Tips for cooking a heart-healthy meal in your slow-cooker

Crock-Pots are really in style. The slow-cooker has made a transformation in recent years. They are now oval shaped, which can better fit roasts. As they have changed, so have the cooking methods that will keep a slow-cooked meal flavorful and healthy for your heart. Here are some tips for a heart healthy slow-cooker meal:

Spice it up without all of the salt

  • Use low-sodium broths to reduce the amount of sodium in the meal. Eliminate canned cream soups, which are high in calories, sodium and fat.
  • Use “lite” juices (i.e. cranberry, orange juice) or reduce- sodium tomatoes to add moisture and flavor to meals.

Provide flavor without the fat

  • Remove the skin from poultry. Cut visible fat off of meat.
  • Use leaner meat like pork tenderloin instead of pork shoulder or Boston roast (also known as pork butt). Use eye round or sirloin instead of rump roast or chuck roast. Use lowfat ground meats and poultry (90 percent fat or above). Using lean meats will reduce the fat but not the flavor.

Try vegetarian dishes

  • Cook with beans. Bean soups are great to cook in the slow-cooker. Vegetarian chili will warm a winter night. Rinse all canned beans to reduce sodium content.

Add lots of vegetables

  • Add thick-cut vegetables like carrots, broccoli and celery to add flavor, and keep the fiber up and the calories down.