Heart Healthy Recipe Modification

posted by Darlene DeWitt, MS, RD, LD on Wednesday, February 17, 2021

There have been many times people have said, “Well, I guess I can’t eat that anymore!” and felt like they had to throw out the whole cookbook because nothing was healthy; but, there are ways to keep those recipes by swapping ingredients out for more healthful options.

Depending on the ingredient, these easy swaps can help you to:

  • Reduce fat and saturated fat
  • Increase fiber
  • Lower sodium
  • Reduce added sugar and carbohydrates

Swap out whole wheat flour for white flour: This swap increases your fiber intake and adds more nutrition to your final product. If you think your family won’t like it, you could start with ½ white flour and ½ whole wheat flour in a recipe. If you can find whole wheat pastry flour, it is a great option to lighten up the final product; another option is to sift the whole wheat flour BEFORE you measure it out for your recipe.

Swap out fat-free half-and-half for heavy cream: Heavy cream is high in saturated fat, which is not good for your heart. Fat-free half-and-half has an emulsifier added to give it a creamier texture but does not contain the fat. 

Swap out healthy request cream soups for regular: If you are making a casserole or hot dish, odds are you need to use cream soup of some kind. These soups can be high in sodium and saturated fat. The healthy request version of these soups is reduced in sodium and fat, making a substantial difference for heart health. It is a little more expensive than the regular version but well worth it!

Swap out canola oil for butter: Butter is high in saturated fats, so you are encouraged to limit its use. You can use oil instead of butter with pretty similar results in baked goods. You can also substitute ½ cup canola oil and ½ cup applesauce for 1 cup butter in baked goods, allowing you to easily lower the amount of sugar in the recipe as well.

Swap out ground turkey for ground beef: Ground turkey is usually naturally lower fat (93/7% fat) and cheaper by around $1 per lb compared to ground sirloin. This drastically reduces the fat and saturated fat in a recipe compared to ground round (80/20). It does have a different flavor that you might not be accustomed to; but if you use it in a casserole or sauce with several other flavors already in it, this can be a good fit.

Swap out non-fat greek yogurt for full-fat sour cream: In a recipe, non-fat greek yogurt gives the texture of sour cream, but without the fat and with a bonus of protein. If you are not fond of greek yogurt, using low fat or fat-free sour cream will also make a difference.

If you want additional recipe ideas, you can use websites like eatingwell.com, heart.org, and diabetes.org. The heart association store has lots of great cookbooks also. Just remember that each recipe modification takes you one step closer to better heart health.

  1. nutrition

About The Author

Darlene DeWitt, MS, RD, LD

Darlene DeWitt is one of Spencer Hospital’s Registered Dietitians. Darlene currently provides outpatient services in the areas of Diabetes management, heart disease, weight loss, GI issues and other various health concerns.  She received her Master of Science degree in nutrition from C ... read more