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More Herbs, Less Salt: 5 Heart-Healthy Recipes

Stop reaching for the salt shaker! Go easy on your sodium levels with these flavorful, healthy, herb-filled recipes.

Salt might be your go-to flavor enhancer, but it's definitely not the healthiest way to season a meal. If you're like most people, you surpass the American Heart Association's recommended 3,000 milligrams (a little more than a tablespoon) per day sodium limit.

Before you reach for the salt to flavor your chicken breast, pause to consider these high-protein recipes from Dave Ruel, "The Muscle Cook." They cut the carbs, fat, and unnecessary sodium without sacrificing taste. The addition of seasonings like thyme and mint add a nutrient-packed punch full of vitamins and antioxidants.

1 / Greek Chicken

Turning up the flavor on chicken breast can make your meal sing. A palm-sized portion of grilled chicken provides roughly 25 grams of protein, while the addition of thyme and rosemary add flavor, sans salt. Rosemary, rich in folic acid and vitamins A and C, has been shown to ease muscle pain and indigestion. Just one tablespoon of this fragrant herb also delivers five percent of an adult's recommended daily amount of iron. Thyme—rich in B-complex vitamins (particularly B-6), and vitamins A, C, E and K—may help relieve gas, reduce fevers, and lower cholesterol.

Ingredients
Directions
  1. In a bowl, mix the olive oil, garlic, rosemary, thyme, oregano, pepper, and lemon juice.
  2. Cut the chicken into strips. Place the chicken strips, olives, and diced tomatoes in the olive oil mixture. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator 8 hours, or overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. Place chicken mixture in aluminum foil and, creating a pocket, add some of the marinade to keep it moist.
  5. Cook for about 30 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle with feta cheese before serving.
Greek Chicken PDF (49.1 KB)

Nutrition Facts
Recipe yields 4 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 410
Total Fat22 g
Total Carb7.5 g
Protein45.5 g

2 / Provencal Chicken Strips

Are you searching for a high-protein recipe that's skimpy on carbs and fats? Try these simple, easy-to-make, downright delicious chicken strips flavored with a dash of parsley and rosemary. Parsley has strong anti-inflammatory properties and serves up more vitamin K than any other herb—just two tablespoons provide half of your recommended daily value. The kick of rosemary acts as an antioxidant.

Ingredients
Directions
  1. Saute chicken strips and 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet at medium-high heat for 4 minutes.
  2. Add shallot and garlic and cook for another 3 minutes. Stir frequently.
  3. Stir in tomatoes, capers, parsley, vinegar, and rosemary.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the liquid evaporates.
Provencal Chicken Strips PDF (50.6 KB)

Nutrition Facts
Recipe yields 4 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 275
Total Fat9 g
Total Carb7.5 g
Protein41 g

3 / Rosemary Marinated Salmon

When it comes to eating fish, you can't go wrong with salmon. It is rich in omega-3 fats and high in EPA and DHA content—just four ounces contain more healthy fat than the average adult consumes in days. Salmon helps prevent chronic inflammation, promote cognitive function, and improve vision. Perhaps owing to the high levels of vitamin D and selenium, salmon also lowers cancer risks. So how do you take this superfood and turn it into an anabolicious delight? Why, with the magic of rosemary, of course. The herb's phytochemicals prevent disease , while its high folic acid content makes it a great liver detoxifier.

Ingredients
Directions
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine all ingredients, except salmon, in a bowl. Add pepper to taste.
  3. Pour the mixture into the bottom of a small baking dish.
  4. Add salmon steaks and turn to coat. Marinate 15 minutes.
  5. Wrap each steak in aluminum foil, and bake for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Nutrition Facts
Recipe yields 4 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 284
Total Fat15.5 g
Total Carb0 g
Protein36 g

4 / Alaskan Omelet

Are you looking for the perfect breakfast recipe to kickstart your metabolism and burn some fat? Consider amplifying your morning eggs with a hint of basil. Revered as the "holy herb," basil's antibacterial properties have been used to treat everything from the common cold and fever to respiratory disorders, kidney stones, and bronchitis and sinus infections. Its high magnesium content also makes basil key to improved blood flow.

Ingredients
Directions
  1. Beat eggs and pour them in a heated skillet.
  2. When the omelet hardens, place salmon on top.
  3. Top salmon with sour cream and sprinkle with basil, scallion, parsley, and pepper.
  4. Fold in half and cook until done.
Alaskan Omelet PDF (48.7 KB)

Nutrition Facts
Recipe yields 1 serving
Amount per serving
Calories 259
Total Fat9 g
Total Carb8.5 g
Protein36 g

5 / Lebanese Beef Kebabs

Nothing says protein-packed finger food like meat on a skewer. And nothing's better than tender beef marinated with herbs and spices. Enter: Lebanese beef kebabs. Along with the usual favorites of thyme and parsley, which are high in potassium, iron, calcium, and manganese, this recipe also calls for two other great herbs: the bay leaf and mint. Bay leaf is known to provide resistance against different types of cancer and has anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties. In addition to promoting better digestion, bay leaf has been effective in controlling diabetes by enabling the body to process insulin efficiently. Mint, an excellent blood cleanser, relieves symptoms of cold and flu while inhibiting the growth of different types of bacteria and fungus.

Ingredients
Directions
  1. In a food processor or blender, puree onion, oil, garlic, lemon juice and zest, mint, paprika, cumin, thyme, bay leaf, and cayenne.
  2. In a big Ziploc bag, combine beef cubes with the mixture, coating the beef completely. Marinate in the fridge overnight.
  3. Drain the marinade in a saucepan, and bring to a boil.
  4. Skewer beef cubes and place on hot grill. While turning the beef, brush with boiled marinade.
  5. Serve in a bowl with the remaining marinade.
Lebanese Beef Kebabs PDF (47.7 KB)

Nutrition Facts
Recipe yields 4 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 281
Total Fat17 g
Total Carb0 g
Protein32 g

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About The Author

Stephanie Smith is a New York native who caught the fitness bug while earning a master's in journalism at the University of Missouri. Find out more.

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Comments

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JABE00

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JABE00

My late night cravings just got some boosters. First on the list the Alskan omelet.
Thanks Steph.......... Will try them all.

Mar 29, 2013 6:29am | report
Qotu79

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Qotu79

Right!!! That omelet looks almighty! LOL!

Mar 29, 2013 7:11am | report
nick.grohall

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nick.grohall

About to make that omlett right now!

Mar 29, 2013 7:13am | report
GunslingerUSMC

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GunslingerUSMC

Just had that same Greek chicken recipe in a wrap last night for dinner...it was phenomenal!

And the omelet looks heavenly...

Jeez, I freakin' love food...

Mar 29, 2013 7:35am | report
mmason1331

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mmason1331

Agreed!! That omelet looks BOMB. I never though of salmon in an omelet

Mar 30, 2013 9:29am | report
iWantFitness

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iWantFitness

omg instantly got hungry

Apr 4, 2013 7:57am | report
COGBullet

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COGBullet

Just Had the Provencal Chicken Strips. It was fantastic, great taste aswell as surprisingly filling with a few greens.

Apr 9, 2013 6:07am | report
  • Body Stats
  • ht: 19'11"
  • wt: 239.8 lbs
  • bf: 17.0%
Showing 1 - 7 of 7 Comments

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