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One of the things that helped me the most in learning how to have a heart healthy diet was buying some heart healthy cookbooks for recipes and cooking ideas. I looked for every healthy cookbook and magazine that I could find. I found a few that I’m really happy with. I have the New American Heart Association Cookbook, Taste of Home Healthy Cooking Cookbook, and Taste of Home Best Loved Healthy Recipes.
The New American Heart Association Cookbook has been very helpful. I’ve found lots of recipes that we like for snacks, dessert, fish, chicken, and vegetables. Some of our favorites are Lemon Basil Rice, Cinnamon Sugar Pita Crisps, Cookie Jar Snickerdoodles, and Crispy Baked Fillet of Sole (although I use salmon). I also have lots more on my list that I want to try. My favorite thing about this cookbook is the Appendices. I have learned so much from reading them! I learned how your diet affects your heart, how to grocery shop and cook for your heart, menu planning and substitutions.
Here are some tips about healthier preparations for cooking that I learned from that cookbook. Instead of frying foods, because that adds unnecessary fats and calories, use cooking methods that add little or no fat. Use a wok to stir-fry vegetables, poultry or seafood in vegetable stock or a small amount of oil. Don’t use high-sodium seasonings like teriyaki or soy sauce (however, there are low-sodium versions available). You can roast meat or poultry using a rack in the pan so it doesn’t sit in it’s own fat drippings. Don’t baste with those drippings, instead use fat-free liquids like tomato juice, lemon juice, or low-sodium fat free broth. If you make gravy from the drippings, chill gravy first then use a gravy strainer or skim ladle to remove the fat. Also, when you grill or broil, use a rack so that the fat drips away from the food. Baking foods is a good choice, and you can bake them in covered cookware with a little extra liquid if needed. I’ve never tried poaching anything, but you can cook chicken or fish by immersing it in simmering liquid.
I’ve always loved Taste of Home magazines, but now that we have to follow a heart healthy diet, a lot of my recipes from those magazines don’t qualify. I’ve been able to modify some, but others just can’t be modified. So, when I saw they made two healthy cookbooks, Taste of Home Healthy Cooking Cookbook and Taste of Home Best Loved Healthy Recipes, I was so excited! It’s their recipes, made healthier. I went through the cookbooks and wrote down the recipes I thought we would like; it ended up being 9 pages! So far, out of all the recipes we’ve tried, we only didn’t like one of them – not bad. Some of our favorites are Sweet Mustard Salmon, Turkey Meatballs and Sauce, Chocolate Ribbon Banana Loaf, Chicken Noodle Casserole, and True Love Chocolate Cake.
Have you found a good healthy cookbook you like?