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Food Swaps for Heart Health


You want to eat healthy for your heart, but you don’t necessarily need to lose weight. In your case, a fat-reducing-only diet won’t fit the bill, but there are plenty of changes you can make to improve what goes into your recipes and your body.

Here are some easy heart-healthy swaps you can make in your cooking to eat healthier, increase fiber and other nutrients, and reduce sodium, mercury and fats:

Lemon juice or vinegar for salt: Tart flavors like lemon juice and vinegar stimulate some of the same taste receptors as salt, so this is an easy way to reduce sodium. Follow the British style and use vinegar on your oven fries and try lemon juice on steamed vegetables.

Spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles for pasta: These low carb, high-fiber replacements save calories and have significant vitamins and minerals to increase your energy.

Greek yogurt for sour cream: Greek-style yogurt is thicker and creamier than regular low-fat yogurt, so it’s better for you than sour cream for baked potatoes, nachos or creamy dips. It’s lower in calories too, and contains more protein and calcium.

Avocado for mayonnaise: Mashed avocado is a tasty substitute for mayonnaise and contains healthy fats that fight inflammation and may help protect your heart. Avocados also provide potassium, antioxidants and fiber that aren’t found in mayo.

Nuts for chips: When it comes to snacks, say “nuts” to chips. Nuts, especially walnuts, contain healthy fats that can fight inflammation and protect your heart, and they have less salt too.

Sardines for tuna: Sardines are higher in heart-healthy omega-3s than tuna, and lower in mercury. Make a sardine salad using your tuna salad recipe, or try them on a seeded cracker with a dot of Sriracha hot sauce for a boost of flavor.

Almond butter for peanut butter: No longer significantly more expensive than peanut butter, almond butter not only is a nice change from the old stand-by, but is much higher in mono-unsaturated fats–the same heart-healthy fat as in extra-virgin olive oil.

Spinach for iceberg lettuce: Darker green veggies such as spinach are packed with more fiber and nutrients as compared to lighter, water-based choices like lettuce.

Flaxseed for eggs in baking: As a substitute for one large egg, mix 3 tablespoons ground flaxseeds and 1/8 teaspoon baking powder in 3 tablespoons water. This will add fiber and avoid the cholesterol found in the egg yolk.

Apple sauce or bananas for eggs in baking: As a general rule, one tablespoon of applesauce can replace one egg in most baking recipes. For chewy baked goods like brownies, swap one ripe mashed banana for each whole egg in the recipe.

Bananas for oil in baking: Using mashed bananas to replace oil, measure for measure in muffin recipes, will result in denser muffins. Overripe bananas are quite soft with high moisture content, so they mash well and are easy to measure.

Categories: Deaconess