Planning heart healthy meals

By Leeanna McKamey - For The Times-Gazette

When planning meals, think of ways to make them healthy without giving up great taste.

1. Dairy – Look for low-calorie choices. Skim milk, light low-fat yogurt and nonfat ricotta provide the best sources of calcium while being low in saturated fat and sodium. Watch for specials and buy in bulk when you can.

2. Grains – Buying whole grains gives a lot of B vitamins, minerals, and fiber for a low price. Remember that a slice of bread or one roll is a serving.

3. Fruits and Vegetables – Fresh, frozen or canned. Always look for the best deals. If canned, look for low sodium for vegetables. If you can’t find it, no problem. Just rinse the vegetables before you cook them. If canned fruits, buy in their natural juices.

4. Protein – Don’t forget that beans are a protein as well as a vegetable. Beans are an inexpensive way to add protein, iron and fiber to any dish. Lean poultry and fish are great proteins also.

Here is a great recipe to try:

Chili with rice


1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained (1 ½ cups)

1 cup of frozen corn or a can of corn, rinsed

2 cups fresh veggies chopped, or 2 cans of veggies rinsed

1 can stewed diced tomatoes, no added salt

1 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. garlic powder

½ tsp cumin

2 cups instant brown rice

Nonfat plain yogurt


Place chili ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook until vegetables are tender, about five minutes.

Cook rice according to package directions.

Serve chili over rice with a tablespoon of nonfat plain yogurt over each serving.

· If you like a spicy chili, then add more spices to your liking.

· Add vegetables and beans that your family likes.

· Mix rice in with your chili.

· Add a can of tomato sauce if needed.

· If adding a meat, try ground turkey instead of hamburger.

For more great recipes, go to

Leeanna McKamey is the SNAP-Ed program assistant for the Highland County OSU Extension Office.

By Leeanna McKamey

For The Times-Gazette