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Prioritize Heart Health With A Balanced Eating Plan

By Family Features

May 4, 2023

No matter your motivations, it's never too late or too early to start focusing on your heart health and taking steps now can make a big difference. Small changes, like following a healthier eating plan, can help you start down a path toward improved heart health.

One step you can take is following the DASH eating plan, which is a flexible and balanced way of eating that stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension and was developed by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Requiring no special foods, DASH provides daily and weekly nutritional goals to help lower two major risk factors for Heart Disease: High Blood Pressure and High LDL (bad) Cholesterol.

Being more physically active, managing stress, getting quality sleep and not smoking combined with DASH can put you on a path toward a healthy heart for life.

Encouraging others to join you on your heart-health journey can also be rewarding. Research shows social support and personal networks make it more likely you'll stick to healthy habits like eating healthy.

Sharing heart-healthy recipes with family and friends is an added bonus and these DASH-friendly meals can help you take the guesswork out of putting nutritious dinners on the table. Greek-Style Flank Steaks With Tangy Yogurt Sauce offer the bold flavors of the Mediterranean while Teriyaki-Glazed Salmon with Stir-Fried Vegetables is as easy to make as it is colorful. For a complementary combination of Pork and sweet fruit flavor, these Baked Pork Chops with Apple Cranberry Sauce are perfect to serve alongside brown rice or steamed broccoli.

Learn more about heart health and find DASH-friendly recipes, visit:

Greek-Style Flank Steak With Tangy Yogurt Sauce
Recipe courtesy of The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4

• 1/4 Cup of Lemon Juice
• 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
• 2 Teaspoons of fresh Oregano, rinsed, dried and chopped
• 1 Tablespoon of Garlic, minced (2-3 cloves)
• 1 Beef Flank Steak (12 ounces)

Yogurt Sauce:
• 1 Cup of Cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
• 1 Cup of NonFat Plain Yogurt
• 2 Tablespoons of Lemon Juice
• 1 Tablespoon of Fresh Dill, rinsed, dried and chopped
• 1 Tablespoon of Garlic, minced (2-3 cloves)
• 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt

To make the marinade: In a large bowl, combine the Lemon Juice, the Olive Oil, the Oregano and the Garlic.

Lay the Steak in a flat container with sides and pour the marinade over the Steak. Marinate it for at least 20 minutes or up to 24 hours, turning several times.

To make the Yogurt Sauce: Combine the Cucumber, the Yogurt, the Lemon Juice, the Dill, the Garlic and the Salt. Set the Yogurt Sauce aside for at least 15 minutes to blend the flavors. The sauce can be prepared up to 1 hour in advance and be refrigerated.

Preheat the broiler to high with a rack 3 inches from the heat source.

Broil the Steak for about 10 minutes on each side to a minimum internal temperature of 145˚ F. Let it cool for 5 minutes before carving it.

Slice it thinly across the grain into 12 slices.

Serve three slices with a 1/2 Cup of Yogurt Sauce.

Tip: Serve in a sandwich with Pita Bread, Lettuce and Tomato.

Teriyaki-Glazed Salmon With Stir-Fried Vegetables
Recipe courtesy of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4

• 2 Tablespoons of Light Teriyaki Sauce
• 1/4 Cup of Mirin or Sweet Rice Wine
• 2 Tablespoons of Rice Vinegar
• 2 Tablespoons of Scallions, rinsed and minced
• 1 1/2 Tablespoons of Ginger, minced
• 12 Ounces Salmon Fillets, cut into four portions (3 ounces each)

• 1 12 Ounce Bag of Frozen Stir-Fry Vegetables
• 1/2 Tablespoon of Peanut Oil or Vegetable Oil
• 1/2 Tablespoon of Garlic, minced (about 1 clove)
• 1 Tablespoon of Ginger, minced
• 1 Tablespoon of Scallions, rinsed and minced
• 1 Tablespoon of Light Soy Sauce

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.

To prepare the Salmon: Mix the Teriyaki Sauce, the Mirin, the Rice Vinegar, the Scallions and the Ginger well. Pour it over the Salmon and Marinate it for 10-15 minutes.

Remove the Salmon from the Marinade.

Place the Salmon on a baking sheet. Bake it for 10-15 minutes, or until the Fish flakes easily with a fork in the thickest part and reaches a minimum internal temperature of 145˚ F.

To prepare the Vegetables: Thaw the Frozen Vegetables in the microwave or place a bag in a bowl of hot water for about 10 minutes. In a large wok or sauté pan, heat the Oil. Add the Garlic, the Ginger and the Scallions; cook them gently, but do not brown them, for about 30-60 seconds.

Add the Vegetables and continue Stir-Frying them for 2-3 minutes or until they are heated through and add the Soy Sauce.

Serve one piece of Salmon with 1 Cup of Vegetables.

Baked Pork Chops With Apple Cranberry Sauce
Recipe courtesy of The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Pork Chops:
• 4 Boneless Pork Chops (about 3 ounces each)
• 1/4 Teaspoon of Ground Black Pepper
• 1 Medium Orange, rinsed and zested
• 1/2 Tablespoon of Olive Oil

• 1/4 Cup of Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
• 1 Medium Apple, peeled and grated (about 1 cup)
• 1/2 Cinnamon Stick
• 1 Bay Leaf
• 1/2 Cup of Dried Cranberries
• 1/2 Cup of 100% Orange Juice

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.

To prepare the Pork Chops: Season the Pork Chops with the Pepper and the Orange Zest.

In a large sauté pan, heat the Olive Oil over medium heat. Add the Pork Chops and cook them until they are browned on one side for about 2 minutes. Turn them and brown them for 2 more minutes. Remove the Pork Chops from the pan, place them on a nonstick baking sheet and bake them for 10 minutes to minimum internal temperature of 160˚ F.

To make the Sauce: Add the Chicken Broth to the sauté pan and stir it until it loosens the brown bits from the Pork Chops and set it aside.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook the Grated Apples, the Cinnamon Stick and the Bay Leaf until the Apples begin to soften.

Add the Cranberries, the Orange Juice and the reserved Broth. Bring them to a boil then lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Simmer it for 10 minutes or until the Cranberries are plump and the Apples are tender and remove the Cinnamon Stick.

Peel the Orange and cut it into eight sections.

Serve one Pork Chop with a 1/4 Cup of sauce and two Orange Segments.

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