Heart friendly cooking consists of cutting back on fat, cholesterol and sodium. There are many heart friendly cooking tips that can be added to your lifestyle gradually over a period of time. It can also be quickly and easily absorbed into your everyday lifestyle as part of your heart friendly cooking regime.

 Choose heart healthy carbohydrates. Replace enriched breads with 100% whole wheat grains and add fiber in the form of fruits and vegetables. Cook with legumes like lentils and beans at least three times a week.

Stop the sugar stream. Use less sugar while starting a heart healthy cooking schedule. Replace daily snacks, sodas or desserts with sweetener substitutes. This will lower your calorie and carbohydrate intake. There are many processed juices and foods that are high in corn syrup and sugars. Eat natural fruits and nuts for healthy snacks.

Cut back on using fat. Take the skin off of poultry before eating it; homemade broths should be cooled to skim off the solidified surface fat before serving it in meals. Select lean cuts of beef or pork. Be sure to cut off the fat before serving, the oils should drain away from the meat during the cooking process.

Use fat substitutes. Broil, steam or bake seafood high in omega oils. Many studies by the American Heart Association show that omega 3 fatty oils are beneficial to the heart. Substitute olive oil and healthy oils for cooking and making salad dressings.

Cut back on sodium. If you buy canned soups and processed foods always check the sodium content per serving. Only buy low sodium or sodium-free products. You can enhance the flavor with heart healthier substitutes like Mrs. Dash or similar seasonings. Fast-food meals should be cut out completely. The sodium content in one meal from favorite fast-food eateries can easily far exceed a one or two day allotment.

Use sodium substitutes. Use natural seasonings with fresh or dried herbs, natural condiments and spices. Peppers, onions and garlic can be flavorful substitutes, as well as lemon, lime and citrus zests and juices.

Throw out unhealthy foods and snacks. Keep your home a heart friendly zone by keeping only nourishing foods, snacks and drinks in your pantry and refrigerator.

Consume more high anti-oxidant foods. Green, black and oolong tea are filled with heart-healthy and cancer fighting anti-oxidants. Many types of fruits and berries should be incorporated in your diet. Get in the habit of eating and drinking high anti-oxidant foods for a healthier, longer life.

Make heart friendly snacks accessible during the day. Avoid junk food temptations when you are at work or out shopping or doing errands. Have small bags of baby carrots, dried apples and walnuts. Prepare containers of raisins, nuts and maple granola mix accessible around the house. A sugar-free fruit yogurt, banana or healthy energy bar can get you past an afternoon slump.

Avoid eating out. Heart friendly cooking at home puts you in control completely. Choose foods that are fresh, unprocessed and high in fibers, protein and anti-oxidants. Make a weekly meal schedule or bulletin board with an idea area for family members to participate in. Create your own recipes that appeal to you and your family. This comes naturally to some that love to cook; it is fun to get in the habit of cooking healthy meals.

Once you start feeling the health benefits of being in charge of your diet and lifestyle it will be easy to see how heart friendly foods is the way to a better future.