Cook Your Way to a Healthy Heart (Slideshow)

There are plenty of cooking tips to pump up the nutrition and the flavor

Pump up the Nutrition

Shutterstock

Try cutting out the meat in favor of legumes, vegetables, and whole grains in your standard recipes. Do you love pizza? Load up on the veggie toppings, such as arugula, tomatoes, bell peppers, or even broccoli on a whole grain crust. Add spinach or mushrooms to your homemade tomato sauce. Toss peas, cauliflower, or even kale to your favorite pasta recipe. And opt for whole grain pasta whenever possible.

Discover the New OK Foods

Shutterstock

Don't avoid foods merely because of higher calorie content. For instance, almond slivers, chopped walnuts, and sunflower seeds can add heart-healthy fats and flavor to salads and side dishes. Enjoy a handful of nuts or seeds each day.  

Include Avocado

Shutterstock

Instead of dry sandwiches or high-saturated fat spreads, use nature's favorite bread spread — mashed avocados! Avocados provide moisture, flavor, and healthy fats when spread on breads. 

A Little Bit of Sweetness Goes a Long Way

Shutterstock

A handful of dried fruit in a salad or a spoonful of maple syrup or honey in your homemade vinaigrette can offer powerful flavor to salad greens.

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

Shutterstock

Whip up a pear crumble or bake apples for a nutrient-packed dessert. When fruit is heated, the natural sugars caramelize, resulting in a healthy yet delicious treat.


Add a Touch of Healthy Fat

Shutterstock

It's a common misperception that 'healthy cooking techniques' means only steaming and broiling plain foods. Use a little healthy fat, such as a tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil or expeller pressed canola oil in a family-sized recipe. 

Power up on Flavor

Shutterstock

You don't need to dine on the same bland, plain foods every day. Make menu ideas interesting with the addition of herbs and spices, such as turmeric, cumin, oregano, cinnamon, and hot pepper.

Make Vegetables Delicious

Shutterstock

Want people to eat more vegetables? Make them delicious by drizzling a bit of extra-virgin olive oil and roasting them, or serving them with a dip such as hummus or pesto.

Experiment with Whole Grains

Shutterstock

Make a big batch of a new whole grain each week, such as farro, quinoa, or bulgar, and add it to soups, salads, and side dishes.