February is Heart Healthy month, and one of the best things you can do for your heart is to cook more at home. A few simple changes in your cooking routine can make your home-prepped dishes healthier. The American Heart Association shares their top 10 cooking tips for a healthier routine. Here are our favorites of their top 10 and why.
Not all canned vegetables are processed equally.
Many canned and frozen veggies don’t earn Guiding Stars because of the salt or saturated fat in the sauce or brine they’re preserved with. Look for labels that read “no sodium” or “low sodium.” Beware of “reduced sodium” – this only means that the product contains less sodium than a previous version of the same product from the same company. If in doubt, trust the Guiding Star rating–we dock products for having too much salt.
Learn to love citrus, spices and herbs.
You’ll be amazed at how much flavor you can pack into food without salt when you start playing with salt-free seasoning blends and different spices and herbs. We also advocate keeping lemons (or lemon juice) and vinegar in your pantry. Often times a flat dish can be brought to life with just a dash of something acidic.
Stock your freezer with bananas.
Buy more bananas than you think you need. When they’re very ripe, peel the extras and freeze them in a zippered bag. Use them as a base for creamy smoothies or to reduce the saturated fat and/or sugar in baked goods. The AHA guide gives some great advice on the ratios for swapping in either a banana or applesauce in your baking.