Eating healthier does not mean that you have to make drastic changes in your diet. To make such changes will increase stress levels and that is exactly what you do not want when you are trying to implement a healthy lifestyle. Most family recipes can easily be converted into healthy meals.
Whole grains and complex carbohydrates are a plus to any heart healthy diet. Substitute whole wheat pastas for the bleached pastas in meals. Try using whole grain breads, rolls and buns instead of ordinary white breads. Bland white rice can easily be exchanged with tasty brown rice. Cut down on the simple carbohydrates like the ones found in sugars.
Saturated and trans fats are defiantly something that you want to cut down. Butter and vegetable oils are the biggest culprits in most recipes. Fried foods should be restricted but making a slight change to use mono unsaturated fats, such as peanut and olive oils, would be better for your heart. Use olive oil in exchange for vegetable oil. Both add an enjoyable taste to your foods and can turn your favorite family recipe into a healthy meal.
Fruits and vegetables are a necessary part of a well balanced diet. They can make great snacks by themselves or add them to an existing meal plan. Shredded carrots and chopped zucchini are great in spaghetti sauce. You can add vegetables to any recipe so experiment with all of the different tastes. Serve steamed vegetables on the side of any entree and make fruit smoothies for dessert. Fruits like blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and bananas are great on cereal and oatmeal. The healthy meal possibilities are endless with these versatile ingredients.
Oatmeal is not only good for your heart but can be used in a variety of ways. Having it for breakfast is one way to add it to your diet. Make oatmeal raisin cookies for your sweet tooth or use it in your meatloaf recipe instead of crackers or bread crumbs. This is also a good ingredient to add when smaller portions are needed to stretch a meal.
Any recipe that calls for ground beef is an easy fix to make it a healthy meal. Buy ground beef that is leaner or has a lower fat by weight percentage. To cut out a bigger percentage of fat use ground turkey. Since turkey has a slightly different taste and texture start by using half ground turkey and half ground beef for some recipes.
Add a little more variety of proteins to your diet. Chicken breasts and pork chops, or tenderloins, are easily interchangeable in most recipes. Fish is a good alternative to get needed proteins. Salmon and tuna also contain the Omega-3 fatty acids needed for good heart health. They can be prepared in a variety of ways from grilling to poaching and added to salads and casseroles. Remember to balance out the type of proteins you consume between the animal, fish and vegetable proteins.
Experiment with all of the different tastes and textures. Take the time to enjoy your food. Your creations came from the heart and you are just trying to take care of yours.