Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Heart Healthy Food for Superbowl Noshing

I'm SO not into football, in fact, I strongly dislike it (sorry!!). However, the Superbowl has always excited me. Not that I actually watch or understand anything that goes on besides the halftime presentation or the fantastic commercials, I've just always LOVED preparing yummy, fun food to sit in front of the TV and nosh out to! My microwaved bagel bites with ranch dressing days are long gone (heavens, those little artery packers were so darn-good with that ranch!), so I've had to be a little more health conscious in my snack preparing. That's why I'm sharing my favorite plate of Heart Healthy Nachos for you to enjoy just as much as I do!!!

Who ever said that nachos always have to have cheese or meat? Silly! This recipe is so flavorful, I promise you won’t miss the animal products. The creamy guacamole, heart-healthy beans, salsa and fresh cilantro create a satisfying array of flavors for this simple, healthy snacking dish. Best part, because it's so heart healthy, you'll have a taste of some of the not so heart healthy dishes without feeling guilty.

Lauren's Heart Healthy Nachos
Ingredients:
1 (BPA-free) can black beans (rinsed and drained)
1 (BPA-free) can pinto beans (rinsed and drained)
dash of cumin
dash of chili powder
dash of cayenne pepper (if you're feelin' feisty!)
approx. 3-4 heaping tablespoons of all natural salsa
1 avocado
½ lime
handful of fresh cilantro chopped
sea salt to taste

Directions:
Beans/Salsa: Beans, beans they're good for your heart...heat beans in small pot on low/med heat. Stir in dash of cumin, chili powder, cayenne and sea salt. Stir in salsa for another moment or two, until everything is warm.

Guacamole: Mash avocado in bowl with fork. Squirt half lime into bowl adding fresh cilantro and continue to mash together.

Spread chips out onto dish and pour the beans and salsa onto them. Spoon guacamole over everything. Top with more fresh cilantro. Park your bum in front of the tube and ENJOY! (This is one of the VERY few times I'll actually condone eating while watching TV - HA!)

*Feel free to use this same recipe, but instead of pouring ingredients over chips, stuff into a whole wheat wrap with some brown rice for a healthy, filling burrito.


Benefits of Pinto Beans: Pinto beans are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber, as are most other beans. Pinto beans' high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, making these beans an especially good choice for individuals with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia. When combined with whole grains such as brown rice, pinto beans provide virtually fat-free, high quality protein. But this is far from all pinto beans have to offer. Pinto beans are also an excellent source of molybdenum, a very good source of folate and manganese, and a good source of protein and vitamin B1 as well as the minerals phosphorus, iron, magnesium, potassium, and copper. Pintos are a great replacement for red meats. A half cup of cooked pinto beans will provide about 120 calories and 10 grams of protein, without the saturated fat.


Benefits of Avocados: Avocados have gotten a bad rap because of their fat content. However, fat is a macronutrient much need by the body. Fat insulates the body, helps transport hormones and is a source of stored energy. Remember, it is the quality of fats that you take into your body that needs attention. Avocado is a quality source of monounsaturated fats which aids the absorption of its fat soluable vitamins E and K. It is important to note that avocados also contain B vitamins and Vitamin C and its potassium content is three times that of a banana!

Green Mountain Gringo Strips: I recommend serving with Green Mountain Gringo Tortilla Strips and/or salsa. Their chips are great tasting, all natural using non-GMO corn and gluten free. The salsa is all natural with little to no additives or preservatives. You can find them at any health food store, and at most supermarkets.



What does GMO mean? Genetically Modified Organism is the most common usage (though 'manipulated' or even 'mutated' might also be appropriate!) The acronyms GEO (Genetically Engineered Organism) or simply GM or GE are also used. Genetic engineering is a radical new technology that forces genetic information across the protective species barrier in an unnatural way. Why be concerned? One of many good reasons is that these laboratory-created mutations are unlabeled, virtually untested and on grocery shelves everywhere.

Please let me know how you enjoy, and may your favorite team win!

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