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Heart healthy brunch ideas?

My boyfriend's dad had a heart attack about a month ago, and we offered to cook his family brunch this weekend. I'm used to making over the top desserts and egg dishes for brunch, so I'm feeling a little at a loss. Does anyone have some good heart healthy breakfast/brunch recipes they love?

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  1. I love frittatas, particularly egg white frittatas. You can load it up with veggies for a filling meal. Oatmeal bar with ready-to-go oatmeal and various nuts and fruits. Fresh fruit and yogurt parfaits.

    1. Agree with the fruit and Greek yogurt parfaits.

      A cheese and tomato omelet or zucchini frittata/quiche

      An overnight oatmeal from the crockpot, perhaps with various fruits that can be sprinkled on top (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, chopped kiwis and mangoes)

      These Lemon Muffins sound amazing!


      3 Replies
      1. re: LindaWhit

        most hard cheeses are not heart healthy

          1. re: westsidegal

            Tha's not true. Unless you eat it with bread or on pasta.

        1. Hmm...good suggestions here already!

          I love the idea of an egg-white frittata. Asparagus is my favorite veg to incorporate, but spinach and a little feta and tomato is good, too.

          How about breakfast burritos with egg whites, avocados, tomato, roasted red peppers?

          How about a little Canadian bacon baked with egg whites and mushrooms into a casserole....or stuffed into a pita?

          How about you mix neufchatel with finely minced chive/scallions/shallots...schmear a little bit on a wasa, and top with a little bite of lox/capers?
          Greek yogurt with healthy toppings: berries, slivered almonds.

          1 Reply
          1. re: pinehurst

            I love broccoli in the egg white frittata. The others you mention are also great.

          2. Poached salmon with a yogurt dill sauce or tzaziki
            Fresh fruit salad
            "Healthy" muffins, I like Eating Well recipes http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes_men...

            1 Reply
            1. re: Marge

              Mmmmm! What a great brunch menu. Salmon is very heart healthy - I love the idea of poached salmon with a yogurt-dill sauce.

            2. Another egg idea - muffin egg cups. It would help to limit portions so you could still incorporate whole eggs. You can make veggie as well as lean ham or lean turkey variations.

              Also a new favorite of mine - chia seed pudding

              1. I like all of the suggestions, but egg yolks have been given a bad rap. They contain all sorts of beneficial nutrients. I would suggest going half and half. Add some whole eggs and supplement with egg whites.

                A breakfast burrito bar with all sorts of healthy toppings (avocado, salsa, roasted red peppers, olives, maybe some low fat cheddar, etc) would be fun.

                6 Replies
                1. re: ludmilasdaughter

                  I agree, that's where my muffin egg cup idea came from. Eggs aren't evil. I love both whole eggs and egg whites for their respective properties. I routinely do half and half, more volume, stay fuller longer. I love the burrito bar idea.

                  1. re: ludmilasdaughter

                    I agree too....I was thinking that the OP would want to avoid the well-intended comments "OH MY GOD ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL THE MAN" with the egg yolks. My H, who is managing the trifecta of HBP, AFib and Type II Diabetes post-stroke is doing fine cholesterol wise while incorporating plenty of good quality eggs in his diet.

                    At the very least, a whole egg or two adds a nice color boost as well as nutrition.

                    Love the burrito bar idea.

                    And if you want to use whole eggs sparingly, I love eggs baked in avocado halves...so pretty, and so simple

                    1. re: ludmilasdaughter

                      I was about to say the same but then found this Mayo clinic link which is more conservative when it comes to people WITH a history of heart disease. But I still figure one meal isn't going to hurt.


                      1. re: c oliver

                        <<one meal isn't going to hurt>>

                        if it turns out to be your last meal, that would be true.
                        the problem with that sort of thinking is that for some, it can become a very slippery slope.
                        the core of the problem is that the things that taste best to us are often the least healthful things to eat: sugar, SALT, saturated fat, simple carbs, etc. the more we eat of that stuff, the more we want of it.
                        on the other hand, i've never seen anyone have to control themselves so that they won't overeat steamed green beans!

                        1. re: westsidegal

                          Since I wrote that I've changed my mind. I do believe that if someone is trying to restrict intake of certain things, then it's unfair and unkind to serve those.

                    2. I go to a fortnightly Sunday brunch at a Turkish restaurant. They have the bacon and egg standards on the menu, but on Sundays they put out a buffet of dips, dolma, stuffed peppers, tabbouleh, olives, salads and a lentil soup in the winter. Packed with vegetables, whole grains and good fats.

                      That's now brunch to me, and if I was hosting a brunch at home I'd be tempted to recreate some of the dishes.

                      1. We do a twist on homemade potatoes o'brien. Maybe 1 small yukon gold per person, diced, some diced green and red pepper and onion, then soak all overnight in water.

                        In the morning, drain and rinse, then put them in a frying pan with a lid. Cover with chicken stock and a little s&p or creole seasoning. Let them cook in the stock. When they're almost done, remove the lid and add just a little olive oil. Crank up the heat to like Med-hi. The remaining stock should simmer out, the potatoes should brown a bit in the oil.

                        You end up using wayyy less oil than traditional hashbrowns (especially frozen ones; they are often made with the hydrogenated junk), and I think they taste just fantastic this way. These are also great in a breakfast burrito, if you end up doing a burrito bar.

                        1. Tip: Ask if the BF's father is on a low sodium diet. That's very common after a heart attack, and is harder to achieve than a "heart healthy" menu. No bacon, olives, most cheeses (feta & cheddar are VERY SALTY - and low fat cottage cheese is higher in sodium than full fat!), many baked goods (beware of bread), salsa, pickled or preserved veggies (like roasted peppers in a jar), ... the list goes on and on.

                          If he's trying to re-educate his tastebuds, a salty brunch will set him back several days. Food for thought from one who knows...

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: AnneInMpls

                            P.S. As far as ideas for heart-healthy, low sodium brunch ideas, I love the idea of a salt-free egg-white frittata with roasted veggies (like asparagus? red onions? green beans?) with a separate dish of grated parmesan for those who like/can tolerate the salt.

                            For brunch treats, I highly recommend these heart healthy goody bars from Vegetarian Perspective.
                            These things are FABULOUS! I use 3/4 c. store-bought almond butter (no salt added) instead of making my own walnut butter, reduce the agave nectar back to 1/2 cup (because I don't like super sweet treats), and leave out both the salt and baking soda (which is mostly salt). And I use top quality dark chocolate chips. Important: Bake for 15-20 minutes - any less, and the oats taste raw. The end result is a bit crumbly (probably because I reduce the liquid aka agave syrup) and tastes very hearty & "good for you" but is DELICIOUS.

                            Or how about oatmeal-apple muffins? I make a modified version of this recipe from Ellie Krieger:
                            I replace the all-purpose flour with the same amount of ground-up oatmeal (plain ol' rolled oats whizzed in a food processor until very fine), leave out the salt - but I include the baking soda, and I use yogurt instead of buttermilk. Plus extra cinnamon (a natural blood thinner). I usually cut back on the sugar, but if it's for a party, I might leave it all in. My hubs and I eat eggs, but you could substitute egg whites and/or flax seeds if you'd like. See this vegan tip for using flax seeds instead of eggs:

                          2. Here's a terrific recipe for muffins from a Chowhound contributor. Easy and delicious and pretty healthy.

                            1. Salmon benedict. Eggs benedict. Scrambled eggs with bacon. A little fruit maybe.

                              Recent studies indicate little to no correlation between fat or sodium intake and cardio-vascular disease. Or high blood pressure, for that matter.

                              Dig in.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: linguafood

                                Folks, we've removed a bunch of posts here. We realize the subject kind of opens the door to it, but this just isn't the place to debate what heart healthy means. It's fine to offer dishes that you think are heart healthy and why you think they're heart healthy, but please don't get into debates with others about whether their suggestions are truly heart healthy. Thanks.

                              2. Tomato Artichoke Casserole (from Kelloggs All-Bran site)

                                1. Poached salmon served cold is a great idea, if they like salmon. Also how about a seafood salad with shrimp, scallops, calamari, mussels dressed in olive oil & vinegar instead of mayo? Shellfish, once bashed because of cholesterol content, are now considered heart healthy.

                                  1. http://www.chow.com/recipes/29597-hea... This is a link to my submission to the 2011 Chow muffin recipe contest, in which it was one of the 3 finalists. When I make them for myself, I use just a pinch of salt, and I sub Splenda for half the brown sugar.
                                    The ingredients are healthier than most sweet muffins, and you can turn them into cupcakes by adding a cream cheese frosting. You can make a not-too-bad frosting with lowfat cream cheese beaten with evaporated milk, vanilla extract, and Splenda (if you are worried about sugar). But powdered sugar would help texture.

                                    There's also Cook's Illustrated's oatmeal snack cake, which has a broiled icing made with shredded coconut,
                                    melted butter, nuts, and sugar. The cake part is rather fragile, can't be eaten out of hand.

                                    Google Nikki's Healthy Cookies. Normally I'd shy away from vegan recipes, but these are excellent. I add an egg to make them a bit sturdier, though.

                                    1. The doctor who helped Bill Clinton reverse his heart disease is Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr.--no more bypasses for him! So, my gentle suggestion would be NO eggs, no meat, no dairy...and this recipe from fatfreevegan has had some nice comments when I made it for work--there is also a sweet potato lasagna recipe at the Engine 2 Diet website that has received tons of kudos on their FB page. Hope this helps and hope your boyfriend's dad improves--heart disease is preventable and reversable in 90% of the cases, such shame so many Americans are dying of it. http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2011/06/...

                                      1. How is his appetite four weeks post cardiac event? Some individuals stay exhausted secondary to depression post cardiac event and often a symptom is loss of appetite. If I were you I would read through the nutritional recommendations that were made by his cardiology team when he was sent home and adhere to those ingredients. You can serve him delicious foods and still follow his cardiac diet. Because of what I mentioned above about possible depression and poor appetite I would serve as many colorful foods as possible to liven him up and stimulate his appetite. Fruit salad. Potato hash made with cubed yams...sweet potatoes....Yukon golds tossed in minimal olive oil then add chili powder, brown sugar, chopped rosemary, pinch of salt and ground pepper then roast it off. Sliced beet salad with a savory flavored vinegar. Crisp asparagus served with a Dijon sauce over some thick crispy toast.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: MamasCooking

                                          I so appreciate people like you bringing educated, common sense to this topic.

                                        2. Egg crepes filled with roasted veggies; use one whole egg to two whites and add to a blender with salt free seasoning blend, pepper, a pinch of salt and some spinach (fresh or frozen & well drained). Puree mixture well. Heat a 8 inch non stick skillet and spray with non stick cooking spray. You can get three very thin crepes out of this mix. Cook each for one minute per side. Slide out of skillet then fill them with your choice of assorted veggies. Serve with roasted red pepper or your choice of sauce.

                                          Add a side dish of quinoa with diced roasted sweet potatoes, caramelized onion, granny smith apples. and chopped walnuts.

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: Cherylptw

                                            <<a side dish of quinoa with diced roasted sweet potatoes, caramelized onion, granny smith apples. and chopped walnuts.>>

                                            this sort of cooking will be your answer.
                                            plant-based, unsaturated or mono-saturated fat, low sodium.
                                            fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes.

                                            in my experience, toasting the grains and nuts adds flavor.

                                            1. re: westsidegal

                                              What are you ranting about??? My "answer" is my original reply to the OP, gezus...

                                              1. re: Cherylptw

                                                Cherylptw: sorry to have confused you.
                                                i was citing your original reply as being more than a good individual recipe, but, also, of being a good example of a "type" of recipe that will always work well.

                                                can't understand why you thought i was "ranting." i usually associate that word with complaining about something.
                                                actually, i was trying to PRAISE something you suggested.

                                                1. re: westsidegal

                                                  It looked as if you were replying to someone else but I misunderstood so I apologize.

                                                  1. re: Cherylptw

                                                    no need to apologize.
                                                    your recipe and your whole culinary direction were both great.

                                            2. re: Cherylptw

                                              Your menu sounds delicious Cheryl. You hit the nail on the head with the quinoa dish.

                                            3. South Indian brunch: sambar (tangy lentil soup) with idlis (steamed rice cakes) or dosas (fermented rice and lentil crepes -- think crispy injera). If there's an Indian store near you, they might have ready-to-use dosa batter, so it's just like making crepes. There are a whole bunch of other breakfast dishes and accompaniments along these lines.

                                              Upma; it's sort of a semolina stir fry with vegetables. Goes well with a bit of achar (spicy relish thing, available ready-made).

                                              Dim sum is another option.