Heart-healthy recipes for the week ahead: Slow-cooker chili, Parmesan-crusted chicken piccata

Welcome to Start TODAY. Sign up for our Start TODAY newsletter to receive daily inspiration sent to your inbox — and join us on Instagram!

This week’s menu is full of heart-smart meals in honor of American Heart Month. But here’s some good news: You’ve already got a head start against heart disease by cooking most meals at home. Those who cook more meals at home are more likely to eat less saturated fat, sugar, and salt–substances that contribute to your heart disease risk. Eating at home more frequently also boosts your intake of protective ingredients like vegetables, fruits and whole grains.

The meals throughout this week feature heart-protective foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans and seafood. With meals ranging from cod with a coconut-cashew topping to a roasted veggie flatbread to spaghetti, your heart and belly will be content.

What to Eat This Week, February 13, 2024

Start TODAY meal plan February 13, 2024
Start TODAY meal plan February 13, 2024

>>Download this week’s meal plan

>>Join our balance challenge!

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Breakfast

Both breakfasts contain heart-healthy foods, such as nuts, seeds, fruit and oats. Oats stand out for beta glucan–a type of soluble fiber that helps lower cholesterol levels. Make a big batch of oatmeal to eat throughout the week and add the toppings right before breakfast. The broiled grapefruit is tastiest when served warm, but it comes together quickly.

Oatmeal with Pear and Almonds by Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN

Serve with plain Greek yogurt on top or on the side.

Broiled Grapefruit with Yogurt, Nuts and Honey

Section ½ grapefruit, sprinkle with cinnamon, and drizzle with honey. Broil until the topping bubbles and the grapefruit begins to caramelize. Then top your grapefruit with plain or lower-sugar Greek yogurt and nuts or seeds (such as pumpkin or hemp seeds).

Lunch

Replacing processed lunch meat with a veggie burger or rotisserie chicken are easy steps you can take to reduce your risk of heart disease. Sodium and protein levels vary with veggie burgers, so choose one with no more than 500 mg of sodium and at least 10 grams of protein.

Buffalo Chicken Salad

Mix ½ cup rotisserie chicken meat with 1 ½ teaspoons mayonnaise, 1 ½ teaspoons Greek yogurt, and hot sauce to taste. Scoop mixture over chopped romaine lettuce and diced cucumbers. Serve with whole-grain crackers (such as Triscuits).

Veggie Burger

Cook a frozen veggie burger according to package directions. Serve on a whole grain bun or English muffin stacked with lettuce, tomato, onion, and avocado. Have it with baby carrots.

Want to make your own?

Siri's Mushroom and Lentil Veggie Burgers by Siri Daly

Dinner

This week’s dinner lineup includes two seafood meals, a pattern that aligns with the American Heart Association’s recommendation. We’ve also included crowd pleasers like chili and a veggie-rich flatbread that are sure to make it to your recipe collection. To make dishes heart-healthier, we’ve suggested swaps, like using a whole-grain pita or naan to make the flatbread.

Roasted Vegetable and Herbed Goat Cheese Flatbread with Hot Honey Drizzle by Katie Stilo

Between the herbed goat cheese and the hot honey drizzle, this veggie-packed flatbread is bursting with flavor. Although the recipe gives instructions for roasting your veggies during dinner prep, prepping them in advance will make this a lightning-fast meal. To make a heart-healthier flatbread, use a whole-grain pita or naan for the base, and serve it with a chickpea salad. To make the salad, toss canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed, with chopped tomatoes, cucumber and a bottled vinaigrette.

Valerie Bertinelli's Roasted Cod with Cashew-Coconut Topping by Valerie Bertinelli

An easy, coconut-infused spice topping transforms mild, flaky cod into a flavorful and impressive dish. Serve it with sautéed spinach and brown rice (microwavable or frozen if you’d like).

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio by Sal Lamboglia

Pasta is a staple of the Mediterranean diet, which is often noted as the healthiest diet. Here we’re serving it as they do in the Mediterranean region–as a side dish. While you’re cooking the pasta, sauté shrimp in olive oil to eat as your main dish. Serve with an easy salad or any veggie you like.

Slow-Cooker White Chicken Chili by Casey Barber

What could be more comforting than walking in the door to the fragrant smell of a pot of chili? Just toss the ingredients in your slow cooker before you leave the house and 8 hours later, you’ll have a flavorful chili to greet you. Top it with plain Greek yogurt and enjoy it with a tomato-avocado salad. To make the salad, toss grape tomatoes, halved, with ⅓ to ½ avocado, diced, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Piccata by Laura Vitale

Chicken piccata is typically cooked in 4 to 6 tablespoons of butter. This version slashes the butter to just one tablespoon, and it replaces white flour with almond meal – a nutrient-rich, grain-free alternative. Enjoy it with roasted broccoli and baby potatoes.

Snacks

Snacks that contain whole food sources of protein and fiber offer a winning formula that keeps you full for hours. Here are a few ideas:

  • Baby carrots and roasted chickpeas.

  • ½ grapefruit with nuts.

  • Grape tomatoes with cucumber.

  • Frozen cherries warmed in the microwave and topped with ricotta cheese.

  • Pear slices sprinkled with cardamom and drizzled with tahini.

This article was originally published on TODAY.com