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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.

Topic Overview

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:

Choose:

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 skim 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

½ cup cream cheese

½ cup light cream cheese

¼ cup skim ricotta and ¼ cup tofu blended

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 can low-fat cream soup

450 g (1 lb) ground beef

450 g (1 lb) ground turkey or 450 g (1 lb) extra-lean ground beef (97% fat-free)

170 g tuna in oil

170 g tuna in water

2 eggs

4 egg whites or an equal amount of egg substitute

1 cup chocolate chips

½ cup chocolate chips

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

Heart-healthy cooking tips

Instead of:

Try:

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 chicken broth

Using salt, soy sauce, or barbecue sauce

Using herbs, spices, or lemon

Eating all of the meat product

Eating a 57 g (2 oz) to 85 g (3 oz) serving of meat. This is about the size of a deck of cards. Trim fat from meat. Remove skin from chicken.

Eating egg yolks

Eating egg whites or egg substitutes

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 non-stick pans and non-stick 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 flavour to low-fat foods.

Health Tools

Health Tools help you make wise health decisions or take action to improve your health.

Actionsets are designed to help people take an active role in managing a health condition.

References

Other Works Consulted

  • American Heart Association (2006). Diet and lifestyle recommendations revision 2006. Circulation, 114(1): 82–96. [Erratum in Circulation, 114(1): e27.]

Credits

Current as of:
August 31, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Rakesh K. Pai MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Brian D. O'Brien MD - Internal Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Colleen O'Connor PhD, RD - Registered Dietitian