Most of us know what we’re supposed to do to live a healthy lifestyle. Recommendations include eating well, being physically active, reducing stress and getting enough sleep. But, we all know that is easier said than done. While cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death for both men and women in the US, the good news is heart disease is largely preventable.
Improving your heart health does not mean drastic changes that leave your diet lacking in flavor and texture. It’s possible to achieve a healthy diet that includes the appropriate amounts of fat, calories and added sugar that is enjoyable. Start by making healthy treats for you and your loved ones. You don’t need to be a professional baker to incorporate these easy techniques at home.
If you’re running late or barely have a minute in your day to catch your breath, let your microwave be your chef. Slice an apple, top it with your favorite topping, such as cinnamon and fruit flavored diet soda, and microwave on high for 10 minutes or until apples are tender.
You can also put a small dish in the toaster oven if you want to multi-task around the house. Prepping the apples ahead of time and putting them in the oven or microwave at the end of dinner can provide a warm dessert after your meal. This also gives you 10-15 minutes to digest and allow enough time for satiety cues to kick in, so you may be less likely to overeat dessert.
Sometimes, the most challenging part of making a recipe is the ingredients list. Scouring the grocery store for a long list of items can be time-consuming and overwhelming, but did you know you can bake a cake by using a cake mix and a can of diet soda? By omitting the add-in ingredients the recipe usually calls for, you cut time and calories!
Try this Easy Chocolate Cherry Cake recipe.
Many recipes allow you to use pureed fruit or vegetables as substitutes for eggs and oil in a baking recipe to reduce the total fat content of the recipe and increase your intake of fruits and vegetables. For example, you can use canned pumpkin, apple sauce, sweet potato or ripe bananas. The batter will be thicker when using these ingredients, but the end product will not lack in taste. Try a brownie recipe that only needs two ingredients.
Try this Easy Pumpkin Brownies recipe.
Do you have a recipe that requires 30 minutes of baking? Use that time to do something physical. Take the dog on a walk, play a game with your children, or try a new workout video. Just make sure to set a timer that you can hear! See if you’re toaster oven turns off automatically and fits the dish you are baking. Even a few minutes of moderate activity throughout the day will help you achieve the recommended physical activity amounts of at least thirty minutes a day to improve overall cardiovascular health.