Last Updated on May 12, 2017 by Jeff
When it comes to cooking, there are certain foods that are better for your health and heart than others. Excess grease, fat and salt is delicious, but not good for your heart. Thankfully, there are lots of heart healthy alternatives you can use while cooking. You can cut down on trans fats, saturated fats, cholesterol and calories while still making great tasting food.
Eggs are a great way to get more protein in your diet. They contain all nine essential amino acids required for a healthy diet. In reality, you can eat the eggs with the yolks and they’re still a healthy option. But to cut some fat, use two egg whites in place of each whole egg. This is a great way to cut a few calories from baked goods. Egg whites made in omelets or added to breakfast sandwiches are the perfect way to cut fat and calories from your breakfast.
When baking, butter adds the moisture and fat needed to make delicious baked goods. It also adds a lot of non-heart healthy fat. When baking, you can substitute unsweetened mashed or pureed fruit for butter. Try using unsweetened applesauce, mashed bananas or pureed prunes.
Many people choose canola or vegetable oil for cooking and sautéing, but extra-virgin olive oil is a much healthier option. It’s also a great replacement for butter when cooking. You can also try cutting back on oil altogether by using an olive oil cooking spray instead of pouring it from the bottle so that you use less. Extra-virgin olive oil is also a very good replacement for salad dressing. You can add balsamic vinegar, lemon or just a pinch of salt and pepper for an even healthier salad.
Cheese and milk is delicious, but many recipes made with dairy are high in fat and calories. Instead of using heavy cream in a recipe, you can use half the amount of fat-free yogurt or cottage cheese. You can also substitute plain fat-free yogurt for sour cream in recipes and dips. Use Greek yogurt for an added protein boost. Try putting avocado or hummus on your sandwich in place of cheese for a creamy, healthy alternative.
There are plenty of meat alternatives, including ones made from soy, bean and veggies. But you don’t have to cut meat out entirely to have a more heart-healthy diet. Try using ground turkey instead of ground beef in dishes like chili or tacos. With all the spices, you won’t even taste the difference. If you must eat red meat, choose leaner options, such as ground sirloin over ground chuck. Instead of eating bacon with your egg whites, try using prosciutto or pancetta instead. When eating chicken or poultry, skinless white meat is lower in calories and fat and higher in protein and iron. Of course, grilling, baking or roasting meat and poultry is always a better alternative to frying.
While it’s not necessarily for cooking, many people like to accompany a good meal with a drink. If you’re going to have a glass of wine, pick a red over a white. Red wines actually have some health benefits, including antioxidants that can lower cholesterol. Instead of using juice or soda in mixed drinks, make them with soda water and slices of lime or orange.