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Tips for Healthy Cooking

Fitness for mind and body.

When cutting back on sodium, fat and cholesterol, how you cook is just as important as what you cook.

Salt Shaker

You don't have to give up taste or the foods you love. Often minor changes in how favorite foods and recipes are prepared can make a big difference.

The first goal for many people with heart disease is to reduce the amount of salt they eat. This is usually more important than controlling fat and cholesterol consumption. If you usually add salt while cooking, simply put the salt shaker out of reach. Don't season meats and vegetables with prepackaged mixes, which often contain a lot of salt. Don't fry foods in oil, which adds unwanted fat and calories. Instead, try some of these healthier seasonings and techniques:

Healthier Ways of Cooking

Cooking Healthy

  • Stir-fry. Use a wok to cook vegetables, poultry and seafood in vegetable stock, wine or a small amount of oil. Avoid high-sodium seasonings like teriyaki and soy sauce.
  • Microwave .This is a good alternative because it's fast and doesn't add fat or calories.
  • Roast. Put a rack in the pan so the meat or poultry doesn't sit in its own fat drippings. Instead of basting the meat with pan drippings, use fat-free liquids like wine, tomato juice or lemon juice. When making gravy from the drippings, use a gravy strainer or skim ladle to remove the fat.
  • Grill or broil. Always use a rack so fat drips away from the food.
  • Bake. Bake foods in covered cookware with a little extra liquid.
  • Saute. A pan made with nonstick metal or coated with a nonstick surface is a terrific investment, because it lets you use little or no oil without having food stick. You also can use a nonstick vegetable spray, a small amount of broth or wine, or a tiny bit of oil rubbed onto the pan with a paper towel. When necessary, use liquid vegetable oils that have no more than 2 g of saturated fat per tablespoon.
  • Steam. Steam vegetables in a basket over simmering water. They'll retain more flavor and won't need any salt.

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