Six Tips for Choosing Heart Healthy Foods

February is American Heart Month and Foodtown is supporting the stride to end heart disease and advocate for early prevention, detection and treatment.

Cardiovascular disease and the recurrence of strokes can be preventable if you make smart dietary choices, exercise regularly and refrain from smoking.


Know the risk factors that can lead to CVD:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Poor diet and physical inactivity
  • Overweight and Obesity

Follow these general guidelines for optimal heart health:

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables: fresh or frozen both options are nutritious
  • Choose whole grains often such as whole wheat, oats and brown rice
  • Consume fish and lean meats often: consume fish at least twice a week
  • Avoid processed or ready-made foods: purchase fresh ingredients and get cookin’ in your kitchen!
  • Season food with less salt: Use lemons, limes and aromatic spices like cumin and paprika to flavor
  • Bake, broil, roast, grill or sauté: Use heart-healthy olive oil to improve your “good” cholesterol levels

As a rule of thumb, visit your doctor and get your labs checked regularly to determine if you’re at risk. Check out this heart smart meal brought to you by the American Heart Association®!


Sriracha-Glazed Chicken with Paprika Butternut Squash

The spicy Sriracha packs a ton of flavor into this Asian chicken dish. And while the chicken is best with a long stint in the marinade—up to 24 hours—if you’re short on time, 10 to 15 minutes in the marinade will do.

4 Servings


For the Sriracha-glazed chicken:

      • 2 Tbsp Sriracha Hot sauce
      • 2 Tbsp canola oil
      • 2 tsp maple syrup
      • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
      • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
      • 4 (6-ounce) thinly sliced chicken breasts

For the Butternut Squash:

      • 1 (4pound) butternut squash (peeled, seeded, diced)
      • 2 Tbsp canola oil
      • 1 tsp. sweet paprika or smoked paprika
      • 1/4 tsp. salt
      • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper



For the Sriracha-glazed chicken:

      1. Into a large resealable plastic bag, add marinade ingredients: Sriracha, canola oil, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, and black pepper. Add chicken breasts into the bag, making sure the chicken is well-coated with marinade. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes (and start the butternut squash while it sits) or place chicken in the refrigerator to marinate for up to 24 hours.
      2. To cook, into a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, add chicken breasts and all the marinade liquid. Use tongs to frequently turn the chicken breasts to be coated in marinade, and sauté until chicken is fully cooked, around 8 to 10 minutes depending on thickness. Remove from heat and serve.

For the butternut squash:

      1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
      2. Cut the butternut squash in half vertically. Use a vegetable peeler or a knife to remove the peel. Remove the seeds with a spoon and discard. Cut squash into a 1-inch dice.
      3. Add butternut squash cubes onto a large foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with oil, paprika, salt, and pepper. Use a spatula or clean hands to toss ingredients together. Make sure the squash is on a single layer on the baking sheet.
      4. Cook in preheated oven until soft, about 30 to 35 minutes, shaking the pan halfway through the cooking process. Serve with the chicken.