February is American Heart Month, a campaign devoted to increasing awareness about heart disease and its risks. In honor of this wonderful campaign, Home Care Assistance of North Houston, TX wanted to share one of our favorite heart healthy senior recipes, stuffed sweet potatoes.
Enjoying a heart healthy diet rich in vibrant fruits and vegetables is one of the best ways to regulate heart health and reduce the risk of heart disease. Doctors also recommend decreasing the amount of meat consumed, as animal products contain saturated fats that can lead to clogged arteries. The following recipe for healthy stuffed sweet potatoes is not only meatless, it does double duty for the heart as it contains a healthy protein and an abundance of fresh vegetables.
4 sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves
pinch red pepper flakes
1 (16oz) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
6 cups kale, trimmed and chopped
1 teaspoon lemon juice, optional
Salt and black pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Pierce the sweet potatoes with a fork and bake in the oven until soft, 45 minutes to an hour. (The potatoes can be baked in advance and stored in the refrigerator for three to five days).
- Cook the shallots in the olive oil until softened, about 5 minutes over medium-low heat in a saucepan. Then add the garlic, rosemary, and red pepper and cook for 1 minute. Add the beans, simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then stir in the kale. Cover and cook another 5 minutes until tender.
- Season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice if desired.
- To serve, split each sweet potato lengthwise and open up the middle, creating a well to spoon the greens and beans directly into.
Feel free to experiment with this recipe using your favorite greens. Swiss chard, escarole or spinach would all work wonderfully in this dish. Similarly, garbanzo beans can be substituted for the cannellini beans.
Benefits for Seniors
The beans make this dish rich in protein and high in fiber, which is known to lower cholesterol. The kale provides tons of heart-healthy antioxidants, and the sweet potato contains high amounts of vitamin B6 and potassium, which lower blood pressure.
To learn more about senior health, reach out to Home Care Assistance of North Houston today. We have a team of compassionate and highly trained caregivers who strive to help seniors live healthy and happy lives at home, assisting with a wide range of services from nutritious meal preparation and personal care to medication reminders and transportation. To request free information on hourly and live-in care in North Houston, call a friendly Care Manager at 832-412-1345.