Women's Health     Healthy Kids     Teen Health     Health Guide    

Cook with heart health in mind



Making smart choices when cooking at home

Make smart choices when cooking at home


Healthy eating doesn’t have to be difficult or require you to take favorite meals off your family’s menu. In fact, making smart choices when cooking at home can give you more control over the types of tasty, heart-healthy dishes you put on the table.

High cholesterol is one of the major controllable risk factors for heart disease and stroke, with about 38% of American adults diagnosed with high cholesterol, according to the American Heart Association. These cooking tips can help you prepare heart-healthy meals that could help improve cholesterol levels by reducing excess saturated fat and trans fat.

Cook fresh vegetables the heart-healthy way

Roasting, steaming, grilling or baking can help bring out the natural flavors of vegetables. Adding herbs and spices can also help make veggies tastier, including combinations like basil with tomatoes, oregano with zucchini, dill with green beans or rosemary with peas and cauliflower.

Reduce saturated fat in meat and poultry

The amount of saturated fat in meats can vary widely, depending on the cut and how it’s prepared. Opt for poultry and fish over red meat and look for lean cuts of meat with minimal visible fat, which should be trimmed away before cooking. Also limit processed meats such as sausage, bologna, salami and hot dogs, which are often high in calories, saturated fat and sodium.

READ MORE: 12 Heart Healthy Habits to Share with Your Kids

Use liquid vegetable oils in place of solid fats

Some fats are better for you than others. Liquid vegetable oils such as canola, safflower, sunflower, soybean and olive oil can often be used instead of solid fats, such as butter, lard or shortening. If you must use margarine, try the soft or liquid kind.

Find more heart-healthy recipes and tips for lowering cholesterol at heart.org/cholesterol.

Grilled Tequila-Lime Chicken with Grilled Asparagus

Recipe courtesy of the American Heart Association

Servings: 4

  • 1/4 cup tequila or white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons lime zest
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle pepper canned in adobo sauce, minced, plus 2 tablespoons adobo sauce
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, fat discarded
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 3 bunches asparagus spears, trimmed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil or corn oil

In small bowl, stir tequila, lime zest, lime juice, garlic, chipotle pepper and adobo sauce. Pour into large resealable plastic bag. Add chicken and seal bag tightly; turn bag to coat. Refrigerate 2-12 hours.

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Lightly spray grates with nonstick cooking spray.

In large dish, sprinkle asparagus with salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Drizzle with oil. Turn asparagus over to coat.

Remove chicken from marinade. Discard marinade and wipe most of it off chicken. Sprinkle chicken with remaining pepper.

Grill 8-12 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink in center. Transfer to plate and cover with aluminum foil.

Place asparagus on grill, facing opposite direction of grates. Grill 7 minutes, or until tender crisp.

Serve asparagus with chicken.


Frozen Yogurt Bark

Recipe courtesy of the American Heart Association

Servings: 8 

  • 1 1/2 cups 2% low-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons chopped, unsalted almonds
  • 1/2 cup chopped mango
  • 1/4 cup blackberries or raspberries
  • 1/2 cup blueberries

In medium bowl, mix yogurt and honey.

Line 9-by-13-inch baking dish with parchment paper. Use spatula or knife to spread yogurt over entire bottom of dish.

Pour chopped nuts over yogurt. Use fingers to slightly press into yogurt. Top yogurt with mango, blackberries and blueberries and slightly press into yogurt.

Cover with plastic wrap or foil and place in freezer overnight.

To serve: Lift parchment paper from baking dish onto cutting board. Use hands to break bark into pieces.

(Family Features) 




Other articles by HVP News Reporters


  • 6 things to know about COVID-19 vaccines for children under 5

    Safety info and more

    COVID-19 vaccines are now available for children under 5 years old, and the American Medical Association (AMA) is urging parents to get their children vaccinated. read more »
  • Life saving COVID-19 treatments

    What you need to know

    While stopping the spread of COVID-19 is the goal, the reality is that every day, more people contract the disease. For this reason, it’s important to be aware of available treatment options. read more »
  • Are you at increased risk of getting Pneumococcal Pneumonia?

    You can prevent this deadly disease with a vaccine

    Pneumococcal pneumonia is a potentially serious bacterial lung disease that can be contracted any time of year. read more »
  • 5 reasons why your child should (and can) learn how to play chess

    A revolutionary new game that helps kids learn this game of strategy

    Chess is one of the oldest and most popular games in history, with early forms of the game dating back to the 6th century CE. The game has certainly seen a revival since the pandemic began, as people around the globe have dusted off their chess boards and even binged one of the most-watched series ever inspired by the masterful game for much-needed entertainment. read more »
  • How do I get my child excited to learn chess?

    A fun new way to teach your kids

    Chess has been linked to countless benefits, everything from critical thinking to emotional intelligence and grit. But chess can also carry an old stigma of being stuffy, elitist, boring and impossible to learn. The first part is true. The second part doesn’t have to be. read more »
  • Clear the bathroom clutter

    Tips to make your bathroom a clean and functional space

    Due to their small size and heavy usage, bathrooms can become messy, cluttered areas for many families. For those with smaller bathrooms, storage solutions can be even harder to find. read more »
  • Jump-start success at school with wellness at home

    Starts the day with a healthy and delicious breakfast

    Setting the stage for success in the classroom starts with reliable morning routines the whole family can depend on. Establishing a plan for each day before heading off for work or school is beneficial for staying on time and organized, and many families’ mornings start with a nutritious breakfast. read more »
  • 5 fun ways to get little ones active

    Start a healthy lifestyle for your child early

    Movement is an essential part of early childhood development. It encourages motor skills and helps kids grow to be healthy and strong. There are tons of fun ways to get little ones on the move! Here are some great activities, games and toys to try incorporating into children’s playtime: read more »
  • How to create connections with your child’s teacher

    Build a relationship to help create a positive school experience for everyone

    A new school year can feel like uncharted territory for children, parents and teachers alike as they learn new things and meet unfamiliar faces. Building a relationship with your child’s teacher can help create a positive school experience for everyone involved. read more »
  • 6 simple ways to soothe a teething baby

    Begin a smoother teething journey for your family with these ideas

    There’s nothing cuter than those first toothy grins, but cutting teeth is a tough business. When a baby is teething, parents often spend long days and nights trying to soothe their little one’s discomfort. read more »