Preparing healthful meals and eating with others is worth your time on many levels. People who eat “family meals” eat a more healthful diet that’s lower in fat and saturated fat and higher in fruits and vegetables. That’s good news for your heart.
During February, American Heart Month, take steps to respect your hardworking heart. Some research has shown that heart disease can begin in childhood. Heart disease is the leading cause of death among men and women.
As a first step to a healthier heart, consider your food preparation methods and recipes. Is it time to set some goals to eat less saturated fat and trans fat and more whole grains, fruits and vegetables? Which of these heart-healthy cooking tips do you use?
• Steam, boil, bake or microwave vegetables rather than fry. Or stir-fry vegetables in a small amount of vegetable oil.
• Season vegetables with herbs and spices instead of fatty sauces, butter or margarine.
• Try flavored vinegars or lemon juice on salads or use smaller servings of oil-based or low-fat salad dressings.
• Use vegetable oil in place of solid shortening, margarine and butter whenever possible. Try using less oil than shortening in baked products.
• Try whole-grain flours to enhance flavors of baked goods.
• Replace whole milk with low-fat or skim milk in puddings, soups and baked products.
• Substitute plain, low-fat yogurt or blender-whipped low-fat cottage cheese for sour cream or mayonnaise.
• Choose lean cuts of meat and trim fat from meat before and/or after cooking. Remove skin from poultry before or after cooking.
• Roast, bake, broil or simmer meat, poultry or fish rather than fry.
• Cook meat or poultry on a rack so the fat will drain. Use a nonstick pan for cooking so added fat is unnecessary.
• Chill meat or poultry broth until the fat becomes solid. Spoon off the fat before using the broth.
• To lower fat and cholesterol, try substituting egg whites in recipes calling for whole eggs. Use two egg whites in place of each whole egg in muffins, cookies and puddings.
Here’s an easy recipe featuring apples from the “Kids a Cookin” program at Kansas State University.Apples are a good source of heart-healthy soluble fiber. You’ve heard about an apple a day, right?
1 Granny Smith apple
1 1/4 c. any type pancake
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp.canola oil
1 c. low-fat milk
Lightly coat a griddle or skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Peel, core and thinly slice apple into rings. In a large mixing bowl, combine ingredients for pancake batter. Stir until ingredients are evenly moist. (Small lumps are OK! Overmixing makes pancakes tough.) For each pancake, place an apple ring on the griddle and pour about 1/4 cup batter over an apple ring, starting in the center and covering the apple. Cook until bubbles appear. Turn and cook other side until lightly brown.
Makes six servings (two pancakes each.) Each serving has 160 calories, 4 grams (g) of fat, 24 g of carbohydrate and1goffiber.
(Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., is a North Dakota State University Extension Service Food and Nutrition Specialist and Professor in the Department of Health, Nutrition and Exercise Sciences.)
Please contact me with any questions at 254-4811 or email email@example.com.
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