Focusing on heart health — the cornerstone for sustaining long-term health — doesn’t limit your diet to salads and bland meals. In fact, it can encourage new dishes and restaurants to bring into the new year. In Westchester, there are plenty of healthy dining options, meaning you don’t have to sacrifice a tasty meal out to meet your goals. We talked with a local nutrition counselor and learned how to spot the heart-healthy dishes on menus around the 914.
Jennifer Derfel, MS, RDN, CDN, offers individualized nutrition counseling in Pound Ridge, where she assists clients with achieving their personal health goals. “There is so much information out there and misinformation out there. It is important to work with a dietitian to find something that promotes a lifestyle change while making sure it’s balanced and done safely,” she says.
One heart-healthy tip to keep in mind is to aim for low-cholesterol dishes. Cholesterol is a fatty substance in the body that can cause long-term problems without moderation, such as high blood pressure, strokes, and blockages, in serious circumstances. “High cholesterol is under the umbrella-term for cardiovascular disease,” she stresses. Saturated and trans fats are the culprit for increasing lipids within the bloodstream, but don’t fret. Consider these delectable dishes at some top Chinese, Mexican, Indian, and Italian restaurants in Westchester.
And remember: The No. 1 rule, always, is to simply enjoy the experience of dining out. Just be sure to consult with your doctor for any personalized information and best practices to ensure you’re making the most of every meal.
Registered dietitian rule: Steamed vegetables will be your perfect match when eating Chinese cuisine.
3 Barker Ave, White Plains; 914.288. 0188
The “healthy diet dishes” section on Aberdeen’s menu makes finding a dish easier than ever. Offering meals such as steamed vegetables with chicken, scallop, shrimp, or tofu, the restaurant makes it easy to find flavorful dishes without risking personal health desires in the process.
Avoiding fried food and switching to brown rice make for a low-cholesterol meal while prioritizing yourself.
49 E Sunnyside Lane, Tarrytown; 914.829.5454
While eating out, fatty fish is a powerhouse for omega-3 fatty acids and is also low in cholesterol. With this in mind, the halibut with chili garlic black beans is an excellent fit on the menu at Goosefeather.
Skipping out on a goopy plate of warm nachos may be difficult, but trading this for sizzling fajitas will surely bring back the joy of eating Mexican-style fare in Westchester.
Rule: Sour cream and nachos are out, but fajitas and corn tortillas are in while enjoying Mexican cuisine.
“You can use low- or nonfat Greek yogurt as a replacement for sour cream because of the similar taste and mouthfeel,” Derfel suggests if you’re doing takeout or delivery to dine at home for Taco Tuesday.
391 Old Post Rd, Bedford; 914.234.8900
The value of “good quality, wholesome, and healthy meals” makes TRUCK a standout with grass-fed beef and seasonally sourced local vegetables. Try the local veg or avocado tacos on a lettuce shell or corn tortilla.
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2011 Albany Post Rd, Croton-On-Hudson; 914.862.4449
Quinoa has surely earned its place in the superfood hall of fame with its ability to reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar, and more. At Yuka’s, you can find a quinoa and roasted sweet potato salad, and if you’re not feeling that, you can always go for the chicken or steak fajitas (skip the crema).
Rule: Chicken tandoori and chickpeas are in the clear, as well as ghee for its digestive tract assistance in Indian cuisine.
219 E Hartsdale Ave, Hartsdale; 914.574.5262
NH44’s bone-in chicken and house-blended spices combine for a nutritious tandoori murgh. Alongside this, there are also options of vegetable-based dishes such as the padosan ki bhindi with okra, onions, and house spices or vegetable pulao with basmati rice and market vegetables.
Melissa Rapoport of Blum Center for Health says savoring dishes cooked with ghee can assist digestion, prevent ulcers, and promote healthy eyes and skin, while also protecting the heart.
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77 Knollwood Rd, White Plains; 914.289.1988
At Royal Palace, you’ll find yogurt-based marinades and masala-spiced meats making the ajwaini salmon (lemon, aromatic carom seed, and blend of spices) and chicken banjara tikka (boneless chicken breasts, red chili, garlic, blend of spices) excellent options.
Rule: Stick to grilled meat and steer away from red meat or sausage in Italian cuisine.
“Italian gives you a lot of choices,” says Derfel. “Choosing a dish with fish in it, looking at how it’s cooked — grilled or broiled — is better for heart health.”
128 Main St, Dobbs Ferry; 914.693.2008
Offering a jam-packed menu filled with chicken and seafood dishes, Sam’s is the place to be when you’re looking for something not only the stomach, but also the heart will love. Try the chicken cacciatore with marinara and mushrooms or the broiled fish platter filled with scallops, filet of sole, and shrimp.
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11 King St, Chappaqua; 914.861.2322
Classic Italian dishes are made healthy and nutritious at Basso56. When looking to lower cholesterol intake, you can find options such as salmone alla griglia (grilled salmon filet with red pepper and risotto), and branzino alla griglia (grilled or pan-roasted filet marinated in olive oil, lemon, and oregano).
*Medically reviewed by Melissa Rapoport, functional health coach at Blum Center for Health in Rye Brook.