Heart-healthy cooking to prevent stroke

Your heart and brain need nutritious foods to stay healthy. And while we all know the importance of a balanced diet that incorporates fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins and is low in sodium and both saturated and trans fats, did you know maintaining a healthful diet requires more than just choosing the right foods?

How you prepare your food is just as important.

There are many different methods to cut cholesterol, trim fat and reduce calories without sacrificing taste or spending all day in the kitchen. On behalf of the medical professionals at the Comprehensive Stroke Center at St. Mary’s Medical Center and the Palm Beach Children’s Hospital, here are a few tips to help you serve more savory dishes that are both heart smart and nutritious.

Tips on Healthful Meal Preparation

  • Roast, grill or broil using a rack so the meat or poultry does not sit in its own fat drippings.
  • Stir-fry in a wok with vegetable stock, wine or a little bit of peanut oil.
  • Steam foods in a basket over simmering water.
  • Poach chicken or fish by immersing it in simmering liquid.

Make Nutritious Substitutions

You can make your favorite recipes more heart healthy by substituting certain ingredients to reduce fat, cholesterol and sodium.

  • Instead of heavy cream, use evaporated fat-free milk.
  • Replace sour cream with low-fat cottage cheese and low-fat or nonfat yogurt.
  • Instead of shortening, use olive, canola or safflower oil.
  • Exchange canned vegetables for fresh or frozen vegetables.
  • When baking, replace oil, shortening or butter with ripe mashed bananas or applesauce.
  • Use lower-cholesterol meats, such as beef round, sirloin, loin and ground beef that is…

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