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February is National Heart Health Month

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To help us be a little more heart healthy in our eating habits, I asked Kimberly Boone, who is a nutritionist and registered dietitian at Church Health, to share her top 5 tips for a heart-healthy diet.

Choose Healthier Types of Fat and Cooking Methods

Kimberly recommends trying different ways of cooking foods, such as baking, broiling, grilling, stewing, steaming and poaching to add variety.

Also, replace solid fats (such as butter, shortening or lard) for liquid fats (olive oil, avocado oil, or canola oil) in recipes and for sautéing.

Hold the Salt

Cook foods at home so you can control the amount of salt and the sodium content.

To add flavor, Kimberly suggests experimenting with different herbs and spices to add flavor without adding sodium.

Cut Back on Saturated Fats

“Less legs!” is the rule of thumb. Typically, the less legs an animal has, the leaner it is. For example, a cow has four legs, a chicken has two legs and fish don’t have any legs. Using this logic, poultry is leaner than beef and would therefore be a smarter choice.

Eat more Omega 3’s

Aim to eat at least two 4-ounce portions of fatty fish each week, such as salmon, lake trout, canned light tuna (in water), mackerel and sardines.

Increase Dietary Fiber

Choose whole grains instead of refined grains whenever possible and make half your plate non-starchy vegetables.

Church Health offers a free cooking class series - Cook Well, Be Well - to help people build cooking skills and learn to cook and eat healthier. Register for classes at churchhealth.org/CWBW.

This is Jennifer Chandler with The Weekly Dish. Bon Appetit!

Jennifer Chandler graduated at the top of her class from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. She is a full-time mom to two daughters in Memphis, Tennessee, and is a freelance food writer, restaurant consultant, and author of four cookbooks The Southern Pantry Cookbook, Simply Salads, Simply Suppers, and Simply Grilling.