat/sodium frozen cobbler on a summer’s night, use your fresh berries/nectarines to bake a healthy, quick and easy cobbler with no sugar or butter, as featured in this week’s recipe, Nectarine Berry Cobbler.

Nectarine Berry Cobbler Recipe

Vegan cobbler with no added butter. 

Yield: 6 servings (1/2 cup per serving)


  • 4 Tablespoons of pure maple syrup
  • 2 nectarines, pitted and chopped
  • 2 cups of mixed berries (pitted cherries, blueberries, blackberries, etc.)
  • ¾ cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup almond meal
  • 2 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp of salt


Pre-heat oven to 375º F. Grease a 9 x9’’ pan with canola oil. In a small bowl, mix the fruit and 2 tablespoons of maple syrup.

Pour the fruit mixture in to the greased pan and spread out to the pan’s edges and corners.

In another small bowl, mix the dry ingredients (oats, almond meal, cinnamon, and salt) and pour over the fruit mixture.

Lastly, drizzle 2 Tablespoons of maple syrup over the oat mixture.

Place the cobbler in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes until the top is slightly browned.

Let the cobbler sit and cool for 10-15 minutes before serving with a scoop of vanilla yogurt or ice cream. 

Nutrition Information Per Serving:

Calories: 170 kcal, Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Carbohydrate: 29 g, Dietary Fiber: 5g, Protein: 4g, Sodium: 97 mg

Check out more delicious and heart healthy summer recipes by Dr Janet that help bring blood pressure down and reduce cholesterol.


Krazy for KALE

Warm Balsamic Kale Salad lowers cholesterol

Heart Healthy Recipes – Warm Balsamic Kale Salad

Kale is one of the heart healthy foods that provider protection against cancer protection and helps in lowering cholesterol. If you haven’t gotten on the kale bandwagon yet, you may want to give it a try. Just one cup of chopped kale exceeds your entire daily requirement for vitamin A, C, and K and all this for only 33 calories!

This dark leafy vegetable can easily be incorporated into dishes (just as you would eat spinach with egg white omelets, stir-fries, salads, pasta, smoothies, soups, or pesto). Since warm foods tend to be more appealing during the cold winter months, give kale a try in this week’s featured heart healthy recipe, Warm Kale Salad.


Warm Balsamic Kale Salad

Saute your vegetables with balsamic vinegar for a low calorie flavorful sauce.

Yield: 2 servings


    • 2 tsp of olive oil
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced.
    • ½ medium onion, chopped
    • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
    • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
    • 2 portobello mushrooms with the stem and gills removed, sliced
    • 4 cups of fresh kale with the stemmed removed
    • 2 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
    • 2 Tablespoons of asiago parmesan cheese
    • Cracked black pepper to taste


In a large skillet, add the olive oil, garlic, onion, bell peppers and portobello mushrooms, and saute on medium until the onion is translucent. Add the kale leaves and balsamic vinegar, and saute the kale until warm, but not yet wilted. Remove the warm kale salad from the heat and place into two bowls. Sprinkle both salads with 1 Tablespoon asiago parmesan cheese and cracked black pepper. Warm kale salads are ready to serve.

Nutrition Per Serving:

Calories: 210 kcal
Fat: 8g
Cholesterol: 8 mg
Carbohydrate 31 g
Dietary Fiber: 7g
Protein: 1 g
Sodium: 113 mg

5 Bad Habits to Cut Out of Your Life

Ah, bad habits. Everyone has them, and they’re lying to themselves if they say they don’t. The thing is, some of our bad habits are not only annoying and/or costly, but can actually have detrimental effects on our health. Once you really take a close look at how you’re living your life and what effects the choices you make have, it becomes clear that certain changes need to be made.

The trick to cutting bad habits out of your life is to find a method that you can truly stick to, even if it takes a long time to achieve your desired results. It may be a long road toward tackling some of these, but taking the time is more than worthwhile. After all, this is your health–your life–we’re talking about here!

1. Non-Stop Snacking

Non-stop snacking (even when you aren’t actually hungry) is a compulsive habit that many people throughout the world share, and it really does hit people of all walks of life. When you compulsively snack, though, your body has an exceptionally difficult time reminding you of when you’re actually hungry, which can throw off your diet and metabolism. Try to be mindful of your level of hunger and stop eating before you get full. If you must snack, replace the potato chips with healthy foods like fruits and nuts.

2. Watching Too Much Television

Watching too much television is not only a veritable waste of time, it encourages a lack of exercise and perhaps influence one’s chances of becoming overweight. Instead, take the time you might use to watch TV and spend it cleaning your home or taking care of something that has been waiting for your attention – you’ll be amazed how much you can accomplish without the drone of the television keeping you back.

3. Smoking

It’s difficult to think of a single habit that is more detrimental than smoking tobacco. Smoking is a major cause of death the world over. Find alternatives to the way you consume nicotine by switching from traditional cigarettes to electronic cigarettes. This way, you can still enjoy smoking without submitting your body to the damages caused by tar and carcinogens.

4. Excessive Alcohol Consumption

People are often excited to find out that alcohol can actually be healthy when consumed in moderation. Excessive drinking, however, is taxing on both the heart and the liver, not to mention the effects it can have on mood and the brain. If you drink a bit more than you think you should, try to cut down to a maximum of 1-2 drinks per day. Remember that alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous, and those who feel as if they might be at risk of complications when quitting or cutting down should always speak with their doctor or an addiction specialist before making any changes.

5.  Eating Fast Food

Fast food may seem like the perfect ally for those who live a busy lifestyle, but it’s one of the more destructive forms of nutrition (or lack thereof) one can embrace. Loaded with sodium, saturated fats and cholesterol, fast food causes a wide range of health problems when eaten regularly, including diabetes, obesity and liver problems.

It’s best to cut fast food off as soon as possible, but like anything else, it can be an addiction and remedying this issue might take time. Regardless, the next time you pull up to a drive-thru, think hard about what this type of food may be doing to your body. If you want to reduce cholesterol and bring blood pressure down, stay away from fast food as much as possible. Instead, cook heart healthy foods at home using fresh vegetables and fruits.

Old habits may die hard, but make the right changes in your life and you could find yourself a much happier, healthier person.

6 Health Benefits of Almonds

Almonds: A superfood

Almonds are rich in vitamin B & E, protein and dietary fiber

Almonds – available in whole, sliced (flaked, slivered), and as flour – is a heart healthy food which can be used in a variety of dishes. These edible nuts available (in different forms) in the market are the kernels of the small almond fruit which grow on almond trees that can reach up to 10 meters in height. Although packaged almonds are available round the year, the fresh crop matures in the autumn season.

Almonds house many different vital nutrients including carbohydrates, vitamins B & E, protein, dietary fiber, monounsaturated fat and essential minerals that bring blood pressure down. Like other nuts and seeds, almonds contain ‘phytosterols,’ plant chemicals known to have cholesterol-lowering properties.

Due to presence of these beneficial nutrients, the consumption of almonds offers a great deal of health benefits:

1. Reduced risk of heart disease

According to a study by Loma Linda School of Public Health, consumption of nuts (pistachios, walnuts, almonds, pecans) five times a week or more reduces the risk of heart disease by 44 percent in nut-eating vegetarians as compared to low nut-eating vegetarians.

Almonds house phytosterols, plant chemicals known to dramatically reduce LDL, low-density lipoprotein or bad cholesterol. The high content of monounsaturated fat in almonds also helps in promoting heart health. In addition to lowering cholesterol, these nuts help bring blood pressure down and reduce the risk of heart disease due to presence of vitamin E, magnesium and potassium – nutrients proven to have heart healthy benefits.

2. Effective against Diabetes

Researchers have found that almonds play a role in controlling post-meal rises in blood sugar. Adding almonds to meals reduces the glycemic index (GI) of the meal. GI is a measure of the rise in post-meal blood sugar level. The greater the amount of almonds ingested, the lower the GI of the meal and the greater the blunting of the rise in the blood sugar level.

Almonds also supply a nice amount of plant antioxidants, substances that curb the formation of dangerous free radicals, rogue chemicals formed as a result of metabolic reactions inside the body. Try a handful of dry-roasted almonds as a snack, on your salad or even as almond butter as a sandwich spread.

3. Helps with weight loss

Adding almonds to your salad plate or including them in your breakfast meals can help you control your weight. The rich protein-content makes a person feel full for longer periods, thereby helping them avoid overeating. The fiber present in almonds is also filling and promotes intestinal health. All of these nutrients including monounsaturated fats, protein, antioxidants, fiber, and vitamin E nourish the body as well as keep your craving for food in check. This in turn helps in weight control.

4. Beneficial for the brain

Almonds are rich in riboflavin and L-carnitine, nutrients that promote healthy functioning of the brain and may also prove effective in reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. According to Ayurveda medicine, almonds stimulate the nervous system and help improve intellectual level and longevity.

5. Protects artery walls from damage

Almond skins contain flavonoids that in association with vitamin E help in reducing the risk of damage to the fragile layer of arterial walls known as the endothelium.

6. Supplies a high amount of protein

These spectacular nuts contain a surprisingly high amount of protein. A quarter cup of almonds supplies 7.62 grams of protein compared to an egg, which contains just 5.54 grams.

Almonds are a superbly heart healthy food that has sustained humankind for millennia (almonds have been cultivated in the Mediterranean regions for over 4,000 years). Nutritionists across the world recommend eating Mother Nature’s original health food, delicious and nutritious almonds.

Benefits of Cranberries

Cranberry: An Ingredient of Mediterranean Recipes

Cranberry: Heart Healthy Food

Cranberry is a low, creeping shrub that grows up to 2 meters in length and 5 to 20 centimeters in height. A prominent crop in Canadian provinces and American states, this shrub bears berries characterized by a deep red color when fully ripe. The fruit is edible with a typical acidic taste that can often overwhelm its sweetness.

A number of nutritionists and health care professionals recommend cranberries as a heart healthy food, particularly for the plethora of antioxidants present in it.

The Cranberry Institute quotes Joe Vinson, Ph.D., research chemist at the University of Scranton as saying, “Cranberries contained the most antioxidant phenols compared to 19 commonly eaten fruits. Cranberries are loaded with antioxidants and should be eaten more often.”

It offers a lot of other health benefits including:

Heart Healthy Food

Cranberries help maintain a healthy heart in many different ways.  They help to keep “bad” cholesterol levels in check and help prevent arterial clogging. It also decreases the risk of atherosclerosis, (clogging of the arteries) by preventing the formation of plaque on the arterial walls.

In the same manner, the consumption of this deep red berry diminishes the chances of stroke in healthy individuals while in those who have already suffered a stroke, cranberries can help the arteries to heal.

Weight Loss Food

The high content of antioxidants in cranberries can help regulate your metabolism and ensure the normal functioning of the digestive system which in turn helps you lose weight faster.

Strengthens the Immune System

The main role of antioxidants is to fight harmful toxins which suppress the immune system. Rich sources of antioxidants, cranberries promote immune system health thereby increasing the body’s resistance against sickness and disease.

Treats Urinary Tract Infections

The intake of cranberry juice has been shown to help prevent and treat urinary tract infections. Proanthocyanidins, a major constituent of cranberries, inhibit E. coli bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall, which helps one avoid kidney and bladder problems.

Relieves Skin Conditions

Cranberries are also considered an effective remedy to help relieve skin problems including psoriasis, acne, dermatitis and eczema.

Cranberries can be consumed either fresh or processed such as in juice, sauces, jams, or sweetened dried cranberries.

Zero Cholesterol Recipe of Beans and Broccoli Salad

Zero cholesterol, heart healthy recipe of beans and broccoli salad.

Beans and Broccoli Salad contains zero cholesterol and is good for your heart.

Beans and Broccoli – a Match made in Superfood Heaven!

Instead of bringing the go to pasta salad to a pot luck gathering, be the one to bring a super nutritious bean and broccoli salad. Pick your favorite pasta salad and substitute beans (kidney beans, black eyed beans, pinto beans, navy beans, lentils, and black beans) for the pasta, which increases the protein and fiber content in your dish. Add the broccoli and you have the ultimate cancer prevention meal!

Rather than adding a high fat dressing to your bean salad with oil and mayonnaise, create a healthier creamy dressing with low fat, plain Greek yogurt, white vinegar, and various herbs and spices such as the Roasted Garlic Yogurt Dressing featured in this week’s recipe.

Check out this zero cholesterol, heart healthy recipe of beans and broccoli salad:

Pinto Bean and Broccoli Salad with Roasted Garlic Yogurt Dressing


Yield: 12 servings (1/2 cup per serving)

Roast Garlic Yogurt Dressing

  •  1 garlic bulb (8 cloves)
  •  1 Tablespoon of olive oil
  •  1 cup of plain 0% greek yogurt
  •  1 Tablespoon of salt substitute
  •  1 tsp of cracked black pepper

Bean Salad

  • 1 stalk of broccoli, chopped (about 2 cups of chopped broccoli)
  • 1 can of pinto beans, drained, rinsed (or 2 cups cooked dried pinto beans)
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 orange bell pepper, chopped


  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 ° F.
  2. Cut off the top ¼ of the garlic bulb to reveal the flesh of the garlic cloves.
  3. Place the garlic bulb in aluminum foil and drizzle 1 Tablespoon of olive oil on top of the garlic bulb.
  4. Warp the garlic bulb completely and place in the oven.
  5. Roast the garlic for 30-40 minutes until garlic cloves are soft enough to mash.
  6. Mix all bean salad ingredients into a large bowl along with the dressing ingredients.
  7. Refrigerate bean salad until ready to serve.

This recipe is delicious as well as helps reduce cholesterol.

Nutrition Information Per Serving:

  • Calories: 84 kcal
  • Fat: 1 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 13 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 4 g
  • Protein: 6 g
  • Sodium: 7 mg

Eat Heart Healthy Portobello Mushrooms: The Other White Meat

Heart Healthy Recipe of Grilled Portobello Mushroom Burgers

Zero Cloesterol, Heart Healthy Recipe of Grilled Portobello Mushroom Burgers

Vegetables don’t have to be bright in color to be nutrient dense. For example, the brown and white portobello mushroom is an edible fungus filled with beneficial vitamins and minerals such as potassium, copper, selenium, and disease fighting phytochemicals.

Portobello mushrooms can be eaten raw or cooked like any kind of mushrooms, but the size of the portobello mushroom is an easy replacement for a burger or meat on any sandwich.

Next time you anticipate having vegetarian friends over for a BBQ, why not grill portobello burgers!

Check out this zero cholesterol, heart healthy recipe of Grilled Portobello Mushroom Burgers:

Grilled Portobello Mushroom Burgers

Pesto is the ketchup on a portobello burger. Make a simple pesto with heart healthy walnuts, instead of expensive pine nuts, and fresh basil leaves, olive oil, and garlic to spread on your burger!


Yield: 4 servings (1 serving =1 portobello mushroom cap with 1 Tablespoon of pesto)

  • 4 portobello mushrooms, stem and gills removed
  • 4 whole wheat burger buns
  • 2 red bell peppers, cut in half
  • 1 Tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 cups of fresh arugula

Mushroom Marinade (Homemade Italian Dressing)

  •   1/4 cup olive oil
  •    2 Tablespoons of white vinegar
  •    1 Tablespoon of a salt substitute with herbs and spices

Heart Healthy Pesto:

  • 2 oz fresh basil leaves (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup walnut halves
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 3 large garlic cloves


Pre-heat grill to 350 ° F. Whisk together the mushroom marinade ingredients. Brush marinade onto to both sides of the mushroom caps. Let marinade sit for 10 minutes. Grill mushrooms for 3 minutes on both sides. Sauté red bell pepper halves with olive oil until peppers are soft and browned on both sides. Place all pesto ingredients into a food processor and blend pesto until a spreadable consistency.

Time to build your burger. On one half a bun, place the grilled portobello mushroom cap, sautéed red bell pepper, and ½ cup arugula. On the other half of the bun, spread 1 Tablespoons of pesto and place the bun on top of the other bun to complete your burger!

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:

  • Calories: 297 kcal
  • Fat: 15 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 34 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 7g
  • Protein: 10g
  • Sodium: 203 mg

Go For Spring Greens For Better Health And Weight Control

Leafy spring greens such as kale, chard and spinach contain a plethora of vitamins and minerals as well as calcium, dietary fiber and omega-3 fatty acids along with a nice dose of antioxidant plant chemicals such as beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin.

At just 10 to 25 calories per cup, dig into spring and get ready your beach bodies ready!

Mixed Spring Greens with Lemon, Shallot, and Mustard Vinaigrette

A simple way to dress a fresh bowl of mixed salad greens.


  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 small shallots, peeled and minced
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • One 5-ounce container mixed salad greens


In bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, shallots, and mustard. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss with mixed salad greens. Serve immediately.

Serves 5


Per 1 ounce salad greens and 2 tablespoons vinaigrette:

Calories: 128

Fat: 14 g (0 g EPA, 0 g DHA, < 1g ALA)

  • Saturated Fat: 2 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 18 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 2 g
  • Dietary Fiber: <1 g
  • Sugars: <1 g
  • Protein: 1 g

Recipe excerpt from the book: Prevent a Second Heart Attack (Three Rivers Press, 2011).

Heart Healthy Barilla PLUS Recipes

When you think of Italian food, you probably think about pasta, right? Spaghetti, penne, angel hair, elbows, farfalle and rotini all make a great family meal– with Barilla PLUS® you not only get a flavorful meal, but one that is also good for you. Barilla PLUS provides balanced nutrition, because it is a good source of protein, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.

Barilla PLUS pasta is made with egg whites, chickpeas, lentils, flaxseed, and multi grains, so it gets its protein, fiber, and omega-3 naturally. Your family won’t even notice the difference when you switch out your old pasta with Barilla PLUS, but parents will know that they are providing their family with the nutrition they deserve.

Be sure to catch me on Lifetime’s The Balancing Act, and to make a delicious and nutritious Italian meal, pick up some Barilla PLUS pasta and try one of these delicious recipes:

Barilla PLUS Farfalle with Three Peppers

  • 1 box Barilla PLUS Farfalle
  • 4 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 julienned yellow bell pepper
  • 1 julienned red bell pepper
  • 1 julienned green bell pepper
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
  • ½ cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Sweat onions with oil over medium heat for five minutes or until soft and translucent.

Add peppers, one cup of water, salt and pepper and cover with a lid.

Cook until the peppers are soft and thoroughly cooked.

Cook pasta, toss with the sauce.

Toss with cheese and oregano before serving.

Barilla PLUS Penne with Spring Vegetables

  • 1 box Barilla PLUS Penne
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 diced onion
  • 1 clove chopped garlic
  • 1 bunch asparagus, sliced on a bias
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes , quartered
  • 1 zucchini squash, diced
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Black pepper (to taste)
  • 6 leaves of basil

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

Add onions, sauté 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute.

Add asparagus and continue 3 additional minutes.

Add tomatoes and zucchini; sauté an additional 2-3 minutes, or until tomatoes are softened.

Season with salt and black pepper to taste.

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Drain pasta and toss with sauce and fresh cut basil.

Healthy meals don’t have to compromise on taste! You can make delicious Italian cuisine that provides your family with balanced nutrition with the help of Barilla PLUS pasta. For more information, and mouth-watering recipes, go to BarillaUS.com.