Heart Healthy Ways in the Kitchen
February 08, 2014

Our heart healthy ways in the kitchen are simple, true to taste and kid approved!human heart

1)      Make sure you put lots of love into the food you make. It translates in appearance, texture, quality PLUS the more love the better it tastes!

2)      Sprinkle/add ground or whole flax and chia seed where and when you can. Ground flax/chia seed is better for maximum absorption. I add either or to eggs, our favourite organic cereals and sprinkled on top of yogurt, smoothies, really it can be added anywhere even waffles/pancakes on top of soups etc…

Flax seeds: is considered a grain (but low carbohydrates, which makes it a great alternative in limiting high starches and sugars) but leaves other grains in the dust due to its rich nutrient payload in fiber, antioxidants and Omega-3 Fatty Acids which is brain food, great for helping kids concentrate.

Chia seeds: It contains calcium, manganese, and phosphorus, and is a great source of healthy omega-3 fats PLUS high in fiber!

3)      Load up on fresh fruit and veggies. Make it a colourful family affair! Instead of having boxed, pre-packaged snacks in the cupboard, clean up and threw them out. Top up the fruit and veggie baskets. This way all you and the kids have to snack on is REAL food.  You may have to go grocery shopping every other day for fresh produce so bring along the kids so that they can help pick out their favourites. 

Fruits and vegetables to choose  
  • Fresh or frozen vegetables and fruits
  • Low-sodium canned vegetables
  • Canned fruit packed in juice or water

Fruits and vegetables to avoid

  • Vegetables with creamy sauces
  • Fried or breaded vegetables
  • Canned fruit packed in heavy syrup
  • Frozen fruit with sugar added

4)      Make Friday’s fish night. Yes, that’s right fish every Friday night as once was. Make it cold water fish, not farmed and not from the Pacific Ocean (due to Fukushima radiation).  Cold water fish, such as Salmon is a great source of protein, it’s so versatile, easy to cook quickly and tastes great.  

Recipe idea: Marinate salmon in a lime, onion, garlic, and coconut milk mixture for 15 minutes before grilling for a delicious fish taco or grilled fish sandwich.

5)      Limit unhealthy fats and cholesterol (saturated/trans fats & cholesterol):

This is important to stay heart healthy and will reduce your blood cholesterol and lower your risk of coronary artery disease.  It can be done simply by reducing the amount of butter, margarine and shortening you use in your cooking and baking.

You can also reduce the amount of saturated fat in your diet by trimming fat off your meat or choosing lean meats with less than 10 percent fat and skinless poultry.

For example, top your baked potato with salsa or low-fat yogurt rather than butter, or use low-sugar fruit spread on your toast instead of margarine.

You may also want to check the food labels of some cookies, crackers and chips. Many of these snacks — even those labeled “reduced fat” — may be made with oils containing trans-fats. One clue that a food has some trans-fat in it is the phrase “partially hydrogenated” in the ingredient list.

When you do use fats, choose monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil or canola oil. Polyunsaturated fats, found in nuts and seeds, also are good choices for a heart-healthy diet. When used in place of saturated fat, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats may help lower your total blood cholesterol. But moderation is essential. All types of fat are high in calories.

Fats to choose  
  • Olive oil
  • Canola oil
  • Margarine that’s free of trans-fats

Fats to limit

  • Butter
  • Lard
  • Bacon fat
  • Gravy
  • Cream sauce
  • Non-dairy creamers
  • Hydrogenated margarine and shortening
  • Cocoa butter, found in chocolate
  • Coconut, palm, cottonseed and palm-kernel oils

6)      Meatless Monday’s – Eat more of these! Legumes — beans, peas and lentils:  Good sources of protein and contain less fat and no cholesterol, making them good substitutes for meat. Substituting plant protein for animal protein — for example, a bean burger for a hamburger — will reduce your fat and cholesterol intake. We make a mean black bean and sweet potatoe burger at Petits Chefs Academy. 

7)      Reduce sodium: Most all foods that you buy in the grocery store are already loaded up with salt (aka. Sodium) as it’s used as a preservative, to extend the shelf life of the product. Eating a lot of sodium can contribute to high blood pressure, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Reducing sodium is an important part of a heart-healthy diet.

  • Healthy adults have no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium a day (about a teaspoon)2300 salt

How much salt do you think you’re having daily??  You’re the Chef so taste all that you make and judge based on taste tests throughout the cooking process. Also, choose condiments and foods that read reduced-sodium.

These are all the heart healthy checklists we live by on a daily, weekly basis but we do allow an indulgence every now and then. A candy bar or handful of potato chips won’t derail your heart-healthy diet. What’s important is that you eat healthy foods most of the time, that you put love into the foods you make and that you enjoy them with family and friends and pass along your heart healthy ways and recipes to the younger generation. Happy Valentine’s.

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