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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Go for the gold with heart-smart food

Evans knows you don't have to be an Olympic athlete to have winning health.
 (Canola Info / The Spokesman-Review)
Family Features

Janet Evans, former Olympic champion, knows the importance of maintaining good health. She won five Olympic medals, 45 national titles and 17 international titles for distance swimming in her career. She broke a total of seven world records and still holds one.

Today, Evans is a businesswoman, motivational speaker and mother. And she knows that you don’t have to be an Olympic athlete to have winning health. Two important things to do are eat nutritious foods and exercise regularly.

Evans notes that it’s good for your heart to maintain a normal weight and be physically active, regardless of athletic ability.

“Try to balance physical activity and the amount of calories you eat daily,” she recommends. “Swim, bike, run — whatever you enjoy. Just vary your activity and have fun. Get friends or family members involved so you can motivate each other.”

A nutritious diet includes heart-smart foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans. It’s easy to incorporate these basic ingredients in simple recipes that offer both great flavor and nutrition.

“I love to cook with my family,” says Evans. “Some of our favorite recipes are for arrabiata pasta, vegetarian taco salad and smoothies with fresh, healthy ingredients.”

Like an exercise routine, good recipes start with a strong foundation. Canola oil is the basis of a great recipe with its healthy fats, neutral taste and light texture.

“Canola oil is one of the healthiest oils in the marketplace,” says Evans. “It has the lowest amount of saturated fat of any common cooking oil, zero trans fat and cholesterol. Canola oil also showcases the natural flavors of my dishes.”

Gold Medal Recipes by Janet Evans

Berry Good for You Smoothie

Smoothies are a great way to get a dose of fruit, fiber and good fats. This shake is loaded with antioxidants and full of flavor. Adding a little canola oil gives it omega-3 fats and vitamin E as well as a smoother taste. Every body wins with canola oil!

Yield: 2 cups

1 medium banana

1/2 cup blueberries

1/2 cup strawberries

1/2 cup green tea, cooled

1/2 cup cranberry juice

4 ice cubes

2 tablespoons canola oil

1. In blender, add banana, blueberries, strawberries, green tea, cranberry juice, ice cubes and canola oil.

2. Blend until combined. Serve immediately.

Tip: Use fresh or frozen fruit. Your favorite cold tea may be substituted for green tea.

Taco Salad with Homemade Pita Wedges

Using canola oil in the dressing makes it low in saturated fat and trans fat-free!

Serves 6 to 8


1 cup canola oil

1/4 cup white vinegar

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish

2 tablespoons ketchup

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper


1 head romaine lettuce, washed and torn

1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans,

drained and rinsed

1/2 cup low-fat cheddar cheese

1/4 cup red onion, sliced

1 tomato, diced

2 small whole wheat pitas, split in half and quartered

1. In bowl, whisk together canola oil, vinegar, lime juice, garlic, mustard, relish, ketchup, salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use. Dressing will keep for 3 to 4 days.

2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush each pita quarter with 1/2 teaspoon of dressing. Place on baking sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until crisp.

3. In large bowl, combine lettuce, beans, cheese, onion and tomatoes. Divide salad into 8 servings. Add 2 tablespoons dressing to each serving and toss. Serve with baked pita wedges.

Arrabiata Pasta Sauce

Pasta with a spicy tomato sauce is a quick, easy and healthy meal. The key to a great sauce is layering flavors, and it all starts with canola oil in a sizzling pan. With high heat tolerance and a neutral taste, canola oil is the perfect first ingredient.

Arrabiata means “angry style” in Italian, and it’s named as such due to the heat of the peppers. This simple, spicy sauce goes well with plain penne pasta. Adding fresh garden tomatoes to the sauce makes it hearty enough to go well with chicken or fish. If you like hot spice, add more red chili flakes!

Yield: 4 cups or 8 servings

3 tablespoons canola oil

1 onion, diced

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon red chili flakes

8 cups Roma tomatoes, seeded, chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar

3 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped

3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

Pepper to taste

1. Heat canola oil in saucepan over medium high heat. Sauté onions in canola oil until softened. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Add tomatoes and simmer with lid on for 20 minutes.

2. Remove lid, stir and simmer for 15 minutes. Add salt, sugar, oregano and basil. Stir to combine. Season with pepper to taste and serve.

Tip: You can substitute fresh tomatoes with two 28-ounce cans of low-sodium diced tomatoes.

All materials courtesy of Canola Info