How to Cook for a Healthy Heart

Heather Reese Health Guide
  • I know from my own experience with family and friends that even the best intentions when it comes to healthy eating can be undermined by high-fat cooking methods. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Healthy cooking can be really simple and easy and the most important tool is knowledge.

    There are many healthy ways to prepare your food. They include baking, broiling, poaching, roasting, steaming, sautéing and stir-frying. Generally, healthy cooking methods do not require a lot of added fat and they tend to allow any natural fat in the food item to drip away. Below is a description of some the methods you can use to maintain the integrity of your healthy food items.
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    Baking is a great method to use to prepare food in a heart healthy way because it does not require the addition of fat. Baking uses the hot air in the oven to cook the food item. Food can dry out while baking so you may need to baste it with the natural juices.

    Grilling and broiling are basically the outdoor/indoor versions of each other. You can grill outdoors and broil indoors. Grilling and broiling allow you to prepare food on racks so that the fat can drip away.

    Both poaching and steaming use liquid to cook food. When you poach food – you simmer it in a shallow pan with water or another liquid such as broth, vinegar or juice. Poaching enables you to keep the flavor of food without adding fat. You can also use the poaching liquid as a base for a sauce. Steaming is a very simple cooking technique. You place the food item in a basket that is suspended over simmering liquid and the steam cooks the food. You can flavor your food by adding seasonings to the water. This is a terrific way to maintain the flavor and the nutrients of your food item without having them turn out soggy.

    Roasting uses high temperatures and is a good way to cook poultry, seafood and meat. This is traditional way to cook a Thanksgiving turkey. When you roast your meat, put a rack in the bottom of the pan so that the fat can drip away from your meat. The rack prevents your food from sitting in its own fat drippings. Basting your food in fat-free liquids instead of the pan drippings is another way to cut the fat.

    A lot of people think of sautéing as being a high-fat cooking method because it is traditionally done in oil. But by choosing healthy oil like olive, canola or peanut, your sautéed meal can still be heart healthy. You can also sauté fat-free by using a nonstick cooking spray, broth or juice. The same is true for stir-frying. By applying these same methods, you can stir-fry a heart healthy meal.

Published On: February 26, 2007

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