Make Heart-Healthy Choices Starting with Food - Ascension Wisconsin

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Published on February 01, 2016

Make Heart-Healthy Choices Starting with Food

Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death for American men and women? In fact, one in four deaths is caused by it. The good news is that heart disease can often be prevented by making healthier choices.

Heart-Healthy Recipes

To help reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke, we encourage you to start making changes in the way you and your family eat. That doesn't mean you need to give up on your favorite dishes. Try these heart-healthy recipes from the National Institute of Health. They're lower in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium.

Jumpin’ Jambalya


  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 14 oz low-fat turkey kielbasa
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 medium celery stalk, chopped
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 small bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 can (14½ oz) no-salt-added diced tomatoes
  • 1½ C uncooked brown rice
  • 4 C water
  • 2 cubes low-sodium chicken bouillon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 Tbsp finely chopped parsley


  1. Wash chicken and pat dry.
  2. Cut the chicken breast and kielbasa into 1-inch chunks.
  3. Spray a medium-sized pot with nonstick cooking spray, and brown the chicken and kielbasa over medium heat and remove from the pot.
  4. Add next 6 ingredients to the same pot, and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.
  5. Return the cooked meat to the pot; add the brown rice, water, bouillon, bay leaf, and cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and let simmer for about 50 minutes or until the water is evaporated (instant brown rice will take less time to cook).
  6. Stir in parsley and serve warm.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Yields: 9 servings
Serving Size: 1 cup

Vegetable Stew


  • 3 C water
  • 1 cube low-sodium vegetable bouillon
  • 2 C white potatoes, cut into 2-inch strips
  • 2 C carrots, sliced
  • 4 C summer squash, cut into 1-inch squares
  • 1 C summer squash, cut into 4 large chunks
  • 1 can (15 oz) sweet corn, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 stalk scallion (green onion), chopped
  • ½ small hot pepper, chopped
  • 1 C coarsely chopped onion
  • 1 C diced tomato


  1. Put water and bouillon in a large pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Add potatoes and carrots, and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Add remaining ingredients, except for tomatoes, and continue cooking for 15 minutes over medium heat.
  4. Remove the four large chunks of squash and puree in a blender. Return pureed mixture to the pot and let cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Add tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes to allow stew to thicken before serving.

Prep Tim: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Yields: 8 servings
Serving Size: 1¼ cup

Classic Mac & Cheese


  • 2 C macaroni
  • 2 C onions, chopped
  • 2 C evaporated fat-free milk
  • 1 medium egg, beaten
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1¼ C low-fat cheddar cheese, finely shredded
  • nonstick cooking spray


  1. Cook macaroni according to directions, but don’t add salt. Drain and set aside.
  2. Spray casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. Preheat oven to 350⁰ F.
  4. Lightly spray saucepan with nonstick cooking spray and add onions to the saucepan and sauté for about 3 minutes.
  5. In another bowl, combine macaroni, onions and the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  6. Transfer the mixture into a casserole dish, and bake for 25 minutes or until bubbly.
  7. Let the macaroni and cheese stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Peach Cobbler


  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 C peach nectar
  • ¼ C pineapple juice or peach juice
  • 2 cans (16 oz each) peaches, drained
  • 1 Tbsp soft tub margarine
  • 1 C dry pancake mix
  • ⅔ C all-purpose flour
  • ½ C sugar
  • ⅔ C fat-free evaporated milk
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 400 °F.
  2. Combine cinnamon, vanilla, cornstarch, peach nectar and juice in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until mixture thickens and bubbles.
  3. Add sliced peaches to mixture. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. In another saucepan, melt margarine and set aside.
  5. Lightly spray an 8-inch-square glass dish with cooking spray. Pour hot peach mixture into dish.
  6. In a mixing bowl, combine the pancake mix, flour, sugar and melted margarine. Stir in evaporated milk. Quickly spoon this mixture over the peach mixture.
  7. Combine nutmeg and brown sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle mixture on top of batter.
  8. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  9. Cool and cut into eight squares.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Yields: 8 servings
Serving Size: 1 square

Want more heart-healthy recipes? Find more in our health library!

Grocery Shopping

The next time you're at the grocery store, make healthier choices with these shopping lists:

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Make Heart-Healthy Choices Starting with Food