Making serious life changes that will remain with you take time. This is not something you do for a week and then give up. Think about what motivates you to buy the food you buy...are you buying it on an impulse to satisfy a current craving? are your choices healthy for you or are you motivated by what you "really would rather eat"?
Your food choices are yours to make and the choices you make can have a beneficial impact on your health as well as your pain. I hope these entries are helping you to make small life choices you will be able to make and keep, as permanent life choices.
So, let's get back to the guidebook...heart healthy cooking, baking, and eating out....
Now that you have some experience reading ingredients lists and nutritional labels, it's time to get into the kitchen for some heart healthy cooking and baking. Preparing your own foods allows you to choose healthy ingredients as well as control the amount of fat, sugar and salt that is added to the recipe.
Baking, broiling, poaching, grilling, steaming, stir-frying and roasting foods are all lower fat cooking methods and are better than frying or deep-frying.
Cook and bake with good fats, such as vegetable oils and soft, non-hydrogenated margarine made from vegetable oils.
Excess sugar may add extra calories and contribute to weight gain, while excess salt may contribute to high blood pressure, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease. Try using a little less sugar than what the recipe calls for. To cut back on salt, cook with herbs, spices, flavoured vinegars, onions, garlic and citrus juice. Over time, your taste buds will get used to eating less sugar and salt.
TIP: 5 ways to cut down on fat when you cook and bake
- steam or stir-fry vegetables instead of frying or deep-frying
- drain off the fat after browning ground beef
- put soup, stew or chili in the fridge overnight - the next day skim off the hardened fat
- use muffin liners instead of greasing the muffin tin (works for cupcakes too)
- try using applesauce or low fat yogurt in place of some of the fat in your muffin recipes
Look for healthy options when you eat out
You have been practicing healthy habits at home and at the grocery store. Now it's time to practice your habits when you eat out.
Menu items at restaurants and take-out stores can be higher in fat, calories and cholesterol than what you would usually cook for yourself. Take charge of what you eat by asking questions about how the food is prepared. Some restaurants post their nutritional information online or int he store. Use this information to help you make healthy choices.
Look for menu items that are baked, broiled, poached, grilled, steamed or roasted. Avoid ordering foods that have been fried or deep-fried. Watch the portion sizes. Split a meal with a friend or take the leftovers home.
TIP: Heart healthy choices when you eat out
- order a mixed green salad or grilled vegetable appetizer instead of french fries or deep-fried seafood
- ask for salad dressing and sauces on the side so that you can control how much you use
- order two small appetizers instead of a large entree
- check the menu for heart healthy items such as vegetables, fruit, whole grains, beans, nuts, sees and fish