Add Fruits, Veggies to Meals for Plant-Forward Nutrition

(Family Features) Adding more fruits and vegetables is one of the simplest ways to make at-home meals healthier for your family.

Focusing your plate on more of the good stuff – ­vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, plant-based proteins, lean animal proteins and fish – can help you cut back on the not-so-good stuff, including refined carbohydrates, added sugars, processed meats, sodium and saturated and trans fats, according to the American Heart Association.

While some may think meat makes the meal and it can be part of an overall healthy eating pattern, a survey from Aramark, the largest U.S. based food service company, found many people want to ease up on meat consumption, and 2 out of 3 want to eat more fruits and vegetables. The company made sweeping changes to incorporate more plants into its menus, resulting in meals with fewer calories, less saturated fat and reduced sodium.

Punching up the plants on your plate can lead to better nutrition in your house, too. Try putting vegetables and fruits center-stage with these heart-healthy salads.

To help encourage healthier communities, the American Heart Association and Aramark have made it simple for you to learn better nutrition and lifestyle habits and to share that information. For more recipes, tips and resources, visit heart.org/healthyforlife.

Black-Eyed Pea, Corn and Rice Salad

Recipe courtesy of the American Heart Association

Servings: 6

  • 2          cans (15 1/2 ounces each) no-salt-added or low-sodium black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1          can (15 1/4 ounces) low-sodium or no-salt-added whole-kernel corn
  • 1          package (8 1/2 ounces) brown rice, microwaved according to package directions and broken into small pieces
  • 2          medium ribs celery, chopped
  • 1          medium bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4       cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1          tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1          tablespoon water
  • 1/8       teaspoon black pepper
  1. In large bowl, stir peas, corn, rice, celery, pepper, parsley, olive oil, water and black pepper until combined.

Nutritional information per serving: 231 calories; 10 g protein; 7 g fiber.

Simple Persian Salad

Recipe courtesy of the American Heart Association

Servings: 4

  • 2          medium cucumbers, seeded and diced
  • 4          medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1          medium red onion, diced
  • 1/4       cup chopped fresh mint or parsley
  • 2          tablespoons fat-free feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2          medium limes, juice only
  • 1          tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2       teaspoon black pepper
  1. In bowl, stir cucumbers, tomatoes, onion, mint and feta. Cover and refrigerate 20 minutes.
  2. In small bowl, whisk lime juice, oil and pepper until well blended.
  3. Pour dressing over salad, tossing gently to coat.

Nutritional information per serving: 88 calories; 3 g protein; 3 g fiber.

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