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8 heart-healthy cooking tips

This article is sponsored by Piedmont Medical Center.

In honor of American Heart Month, we've teamed up with Piedmont Medical Center to bring you eight ways to cook heart-healthy! The cut of meat makes a difference When picking out your meat, opt for “choice” or “select” grades of beef instead of “prime." Use cuts of meat that are labeled “loin” or “round” as they typically have the least amount of fat. For poultry, choose leaner light meat such as breasts, rather than fattier dark meat from the legs and thighs.

Fresh, canned, or frozen: stock up on fruits and veggies Buy a variety of fresh, canned or frozen fruits and vegetables. Make sure your canned vegetables are low in sodium, and that your frozen ones don't have added butter or sauces. Canned fruit should be in 100 percent juice, not syrup, and it's best if frozen berries do not have added sugar. Low-fat dairy makes the tummy merry Look for dairy products that are fat-free or low-fat, such as one percent milk, or cheese that has three grams of fat or less per serving. Grains are good When selecting breads, cereals and grains, make sure whole grain is listed as the first ingredient. For example, a 100% whole-grain bread will list a whole-grain ingredient first on the label such as brown rice, buckwheat, cracked wheat, oatmeal, quinoa, rolled oats, whole grain barley, etc.

Cook smarter with oils low in saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol Healthy cooking oils include canola, corn, olive, sesame, soybean, sunflower and safflower oils. Put the "stir" in "frying" Instead of frying, cook with less fat by stir-frying, roasting, grilling, broiling, baking, poaching, sautéing or steaming. And did you know that using nonstick pans and cooking sprays can cut down on total fat as well? Get creative when seasoning meats and veggies Drizzle vinegar on steamed vegetables, add onion or garlic to meat, bake chicken with barbecue sauce or low-fat Italian dressing, and sprinkle lemon pepper on chicken. In addition, resist the urge to add salt. It's recommended to have less than a teaspoon of salt per day.

Get your portions right Did you know...a serving of meat, chicken or fish (two to three ounces) equates to the size and thickness of a deck of cards? Perhaps not as big as you thought it should be!


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