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Healthy summer recipes

Columbia St. Mary’s Heart Secrets registered dietitian Kathy Redlinger encourages you to make summertime meals using the freshest vegetables, which are chock-full of essential vitamins, minerals and fiber, as the key ingredients.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, healthy diets rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases.

“Eating vegetables is critical to your health,” says Redlinger. “And, having a salad certainly isn't the only way to prepare them. There are lots of tasty recipes, perfect for hot summer days.”

If you have any questions or would like more information about nutrition, please contact Women’s Heart Secrets at (414) 291-1550 or visit  

Tomato Gazpacho
This cool soup is perfect during the dog days of summer. Not only is it refreshing and delicious, it’s packed with heart-healthy vegetables and olive oil. It can be served on its own as an appetizer, or add crusty bread and hummus or grilled shrimp to make it a meal. This recipe serves four. 

1 pound fresh tomatoes (about 2 cups), chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon wine vinegar or lemon juice
2 cups low-sodium tomato juice
1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
½ red pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons fresh basil
Pepper to taste 

Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Serve at room temperature or chill before serving, depending on your preference. 

Classic Pesto
Pesto is one of the quickest and most delicious ways to incorporate heart-healthy fats into your diet and move away from unhealthy fats like mayonnaise, sour cream and butter. It requires no cooking and tastes great.

1 (8-ounce) bag of basil, chopped
½ cup pine nuts
3 cloves garlic, peeled
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh ground pepper to taste

Place basil, olive oil and garlic into a food processor or blender. Blend. Use more oil if needed for texture. Add nuts and blend again. Pour into a bowl. Stir in Parmesan cheese and pepper.

Pesto has a variety of uses. Here are some suggestions:

  • Add a little pesto to whole-grain pasta, or for a low-carbohydrate version, serve pesto over spaghetti squash or zucchini ribbons.

  • Use pesto as a marinade or sauce for baked or grilled shrimp, fish, chicken or portobello mushrooms.

  • Freeze leftover pesto in ice-cube trays. Pop the pesto cubes into a sealed freezer bag. Defrost one or two at a time as needed. 


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