Have a Heart-Healthy Holiday Season
With Thanksgiving coming up next week, it’s a great time to discuss holiday eating, as we all know it’s a time of indulgence. Of course, we at Marula Medical encourage happy holidays and a little food cheating here and there, but we care more about your heart health than the extra helping of gravy. So, let’s keep you happy and healthy with some healthier Thanksgiving meal alternatives.
Fill Your Heart with Love – Not Plaque
When in doubt, go for fruits and vegetables – foods that are low in cholesterol. One of the greatest causes of heart disease is, in fact, cholesterol plaques building up in artery walls, eventually blocking the flow of blood in the arteries. This can lead to a rupture of the cholesterol plaque, which results in heart attack or stroke. A large part of avoiding cardiovascular disease (CVD) really comes down to healthy eating and exercise – yes, even during the holidays.
A Healthier Turkey Substitute
Right now is a prime time for turkey, and while it’s a popular choice for the traditional family meal, turkey – just like other meats – may not be the best thing for you. Yes, turkey contains vitamins B-6, B-12, and other beneficial minerals, this protein also has more fat and calories. And yet, we tend to stuff ourselves more with turkey than we did the turkey itself. For two healthier substitutes, we at Marula Medical recommend these fat-free Vegan recipes:
- Seitan Stuffed with Walnuts, Dried Cranberries and Mushrooms
- Tofu Stuffed with Brown Rice and Mushroom Gravy
It’s true. Everyone will be mad at you if you don’t have gravy on the table. And we won’t be super happy if you choose something that could hurt your heart later down the road. A great in-between would be this low-fat turkey gravy, as recommended by the Mayo Clinic. Take a few cups of unsalted turkey stock, some sage, thyme, skim milk, and cornstarch, and you have a great alternative to the regular, thick, salty gravy. Plus, it’s no secret that we eat more gravy than turkey anyway – might as well be smart about it, right?
Soup: A Great Side for Health Nuts
The holidays are a cold time of year – a time when soup is definitely on the side. Not only can you make an incredible amount all at once to feed the whole family, but there are plenty of healthy options to choose from. Our healthy soup recommendations for the fall include:
- Butternut Squash Soup. This soup gives you a rich dish that’s not based in heavy cream (like most soups). Not to mention, the color is beautiful and has other healthy implications as well (like for your vision).
- Cauliflower Soup with Pecans and Rye Croutons. Cauliflower can be used in a ton of fantastic, heart-healthy ways. You can use it as rice, pasta, or in this case, soup. The ingredients scream “healthy,” with garlic, cauliflower, leeks, apples, thyme, rye bread, and pecans – all very fall, and all very good for your heart. So long, CVD!
- Mushroom-Barley Soup. This soup isn’t chicken-based like the others; it’s more beef-based (but very low-sodium). In this way, you get the hearty flavor without sacrificing a healthy heart. Celery, carrots, mushrooms, onion, and parsley stir up the flavor in this unique combination.
Other great heart-healthy soup recipes all include either pumpkin, split peas, squash, sweet potatoes, and/or mushrooms. If you’re on the lookout for more, search for those ingredients, and you’ll find what you’re craving (and what your heart is needing).
No Sad Salads Allowed
It’s understandable not to be a “salad person,” but the reality is that you’ve probably just not had a great one. Salad doesn’t have to be a sad sap of a dish; there are plenty of fun, healthy salad options, like those in this list. The ones that stand out to us the most are:
- Honey Mustard Brussels Sprout Slaw. I mean, you gotta incorporate brussels sprouts somehow, right?
- Autumn Arugula Salad with Caramelized Squash and Pomegranate Ginger Vinaigrette. We won’t have to convince you to try this one; just look at the picture. It is the epitome of health – and fall.
- Crispy Roasted Kale Caesar Salad. It’s always nice to take something traditional, like a caesar salad, and put a new spin on it. This one is wholesome with sweet and savory hints throughout.
Get Creative with Thanksgiving Leftovers
Don’t waste your leftovers. Use them for good – not evil! Change it up with some healthy recipes like Turkey Spring Rolls, Turkey Quesadillas, Turkey Lettuce Wraps, Turkey Noodle Soup, Sweet Potato Muffins, Cran-Apple Smoked Turkey Sliders, and there’s plenty more out there.
A Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving from Marula Medical
We truly hope you all have a happy, healthy, and hearty holiday season with these recipes and more!