Whether you've had a cardiac episode, have a loved one who lives with heart disease or are simply trying to live a healthier lifestyle, your diet should be one of your foremost concerns. Unfortunately, many people have gained the impression that eating healthfully means sacrificing enjoyable foods and flavors for bland dishes. While there are certainly concessions that will need to be made in order to establish a healthy diet, eating in a way that benefits your heart doesn't have to be an unpleasant experience. In fact, there are a vast number of dishes that can not only be good for you but also incredibly enjoyable. Next time you and your friends are gathering for a tailgate or to watch the big game, try this recipe for heart-healthy chili.

Ingredients

1 medium bell pepper
1 medium white onion
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
14.5 oz. can unsalted, undrained diced tomatoes
½ teaspoon ground coriander
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 medium jalapeno
15.5 oz. can unsalted beans (pinto or kidney), drained and rinsed
¾ cup unsalted or low sodium salsa
1 lb. 95% lean ground beef (or ground low-fat white meat turkey or chicken)

Instructions

1) Begin by chopping the white onion evenly and breaking up the ground beef into even chunks.

2) Once you've broken up the meat and diced the onion, prepare for cooking by spraying a large saucepan with cooking spray. Put the beef and the onion into the pan and cook over medium heat for roughly five to seven minutes, stirring constantly to break the beef apart and mix the onion in.

3) Drain excess, cooked-away fat from the onion and beef by transferring it to a colander and rinsing the meat with warm water. Shake dry and return the mixture back to the saucepan.

4) Once the meat and onion combination has been returned to the pan, add in the chopped bell pepper, garlic, cumin and the chili powder. Next, chop the jalapeno into small pieces and add it into the mix. Cook this over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften.

5) Next, add all of the remaining ingredients into the saucepan. This should give the mixture a more liquid consistency. At this point, increase the heat under the saucepan to bring the chili to a boil. Once a rolling boil has been established, reduce the heat to allow the mixture to simmer for roughly 20 minutes while covered.

6) Serve and enjoy!

This recipe should feed a family of four a healthy and delicious dinner. Nutrition facts per serving: Calories, 297; total fat, 6 g; saturated fat, 2.5 g, trans fat, 0.5 g, cholesterol, 62 mg; sodium, 288 mg, carbohydrates, 29 g, protein, 31 g, fiber, 7g.

Also, it should be noted that this chili can be modified depending on a given individual's taste for spice. If you're looking for a hotter, spicier chili, add a teaspoon of cayenne pepper or chili sauce. If you're hoping for a milder mixture, then remove the jalapeno from the recipe and follow the same instructions. When serving, try adding low-fat grated cheddar cheese or sour cream to increase both taste and presentation. The nutrition facts above do not include these optional ingredients.

Recipe taken from the American Heart Association.

For more heart-healthy recipes:

Black Bean & Salmon Tostadas
Chicken Breasts with Green Chile-Almond Cream Sauce
Salmon Panzanella