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.
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.
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
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
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.
American Heart Association (2006). Diet and lifestyle recommendations revision 2006. Circulation, 114(1): 82–96. [Erratum in Circulation, 114(1): e27.]
Current as of:
April 29, 2021
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
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
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If you have any questions about healthy eating, food, or nutrition, call 8-1-1 (or 7-1-1 for the deaf and hard of hearing) toll-free in B.C. You can speak to a health service navigator who can connect you with one of our registered dietitians, who are available 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday. You can also leave a message after hours.
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HealthLinkBC Dietitians can also answer your questions by email.