Five Culinary Swaps to Help Manage Cholesterol | Community

When cooking, keep small changes in mind that can have a big impact on heart health.

High cholesterol is one of the leading controllable risk factors for heart disease and stroke, with about 38% of American adults diagnosed with high cholesterol, according to the American Heart Association. It can be managed by regularly testing levels and making lifestyle changes, such as following a heart-healthy diet.

Reduce saturated fat: Select lean cuts of meat or opt for plant-based proteins, limit processed meats, grill or bake rather than pan-fry meats, and remove the skin from poultry before cooking.

Eat more fish: Fish can be fatty or lean, but it’s always low in saturated fat. Choose fatty fish like salmon or trout, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids.

Use liquid oils instead of solid fats: For roasting, sautéing and more, use non-tropical liquid vegetable oils like canola, safflower, soy or olive instead of butter, lard or shortening.

Less dairy fat: Low-fat, fat-free, or non-dairy milk can be used in many recipes in place of whole or half-and-half milk.

Increase fiber and whole grains: Add fiber-rich vegetables to your meals, serve fruit instead of juice, and try brown rice instead of white.

These simple tips and best-for-you recipes like chicken tortilla soup and crispy deep-fried chicken can help you eat healthy without sacrificing taste.

Discover tips for managing cholesterol

and other risk factors

Chicken Tortilla Soup

This recipe is reproduced with permission from “Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook, 2nd Edition”. Copyright 2018 by the American Heart Association. Published by Harmony Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts with no visible fat, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

2 cups frozen whole kernel corn, thawed

2 cups no-fat, no-salt added chicken broth

1 can (14 1/2 ounces) no salt added diced tomatoes, undrained

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

2 medium garlic cloves, minced

2 corn tortillas (6 inches each), cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips

1 corn tortilla (6 inches), torn into pieces

2-4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 cup finely chopped avocado

1/4 medium red bell pepper, cut into matchstick-sized strips

In slow cooker, combine chicken, corn, broth, tomatoes, onion, sugar, ancho powder, garlic and salt. Cook, covered, over low heat, 6-8 hours, or over high heat, 3-4 hours.

On a baking sheet, arrange the tortilla strips in a single layer. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until crispy. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack. Let the strips sit for 15 minutes or until cool. Transfer to an airtight container and set aside.

When the soup is ready, transfer 1 cup to a food processor or blender. Stir in the tortilla pieces. Let the mixture rest for 1 minute. Process until smooth. Stir the mixture into the soup. Stir in cilantro.

Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle with avocado, bell pepper and reserved tortilla strips.

Crispy Fried Chicken (Un) Air Fryer

Courtesy of the American Heart Association

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1/2 teaspoon ground oregano

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

1/2-1 cup low fat buttermilk

1/2 tbsp hot pepper sauce (optional)

1/3 cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs

1/3 cup grated or grated parmesan cheese

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4 ounces each), visible fat discarded, flatten to 1/4-inch thick, pat dry with paper towel

Preheat the air fryer to 390 F.

In a shallow dish or pie pan, whisk flour, parsley, oregano, pepper and cayenne pepper.

In another shallow dish or pie pan, whisk together buttermilk and hot sauce.

In a third shallow dish or pie pan, combine panko and parmesan.

Arrange the dishes and the large plate in a row. Dip chicken into flour mixture, then buttermilk mixture, then panko mixture, turning to coat at each step and gently shaking off excess. Using your fingertips, gently press the panko mixture so that it adheres. Place the chicken on the plate. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.

Lightly spray chicken with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange the chicken in a single layer in the air fryer basket, working in batches if necessary. Bake 10 to 15 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink in center and coating is golden brown, turning once halfway through cooking and spraying lightly with nonstick cooking spray.

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