Finding Heart Healthy Dishes

Portabello Butterut Spinach Tacos at Jalisco Cantina
Portabello Butterut Spinach Tacos at Jalisco Cantina

February marks American Heart Month, a time to become more aware of the leading cause of death for both men and women, and an ideal time to make changes in committing to a healthier lifestyle. Small changes can make a big difference – next time you go out to eat, choose a more heart-healthy dish for your meal with dozens of heart smart ingredients around town!

The most important meal of the day makes for the perfect start to your heart health. As the Gaslamp’s quirkiest and most whimsical brunch café, Lazy Hippo is the go-to downtown destination for creative takes on both modern and traditional favorites with healthier ingredient alternatives! Sink your fork into the Blueberry Chia Pancakes, served warm for a sweet breakfast treat. Chia seeds are a great source of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, while blueberries are jam-packed with important antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties! Don’t forget your morning coffee, linked to a lower risk of heart failure, stroke and coronary heart disease.

-Follow your heart to The Fish Shop, dropping anchor in Point Loma, Pacific Beach and Encinitas. Boasting a boatload of fresh fish selections at their fast-casual countertop service, Fish Shop is the ideal spot to unwind with friends with some of California’s finest seafood. Fatty fish including salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, so dive into a plate of the Ahi Tuna! Choose sides of seasonal veggies and leafy green salad to pair with this seared-rare fish for a deliciously smart choice.

Find a heart-warming meal at Wood Ranch, the Mission Valley neighborhood staple known for high-quality ingredients, innovative options, and fantastic barbecue. From the popular grilled meats to the lighter items on the award-winning menu, Wood Ranch leaves no one out when it comes to dinner. To practice your health-conscious eating, go straight for the Brussel Sprouts, grilled to perfection and lightly seasoned with a sweet glaze. These vitamin-rich veggies improve blood vessel health by reducing inflammation in your cardiovascular system. Don’t doubt your mom’s sage advice to eat your veggies – it always pays off!

Take a trip up to Oceanside’s intimate Mexican eatery, Jalisco Cantina, for a healthy twist on tacos so tasty it will make your heart skip a beat. Home to scratch-made creative Mexican cuisine, fine tequilas, and intensely flavorful dishes, Jalisco Cantina’s Spinach & Portobello Tacos, loaded with portobello mushrooms, butternut squash, and spinach, pack a punch when it comes to your heart health. The fiber, potassium, and vitamin C in mushrooms all work together to lower blood pressure and decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases with every bite. Be sure to start with a bowl of Spicy Shrimp Guacamole – the healthy fats in avocados reduce cholesterol levels for a double whammy of heart health!

Heart-healthy bowls are never a bore at Bub’s @ The Beach, the unpretentious beach bar and grill hangout of Pacific Beach. Founded on the basis of fun, Bub’s prides themselves on diverse, fresh, cooked-to-order food, with plenty of cold beer of course. Chow down on the Maple Seared Salmon Power Bowl this month, piled high with maple glazed salmon on quinoa with black beans, avocado, red grape tomatoes, green onions, Gruyere cheese, broccoli and lime vinaigrette. Believe it or not, nearly every ingredient tops the list of the best heart foods, packing omega-3 fatty acids, cholesterol-lowering properties, antioxidants and assorted nutrients from the salmon and avocado to the broccoli and citrus vinaigrette!

Indulge in a surprisingly smart meal at Osetra Seafood & Steaks, the elegant and sophisticated eatery in the epicenter of the bustling Gaslamp Quarter. Drawing on gourmet seafood, aged meats and handmade pastas, Osetra’s upscale menu promises satisfaction for every party. Embrace the cardiovascular benefits of vitamin K-rich asparagus and blood flow improving pomegranate reduction with an order of the Chilean Sea Bass, seared to perfection over a bed of fennel risotto! Don’t be afraid to treat yourself – sip from a selection of over 3,000 red wines and nosh on the Flourless Dark Chocolate Cake, rich in flavonoids in moderation.

Healthier eating choices don’t have to be a bore. Be heart-conscious this February with these heart-healthy ingredients courtesy of local chefs in honor of American Heart Month!