How do I Lighten Up Recipes for Heart Health?

Publish date:

Hi Jamie,
I love your recipes and would like to know how you might recommend "lightening" them to comply with heart healthy cooking. For instance, would love to make homemade hamentachen, but what can I substitute for all or some of the butter or margarine in a specific recipe and still retain the delicious taste it's meant to have. Can you provide your readers with a list of appropriate substitutions that can be used if one is looking for more healthful versions of your recipes?
Thank you!

Hi Shoshanna,

I love that you are running such a healthy household! As we have an in-house expert on this very subject I will defer to her. My dear friend and personal coach - nutritionist and dietitian Tamar Genger MA, RD.

Thanks Jamie. Hi Shoshanna! This is a great question, especially with the Passover holiday approaching. Luckily, many of Jamie’s recipes are heart healthy already! Try Jamie’s Brown Rice with Peas (filled with whole grains) and her vegetarian slow cooker recipes (bursting with beans and vegetables). For recipes with margarine or butter, the best option is to substitute oil for some (or all) of the fat. You can easily replace whole wheat flour for white flour in bread and cookie dough. Have realistic expectations, though. Any time you make changes to a recipe, the taste and texture will be affected. Margarine (or butter) gives a flakiness that may not be possible with oil, but that doesn’t mean it won’t still be delicious. For best results, I often only substitute half the margarine or white flour. Cooking is a compromise – between time, taste, budget… and ingredients. Here are a few “heart smart” suggestions you might want to consider:

  • In creamy dips, use low fat or non-fat yogurt, sour cream or mayonnaise.
  • Reduced fat or evaporated fat free milk can substitute for cream in recipes such as quiches.
  • Egg whites can replace some of the whole eggs in a recipe (2 egg whites for 1 egg).
  • Reduced fat cheese can be substituted for the whole milk variety.
  • For meat, choose leaner cuts of beef, such as round roast or first cut brisket, and trim any excess fat. For poultry, go skinless.
  • Decrease sugar in a recipe and/or substitute with Splenda or Truvia.
  • Use cooking oil spray in place of oil when cooking vegetables or eggs.
  • Try to bake rather than fry potatoes and chicken.
  • Watch your sodium! Replace some of the salt with fresh herbs or a seasoning blend. Use low or no salt added canned products such as vegetables, sauces, broths.
  • Make your own bread crumbs from day-old whole wheat bread, it is cheaper than store-bought, plus it is a source of whole grains with less sodium.
  • Finally, practice portion control. Eating too much of anything, is never a good thing.