10 Heart Healthy Cooking Tips
When you want your family members to have healthy hearts, it is critical to make sure they have a good diet. As a mom of 5, it is my duty to use proper cooking techniques that can help reduce the fat and cholesterol in the food I serve to my family. When cooking healthy meals for the whole family, you’ll lower everyone’s risk for heart disease.
Let me share in this hub 10 heart healthy cooking tips that you can easily implement whenever you cook meals at home.
1. Use Healthy Oils
Using healthy oils in cooking is a great first step in improving your cooking. Olive oil and canola oil are the best oils because they’re monounsaturated. I use canola oil since it is cheaper.
Monounsaturated fat actually helps to lower cholesterol and make your heart and blood vessels work more efficiently. Anytime you need to cook in oil, you should use this type.
2. Use Healthy Cooking Methods
Frying foods all the time? Although it is probably one of the easiest cooking methods, as often as possible, you should try methods of cooking besides frying. There are many healthy options such as steaming, baking, broiling, stir frying and grilling. They are healthier for the body and make great flavored foods.
3. Add More Vegetables and Fruits
As often as possible, add vegetables and fruits to your recipes. For example, when making an omelet, add tomatoes or peppers to it. This will increase the fiber content and the nutrition you get from your food. When preparing lumpiang shanghai or even spaghetti sauce, add shredded carrot or perhaps dried malunggay leaves (crushed like herbs).
In the video below, you can find some more ideas on how to get your kids to eat more veggies.
4. Double Your Recipes
People in today’s world are on the go all the time. It’s hard to fit cooking into your schedule. But cooking at home almost always is healthier for you than eating out. Doubling your recipes is one way of making sure that you eat as many meals at home as possible.
With this tip, you serve one part of the recipe for the current meal and freeze the other part to be served another day. Make sure that you pack the food in amounts that are good for one meal and put them in a freezer-safe container.
When you get home after a long day’s work and don’t feel like cooking, you can just take some pre-cooked frozen meal and heat it up before serving. Be sure that it is steaming hot and not just warm to be safe for consumption.
5. Use Lean Meat
Buying and using lean meats for your recipes is also an important technique for lowering your saturated fat. When you need to use beef, choose cuts that are “round” or “loin” to keep the fat low.
Whenever possible, get low-fat ground beef for cooking. It’s a bit more expensive, but it is healthier. If you can substitute lean chicken and turkey for red meat in your recipes, that’s more sensible for your heart health.
Watch the videos below for more tips on how to cut fat from meat before you cook them.
6. Use Herbs and Spices
Many people make the mistake of eating bland food when they’re trying to eat healthier. But you need to make sure that the food you cook is still delicious and appealing or you and your family won’t be able to stick to eating healthy. So make use of your spice cabinet and find flavorful recipes that you look forward to eating.
7. Invest in Heart-Healthy Cookware
If you’re frying foods often, it would be good to invest in a cookware that promotes low-fat cooking. There are non-stick pans and ceramic pans that are being advertised on TV shopping shows and online shops that require the use of little to no oil when cooking.
Then, there are stove-top grills which make cooking barbecues and pancakes easy minus the fat. I use this type of grill at home and my kids love the aroma in the kitchen every time I cook chicken barbecue. All the barbecues will be gone as soon as they are served.
8. Lessen or substitute fats in recipes
As much as possible, I lessen the amount of oil I use when cooking even if I am already using canola oil, which is a healthy oil. This is what I do when sauteing.
Sometimes, when I cook pork or beef, such as longganisa and tocino, instead of frying, I let it boil in a little water over medium heat, then let the water evaporate until the oil is extracted from the meat or until cooked. By doing this, I get rid of a lot of fat from the food.
If you’re into baking, you can lessen the fat in different ways. You can cut the oil or butter used by 1/4 or 1/3. You can use egg whites only. You can also substitute prune butter or apple sauce for the butter. It would require testing the recipe though for flavor acceptability. Or you can just look up low-fat baking recipes.
9. Add Less Sodium in Your Food
By using less sodium, I mean not just using less table salt, but also less soy sauce, fish sauce and other seasonings with sodium or MSG. Having too much salt from food can cause high blood pressure and other related health problems like kidney disease.
Canned or processed foods also contain more sodium, so it's a good idea to limit serving such food items to your family. If ever you use canned vegetables, throw away the brine solution and rinse the veggies before cooking to reduce its sodium.
I admit that sometimes the dishes I cook are a little bland. But I guess that is better than having dishes that are too salty. Some of my kids have become used to eating food that is a little bland, so I guess it’s a plus for their health.
10. Remove Excess Fat from Cooked Foods
There are simple ways to remove excess fat from cooked food. For example, when frying, be sure to maintain proper oil temperature to avoid the absorption of excess oil. Also, drain the oil from fried food by letting it sit on paper towels for a minute or two.
If you want to remove the excess fat from stews like beef stew or nilagang baka, you may want to take the extra step of letting the boiled meat cool in the refrigerator for some time. You will notice the fat separating as a white solid on top, which you can easily remove. Then, you can reheat, add your vegetables and other spices and finish cooking.
I hope that through these cooking tips, you can cook more heart-healthy meals at home. I’d be glad to hear more of your heart-healthy cooking tips in the comments below.
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