Thursday, July 26, 2012

Picnic Foods for Heart Patients and Diebetics

Heart patients and those with diabetes are often invited to picnics and cook outs during the summer. Those who cook the dishes, which are passed during these events, usually forget our special diets. Please do not forget us. Here are some ideas for your next event.

With so many people now on special diets, it might be hard to plan dishes for those among us who are on them. The heart diet is low salt, low fat and low cholesterol while the diabetic people limit sugar and those foods which break down to sugar.

When cooking the meats, please remember that many prepared sauces have high levels of sodium. Instead of slathering all of the chicken or beef with this sauce, sprinkle a few pieces of meat with Ms. Dash instead. The same with the burgers sprinkle them with a no salt seasoning, this way when we add mustard or ketchup we are not over loading on the salt content. Too much sodium is bad for everyone so it is best to try and limit is where ever you can.

The flavored chips are usually loaded with salt, so grab a few bags. It is best to purchase a flavored bag, a plain bag, and a plain bag with low salt. Mix the two bags of plain chips together and no one will be the wiser.

To make a heart healthy chip dip take a packet of Lipton French Onion soup mix and mix it with twice the amount of low fat sour cream. Trust me if no one sees you do this, no one will even taste the difference. We can use this dip on top of hamburgers rather than a slice of cheese, which has a quarter of the amount of salt adults, should eat a day.

When making potato or macaroni salads use low fat mayo instead of salad dressing. This is a great alternative. Items such as olives, pickles, mustard, and eggs, which really make salads of this type, taste delicious, are loaded with salt so please limit these things. Did you know that you can also lower the sodium content of pickles and olives by rinsing them off in cold water before you put them in the salad?

Cakes, other sweets, and pies are picnic staples but a better alternative is a nice fruit salad made with fresh fruit. If you use the canned variety, be sure to rinse of the items before you toss them in a bowl. Use low fat cool whip instead of regular cool whip. Another great alternative is to use jell-o. You can serve it plain or mix fruit in there.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Restaurants and Low Salt Foods

If you are on a low salt, low fat, or low cholesterol diet, it is difficult eating in a restaurant because one never really knows how the food is prepared. The menu may state that food is low salt, low fat, or low cholesterol but too many factors come into play in the manufacturing process as well as the cooking process.

Even if the instructions on a package or a recipe call for a certain ingredient such as sugar or butter, cooks in many restaurants will use what is on hand. This can ultimately change the amounts of the items a dieter is trying to limit in the finished product.

Sometimes it is as simple as adding whole milk instead of low fat milk in the cooking process that adds the salt or even extra fat. The type of oil or fat used in the cooking or baking process will alter the finish product as well.

The only way to be sure what ingredients are used in a product is to cook it yourself or watch the cooking process. In a restaurant, it is far better to eat the simple foods that require little in the preparation process.

These items include green salads and baked potatoes, which have very little sodium, fat or cholesterol naturally. A baked potato, with real butter, sour cream and chives has little sodium, fat or cholesterol. However, once any type of cheese or bacon bits are added to the food, the amount of the salt, cholesterol and fat you are trying to limit goes higher quickly.

A piece of meat may have a lot of fat in. Depending on the cooking process, it may have a higher level of cholesterol and sodium. The best option here is to choose a cut of meat, which is smaller and has less fat. Baked meat is typically healthier but again it depends on any seasonings, marmalades, and other ingredients used in the process.

If you are craving T-Bone or a pork chop, it is still possible to enjoy these items depending on how they are cooked, even when you are on a special diet. Ask if the restaurant grills the steaks or chops without adding any type of seasonings.

If they typically include seasonings, ask that the cook withhold the seasonings on your meat. Most restaurants will accommodate special requests for diners if it is something simple.