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Heart-healthy cooking

You can easily change most recipes to reduce calories, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium.

Tips

The more liquid the margarine is, the less hydrogenated it is with less trans fatty acids. Margarine is a better choice than butter, and soft margarines are better than hard ones.

Choose trans fat-free margarines or spray margarines such as PAM®, Smart Balance® (spray).

Many commercial oat bran and wheat bran products, like muffins, chips and waffles, actually contain very little bran. They may be high in sodium, total fat and saturated fat. Read the labels to make sure.

With just a few minor changes in ingredients and preparation, you can change most of your favorite foods into healthy ones.

  • Choose low-fat (lean) cuts of meat. (For examples, see the meat and substitutes section of our low in saturated fat and cholesterol diet.)
  • Remove all fat from meats and skin and fat from poultry before cooking.
  • Use cooking methods that use little or no "fat." Boil, broil, bake, roast, poach, steam, saute, stir-fry with a small amount of recommended oil or use the microwave.
  • Don't deep-fry foods. Instead, saute meats or vegetables in a small amount of oil, flavored vinegars, low-calorie cooking spray, water or broth.
  • Pan broil foods on a non-stick surface (such as Teflon® or Silverstone®). Remove any fat as it accumulates.
  • Coat cookware with a low-calorie vegetable oil cooking spray. Avoid using shortening or butter.
  • Skim fat off soups and stews before serving.
    • Use an ice cube to congeal and remove fat, or a gravy strainer to separate fat from the juices.
    • Chill soups, stews and gravies after cooking so you can remove the hardened fat from the top.
  • Choose skim or 1 percent milk and non-fat or low-fat yogurt and cheeses.
  • Use herbs, spices or lemon juice to add flavor, instead of butter, bacon or salt.

 

 

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Helping Your Heart, fourth edition, cvs-ahc-90648

First published: 10/04/2002
Last updated: 06/01/2007

Reviewed by: Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts