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Heart healthy cooking

June 10, 2008 - 7:30am
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Heart healthy cooking

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Cooking low-saturated fat, low-cholesterol dishes may not take a long time, but best intentions can be lost with the addition of butter or other added fats at the table. It is important to learn how both certain ingredients and preparation methods can add unwanted saturated fat and cholesterol to your dishes. The following list provides examples of lower fat cooking methods and tips on how to serve dishes low in saturated fat and cholesterol.

Low fat cooking methods

These cooking methods tend to produce lower saturated fat levels:

  • Bake, broil, microwave, poach, roast: vegetables, skinless chicken, and lean meats (when roasting-place meats on a rack so fat can drip away).
  • Steam
  • Lightly stir-fry or sauté in cooking spray, small amounts of vegetable oil, or reduced sodium broth
  • Grill: seafood, chicken or vegetables

How to save saturated fat and cholesterol

Look at the following examples for how to save saturated fat and cholesterol when preparing and serving foods. You might be surprised at how easy it is!

  1. Two tablespoons of butter on a baked potato can add an extra 16 grams of saturated fat and 22 grams of fat! However, ¼ cup salsa has 0 grams of saturated fat and no cholesterol!
  2. Two tablespoons of regular creamy Italian salad dressing will add an extra 3 grams of saturated fat and 18 grams of fat. Reduced fat Italian dressing adds no saturated fat and only 2 grams of fat!

Try these low-fat flavorings

  • Herbs-oregano, basil, cilantro, thyme, parsley, sage, rosemary
  • Spices-cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, paprika
  • Reduced fat or non-fat salad dressing
  • Mustard
  • Catsup
  • Reduced fat or non-fat mayonnaise
  • Reduced fat or non-fat sour cream
  • Reduced fat or non-fat yogurt
  • Reduced sodium soy sauce
  • Salsa
  • Lemon or lime juice
  • Vinegar
  • Horseradish
  • Fresh garlic
  • Fresh ginger
  • Sprinkled buttered flavor (not made with real butter)
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Sprinkle of parmesan cheese (stronger flavor than most cheese)
  • Sodium-free salt substitute
  • Jelly or fruit preserves on toast or bagels


The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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