Heart Healthy Proteins & Lent Recipe

Hey there, Mamas! February is American Heart Month, which we talked about last year (specifically, fat and fiber). Since Lent this year falls a good majority in February, it seems a good time to add to our talk on heart health – specifically heart-healthy protein sources.

RDN Mama’s Bread of Life or Deadly Sin: Kids Eating During Church

Fish seems an obvious one. It’s a standard Lenten go-to. Fish is loaded with heart-healthy omega 3 fats. When eaten frequently and consistently, these types of fats can help reduce inflammation caused by omega 6 fats (found often in vegetable oils), which has been linked to heart disease. Also, fish are typically very low in saturated fats, which can contribute to artery damage and plaque buildup.

DHA is a type of omega 3 fat (found most concentrated in fatty fish, like salmon), that helps promote brain development. Talk to your doctor about taking a DHA supplement if you’re pregnant or nursing to optimize Baby’s brain growth. For more on eating fish during pregnancy, check out this RDN Mama article.

RDN Mama’s An Apple a Day…

From our chat on fiber, you probably realized that I’m crazy for beans! They are a great source of soluble fiber, which means they help to lower cholesterol and remove toxins from your colon as they’re digested.

Beans are also nutritional powerhouses. They are a great vegetarian protein source, naturally low in fat, and provide potassium (also great for a healthy heart), phosphorus, magnesium, and folic acid (important for those Mamas trying-to-conceive).

RDN Mama’s Easy Breakfast Trick to Slash Calories & Boost Nutrition

On Ash Wednesday, in preparation for Lent, it was a day of fasting and abstinence from meat (for me – my non-Catholic hubby didn’t seem too bothered either way). I needed a recipe that would meet my requirements, hopefully keep me feeling full, and would please a toddler and a meat-eating man.

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L got in on the action by adding the pepper from my prepping to her afternoon snack.

We love Mexican-style foods. If we have a choice, it’s always our pick. We have a great recipe for cilantro jasmine rice, that acts as a great, slightly-sweet compliment to most spicy Mexican foods, so I decided to go from there. I was able to take our basic additions and turn it into a Mexican stir-fry of sorts.

L's "heartbeats" that she wouldn't let me cut.

L’s “heartbeats” that she wouldn’t let me cut -very February-appropriate. <3

Mexican Black Bean Stir-Fry

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Mexican Black Bean Stir-Fry

Mexican Black Bean Stir-Fry

Ingredients

  • olive oil
  • 1 diced onion
  • 1 tablespoon garlic
  • 2 diced bell peppers (I used one red and one yellow)
  • 1 4 oz can diced green chiles (drained)
  • 1 can black beans with no added salt (drained and rinsed)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • I also like to add a little chili powder, so feel free to add with the cumin if you like more of a kick.
  • Rice or whole-grain tortillas for serving

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a non-stick skillet.
  2. Add onion and garlic and cook a few minutes, until onion is softened.
  3. Add bell peppers, green chiles, and black beans.
  4. Sprinkle with cumin.
  5. Mix and cook until heated through.
  6. Serve over rice or in tortillas.
  7. Optional: Top with cheese if desired.
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Hope you enjoy, Mamas! As with nearly every recipe on this site, I love this because it is totally customizeable – add what you like, replace what you don’t. Perfect for Meatless Mondays, Lenten Fridays, or any other day of the week.

Tell me, Mamas: What’s your favorite recipe for Lent?

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