Jena DeMoss: Happy Heart

Published 5:14 pm Tuesday, February 1, 2022

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February is the month of “love!” Making it the perfect time to show your own heart the attention it deserves. Each February, American Heart Month is federally designated to raise awareness of heart disease and ways to help prevent it. About 1 in 4 deaths in the U.S. can be attributed to heart disease. Celebrate American Heart Month by showing this vital organ extra love with nutritious recipes, shopping tips and food swaps.

Let us first go straight to the heart of the matter with substitutions for cooking. By making these easy swaps, you are able to protect the health of your heart:

• TO REDUCE SODIUM INTAKE, use less salt than called for in recipes. (This works better for cooking than baking, which requires amounts that are more exact.) Swap unsalted chicken stock for chicken broth, and use no-salt-added canned vegetables. Explore alternative ingredients; for example, coconut aminos are a lower-sodium alternative to soy sauce.

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TO REDUCE SUGAR WHEN BAKING, replace 1 cup sugar with ⅔ cup agave sweetener, or ¾ cup maple syrup or ½ cup stevia.

TO INCREASE VEGETABLE AMOUNTS, serve one cup of vegetables instead of half cup. Or swap in spiral vegetable noodles for pasta. Blend plant and animal proteins — combine black beans with ground beef in tacos, meatloaf or burgers.

Next, while you are shopping keep these heart-healthy tips in mind:

• READ FOOD NUTRITION LABELS: Look for foods with 2 grams or less of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat and fewer than 140 mg of sodium per serving. Choose foods that have at least 5 grams of fiber per serving.

• BUY FROZEN WHEN FRESH ISN’T AVAILABLE: When buying frozen or canned fruits and veggies, look for products without added sauces, salt, sugars or syrups. Plain frozen and canned produce is just as nutritious as fresh.

• ADD GOOD FATS TO YOUR CART: Unsaturated fats like nuts, olive oil, avocados and salmon can reduce the amount of low density (“bad”) lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the blood and lower the risk of heart disease.

• CHOOSE WHOLE-GRAIN FOODS: Look for the word “whole-grain” as the first item in the ingredient list instead of enriched flour or “multi-grain.” Whole grains contain the entire grain and are a better source of dietary fiber.

For more heart health tips make sure to reach out ( for our NEW on-demand Heart Health webinar link. Registration is free and you can watch any time that is most convenient to you.


Bean Salsa

Serves 16

All you need

• 1 medium mango, peeled, seeded and cut into ¾-inch cubes

• 1 (15 oz) can Hy-Vee black beans, drained and rinsed

• 1 cup frozen Hy-Vee Select super sweet corn, thawed

• ¼ cup diced red pepper

• ¼ cup finely chopped green onion

• 1 tbsp minced garlic

• ¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley

• 3 tbsp fresh lime juice

•¼ tsp Hy-Vee salt

• ¼ tsp ground cumin

• Baked tortilla chips, for serving

All you do

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients. Serve with baked tortilla chips.

Recipe source: