A site about food would not be complete without discussing healthy foods and cooking with heart healthy recipes. It is important for all~ but especially those of us over thirty-nine?
This is is just a personal opinion but I believe that cooking at home in many cases is a healthier option, since we can directly control what goes into our foods. This is obviously true of the fast food establishments. However, going to quality restaurants that use good produce is always a better choice. Choose your restaurants for quality. That being said, I occasionally made a pilgrimage to In-and-Out for a double-double, but that is a very rare treat and they do make a great burger.
In the following information we will discuss how to “lighten” some recipes and show many of our great heart healthy recipes that already meet the guidelines. There are some great links and resources,some have some tasty heart healthy recipes also. Isn’t it great that grilling lends itself so readily to healthy eating? Now admittedly, some of the foods on our site are not light~ nor are they intended for daily consumption. Pulled pork everyday would not be a good idea. However, a balanced diet and healthy grilling can certainly go together deliciously. We usually grill seafood, vegetables, and always utilize healthy oils. Using healthier food products such as grass fed beef and incorporating organic foods play into this equation as well.
From here we will guide you to heart healthy recipes, some interesting healthy tips and to some great resources for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. We avoid the latest “fad” diets and stick to basic good health. Good heart healthy recipes are the mainstay of our site. We have a few less than heart healthy recipes but stress that these are treats for special occasions and not for everyday living.
We love seafood, usually grilled, of course!. Even though we are landlocked now, we have found an excellent resource for the freshest. sustainable seafood. Hopefully there are some markets that have decent fish and seafood in your neighborhood. "Whole Foods" store and even our local "Albertsons" or "Safeway" now have reasonably good fish departments. But please, always be vigilant on the freshness of your fish and seafood, for more on that check out our fish page.
Fresh salmon and tuna are very high in Omega-3 fatty acids that are very heart healthy. Pair that with a nice marinade or spice rub and you will have the start a outstanding healthy meal.
The American Heart Associations Nutrition Page
An Excellent Article on Web MD on Healthy Foods
Often some of the meats or dishes that pop into most people’s minds at the mention of BBQ are not ideal for healthy guidelines. This is not necessarily true! Especially with a few techniques that have gained in popularity in recent years. Brines and marinades make leaner cuts juicier when cooked on the high heat of the grill. Rubs and marinades also can add anti-oxidants that are healthy, as well.
The U.S.D.A. guidelines for Americans recommend consuming twenty to thirty five percent of calories as fat and less than 10% as saturated fats by selecting foods that are lean or low fat. Lean meat as described by the U.S.D.A. is less than three grams of fat per ounce.
With this in mind, lets discuss some healthy meats for the grill. Selecting Healthy Beef For many, beef is grilling. Whether it is a steak or the obligatory burger on the grill, to quote the beef council, “it’s what’s cooking”.
I come from a family of restaurateurs and beyond that, we had steakhouses. So, I am picky about my beef. I would rather eat quality beef or not at all. It was not very long ago that this meant only USDA choice or higher in quality. Now, there are many more choices, grass fed, Kobe, Waygu, and others. For our discussion here we will scratch off the Kobe and Waygu since they are higher in fat, albeit the quality can be incredible. So we will be looking and some lean cuts and at the grass fed beef, which has a lower fat and many times may be organic.
Grass Fed Beef The area of grass fed can be tricky to find really nice quality. Furthermore,what you may not know is that many of these “grass fed” beef are actually fed a mixed diet of grasses and grains. The best “grass fed” cattle are only fed grass and are kept on lush pastures. Some of these are organic, some are “natural”. Another advantage of grass fed beef is that it can be higher in Omega-3 and CLA fatty acids which really set them apart from your traditional feed lot, supermarket beef. One of the best producers of grass fed beef is Niman Ranch. Niman Ranch beef is not exclusively grass fed, but is raised on grass, then finished on grain and may be lower in those Omega-3s and CLA fatty acids. Another way to source grass fed beef is from your local farmers market. In my experience, this takes some trial and error on finding a good supplier. But if you find one, I encourage supporting them. If you build a great relationship with your local sources, they will steer you to the quality cuts of the day.
One note on the flavor of grass fed beef, it is different than traditional corn fed but when you find a great supplier, it is very good. Cooking times may be shorter and you should not cook it well done, since it is leaner. When cooked to well done it will be tougher.
For a good general guidelines on fat and nutritional information on different cuts of beef, check out the following link:
Get the skinny on lean beef
Pork has a reputation for being less than healthy. They have been working to change that but much of that stigma still exists. Much of the pork being raised now IS leaner. In actuality, using the right cuts of pork can be a low fat and healthy choice.
Ideal healthy and lean cuts of pork are:
- Pork Tenderloin, which is actually leaner that boneless skinless chicken breast.
- Boneless top loin chop
- Boneless top loin roast
- Bone-in loin chop
- Bone-in rib chop
- Bone-in Sirloin
These are all great cuts for the grill. Now if you buy a pork loin and see a large cap of visible fat, you should trim this back. However, if you look at these cuts you will not see a great deal of internal fat or marbling.
Check out this great chart on lean cuts nutritional properties of pork.
Nutritional Chart on Lean Cuts of Pork
There are some new heirloom breeds of pork coming to the market that are more flavorful and tender, at this point generally these are still hard to find and can be very expensive.These gourmet cuts may not fit the guidelines laid out below. In a similar fashion as Kobe or Prime beef. These cuts are great tasting for special occasions. But for those of you who want to check them out, take a look at the following varieties and sources. These heirloom gourmet types of pork are Berkshire, Kurabota, Snake River Farms Kurabota Pork and the Spanish Iberico that is raised naturally on acorns.
The following link is to an excellent article and guide to great ideas for lowering cholesterol in recipes provided by our friend Georgia at
www.lowcholesterolrecipes.org. please take a look and check out her site.