Leading health organizations agree that starting at age two everyone should follow heart-healthy diet and lifestyle recommendations. But eating heart healthy meals doesn't mean giving up on taste. Here are some tips on how to make "health" a special ingredient in your recipes:
How to Make Heart Healthy Meals
Source: National Institutes of Health National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: “Your Guide to Lowering Your Cholesterol With TLC”
- Use low-fat methods and remember not to add butter or high- fat sauces—Bake, broil, microwave, roast, steam, poach, lightly stir fry or sauté in cooking spray, small amount of vegetable oil, or reduced sodium broth, grill seafood, chicken, or vegetables.
- Use a nonstick (without added fat) or regular (with small amount of fat) pan.
- Chill soups and stews for several hours and remove congealed fat.
- Limit salt in preparing stews, soups, and other dishes—use spices and herbs to make dishes tasty.
- Cook with low-fat (1-percent fat) or fat-free types of milk or of evaporated milk, instead of whole milk or cream.
- Instead of sour cream, blend 1 cup low-fat, unsalted cottage cheese with 1 tablespoon fat-free milk and 2 tablespoons lemon juice, or substitute fat-free or low-fat sour cream or yogurt.
- Use a variety of herbs and spices in place of salt
- Use low-sodium bouillon and broths, instead of regular bouillons and broths.
- Use a small amount of skinless smoked turkey breast instead of fatback to lower fat content but keep taste.
- Use skinless chicken thighs, instead of neck bones.
- Use cooking oil spray to lower fat and calories.
- Use a small amount of vegetable oil, instead of lard, butter, or other fats that are hard at room temperature.
- To cut saturated fat, use regular soft margarine made with vegetable oil.
- Choose margarine that lists liquid vegetable oil as the first ingredient on the food label and is low in saturated fat and low in or free of transfat.
- In baking or cooking, use three egg whites and one egg yolk instead of two whole eggs, or two egg whites or 1/4cup of egg substitute instead of one whole egg.
Meats and Poultry
- Choose a lean cut of meat and remove any visible fat.
- Remove skin from chicken and other poultry before cooking.
- Try replacing beef with turkey in many recipes.
Sandwiches and Salads
- In salads and sandwiches, use fat-free or low-fat dressing, yogurt, or mayonnaise, instead of regular versions.
- To make a salad dressing, use equal parts water and vinegar, and half as much oil.
- Garnish salads with fruits and vegetables.
Soups and Stews
- Remove fat from homemade broths, soups, and stews by preparing them ahead and chilling them. Before reheating the dish, lift off the hardened fat that formed at the surface. If you don't have time to chill the dish, float a few ice cubes on the surface of the warm liquid to harden the fat. Then remove and discard the fat.
- Use cooking spray, water, or stock to sauté onion for flavoring stews, soups, and sauces.
- To make muffins, quick breads, and biscuits, use no more than 1–2 tablespoons of fat for each cup of flour.
- When making muffins or quick breads, use three ripe, very well-mashed bananas, instead of 1/2cup butter or oil. Or substitute a cup of applesauce for a cup of butter, margarine, oil, or shortening—you'll get less saturated fat and fewer calories.
- To make a pie crust, use only 1/2 cup margarine for every 2 cups of flour.
- For chocolate desserts, use 3 tablespoons of cocoa, instead of 1 ounce of baking chocolate. If fat is needed to replace that in chocolate, add 1 tablespoon or less of vegetable oil.
- To make cakes and soft-drop cookies, use no more than 2 tablespoons of fat for each cup of flour.