Preventing heart disease: nutrition at home and out

In order to prevent heart disease, nutrition is essential. The key to proper nutrition is balance; what you eat, how much you eat, and yes, where you eat it. Certain people will have you believe that restaurants, especially fast food chains, are the devil (cough, Morgan Spurlock, cough). Generalizations, however, are fallacious. Saying that eating out is tantamount to poor heart-healthy nutrition would be like saying that home cooking is the remedy for heart disease. Neither is necessarily true and it all depends on your choices. For example, it would be wise to avoid the Heart Attack Grill, but not so much to accept an invitation to dine at Paula Deen’s house (dated jokes are calorie and fat-free).

Home Cooking

  Preparation

Methods

Seasonings

Oils

Frying

Read heart-healthy cookbooks.

Cook ‘choice’ or ‘select’ (beef), ‘loin’ and ‘round’ (pork), and leaner, light meat (poultry) meat.

Make salad with reduced-, low-, or no-fat dressings.

Use little or no salt.

Ground fresh herbs.

Dried herbs like thyme, rosemary and marjoram (sparingly).

Dry mustard for condiment.

Vinegar or citrus juice to enhance flavors.

Fresh hot peppers.

Fried mushrooms, tomatoes, chili peppers, cherries, cranberries and currants.

Liquid vegetable oils or nonfat cooking sprays.

Canola, corn, olive, safflower, sesame, soybean and sunflower oil are low in saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol but have 120 calories/tbsp.

Coconut, palm and palm kernel oil don’t contain cholesterol but are high in saturated fats.

Stir-frying, roasting, grilling and broiling, baking, poaching, sautéing, and steaming are low-fat alternatives to frying.

Substitutions

Ingredient

Recipes

Alternative

1 cup of whole milk

1 cup of fat-free or low-fat milk + 1 tbsp of liquid vegetable oil

1 cup of heavy cream

1 cup of evaporated skim milk or ½ cup of low-fat yogurt and ½ cup of plain low-fat unsalted cottage cheese

Sour cream

Low-fat unsalted cottage cheese + low-fat or fat-free yogurt; fat-free sour cream

Cream cheese

4 tbsp of soft, low saturated fat and trans fat-free margarine blended w/ 1 cup of dry unsalted low-fat cottage cheese

1 tbsp of butter

1 tbsp of soft, low saturated fat and trans fat-free margarine, or ¾ tbsp of liquid vegetable oil

1 egg

2 egg whites

1 oz of unsweetened baking chocolate

3 tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder or carob powder + 1 tbsp of vegetable oil or soft margarine

 

Snacks

 

Fried tortilla chips

Baked tortilla chips

Regular potato or corn chips

Pretzels or low-fat potato chips

High fat cookies or crackers

Fat-free or low-fat cookies, crackers

Regular baked goods

Baked goods made with unsaturated oil or soft margarines, egg whites or egg substitutes, and fat-free milk

Devil’s food cake

Angel food cake

Ice cream bars

Frozen fruit bars

Whole milk pudding

Fat-free or low-fat milk pudding

Doughnut

Bagel or toast

Snacking

Crispy

Munchy

Thirst-quellers

Sweet

-        Apples and breadsticks

-        Carrot and celery sticks

-        Green pepper sticks

-        Zucchini circles

-        Radishes

-        Broccoli spears

-        Cauliflower

-        Unsalted rice cakes

-        Unsalted sunflower seeds

-        Whole-grain breads or toast

-        Cherry or grape tomatoes

-        Low-fat or fat-free cheese

-        Plain, low-fat, or fat-free yogurt

-        Bagels

-        Unsalted almonds, walnuts, other nuts

-        Fat-free milk

-        Unsweetened juices

-        Low-sodium juices

-        Low-sodium tomato or mixed vegetable juice

-        Water

 

-        Unsweetened canned fruit

-        Thin slice of angel food cake

-        Raisins

-        Dried fruit gelatin

-        Frozen bananas

-        Frozen grapes

-        Fresh fruit

-        Low-fat or fat-free unsweetened fruit yogurt

                     

 

Dining out not only provides you with a break from home cooking, but it can also present you with many healthy alternatives as long as you’re able to navigate around calories, sodium, saturated fat, and other risk factors for heart disease. Nutrition is possible when dining out provided that certain standards are met, such as the following:

  Heart-healthy requirements

Calories

Total fat

Saturated fat

Cholesterol

Trans fat

Sodium

Beneficial nutrients

700 calories or less/entire meal.

3g or less/100g, 30% or less calories, and 26g/entire meal.

1g or less/100g, less than 10% calories, and 5g or less/entire meal.

20mg or less cholesterol/100g, and 105mg or less/entire meal.

Less than 0.5g/entire meal.

800mg or less sodium/ entire meal.

10% or more of the daily value of one of the following/entire meal: vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, dietary fiber, or protein.

 

Eating healthily is not about depriving yourself; you can even indulge in fast food if you do your homework and make smart choices.

 Dining out

Picking a restaurant

Avoid all-you-can-eat buffets and specials.

Whenever possible decide what you’ll eat before going into the restaurant.

Menu

Fried, au gratin, crispy, scalloped, pan-fried, sautéed, buttered, creamed or stuffed are high in fat and calories, as opposed to steamed, broiled, baked, grilled, poached or roasted foods.  

Feel free to ask what’s in a meal and how it is prepared.

Order seafood, chicken or lean meat entrees; remove all visible fat from meat and ask to have skin removed from chicken.

Ask what the healthiest choices are.

Ordering

Avoid cocktails, appetizers, bread and butter and other extras.

Monitor consumption of butter, cream cheese, salad dressings, sauces and gravies by asking for them to be served on the side.

At salad bars favor fresh greens, raw vegetables, fresh fruits, garbanzo beans and reduced-fat, low-fat, light or fat-free dressings over cheeses, marinated salads, pasta salads and fruit salads with whipped cream.

Choose fresh fruit, fruit ice, sherbet, gelatin and angel food cake desserts.

If available, order smaller portions or healthier substitutes.

Fast food

Opt for fast food restaurants that offer grilled chicken, salads, low-fat milk, and fruit.

Avoid super-sizing.

Substitutions

Food item

Cuisine/Restaurant/Meal

Alternative

 

Breakfast

 

Pancakes

 

Whole-grain waffle w/fruit

Fried eggs

 

Omelet or scrambled eggs w/egg substitutes or egg whites

Bacon or sausage

 

Lean ham or Canadian bacon

Croissant, pastry, muffin

 

Whole-wheat bagel w/low-fat cream cheese

 

Indian

 

Samosas

 

Papadum or papad

Korma

 

Chicken or beef tikka, or chicken or beef tandori

Coconut milk or cream curries

 

Vegetable or dal-based curries, shish kabob, or tandori chicken or fish

Pakora

 

Gobhi matar tamatar

Saaq paneer

 

Matar pulao

Sauce rice dishes

 

Fragrant steamed rice

Fried or stuffed breads

 

Chapatti, or naan

 

Cajun

 

Fried crawfish or shrimp

 

Boiled crawfish or shrimp

Gumbo, etouffe and roux sauces

 

Creole and jambalaya dishes

Fried seafood

 

Boiled or grilled seafood

Fried shrimp pr oyster Po’ Boy sandwiches

 

Turkey or roast beef Po’ Boy sandwiches

Dirty rice

 

White rice

Red beans and rice w/sausage

 

Red beans and rice w/o sausage

 

Italian

 

Fried calamari

 

Roasted peppers or minestrone soup

Cheese or meat-filled pastas or casserole dishes

 

Pasta primavera or pasta with white or red clam sauce

Past w/butter

 

Pasta w/marsala sauce or marinara sauce

Scallopine or parmigiana

 

Marsala and piccata

Pastries

 

Ices

 

Chinese

 

Egg drop soup

 

Wonton or hot and sour soup

Egg rolls or fried wontons

 

Steamed dumplings

Fried entrees

 

Boiled, broiled, steamed or lightly stir-fried entrees

Fried meat dishes

 

Dishes w/plenty of vegetables

Cashew and peanut dishes

 

Water chestnut dishes

Fried rice

 

Steamed rice

Lobster sauce, oyster bean and soy sauce

 

Sweet and sour sauce, plum or duck sauce

 

Japanese

 

Vegetable tempura

 

Steamed vegetables

Shrimp tempura

 

Grilled shrimp or vegetable sushi

Tonkatsu

 

Nabemono, yosenabe, shabu-shabu, sukiyaki, or su udon

Oyako domburi

 

Sumashi wan

Chawan mushi

 

Grilled chicken or beef teriyaki

 

Mexican

 

Flour tortillas

 

Corn tortillas

Nachos

 

Grilled shrimp

Carnitas

 

Grilled fish or chicken breast

Refried beans

 

Frijoles a la charra, or borracho beans and Spanish rice

Full-fat sour cream and cheese

 

Sala, pico de gallo, cilantro, jalapeño peppers

Quesadillas

 

Chicken fajitas

Chalupas and tacos

 

Taco salad or fajita salad

Flautas

 

Chicken or beef enchiladas w/red sauce

 

French

 

Olive, caper, or anchovy appetizers

 

Steamed mussels or salad

Paté

 

Steamed mussels

French onion soup

 

Mixed green salad w/vinaigrette dressing

Croissants

 

French bread

Hollandaise, Mornay, Béchamel or Béarnaise sauce

 

Bordelaise or other wine-based sauce

Creamy "au gratin" potato

 

Lightly sauteed, crisp vegetables

Chocolate mousse

 

Fat-free chocolate pudding

Crème caramel

 

Peaches in wine

 

Thai

 

Fried spring rolls

 

Fresh spring rolls

Coconut milk dishes

 

Stir-fried dishes

Tom ka gai

 

Tom yam goong

Gaeng keow wan gai

 

Nuea pad prik

Gaeng ped gai

 

Pad Thai

Fried rice

 

Steamed rice

Gluay kaeg

 

Khao newo kaew

Coconut ice cream

 

Fruit ice

 

Greek

 

Meat-stuffed appetizers

 

Appetizers w/rice or eggplant

Fried calamari

 

Dolmas

Baba ganoosh

 

Tzatziki

Moussaka

 

Roast lamb, shish kabob, couscous or bulgur wheat w/vegetables or chicken

Chawan mushi

 

Roast lamb, shish kabob, couscous or bulgur wheat w/vegetables or chicken

Gyro

 

Chicken pita sandwich

spanakopita

 

Plaki

Baklava

 

Fruit

 

Vietnamese

 

Banh michien voitom

 

Canh chua tom

Cha gio

 

Goi cuon

Vit quay

 

Bo xa lui nuong

Oy Heo xao chua ngot

 

Ca hap

Ca-ri ga

 

Ca kho to

Banh dua ca ra men

 

Lynchee

 

Family restaurants

 

Cream soups

 

Broth-based soups w/plenty of vegetables

Quiche and salad

 

Soup and salad

Buffalo chicken wings

 

Peel and eat shrimp

Fried chicken sandwich

 

Blackened chicken sandwich

Chicken fried steak

 

Veggie burger

French fries or potatoes and gravy

 

Baked potato, potatoes w/o gravy, rice w/o gravy, cooked greens w/o salt pork or lard

Creamy coleslaw

 

Sautéed vegetables or tossed salad

Hot fudge sundae or ice cream

 

Non-fat yogurt, sherbet or fruit ice

 

Fast food

 

Danish

 

Small bagel

Jumbo cheeseburger

 

Grilled chicken, sliced meats, regular 2 oz hamburger on a bun w/lettuce, tomato and onion

Fried chicken or tacos

 

Grilled chicken or salad bar

Fried chicken pieces

 

Chicken fajita pitas

French fries

 

Baked potato w/vegetables or low-fat or fat-free sour cream topping

Potato chips

 

Pretzels, baked potato chips

Milkshake

 

Juice or low-fat or fat free milk or a diet soft drink

 

Steakhouse

 

Fatty cuts (rib eye, porterhouse, T-bone)

 

Leaner cuts (London broil, filet mignon, round or flank steak, sirloin tip, tenderloin)

French fried, au gratin or scalloped potatoes

 

Baked potato or rice

Caesar or marinated salad

 

Green salad w/dressing on the side

Fried vegetables

 

Steamed vegetables

Pie and ice cream

 

Angel food cake or sherbet

       

Related read: 

Great Nutrition for Heart Disease Prevention