Weight Watchers Shares Heart Healthy Recipes – WISN Milwaukee

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Weight Watchers Shares Heart Healthy Recipes – WISN Milwaukee

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States, a stat ever more startling when you consider that up to 80 percent of cases are preventable. However, an effective way to reduce your risk of heart disease is to lose 5 to 10 percent of your body weight.

Just last month, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines were released and one of the goals is to help people to reach and maintain a healthy weight through a healthy lifestyle. The guidelines recommend a healthier pattern of eating, which is so important for your heart health. However, if you read through the key recommendations, they address the percentage of calories you are supposed to consume from certain nutrients, which people may find challenging to actually put into practice.  Fortunately, Weight Watchers recently introduced the SmartPoints food plan which makes following the Dietary Guidelines and losing weight easier.   

SmartPoints not only assigns a single number to each food, which makes translating complex nutritional information easier, but the plan focuses on a pattern of eating that includes more lean protein, fruits and vegetables, and less sugar and saturated fat – which is known to have heart health benefits.

Individual foods or snacks that contain a good dose of fiber, such as oats, fruits & leafy greens

According to the American Heart Association, dietary fiber, as part of an overall healthy diet, may help improve blood cholesterol levels, and lower risk of heart disease. To increase your fiber intake, try eating:

Apple: An apple with its skin on contains about 1 1/2 grams more fiber than a peeled one.

Salad with fruit: Mandarin oranges, diced apples and dried cranberries go well with leafy greens, which are high in fiber.

Oatmeal:  This low-fat, low-cholesterol breakfast food is also rich in fiber. It’s tempting to pick individually packaged, sweetened varieties of instant oatmeal, but it doesn’t take much longer to make the original kind. By adding your own brown sugar or dried fruit for flavor, you’ll keep the calories down and the nutrients up.

Healthy fats, like olive and canola oil, most nuts, seeds & avocado

People think fats are simply unhealthy but unsaturated fats, like olive oil and avocado, are great for your heart and essential to a healthy lifestyle.  Avocados are high in unsaturated fat, making them a great addition to a heart-healthy diet. Here we have a delicious Avocado-Bean Guacamole recipe

Foods with less sugar

Eating a diet with a lot of sugar increases your risk for heart disease. Both the 2015 Dietary Guidelines and the new SmartPoints plan emphasize less sugar, but let’s face it – many of us enjoy sugar and we simply need to figure out ways to fit it into our lifestyles in a healthy, more moderate way. Just because you’re decreasing your sugar intake doesn’t mean you have to give up on desserts entirely! Here we have a sweet and healthy Carrot Coconut Oatmeal Cookie recipe, which uses the natural sugar in carrots to help boost sweetness.

Avocado-Bean Guacamole


1?2 cup uncooked red onion, minced     

3 Tbsp fresh lime juice

15 oz canned white beans, rinsed and drained

1 avocado, peeled and chopped

1?4 cup plum tomatoes, finely diced

2 Tbsp cilantro

1 clove garlic, minced

1?2 tsp table salt

1?2 tsp hot pepper sauce

1?4 tsp ground cumin


1) In a small bowl, combine onion and lime juice; let stand 15 minutes.

2) In a food processor, puree beans and avocado. Add the tomato, cilantro, garlic, salt, pepper sauce, cumin and the onion mixture, pulse until blended. Transfer to a serving dish and refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.

Serving size: 1/3 c

Carrot-Coconut Oatmeal Cookies


¾ cup whole wheat flour

1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon

¼ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

½ cup packed light brown sugar

¼ cup coconut oil, melted and cooled

2 tablespoons plain, low-fat yogurt

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 ½ cups old-fashioned oats

1 cup finely shredded carrot

½ cup unsweetened flaked coconut

¼ cu chopped toasted walnuts

¼ cup golden raisins


1)      Place oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

2)      Whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and ginger in medium bowl.  Whisk together brown sugar, oil, yogurt, egg, and vanilla in large bowl.  Add flour mixture, oats, carrot, coconut, walnuts, and raisins to brown-sugar mixture and stir to combine.

3)      Drop batter by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto prepared baking sheets.  Flatten each cookie slightly.  Bake until golden brown on bottom, 12-14 minutes, switching and rotating baking sheets halfway through baking time.  Cool on baking sheets on wire racks 1 minute.  With spatula, transfer cookies to racks and cool completely.  Store in airtight container up to 3 days.

Per serving (1 cookie): 70 Cal, 3 g Total Fat, 2 g Sat Fat, 35 mg Sod, 9 g Total Carb, 4 g Sugar, 1 g Fib, 2 g Prot.

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