Another week in February and another recipe you can make to love your heart…and what you eat! Because really and truly, you should love what you eat. Perhaps you will love one of these recipes, too:
- Amy is serving up Fish Tacos with Avocado
- Cara made Roasted Salmon with Kale and Tahini
- Lauren created a Spicy Chipotle Black Bean Soup with Crispy Sweet Potato “Croutons”
Today’s recipe isn’t the absolute lowest in calories or fat, but it’s a perfect example of a much scaled down version of one of America’s favorite guilty pleasures: Fettuccine Alfredo. Loving your heart doesn’t mean having to sacrifice taste…or your favorite foods.
Making a lighter version at home, however, can save you nearly a day’s worth of fat, two day’s worth of saturated fat, and whole lot of calories. That is certainly something for your heart to love!
You can love what you eat and still feel good about it, too? Indeed!
If that’s not convincing enough, how about a recipe that takes less than 30 minutes from start-to-finish? Yes, even for the novice at-home chef. This recipe, it’s calling your name. It may even be saying, “I’m better Olive Garden…no, really. And way better for you, too!”
So true. So true.
- Butter vs. margarine. Choose butter (unsalted). Margarine is hydrogenated vegetable oil, or in other words, a liquid vegetable oil turned into a solid. This process is possible through hydrogenation which add trans fat to foods. Trans fat is doubly dangerous to the heart because it not only raises “bad” LDL cholesterol, but it also lowers “good” HDL cholesterol. Limiting or omitting trans fats is one of the best things you can change in your diet to keep your heart healthy.
- Low-fat dairy. Choosing low-fat dairy products, such as milk, helps to decrease saturated fat in the diet. Similar to trans fats, saturated fat can cause an unfavorable rise in LDL cholesterol levels. With all milk being fortified with vitamins A and D, there’s no reason not to choose a low-fat variety.
- Be weary of fat-free foods. While low-fat options generally offer up a lighter version of its full-fat counterpart, fat-free products are often high in salt and sugar to help improve flavor and make products more palatable. Be sure to compare products for not only calories and fat, but also for sodium, sugar, and a plethora of other additives and preservatives that are used in food manufacturing.
- Remember to control portions. Though lightened up versions of your favorite foods are preferred, over-eating is never recommended. Keeping your heart healthy can be as simple as controlling intake to avoid over-consumption of fats and calories. Pair your meals with a healthy vegetable side to increase volume, add nutrition, and keep calorie counts in check.
I paired my Lighter Fettuccine Alfredo with a garden salad dressed in extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. My dinner came in right at 500 calories and offered up a balanced meal with added fiber and nutrition.
Light Fettuccine Alfredo adapted from Cooking Light and That Skinny Chick Can Bake
1 Tbsp unsalted butter 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour 1 1/3 cups 1% low-fat milk 3/4 cup (3 oz) Parmesan cheese, finely shredded 2 oz 1/3 less-fat cream cheese 1/4 tsp salt 8 oz dry fettuccine 2 tsp flat leaf parsley, chopped Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Boil 3-4 quarts of water in a large pot. Add fettuccine and cool until al dente.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook just till fragrant, about 30 seconds, stirring frequently. Whisk in flour, then gradually whisk in milk, stirring constantly till mixture thickens, about 3-4 minutes. Add the Parmesan, cream cheese, and salt, stirring till cheese melts.
Add hot, drained pasta and toss to distribute. Serve with a sprinkle of the parsley and black pepper, if desired.
Yield: 4 servings (1 heaping cup each).
Nutrition Information (per serving): 388 calories; 13.5 g. fat; 32 mg. cholesterol; 379 mg. sodium; 2 g. fiber; 17.8 g. protein
Result: Low-fat dairy and high quality Parmesan couldn’t have come up with anything better – truly wonderful. Creamy and rich…you won’t believe for a second that this is a lightened up version. But put away the gobs of butter, and all that heavy cream…you won’t be needing it! Enjoy!