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Modify Recipes for a Heart-Healthy Diet
You don't have to abandon all your favorite recipes to eat healthier. Several small changes to your current recipes can often greatly lower the saturated fat and sodium in your diet.
These small changes can make a big difference in the amount of fat and calories in your diet. But they won't make much difference in how your meals taste or how much you enjoy them. Here are some ideas for making heart-healthy changes in your recipes.
1 cup shortening or lard
¾ cup canola or olive oil
1 cup oil (baking)
¼ cup oil and ½ cup applesauce
1 cup whole milk
1 cup fat-free milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup evaporated skim milk
1 cup sour cream
1 cup low-fat or fat-free yogurt or sour cream
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 cup low-fat cheddar cheese
8 oz cream cheese
8 oz light cream cheese
4 oz skim ricotta and 4 oz tofu blended
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can low-fat cream soup
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground turkey or 1 lb extra-lean ground beef (97% lean)
6 oz tuna in oil
6 oz tuna in water
1 cup chocolate chips
½ cup chocolate chips
To eat less fat and salt, try these tips while you cook.
Frying your food
Baking, broiling, steaming, poaching, or grilling your food.
Eating convenience foods (canned soups, TV dinners, frozen pizza)
Eating fresh fish, meats, fruits, and vegetables. Or look for low-salt convenience foods. Then make a balanced meal by adding a fruit, a vegetable, and low-fat or fat-free milk.
Using butter or other fats high in saturated fat
Using products low in saturated fat. Try olive oil, vegetable oil, canola oil, or chicken broth.
Using salt, soy sauce, or barbecue sauce
Using herbs, spices, or lemon
Eating all of the meat product
Eating a 2 oz to 3 oz serving of meat. (This is about the size of a deck of cards.) Trim fat from meat. Remove skin from chicken.
More tips for reducing fat in recipes
- Reduce the amount of fat in the recipe by half. (This can often be done without having a major effect on the final product.)
- Use nonstick pans and nonstick cooking sprays to cut down on the amount of fat used in cooking.
- When you stir-fry, use a small amount of oil. If foods start to stick, use water, wine, broth, or tomato juice to add moisture. Don't add more oil or other fat.
- When making pies, omit the high-fat pastry crusts.
- Experiment with herbs, spices, or even lemon to add flavor to low-fat foods.
Other Works Consulted
- American Heart Association (2006). Diet and lifestyle recommendations revision 2006. Circulation, 114(1): 82–96. [Erratum in Circulation, 114(1): e27.]
Current as of: August 31, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Rakesh K. Pai MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Colleen O'Connor PhD, RD - Registered Dietitian
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