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Modify Recipes for a Heart-Healthy Diet

British Columbia Specific Information

What you eat is important to the health of your heart. Heart healthy eating can help you prevent and/or manage high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or heart failure. For information on heart healthy eating and nutrition, see Healthy Eating – Heart Health. You may also call 8-1-1 to speak to a registered dietitian, Monday to Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., or you can Email a HealthLinkBC Dietitian.

For additional information on heart healthy eating and living, visit the BC Heart and Stroke Foundation.


You don't have to abandon all your favourite 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.

Recipe modifications

Instead of:


1 cup (250 mL) shortening or lard

¾ cup (175 mL) canola or olive oil

1 cup (250 mL) whole milk

1 cup (250 mL) skim milk

1 cup (250 mL) heavy cream

1 cup (250 mL) evaporated skim milk

1 cup (250 mL) sour cream

1 cup (250 mL) low-fat or fat-free yogurt or sour cream

1 cup (250 mL) cheddar cheese

1 cup (250 mL) low-fat cheddar cheese

225 g (8 oz) cream cheese

225 g (8 oz) light cream cheese or 110 g (4 oz) skim ricotta and 110 g (4 oz) tofu blended

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 can low-fat cream soup

454 g (1 lb) ground beef

(454 g) 1 lb ground turkey or (454 g) 1 lb extra-lean ground beef (97% lean)

6 oz (170 g) tuna in oil

6 oz (170 g) tuna in water

1 cup (250 mL) chocolate chips

½ cup (125 mL) chocolate chips

To eat less fat and salt, try these tips while you cook.

Heart-healthy cooking tips

Instead of:


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 skim milk.

Using butter or other fats high in saturated fat

Using products low in saturated fat. Try olive oil, vegetable oil, canola oil, or low-sodium chicken broth.

Using salt, soy sauce, or barbecue sauce

Using herbs, spices, or lemon

Eating all of the meat product

Eating a 2½ oz (75 g) serving of meat. (This is about the size of a deck of cards.) Trim fat from meat. Remove skin from chicken.


Current as of: March 1, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
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