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Score one for heart-healthy eating

February 8, 2017

Lindsay Sawyer Lim, R.D.N., L.D.N., M.B.A., M.P.H.
Clinical nutrition manager, NCH Nutrition and Food Services

Forget the flowers, candy or jewelry this February. Instead, gift your family (and your heart) with healthy, yet tasty alternatives. Your heart will thank you!

Nine ways to score big with your heart:

  • Ditch the butter and substitute heart healthy oils, such as olive and canola. Both of these choices can be used in most recipes.
  • Say bye to the fry. Avoid recipes that call for deep frying.
  • Shake loose from the salt habit, and un-invite your salt shaker to the table. These spices add flavor without adding sodium: garlic, ginger, cilantro, paprika, cayenne, cumin, sage, thyme and rosemary.
  • Think whole grains. There’s a lot of ‘pasta-bilities.’ Try whole wheat pasta. Use brown rice instead of white. If a recipe calls for white flour, use a half-and-half combo of white and whole wheat flour.
  • Choose low-fat mayo (and end that relationship with its full fat relative). Depending on the recipe, you can also substitute nonfat or low-fat yogurt or a mashed avocado.
  • Invite more veggies to your table. You can add vegetables to almost any recipe and make it more nutritious and heart healthy. Add vegetables to scrambled eggs in the morning. Put extra vegetables in any pasta, casserole or soup recipe.
  • Don’t forget the fruit! Add fruits to breakfast items, like cold and hot cereals, pancakes or waffles, and desserts, like ice cream, buckles and crisps.
  • Make lean meats the norm. Beef cuts with ‘round’ or ‘loin’ in the name are generally lean. Choose 90 percent lean or higher when buying ground meat. Remove the skin from chicken when possible.
  • Low fat doesn’t mean low taste. Use reduced-fat cheese, sour cream and milk. You can also use less than the called for quantity and still have a great result.

Check out this heart-healthy recipe.