For most people with busy schedules, dinner is the meal where you are most likely to strap on the apron and do some real cooking. That makes the evening meal a prime window of opportunity for fitting in more good fats, since some of the best sources are cooking oils (tops for MUFAs) and seafood (unparalleled for omega-3 fatty acids). If you don’t think of yourself as much of a cook, don’t worry: The Healthy Heart Miracle Diet includes simple, easy-prep meals that provide all the good fats you need.
Don’t fear olive oil. In fact, feel free to drizzle it over cooked veg- etables to make them more appealing. And if you’re serving a crusty whole-grain or sourdough bread with dinner, put out a small bowl of olive oil for dipping. Other cooking oils are good for you, too, in moderation. Choose one from the chart on page 118 to complement your meal. Cook fish—it’s easy. One of the main reasons people offer for avoid- ing fish is the cooking difficulty factor: It’s just too hard to make a great-tasting fish dinner, they claim. Count that as another myth. Try these simple ideas.
• Steam it. For an easy, healthy fish dinner, try steaming just about any fish. Using hot, moist air to prepare fish is practically foolproof, since it’s almost impossible to overcook the fish this way. If you don’t own a steamer, you can pick up a bamboo steamer basket at an Asian market or online for about $10. Use stock or broth instead of water for more flavor and top the steamed fish with fresh herbs, a spritz of lemon, and dash or two of salt.
• Bake it in foil. Baking fish in foil packets makes a perfect fish meal surprisingly easy to pull off. Just coat a couple of fish fillets with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, a fresh herb of your choice, and bake in a 400°F (200°C) oven for 15 to 20 minutes. For a complete meal, throw cut-up vegetables, such as zucchini, red peppers, and scallions, into the foil packet, too.
• Turn to the tins. For many people, preparing a fish dinner begins with digging through the kitchen drawers for a can opener. Great idea, since canned tuna and sardines are both good sources of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. For a quick dinner, try alba- core tuna with cannellini beans, sliced red peppers, cucumbers, and onions, tossed with an olive-oil-based dressing.
• Give it a grilling. Thick, firm-textured varieties of fish such as salmon or fresh tuna are perfect for an outdoor barbecue. Just be sure to brush the grill with oil (or use cooking spray) to prevent sticking. White-fleshed filets such as sole or tilapia are too tender and will break up, though you can grill them using a wire fish basket.
Use nuts in place of meat. Nuts, especially peanuts and cashews, are tasty, filling stand-ins for meat in veggie-heavy stir-fry dishes. (Remember to serve the stir-fry over brown rice and use low-sodium soy sauce.)
Add some sesame seeds. They liven up broccoli, and they’re another great addition to Asian-inspired stir-fries and beef and chicken dishes.