Heart healthy recipes can provide you with meal and nutrition ideas to help keep your heart healthy and prevent heart disease. An unhealthy diet is one of the leading risk factors for heart disease in Australia (Source: Heart Foundation), affecting;
- Blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes risk
Adopting a healthy diet means incorporating healthy eating patterns into your current lifestyle, such as;
- Eating plenty of vegetables, fruit and wholegrains
- Including a variety of healthy protein-rich foods
- Including low-fat versions of milk, yoghurt and cheese
- Including healthy fats and oils
- Using herbs and spices to flavour foods instead of salt
Keep reading to learn more about these patterns and how they are reflected in heart healthy recipes.
What goes into heart healthy recipes?
According to the Australian Dietary Guidelines, healthy recipes involve;
- Foods from the five food groups (fruit, vegetables, whole grains, dairy, meat)
- Serve sizes that give the body the nutrients it needs without resorting to overeating
- Recommended serving sizes for children, adolescents and toddlers
Recommended serving sizes for adults
- Limiting processed foods with little to no nutritional value, such as;
- Baked goods e.g. cakes, biscuits and pastries
- Sugary drinks e.g. soft drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks
- Take away food e.g. pizza, burgers
Fresh fruit comes with a wealth of health benefits; including many vitamins and minerals, a high amount of fibre and a small number of kilojoules. Fruit can be eaten on its own as a snack, or added to all kinds of meals, particularly breakfast and dessert.
A serve of fruit is approximately 150g (350kJ) which is:
- 1 medium apple, banana, orange or pear
- 2 small apricots, kiwi fruits or plums
- 1 cup diced or canned fruit (no added sugar)
Vegetables and legumes
Vegetables and legumes are known for being nutrient dense, low in kilojoules and a great source of vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre.
A serving of vegetables is approximately 75g (100–350kJ) which is:
- ½ cup cooked green or orange vegetables (for example, broccoli, spinach, carrots or pumpkin)
- ½ cup cooked dried or canned beans, peas or lentils (preferably with no added salt)
- 1 cup green leafy or raw salad vegetables
- ½ cup sweet corn
- ½ medium potato or other starchy vegetables (sweet potato, taro or cassava)
- 1 medium tomato
Whole grain foods such as bread, breakfast cereals, pasta, rice etc. are a good source of carbohydrates, protein, fibre and a wide range of vitamins and minerals.
A serve of grain (cereal) foods is 500kJ which is:
- 1 slice (40g) of bread
- ½ medium (40g) roll or flat bread
- ½ cup (75-120g) cooked rice, pasta, noodles, barley, buckwheat, semolina, polenta, bulgur or quinoa
- ½ cup (120g) cooked porridge
- ²/³ cup (30g) wheat cereal flakes
- ¼ cup (30g) muesli
- 3 (35g) crispbreads
- 1 (60g) crumpet
- 1 small (35g) English muffin or scone
Lean meats, poultry and other animal products (or non animal alternatives)
These foods are great sources of protein, which is used by the body for growth and repair.
A serve of these foods is 500-600kJ which is:
- 65g cooked lean red meats such as beef, lamb, veal, pork, goat or kangaroo (about 90-100g raw)
- 80g cooked lean poultry such as chicken or turkey (100g raw)
- 100g cooked fish fillet (about 115g raw) or one small can of fish
- 2 large (120g) eggs
- 1 cup (150g) cooked or canned legumes/beans such as lentils, chickpeas or split peas (preferably with no added salt)
- 170g tofu
- 30g nuts, seeds, peanut or almond butter or tahini or other nut or seed paste (no added salt)*
*Only to be used occasionally as a substitute for other foods in the group (note: this amount for nuts and seeds gives approximately the same amount of energy as the other foods in this group but will provide less protein, iron or zinc).
Dairy (or dairy alternatives)
Dairy is known for being a great source of calcium, as well as many vitamins and minerals that contribute to overall health.
A serve of milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or alternatives is 500-600kJ which is:
- 1 cup (250ml) fresh, UHT long life, reconstituted powdered milk or buttermilk
- ½ cup (120ml) evaporated milk
- 2 slices (40g) or 4 x 3 x 2cm cube (40g) of hard cheese, such as cheddar
- ½ cup (120g) ricotta cheese
- ¾ cup (200g) yoghurt
- 1 cup (250ml) soy, rice or other cereal drink with at least 100mg of added calcium per 100ml
The following alternatives contain about the same amount of calcium as a serve of milk, yoghurt or cheese:
- 100g almonds with skin
- 60g sardines, canned in water
- ½ cup (100g) canned pink salmon with bones
- 100g firm tofu (check the label as calcium levels vary)
Can the Life! program help me with heart healthy recipes?
The Life! program helps you through every stage of a heart healthy diet; from with a 3-minute health check, to working with you to build a heart healthy diet plan, to supporting you as you incorporate that diet into your lifestyle.
You can also find heart healthy recipes on the Life! program Health Hub, such as;
- Healthy homestyle baked beans
- Healthy salad nicoise recipe
- Heart healthy crackers
- Healthy chicken parma
Life! is a free healthy lifestyle program that helps you improve your eating habits, increase your physical activity and manage stress. You can choose from a group course or the telephone health coaching service.
Our experienced health professionals will help you make small changes to your lifestyle so that you can achieve your health goals and reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
Life! Is managed by Diabetes Victoria and funded by the Victorian government. You can check your eligibility for the program here.
Elleni Kaias, Accredited Practicing Dietitian | Primary Care Engagement Lead
Kristie Cocotis, Head of Prevention and Health Promotion
Sarah Dubé, Strategy and Engagement Lead
Ria Cheripuram, Digital Communications Officer
Tegan Kohlman, Communications and Social Marketing Officer