Six recipes for a heart healthy Easter

Just because it’s almost Easter doesn’t mean you can’t investigate some heart-healthy recipes from the Heart Foundation.

Heart Foundation dietitian Maria Packard says you can still enjoy some ‘eggcellent’ eating.

“Why not start Easter morning with a heart healthy breakfast to fill you up and help cut down unhealthy snacking during the day,” she says. “Eating well can help support our mind, body and soul, especially as people adapt their exercise routines to living in lockdown.

“While the occasional chocolate treat is okay, it’s best to opt for quality over quantity.

Heart healthy eating is about the variety of foods consumed regularly over time – not just focusing on individual nutrients or foods. Regularly eating a good mix of healthy plant-based foods, with smaller amounts of animal proteins, and cutting down unhealthy junk foods will help to reduce your risks for heart disease.”

The Heart Foundation has six recipes that can be adapted for use with pantry staples or other ingredients if some things are difficult to find in the shops right now:

Easter Brunch Tarts
Start the day with savoury Easter Brunch Tarts that use every day, fuss-free ingredients like wholemeal bread, eggs and colourful vegies. Serve with a side salad to boost your vegie intake, while adding heart healthy fats like olive oil and avocado to your diet.

Adapt this recipe by swapping wholemeal bread for multigrain bread. If you don’t have spinach or capsicum, swap them for vegies you do have – such as tomato, corn or peas – either fresh, frozen or canned.

Fruity Hot Cross Scones
Ditch the high kilojoule hot cross buns for heart healthy fruity hot cross scones. This recipe creates the perfect scone texture from a mix of pumpkin, ricotta, buttermilk and currants, with added spice mix for flavour. This recipe can be made ahead of time and will help use up the extra flour you may have stocked in your pantry. You can also freeze individual scones.

Adapt this recipe by swapping mixed spices for ground cinnamon or nutmeg that you may already have in the pantry. Or use alternative dried fruit options like apricots and sultanas.

Vietnamese Fish Cakes with Vermicelli Salad
Rich in healthy fats, fish is the perfect heart healthy food for your Easter menu. This dish will even win over the reluctant fish-lover in the family. Better than any takeaway, it’s packed with flavour from a coriander, lime and curry base, and has two serves of healthy vegies.

Adapt this recipe by using any type of firm white fish that is available, or drained tinned salmon. Swap fresh coriander for dried coriander or herbs.

Fish Fingers with Sweet Potato Wedges
Try our heart healthy version of the classic fish fingers. Our panko crumb is mixed with quinoa and sesame seeds to add crunch and texture, and it also includes lots of healthy whole grains and fats. Served with a delicious yoghurt and lemon tartare sauce, this will be a finger lickin’ fish dish. Just remember to wash your hands after eating!

Adapt this recipe by swapping white fish fillets for salmon or an alternative protein like chicken breast. Swap sweet potato for mixed roast vegetables – either fresh or frozen – or whatever you have to hand. Panko breadcrumbs can be replaced with regular breadcrumbs, or you can make your own from day-old bread.

Bruschetta Fish Cutlet with Cauli Mash
Who doesn’t love mash! Why not raise it to a new level with these heart healthy Mediterranean flavours? This recipe provides three and a half serves of vegetables each and healthy fats from fish, pine nuts and olive oil.

Adapt this recipe by swapping firm white fish for salmon (fresh or frozen) or another firm protein like tofu. Swap cauliflower for mixed frozen vegetables from your freezer. Swap pine nuts for unsalted nuts like almonds, almond flakes, or a seed mix if you have it.

ANZAC Pancakes with Fruit Topping
Once Easter is over, treat yourself to a patriotic breakfast featuring whole grains such as oats or wholemeal flour with a mixed fruit and nut topping.

Adapt this recipe by swapping fresh fruit and berries for bananas, drained tinned peaches or any type of seasonal fruit. Choose tinned fruit in natural juice rather than in syrup. Coconut essence can be swapped for vanilla essence if preferred.

“Now more than ever it’s a time to enjoy simple heart healthy foods to help celebrate the Easter break and spend time with loved ones,” said Ms Packard.

YourLifeChoices and the Heart Foundation wish you all a happy, hearty and healthy break.

What are your favourite Easter recipes? Why not share them with our members?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?
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