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5 Superfoods for a Healthy Heart

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Make Over Your Kitchen for a Healthy Heart

8 ways to stock your kitchen for heart health.

5. Dial It Down on the Bad-Boy Products continued...

Beware of using these ingredients in recipes. They'll load up the meal with fat.

For example, a quarter cup of mayonnaise has 396 calories and 44 grams of fat -- and that's not even counting the fat from other ingredients in the recipe!

And it's not unusual for soup, sauce, and dessert recipes with liquid heavy whipping cream to call for a quarter cup per serving. That's 205 calories and 22 grams of fat per serving! Half-and-half cream brings it down to 79 calories and 7 grams of fat per quarter cup. But if you're making a cream soup, each serving could contain a cup of half-and-half cream, which comes to about 300+ calories and 28+ grams of fat.

6. Fill Your Fridge With Must-Have Heart-Smart Foods

Start with the fresh and frozen vegetables and fruits you like. Then add whole-grain products that you can make into quick entrees (like whole-wheat pita, whole-wheat tortillas, and whole-grain pasta cooked al dente and chilling in the refrigerator). Next, shop for:

  • Fresh and frozen fish you enjoy
  • Lean meat and vegetarian meat options like veggie burgers or soy-based meatballs
  • Low-fat dairy products such as low-fat yogurt, cheese, and cottage cheese
  • 1% or skim milk
  • Egg substitute
  • Sugar-free beverages that you like to drink, such as iced green tea, unsweetened, and mineral water

7. Use Your Freezer for Healthy Conveniences

Your freezer is your friend! If you have plenty of fruits and vegetables that you like in your freezer, there will never be a reason not to add them to your meals.

  • Frozen blueberries and raspberries work well when mixed into muffin and pancake batter and for topping oatmeal or waffles.
  • Frozen spinach adds color and nutrients to any omelet, pasta dish, pizza, or casserole.
  • Frozen broccoli florets, baby carrots, or frozen mixed vegetables are there when you need them for a quick side dish or for mixing in with the entree.

Look for frozen dinners that are low in sodium and saturated fat, but high in fiber. Keep them on hand for "every man for himself" meals that inevitably come along on certain weeknights. Also stock healthful frozen products your family enjoys, such as veggie burgers, healthful frozen pizza options, or meatless meatballs.

8. Make Over How You Follow Directions on Packages

You can play around with some mixes and boxed products to lower the fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and calories.

  • Instead of the butter or stick margarine called for when making macaroni & cheese from the box, add a tablespoon or two of heart-smart margarine and a tablespoon or two of fat-free sour cream to make up the difference.
  • To keep cholesterol low, Instead of adding three eggs to a dessert mix, beat in 1/4-cup egg substitute or two egg whites for every whole egg called for.

Another trick is looking on the nutrition label to see if the product already has some fat in the dry mix. If it has 3 to 4 grams of fat in the mix per serving, you probably can get away with not adding ANY of the fat they tell you to add. You will need to substitute something liquid or mostly moist to make up the difference though. Depending on the product, you could use:

  • Fat-free sour cream (for use in a cream pasta product)
  • Low-sodium broth (for use in a stuffing mix)
  • Low-fat or light flavored yogurt (for use in a muffin mix)
  • Strong coffee (for use in a brownie or cake mix)
  • Applesauce
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Reviewed on April 18, 2012
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