Kick off American Heart Month right
Antonia Lofaso

Antonia Lofaso talks heart health

With more than 42 million women suffering from heart disease in the U.S., focusing on a healthy lifestyle has never been more important. Check out these healthy living and eating tips from a recent interview with Top Chef alum Antonia Lofaso.

We recently got a chance to talk with celebrity chef Antonia about her partnership with Campbell Soup Company's Address Your Heart Kitchen Project as well as her go-to recipes for healthy eating and how she stayed fit during her stints on Top Chef.

She recently became a partner in the Campbell Soup Company's Address Your Heart Kitchen Project, which is a large campaign to bring awareness to heart disease. The reason she joined the team was simple.

"My mom was recently diagnosed with heart disease. By looking at her, you wouldn’t think that, she is thin and always put together. You wouldn't believe heart disease could happen to her. So it was all those changes we started to make to help her get a little heart healthy that really motivated me."

Heart-healthy meal inspiration

For many regular Americans, finding inspiration for healthy meals in tough. Even though inspiration comes a little easier to Antonia, she shares a few places anyone can find inspiration for heart-healthy meals.

"My inspiration pretty much comes from everywhere, but a lot of it comes from farmers markets. You really open your eyes to different things, like raw legumes or the variety of peas and dried beans. You can really see new, fresh ingredients that you don't use often that really add to the flavor of dishes."

Like many Americans, one of her biggest struggles is time management. She has a 13-year-old daughter at home, so she's constantly racing the clock. Because we always feel rushed, we asked her what her go-to healthy recipes are for when she's in a hurry.

"There are a couple things I go to, especially in the morning, like oatmeal. I always like to have cooked oatmeal (not the packaged stuff you put water into) with my breakfast. I make it three days in advance and add new toppings like nutmeg, vanilla and cinnamon for variety."

Start small

Because heart disease was such a surprise to her mother, we asked Antonia what her big pieces of advice would be to other women who are blindsided with similar diagnoses.

"I feel like you have to rip it off like a Band-Aid. Maybe six days a week you stay away from high-fat items. Keep it to what you need to enjoy and live your life. Like a well-rounded breakfast, lunch and dinner, things that are high in fiber. Then maybe have one day where you can eat something sweet or something fatty."

Being a chef isn't often synonymous with a healthy lifestyle, especially when you're competing on a high-stakes show like Top Chef. So we asked Antonia how she stayed healthy during the grueling schedule of Top Chef, as well as during her tenure as a chef.

"I actually felt like Rocky Balboa on Top Chef! If you didn't drink a bottle of water and take your vitamins or eat food with a lot of iron, you would have gotten sick with the schedule we were keeping. Being a chef, it was very hard at the beginning. I am always around decadent food so when I taste things, I just taste a small portion. It's all about portion control. At the end of the day, I was consuming 5,000 calories just from tastings."

To help inspire you to create healthy meals at home, Antonia is sharing one of the recipes she created for Campbell's with us on the next page.

Up next: Get Antonia's goat cheese panzanella recipe >>

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