For many heart patients and their families, how they cook is as important as what they cook. Reducing salt intake is often the biggest challenge. Controlling saturated fat and cholesterol consumption also is important.
To reduce salt:
* Don't add salt when you cook.
* Don't season meats and vegetables with prepackaged mixes, which often contain a lot of salt.
To reduce fat and cholesterol, don't fry foods in oil, which adds unwanted fat and calories.
Instead, the American Heart Association suggests these healthier techniques:
Stir-fry. Use a wok to cook vegetables, poultry and seafood in vegetable stock or a small amount of oil. Avoid high-sodium seasonings like teriyaki and soy sauce.
Microwave. This fast alternative doesn't add fat or calories.
Roast. Put a rack in the pan so the meat or poultry doesn't sit in its own fat drippings. Instead of basting the meat with pan drippings, use fat-free liquids like wine, tomato juice or lemon juice. When making gravy from the drippings, use a gravy strainer or skim ladle to remove the fat.
Grill or broil. Always use a rack so fat drips away from the food.
Bake. Bake foods in covered cookware with a little extra liquid.
Poach. Cook chicken or fish by immersing it in simmering liquid.
Saut. Cook in a nonstick metal pan; it allows you to use little or no oil without having food stick. You also can use a small amount of nonstick vegetable spray to keep food from sticking.
Steam. Steam vegetables in a basket over simmering water. They'll retain more flavors and won't need any salt.
For more heart-healthy recipes, visit Western Baptist's online heart care center at westernbaptist.com/heart. Click on the "Steps to Living Longer" link for holiday treats, appetizers, main dishes and more.
You also can make favorite recipes healthier by substituting ingredients to cut down on fat content. This table provided by the American Heart Association can get you started:
When your recipe says
Try this instead
|Whole milk (1 cup)||1 cup fat-free or nonfat milk plus one tablespoon of unsaturated oil|
|Heavy cream (1 cup)||1 cup evaporated skim milk or 1/2 cup low-fat yogurt and 1/2 cup plain low-fat cottage cheese|
|Sour cream||Low-fat cottage cheese plus low-fat or nonfat yogurt (fat-free sour cream also is available)|
|Cream cheese||4 tablespoons margarine blended with 1 cup dry low-fat cottage cheese; add a small amount of fat-free milk if needed|
|Butter (1 tablespoon)||1 tablespoon polyunsaturated margarine or 3/4 tablespoon polyunsaturated oil|
|Shortening (1 cup)||2 sticks polyunsaturated margarine|
|Egg (1)||1 egg white plus 2 teaspoons of unsaturated oil or commercially made, cholesterol-free egg substitute|
|Unsweetened baking chocolate (1 ounce)||3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder or carob powder plus 1 tablespoon polyunsaturated oil or margarine. Carob is sweeter than cocoa, so reduce sugar in recipe by 1/4.|