Making Your Favorite Recipes Heart Healthy

Melanie Thomassian Health Pro
  • If you have heart disease you may be wondering how to cook healthier meals, which are more suitable for your condition. The good news is that you don't need to throw out all of your favorite recipes!


    It is true that many cookbooks use ingredients, which are extremely high in fat, with lots of sugar and salt added. However, there are a number of great tips and tricks to help you substitute healthier ingredients into your favorite recipes.


    The easiest way to make your meals healthier is to simply reduce the amount of fat, salt and sugar they contain, as well as increasing the fiber content. However, in attempting to get the flavor and texture just right, this can involve some trial and error!

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    Thankfully, the effort is worthwhile in the long run. Personally, I have discovered some great alternatives in my own cooking; the mishaps are all part of the fun!


    Here are some excellent tips for adapting your recipes at home:

    • Grill, bake, poach, steam, microwave or boil foods rather than frying them or cooking with added fat
    • Purchase a good quality set of non-stick pans so that you can cook without adding fat, or at the very least you can use less
    • Cook with healthier oils, for example olive, canola or rice bran oil
    • Use low fat dairy products where possible, such as skimmed or semi-skimmed milk, reduced fat cheeses and low fat yogurts
    • Light crème fraiche can be used in savory sauces instead of using double cream
    • Light crème fraiche can also be served on hot or cold puddings in place of cream
    • Try using fromage frais in desserts and dips, rather than cream or Greek yogurt
    • Evaporated skimmed milk can also be used instead of cream
    • Use extra thick single cream on top of desserts instead of using double cream
    • Try using stronger flavored grated cheese for cooking, the stronger flavor will mean that you won't need to use as much
    • Try reducing the amount of salt you use in cooking and at the table by adding extra flavor with lemon juice, herbs, spices or mustard
    • Replace 1/4 to 1/2 of the ground meat or poultry in dishes with cooked brown rice, couscous, peas, beans or lentils to reduce calories and add bulk to your meals
    • Pureed cooked vegetables, such as carrots, potatoes or cauliflower can be used to thicken soups or sauces instead of a butter and flour roux, cream or egg yolks
    • In non-baked goods, you can reduce the total amount of sugar used by 25% - instead of using 1 cup of sugar, use ¼ cup instead. You may also want to add cinnamon or nutmeg as extra flavor
    • In baked goods most cake recipes will work very well even if the sugar in the recipe is cut by a half
    • Fruit purees, fruit juices, or buttermilk can be used to replace the fat in a recipe
    • Increase the fiber content of your meals by substituting at least half of the white flour for a whole wheat flour


    More Ways to Have a Heart Healthy Holiday:


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    holiday food



    Need some help making your holiday recipes heart healthy? has answers to these questions and more!


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    What are your tips for making your meals more heart healthy?



    Melanie Thomassian is the author of, an online resource for credible dietary advice, exercise tips, and much more!

Published On: November 19, 2007