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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 • Posted February 17, 2010

Heart-Healthy Cooking Tips

In honor of American Heart Health month, it’s a great time to inspire your patients and clients to make heart-healthy diet and lifestyle changes.

1. Go Green.

Add about a cup of chopped fresh spinach or kale to any pasta, casserole, stew, soup or side dish. It’s a great way increase the amount of green leafy vegetables in your diet as well as add a source of folate to a meal.

2. Add Zest and Zing.

Add citrus zest from fresh lemons, limes and oranges or mince fresh herbs and hot peppers to create depth of flavor without added sodium.

3. Roast 'em!

By oven roasting vegetables such as beets, carrots, squash, onions, bell peppers, eggplant or sweet potatoes, you seal in the flavor and enhance the sweetness. Start by pre-heating the oven to 400

4. Become a Garlic Lover.

Roasted garlic is the ultimate flavor enhancer that can be used for appetizers, spreads, soups, vegetables, grains, salads or meats. Start with an entire garlic bulb. Slice 1/8 inch from the non-root end and add 1 to 2 teaspoons of soft spread over the top of the bulb. Cover with foil and place the garlic bulb in an oven-proof dish. Bake at 375

5. Be a Spice Connoisseur.

Freshly-ground spices and herbs dramatically increase the flavor of any dish. Invest in a mini-grinder to grind your own, such as cumin, nutmeg and pepper.

6. No Yolk.

Using two egg whites in the place of a whole egg saves on calories, cholesterol and saturated fat. Egg whites have a bland flavor in comparison to the egg yolk, which allows the whites to easily pick up the flavors of other ingredients used in a dish.

7. Use Fruit for Added Flavor.

People often forget that fruit can be more than a snack or cereal topping. You can add pineapple to pizza or a pork dish, mango in a stir fry, dried cranberries to a casserole or papaya in a stew! They add flavor and nutrients without fat or sodium!

8. Fiber Up!

Sneak soluble fiber into a meal by adding any kind of bean (chickpeas, black-eyed peas, pinto, black or kidney) to salads, casseroles, soups, vegetables and side dishes.

For great recipes created for a heart-healthy diet, visit SpreadsNutrition.org and search the database of tested and approved recipes for a fresh take on an old favorite or discover a delightful new dish!

o. Cut veggies into similar sizes and add 1 teaspoon of soft spread per 1 cup of veggies and toss thoroughly to coat. Place on a baking sheet, stir every 20 minutes and bake until vegetables are tender and browned (about 45-60 minutes). Serve them hot as a nutrient-packed accompaniment!o for 45-60 minutes until golden brown and soft. Roasted garlic also makes a delicious appetizer. Squeeze the pulp out of the cloves and spread on bread or serve with bruschetta and/or tapenade.

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