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Nutrition for a Healthy Heart

A healthy eating plan means more than choosing the right foods to eat.  It's important to prepare foods in a healthy way.  Some ways of cooking are better than others when it comes to cutting cholesterol, fat and calories.  At the same time, you want to get as much nutritional value as possible.

You don't have to give up taste or the the things you love.  Just learn some heart-healthful cooking techniques and you can have it all (almost)!

What are good ways to cook?

  • Roast -- with a rack so the meat or poultry doesn't sit in its own fat drippings. Set at 350 degrees to avoid searing. Baste with fat-free liquids like wine, tomato juice or lemon juice.
  • Bake -- in covered cookware with a little extra liquid.
  • Braise or Stew -- with more liquid than baking, on top of the stove or in the oven.  Refrigerate the cooked dish and remove the chilled fat before reheating.
  • Poach -- by immersing chicken or fish in simmering liquid.
  • Grill or Broil -- on a rack so fat drips away from the food.
  • Saute - in an open skillet over high heat.  Use nonstick vegetable spray, a small amount of broth or wine, or a tiny bit of canola oil rubbed onto the pan with a paper towel.
  • Stir-fry -- in a Chinese wok with a tiny bit of peanut oil.
  • Microwave -- needs no extra fat; in fact, you can drain food of fat by placing it between two paper towels while it cooks.
  • Steam -- in a basket over simmering water.

How can I cut fat without losing taste?

  • After browning, put ground meat into a strainer lined with paper towels.
  • To make gravy without fat, blend a tablespoon of cornstarch with a cup of room-temperature broth by shaking them together in a jar.  Heat the rest of the broth and add the blended liquid, simmering until thick.
  • Make scrambled eggs or omelettes using only one egg yolk per portion, add a few extra egg whites to the batch.  Or use an egg substitute product.
  • Remove oils by draining canned tuna, salmon or sardines and rinsing them in water.
  • Don't overcook vegetables.  Steam or bake them instead of boiling so they keep more of their natural flavors.
  • Mix creamy salad dressing with plain low-fat yogurt.
  • Use finely chopped vegetables to stretch ground poultry or meat.
  • Use herbs and spices to add flavor to foods.

My eating plan

Talk about your diet with your doctor, nurse or dietitian. Together, fill in the blanks below.  Then use the sample chart to keep track of what you eat every day.

____  No. of calories

____  No. of grams of fat per day

____  Weight (weigh yourself once a week)

Foods to avoid:  __________________________________________

Good foods:  _____________________________________________

Make a chart to keep track of your daily intake of calories and fat:


No. of Calories

No. of Fat Grams













Daily Total





1994, American Heart Association