February was Heart Month and as it comes to a close, we didn’t want to miss the opportunity to bring attention to the importance of cardiovascular health and what we can do to reduce our risk of cardiovascular disease. The heart’s biggest responsibility is to pump blood throughout the body via the circulatory system, supplying oxygen and nutrients to all our tissues and removing any waste or carbon dioxide. This is a major role in how our body functions on a daily basis. When an artery gets blocked and cuts off oxygen and nutrients going to the heart, a heart attack can occur. This is why it is so crucial that we take charge of our own health and make it a priority to protect and keep our hearts healthy.
There are many things we cannot control, but as far as your lifestyle goes, it is one factor that you are in the driver’s seat for. Smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, being overweight or obese, physical inactivity, diabetes, and an unhealthy diet and excessive alcohol intake can all increase your risk of heart disease.
Luckily, there is a lot we can do to give our heart a little extra love. Eating a healthy balanced diet is one simple step we can take towards bettering our own heart health each and every day. Limiting our intake of trans fats, high sodium processed foods, and added sugars is a good place to start. Increasing heart healthy foods like plenty of leafy greens and other vegetables full of fiber, fruits, nuts, seeds, berries, healthy fats like avocado and fatty fish, chia seeds, flaxseeds and whole grains, such as oatmeal, can all help to boost your heart health so you can live a happier and healthier life with a strong heart. Maintaining a regular exercise routine and implementing stress reduction techniques into your everyday lifestyle are also key components to keeping your heart healthy and happy.
To celebrate Heart Month, treat yourself and your heart to these Cranberry Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies. They’re packed with fiber, crunchy sunflower seeds and a little sweetness thanks to dried cranberries and dark chocolate chips. You can still enjoy tasty foods while maintaining a healthy lifestyle! The key is to embrace simple, wholesome, quality ingredients and focus on foods that make you feel your best!
Cranberry Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies
- 2 tbsp ground flaxseed + 5 tbsp water
- 1 cup oat flour*
- 1 cup whole rolled oats**
- ½ cup almond flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ cup natural organic peanut butter
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips or dairy-free chocolate chips
- 1/3 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 350°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, combine the flaxseed and warm water and set aside to thicken for 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, stir together the oat flour, oats, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and sea salt.
In a medium bowl, stir together the peanut butter, coconut oil, and maple syrup and stir well to combine. Stir in the flaxseed mixture.
Add the wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients and fold in just until combined. Fold in the sunflower seeds, chocolate chips, and dried cranberries.
Scoop ¼ cup of batter for each cookie onto the baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until browned around the edges. Cool on the pan for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. When cookies are completely cool, they can be stored in an airtight container or frozen.
*Make Your Own Oat Flour: To make your own oat flour, use a food processor or high-speed blender to process 1 ¼ cups whole rolled oats into a fine flour and measure out one level cup.
**If you are gluten free, be sure to use certified gluten free oats.
Here’s to your heart health!