NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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American Heart Month

American Heart Month


          When the first Presidential proclamation declaring February “American Heart Month” was signed back in 1963 bell bottoms, leisure suits, platform shoes and tye-dye ties were part of the fashion scene.   You won’t find any of those items in clothing stores today, but American Heart Month is still celebrated every February.

          Cardiovascular diseases, including stroke, are our nation's No. 1 killer.  Even though many people still associate heart disease with men, it's also the leading cause of death among women.  For both genders and all ages, a major recommendation for American Heart Month is to limit the amount and type of fat you consume.

          Unfortunately low-fat diets are often described as bland and tasteless and include foods that best be described as similar to cardboard.   There are ways to reduce the fat level in your diet without substituting cardboard.  Consider some of the following changes to celebrate this year’s American Heart Month.

1.  Start with fruits and vegetables.  A menu that emphasizes healthy side dishes of fruits and vegetables often has less fat than one where large portions of meat, gravies and sauces are emphasized.

2. Use nonstick cooking spray instead of butter or oil

3. Choose extra-lean meat and skinless chicken breasts plus trim all visible fat from meat

4. Grill, broil, bake, braise, steam, poach, slow-cook, and microwave foods instead of frying

5. Drain fat from browned meats, such as hamburger, and blot with paper towels before going on the next step in your recipe – such as adding taco or barbeque seasoning.

6.  Reach for an apple, low-fat yogurt or baked crackers when snacking in place of cookies or candy bars.

7. Coat chicken and fish in breadcrumbs rather than batter, and bake instead of frying.

8. Experiment with using one egg and two egg whites in place of two whole eggs in some of your favorite recipes.

9. Use fat-free chicken broth or fat-free milk in mashed potatoes, soups, gravies and stews

10.  Oven-fry potatoes instead of making or buying French fries

11. Choose reduced fat sour cream or yogurt instead of full-fat versions for stews, dips, spreads, and dressings

12. Replace some of the fat in baked goods with applesauce, plain nonfat yogurt or low fat buttermilk

13. Buy skim milk or non-fat dairy products.

14. Accompany grilled fish, poultry and meat with salsas made from fresh fruit and vegetables for more flavor and less fat.

15.  For any recipe calling for fat, think olive oil or canola/rapeseed oil, instead of butter or shortening.


Home baked Chicken Nuggets

          Homemade taste plus low-fat goodness combine in this version of a fast-food favorite.


1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/4 cup flour

1/4 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 egg white

1/4 cup low fat buttermilk

1 cup cornflakes, crushed

          Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Prepare three bowls: first with flour and seasonings, second with egg and buttermilk stirred together, and third with crushed cornflakes.

Cut chicken breasts into 1 to 1 1/2-inch pieces.  First roll chicken pieces in flour mixture; then dip in egg/buttermilk mixture and finally coat with cornflakes.  Place chicken on baking sheet and bake for 10- 12 minutes until golden, turning pieces over half way through.


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