10 Tips for Fixing Heart Healthy Recipes

Do you remember Grandma's apple cobbler? Is spaghetti one of your favorite meals? You can still eat these things, but new versions of them, if you know how to swap ingredients. Here are 10 tips for fixing heart healthy recipes.

1. Replace eggs wih a cholesterol-free egg substitute. If you don't have a substitute on hand, you may use egg whites. According to the American Heart Association, two egg whites may be substituted for a whole egg in baking recipes.

2. Use fat free (skim) milk. This one change saves you calories and lowers your cholesterol level.

3. Choose non-fat cheese. For better melting Dr. Richard Collins, author of The Cooking Cardiologist, recommends soaking the cheese in milk for a few minutes before adding it to recipes.

4. Add fiber -- fresh fruit, dried fruit, vegetables, and grains -- whenever possible. Fiber is good for you and fills you up.

5. Cook with plant oils, such as olive, corn, and canola. If you're sauteing food, add a teaspoon of butter to the oil for flavor. Use as little oil as possible.

6. Swap unsweetened applesauce for shortening in baking recipes. But cooking is chemistry and, for best results, you may have to add a teaspoon of oil.

7. Hold the salt. Excess salt raises your blood pressure. Insstead of salt Mayo Clinic recommends citrus zest, fresh and dried herbs. To bring out the flavor of dried herbs rub them with your fingers before adding them to the recipe.

8. Cut back on sugar. Recipes made with half the sugar may taste just as sweet. Instead of sugar you may use Splenda, a no-calorie sweetener made from sugar, or half Splenda and half sugar.

9. Go lean on protein. Buy lean cuts of beef, skinless chicken, extra lean chops and fish. Some recipes, like spaghetti sauce with mushrooms, may not need protein at all.

10. Eat normal (not supersized) servings. According to the Univesity of Missouri Extension Service, large servings add up to 200-500 calories a day, which can add up to 20-50 extra pounds a year.

A few ingredient changes can have a huge impact on your heart health. Before you know it these swaps will be automatic. The heart is your body's main pump so take care of it.

Copyright 2005 by Harriet Hodgson.

Harriet Hodgson has been a nonfiction writer for 26 years and is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists. Her latest book, Smiling Through Your Tears: Anticipating Grief, written with Lois Krahn, MD, is availble on http://www.amazon.com. Go to http://www.harriethodgson.com for more information on her work. Hodgson is hard at work on her next book, Doctor in the House: An Inside Look at Medical Marriage.

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