I'm making a dish for a friend (just had heart surgery) and his wife. I did not realize the restrictions, but other than Heart Healthy, they also dont like Pasta, Rice or Cheese...OUCH...there goes all my recipes. Any advice for a dinner or lunch menu? Thanks so much.



drbabs November 29, 2010
I think all the suggestions are great, but they will only go so far in helping your friends if they don't make some lifestyle changes to get on a healthy path. Another book that is less extreme than the ones I suggested previously is The Spectrum by Dean Ornish. The first part of the book is about evaluating your lifestyle and goals; the second part contains recipes that were developed by Art Smith. If you're cooking for them regularly, it could help you, but if they're open to some suggestions, it could help them figure out changes they could make that are healthier but still have food options that they enjoy. Good luck!
Jon P. November 28, 2010
Lots of types of fish are very lean. I'd sear a small piece of fish and serve with some blanched and sauteed kale or other sturdy greens, along with another vegetable, probably roasted.
latoscana November 28, 2010
How about tacos in whole wheat or corn tortillas? Try grilled or roasted veggie tacos with onions, peppers, squash, corn, and tomatoes. Or what about fish tacos with shredded cabbage slaw - you can pan fry tilapia with a tiny amount of olive oil.
healthierkitchen November 28, 2010
Actually, homemade vegetable soup with some beans and/or whole grain like barley or farro would be great. It's really hard to find prepared soups that are low in sodium and healthy.
healthierkitchen November 28, 2010
Beans, whole grains, fruits and vegetables are probably the healthiest basis for all of our diets. Some people are able to make extreme changes right after heart surgery, while others need to take baby steps. Sadly, the research is not completely clear whether no/low animal fat is better than low/no sugars and carbs. There's really reputable science both ways. For the longer term, seeing a dietician is probably the safest and best route. Or the DASH diet put out by NIH. For a dinner for a friend, though, I'd be conscious of keeping sodium low, fat and carbs in moderation and lots of vegetables.
drbabs November 28, 2010
Some of the latest research on heart disease recommends a diet with no animal protein (vegan) and no added fat. Lots of beans, grains, fruits, vegetables. Check out "Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease" by Caldwell Esselstyn and "The China Study" by T. Colin Campbell. This may be extreme for your friend, but could give you and them a way to ease into a heart-healthy diet. There's a blogger who calls herself The Healthy Librarian who blogs about this and other health issues. Here's her first post about this diet: http://www.happyhealthylonglife.com/happy_healthy_long_life/2008/06/yes-you-can-prevent-reverse-heart-disease---but-are-you-up-for-the-challenge-let-dr-esselstyn-convince-you.html
vvvanessa November 27, 2010
chili would fit the bill. either a red or white chili made with ground turkey breast and lots of fiber-tastic beans with green salad and cornbread on the side.

poached chicken breasts with a mix of roasted or puréed vegetables-- the poaching is great for keeping the breast meat from drying out, and when done right, the meat is almost silky.

a middle eastern platter: hummus, babganoush, tabouleh, tomato salad (though, where i live, tomatoes are out of season), and some whole wheat pita.

cheese-free pizza, using a base of a flavorful tomato sauce, grilled veggies, herbs.

i hope your friend recovers quickly!
pierino November 27, 2010
The fact that they don't like rice or pasta may possibly account for the heart surgery. What's left? Lettuces?? Healthierkitchen has made some good suggestions here, but after that you may be stuck with granola and yogurt and nuts and they probably don't like that stuff either. Quinoa is good if you can sell it to them.
healthierkitchen November 27, 2010
Wow - no rice or pasta! Would they eat any other grains like barley or farro? I might go with roasted chicken or salmon with roasted vegetables and potatoes. After my mother's heart surgery I sometimes made her boneless, skinless chicken thighs baked in a wheat germ crust. Breasts can work too but they dry out a little more quickly. My parents liked that with roasted cut up potatoes that we let get crispy and some plain steamed broccoli or asparagus. Salads with homemade vinaigrettes are nice too as you can control the sodium found in most bottled dressings. Good luck.
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