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Modify Recipes for a Heart-Healthy Diet


You don't have to abandon all your favourite recipes to eat healthier. Several small changes to your current recipes can often greatly lower the saturated fat and sodium in your diet.

These small changes can make a big difference in the amount of fat and calories in your diet. But they won't make much difference in how your meals taste or how much you enjoy them. Here are some ideas for making heart-healthy changes in your recipes.

Recipe modifications

Instead of:


1 cup (250 mL) shortening or lard

¾ cup (175 mL) canola or olive oil

1 cup (250 mL) whole milk

1 cup (250 mL) skim milk

1 cup (250 mL) heavy cream

1 cup (250 mL) evaporated skim milk

1 cup (250 mL) sour cream

1 cup (250 mL) low-fat or fat-free yogurt or sour cream

1 cup (250 mL) cheddar cheese

1 cup (250 mL) low-fat cheddar cheese

225 g (8 oz) cream cheese

225 g (8 oz) light cream cheese or 110 g (4 oz) skim ricotta and 110 g (4 oz) tofu blended

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 can low-fat cream soup

454 g (1 lb) ground beef

(454 g) 1 lb ground turkey or (454 g) 1 lb extra-lean ground beef (97% lean)

6 oz (170 g) tuna in oil

6 oz (170 g) tuna in water

1 cup (250 mL) chocolate chips

½ cup (125 mL) chocolate chips

To eat less fat and salt, try these tips while you cook.

Heart-healthy cooking tips

Instead of:


Frying your food

Baking, broiling, steaming, poaching, or grilling your food.

Eating convenience foods (canned soups, TV dinners, frozen pizza)

Eating fresh fish, meats, fruits, and vegetables. Or look for low-salt convenience foods. Then make a balanced meal by adding a fruit, a vegetable, and low-fat or skim milk.

Using butter or other fats high in saturated fat

Using products low in saturated fat. Try olive oil, vegetable oil, canola oil, or low-sodium chicken broth.

Using salt, soy sauce, or barbecue sauce

Using herbs, spices, or lemon

Eating all of the meat product

Eating a 2½ oz (75 g) serving of meat. (This is about the size of a deck of cards.) Trim fat from meat. Remove skin from chicken.


Current as of: February 28, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review Board
All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.

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