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Heart-Healthy Meal Demo Delights the Senses

Lehigh Valley Heart and Vascular Institute, Sodexo, pair up at Easton Public Market

Heart Healthy Meal Demo

The way to someone’s heart may be through their stomach but keeping their heart healthy requires the right types of food.

As part of National Heart Month, Lehigh Valley Heart and Vascular Institute recently teamed up with its food service partner, Sodexo, to spread the word on just what those right foods are and how they help. 

Working in the Lehigh Valley Health Network kitchen at the Easton Public Market in downtown Easton, Sodexo executive chefs Doug Kulp and John Hynes worked their magic with salmon (grilled and poached), two types of salsas and sauteed quinoa and kale, with the help of Avantika Mehta Cooke, the 12-year-old daughter of Heart and Vascular Institute cardiologist Nidhi Mehta, MD. Dessert can be healthy, too. Cranberry pear crumble was on the menu in the recent demonstration.

With Dr. Mehta and Sodexo registered dietitian Moriah Wiedemeier providing informational commentary, attendees got a bellyful of useful information to take home, not to mention a tasting session at the end of the demo.

“Heart disease is the No. 1 killer in America and heart-healthy eating is one way to fight back,” says Dr. Mehta. “Making small changes to your diet and incorporating foods such as we’re using in this demonstration can make a big difference.”

Click here for the recipes used in the demo.

Heart-Healthy Morsels


Almonds were used in one of the recipes. Almonds, and nuts in general, are good for you from a monounsaturated fat perspective and they also are beneficial in providing protein and fiber. Just a small handful of unsalted nuts, about 1 ½ ounces, is a good portion size. 

Lemon Aid

Want to get the most juice from your lemon? Press and roll the lemon to release the juices before you slice it and squeeze the juice into your ingredients. 

“Heart disease is the No. 1 killer in America and heart healthy eating is one way to fight back.”

Cardiologist Nidhi Mehta, MD

Light on the salt

Substitute things such as herbs, spices, lemon juice and even vinegar in place of salt to help reduce your sodium intake while preserving flavor and adding antioxidants.

Fins up

Salmon is a species of fish high in heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. Other fatty fish, such as mackerel, herring, anchovies and tuna also are in this category. They aid in reducing cholesterol and triglycerides. Two fatty fish servings (about 3-4 ounces each) are recommended weekly. Chicken without the skin is a good fish substitute. Soy also contains Omega-3 fatty acids.

Go digital

Using a thermometer is crucial to being a good cook and learning the right temperatures for different foods is essential, say our chefs. For the perfect temperature, they suggest using a digital thermometer. 

Don’t bail on kale

Kale is packed with vitamins and antioxidants, but not everyone’s a fan. Combining kale with other ingredients, such as garlic or onions, was done in our cooking demonstration. If kale still isn’t your thing, other green leafy vegetables such as spinach and collard greens are good substitutes.

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