Tag Archives: heart health month

February Heart Month_featured

During Heart Health Month, Try a Lighter Italian Broccoli and Cheese Pasta

February Hearth MonthThe Delicious Dietitian’s Haley Lacey suggests this lighter Italian Broccoli and Cheese Pasta that features whole grains and veggies to show your heart some love this month.

As we are in the middle of American Heart Month, take the time to evaluate your heart health. With a few heart healthy changes, you can prevent heart disease and live a healthier life.

The American Heart Association encourages “The Simple 7” habits that can keep your ticker ticking.

  • Get Active: Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week.
  • Control Cholesterol: Know your numbers!  If you haven’t had your cholesterol checked recently, call and make an appointment.
  • Eat Better: Fruits and veggies, lean meats, low fat dairy, and whole grains are the basics for a healthy diet.
  • Manage Blood Pressure: Keep sodium intake in check.
  • Maintain a Healthy Weight: If you are overweight, a 10% weight loss (20 lbs for someone who weighs 200 lbs) can have numerous health benefits.
  • Control Blood Sugar: Heart disease and diabetes go hand in hand, if you have diabetes, keep blood sugar in a healthy range.
  • Stop Smoking: If you are a smoker, QUIT!  There are wonderful resources available to help you quit, and the health benefits are innumerable.

This yummy pasta dish is a twist on two tried and true family favorites: mac and cheese AND broccoli with cheese sauce—for a fraction of the calories, and with heart healthy ingredients: whole grains, vegetables, and chicken.

The roasted garlic adds a creamy texture and fabulous flavor. Roasted garlic is less pungent than raw garlic; if you’ve never tried it, give it a shot. 

Italian Broccoli and Cheese Pasta

8 oz. whole wheat penne pasta, cooked
1½ Tbsp. olive oil
2 heads roasted garlic*
1½ Tbsp. flour
1 cup no sodium added chicken broth
3/4 cup shredded 2% white cheddar cheese
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets and steamed until crisp-tender
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, grilled and cut into bite-size pieces
1 Tbsp. The Delicious Dietitian Italian Spice Blend


Add olive oil to a large saucepan set over medium heat. Whisk in the roasted garlic paste and cook 30-60 seconds. Whisk the flour into the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to turn golden brown, 1-2 minutes. Stir the broth into the pan.  Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.  Whisk in the cheddar and stir until melted. Add Italian Spice Blend, and stir until mixed into sauce.

Mix in the broccoli florets and chicken pieces, and cook just until heated through. Mix in the cooked pasta until evenly coated with the sauce. Serve warm.

*To make roasted garlic paste, peel the outer papery skins off two heads of garlic, leaving the heads intact.  Slice about a quarter off the top of each head so that all of the cloves are partly exposed. Wrap the garlic in foil and bake at 350˚ F for one hour. Remove from the oven and let cool.  Once cool enough to touch, squeeze the garlic cloves out of the peels and smash with a fork to make roasted garlic paste.

More healthy eating advice and delicious recipes can be found on The Delicious Dietitian blog.



Ladies, Show Your Heart Some Love During Heart Health Month

Heart Health MonthWith Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we’ve got hearts on the brain. Women, here are some practical tips to boost your heart health and lengthen your life.

If you’re like me, you spend lots of time worrying about your children’s health while barely giving yourself a second thought. But as the American Heart Association celebrates its annual Go Red for Women Campaign this month, it made me stop and think about myself.

Nearly five times as many women die of heart attacks than of breast cancer, according to the National Coalition for Women with Heart disease. And heart-related disease is also the leading cause of death for women in the United States. With this in mind, I found Parenting Early Years magazine extremely helpful with their quick tips on keeping your ticker strong:

Be smart about the pill. If your contraception plan involves birth-control pills, make sure you know the risks. If you smoke, have high blood pressure or a history of blood clotting, the pill can increase complications.

Get moving. Do anything that gets your heart rate up for at least 95 minutes a week. Don’t feel like you have to be running laps to get good results. Climbing stairs and pushing strollers counts, too.

Calm down. Stress raises blood pressure, so identify those difficult times of the day (hello witching hour!) and find ways to breathe more deeply.

Limit alcohol. Before you raise a glass of red wine in the name of heart health, consider this: Grape juice has the same perks. And having more than one glass of wine a day can raise your blood pressure.

So, while we may not stop worrying about the health of our children, let’s be sure to take the necessary precautions to preserve our own health. And in the end, our children will be glad we did!