by Mitchelle Uzorka
Foods like cheese, butter, sausage, and desserts may taste good to you, but they can have a lot of saturated fat . Eating too much of this unhealthy fat could lead to high cholesterol and heart disease.
Tips for healthier meals
Try some of these ideas:
• Fill up on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
• Think of meat as a side dish instead of as the main part of your meal.
• Try main dishes that use whole wheat pasta, brown rice, dried beans, or vegetables.
• Use cooking methods with little or no fat, such as broiling, steaming, or grilling. Use cooking spray instead of oil. If you use oil, use a monounsaturated oil, such as canola or olive oil.
• Trim fat from meats before you cook them. Drain off fat after you brown the meat or while you are roasting it.
• Chill soups and stews after you cook them so that you can skim off the fat after it gets hard.
• To get more omega-3 fatty acids, have fish twice a week. Add ground flaxseed to cereal, soups, and smoothies. Sprinkle walnuts on salads.
• When you bake muffins or breads, replace part of the fat ingredient (oil, butter, margarine) with applesauce, or use canola oil instead of butter or shortening.
• Read food labels on canned, bottled, or packaged foods. Choose those with little saturated fat and no trans fat.
No matter how healthy you are, make sure you don’t consume too many saturated fats, which can raise cholesterol levels, says Alice Lichtenstein, a professor of nutrition at Tufts University and member of the AHA nutrition committee. To decrease saturated fats, buy lean cuts of meat and take advantage of low-fat and nonfat dairy products.