To eat a heart healthy diet begins with a heart- friendly kitchen. When heart-healthy foods are on hand at all times, planning and preparing meals becomes a snap. It saves you time and stress over deciding what to have for busy days and weeknights when you may not have time to stop at the grocery store. Having heart-friendly foods available puts you in control with less worry and more time to enjoy a nutritious meal.
A heart-healthy or well-stocked kitchen means what you’ll find in your pantry, refrigerator and freezer. Making simple yet healthy changes adds up over time to a healthier you.
The best way to learn and begin is to list foods to phase-in (heart-friendly foods) and foods to phase-out (heart-unfriendly foods):
- Homemade dressings, marinades and sauces
- Plain, low-fat yogurt. Add real fruit, nuts, or seeds
- Whole-grains: barley, quinoa, oatmeal, whole-wheat pasta, bulgur, and 100% whole wheat bread and crackers
- Low-fat milk, unsweetened iced tea, coffee, flat or sparkling water
- Legumes: black, white, navy, kidney, garbanzo beans, lentils, peas and edamame
- Fresh or frozen fruits and veggies
- Plant-based fats: avocados, nuts and nut-butters and plant-oils (olive, flax, walnut)
- Canned fish: herring, tuna, salmon, sardines
- Store-bought dressings, marinades and sauces
- Fruit-flavored or “fruit on the bottom” yogurts
- Refined grains: couscous, pasta, white or flavored rice and enriched breads and cereals
- Sugary drinks: flavored waters, sweetened teas and juices
- Canned baked beans, chilis and soups
- Mashed potatoes and veggies with added cream and butter; fruit canned in heavy syrup
- Margarine, butter, mayonnaise, lard, animal fats
- Preserved meats, fried fish, poultry and meat
If food budgeting is a concern, here are some budget shopping and better eating tips so you can still eat healthy without breaking the bank:
· Purchase frozen fruits and vegetables in the off season. Purchase locally grown produce in-season, when they are less expensive.
· Buy in bulk things like nuts, grains, dried fruit, and whole-wheat pasta.
· Menu planning saves time and money. Work leftovers into your menus.
· Store brands are often cheaper than using coupons. Coupons may save money but they are often for highly processed foods.
· Get your omega-3’s economically from canned salmon, sardines, and herring.