You won’t have to choose between a heart full of love and a heart full of health this February. That’s because Walla Walla General Hospital has teamed up with local restaurants for the third year to provide heart-healthy entrée options during Heart Month.
The Dine Out Heart Smart program means you can enjoy eating out in Walla Walla while giving your heart the healthy foods that’ll keep it working hard for you. And if you love great food, Walla Walla is the place to be—it’s often listed in the top towns for foodies and was recently rated the top small town for food lovers.
The Walla Walla Dine Out Heart Smart Team
We’re excited that a number of the Walla Walla Valley’s most popular restaurants are participating in Heart Month by adding Heart Smart options to their menus. This year’s team includes:
- The Maple Counter Café, serving gourmet breakfasts and handcrafted lunches in downtown Walla Walla
- Creekside Café, located on the Walla Walla General Hospital campus and featuring made-from-scratch vegetarian food
- Jacobi’s Italian Café & Catering, offering an extensive Heart Smart menu from its historic location at The Depot
- Clarette’s Restaurant, a cozy restaurant serving home-style favorites near Whitman College
- Stone Soup Café, where downtown diners enjoy homemade soup, fresh salads and gourmet sandwiches
- Graze – A Place to Eat, with handcrafted sandwiches, salads and soups in the heart of downtown Walla Walla.
What Makes Food ‘Heart Smart’
So what exactly is a Dine Out Heart Smart meal? Don’t worry—it’ll still feature the delicious craftsmanship you’re used to at your favorite restaurant. But it will also feature some qualities that help it meet the American Heart Association’s guidelines for heart-healthy meals.
Those guidelines include keeping sodium low, using whole grains and increasing fiber. Heart Smart meals also focus on improving the fat content of food by:
- Keeping fat calories at or below 30 percent per serving
- Reducing saturated fat by choosing healthier monounsaturated fats like olive, avocado and canola
- Avoiding trans and hydrogenated fats
- Restricting cholesterol to 20 mg per serving or less
The American Heart Association also suggests changing cooking methods and making substitutions to meet these goals.
A first step is to trade fried, stuffed and cheese-covered foods for steamed, baked and grilled options. Limiting pickled and smoked ingredients can help reduce sodium, along with avoiding broth, au jus, and soy or teriyaki sauce.
Those with a sweet tooth may prefer fruit or sherbet for dessert, instead of pastries and cream-based sweets.
Loving Your Heart Through Smart Choices
Making healthy choices both while dining out and at home comes with a host of benefits for your heart. But it doesn’t have to mean sacrificing tasty meals.
“People who feel deprived don’t succeed in making lasting changes,” says Dr. Anabel Facemire, a cardiologist with Northwest Regional Heart & Vascular. “This isn’t about suffering. This is about the rest of your life. It’s about having the right approach.”
So go ahead and give heart-healthy foods a try. Swing by your favorite Walla Walla restaurants during February and Dine Out Heart Smart for the love of food…and your heart.